Thursday, November 29, 2007

Italian driving rules...

Neal likes to joke that when it comes to driving in Italy, everyone is related to Mario Andretti. We joke about the driving here constantly because it really is laughable. Here is a satirical look at driving in Italy...

The rules of the road are as follows:

2. Anyone can do anything at any given time
3. Those lines painted on the roads are purely cosmetic, there is no purpose for them whatsoever
4. The person who pulls the furthest into the intersection first has the right of way
5. There is no such thing as a crosswalk, the entire road is a viable option for crossing
6. You MUST go at least double the speed limit
7. You MUST slam on your brakes and come almost to a complete stop when Polizia are spotted
8. Seat belts are purely optional. In fact, children are not allowed to use them. They are required to be up and about the cabin of the car at all times, smiling and waving at other drivers.
9. It is illegal to have any less than 6 inches between you and the next car, this is reduced to 2 inches when stopped
10. While you must be 18 years old to drive a car, simply being able to breathe is the only requirement for driving a motorino
11. Helmets on motorinos are only fashion accessories, and need not be worn. It is highly unnecessary to wear anything more than a tee shirt, cut off shorts, and sandals for men; and a bathing suit, miniskirt, and heels for women.

More to come I'm sure!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Our First Thanksgiving (together)...

Neal and I thoroughly enjoyed our Thanksgiving Day together. It was just the two of us, with loads of food, but it was nice and relaxing. We had a wonderful day, and we loved every minute of spending the holiday together this year. I really enjoyed the time we got alone, him helping me cook, sitting at the table and nibbling on what was left on our plates after we filled up, and enjoying a glass of wine and a game of cards together. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect, romantic, or special Thanksgiving.

I think we're both getting more and more anxious to get back home for a visit, as we were talking all day yesterday about what we want to do when we get there, things we want to take home with us, and what we can only get at home. We're both very weary of being so far away, and overly ready for a trip back home. This assignment will really test our patience, I think.

I was really happy for Neal to finally have a normal holiday. Given how many holidays he's missed out on from being deployed or working and not able to get home, I was so happy that this year, even though we’re not at home with family, we could at least have our own special dinner. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long, as he’ll be working this weekend, but we were both so grateful for him being able to be home to have a special day, and for all the ways that God has blessed the two of us.

Here are some pictures from our dinner:

...Trying to reheat the casseroles that I made up on Wednesday, while keeping the turkey and mashed potatoes warm. Thank you Brian and Melanie for our casserole dishes! You can tell they've come in handy!

...I just had to set out my snowman dish that the Pritchard's gave us at my bridal shower in Memphis. It's adorable! I told Neal I needed something to put in it, and he said I would just have to make cookies to fill it, hahaha!

...the spread (turkey breast with stuffing, corn pudding, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, and steamed broccoli), and the cook...

...Our desserts, Apple Crisp and Pumpkin pie (already a casualty)...

We love you all, and hope everyone had a very happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Just having fun...

I found a link for some seasonal fun the other day, and thought that everyone would enjoy seeing this... (P.S. Neal hates me now, lol!)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

More garden pictures

Here are some more recent pictures of the garden and other stuff. Some of them were taken at night, so they're not all that great, but they're just so everyone gets an idea.

These are the cold frames that Neal made for us. We put carrots, onions, and various herbs in them, and still had enough seeds that we decided to plant them in the back half of the garden.

This was our way of labeling what we planted. We had a few pieces of wood left over and had to use something so we didn't walk all over the seeds.

Here's Neal fighting our new tiller. Luckily it's just a bitty little one instead of a monster one, but it was eagerly eating up that ground. It was jumping and bouncing all over the place at first because the ground was so hard, but once it softened up, we got some gorgeous dirt!

This was the ground, after we burned off the "grass" (read: weeds and rocks), and before we started tilling it.

This is for comparison. The far end was the area with the hardest ground, and in the foreground is the area that had been tilled once over.

My hunny doing the hard work for me!

Another view of the garden, and my guard duck!

My Guard Duck - we're still trying to come up with a name for him. (Neal doesn't like Howard)

We took this picture about two houses down the street. There was a gorgeous sunset the other night, but we had the hardest time getting good pictures. This one's even a bit blurry. But it's beautiful, and you get the idea.

The same night, this was the view from the back of the upper deck of the house. (There's actually snow on those mountains now, it literally happened over the course of about two nights.)

I was nice and didn't post the picture I took of Neal, but he got a serious giggle out of my choice of color coordination. I told him I was just trying to blend in here in Italy. Note the bright yellow garden shoes, lol!

Not much going on here. The weather's turned bitter cold, and it's been rainy for the past few days. We're waiting for the rain to stop, and for things to dry out a bit, so that we can till again and plant our fall bulbs. We're having a really quiet Thanksgiving this year, just the two of us. We're planning on getting a little turkey breast and making our own little feast.

We hope everyone's doing well, and enjoys the upcoming week with family, friends, and food! We love and miss you all, and can't wait to see everyone!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Well, we've taken a few more pictures since the concert, and I've tried to upload them to Shutterfly, but didn't realize that I had a limit. So I'll be doing some rearranging of albums and such, and I'll let everyone know when I've finished putting them all up. For now, I'll post a few pictures of the cold frame that Neal made this past weekend. He's making another on his next day off. We've already put it in the garden, and I'll be doing some serious planting this week. We've already got seeds for lettuce, spinach, carrots, various herbs, and some Spring flowers. I'll be planting them throughout the winter to make sure we get several crops out of them. The flowers will be planted closer to February, then moved to another bed. We also bought a bag off 100 Spring bulbs that we're looking to plant in the bed where the impatiens used to live. We're going to try and find some stepping stones, then plant the bulbs around those.

This was the finished product before we moved it out to the garden.

In the garden, with the lid open.

From about halfway up the patch of yard on the side of the house. That's my little basil plant. The fencing is for the cats. We're going to just use the two cold frames during the winter, then use this whole area for tomatoes next year. We're working on another area on the other side that will be a little smaller. That's where we'll put the herbs and other summer veggies next year.

This is from July, just to show you that this is the little spot that we've widened, and are planning to put the stepping stones and bulbs in. I'll post a couple more updated pictures of this spot soon.

For right now, the only thing we have growing is my last basil plant (he's staying strong and thriving though), and the Wisteria tree that the landlady likes. If it were up to us, we'd remove it (Wisteria's not meant to climb a 2D wall, so it keeps growing out over the garden). But the landlady babies it, so we have to leave it.

Neal is back on nights now, and will be nocturnal for a few months again. But it works out well, as he's still busy taking classes. I'm back to working out daily, and Mikelauren is really doing a number on me! But it's all good. I'm running again, and I've actually gotten back to it even better than before the ankle sprain!

The weather is still really nice during the day. It's usually in the upper 50's to mid 60's during the day, and in the mid 40's at night, so very bearable. Most days are sunny and cloudless too, which I guess makes up for the late Winter/early Spring rainy days.

I'm in the process of making some curtains for the house windows, and will post pictures of the inside, as I've had requests numerous times (*hanging my head in shame*). Neal took a few this past weekend, so I'll take more and post them here soon too.

Enjoy the pictures!