Friday, July 27, 2007


So, on Tuesday, I decided to "test the integrity" of the roads around here. Results: not so much. Roads: 1, Janie: 0.

Neal and I were helping someone move some boxes, and when I stepped off the curb into the street, I neglected to see a large pothole - a dumb move around here, since they are everywhere. I stepped right into it, turning my left foot under me, and spraining my ankle pretty badly. Nothing's broken, thank God, but it hurt like a beast!

We ended up in the Italian emergency room, but thanks to our medical translator, managed to get in and out rather quickly, and got x-rays saying everything was okay. That night was rough, as I had to sleep on the couch (didn't want to attempt the stairs to go to the bedroom), and Neal slept on the floor beside me. He is such a great husband, and an awesome nurse! He carried me around alot, even while I was wincing and whining from the pain.

We went to the medical clinic Wednesday, so I'm now on medicine and feeling better. They gave me some crutches, but they are painful and awkward, and give you bruises too. I'm now able to put some weight on my foot though, and am only using the crutches for stability instead of support. I'm going to have to do physical therapy starting next week, so I don't re-injure it, and working out has gone out the window for a few weeks (there goes that goal). The funny thing is that was the first thing to go through my mind once I realized what had happened - after the initial "What was that? That hurt!" I immediately thought, "Shoot, now I can't work out any more!" Neal thought I had lost my mind, I think!

This was Wednesday morning, before the swelling really set in:

My "pimped" crutches. Neal tried to soften them up a bit:

But overall, I'm doing fine. I just have a foot/ankle the size of my calf! It still feels a bit tingly when I'm up on it for too long, but no more pain is a great thing! I think by the beginning of next week, I won't need the crutches any more, and I'll be well on the road to recovery. I told Neal that I was just making sure that he had some practice before we had kids. He did fine, lol!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Garden update!

I just wanted to let everyone know I've posted more pictures of the garden! It's really starting to look like an actual landscaped garden now, thanks to tons of heavy manual labor on the part of my hubby! He's been so great, doing all of the hard work and leaving all of the easy and fun stuff for me! He managed to finish clearing the weeds and grass from the top of 50-60% of the whole area this weekend. He's put a tarp over the part we're not using yet, hoping to keep everything from growing back, and it really helps make the whole area look alot better.

We also caged up the tomato plants, so they don't look like such monsters any more. We pulled a basil plant and are drying it to save for some home-grown, fresh-dried basil to use in the winter. I planted the last four baby tomato plants. We're thinking that our monsters are Roma tomatoes, which would be awesome for making sauces. The baby four are beefsteak tomatoes. No telling what we'll get from them, given that it's so late in the season, but we'll see. And finally, we planted some colorful impatiens in the corner. We had wanted some color, as well as something to eat up the awkward corner right there. They will have plenty of water, given that the area gets all of the drainage from the rest of the garden. They made a huge difference, and they are so colorful and happy-looking, you can't help but smile.



My job this week is to lay out more topsoil in the vegetable garden (some has washed away, and it's looking a little dry), and also some more on the impatiens, and to fertilize and weed the entire area. We already have some babies growing on the biggest of the tomato plants, so it should be another two weeks, give or take, until we have some fresh produce!

Neal's planning on clearing the last of the side area by the end of the summer, then tarp it all off as well. Our hope is that it will kill any grass and weeds off during the fall and winter, making it easier for us to clear and till next Spring. We're already planning our vegetable garden next Spring, including peppers, beans, more herbs, and who knows what else. We're thinking about using the little plot we have the tomatoes and basil in right now for some late-fall lettuces and peppers, and maybe some peas and broccoli if we're feeling adventurous. And of course, we'll have to plant some bulbs for the Spring.

We're loving playing in the garden, and it's really encouraging that it's doing so well with so little difficulty! The soil here is so rich and healthy, I'm sure whatever we do will turn out well. It's so nice having our own little space, and being able to do it together is a lot of fun! The hard work feels good, and the reward is amazing!

P.S. We've put more of the garden progress pictures on Shutterfly:

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Another late/long update

So I've been horrible about updating our blog. Sorry about that. We've stayed busy, though there's not a ton of really interesting stuff going on, just day-to-day life. Neal is finally (!) back on days now. Wednesday was his first day on, and he has a long weekend this week. We're planning on getting out in the garden and doing some more landscaping. Little by little, it's really starting to look good! The basil and tomatoes have gone crazy just in the last week or so. They were doing really well before, but it seems they just about doubled in size in about a week, and the larger two tomato plants are monsters! I've been pinching the blooms to make them grow bigger before letting tomatoes grow, but I'm afraid I might run out of room at this point, so we're going to let them start producing. We've got about a dozen blooms on different plants, so the next two to three weeks ought to be interesting. I somehow have this feeling that we're going to be swimming in tomatoes and begging people to take them off our hands. But we're hoping to make some sauces, can some of them diced and whole, and I guess we'll be eating the rest! We also have two little plants growing among the tomatoes. I was weeding one day and noticed two very different-looking sprouts that I decided to leave and see what happened. They looked very much like vegetable sprouts. Right now, I'm still not sure, but I think they may be squash or something similar. How cool is that?!? I'm going to wait another week or so and see if I can tell what they are. Either way, I'll have to either pull them or move them, as the tomatoes are already crowding each other.

We have cleared about 2/3 of the area that we are working on, and we're going to do the rest this weekend. We are planning on expanding the length of the garden by another row, to allow me to plant my tomatoes from seed that are still potted right now. Then, we're going to leave a border on each side of the garden, place walking stones in, and put down some marigolds to keep pests away (we have a bad mosquito issue out there) and make things pretty. Eventually, we want to put some more flowers, maybe rose bushes along the back wall, and some smaller flowers below the wisteria tree. I'll attach a few pictures so everyone knows what I'm talking about. I'll probably take some before and afters this weekend too, and post them next week (P.S. I have an album of the entire garden and progress here:

Somehow, these...

...turned into these...

...and these...

...turned into these!

We went to Rome two weeks ago. We had a blast! We left Saturday morning, spent the day in Rome, then got back home around 10pm. It was a long, exhausting day, but it was loads of fun! We went to the Colosseum, then just sort of made our way around the area. We checked out a couple of churches, a monastery, a couple museums (including the Italian war museum), and a cute little cafe. We just snacked all day while walking around, then stopped for dinner before the train. The cafe was a quaint little place that has tables actually in the alley between it and the next building (very popular way of doing things around here). Neal had ravioli, and I had a pork chop. And of course, we couldn't turn down dessert, so Neal had a tiramisu, I had rum-soaked pineapples, and we split the two. Overall, the day was a blast, and we took tons of pictures! We have them all posted on the Shutterfly website because there are so many. We didn't want to overload the blog. I'll post a few here, but the entire album (191 pictures) is located at: (warning: there are several pictures in here that include nudes in the art. If you'd like a kid-friendly version, click here:

We're getting a new car this week. The BMW we bought has been difficult lately, and since we got it dirt cheap, we don't mind replacing it. The brakes had been acting up, and we weren't super happy about depending on it. We're buying an Alfa Romeo from another MA that is getting transferred. Apparently it's in great shape, so we won't have to worry about this one.

We're also anxiously awaiting Chief's results, which should be out no later than mid-August. Apparently, Neal is considered an early applicant because he has less than twelve years in the Navy, and they're only allowed to have 10% of the final group as earlies. So while that's not great news, if he makes it, that will just make it that much sweeter! Though we're both anxious to know, he's kept a very calm attitude about it, taking the "wait and see" attitude. I, on the other hand, am like a kid at Christmas! If there was a box to shake, it would be torn to pieces by now! I never have been good about waiting for things, hehe!

Mom and Dad Carcello sent us the Rosetta Stone Italian language program for Neal's birthday. We'd been wanting to try to learn the language, and we've heard that this program is the best. We just got it yesterday, so we may try it out this weekend too. We're super excited about it, as we're starting to understand, or at least distinguish, Italian words a little better. One funny thing that happened in Rome: when we were getting in line at the Colosseum, there were "tour guides" (they use that term loosely around here) that were trying to drum up business before we went in. There was one that was near us and started asking us in English if we needed a guide, and I didn't even realize she was speaking in English at first! I had been so used to being among Italian speakers, that it seemed odd to hear someone speak English anywhere off of base! It was hilarious!

We're both trying to lose some weight together, and I am finally back to working out on a daily basis. We're trying to focus on our diets, less processed and more fresh foods, and really paying attention to what we're eating. I am doing the Body for Life workout challenge, and it's been great so far! I can really feel my body getting stronger. And I've lost about 1.5 inches all over, which is nice given that it's only been three weeks so far! Though I still am not on good terms with the scale, I keep reminding myself that I'm building muscle, and the scale won't drop as fast that way. I'm also running, which is nice. I've finally been able to build up to the point that I can run straight through, albeit slowly, for 25 minutes. I usually get in about two miles, so I'm satisfied with that. I probably could keep going, but I'm doing so well, I don't want to overdo it. Neal is doing PT at work. There is now a requirement that he has to work out with the command, so unfortunately we don't get to work out together anymore. But he's doing really well too, and you can see the difference!

I believe that just about covers everything going on here. I will definitely try to update more often, and will do so if I think of anything that I missed. We love you all, and hope everyone is doing well! Ciao!