Friday, February 28, 2014

A Tree might 'grow in Brooklyn' as the book title goes... but, a 'something unexpected' grows in our classroom sink...

Not sure what this says about:  Cleanliness of our classroom sink?  Or the endurance of plant life?  OR better yet... WHY is something growing in our sink?  WHAT could be growing in our sink?
Just your ordinary sink at the back of the elementary classroom. 

But, 'what is this?'  What type of Plant life?   Why is it growing in our sink?  Maybe I should ask if any of my students have thrown any 'beans' away recently?
I guess if the building starts shaking as I hear a booming voice yelling out... "FEE, FI, FOE, FUM"... That I ought to get concerned.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Recent Sewing Adventure...

A tube?  *Her favorite color is: Orange
Here is open and with some knitting 'tools' stashed in the pockets.  Now you can see why the flap was sewn in place.   It's to hold double pointed knitting needles/etc. in place.
I used to sew a lot-- but, not so much anymore.   I hooked up my sewing machine that I haven't used in a long time... and I sewed a 'gift' for a friend that I had taught how to knit when we were both in Seoul, South Korea.   We both think that sock monkeys are cute and I sewed her a ...

Here it is open.  I sewed lots of little narrow pockets and a flap to hold items inside the 'tube' when it is rolled up.   My sewing machine 'tension' on the bottom was messing up.   See the 'loops' at the top of the flap?  I tried to make this stop- but, I wasn't successful.  I don't know where my manual is after I moved into this house and my 'google fu' wasn't working to try to find a solution to my problem.   I was disappointed that it had the loops in some of the places that showed- the other parts-- any loops were hidden on the inside because of the way that I put it together.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Spring is around the corner and some orphaned animals might need a new place to call home???

It took awhile- but, I'm finally finished with a small project.   I used some scrap/left over yarns and crocheted some little 'orphan baby animal' nests.  I'm going to mail them to a wildlife rescue group for them to use this spring when all the little orphan wild animals tend to be found.   I made 2 small sized about 4-5 inches across and one really big one for larger sized animals.   I just used 3 different yarns together to make the little bowl nests more sturdy.  IT also made them faster to make too.
I've known how to crochet since I was a child- but, I prefer to knit.  However, for this project 'crocheting' was a great choice.  

I decided to include these 'felted too small' slippers.   Maybe, they'll make a great temporary home for some baby animals?   To read the details about how on earth these items came to be read the story of fuzzy feet here.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Must resist...

The lure of new yarn.  Today, my plan was to do some chores, laundry,
cleaning house and those things that you should/need to do on a regular basis so that you aren't featured in the TV show:  Hoarders   Part of my errands was to stop at the local Italian Pharmacy to pick up my prescriptions that I totally forgot to pick up yesterday.   Only $167.00 later and I was back in the driver's seat of my Jeep.    It's another rainy day/ weekend.   It just seems to rain a lot on the weekends here.   As I sat in the Jeep... I really, really wanted to drive to the big discount yarn store that is in the local area.   I don't need anymore yarn.  I know this.  It doesn't mean that I don't want to buy more yarn.  I do want to get enough wool to knit (someday) an afghan.  I also want to continue to get 'sweater amounts' of yarn in various colors- because, the truth is... those things will COST FAR MORE in America than I am willing to pay!   However, as I sat there and realized that I didn't have that much EURO left in my wallet, it was raining, AND for some reason 'my voice' seems to be gone again... I thought that maybe, I should just go on to the nice nearby huge Italian grocery store, go home and eat a nice lunch from some of my purchases... and then start cleaning house.   BEING a grown up sucks sometimes.   The yarn shopping was just delayed- because there are still more yarn purchases for projects that I want to knit in the future.   I also need to buy this yarn fairly soon- since, yarn is seasonal too and most of the wool yarns will be replaced with acrylics, cottons, and novelty yarns.   As I was talking myself out of driving to the big yarn store... I did promise myself that I could 'cast on' and start a new knitting project using some of the YARN THAT I DO HAVE.  
 *Anyone else have to talk themselves out of things that they'd rather do and instead do the grown up thing sometimes?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The 'non-winter' in my part of the world...

The snowy Italian Alps as seen from our school's playground.   No snow has happened, yet, this winter in my part of northern Italy.   However, we've had a lot of rain which means a lot of snow happens on those mountains.   It's been a strange year of winter.   Super cold and many winter storms in the states and most of Europe is having a very warm winter.   Our temps haven't been to even freezing much less below freezing in several weeks.
I noticed some budding starting on the trees already.   Bulbs are pushing their green leaves up through the ground. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

What a long day... that happens when you wake up at 2:17am and don't go back to sleep... and leave for work at 4:25am....

I guess that I got off kilter with the day off on Monday?  Anyway, I finally got up at 3am... and read the Internet news, checked my email, etc.   THEN, I said, "Forget this... I'm going to get showered and ready for work."   Yes, I left my house at 4:25am.  The gate guard on base did look at me a little funny when he scanned my military ID to get on base.   He probably was wondering why I needed to be at work at 4:40am?   At least, we didn't have another meeting after school today.  I was able to go to the base and mail 3 boxes to friends.   Two people will really be surprised with the contents of their boxes-- since, it's not their birthday or anything.  
I don't think that I have shared this knitting project?  If I did, pretend that I didn't... after all... I only had 3 hours of sleep last night.  My mind is a bit tired by now.   Anyway, these are cotton dishcloths that I knitted during some of my physical therapy appointments this summer.   The sessions started with heat on my knee for about 15 minutes and ended with ice on my knee for another 15-20 minutes.  Of course, in the middle part was a lot of pain and discomfort-- but, we won't discuss that.  During those 'waiting times'... I would knit.   Other people there?  They'd play on their cell phones.   I used 100% cotton yarn by the name of 'dishie' from  I also used a variety of patterns.   I made them for my friend's aunt- she would take me to my physical therapy appointments.   I had thought about knitting her a nice warm soft wool hat... but, my friend said that she wouldn't wear a hat.  So, I'm not one to force my knitting onto others... and I totally understand the 'no wearing of hats'... unless it is VERY COLD.

This is a wool hat out of alpaca that I knitted for my friend's mom.  She'd drive me to the doctor appointments.   She has strawberry blonde hair and blue eyes.   So, I thought that this color was a good choice.   This yarn was also from   This is a free hat pattern that I found on   The dishcloth patterns were also found there or just some stitch patterns that I know how to knit without needing a pattern.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Organization... I think you are born with it like artistic or musical talent. I got the artistic talent... so, I guess I got my quota of special talents?

This is my dream... My reality?   Not so much.   But, I keep trying.

I'm trying to remember to take my vitamins and other daily meds.   I'm good about remembering the ONE AM med and the one PM med.  Vitamins?  I forget.   So, now I have one of those plastic pill organizers.   It has an AM and PM slots for each day of the week.  I just put all the vitamins in the pill case.  It is now stored in my medicine cabinet.  I am ready.

I also had to throw away a lot of expired vitamins.   As in... 1-2 years old expired.  I told you that I wasn't good at remembering to take the daily vitamins.   I dumped them in the 'bad food' trash.  However, do you think that I'll be reported as a 'druggie' by the local trash men when they see about 140 pills in the 'bad food' trash?  All white by the way.   Bigger than an aspirin size.   I didn't want to flush them- because, apparently the water is getting contaminated from people flushing old drugs and vitamins in the toilet?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Adorable little kids... are everywhere...

I was going through some of my old photos and I found this one that I had taken when I lived in Seoul, South Korea.   This is a school group at some public place- a museum or park.   Aren't they adorable in their school uniforms?  They appeared to be about 5 years old to me.  Whenever, you'd be out and about (as an American) and the little school groups would see you- they'd be so excited and start saying:  "HELLO!"  "HOW ARE YOU?"  in English.   Of course, that was usually all that they knew- but, it was adorable.   I love the little girl in the middle of the group with her hand on her forehead in that classic ... "Can you believe what the SILLY boys are doing?" gesture.  ha ha  
And, want to know what else amazed me?   These school groups would usually only have one or at the most 2 adults with a group of at least 25-35 young students.   We (my American school on the military base) would instead have 1 adult (teacher or parent volunteer for our field trips out on the local economy) for every 3 or 5 children.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day....

Hope you share the day with loved ones... 
And you never get a box of candy that you have to poke the holes on the underside so that you can discover the icky candies...  you know those that taste weird?  And, I never liked the JELLY filled ones either.

I like the caramel dark chocolate candies best. 

*PS  My students were so excited with their little Valentine Cards today.   They continuously got up and told the other students 'thank you' for their cards.   I noticed that there was a lot of candy giving along with the little cards today.  It was almost looking like a Halloween "TRICK OR TREAT" candy haul!

I found these flowers in the flower market in Seoul, South Korea many, many years ago.  

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sometimes, I think that it would be easier to just give in and start the cat collection... of course, I probably wouldn't be able to leave my knitting or yarn out???

I found this on the Internet.   I'm amazed that they are all 'still in the box' much less facing the same direction for a photo. 

I lost my voice on Sunday.  I kept teaching and it was very difficult to do with a voice that barely made a sound... most of the time.   I woke up on Wednesday with fever.   So, even though I am totally out of sick days-- I decided that I was finally "SICK ENOUGH" to stay home today with no pay for the day (Thursday) and rest my voice and try not to get more ill.   I don't want to get pneumonia like I used to get every winter.

Hope my voice works better tomorrow. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Happy "Belated" Lunar New Year... the Year of the Horse...

Last week, I made some bulgogi in honor of the Lunar New Year.   This is one of the Korean dishes that I loved to eat.  I learned how to cook it too.  I haven't had it in a long time and I got so hungry for it.   Served in my Italian Pasta plates (or soup bowls as I often use them for)... it was yummy.   I didn't mind the 3 meals of left-overs either.   

I bought Fortune Cookies for the children in my classroom.   They really did like them.  Of course, I had to 'translate' the fortunes into 'kids speak' for them so that they'd understand them. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Ordering 'Salad' from the local pizza place

The other day I had worked late at school and on my way home I noticed that one of the pizza places that I have stopped at often was open.   So, I stopped and ordered a pizza.    While looking though the numerous pizza choices- I noticed that they also offered a few salad choices.   I don't know why I had never noticed the salad option before- but, I decided to also order a salad thinking that leftovers from both would be great to take to school for a couple of days.  
While waiting, someone I know, who happens to live in the area, came into the pizza place and we were talking while I was waiting on my order.

Pretty soon... I notice that in the brick pizza oven is a huge dough ball puffed up like a balloon.   The pizza guy turns and flips this huge round pizza balloon about in the oven- I pointed it out to my friends and we laughed at the unusual sight.

Soon, it was time for my order to be ready.   I was presented with 2 pizza boxes.   The guy pointed to one box and said,  "salad" and of course the box contained my pizza.  I paid, said my goodbyes and drove home.

I grabbed a plate and my pizza cutter.  I opened the pizza box and cut a couple of slices of pizza and placed them on the plate.  I set out my olive oil from the 'first pressing' of the olives festival that I attended last fall and my balsamic vinegar to add to my salad.

 Then, I opened the other box.   Apparently, the dough balloon puffball was MY ORDER!  I thought ... "there must be a mistake?"   Maybe, he gave me the wrong order after all he did have a couple of things cooking from phone orders when I walked in?

I cut it open and I realized immediately that it was indeed my SALAD order.

This was puffed up about 10 inches high-- just like a soccer ball.

So, I cut a 'salad slice' and drizzled it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and had a great meal.
So, there you go... salad as only an Italian pizza place could make it, right? 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Presenting the world's smallest shopping purchase/s from Nove, Italy....

Last weekend, I was out with a friend- we'd gone to the discount yarn store and had later plans for lunch and then going to the big Italian grocery store.   While we were out... she said, "Hey, we're close to Nove and they don't close for an hour-- want to go there real quick?"   Of course, I did.   While I am trying to 'not purchase' extra things that I don't really need... (or will have room for in my future USA home)... once, I saw these little lace detailed small curved plates?  In my favorite color no less:  CELEDON GREEN  ... I couldn't resist.  I thought, what could I use them for to 'justify' my purchase?  (see, how my mind works?)   Then, I got it.   They could be small 'bread plates'... you know how most modern dish sets-- just have a:  dinner plate, salad (or dessert) plate, a soup bowl?  And, of course usually a cup/mug of some sort.   However, there just isn't a small plate to put your bread pieces, or even your lemon slices, your olive pits, or your???  
 Come on help me out people... help me find a reason that I need to purchase these little curved lace plates.   After all, I knew that 'even in my mind' I could not justify purchasing the matching plates and bowls that went with this little lace number in the first photo.   The little small plates that I purchased weren't expensive at all either.   (The matching items much more expensive.)

So, then... I decided... they could be used as bread plates (or whatever they might be used for) and would be Ok with the white dishes that I bought in Germany to 'tie together' my many various other odds and ends of plates/bowls/etc.

So, what do you think?  Does it go well with my big pasta/soup bowls?   

As  you can see... I did buy them and brought them home.  I did resist the other matching pieces of dishware.   I bought 8 of them.  
 Then, I kept going back to this grape leaf design dish set.   Not in Celedon green... but, in a nice green anyway.

I only purchased ONE to see if it would go with my white dishes.   The above large soup/pasta bowls are just plain white and were purchased because they were plain white.

Here's the salad/dessert plate in question.  I only bought one.   To take it home to test it out.  I decided if it didn't go well with my white plates-- that I could simply use it to display cheese slices or something like that in the future.

I liked this very much.   I can't say why exactly.  I guess the grapes remind me so much of Italy?  

I think it goes pretty well with my white dishes.   Remember, these white dishes were purchased simply so that all of my other 'odds and ends' of dishes would at least LOOK LIKE they went with something and made a complete dinnerware set of dishes.  Or at least, close enough. 
That's it.   That is all that I bought.  The 8 small lace plates to be used for various small things like bread, lemon slices (now, I can't say that I've ever had a need to lay out lemon slices at everyone's place setting-- but, you just never know when this opportunity might present itself and I'll be ready, right?), olive pits, crackers, or ????

By the way, the little square lace plates will also go well with the above large white plate set of dishes that I have they -just will not MATCH or GO WITH with the very different sort of green grapes/leaves plate as seen in the above photo- vastly different greens and style of pattern.

I also bought the one salad/dessert plate size that you see above... and one hot plate trivet for a 'host/hostess gift' this summer.

I can't believe that I live so close to this town and I've only been there a total of 2 times now in a year.

*For those who have never been to Nove, Italy... it is a town full of shops that makes hand-painted Italian plates, vases, bowls, etc.   Many of these factories have 'shop' areas where you can purchase (at a great discount) these same items and of course others that aren't exported anywhere.   A ceramic factory needs to make many extra items in case the glazes run or crack, etc.   So, after they fill their orders- many of them sell the 'extra items' in their shop areas.   Of course, some of these items might have 'small defects' but there is nothing wrong with most of the items.   Some of the smaller businesses of course aren't exporting their items anywhere and they are just selling their hand painted ceramics to the public.   Most people when they shop in NOVE are making large purchases... many bags or boxes are usually purchased.   That is why my tiny 8 stacked plates, 1 salad plate, and 2 hot plate/trivets was a very SMALL PURCHASE for almost anyone that has ever shopped in Nove.

It's too bad that both greens didn't go well together.... but, I can live with it.   Because, I've never been a 'real match-y match-y' type of person anyway.   After all, they will both go well with the white dishes- just not together.

On another note:  Last night, (Friday) I was so tired.  I went to bed by 10pm and I did not set my alarm.  When did I wake up?  5:08am.   Sigh.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Rain, rain go away... come back again 'another day'...

We used to say that when I was a kid.    Here's the bridge near my house.   The water is usually about 30 feet lower than this level.   There are 3 different levels-- w/ banks made for the water to expand to.  It is at the last level:  OPEN FIELD!

This is the church across the street.   It's actually still raining now- it has rained for 4 days straight now.

While taking the photos- the sky suddenly got dark.

And, DARKER...

If I had been in Oklahoma and the sky turned this way.... especially 'suddenly'... it would be time to find a tornado shelter/cellar.
Here's an address for a video cam of one of the OLD bridges in downtown Vicenza.  Yesterday, the water was to the bottom ceiling of the underside of the bridge archway!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Oh Navigon, "Why do you take me so many different ways to the same place????" Is it to show me 'who is boss?' Or is it to provide me a variety in travel adventures?

Last June, the first week that school was out for the summer... my friend Lisa came over, from England, for a week's visit.  I had done an Internet Search for yarn stores around this area and I found the address of a 'outlet' shop for an Italian Yarn company.  *I had posted about this earlier this year.   So, I decided to go back there yesterday to get some winter wool yarn before the yarns changed with the seasons.   Here are my purchases.
This is a shawl in one of the ROWAN pattern books.   The skein in the back is a dark grey 100% alpaca.   It is so soft.  I need a better green.  Or at least another green to shade the leaves/stem with.

I got this skein to add the center flower colors for some of the flowers.  I thought that way- that I'd have a variety of colors to use in one skein.  I am NOT GOING TO ADD the long curly fringe to the shawl.  I really needed one more skein of the grey- but, they were out of that particular color.

I bought 3 different purples to 'consider' for this cardigan.  I have only used the suggested yarn ONE TIME for anything that I have knitted.  I constantly make substitutions for the yarns that I have or that I can purchase.  I did get a brown that looks exactly the same color.   Which purple do you think that I should use?  The one under the yellow?  The one directly under the brown?  Or the last one a blue-purple color?

I got this color changing yarn to mix with the solid black (both just happened to be the same thickness!) in a colorwork/fair isle hat/glove set.

And, they had some 100% cashmere.   Sigh.   I bought a light grey and a dark grey to do some color work gloves, hat, cowl?  Something along those lines.

And, they had this Lion Brand Yarn:  Amazing... at such an AMAZING PRICE that I couldn't pass it up!   It is a wool/acrylic mix.  This is an American yarn brand and sure enough when I looked on the label- it said:  MADE IN ITALY!   All the other yarns are Italian yarn companies.   I'm going to knit one of those super long wide cowls that an loop around your neck twice.   I think that I'll just do a knit/purl ribbing look or maybe a mistake rib? 
This is the 3rd or 4th time that I've been to this shop in the year that I moved here.  I didn't find out about it until last spring.   My Navigon system has led me to this place in a different direction each time.   Each time, that I start the system-- I have only been one mile apart from all the other starts.   I think that I have found the best and most direct path this time though.   It was exactly 9.5 miles away!   Not bad at all.   The last time that I went there- right before Christmas to get some Christmas gifts (and a little yarn- not as much as this shopping trip) it was a 15 mile away trip.  I think that I will start going there more often.   The yarn is greatly discounted - even less than the yarn sold in the Italian yarn stores and of course much less than the yarn stores in the states.   WHICH is exactly why I want to purchase certain yarns before I leave this area.

What do 'stray' Italian cats eat?

Apparently:  Spaghetti  

Isn't she a pretty cat?  Looks pregnant too.