Tuesday, March 18, 2014

"HEEEATTTHCLIFFFF".... or when did our school playground turn into the foggy Scottish moors? .... excuse me... "Heathcliff!!!!"....

My driveway right before I pulled out on to the street.  This should have been my first clue.

This is at 10:00am.  You could barely see children that were several feet away.   Nice to see 3 boys using the swings.  Sometimes, at other schools, boys don't usually use the 'swings'... here?  I have to sometimes tell them to count 20 swings back and forth so that other children can have a turn.   We have 2 swing sets; but, lots of children want to use the swings.   I loved swinging when I was a child too.  I would often lean my head back and I would drag my hair on the ground.  

Yes, we have the spongy surfaces here too.  I just don't know how I survived my childhood.  We had pebbles, dirt, and concrete on our playgrounds.

"Heathcliff!"... "Are you out there?"

Even the school (this is the lunchroom area) is difficult to see. 

We couldn't let them play in the grassy area- we couldn't SEE THEM!

Yesterday, it was foggy.   It used to be foggy a lot in Germany too.   However, today... was foggier than I have EVER seen it!  I could not see anything in front of me.  I was the lead car and the white lines on the road hadn't been painted in what looked like YEARS!  I didn't even know most of the time if I was on my side of the road or about to fall off the road into the deep drainage ditches!  I was only driving 10-15 mph.   I finally had a car behind me and for the first time ever... a car didn't pass me.   They must have FINALLY realized that IT WAS NOT SAFE TO PASS THE OTHER CAR even if you didn't think it was going fast enough.  (I get passed often- even though I am going the residential speed limit.)  The strangest fog that I experienced in Germany-- was frozen FOG!  It was so scary!!  I drove home one night after meeting friends at a restaurant.     

Sunday, March 16, 2014


What is this creeping through the jungle grass?   Could it be?????

A wild tiger and her 'tiger' kitten?  
Today, I have spent almost the entire day going through boxes of things (as I seem to do every weekend for the past couple of months or so)...  these particular boxes were from a storage delivery that had been in the states for many years.   Once, I found this really large house- I sent for my storage with the plan to go through things to find things to get rid of because... let's be honest... I, along with many of us... have just too much stuff.  It was easy to have too many things-- since, my job would pay for the storage in the states while I was overseas.   SO, if you don't have 'all of this stuff' in your house LETTING YOU KNOW THAT YOU HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF... it is easy to dis-reguard that you have too much stuff- if you don't see it!

In one box, I found a couple of old ratty holey quilts that my grandmother had used as a mattress padding.  I had cut one apart to make pillows, angels or something long ago.   In this same box I found the above animals that I hadn't seen in many years.  I forgot that I had them.   My same 'step-grandmother' had put them away for me when I grew too old for them.   I don't have many items from my childhood.  That is what happens when you have younger siblings- they tend to take over or destroy your possessions.  

I loved cats and kittens when I was young (still do) and no one could find a stuffed cat toy in small town rural Oklahoma when I was a child-- so, they got the next best thing.   A big stuffed tiger.   Later the smaller one was added to my collection.   I was about 3 or 4 the year that I got them.   I loved them.   The big one was the mama tiger; of course.   The eyes have been loved off of the big one and the baby tiger only has one eye left.

I only had one other stuffed animal.  I think someone made it for me.  It was a black mop looking thing with long black yarn for hair sewed on.  I think it was supposed to be a laying down dog?   I seem to remember that the hair had a middle part and I spent a lot of time 'combing' it with my fingers to make the hair go in the right directions.  I have no idea as to what happened to it?

I never had a Teddy Bear as a child.   Sad, huh?   Years later, one of my friends bought me a little teddy bear.  I still have him.  He sits on a shelf where my yarn/etc. is stored.  I guess he is guarding the yarn? 

The tigers have been sealed back into the box with the ratty old quilts.   After all, they might get cold.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Getting lost can help you find a new bakery.

Looks good, huh? 
Today, I went back to the purse factory and the small showroom floor shop selling purses.   They had lots of new additions of the new spring line.   The song, "IF I were a rich man" was spinning in my head... (ok, with a variation ... "IF I were a rich woman...") as I looked at all the lovely new models and colors.   A room just full of leather purses.  (Sorry for those that think it is wrong to make things out of leather.)

I did buy a basic black leather purse and a red one which is what I had gone there to purchase the last time-- but, I got overwhelmed by all the choices and left the store without my black or red purse.   I did buy a blue and green and a medium brown leather purse though on my visit several days ago.

So, today... I did buy my intended colors.  I stuck to the plan (mostly).   It's a good thing that I did go back because... there were ONLY 3 black purses being sold.  I got the only one that was a solid black.  AND, 'bonus' ... I liked it.  No, I loved it!

And, the other day... while cooking something or other.  I cut into a bell pepper and look at what I found.   Has anyone ever found this cute little thing inside?  It was kind of like opening up the kinder eggs to get the surprise toy inside. 

Today, on the way home from the 'purse' store... I decided to go to a different location, that is near my house, and I put this place in my navigation device.   Oh my... does my 'navigation' device like to take me traveling around.  Even in my limited knowledge of the area... I knew that I wasn't going the right way.  
I love the little spiral pepper center. 
 So, I finally found a place to pull over and wouldn't you know the exact place that I found just happened to be next to a house and my car was partially in front of the wrought iron gate that locks 'driveways' and houses in Italy.   Not a problem 'usually' but, I just happened to glance over and sure enough there is a car 'with a driver in it' and clearly wanting out of his driveway!  Oops.   At this point, I just put in my own little Italian town and drove home.   That was enough excitement for the day.  However, in my 'random route' that the navigation system was taking me on-- I did find a tiny little bakery and I bought a small round loaf of whole grain bread.   I didn't have my camera with me so I couldn't take a photo of the very old building where this tiny bakery was located.  So, the 'different route' wasn't a lost cause because I love home-made Italian bread- especially the whole grain breads. 

I just cut the bread open and I added the photos.  The inside is the softest bakery bread that I have ever purchased.   I grabbed some soft local cheese and spread it on pieces of the end piece that I cut off of the round loaf.   So, so, so good... ubbmsuummummm nom, nom...  (that's me eating the bread)

*P.S. You can click on the photos for an even larger yummy view.

Friday, March 14, 2014

My meal last weekend... from when I went to the local restaurant for the Woman's Day event..

Home made crackers and dinner rolls...

Home-made Tortellini

Grilled Pork Chop.   This was awesome... and there was so much meat- that I took over 1/2 of it home and had 2 more meals from this serving.   They also gave me an entire bowl of home-fries (not frozen) and this is all that I had with my meal.  I gave the rest to my friend who was eating with me.

The dessert menu and I did appreciate the ENGLISH translation.  I can read quite a bit of 'Italian' when it concerns menus though.  I need to learn 'the words for how a dish is prepared though.'

The name of the restaurant.   *Also the front of the dessert menu.   I got the 'tiramisu' again, of course.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Spring is near... and I hope it comes quickly for those in the cold parts of the world.

A tulip tree in bloom... (at least that is what I call them!)  I snapped this photo on the street as I was turning the corner- just stuck the camera out the window-- which is why you see the sun glare on the photo.   I have seen a few of these trees in my neighborhood blooming too.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Early Spring Sunrise....over northern Italy...

I left for school a little later than usual the other morning and I was rewarded with a vivid sunrise.   This is my driveway and the old building that is across the street.
This is the gate going out my driveway to the road.   Isn't that beautiful?  

You can see the neighbor's flowers in this photo.  I have the same ones on the opposite side of my fence.

The entire sky was lit up so beautifully. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

ABC's of me...

I saw this somewhere and I thought that I'd use it here too.

A - Age:  Old enough and young enough

B - Bed size: Queen size wrought iron (made for me in Italy- there's a photo on the blog)
C - Chore you hate: cleaning the shower doors
D - Dog's name:  None (no pets at all at this time- not allowed in the rental)

E - Essential start your day: A real Dr. Pepper (I don't drink coffee and I still need caffeine)

F - Favorite color:  Blue, green, and purple

G - Gold or Silver: both

H - Height: 5'7"

I - Instrument you play: The stereo

J - Job: School teacher
K - Kids: none 'other than' my classroom full of 2nd graders

L - Living arrangements: alone

M - Mom's name: Estelene
N- Nicknames: none really  (my friend that I taught how to knit calls me "Grasshopper" for my knitting wisdom.)

O - Overnight hospital stay other than birth: had an unexpected total knee replacement July 2013

P - Pet Peeve: 1.  People who tail-gate in their cars  2.  People who lie  3.  People who don't keep their promises-- for example:  make plans and when you call back to double check/add more information/etc.   They then tell you that they can't go- that they are doing something else-  This is fine (sort of- depending on why their plans changed) but, have the decency to let the first person that you made plans with know that you are NO LONGER doing the activity/event/movie/etc. with the first person that you made plans with.  
Q - Quotes from a movie: My mind is a blank-- other than in the movie:   ELF when the 'big tall elf' gets all excited and yells out:  "SANTA!!!"  When he sees the store Santa.  

R - Right or left handed: Right

S - Siblings: 2--one brother, one sister

T - Time you wake up: during the week- 5am to go to work early so that I can get some things done before the children come to class.

U - Underwear: yes

V - Vegetable you dislike: Lima beans

W - Ways you run late:  I'm almost always on time-- but, if I forget to take all the stuff out of the car that I hauled home on Friday (because, I'm hauling in groceries or something and I don't have enough arms to haul it ALL in and then I don't go back downstairs to the car to get the school stuff/etc.) and then I don't remember until Saturday morning when I get to the car and see all of the stuff in my car that needs to be removed so that someone can sit in the front seat- if I'm going on a local trip. 

X - X-rays you've had: Chest, leg, teeth, head (brain), wrist, hand, stomach, knee, lungs, foot... (I think that is all?)

Y - Yummy food you make: My grandmother's fudge recipe
Z - Zoo Favorite: monkeys