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Enter at your own risk an eclectic journey through a cluttered mind, streaming consciousness, not to be understood by all, but freed by me to you...

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Monno Family Reunions

Mary & Dennis Zappa cook the cavatelli.

Janet Monno makes the pizza feitte.

Joyce Zappa & Denise Ranelli Lynch cook the sausage. White Bear's Podvin Park annually on the first Sunday in August. See photos FaceBook Donna R Gregory  picasaweb.google.com/mnitalians. Album Italian Families
Donna R Gregory Please come & get your family members to come also.picasaweb.google.com/mnitalians.
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Sunday, July 20, 2014

My new email address is donnagregory@comcast.net

Friday, March 16, 2012

Jennie A. Ranelli

My mother, Jennie Angela Ranelli, turned 92 on February 12th, 2012. On 2/27 she suffered a severe stroke paralyzing her left side. We were in Sun City West, Arizona. She had her hands and feet manicured and pedicured that day, we had gone out for supper & we had finished playing cards with her sisters Josephine Calder and Lucy Kaiser. We were reminiscing about growing up on the farm in Cumberland. Mom's left side failed & within 1 minute we called 911. They were able to deliver the clot buster. Denise flew down for 6 days and they continue speech, occupational & physical therapy, 3 hours @ day at Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center.

Sunday, August 08, 2010


http://picasaweb.google.com/librarypictures1305/ItalianMonnoZappa# Genealogical photos! We had our annual Italian family reunion today at Lake Phalen Pavilion. Probably only 75 showed because of the heat, humidity and temperature of 96 degrees!!!! I made 2 large pans of eggplant parmesan, brought my computer for photo slideshow set up, brought 10 books of pictures from the six trips to Italy I have made, brought the entire family tree printed and mounted, especially their birth certificates, their marriage certificate, their naturalization certificate, the ship they were on and what port they disembarked, and brought table top books on Portofino and the Italian Riviera, Cinque Terre (the 5 towns of Monterossa al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore). You can only access these five hill towns by water, train, or paying for walking between all of them. I spent 4 days there in 2006 with members of my Italian class. They are the most incredible places in Italy, including nearby Rapallo where we stayed when Gina's Mounds View Orchestra performed in a 10 day tour of Tuscany. Jennie Ranelli went along, I chaperoned and Gina played her viola. She started playing in 4th grade. We stayed in Rapallo and took a ferry to Portofino. She played in the Cathedral of Vienna and we almost froze to death. It was spring break for them. Then they played in the best place, Cortona! It was less difficult to chaperone this group than when I did the same thing in the 5th grade. This same orchestra I chaperoned on a trip to Sea World and Disney World, when they were 10 year olds, all 64 of them. We went to Cocoa Beach & Cape Canaveral. I told they to buddy up but Shruti Mathur had to go way out into the ocean by herself and I had to go in fully dressed to get her out. I gave her a 10 minute timeout on the beach and her parents came to our home and wanted an explanation. Obviously they didn't get the idea she could have come back in a body bag, or be lost forever in an undertow. Since all of our clothes were packed in the bus, I had to ride from Florida all the way home to Minnesota in wet clothes. We had 2 bus drivers who traded off driving. This wonderful group of students performed on an outdoor stage next to the water. We stayed in Kissimee, Florida.

Going back to the 2006 trip, my Italian class spent 4 days in Venice. I stayed by myself on Giudecca (Jewish) Island, where the ghettoes were from WWII, in an ostello. My friends were in the high-rent district. I only had to pay 90 euros for 4 nights but I had to sleep on the top bunk with no ladder (I found a chair and used it to climb up). It was like a youth hostel open all night. I had a locker for my backpack & breakfast was minimal. I would meet my friends every morning at the Piazza San Marco where they were staying in Venice, by the Doge's Palace. We also took the train to Padua to see the  Scrivogni Chapel with Giotto's frescoes & then Church of St. Anthony, where the collonades with the long shadows were phenomenal.
Since I had left my classmates to travel with 2 friends, Joyce & Kent Teibel, from college who were going to their ancestral home and needed my help translating (Haha!) We went to the Casci home in Filecchio and stayed in nearby Barga. There Kent met his former math student from Hill-Murray High School eons ago. I had stopped because I heard someone speaking in English! None of the Casci's were home. My friends' luggage was almost stolen at the train station. It was being taken off the train by men (dressed in railroad uniforms) who were "trying" to help them and thankfully the real train men caught the frauds in time. They were pretty shaken about that but by the time we met in Orvieto they were okay. Here we had been on the same train, in different cars, and I spotted them when they got off onto the platform. From there Rick Steeves gave us the idea to stay at Citta di Bagnoregio, a town of just a total of 12 people and no cars allowed. My friends had made reservations long in advance for 2 rooms. You had to haul yourself on a VERY LONG bridge. It looked like a part of the Great Wall of China. It was the most beautiful little town in the world, with only 3 rooms to rent, and the skeleton keys were the same for each room. It was the top of a mountain and very small, obviously, since there were only a few shops and a few homes. Every person seemed ancient and showed us their original winemaking equipment, etc from over a hundred years ago. Bed and breakfast was quaint and wonderful, with church bells chiming in the background.

I only wish I had some relatives to connect with my maternal side. They came from Ateleta, in L'Aquila. Nobody from this large family reunion knows anyone there either.
Some people at the reunion liked the style of photos I had taken: store window displays, open food markets, fish just being caught, nude beaches, bouganvilla falling from windows, green shuttered pink homes, unique doorways and unparalled stairwells, & people. The people watching is the best, the people are so warm if you try to speak Italian to them. The motorcycles are awesome and so are the mini cars. The flea markets are fun, too. I got a Versace scarf for my mom and a Mossimo for myself. That was my only splurge, excluding the three week trip itself. I flew alone to Vienna. I stayed with my cousin, Pat Benham, for two day until my Italian classmates arrived from Budapest, where their trip started. My cousins from North Oaks had just moved there for work. We went to a Strauss performance, the Royal Palace and its gardens, and then a playground where children actually drive real excavation equipment and push dirt and trees around. Then we went to some kind of rope climbing equipment sports place where you have to be strapped in like a chair and travel all over the huge equipment. It was scary. After that we had real, Italian pizza.
I am an incredibly lucky person. Then I left the Teibel's and went to Avezzano where my father's extended family treated me like royalty. Gabriele Ciutti, author of La Presentosa, http://ilreporter.splinder.com/ hired an interpreter for the day, put me up at the Principe Torlonia Hotel, hosted a 7 course dinner with over 30 relatives for me at the Pinquino Avezzano Village, and drove me to Sulmona to see my great Aunt Elsa Fallavolita, and then drove me to Rome to stay with my great Aunt Anna Sorci's grandchildren, Paolo, Erminia Pappa & Lavinia Pappa, also her sister, Simona, and husband Roberto Tomassini and daughter Alice.


Saturday, August 07, 2010

MINNESOTA Markarita Mark Bicyclist (Twin Cities Bike Club and Arizona Bullshifters, Phoenix bike club)

Left: Minnesota TCBC for Solvang, California week.
Next: Phoenix, Arizona Bullshifter's Bicycle Club.
Mark shredded $250 spandex bibs, scuffed his $500 new shoes, damaged his week old BRAND new $200 helmet, has to repair his California Triple Crown jersey. He tore up the whole left side and had to get 5 stitches in his LEFT index finger. Thank God he made it though again. He hit a pothole again, just like he did 4 weeks ago.He was on a 63 mile ride on a waterworks parkway near our house, the Lake Vadnais area near Sucker Lake. He is a cat with nine lives and I don't know which life he's on. His page is Mark Gregory on Facebook. Mark earned a California Triple Crown jersey in 2009 by completing three 200 mile races. He completed the Camino Real in Irvine, CA, the Solvang Double in Solvang, CA, and the Mulholland Double in Calabasas, CA. All 200 miles must meet check points and be completed in 17 consecutive hours. The last, MUHLHOLLAND DOUBLE (MEANING 200 MILES) was a 19 hour completion time to get credit. It had 16,000 vertical feet of climbing! He did it by himself and started at 5:00 AM and ended at 10:54 PM. He had to meet the 163 mile checkpoint by 14 hours into the ride to finish officially and get credit for the ride. HE DID IT! He does all this in the 4 months we spend in Arizona for the winter. The Bullshifters nicknamed him Markarita because they share a pitcher of margaritas after some of their rides. So far, Mark went down near Rice Street by our house and fractured 3 vertebrae in his neck and thoracic #9 was compressed. He doesn't remember anything. He was in the hospital for 6 days and in a body cast for 5 weeks until his smart friend brought over a recumbent bike on a trainer that he could ride in the house. That smart friend, Dave Cummings, started walking with him, got rid of the body cast, and literally saved Mark from weeks of rehabilitation, all without the doctor's permission. Dave knew that Mark's muscles would atrophy if he stayed in the body & neck cast. Mark previously had an articial aortic heart valve (St. Jude Medical's 19cm) implanted so he has to take a blood thinner (coumadin) and 81mg of aspirin daily for the rest of his life. If he even nicks himself with paper, it bleeds, because his blood is so thin. A Thai doctor, Dr. Kit Arom, who just died last week, said Mark's open heart surgery's chest scar was so small because his hand was so small and it is true, you can barely see the scar. You can hear it ticking if you listen carefully. Any bump or fall can cause internal bleeding, so when he broke his helmet on the Watermelon Ride fall (he was marking the trail by spraying red arrows with a template and the template went through his wheel). The doctors were concerned with the internal bleeding, espescially on the brain. It was a conflict between his heart doctor to keep him on the blood thinner and the other who was concerned about internal bleeding. Mark has also had a stroke at 8:00 AM in the morning at work and finished his mail carrier route and went to the hospital at 5:00 PM. He was there 5 days and recovered fully, only 1 out of 3 do, 1 dies and 1 usually has severe rehabilitation issues. Then there was the time he hit his head on the garbage container's lid that is not supposed to be move when the lid is open. He did and was hit by the lid through the baseball cap on his head and required 9 stitches in his head. He was bleeding like a pig and called me to take him to the emergency room. He had been cutting the grass. I was only 3 miles from home but the traffic on Highway 96 coming off Interstate 35E made it a 15 minute ride to get there. I thank God every day that we are able to grow old together and hope to live a long life like our parents, his mother, Sadie Gregory, died at 96 in 2006 being perfectly sane and my mom, Jennie Ranelli, is 90 years old.

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Thursday, August 05, 2010

On Facebook: Donna R Gregory

To understand the subtitle of my blog start with blog Wed, August 10th, 2005. My recent blog is a very religious metaphor about love. The Song of Songs, Old Testament Bible, probably wasn't written by Solomon and it is only 117 verses long but it makes very beautiful reading. Of course, the metaphors are biblical, but I believe anyone can enjoy it. The Porky's photo is on University Avenue in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and the reason it is my profile photo is because the reflection/shadow in the Porky's photo is the real me, a person with a "Hazy Identity" to quote my daughter. Check out a blog, Abbey Road, by Terry Nelson for some cool stuff. FaceBook: Donna R Gregory E-mail  donnagregory@comcast.net


Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Solomon Song of Songs Bible Old Testament Catholic version

The Song of Songs (Hebrew, שיר השירים, Shir ha-Shirim), is a book of the Hebrew Bible—one of the five megillot (scrolls)—found in the last section of the Tanakh, known as the Ketuvim (or "writings"). It is also known as the Song of Solomon,Solomon's Song of Songs, or as Canticles, the latter from the shortened and anglicized Vulgate title Canticum Canticorum(Latin, "Song of Songs").[1] It is known as Āisma in the Septuagint, which is short for Āisma āismatōn (Greek, ᾌσμα ᾀσμάτων, "Song of Songs").[2]

The protagonists of the Song of Songs are a woman (identified in one verse as "the Shulamite")[3] and a man, and the poem suggests movement from courtship to consummation. For instance, the man proclaims: "As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters." The woman answers: "As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among thesons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste."[4][5] Additionally, the Song includes a chorus, the "daughters of Jerusalem."

In spite of the lack of explicitly religious content, the Song is often interpreted as an allegorical representation of the relationship of God and Israel, or for Christians, God and the Church or Christ and the human soul, as husband and wife.

It is one of the shortest books in the Bible, consisting of only 117 verses. According to Ashkenazi Jewish tradition, it is read on the Sabbath that falls during the intermediate days of Passover. In the Sephardi community it is recited every Friday night.


Do not try to satisfy your vanity by teaching a great many things. Awaken people’s curiosity. It is enough to open minds, do not overload them. Put there just a spark. If there is some good inflammable stuff, it will catch fire." Anatole Franc (Barbara Quade Harick) Facebook quote

Friday, July 30, 2010

ranelligregory: Lino Rulli of “The Catholic Guy” broadcasts from Vatican Radio

ranelligregory: Lino Rulli of “The Catholic Guy” broadcasts from Vatican Radio

Lino Rulli of “The Catholic Guy” broadcasts from Vatican Radio

July 28, 2010. The first American radio show to broadcast a week's worth of programming from Vatican Radio has returned there for a third time.

Lino Rulli usually records his show “The Catholic Guy” in New York City. But he recently spent five days broadcasting from Rome with the same microphone used by John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
And for the first time 40 SIRIUS XM listeners accompanied the comedic host on a sold-out pilgrimage to Rome, Florence and Assisi.

Lino Rulli
“The Catholic Guy” host

“We thought it could be like a version practically of a reality show. Can we all survive this experience? And it was probably the best thing I've ever done in my entire career. ”

The radio host said he was glad to be a part of their lives and show them the history of the Church, and this time not just through the microphone.

With visits to the Vatican Museums, San Callisto Catacombs and the Holy Stairs, he had plenty of stories to share with his listeners.

After all, his life is the material for the show.

He says he discusses things most people can relate to but that might also keep them away from the Church. He talks about going to confession, going on dates, and juggling football games on Sundays.

Lino Rulli
“The Catholic Guy” host

“What I try to talk the most about at the show is being devout does not mean being boring. Being reverent at Mass doesn't mean being reverent at dinner. Being a devout Catholic who believes everything the Church teaches doesn't mean you aren't supposed to enjoy life.”

He says he wants to encourage people to go to Church, but he will not tell them to go. He says when people listen about a regular guy who goes to Church, they might decide on their own to go back to church.

“The Catholic Guy” host says it can be challenging to provide a funny and sometimes off-beat take on living out the faith because some people may think he is laughing at the Church. But he says he is laughing with the Church and that evangelization does not have to be boring.

Lino Rulli
“The Catholic Guy” host

“I really do believe laughter is the best because when you laugh your guard is brought down and when your guard is brought down you are more open to anything in life like the faith.”

Rulli says the pilgrimage in Italy has renewed his energy as a radio host because too often in media and as a Catholic one doesn't get a chance to interact with listeners. Rulli had 100 listeners on a waiting list for this pilgrimage, evidence that speaking about Catholicism can be entertaining.

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Carnevale in Venezia, Martedi Grosso 2008

Each of the Lagoon City's (Venice)  boroughs will explore one of the five senses: San Polo will feature SIGHT; Cannaregio: TASTE; Santa Croce: SMELL; Doroduro: TOUCH; and CASTELLO: Sound. St. Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco) will celebrate the '6th' sense with a rave like celebration. Carnevale officially opens with the procession of the Marias and the flight of the dove, where a whiteclad woman is lowered 90 m from the top of the bell tower.  A warehouse has been converted where absolute darkness will take place to heighten the other senses by "removing" sight. 

Carnevale dates back to the 12th century but took a break of almost 200 years starting when Napoleon put an end to the Venetian Republic. It was revived in the 1970'sand attracts 80,000-100,000 visitors a day.

Its most distinctive feature is the famous Venetian white mask with a black cloak and a black tri corner hat. Masks are linked to the carnival because during the era of the republic it was one of the few periods when citizens could wear masks and it enabled people of different social classes to mingle and get into mischief without being recognized.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Carnevale, Martedi Grosso in Venezia