Friday, October 12, 2007

Hello again!

Hey everybody! Sorry it's been so long since I last posted. Somehow, I manage to let the pictures get all stacked up on me before I sit down to post again. But I'm loving the Shutterfly website, as I've posted all of our pictures there, and everyone can scroll through them at their leisure. I'll still post a few here, but I'll put the link below for the whole set.

Note: when I posted this, the Blogger site was having issues uploading pictures, so I couldn't add any here. But you can still check the link below, and you should get access to all of our pics there.

Well, it's been a crazy few weeks around here. We cleaned up the garden with the exception of a plant or two before we had two guests from Knoxville. One of Neal's college buddies, Chris Brown, and a friend of his from church, also Chris, came to visit for a week. We very quickly took to calling them Thing One and Thing Two, and though it was a whirlwind of a tour, we had loads of fun! I got to take them around the area for the first two days while Neal was working, then Neal had three days off and we all went carousing around the area. They had been in Scotland before coming to Italy, then were heading out to Germany and Spain, then back home to Knoxville.

The first day we went to Pompeii, then on the second we went to Positano on the Amalfi Coast. Unfortunately, Neal wasn't able to do either of those with us since he was working, but we decided that he and I will have to take a long weekend to Positano on our own soon. You'll understand when you see the pictures! On our way back from Positano, we missed the last train to Naples, and thus ensued a hilarious comedy of errors for the night, during which we argued with train conductors, I learned I know more Italian than I thought I did, and poor Neal had to drive to the Naples base around 2am to pick us up after working all day. We ended up getting in bed that night around 4am, but were able to laugh about it the next day, so all went well. It was quite the frustrating situation, but all-in-all we learned alot from it, and are much more comfortable with transportation in the area.

Friday, the third day they were here, we slept in and just chilled. That afternoon, we walked around a local historic site, Minturnae, and then went to a WWII War Memorial near the house. It really was the most beautifully kept area we've seen in Italy. The Italians aren't all that big on landscaping and keeping grass healthy and weeds under control, but this area would've rivaled many golf courses back home, and was immaculately kept.

Saturday and Sunday we toured Rome, including all the big tourist spots. We saw the Colloseum, Palantine Hill, Saint Peter's Square and the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. We took loads of pictures, and really enjoyed all the sights of Rome. Having friends visiting was really nice, especially being able to talk about friends and family back home and how everyone is doing there. The house was definitely not as quiet as usual, and it was really nice. They left to finish their tour of Europe before heading back home before the UT-Georgia game.

After they left, Neal and I both managed to get allergy/sinus colds, so we've been taking it easy for a week or two. We had been noticing the yellow pollen everywhere, but even through allergy medication, still managed to eventually succumb to it. We're doing better now though, and looking forward to Neal's next few days off.

We're already planning our winter garden, and we've got big plans for a couple of cold frames with lettuce, spinach, onions, carrots, and whatever else we come up with before then. The garden is really looking great. This past week, we took down the fencing and expanded it for the winter garden. Neal's got plans in his head for landscaping the rest of the grassy area back there, and we're just waiting for him to get the time to be able to do it. He's enjoying playing back there, and it's making a huge difference. It's definitely relaxing, and has been a great way for us to do something constructive together.

Neal has just finished a couple of his business classes, and is finishing up week two of his next batch. They're keeping him busy, but he's really excited to be back on track with his degree. His estimate is to finish up the degree, including a real estate certificate by Spring of 2009. He's doing really well, and while the material isn't always the most thrilling, he's sticking to it!

I finally made it to see a physical therapist about my ankle. The news wasn't thrilling, but it was good overall. He informed me that I somehow managed to pull two of the three tendons in the ankle (go figure). But he did say they were healing well. He gave me the okay to ride a bike (Neal had just gotten me one the day before), get back to working out 100%, and only limited me on running. He said that I could use the elliptical, but the treadmill is definitely a no-go, at least until after Christmas, or he re-evaluates the ankle. I'm definitely at about 99% now, as I can walk/run as needed, and rarely feel any kind of soreness or swelling, so that's good. But I'm really ready to start running again, so we'll see how that goes. I have another appointment later this month, so maybe he'll clear me to at least run on the track. I can at least hope!

Other than that, there's not much else to update on. We have a couple of minor trips in the works, and we'll definitely update on those as we do them. There's a few classes and field trips that are being offered on base, as well as an Italian language program starting next week, so it looks like the Fall will definitely be busy.

We love you all, and miss you dearly! We are really looking forward to making a trip back home as soon as we can, and can't wait to catch up with everyone!

You can view the pictures at this site: You'll need a password, which I have already sent out in the blog email. If you don't have it, please email me at, and I'll give it to you. Sorry for the hassle, but no need to deal with all the crazies on the internet. Thanks!

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