Retrosi, Adolfi Family Origins

A decade ago I was able to reconnect with my family on my fathers side in Italy. Since then I have been over to see them once or twice a year. This really makes me one of the luckiest people in the world. I have my Mother’s side of the family in Sweden next on my list!

My Great Grandfather (my grandfather’s father) Angelo Retrosi immigrated to the USA from, Alatri Italy.

My Grandmother’s father came to the USA from Veroli Italy.

Alatri and Veroli are 2 mountain top towns in the same region about 1/2 way between Rome and Naples. You can look across the valley and see one from the other.

To my Retrosi and Adolfi family- Here are photos from the last couple of trips. If you are ever interested in joining me on a trip, let me know. I am happy to take you.

Photos of Alatri and Veroli

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Veroli from Alatri

 

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Alatri from Veroli

Alatri

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Alatri from Cousin Daniele’s House

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Stephanie and Michaelina Retrosi

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Major Gate of Alatri. Aligned with the rising sun of the summer solstice

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Paul, Tony, Sergio, Daniele Retrosi

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This Cross was built on a hill outside of Alatri by Family Retrosi. A US Bomber was supposed to drop a bomb on Alatri. One of the bombardiers knew there were no military targets in Alatri and dropped the payload outside of town.

Grapes with Alatri in the background

VEROLI

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The Gate of Veroli (SPQV is a Latin phrase Senatus Populous Que Veroli)

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Yes- A Car CAN drive up this street

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The Cemetery in Veroli’s oldest church

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Oldest Church

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Cousin Antonio taking photos

Just some random photos

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Donald Trump Is Going To Be Elected

Source: Donald Trump Is Going To Be Elected

Donald Trump is going to be elected president. And we deserve him

The American people voted for him a long time ago.

They voted for him when The History Channel went from showing documentaries about the Second World War to “Pawn Stars” and “Swamp People.”

They voted for him when The Discovery Channel went from showing “Lost Treasures of the Yangtze Valley” to “Naked and Afraid.”

They voted for him when The Learning Channel moved from something you could learn from to “My 600-lb Life.”

They voted for him when CBS went from airing “Harvest of Shame” to airing “Big Brother.”

These networks didn’t make these programming changes by accident. They were responding to what the American people actually wanted. And what they wanted was “Naked and Afraid” and “Duck Dynasty.”

The polls may show that Donald Trump is losing to Hillary Clinton, but don’t you believe those polls. When the AC Nielsen Company selects a new Nielsen family, they disregard the new family’s results for the first three months. The reason: when they feel they are being monitored, people lie about what they are watching. In the first three months, knowing they are being watched, they will tune into PBS. But over time they get tired of pretending. Then it is back to the Kardashians.

The same goes for people who are being asked by pollsters for whom they are voting. They will not say Donald Trump. It is too embarrassing. But the truth is, they like Trump. He is just like their favorite shows on TV.

Mindless entertainment.

Trump’s replacement of Paul Manafort with Breitbart’s Steve Bannon shows that Trump understands how Americans actually think. They think TV. They think ratings. They think entertainment.

We are a TV-based culture. We have been for some time now. The average American spends 5 hours a day, every day, watching TV. After sleep, it is our number one activity.

More shockingly, we spend 8.5 hours a day staring at screens — phones, tablets, computers. And more and more of the content on those devices is also video and TV.

If you spend 5-8 hours a day, every day, for years and years doing the same thing it has an impact on you. For the past 40 years, we have devoted 5-8 hours a day staring at a screen — every day. And we haven’t been watching Judy Woodruff. We have been watching reality TV shows. That is what we love. That is what we resonate to. “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.”

The French may love food. The Italians may love opera (and Food!). What we love is TV. We are TV culture. It defines who we are. As a frequent  International traveler I spend a great deal of time explaining that what they see on TV about the USA isn’t real. Now, I’m not so sure.

In the 1950s, early television was allowed, with many restrictions, to be an observational guest at political conventions. They were quiet “flies on the wall,” carefully and quietly commentating on what they saw way down below. They did not get involved in the process. Today, they ARE the process. Today, political conventions are nothing but carefully directed TV shows. Likewise “debates.” They exist only to entertain a TV audience. TV and entertainment now dictate everything political. It is a never-ending show. The biggest reality show on air.

And Donald Trump is great TV.

He knows how to entertain.

He understands ratings.

Hillary Clinton is crap TV.

She may be smarter, better prepared, a better politician and possibly the most qualified candidate we have ever seen. It won’t matter. She is terrible entertainment.

That’s just how it is. Depressing, but true.

He is Kim Kardashian. She is Judy Woodruff.

Who gets better ratings?

Who would you rather watch for the next four years?

Honestly…

In 1825, the great French gastronom Brillat de Savarind said, “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.” Today, in America, we can safely say, “Tell me what you watch, and I will tell you what you are.”

And what do we watch?

It isn’t “PBS NewsHour.”

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My Anniversary

lessons-learnedToday is my Anniversary. It’s been 26 pretty amazing years. I can truthfully say that I love Steph more today than when we were first married. This is going to be a different year as we are now “empty nesters”. I never doubt her love but I wondered- with out kids in the house for the first time in 21 years, would she still like me?

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25 years!

In the last 26 years I have learned a lot of lessons. Some of them the hard way. Here are 26 Lessons to share today

1. Marriage will teach you more about yourself than you bargained for. Consider this a gift.

2. Don’t complain about the cooking when your spouse is the cook.

3. When people say marriage is hard, believe them.

4. Never start the day off nagging or complaining.

5. An unwillingness to quarrel about something doesn’t mean you agree with it.

6. Establish early on whether the question “do these pants make me look fat?” is a true yes or no question.

7. Clean is a relative term.

8. Generosity may be the key to all happiness.

9. Admit your shortcomings. They’re obvious anyway.

10. Express gratitude often.

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11. Give up all hope of being perfectly understood.

12. Being right will eventually lose its appeal.

13. Be the first to apologize. Really. It’s not as painful as it sounds.

14. It’s idiotic to stay up late arguing about being too tired to have sex.

15. Pay more attention to what you’re doing to make things go badly and pay less attention to what your spouse is doing.

16. If you’re going to complain about something, come to the table with a suggested alternative.

17. Your definition of sexy will change over time. New definition: me cleaning the house.

18. If you want something, recognize and accept that it’s your job to ask for it.

19. Disappointment is inevitable. Life gets a lot easier once you accept this.

20. Sometimes you’re going to do your unfair share. It’s not worth whining about.

21. Forget the nonsense about not going to bed angry. Get some sleep. Chances are things will look different in the morning.

22. There’s no end to how much you can love someone if you let yourself.

23. Accept apologies graciously.

24. Being happily married is not the same as living happily ever after.

25. There are no guaranteed divorce-proofing moves. All any of us can do is be a husband or wife our spouse would be foolish to leave.

26. Don’t kid yourself into thinking you have all the time in the world.

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BONUS. “In love” pales in comparison to love

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I wasn’t Ready

It seems like yesterday I moved into my first Dorm at UNH. Jill was across the hall and Catherine was next-door, Christine was down the hall a bit. I was the only guy in that wing of the dorm that first semester. The first thing the women that lived in that wing did was take down the sign that said “Women’s” bathroom and put up “Co-ed”. MUCH APPRECIATED!

Today we became empty nesters. I AM NOT READY! Our oldest is in her last year at the University and we dropped off our youngest there a few hours ago. He was so excited setting up his dorm room. Then could not wait to go and meet people. So confident. I am proud.

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I dropped him off and drove home. I went up and looked in his room. It’s been his room for the past 17 years. I remember every paint job, every bed, every poster. Now it is full of ghosts and memories. How many times did I carry him up to bed? How many times did I bust him reading with a flash light? How many times did I step on a lego when I went in because he had a nightmare? I’d give anything to do it all again. I sat on his bed, looked at the awards on the walls, the bibs from his races, I remember each one. I am not worried about him or his solder sister. I know they will be fine. I just miss them.

So yeah, I am having a harder time than I though I would. Since 1995 I have been a Dad with kids to take care of. I know it will get easier. I know that this is what is supposed to happen. I know this is because I did my job as a parent. But it still sucks.

 

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A letter to my son as he leaves for college

Already the days are getting shorter, nature’s signal that everything must come to an end and begin again. Today is the day — the freedom you have longed for all year and the day I’ve dreaded for months, perhaps, even, since the day you were born. As a parent, you quickly realize that life is one long series of letting go: watching your kid crawl, then walk, then run and then drive away.

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There will be the physical distance once you leave, of course, but the emotional distance will hurt, too.

Today, I’ll release you, like a falcon, into your future. Where and how high you fly will be completely up to you.

I think I remember every conversation we ever had. Conversations about politics, life, girls, bully and music. I have known for a long time that you had big things ahead. When you were in Middle school I realized that you had great things ahead. When you stood up for someone who was being picked on.

The piano never sounded so sweet as when you played it.

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Watching you learn and grow has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. Now you will have one of the greatest experiences of your life, and I hope that you will remember these unofficial commandments for the journey ahead of you:

1. Don’t hold onto hurt or anger or people you don’t love or who don’t love you back. Nothing grows more malignant with time than bad feelings. Let go of people and experiences that have caused you pain. Move on and live in peace.

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2. Take chances. As parents, we spend so much time and effort trying to protect our kids that we take away the chance to learn from mistakes, to grow from failure and to build confidence through success.

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3. Same-sex marriage, abortion, health care and religion: Don’t vote into law or argue with others about choices that are not yours to make. On the other hand, help pass laws that promote fairness.

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4. You are in no way obligated to follow in the footsteps of either parent. Although I’ve brought you up free of religion, as you make your way through college and learn more about science and history and philosophy, you may find that life with God is better than life without. The choice will be yours. I will be proud of you no matter where you land on the spectrum of belief.

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5. Whatever you do — please — remember that every text you send, every e-mail you write, every picture you post, can surface later, at any time. Don’t be an idiot. Don’t let yourself down or your future spouse down.
6. If you use a credit card, pay it off every month without fail. Continue to tithe to your future by setting aside $10 or $20 a week. Stick to your rule of waiting three days to make a purchase, which has helped you avoid emotional or impulse purchases. This will be important as you continue through college because these next few years will be some of your leanest, yet this is the time in your life when you can also build self-control and financial security.

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7. Don’t expect life to be fair, for things to even out in the end or to get your just desserts. Believing in these ideas can cripple your emotional growth. Life will be far less fair than what you have experienced at home. Things don’t really even out in the end, and you don’t get what you deserve. Sometimes you get more. Sometimes less. You’re not entitled to anything except respect from others. You will have both home runs and strikes. Don’t quit. Life does not reward natural talent or intelligence or beauty. You will be rewarded for a positive attitude, for your competence, but most of all, for your grit.

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8. I saw a lot of academic dishonesty when I was a teacher, and I know you saw it as a student. If you take words, answers or even values from others, then you are nothing more than a receptacle. Don’t be a container for everyone else’s junk. Be your own work of art.
9. The underpinnings of treating others well is treating ourselves well, too, for we cannot give love and respect that we do not have. Don’t hurt yourself with too much food or drink. Be the man who does the right thing, who is fair but also be fair to yourself.
10. These things you already know, but it doesn’t hurt to repeat: Always look people in the eye. Offer a firm handshake. Show up on time. Help out. Be present. Your phone is not a person — pay attention to those around you. It’s OK to discriminate as long as it’s based on behavior. Don’t be tolerant of disrespect.

I know you’ll be searching for your own answers, but if you ever need an ear or a shoulder, have a question or a problem, I’m here. Always — no matter how far you go in distance or time.

Even adults reach out. It’s not a sign of weakness but of strength. Over the next four years, time will seem to go by faster than the previous four. Change comes more quickly and more dramatically. Enjoy every moment. There is no grand prize at the end of your life, no all-expense paid trip to utopia. This is your final destination. The prize is here, now, in every breath you take, every new friend, every kiss, every challenge, every exciting piece of information you discover.

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Lakeside Life

I have a pretty great life.

We just had our first “Lake Side Social” up at our lake house. Thanks to all the organizers and all the cooks! (looking to get some of the recipes – please e-mail me!)

When Stephanie and I purchased our lake home, we were hoping to build memories with our rapidly growing children. To have a fun place for them to come home to from college and use with their friends as well as with all our relatives and friends. What we never expected was so many great neighbors!

My entire life, I’ve always been fascinated by the power of communities. The “Whole is greater than the sun of it’s parts” is part of human nature. We all may have originally bought our homes on Lake Ivanhoe as a get away. A place to enjoy nature and some peace and quiet but reality is, we rely on each other.

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What is it that makes a community exist? They don’t just sprout up for no reason.

In 1986, social psychologists McMillan & Chavis formed this theory that has become the most widely accepted understanding of how communities work.

They described their theory in one sentence:

“Sense of community is a feeling that members have of belonging, a feeling that members matter to one another and to the group, and a shared faith that members’ needs will be met through their commitment to be together (McMillan, 1976).

 

We all love it here. We have a shared sense of community. I loved hearing everyones stories from the lake and I look forward to sharing my own.

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Recipes Wanted and Shared!

If you would like to share your recipes please send them to me! tretrosi AT mac.com

  • Who ever made the roasted potatoes! Amazing.
  • The baked mac and cheese! YUMMM
  • Ginger brownies! (I only heard about these. sadly gone before I could get any)
  • Brocoli Salad
  • Orzo Salad

 

Tony and Stephanie.

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Make Facts Great Again

What happens to us if facts don’t matter anymore?

More than picking who to vote for, that’s the most important question of election season. Because, as the battle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump intensifies, the election is no longer about who to vote for—but who to believe.

For something so simple, facts are the same thing they’ve always been: the objective, honest bits of information that help us make decisions. Facts underpin our choices every day. If you’re wondering whether to splurge on that milkshake with 450 calories, you’re using a fact to inform your purchase.

Facts are also the fuel for our nation’s operating system—democracy. Voting, in effect, means that everyone gets to make decisions together. But when voters lack basic facts about what they’re deciding, they become misled and misinformed. And as a result, without facts, our future is more likely to take a nosedive.

REJECTING FACTS ON THE GLOBAL STAGE

This is troubling, global phenomenon in politics. Around the world, elected officials are discovering that they won’t be held accountable for the numbers or promises they offer on the campaign trail. Politicians have always been stereotyped as saying one thing to win an election, and then another thing once they win. But today, more politicians are discovering that there’s little retribution for doing just that.

Take last year’s hotly contested vote in Israel. On the eve of the election, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu locked up right-wing voters by proclaiming that he would stop Palestinians from establishing an independent state. Days after eking out a narrow victory, Netanyahu made a complete reversal, claiming that his “comments were misunderstood.”

Or consider the United Kingdom’s Brexit vote to leave the European Union. The leader of the Leave Campaign, Nigel Farage, promised that an independent UK would invest £350 million pounds in their national healthcare system. Mere hours after his side won, Farage backtracked, saying, “I would never have made that claim.” (He’s since quit politics altogether, noting that “I’ve done my bit”―despite plunging the E.U. and global economy into upheaval).

In each case, fact-checkers were calling a five-alarm fire. Plenty of reliable media outlets warned voters that the politicians’ promises were either impossible to fulfill, or just plain dangerous. But, because 2016 is the Year That Facts Ceased To Matter, these sirens went largely unheard.

A FACT-FREE PRESIDENTIAL RACE

This phenomenon is looming over the race for the White House—and it’s not encouraging for Hillary Clinton.

Recently, Trump delivered a scorched-earth speech that called out Clinton’s flaws. Though entertaining, Trump blazed new ground by demonstrating a cavalier revulsion to facts. His arguments contained so many falsehoods that it took 12 journalists to sift through all the misleading claims.

The reaction was more predictable: a bevy of outlets called out his lies (with the New York Times describing Trump’s speech as “rife with distortion”). Yet, while it may have contributed to Trump’s disastrous month, his speech, chock-full of lies, appears to have had little effect on his poll numbers.

In the past, a single flub could cost someone an election. Today, Trump has proven that bombast and insults generate more votes than substance and policies. But it doesn’t just reflect the kindergarten-ization of this election season. More troubling, it signals the collapse of a political system that we’ve counted on for more than a century.

OUR CRUMBLING SYSTEM

Americans spend a lot of time trying to figure out which people we can entrust with our hard choices. Once we elect these people, we hope they’re informed on issues that matter, so they can make decisions with confidence. At the very least, we hope they know what they’re talking about, so that voters are informed on the issues.

Sure, elected officials are busy, but an ecosystem exists to support them. There are staffers who devote their days to understanding complex issues; outside experts who draft policy proposals; and lobbyists who represent the interests of business and advocacy groups. In theory, all of these individuals parse through a daily cyclone of positions—helping the best ideas bubble to the top.

But in recent years, that system has crumbled. In Congress, there are not enough staffers to manage all details behind huge decisions—and those that do are often underpaid and inexperienced. Once serving as independent voices, outside experts increasingly work at partisan think-tanks that approach issues through the prism of ideology, not clear-eyed analysis. And lobbyists with the most cash wield the loudest voices. All of it drowns out the best ideas.

Meanwhile, you can’t blame cable TV—a profit-driven enterprise with a public service mission—for chasing advertising dollars at the expense of educational content. Social media magnifies the effect. Because we’re more likely to follow like-minded individuals online, our social networks reinforce our existing views.

It not only means that we’re less informed. We’re also less receptive to new ideas, and less likely to change our minds. And in a system where voters are asking to evaluate their choices and pick a side, elections are no longer about thoughtful decisions—but entertainment value.

MAKING FACTS GREAT AGAIN

All of this adds up to a paralyzed system—one where voters feel powerless. Is it any surprise that skepticism is sky-high at a time where there’s more money in politics than ever, while Congress is doing less than ever? Or that swing voters—independents who can be swayed by the best arguments—are vanishing?

Polarization and groupthink rarely leads to harmony and progress. Cordoning off our votes by regularly supporting a party (“I’m a Republican for life!”) is one thing. Cordoning off our minds (“I don’t trust mainstream media!”) is far more dangerous.

So, let’s start by admitting that we need facts.

Let’s admit that it’s easy to demonize those who think differently, grew up differently, or came from different places. Let’s admit it’s fun to castigate opponents with blunt, insulting, and surface-level takedowns. And let’s admit that applying labels, like “racist,” or “socialist,” or “job-killer,” is more fun than reading a 10-page policy manifesto and having an informed opinion.

But all of it is dangerous, because it means fewer voters understand what they’re voting on. (After all, UK Google searches for “What is the E.U.?” spiked shortly after the nation voted to leave it.)

It’s not on the media—the facts are a Twitter scroll away. It’s on all of us as neighbors, colleagues, friends, and, above all, voters. It’s on us to exercise our brains a bit. It’s on us to look at what’s bluster and what’s truth. And by doing it, we can—for many elections to come—make facts sexy again.

All of us—no matter what party we support—will benefit from knowing what we’re talking about. Because if we want to get to a brighter future, we better know where our leaders are taking us.

Source: Make Facts Great Again

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