Thursday, May 30, 2013

I have found another yarn store... and it was amazing!!!

The view when you open the door....

Yarn and more yarn.   Lots of other crafty materials too- some beads, purse handles, etc.

I thought about buying this yarn... to make a scarf like this... but I changed my mind.   I did buy 'yarn' though.... more photos another time.  It's late at night and I'm tired.
*Click on the top 2 photos to get a great view of the store.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Why can't I be rich... or 'YOU WANT HOW MUCH FOR THAT?'

I liked the front porch and how the house is sitting up above the road-- probably not much of a chance for 'flooding?'... but it was TINY inside. WAY too small...

Looks good from the outside... other than the sloping/sinking  roof right dab in the middle that you can't see because of the tree.  Typical grandmother house on the inside... no updates.  That's ok... I can see past that... but, the upstairs had a bathroom and a bedroom.... and about 1/3 of that area was a big ole empty storage room.  Problem was... no insulation EVER had been used and ok... the truth is... it was HOT as hot could be up there... and you could see through the roof in that no 'insulated' storage room.  So, I can only imagine how cold or how hot that upstairs area would be???   And, how expensive the utility bills would be?   I did like the front of the house and the yard.

I want to buy a house.   Also,
I want to win the lottery so I can buy a house.  However, since that isn't likely to happen... I need to look at houses within my budget.  So, new houses are out of the question.  They just cost too much.  Besides, I like the older homes because they have some character and usually have a fireplace, wooden floors, a dining room, and sometimes even a sun room.
Inside view of the screened in back porch of the green house... why?  What was the plan?   Strange, huh?

This house had a lot going for it... a very nice (amazing wooden floor) living room/dining room, 3 bedrooms (after all- my yarn and other craft supplies probably will need their own room?),  and 1 3/4 bathrooms.   However, the kitchen wasn't big enough (at all) for my small kitchen table to go into it and I could ignore the horrible color it was painted- after all, I can paint walls with the best of them... and what is up w/ that front addition?  It looks like to me- that at some point... someone got the idea to 'close up the porch?  Or maybe to just add that room to the front of the house?  It is a narrow entry hallway like place... and to me... as they say on HGTV 'no curb appeal' it looks like the bigger part of the house is hiding behind this stone wall addition?   *Plus, you don't even want to know what they did to the back porch place...  let's just say... one would need to turn all lights on and wear one of those lights that miners were on their foreheads if they walked out in this area...  For safety, of course.   *THIS house was a lot more money than the other houses too.

The back view of the screened in porch... as mentioned above.

Last summer, one afternoon, my friend and I drove to where I used to live in Oklahoma before I moved overseas.   We looked at 4 houses.   In my 'projected' budget.   It was eye-opening.  Everyone of them would need to have the kitchen updated... (beyond painting the walls) and they were very small.   So, it made me realize... 'iwouldratherbeknitting' you have got to GET RID of a lot of stuff and save more money for a down-payment!

It makes me feel better to know that ALL OF THESE houses are still for sale even now... just a few weeks shy of one year later.   *I'm not sure about the second photo (the brick house) if it is still for sale or not?

So, anyone have a VERY NICE (in sound condition), good roof, 1800 sq feet or more, nice older home for sale?  Or know of one?  I do want the wooden floors... (no carpet- I have some rugs that I have bought through the years and I want to put them down on wooden floors)....

When I get to the states, my friend and I are going to go look again this summer... we'll watch a few HGTV shows to give us some 'buying a house' knowledge... but, I think that what I really need are the PROPERTY BROTHERS to find me a house that they'll re-model for me!!!    At least I do have more $$ saved for a down payment.  

Monday, May 27, 2013

Have an abundance of metal caps?

Chair made from recycled soda/water/beer metal caps.  I saw this when I went to Southern France a year or two ago.   It was in front of this store that had lots of odds and ends for sale... I thought the chair was really great and it looked comfortable... but, there wasn't any way that I could bring it back with me.   *Click on the image for a larger view so you can see how they attached the lids/caps together.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Apparently, I live on the Italian "Chisum Trail".... because this morning at 6:10am... I suddenly heard....

I barely had time to find and grab my camera... and I was able to take ONE PHOTO out the front door.   Do you see the donkeys in the mix of sheep?   The baby sheep are in the back of the group.  The man that you see is a real 'shepherd' he even has the crooked stick as seen in countless Christmas plays!   I had to take the photo through the glass of the front door- (no time to find the key to the front door- plus, I was still in my pajamas) and then I ran to the other side of the house and filmed some through the dining room windows!   My guess is that they are herding them up to the mountain grassy areas now that winter is over?   I have NEVER, EVER seen sheep in any fields anywhere!!!!  I wonder where they have been staying/living for the winter?   The little babies in the back are so cute and you can see the guy go and grab one that isn't able to keep up (he lasted for quite awhile though) and dump him in the back of the pick-up.  If you look closely there are at least a couple more little babies already in the back of the truck.
*Click on the arrow to see the video images...  I still can't believe that my very busy street in front of my house suddenly became a stockyard full of donkeys and sheep and sheep herding dogs!  Plus, one cute looking 'shepherd'...

Well, what an interesting start to my morning!

Soon, I'll get dressed (I was still in my jammies) and go to the local bakery, then to the big grocery store in the nearby town because I haven't been to it in awhile.

 I am finally finished with the 3 'on-line' university classes that I was taking to get credits to keep my teaching certificate updated.  We have to get 6 credit hours every 5 years.  I have one more one hour credit class to take this summer.   The last of the classes ended this week.  I finished 2 about 10 days early and then worked to get the last class finished (it didn't take as long as it was only 1 college credit) and I finished it a few days early.   So this will be the first weekend of NOT having to work on college classes for weeks/months.

We are also off work on Monday... however, the local areas shops/etc. will be closed for election.  So, it seems like a day to spend doing stuff at home... that hasn't been taken care of lately-- due to all the college class work?

Information about the Chisum Trail... (it went from Texas, across Oklahoma, and then to Kansas)

See Ardmore?  That's where I used to live... of course, the Chisum Trail was long before I was born.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Oklahoma, you are in my thoughts...

As I drove home a few days ago... this is what I saw as I approached the little town that is right where I live... the bell tower for the church that is about 1 1/2 miles from my house.   Sure looks like something 'ominous' weather-wise is going to happen, doesn't it?   However, many times... I've seen the sky look like this... and nothing happens... other than RAIN... sometimes it even blows away and it did in this case.  No rain as a result of these suddenly approaching dark clouds.

When I was a child in Oklahoma... living in the country, at the lake, you had to learn to read the skies at an early age.   In Oklahoma, if you saw the sky look like this... it was worth noting.

I heard the news and saw some photos on the Internet news about what happened in Shawnee and Moore a few days ago.

I also noticed a lot of people, on the Internet news areas (where comments could be left), critizing Oklahoma and Oklahomans about not having basements.   It made me sad.  I have never in my life known anyone having a basement in Oklahoma.  They just don't exist.   Small metal or cement block cellars are 'often' in the yards of many rural homes and in the yards of the homes in towns and maybe even in the larger cities?.  

It would be awesome (space wise) to get to have basements in one's homes-- but, they just won't work in Oklahoma... have you noticed that in the photos of the homes destroyed... that where the home 'used to be' that there is a cement slab?   That's because the homes are built UP from those slabs... the ground is clay and it is unstable.  There are also rocky areas too- but, mostly the problem is shifting clay soil.   Home structures just can't be built without damage showing up quite soon-- by digging them and placing them in a clay soil.   Also the water table in Oklahoma is pretty close to the surface.

And let's also remember... a tornado is a unpredictable force.   Different parts of the world and the states have different building materials and different building conditions.

Just like the above photo... In Oklahoma, I'd be watching the skies for a possible tornado if I saw a sky suddenly look like that photo... overseas?  Just not something that you think about as being a possibility.   Not that a 'tornado' might not EVER HAPPEN but... it just isn't part of life overseas in any of the locations where I've lived.  None.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How many different SPINACH BALLS need to be made for sale in the local BUTCHER'S SHOP????

Found at a local 'butcher's shop'....Lots of 'side-dishes' and of course what seems like an endless supply of different spinach balls?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Sure hope I don't confuse the EURO money bills with a packet of SUGAR??????

Recently,  I stopped by the local pizza place for a take home pizza.  While waiting for my pizza to be ready... I noticed the sugar packets on the counter were actually made to look like EURO bills.  Same colors and images as the actual 'spending EURO' money bills.   

 As I looked at the sugar packet-- I noticed printed on them the words:  "Facsimile"... just so you don't get confused w/ real spending EURO BILLS that are FLAT in size and don't have sugar in them .. you know??

Well, I wonder if I might get confused?   What do you think?  Actual bills placed next to the 'euro bill' that the sugar packets represent.

I don't know... it's going to be close... I might have to REALLY THINK about it and make sure that I don't accidentally grab the EURO sugar packets instead of the REAL EURO paper money to pay for my next pizza???

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A new (to me) convience food found in the local Italian Grocery store...

Found in a local store...peeled,  boiled potatoes.  The size of eggs.

How could I resist?  I bought some.

What a time saver!  No added ingredients or chemicals either.   I think it would make the sliced (German style) potato salad, cut up in soups?  Lots of ways this could be used.  I think even sliced thin, sprinkled w/ some butter and fried or baked in the oven w/ some olive oil drizzled on the potatoes (leave whole or slice them).... and add some sprigs of rosemary???

What would you cook with a bag of already cooked and peeled potatoes?

Friday, May 17, 2013

See, knitting sneaks in every so often... my finished 'nalu mitts'....

See Knitting happens sometimes!   Actually, I haven't had much time (since, I started taking those 3 on-line college classes) to do any knitting or much of anything else... but, one night I really needed a break... SO, I went downstairs to the 'yarn room' and dug through some of the bags/etc. and I found these 'almost finished' fingerless mitts from last year.  I seem to vaguely remember knitting them and then I got sick with pneumonia?  Which would mean:  Too sick to knit or to care.  *They are unblocked and the stitches look a bit uneven in the photo-- and blocking is like magic 'it settles' the stitches down and makes everything look professional looking.

All I had left to knit was the tiny ribbing on one of the thumb places and to weave in the yarn ends on that one mitt.   Everything else had been finished/etc.   This is the yarn that I used.  The pattern is on and it is a free pattern.
The pattern is:  nalu mitts

Do a search in google or in ravelry and you'll find them.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Bakery in Soave (where the castle was located)

After viewing the castle we walked out students to a park, for lunch, and along the way, we encountered this bakery.  This sign basically says that this bread is a traditional bread of Soave.  One of the parent volunteers bought some and shared it.  It was like puffy crackers.  Dry with almost no taste.  It was nothing like what you would have expected

Here are some other bread choices in the window display at this above bakery.  I really wanted to try the whole grain bread rolls or the bishop hat style bread  rolls to the left of that basket.

Lots of nice choices.  However, I was watching a group of children and taking them into the bakery wasn't part of the field trip. 

I can't decide if these are: hands?  Sea life? 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mama mia... it's a Pizza Pie...

Fresh, cooked in a brick pizza oven pizza.... I have:  an amazing ham (not sure which specific type of ham this was- but, it was far better than your average ham), spicy sausages and artichokes.  YUMMY!
The other day was another one of those LONG days at work. I'd stayed until after 6pm and as I was driving home, I decided to stop and get a pizza.   I can read about 50% of the food items on menus... The pizza places here have 70 or more different types of pizzas.  So, I read though and decided on this pizza.  It also had mushrooms as one of the ingredients- but, while I like mushrooms- I wasn't in the mood for them and truthfully, I sometimes PICK them off my pizza anyway.

When they delivered my pizza to the counter... they opened it up with a flourish and I almost laughed out loud- not because of the way that my pizza was 'arranged' but... it reminded me of the first meal that I had in Italy... the first time that I lived in Italy (this is the 3rd time that I've been here and  in the 3rd place).

I had just gotten to the hotel from the airport and since...
I had arrived on a weekend and I didn't know anyone nor did anyone from work pick me up at the airport- I had ridden a bus to our little town from the airport.  I walked from my hotel to the center of the little town where I was... looking for a place to get something to eat.  While walking about; I ran across 3 military guys who were there TDY (the military version of a business trip) and when they saw me they asked me if I knew of a place to get something to eat- that they'd just arrived and were out looking for something to eat.  I told them that I was doing the same thing.. so, we looked around at the town square (not a restaurant in sight- but, gelato was sold).   I finally saw a sign, down this narrow street, barely protruding from the stone wall of this at least 500 year old building.   The road was barely big enough for us to walk 'two abreast.'   Apparently when this building was built-- you didn't need to build roads very wide for horses and walkers. 

The name of the place??
The HOLE IN THE WALL!   So, we shrugged and agreed to give it a try... after all, nothing else was around and we were hungry.

We went into the place and since it was August, they had outdoor seating; as almost every place in Italy does.  So, we sat down... and the menus were produced.  Of course, none of us could read Italian...

We all opted to order different pizzas so that we could share 'in case' one was really bad- but, we figured 'hey, it's pizza...and we are in Italy how bad can it be?'

All of our pizzas arrived and everyone of them... had their ingredients... arranged in blobs covering the top of the pizza.  A blob of ham, a blob of onions, a blob of olives, a blob of ................   Just a pile of each ingredient.  None of the ingredients dared to touch, and nothing was even spread out in the blobs.  We figured it was made by one of those people that didn't want their FOOD TOUCHING!   AND by golly he was going to help the customers see the VALUE in 'no food touching!'

We laughed so much and this continued through the entire meal.  One guy had gotten some sort of pizza that had at least 6 different ingredients and sure enough... every ingredient had it's own little "King of the Hill" action going on top of the cheese!  

So, this pizza when they opened it up... and I saw the divided little sections... it brought back that memory of my first Italian meal when I first moved to Italy. 

At least my pizza has the ingredients spread out in the quadrants?  Well, in the 'tri' areas since I opted not to get the mushrooms.

The box doesn't show this... but, this is a one person serving.   The pizza, when you sit down to eat it in the restaurants, is so big that it falls off your huge dinner plate (a pizza plate really), it is served 'un-cut', and the price?  I paid $5.50 for that pizza and it will feed me 3 meals.

Pizza here is so good that the first time that I lived in Italy... and when I moved???  I refused to eat any pizza for a year.  I just wish that everyone could have a chance to eat pizza as it was meant to be eaten... after all... they did invent pizza here and they know how to do it!! 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Castle grounds...

The caretaker's home at the Soave castle.  This is where you paid the entrance fee- but, it was also clearly someone's home.  Look at the wild roses on top of the patio area.   In Italy, you will see something like this at homes and small restaurants.  Usually, it is grapes, wisteria, or other flowers that form vines.  This is the first time that I've seen roses being used.   I wonder how old the roses are?

You can see the main trunk of the roses that are on top of the patio area.  This is an old well.  Do you see the pulley where the rope would have been placed?

I thought that the wrought iron work was beautiful.  Can you see the 2 different paths?  The one closest to the roses is the one that we walked up after we entered the castle near where the draw bridge was located.  The one to the left of the photo?  The gate was locked so who knows where on the castle grounds it went to?  There were cobblestones on the path.

Photos of Soave Castle (Italy)

The backside of the drawbridge.  When we entered the castle; we walked in on the drawbridge.

Another entrance (smaller) with a drawbridge.  You can see the town area, through the entrance,  that is within the walled city of the castle property.

A fresco still painted on the walls.  The shield/ symbol of the original family is a ladder.  *IF I'm not mistaken; that is what this family's last name meant?   Usually, you see:  lions, dragons, and other fierce images on shields and crests. 

This is 'inside' the dungeon looking up to the 4th or 5th floor where the trap door is located.  Do you see the wooden door all the way up?  We couldn't go to that level.  However, long ago... enemies or people that had betrayed the ruler were brought before him and if he thought that they were lying or had turned against him--- the trap door opened and the 'person' dropped down to the dungeon.  There wasn't any way to get out of the dungeon and people were left there to die.  In recent history, they made an opening on the ground level that led to the dungeon room (which is the way that we entered the dungeon) and they did find some bones and all that is left is just a dirt floor.

Here's my class and some parents 'on our visit' into the dungeon!   oooh scary!  It was very dark inside even w/ the stone doorway opening behind us.

One of my favorite parts about the whole castle.  At the bottom of the stone steps leading to the private areas of the leader/ruler who lived in the castle through the years... was this dog statue holding the family crest/shield.   He was the TOP DOG!

As you walked up these stairs there were different soldiers positioned along the stone steps.

This is a view of some of the vineyards seen surrounding the castle from the first tier of the stone wall next to the castle.  This area is surrounded by vineyards.   This wine, from Soave is a well known and exported wine.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Soave Castle... northern Italy
The view as we approached the castle and taken from the school bus window.  The castle has 3 different walled courtyards as part of the 'defense' system.

This is the entrance and it also happens to be a 'drawbridge' (see the opening in the brick?  That's where the drawbridge would have been raised and lowered.)

This is at the top of the Drawbridge entrance.  It is St. George slaying the dragon.

The castle is over 700 years old.  This shape is the original parts of the castle- tops like this 'indicate' a bishop's hat and when the castle was first built - it was under the leadership of the church.

The actual name of the family that owned the castle later on- (hundreds of years ago and it still belongs to this family now) and I think (IF I am remembering correctly- that it belonged to 3 different families?)  This building appeared to be the 'care-takers' quarters and it was clear that someone was still living in it- curtains were at the windows/etc.  The front side is where you paid your entrance fee/s.

This is a later built wall... (one of the 3 different walls/courtyards) and it is this shape to stand for the 'king's crown' so at this time... the castle was no longer under the rule of the church.

We were only able to go up to one wall and look out- there are 3 different levels.   Do you see the holes in the middle of those rectangle shapes at the top of the wall?  The typical way that kids/adults draw castle walls?   Well, the small opening inside the 'rectangle shapes'... is so that the archers could stand behind and aim at the enemy- but, the narrow opening meant that it was difficult for anyone on the ground to have a good chance of 'hitting/injuring/killing' anyone up on the castle wall.   I do have a photo that shows what these look like on the inside looking down.

This week, the second grade classes at my school got to go on a great field trip to a castle that is only about 25 minutes from the school.  How cool is that?  The castle is still standing and so are the castle walls surrounding the town that was part of the castle complex long ago.   I'll post some more photos of the castle on another blog post.

Castles... and visits

Yesterday, the second graders at my school went on a Field Trip to visit a Castle!  

I left my camera at school- so, I have no photos to download for my blog post.  I'll remember to bring it home tomorrow so I can share some photos. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Wisteria season in my little part of northern Italy....

A house in my little town.  Wish it was my rental house; but, it's not.  What a lovely walkway.

Along the road in my little town.

Across the street 'just a bit'... this entire block is covered with blooming wisteria along the fence.  A few days prior... it was just flowers.
Inside the yard of the above 'fence' full of blooming wisteria... It looks so peaceful to me.

See the yellow building to the left?  That's the local place that had the great food and where I was the only female eating lunch with about 60 strangers; all men!  Blogged about in the April (spring break) 2013 entries. 

A house no longer being lived in... one of those old villa type houses.  This is in my little town.  A place that I get pizza is to the left of this fence.

One of the 'roundabouts' that I drive through every morning and afternoon.  This is in front of an old huge house.  I think that long ago- it might have not been around any other buildings and maybe part of the processing buildings of a vineyard or olive oil?  It's not just a regular huge house though. 

Another house in my little town.  I saw lots of blooming wisteria all around. 
Sometimes you'll even see wisteria trained as a covering for 'outdoor' eating areas.  It's been woven through wooden or wire supports and after the flowers fade... the nice thick leaves provide summer shade for those enjoying their meals outside.

I found far more examples than the photos that I took- but, it's not always easy to find a place to park to stop and take photos. 

If you haven't noticed... the houses/apartments all have fences.  They are usually wrought iron fences and often they are very old with amazing designs in them.