Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

Look!  Spring is finally showing up.  I now have beautiful blooming flowers in my yard.  It was quite a surprise since my front yard was nothing but 'dirt' when I moved in... the landlord will put grass in sometime this spring/early summer.

Friday, March 29, 2013

I had found this map quite some time ago and I previously blogged about it...  I decided to update it.  I also took off Canada- because... I only been to the airport in Canada and I don't count 'airport visits' as visiting a location.  
visited 24 states (10.6%)
Create your own visited map of The World or jurisdische vertaling duits?

What country have you always wanted to visit?   I want to go to Greece, Spain, and Egypt.  Maybe, I'll get to do that in the future?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Note to self:

Do NOT depart school at 5pm, on a rainy day/night, and expect to easily get on the 3 lane roundabout just as you leave the US Military property onto the Italian road.

Either leave earlier or stay even later so that 'everyone' has had a chance to get home and the roads aren't so bad.  

Traffic was backed up to a standstill on the road trying to merge (and behind me the road exiting the base had traffic backed up too) and on the actual roundabout the cars were all at a standstill too!  It's not easy to merge onto a large multi-lane roundabout... anyway... but, these were certainly not the best circumstances.

All I can say is:  It's a good thing that I had some leftover lasagna in the fridge and some of Saturday's bakery bread purchases in the freezer.   Easy dinner to just heat that stuff up in the microwave.

How's traffic where you live on rainy days/nights?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The 'fish guy' stops in town...

 I had noticed this truck parked on the side of the road as I entered the little town that is about 1/2 mile from my house.   It took awhile before I noticed which night he would be in my town and since he parks on the opposite side of the street- I couldn't always just pull over when I noticed him at the last minute because there is almost always cars behind me and in the opposite lane.   

This made it difficult to suddenly turn off of the road to see what was being sold from the truck;  when the road wasn't clear for me to pull across the opposite lane of traffic- nor did I want the person behind me to suddenly rear end my car.  

 So, once I remembered that he was there on Wednesdays, I made it a point to look for him.   Of course, I still had to go past the 'fish guy's truck' and go about a mile further down the road to the nearest 'roundabout' and then return due to the traffic.

I had hoped it was the wonderful roasted chicken that they do so well here.  It wasn't but, this is a good option to have too.

Just one guy is running the truck, taking orders, packing up your purchases, and making your change.
Yummy... paella...

The fish in the back far left is a fried white fish.  I got a few pieces and it's pretty good.  Next to that is some fried fillets.   In front are fried shrimp.   They leave all the parts on... gotta work extra calories to use up some extra calories for the FRIED part of the meal.

My favorites (of the fried type) are here.  In the back... so good!  In the front, I love the little fried oval things with the 'bone handle' sticking out.   Just good white shrimp meat!!!   *The back is 'grilled in olive oil'... so, it's a tad bot of a healthier option. 

Look!  He even had calamari.

This is about 1/3 of what he had for sale.  It was quite a selection to choose from.

This fish is grilled in olive oil and it looked really good.  I'm going to get it the next time that I stop at the Fish guy's truck.

The middle sign (with the spatula) says:  Pasta with fish.  I'm not sure what is in the front of that dish?

I got some of this grilled salmon the first time that I stopped.  It was great... but, I love salmon!

This is what I ended up buying.  An assortment of different pieces to sample.  Of course, I have my two favorites and the round thing?  It's a fried stuffed green olive.  I had part of one and it was good.

And, yes, the locals were staring at me while I was taking the photos.   You see what I do to post photos here?  I risk getting the name 'That Crazy American Woman'... (at least they don't know which house I live in yet... so, I know that they won't be pointing at my house every time they drive past it and say the same thing!)   Of course, as many times as I have taken photos of the most ordinary things or of the unusual through the years... they might have always referred to me that way anyway? 

I risk it all to share my foreign travels... all for you guys and guy-ettes.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The view out my bedroom windows

Sunrise on the Italian Alps or The Dolomite Mountains.

The playground area at school.  It's hard to believe that this what it looked like the first two weeks of March.  We had a snowstorm during the first two weeks of March that stayed on the ground for a few days each time.   Since then, we've had a lot of rain and some flowers are starting to bloom now.  However, it just turned cold again this week.   I was outside doing playground duty this morning and it was 'spitting' snow.   That's March for you- it can't make up its mind.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Rainy Days and Mondays...

always remind me of this song.... 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Italian bakery trip 3

When I finally found the Italian bakery in my little town... I discovered that the only day that I could shop there would be on a Saturday morning.   Apparently, they close around 11am so you have to be there early before they run out of fresh baked bread.

Blood orange juice from the local Italian grocery store!

So, I decided to go by yesterday, about 8:30am to see what they had for sale, and it seems that they bake a different variety of things each time?  I only recognized a couple of items that were the same as my first visit.  Here is a photo showing the breads that I bought on my first trip to the bakery.
Look!  Homemade hamburger buns!  I'm going to have to put some of this bread in the freezer!  I got so excited with the bread choices and I couldn't decide.  However, I was disappointed that they didn't have the bread made with the fresh olives this time.

I made breakfast.  I know that the bread isn't your 'typical' breakfast bread... since, it's not toast or a biscuit.  But hey it was HOME-MADE FRESH BREAD FROM THE LOCAL BAKERY!!  How could I resist???    The juice in the cup?  Blood orange juice from the local Italian grocery store.   So good.  Of course, blood oranges are one of my favorite fruits.
I remembered a funny little memory attached to blood oranges.   A long time ago, in the late 1990's I was working in Italy for my first time.   I had injured my right hand in an accident when resulted in some serious injuries of severed nerves and tendons.   Of course, I couldn't use this hand at all for  more than a year.   For me personally, that meant:  not being able to write, use knives, peel any fruits or vegetables, or eat with that hand... it was a painful, limiting, injury that was long term.   I had to learn to only use one hand-- my 'not very skilled' left hand.

Well, I heard from a friend, that I'd known at another military location overseas, that he was coming TDY to Italy for a few weeks.   So, since my favorite Italian fruit was in season,  I bought some Blood Oranges from the market and I was going to have him peel me some while he was there.   He peeled the first one for me and then refused to peel anymore... because the juice is just like blood when it oozes out.   The wimp.  He was an Air Force jet pilot and a Lt. Colonel at the time and had had lots of survival training- having to eat bugs and what ever could be found... Yet, he was freaked out by peeling blood oranges and getting the red juice on his hands.   Sigh

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Looking for signs of SPRING....

It's been raining a lot lately... and we finally had a sunshine-y day on Friday.  I took my second grade students out to the playground area, armed with magnifying glasses, so that they could look for 'signs of spring.'
A tree just beginning to show 'buds'....  Sorry it's so white-- I took a photo right into the sun! 

The sun was shining too bright... but, one of the tulip leaves had pushed through the decorative bark when it was growing and it still had it on the tip of the leaf and the kids loved that little detail.

They loved the tiny little blue flowers and the magnifying glass came in handy.

This tree had lots of 'flowers' on it and it was a great example to show the children that 'not' all flowers look like typical flowers.

The green fence is the end of the playground property and the base property is just past the fence.  We have a lovely view of an old Italian church and the snow on the Italian Alps... or the Dolomite Mountains.

Some more flowering tree buds.  Huge playground area... but, they aren't able to play in this area, for now, because it's just too muddy from all the rain.  However our school has tons of playground equiptment for the students to play on.

I'm sure that once these trees fill out with their summer leaves that we won't have such a pretty view of the mountains?

Lots of snow on the mountains because when we get rain... the mountains get snow.


Friday, March 22, 2013

OMG!! OMG!!!!!!

I took a photo this morning of the 'insect' thing on my IPAD and I remembered to show it to one of the teachers who has been living in Italy for over 20 years.  She told me that they were 'baby' ....mosquitoes!  These suckers are HUGE!   No wonder I felt like they were 'waiting'... they were......   THEY were waiting to get BIG ENOUGH TO BITE ME AND SUCK MY BLOOD!!! 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

New signs of spring... sort of...

 Here is a close up of some sort of insect that was hanging around 'not moving' on the outside wall of the house.   I've never seen anything like this.  
I walked out the downstairs door this weekend and when I turned to lock the door behind me... I noticed this 'insect' on the wall area near the garage and the downstairs door.   There are tons of them.  I don't know what they are, do you?  I avoided eye contact.  I didn't want to to think that they were being 'welcomed' to stay ... even though it clearly looks like they are staying.   They are around the garage door and the outside wall of the house that is near the garage.

Any clues?  Suggestions?  Should I get the RAID and spray them?   At least they aren't trying to swarm me as I walk in/out of the door.   As a result of that good decision... I'm leaving them be for now-- but, if you know that this thing turns into a 6 inch insect creature... please let me know and I'll go buy some RAID and take care of the situation immediately.

Each new location has its own special insects, animals, weather, plants, and general vermin that one has to deal with. 

I know that one time in Seoul, Korea... I came home to find fuzzy caterpillars hanging on the front door (had a screen door), the window screens, and on every surface on the front of the apartment.   They would even drop out of trees and land on you.   The big problem... beyond the 'expected ick factor'... would that any place that the fuzzy hairs TOUCHED your skin turned red and burned.  They had some sort of 'bad poison' in the fuzzy hairs!   This went on for 2 weeks.  

*Click on the photos if you want an EVER LARGER IMAGE... (but, I'm not sure why you would this time?) 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The rest of the views from my previous home in Gaeta, Italy

 As I mentioned in the previous post... I lived on a hill/small mountaintop overlooking the ocean with a huge lemon tree grove, and the best part was the million dollar view of not one... but, TWO old castles in the old town of Gaeta.   Here are the view out my living room windows (castles) and the ocean, mountains, harbor and old church were from my bedroom and balcony views.
 The church and harbor view to the mountains as seen from my bedroom and balcony.  It would snow in the winter on the mountains... but, never on the ground.   This place is located 1/2 between Rome and Naples.

 This was my first time to live anywhere where citrus fruit would grow.  PS I was disappointed the the 'home grown from the yard' lemons tasted no different than the lemons in the store.  I thought it would be more like the difference between a home grown tomato and a purchased one.  However, I did make a lemon pie one day.

 There are 2 castles in this area.   At times, one castle was even used as a prison.  One is still being used as 'government' type of facilities.   They are all intact and you can go on a tour for parts of the castle and see some of the 'prison cells.'

 In the front you can just make out the walls of the older castle- the tower for it isn't showing- it is behind the trees to the right.   They are over 600 years; if I'm remembering correctly.
Can you see the 'bomb' holes in the church roof from the war?

And as a bonus... the house came with its own Italian Villa cat!   The previous owners called him:  Bruce.  However, I didn't since that name reminded me of a 'carousling' former boyfriend.   He was tame and you could pet him... however, he hadn't grown up being picked up so he wouldn't let you pick him up.   If he was 'home' he would follow me around anytime I was outside.   He's a little upset with the photo taking- but, I had to keep taking photos because every time I'd get him focused in the camera... he'd move forward and touch the camera lens with his nose. This is when I first moved in- he was a sweet kitty and not meant for the 'fighting' life that goes with being an outdoor villa cat living on a mountain.

This was the front of the house.  The cat would sometimes climb that spiral staircase and sleep on the roof.   You can just see an outdoor patio area (tile roof area to the far right) and near this are stairs that go down around the house and the balcony on the back side of the house with the ocean views.    

Can you see why I loved living here even if it was only for 10 months?  I was only in the house for 6 months.   My job was 'ex-cessed' and I had to move to another location.  

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Sunrise over Gaeta, Italy

 A few years ago, I lived in Gaeta, Italy.  It is halfway between Rome and Naples and right on the ocean.  I lived up on top of a small mountain without a car.   There were only 3 or 4 houses on the mountain.  To get to work, I'd have to walk down to the bottom where I could catch a city bus that would take me pretty close to my job.   The city bus only departed from this area once every 30 minutes.  As a result, I left really early to make sure that I was there waiting on the bus.   After I walked to the bus stop... it was another 2 1/2 miles to the school.   At a certain point, if the bus was running late... I had to just start walking the entire way to the school to make sure that I'd get to work on time.   Sometimes I had to do that.   Which is why I left as early as I did to allow myself enough time to walk over 3 miles- if I needed to do so.

At this time of the morning it was always dark; so, as I started walking down the hillside on the simple narrow paved one lane road without any street lights... for my 30 minute commute down the hill....


 I left my house walking in the darkness, making sure that I kept my flashlight down towards the narrow road so that I could just barely see the paved road under my feet, feeling for the hardness of the road under my shoes, making sure I didn't hear the crunch of the gravel indicating that I was about to walk off of the road into the brambles, trees, and into the forested area.  I continued walking down the narrow road in the darkness...listening to the birds slowly awakening, and within minutes the sun slowly crept over the mountain's edge.  I knew it was time to turn off the flashlight.   I didn't want to miss a moment ... because...  I got to see this amazing view every morning.  Sunrise over the ocean.  It was breathtaking, different each day, calming, serene, and it never failed that I didn't just stop and look for a few moments ...  trying to absorb and remember how each day's opening gift was so different and beautiful.

Simply;  the beauty made the long trek to work much more bearable.  

This was the view that I had when I got to the bus stop:  A close up harbor view...

It was the most beautiful place that I have ever lived, visited, and experienced.  

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Kitty knitted goodies...

A friend was recently 'pet sitting' two cats for a few weeks.  He said that the cats were very aloof and they were like invisible pets.   He was in a small apartment and he could tell where they had been/etc. but, they rarely interacted or acknowledged his presence.   I decided to use some scrap yarn and knit them some wool toys from left over sock yarn to knit him some toys for the cats and maybe some 'favor' from the kitties.

The yarn is from my first pair of socks.

I just knitted and made things up as I went along.  I made a little mouse and a stingray.   The stingray had earlier beginnings here...   

You might recognize the body of the stingray from the previous blog entry linked above.  I even stitched the little smiling stingray mouth on the underside.

He reported that the kitties ignored the knitted toys the same as they ignored him.   Oh well.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Hand made / Hand painted kites from Bali

Before I moved to Germany, some friends and I went to Bali.   I had always wanted to go there but, I really think it was tied up into watching that musical movie that was based there...South Pacific is the name of the movie.
You know the one... where they sung the song:  "Gonna wash that guy right out of my hair?"   And, the sailors dressed up as dancing girls w/ coconut halves strapped to their chests?   Darn it all... it seems that the weird 'inability' to not be able to type in paragraphs with normal paragraph breaks is once again back!    
Anyway, I bought 2 of these kites.  The first photo is one of my kites:  A Dragon Kite and I also have one of the blue butterflies.  These looked so pretty hanging outside shop windows.  I need to get my dragon kite hung up in my classroom.    I'm going through some of my photos (that were on that lost and now found memory stick) so, I 'll continue posting some images as I find time to do so.  I hope you enjoy them.   By the way, even if Bali wasn't like the movie that I watched as a child... it was still a very beautiful place, friendly people, and great food.   We stayed in the "Hard Rock Cafe Hotel."   It was my friend's 'dream come true!'  ha ha

You know how it is.. it's late at night... the brain is only sort of clear...

Look! It's the Leaning Tower of Pisa... pretend that this image is the background image...

And, you get some wild idea to switch things around in the 'blogger' layout.  After all, you've seen other blogs with their own photos placed as a background and you think to yourself... "One thing you do have is a lot of photos"... and you'd like to have your own photo as the background image.

So, while you know that doing anything after midnight on a work night is NOT usually a good idea,  you still can't resist the urge to play around with the settings... pretty soon you are hitting the 'apply to blog' button... Ok, maybe you hit this 'apply to blog' button a few times?  Several times?   Anyway,  the next thing you know... you can't read the font color on the background color, the background color is some bright lime green, you totally lost the list of blog followers, and you notice that the previous blog listings are now found at the BOTTOM of the blog and not on the right hand side where they have always been... and nothing you do is changing anything... actually with each 'apply to blog' click things get worse.

You sigh... you click on a few more buttons...a few things change again, different font styles appear out of nowhere,  but, hey one good thing... you notice that you can now write blog entries and have paragraphs... "OH BOY progress!"  Soon.. you'll be able to write longer blog entries that people will be able to read.  Because the way it was set up 'for some reason' it just wasn't easy to read if everything was one LONG paragraph...

So, we are now left with these problems/changes:  *Some good, some not so good...

1.  I still can't download any of my own photos for the background.  I keep getting error messages that my file is too large.  I'm tried to trying to size my photos- I spent 30 minutes on this endeavor.

2.  I don't know why the blog entries and other 'stuff' that used to be on the right hand side is now listed at the bottom.  (I'll try to figure it out- but right now I need to try to get some sleep.)

3.  The color seems more serene OR at least it is a change.

4.  Yeah!  Yeah!  I can now write in paragraphs.

Now, let's see if a photo will still download.