Saturday, December 29, 2012

Thankfulness Day 20

Nov. 20
I am thankful for hubby coming home.

One of the reasons I fell behind was (along with school), hubby came home. He left the 5th of July. I am thankful that he was only gone for 4 1/2 months instead of the expected 6 months and he got home before Thanksgiving. When he left, I was expecting to spend the winter holidays with just me and our dog Belle. For reasons I won't post here (security after all is more important), his group left and came home earlier than expected. He came home free of injuries and in one piece...yet another thing to be thankful for.

Thankfulness Day 19

Nov. 19
I am thankful for about three websites for TV shows.

I know it sounds like an odd thing to be thankful for. Let me explain why it's legit. Having been born and raised in America, there are shows that we all tend to get attached to and want to see how they play out. Living overseas, most of the websites (like CBS and FOX) don't accept an IP address that is from a country other than the U.S. Being close to a military base, it's possible to get AFN (Armed Forces Network), but that will only take you so far. What about the episodes you missed? I don't want to buy random episodes from iTunes...that can get rather expensive. So what's a viewer to do?

Fortunately, there are folks out there that have created TV show viewing episodes that users upload via certain sites and other users can stream. Nothing is downloaded, which means no viruses can attach their dirty little selves to that missing episode and hitch a ride to my innocent little laptop. As long as you have internet, it will load. Once it loads, you can view the episode even if you "get kicked off" for random reasons. The episode won't stay on your computer forever, but will last long enough for you to get caught up. I'm thankful for all three because once you get caught up with one, there may be shows from the past that have since been cancelled you've wanted to you can. I currently watched a show that has since been cancelled, but was able to watch it from the pilot through to the series finale. Although I love living in Europe, there are somethings that I do miss...and a few beloved shows is one of them. :-)

Thankfulness Day 18


I am thankful for my church family. The above isn't a picture of the people because I'm not sure how they would feel about their images being posted, so a picture of our church is the next best thing.

We started going to the above church October 2010. We had been back in America visiting family and my dad made the comment that we needed to find a church to go to. Thinking back, there was almost an urgency to it....something he never did before. We said we would...he made us promise. Hubby had heard about a church that we decided to try find before Sunday. We found the above one. We ended up going on a Sunday night. Our plan was to go to this church the following Sunday and Sunday night, then go to another one Sunday and Sunday night, etc. until we had "hit up" all the churches we had heard about. Then we would sit down and make a decision about which one to go to. didn't go that way. We went on that first night, then the following Sunday/Sunday night. The next Sunday morning, we go up and as we were getting dressed, hubby made the comment, "We're not going to that chapel (next on our list) are we?" We didn't and never looked back. We discovered later on that this church wasn't the one that his contact was referring to....that church was across the street. It was God's hand. We went to the church that we were meant to go to. And I am soooo thankful we did.

July 9th, 2011 I broke my leg (story in a later post). If it weren't for that loving church family attached to the above church, I literally have NO clue on what I would've done. One lady broke into the house to get to me (all the doors were locked and I couldn't get to them) and stayed with me until I finally got to my hospital room...she also stayed that first night and then the day of my surgery. One lady brought toiletries and drinks. Two families stopped by and brought flowers. One lady came to visit and to cheer me up (took 2 buses to do so). One lady picked me up from the hospital and helped me up the 24 steps to my house. After I got home, most of the church stopped by at one time or another....half the time bearing something for me. Two or three of the ladies took me to run errands when I needed to get out of the house as well as to church. One of the guys took me to church and helped carrying things up or down the stairs. Oh! I forgot to mention....hubby was deployed during this whole time.

While my church family was there during a very hard/trying time of our stay here, that is not the only reason I'm thankful for them. I say family because it's true. Just because most of us are Christians doesn't mean we're not human. We all have failings and character traits that aren't perfect. We all make mistakes and do/say the wrong things at times. If we learn there's an issue, we try to make it right and at the very least apologize for our particular role in it. We are there for one another through the hard times and cheer the good times and celebrate victories. When the military ones of us have upcoming tests (PT or the next rank), we pray. When the test is passed or the rank is made, we cheer and celebrate. When the military member is deployed, we pray. When they return safely, we celebrate. When there is an issue in a family, we come together, pray and close ranks against the enemy. The church family that is found within the walls of that little church have helped families in financial need so they won't go hungry; an orphanage last Christmas have a Christmas; an orphanage this year with shoes and boots and toys. We are currently helping a pastor that was pastoring a poor church (his family could live comfortably on 250 euros a month) that had to come to Pisa in order to get a new liver...we're sending 50 euros a month (through donations from our attendees that want to give) along with other church in order to support him while he waits for his body to fully recover from the surgery.

The outpouring of love and support from my church family is humbling. If there is a need, they/we will find a way to meet it. I don't say type all of this to brag on us as a group of human beings. I say type this to brag on God's love and work through us. We as a human race tend to be rather selfish. The Lord taught us to love Him and to love our neighbors and to give. Everything that our little church does is not to make us proud as peacocks, but to give Him the glory. We do everything in His name. When a need arises, there is prayer. When the need is made known, the abundance of giving would amaze Scrooge himself. People that don't even know where the church is have stopped by to give. Is that us? Not one bit. That is the Lord working through them. There is not. a. single. thing. that is impossible with Jesus Christ. And I for one am thankful to be part of a church family that loves the Lord and follows Him and His Word.

Thankfulness Day 17

Nov 17th
Thankful for my parents. Although they weren't "teachers" in the normal version of the word, they did teach me a lot. I learned through actual teaching (do this, don't do that, instructions, etc.). I also learned by just watching what they did and/or how they did it. I learned about the love of Jesus Christ from them. They took me to church from an infant on. As a teen, I chose where to go to church and most of the time went to a local church (that I walked to) without them (they went to a church farther away). I walked in the heat, the rain, the snow, and the mud. 16 and going to church on a Wednesday night was not something most teens my age were doing.

I learned to give. My parents never "taught" me to give to others, but I learned by watching them. If someone was in need of something, they usually "have {insert item} laying around's yours if you want it....I won't need it." Sometimes that item wasn't that old, but they never wanted that person to feel like they were receiving charity. The response from the grateful receiver was mostly "Well, if you're not going to use it, I would be grateful for it." The saying to give them the shirt off your back certainly fit(s) with my parents.
They also help others in need. They believe (just by living with them then and watching them) that charity begins at home. I'm not talking about home as in their house, but home as in locally. They seem(ed) to have a calling to help the elderly. If there was a widow woman that mom had gotten to know that needed help, they would. From cutting her grass to taking care of her flowers to just sitting with her "having coffee".

Did I learn the "basics" in life from my mom like cooking or cleaning? No. But I did learn some of the most important lessons in life. Cooking and cleaning and other "basics" can be learned anytime, but everything they taught me can't be learned in a classroom. The "basics" they taught me should be fundamental in every house. Put God first, help others. If I do just those two things, I think that everything else will fall into place. And that everything else I need to know will be taught to me when I need it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Thankfulness Day 16

16 November
This day being thankful is about modern conveniences. My hubby is on one of his business trips required by his job. If this were back in the 50s or even 70s when I was born, I could hope for a letter (eventually) or maybe (if I were really blessed AND we had the funds) a phone call once in a blue moon. Thanks to the internet and the cheapness of computers, we can IM on a daily basis and he can call through his work once a week. Those little bits of joy are totally worth it.
Think I'm reaching for straws? Imagine pre-modern days. Your significant other is away for....2 months. I'll be nice and put this in the 50s. Phones were modern, but not as widely popular. If you didn't live in town or close to it, the closest phone might be a pay phone or the local drug store. Even if your family did have one, it was short corded and this was (GASP) before answering machines and cellular phones. That meant, you had to be home in order to talk to the person that was trying to reach you. And calls weren't $0.05 a minute. Noooooo. More like a long distance call was dollars for a short amount of time. Computers? Massive and housed in large buildings that were kept very chilly because the processors might overheat if not (nope, didn't make that up....learned that little tid bit in one of my college courses). The telegraph was widely popular and relatively cheap. Well, that is as long as the person trying to get ahold of you was close to one. Mostly though, it was the postal service. It was as fast as it is today either. Think it's slow now? Ask an "elderly" person who was at least a teen back then. Microwaves? Big and expensive and not in every home. Air conditioner? Ha!

Many times it's easy to take all of what we have for granted. That annoying cell that rings at the worst times is actually a blessing. You can "Ignore" the call you don't want; put the phone on "Vibrate" if you don't want to be disturbed; can be reached by that All-Important-Person whether you're at home, at the store, or out walking Spot. Dinner can take 10 minutes from frozen to table. Missing that bestie? Skype.

Thankfulness Day 15

I've been gone a while and still haven't gotten caught up. Why? School. Not the teeny-bopper HS kinda school. University. I've been taking classes forever (or does it only seem like that?). My on-line class (how I'm taking these fine classes) required the usual textbook...which I ordered. Problem was I'm in Europe and Sandy hit. Soooooo the "snail mail" got pushed back...which meant a month waiting for said book. My teacher posted the first two weeks of chapters, but after that I was on my own. Which meant waiting for said book to arrive (thank God for nice and understanding teachers!!!) and then working reading overtime to get caught up. Which I did....the final day of class....this past Sunday. All assignments (including my final, the conferences, and case studies) turned in. My final grade (found out yesterday evening) A. Pwew!!! 1 more down....2 left until my Bachelor's is done. Buuuuuuut while my lovely winter break occurs, I'll be catching up on To Dos...including these posts.

I was/am thankful for many thing. The 15th thankful was Facebook and a particular page I'm a part of.
Living overseas, it's hard to keep up with friends and family. Being part of the military family, we have friends just about around the world. Phone calls? Waaaaaay too expensive. So, thanks to technology and a young, curly-headed guru, I can catch up on the lives of my friends and family without leaving the comfort of my home office. No, this isn't a service announcement....just a "Glad it was created and opened to the general public".
Living different places over the past....well, let's just say more than a decade (not a typo) and "collecting," we have had quite a few items housed within our walls. The problem is, the curtains you get for this house doesn't fit the next house. So what to do? Do you collect items around the house in hopes that they'll fit a future house? Yes. Well, more to the point of yes, that's how I used to think. After quite a few de-cluttering blogs and minimalizing blogs, I now say No. So.....what to do with all of that extra stuff. That's where my second thankful comes in. One of the pages created on FB is a local (to me) page. This particular page is for us Americans-living-abroad to offer our personal items for sale or to buy others' personal items. It's a great page (there are many similar). I've bought quite a bit, but haven't spent nearly as much as I could've. I've also sold quite a bit and learned where to get certain items from. Another plus is that every item bought/sold is one more item kept out of the landfill as well as one less new item "needed" and therefore made. Win, win, win. Buyers de-clutter; sellers get items wanted/needed; environment doesn't have to supply another new item.
A technological thankful, but a grateful one none-the-less.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thankfulness Day 14

Today was busy in the morning. I'm training to take over as primary treasurer for our church and did training with the current primary. Geesh! I had forgotten how chilly a cinder-block structure can get in late autumn without a heat source. Yeah, not even winter and I had to turn on the under-the-desk heater or I may have frozen! Oy! To get an idea.....find a storm cellar and go down into it (must not be attached to the a basement-type of one). You'll get an idea. After, I had more blood drawn and bought a sandwich from the cafe in the clinic before I left. The blood thing? Long story.....another post. Short infection that I'm still fighting since the end of July. Yeah....told ya it was a long one.

I am thankful for my sister.
*No pic since I'm probably not going to post pics of family members....other than my little immediate family*
I was a "menopausal" baby. Mom was 42; dad was 54....second marriage for both. My sister (according to her) prayed for a baby sister since she was small. She had a brother, but wanted a sister to chat with and do girlie things. took a while and a different hubby for her (and mine) mom, but at age 17, her baby sister (me) was born. Our relationship has had its ups and downs. I grew up at times wanting to be just like her and then wanting to be nothing like her. Part of it was mom. She would say I had a lazy intelligence and if I just tried, I could be a straight-A student like my sister (the nothing like). Then I would talk to her and hear all of the "cool" grown-up stuff she was doing was dreamt of "one day" (the just like). Somewhere down the line, she fell off the pedestal I had put her on and I almost hated her. So it went....back and forth....for many years.

Through elementary school.
Middle School.
High School.
Her divorce.
Living with her first semester of university.
Having a HUGE fight and joining the Air Force.
Me not speaking to her for months at a time.
Picking a guy she didn't approve of.
I got married to said guy. She loved him (told her ;-) )
Moving to a small island out in the middle of the ocean.
Her move across three states.
Our move to Florida.
Then.....hubby went on a deployment {It was supposed to be 3-months, but came back 7 1/2 months later}.
I got lonely.
So.....I called the sister.
And slowly we worked to build a relationship. Not just because God made it to where we had the same mom, but as someone I can call and talk for hours with. Our longest at-one-time conversation was during our time in Florida. It was.....over 12 hours. We went through two batteries on our house phones. We would switch to the other one while that first one charged....over and over. We both straightened our houses and watched a show or two "together." That phone call cemented it. Do we still talk that long? No. It's not because we can't find the time. It's that pesky time zone difference. I'm 7 hours ahead. Which is not a good thing unless it's on the weekend, but since we both have lives and things we do, it's not easy. So, it's normally a 3 hour conversation instead. I got Magic Jack and "he" kicks us off and 90 minutes. So, we hang up; wait a few; and I'll call back to "finish" the conversation.

Thankful for her innocent, child prayer all of those years ago. We're both better because of it.

Thankfulness Day 13

Yep, waaaaay behind again. I will not give up, but will catch up. Well, maybe not before the end of the month given.....well, life. I'll explain why when I get to those days :-)

Tuesday. Woke up with another migraine. Seriously?!?!?! That's two in one month. Oy! I dread thinking what's going on inside my brain. I've heard rumors and theories about what migraines (constant ones anyway) cause. Am I in that category? How many a month is constant? One? More? Does skipping a month take me off the list? Well, guess we shall see....eventually. Hmmmm

Instead of sitting home and....oh, taking drugs and sleeping it off (not me...), I went to the market.
Now, if you're in America, that means the grocery store. Here in Italy, that means an outdoor market. part of what my "Thankful" is today. I'll tell what it is, then explain more. I am thankful for Italian culture. One thing that is hard for Americans here is reposo. Hubby calls it "sleepy time." {I'll get into the history in a later post} The majority of the stores (pretty much all but malls) and restaurants close from 1230/1:00 until 230/3:00. When the actual closing is depends on the specific store. But pretty much everything has reopened by 3:30. Including petrol stations. You can still "fill 'er up", but you're doing the pumping. Odd? Being part of the military stationed here, we buy Gas Coupons. We pay $X for up to 300 liters (depending on the size of the engine in the primary car) and "Pay" with those coupons when we go to certain petrol station chains. If they're closed, we have to pay out of pocket. thanks....not unless we have no choice. 1 liter=almost 3,50 Euros. That's over $4 a liter not gallon. Put it this way. When we fill up our jeep when it's about 1/4 left (like today), we paid 35 liters. Here, I'll do the math: 35 liters X $4 (cheaper than it is)=$140. The whole 300 liter book cost roughly (depending on the exchange rate) $130. See why we gauge our fill times?

WOW! That was a rabbit trail. hehe
Another culture item is the town market. {Yep, finally getting back to that} This is when vendors set up stalls or flip the sides of their trucks up and sell everything from shoes to rugs to produce to seafood. Here's some pics from two different markets.
Gloves, scarfs, umbrellas

Yellow one sells cheeses; front right womens clothes

Plants....flowering and not

Close-up of a few of those plants

Random booths

Shoes and boots
Tuesday is market day for the town close to us. Not our town. Our town only has a hand-ful of vendors. The one I go to nearly every week is not too far away; most of my church friends go (we meet for shopping and then a cafe....YUM); there's a good amount of vendors, but kinda spread out, so you get your walking in without realizing it. ;-) The other market is further away and on Thursdays. One or 2 pics are from that one. I've only been to that one twice. There is a market in nearly every decent-sized town here. It is where the folks wen before the chain stores started. Farmers set-up their trucks and sold fresh produce (in season=healthier) and they bought for the week until the next market. Some of the bigger towns have a market twice a week.

I love the "old-time" feel. Back to Basics is a theme I'm working on working on. Soooo much healthier and better for me. :-)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thankfulness Day 12


I have an on-going To Do list. I have never finished everything on it. Every time I cross one item off, I tend to add at least one or two more to it. Part of that reason is "stick-to-it-ness". I will be in the midst of doing one thing and happen to notice something out of place. Next thing you know, I stop doing A to take care of B. While I'm in the room where B is/goes, I notice C out of place. Well, you get the point. This is a normal day for me. It's not that I don't want to finish A, I just get very easily....oooo butterfly. ;-)

Another reason for the Never Ending To Do List is that I can always find something to do or add to it. As we all know, the one thing constant about life is change. Whether that is clothes that never stay clean or dishes that never stay washed or a floor that never stays de-haired or....well, things Don't. Stay. Put. Ever.

However, today I was able to tick off two items (well, biggies) from that list. One was to hang up hubby's autumn/winter clothes that I had brought up....oh, a week or so ago. You see, hubby left on his extended business trip back in the summer. Back in late spring/early summer, he decided to pack his "cold weather" clothes into two totes and carry them downstairs and put them in the garage. Not long after, he found out that he was definitely leaving on business. When is he scheduled to be home? Not sure, but sometime between the proverbial now and mid-February. Yep, during that nice cool weather. Sooooo I decided to be nice and bring up the totes. Not easy given that stairs are a way of going to and from the garage. And carrying anything that requires both hands is not something I plan on doing anytime soon. Fortunately, I bought a collapsible dolly. That $30 item has been a life saver. So I loaded up both totes and pulled it upstairs. And that's where they sat. Until the 12th. All clothes from those totes are now sorted and hung up.
The other will remain description-less since it's a Christmas present for my family. Do the parents read this? computer. *gasp! Other than that, no least they haven't mentioned it, but I'm not going to take any chances. But....the other tick was creating and ordering said gifts. :-)

Although the 11th was technically the day, it is observed today. I'm talking about Veterans Day. And I am thankful for the reason for this day. I come from a family of veterans.
My dad was in WWII (not a typo).
One uncle was in Korea.
Another uncle was in Vietnam.
A dear friend was in the Gulf.
I served 4 years myself during the mid-90s.
I am currently married to an active duty Air Force guy.
And that's just me. My husband comes from proud military members as well. As do quite a few of my friends.

The reason that the US has the freedoms it currently has it through their veterans. It started after the pilgrims landed. They fought for the land...for religious freedom. They made peace and settled....and expanded. The Crown didn't like that, so they yet again fought for rule independent of Great Britain. There has been a civil war and two world wars. Current war is nothing like that first war...a time we'll remember within the next week or so. Current wars aren't fought on American soil at hand-to-hand anymore. A lot of the reasons is to go to the baddies because they can sit in a spot miles away and destroy lives.
This isn't a post however about pro or anti war. This is about being thankful for those men and women who have vowed and signed a contract to "support and defend the Constitution". I am thankful that the majority of people (regardless of whether they agree or disagree with the war(s)) do support the troops. There are a few ill-informed idiots that pick on the "worker" as opposed to the "boss-in-charge", but fortunately I haven't met many.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thankfulness Day 11


Starting last night, it rained off and on all night and most of the day. The way our house is built, if you have the windows and doors closed and can still hear the rain, it's raining pretty hard. I could hear it pouring. That meant it was raining a lot harder than I could hear. I read on a Facebook page that someone had asked if there was a river that had formed in anyone else's street. Yep, it was that bad for our section of the region.

Given that it was a Sunday, I would normally get up, get dressed, and normally either eat something waiting for Belle to come in (after letting her out while I get dressed) or eat on the way. The destination? Church. Growing up, Sundays have meant a day of rest and to worship at the Lord's House. This Sunday.....everything was off. I went to bed in a bad sullen mood. I got up in a sullen mood. I hadn't finished schoolwork that was due around midnight (an on-line class). It was pouring rain, which meant wet feet. So, I thought I would wear jeans and a nice shirt. And yes, that's an okay outfit for our church.
And that's when the already yucky day got worse. The jeans I grabbed fit fine last December, but somehow they didn't fit anymore. I will say that the weather fit my mood or vice versa.

The day was spent in a kind of a sulk. I could've cared less if homework was done or anything else for that matter. My blah mood turned into a case of the "Who Cares?!?!". The night finished off with the storm doing something to the house and the power going out. I waited for almost an hour before going to bed. CREEPY!!!!! I've learned that I do not want to live in the country....too quiet. I like noise when I go to bed. If it wasn't for a clock ticking the seconds by, the house would have been completely quiet. No. Thank. You!!!

The way the electricity is installed in the houses here, there's a safety mechanism built in. Whenever a light bulb blows or an electrical component pops, a breaker pops. If it's something like a light bulb, it could pop a single breaker. OR if the house (or a transformer outside up on one of those poles) gets zapped by lightning, the main breaker pops. THAT is a good thing.

However, there is one tiny issue.....the breaker box is downstairs. There are two ways to get to it: 1. Down the inside stairs....the same stairs I had my accident on or 2. Down the front stairs, through the garage door. Ummmmm....definite NO on least I don't feel faint when looking at the stairs anymore. As for #2, not at midnight, in a quiet village, when it's pitch black, in the pouring rain/windy/storm. Soooooo I decided to deal with it in the morning and went to bed (see above).

I woke up, grabbed a light (electric was still out), put shoes on, and went down the front stairs, through the garage door, and turned on the popped main breaker. Belle was nice enough protective enough to go with and stay with me while I did so. :-D

That major minor detail of going to bed, alone (Belle deserted me for her bed in the lounge), in a creepily quiet house made my thankful for the 11th very easy....I am beyond thankful for a cold, dark evening and a man named Benjamin Franklin and his invention of......electricity!
Ben Franklin
Image found:

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thankfulness Day 10


On Christmas Eve 1999 around 7:30pm, there was a knock at our front door. Hubby went to go answer it while I held onto the collar of our dog Danny. He spoke to the visitor for a few minutes in low tones; wished the person a Merry Christmas; then I heard the door shut. I let Danny go and stood so we could leave to go look at Christmas lights (our original plan). Lights left my mind when he walked around the corner. In his arms was a tan length of fluff with a huge red bow around her neck. She was sooooo tiny and nervous. We learned she was born about 2 weeks after we got married. By the time she arrived at our door (an early Christmas present from my darling hubby), she was only 4 months old.

From that time on, her and her brother (not by birth) have been constant companions to us. Since hubby's job takes him away for weeks or sometimes months at a time, those moving pieces of furniture have been with me through thick and thin. Through good and bad. Through tears and smiles. Through hurrahs and fears. Through health and sickness. Through an accident (post after November thankfulness is over) and through the healing process.

June 14, 2012 was a rough day. Belle's brother Danny passed away. The vet believes that it was because of a tumor...either in his liver or pancreas. Since that time, Belle has been a sweet, caring companion that has helped me get through another one of hubby's looooong work trips. She is sweet, cheeky, loving, and a comforting presence. I am thankful that God has given us such a sweet friend.

I was on my way to bed and found this....

Thankfulness Day 9

Today was a few errands and more training. I've been training one day a week for the past few weeks to take over as Treasurer at our church. It helps both me (who for the moment is assistant treasurer) and the primary. Why? He needs to devote more time to family and I'm in university to obtain an accounting degree. So, we both benefit. Win win I guess.

I am very glad that my dad pushed my husband and I to "find a church when {we got} home." But we couldn't just pick any church. Why not? 1. We live in Italy. 2. We don't speak/understand Italian....well, enough not to starve. lol  3. We're not Catholic (the dominate religion here). Hubby was told of a church in a specific area. We found out later that the church the folks had meant was across the street and not the one we walked into. Divine intervention. We were meant to go into this specific church. The majority of the people that also go to this church feel like members of our family. The pastor and his wife are surrogate parents to many....including me. Yep, they treat me like a daughter and I treat them like parents. Let me clarify: I treat them like parents after a child that's grown up and has her own life and not a sponge. Experience? A few friends back in America haven't learned that lesson quite yet.
OKAY.....that was a rabbit trail.


The 9th was scheduled as an evening to go to a restaurant to have steaks and then across the river to get gelato. The steaks aren't small. They are cooked over an open fire to request. Salad, fries, and grilled veggies are placed on the table to be passed around.

This evening was spent in the company of a great group of folks from the above-mentioned church. I laughed so hard on the way up to the restaurant; during the time at the restaurant and the gelateria; and most of the way back. We ate yummy food until we were all stuffed and almost bursting at the seams. The camaraderie was wonderful and the laughter was much needed. I think part of the laughter had to do with arriving back at the church at close to midnight, but who knows?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thankfulness Day 8

A rough morning. I woke up with a headache. Sounds bad right? Well, a morning headache turns into a migraine rather quickly. I ate my breakfast bar with a mini Coke and downed 2 Aleve hoping that the chocolate, the caffeine, and the drugs would work together and work quickly. I should have known better.

I was rather blessed however. Normally when I have a morning migraine, I tend to get nauseous. If I eat (in order to take meds), I get sick. That didn't happen....yeah! However, the fact that the best thing I can do is to eat, take meds, and then nap for 2 hours to kill the ache didn't apparently dawn on me.

A few hours later, I ate lunch and took 2 more Aleve...once again thinking within 20 minutes Bye-Bye ache.
When will I learn?
I spent the whole day snacking (bad) and drinking Coke (bad) and vegging in front of the computer watching back episodes of CSI. See....being overseas I miss a lot of shows. I am rather behind on.....well, most of them. So, I've been trying to get mostly caught up. That was my day.

What I'm thankful for is knowledge.
--Knowledge I'm receiving from all of the college classes that I take on-line in order to obtain a Bachelor's degree.
--Knowledge that comes from experience. Sometimes this particular knowledge is hard won. Literally.
--Knowledge that comes from life. Each day I learn something new. That is one thing that we should always strive for: learn something new Every. Single. Day.

Image from:

One day I will look back on this time. I will hopefully retain most of what I'm currently learning. I hope to continue to soak in knowledge. Not only concerning my degree, but also "street" knowledge and common sense.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thankfulness Day 7

The election results technically came in late last night, but given that I was asleep by the time all of the polls closed, it was morning before I learned the result. Am I surprised by the results? Some. I'm the type of voter that wants to know what the results of ALL of the ballot...not just the "biggie." So, I did a search and came up with a website that gave me what I was looking for: results by state and then broken down by county. That gave me the result of everything I voted on. A few, I was surprised. I wondered if some of the amendments weren't actually read and/or researched by the voters. Did the "title" sound good? Oh yeah. However, when you actually read what it wanted to do, the result was not something I wanted....or something I did want depending on the issue. Was the result of the "biggie" surprising? Not after I read the results of the other states amendments. And I'll leave my election comments at that. The End.

I am thankful for plenty to eat. In our house we have the normal fridge/freezer. We also have two food cabinets and a couple shelves in our pantry. Those added together equal being very blessed. We have enough to eat as well as to help out others that are less fortunate.

This is an old picture. It's a lot more empty (de-cluttered) and more organized. The picture is about 2 years old...ish.

That is one thing that I learned growing up: help others out. Did my parents specifically teach that? No. They didn't have to. I learned to help others in need by watching what they did nearly Every. Single. Day. They taught me by example. They taught me right from wrong; about the Lord and His Word; about being honest; many others that I can't think of right now. What they didn't "teach" was how they lived. When my parents came across someone in need of something, they had something at home that might work.

Example: Someone they know mentions needing to go get a warmer coat for winter.
Response: "You know? I think I might have an "old" coat at home that won't fit anymore. I'll bring it just might fit you."
Wouldn't you know it? That coat fit nearly perfect. Was it old? Rarely. But it was a way to help out so that the person wouldn't feel like they were taking charity. Well, if you're not using it......  As far as I know, they are still doing that. My dad's a mechanic. He enjoys working on mowers and weed eaters. He's fixed quite a few for folks to "help them out".

A lesson learned, but not taught.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thankfulness Day 5

Today was busy. I got a message Sunday night asking if I could work today. I am the assistant secretary at our church. Well, that's the title, but I mainly fill in for the actual secretary when she is either on holiday, sick, or (as happened today) is indisposed. After work (which is a total of 5 hours a day for 2 days a week), I ran all my weekly errands...or so I thought until I got home. *sigh Oh well, good thing I have an appointment Wednesday since I forgot a couple things. I spent the evening watching a movie: "Madea's Witness Protection." OMStars!!!!!!!!! I laughed until my sides hurt and tears were streaming down my face. Love a Tyler Perry movie. I have yet to find a bad one.

I am thankful for being able to fill in for the full-time secretary. Not too long ago I wasn't able to because of an infection (and then allergic reactions) from a random bug bite. Of all of the folks in the area, me and some  guy (get that...TWO people) happen to be allergic to the bites. Nice. That is also a topic for a different post. Let's just say that it happened the end of July and I'm still fighting the infection. Anywho...... I am not only thankful for the ability to go in, but also the extra money that comes from those few hours that will help when we move. Moving expenses from Italy are...well, let's just say OUCH. Or so we've heard. I'm taking all of the comments and tips and gripes I've heard from people who have already done so to heart and have started to compile my list(s) and my buffers. One buffer is where the funds are going. I have time and will utilize as much time as we're given. Also, I'm thankful I'm able to help out a church and church family that has helped me/us in the past 2 years. I truly do no know where I would be if not for the church and a few key folks there...especially the ladies. Amazing group of women. Some have already moved on ( other countries or America), some are still here, but all are added to my thankful list. Love them!

Thankfulness Day 6

*Edited: This is the normal post for today. I forgot to post Mondays, so there are two for today (Tuesday)

Today was a busy day for me, but enjoyable. I met a few lovely ladies at a nearby town. We had a cafe, then strolled through the market where I got Rucola (or Arugala in America), butter cookies, and 2 scarfs. We went and had lunch with half of it coming home with me in a box for lunch in a day or two. Then one of the ladies and I went to 2 shops further away. One is a store that sells fresh fruit, veg, and meat for cheaper than most stores. I got Brussels Sprouts; my friend got some cauliflower. They also sell common spices for cheaper than I can get it around the corner...less than $1. Driving home was distracting given God decided to showcase His latest painting. After I dropped my friend off at her house, I stopped on the way home to get this:

Although it's not as amazing as the previous sights, it was still beautiful. The pic was taken with my phone, so it's grainy and doesn't pick up either the lightning flickering above/behind the top cloud or the light pink just above the clouds.

Today I am grateful for a particular freedom. November the 6th, occurring every four years, Americans vote on who they want to work to run their country. Not too many years ago (definitely in my parent's lifetime....although they are older than most....besides the point.....anywho.....), the only Americans that were allowed to vote were white men. That's it. Now, all US citizens over 18 can vote. I'm doubly blessed since I am not currently residing IN the US at the moment.

Did I exercise my right? Yes I did. But not on this day did I drive my vehicle to a voting site, show my voter's card and ID, go inside a curtained booth, push buttons to select my choices, and walk out after receiving a sticker. I did 8 years ago. This year, as well as 4 years ago, I exercised my right via Absentee Ballot by mail. I requested my form via mail and waited. I received an email that allowed me to download and print my ballot....which included my state of residency (per the district) choices as well. I then mailed it off to the Election office for my state in order for it to be counted along with all of the other mail-in ballots. While I won't mention who all I chose, I will say that I am thankful that our forefathers, along with amendments and technology, allowed me to exercise a freedom on this day, a specific day held only once every 4 years.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Thankfulness Day 4

Today was a cool and rainy Sunday. I woke up and wondered if I shouldn't be still asleep. I looked over at the clock....nope, time to get up. That's one thing I don't like about days like're body wonders for most of the day if it should still be recharging somewhere. I got plenty of sleep, but yawned all day like it was past midnight. As I'm typing this, I can hear it pouring. When that happens I know it's hard rain as my dad says. The walls of the houses here in Italy aren't built like American houses. Nope. The walls are cinderblocks and concrete. Yeah, hanging pictures are a blast! That is until we got smart, but that's for a different post. Anywho......the point is, the walls are thick! That is also kinda a bad thing in the winter. Once the walls cool down to the outside temp (it takes them a couple days of consistent cool), they hold in the cold. The way I explained it to my sister was this: think about it this's like living in a electric/radiator-ran cellar....only above ground. The walls are solid....there is NO way there is a vehicle going through these babies!
Ummmmm.....where was I? Oh yeah. The point of this post. Thankfulness.

Today I am thankful for healing. One day (probably after this month is over) I will type up what happened a year ago in detail. Suffice it to say, I splintered both leg bones in my left leg last July. One year ago, I was hobbling down the stairs (all 24 of them) in the chill and the rain in this:

Some doctors call it a walking boot; some call it a moon boot. While I hated putting it on every. single. time I got out of bed or the shower and taking it off every. single. time I went to bed or took a shower, I was thankful I had it. The black contraption meant that I was allowed to walk anywhere without the support of a wheelchair or crutches. While I dreaded it, I grew rather attached to it.

A year's still rainy, but today my footwear was

.....a pair of white strappy dress shoes. The heel is no longer high (maybe an inch), but that little heel is a HUGE improvement to the sandals and the trainers I was wearing. :-)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Thankfulness Day 3

Today was still cool, but not as chilly as it has been. I spent the day inside...kinda bummed. Why? Who knows. I have days where I'm just "bummy" as I tell hubby. Maybe it's chick hormones or the weather or the earlier times for darkness. I am still reminded, even on those not-so-happy-cheerful days that there is much to be thankful for.

It's been difficult narrowing my choice for today. I could probably start at A and go through Z (Z might be hard one...hmmmmmm) with at least one thing that I'm thankful for. I don't want to pick just a random thing each day though. I want to choose something, each day, that I the most thankful for on that day. I already know what tomorrow's will be (I, but this is today.

Today I am most thankful for my salvation. One of the reasons I've been "bummy" is that I haven't felt all that "public worthy". Makes no sense? That's means that I have no desire to go out into public until I change something. Sometimes I have no choice....there are things to do, errands to run, and no hubby to send after work to do them (he's on a business trip). Today, fortunately, was not one of those days. Even when I feel at my not-so-good or even at my worst (those lovely days of sickness that we all have), He still loves me.

Years ago I realized I needed Jesus Christ, confessed my sins, and became His child. I strayed a few years later out of anger (long story....maybe one day). I came back to Him like the story of the Prodigal Son. Even on days like today or those "Ugh! Just kill me now and put me out of my misery" days, He doesn't see the "ickyness" or the "grossness" or the "illness". He just sees His child. And He loves me.

There have been times when it was just me and my 2 dogs (or now just 1) and I have felt so alone. I've cried out to Him for comfort...knowing that there was no one else I could call or turn to (sometimes because of my stubbornness not to call, but that's beside the point). Guess what? He heard me (as He always has and always will) and comforted me. I can't begin to explain it, but suddenly I didn't feel so alone. I didn't feel like the whole world was against me and hated me (yep, that's irrational...I have a loving family). I didn't feel unloved or unwanted.

The Bible speaks of Heaven. Yes, I do believe that it is a real place that I will go whenever I die. However, if there was no Heaven; no way to see loved ones that have passed on; no way I could thank Jesus (in person) for all He's done for me and all He gave up, I would still be thankful that I became one of His children all those years ago and came back those years later. The comfort alone in those times when I need it the most is worth it.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Thankfulness Day 2

While the weather is still the autumn-type chilly, it was nice and sunny all day. My lovely dog Belle was happy to spend a large portion of it outside if front of the drive-through gate watching/sniffing all of the folks that walked/rode their bikes by. That seems to be her favorite part...she's happy just to lay in front of the gate and people-watch.

Today (and all of the other ones too) I am thankful for my darling hubby.

We met in 1996 and married just under 3 years later. He is my best friend and soul-mate. He is one of the few people in the world I can talk to and tell just about anything. He loves me when I'm having a good day, having fun, joking with him. He also loves me when I'm cranky, whiny, and down. His job takes him away for months at a time....this time as well. We keep in touch via calls (him to me), emails, and Facebook (sometimes just "checking in" and sometimes chats).

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Month of Thankfulness

Last year, a friend on Facebook reposted a challenge....I decided to accept the challenge and actually completed it. I've decided sometime during the year that I have spent waaaaaaay too much time on FB, so have decided to try to complete the challenge via this sorely-neglected blog.
What is the challenge?

To post something every day during the entire month of November for something you're thankful for that day. I did my utmost to never post duplicates, but something different each day. It helps give thanks back to the Lord for His many blessings. It also reminds us me that when those days of gloom and doom (even if it's internal) seem never-ending and bring us me down, that there is sooooo much to be thankful for. Kind of a reality check.

Today, for the 1st.
I am thankful that during this gloomy, rainy, chilly Autumn day, I have a dry roof over my head that is a house that we any upkeep is the landlord's responsibility.

FYI: It's a "two-story" house, but the only "livable" part is what's in the pic. Per local custom, the bottom half is the garage/storage. Yep, when we park our vehicle out of the elements inside the garage, it is actually directly under our bedroom.

Odd customs in other parts of the world sometimes.

Friday, October 26, 2012


I saw this at Success Along the Weigh and thought I would answer as well. Why not right?

A is for Apple, what’s your favorite variety?
Granny Smith. Love the tartness

B: is for Bread, regardless of nutrition, calories, or whole grains what is your favorite type to have a nice big piece of?
Local Italian dipped in a mixture of Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, & shredded Parmesan Cheese

C: is for Cereal what is your favorite kind currently (just one!) Currently-
Rarely eat cereal, but it's either Rice Chex, Crispix, or Special K

D: is for Doughnuts, you might not currently be eating them but what kind do you fancy?
Glazed twists from Dunkin Donuts YUM!

E: is for Eggs, how would you like yours?
Deviled or boiled with Helman's Mayonnaise 

F: is for Fat Free, what is your favorite fat free product?
Not sure

G: is for Groceries, where do you purchase yours at?
Local shops

H: is for Hot Beverages, what is your favorite hot drink?
Green Tea. Occasionally like hot chocolate if it's done with milk and not water

I: is for Ice Cream, pick a favorite flavor and add a fun topping.
Gelato...the best one is (translated) Sweet Creme or (translated) Sweet Creme Cheesecake

J: is for Jams or Jellies, do you eat them, and if so what kind and flavor?
If I do, it's either Grape or Blackberry

K: is for Kashi, name your favorite Kashi product?
Never tried it

L: is for Lunch, what was yours today?
Lately it's been Brats with or without Lays and a coke (made a bunch and have to eat them up or let them go bad)

M: is for microwave, what is your favorite microwave meal/snack?
Meal: Marie Callendars
Snack: Cheesy Popcorn

N: is for nutrients, do you likes carbs, fats, or proteins best?
No clue

O: is for oil, what kind do you like to use?
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

P: is for protein, how do you get yours?

Q: is for Quaker, how do you like your oats?
If it's oatmeal, then plain with a bit of hot water (hubby calls it mortar it's so
I do like the oatmeal cookies, but made into bars

R: is for roasting, what is your favorite thing to roast?
Chicken (buy)

S: is for sandwich, what’s your favorite kind?
Turkey usually

T: is for travel, how do you handle eating while traveling?
I tend to pick a healthier meal at restaurants if we're going for the restaurant. I usually pick a chicken dish or a salad since I'm such a picky eater. I do try to leave a bit (maybe even half...depending on the portion size) and rarely get dessert unless I have that rare craving which usually tends to be a strawberry cheesecake (Man! Haven't had a slice in forever!!!) Ahem.....moving on........

U: is for unique, what is one of your weirdest food combos?
Fries dipped in a mixture of ketchup and mayo (it's popular here in Europe and called orange sauce by some). I do like dipping Granny Apple apple slices in a mixture of Cream Cheese and Marshmallow Fluff....the mixture of tart and sweet...YUM

V: is for vitamins, what kind do you take?
One a Day

W: is for wasabi, yay or nay?

X: is for XRAY.   If we x-rayed your belly right now, what food would we see?
Salad from dinner

Y: is for youth, what food reminds you of your childhood?
Lots of crap but mmm! :-)
Little Debbie snack cakes; Push Ups (the Popsicle that we used the plastic bits as Barbie umbrellas); Pizza Hut Supreme (picked most of the veggies; Miracle Whip (mom ONLY bought that); watermelon with salt in the summer; cheeseburgers from a local burger place; Mt. Dew (don't drink anymore); Domino's Pizza with Coke at my sister's house; Mt. Dew with peanuts dropped in on long road trips; Mac 'N Cheese (first thing I cooked for myself); pork chops (first I cooked for family); French Toast (first thing cooked EVER....not having a CLUE what I was doing, but made it based on the color I remember when my mom cooked it....for a group of girls {and the parents} the morning after a slumber party); school pizza and fries (the rectangular slices were...OMStars!!!!)

Z: is for zucchini, how do you prepare it?
Sliced or quartered...if sliced, then spritz of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter and a sprinkling of shredded Parmesan and popped in the oven to broil (tastes like buttered popcorn!). If quartered, either grilled with EVOO (via hubby) or sauteed in a pan with EVOO

Pick the last letter in your first name and tell me the answer in the comments! :)  

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Sorry it's been so long since I've been on. That is a loooooong story and not going to happen this time. Sorry

I was reading one of my "must read" blogs and it had the topic of never. There is a game during school times growing up or, the more adult version, in college, about I have never {Insert action/whatnot}. Those that have, at least in college, etc., drink. Soooooo I thought I would add my own list.

Hmmm....after reading hers, I'd already be half-drunk. Well, this might be more difficult than I thought.

1. Tried an illegal drug.
This one is easy. Nope, don't have any desire to do so. I will say that I was in a house where they offered it to everyone (I was a teen & highly naive....I didn't realize the smell until later. Yeah, so.....). Another time, at an outdoor concert in Florida. It was the lead singer for an 80s hair band that had split up. This lady was grooving (?) to the music beside me and asks if I want a hit. I'm not paying attention, turn to her and say, "Scuse me?" (rather confused). [Half high] responds, "A hit?" My response was this: "No thank you. My hubby's military and we don't do that." Her eyes got huge! She bee-lined it outta there closer to the front. Odd response. Hubby got back (after getting us something to drink) and asked if he missed anything. I sooooo couldn't wait to tell him.

2. Been in a military aircraft that's been airborne.
This may seem, REALLY?!?!, but wait. I was in the military for four years, got out, and became a military spouse. I have PCSed (moved) once for me alone; four times since we've been married. I have been in the planes when they're grounded to take a tour (the base we were at opened up part of the base so the locals could see what they were hearing close up), but that's it. Not once. I did have an opportunity last year, but because I was still healing from a splintered leg and couldn't run in the Moon Boot I had to wear, it was a no go. *sigh....maybe one day

3. Been bungy jumping
This is another Not Going to Happen one. Nope. Sorry. I loved sky was a rush unlike anything else....even coasters. Having a rope tied to my ankles and jump or shoved off a TALL object in order to see the ground come rushing towards your face?!?!?! What's not to like? *SHUDDER!!!!!!!!!!! I would probably have died from a massive coronary before the rope caught. I have a fear of falling. Yeah, I know, so why the sky diving? To help rid me of my fear....and it did A LOT. The fear is still there. Now, because of an accident, I'm more cautious.

4. I've never had my tonsils or appendix out.
Growing up, my parents believed that doctors were only there in an emergency. The whole "yearly checkup"...yeah, not so much. A dentist? Didn't see one (after toddler years) until I joined the military. Thankful for very good genes: rarely have a cavity! So, if it wasn't broke, don't fix it. Did I ever have swollen tonsils? You betcha! Still do at times. They've just never gotten to the point of "Take me out now!!!"

5. Skied
No snow skiing or water skiing. I was going to water ski one year with my sister and her now ex-hubby, but she thought I should wait another year. By the time the next year rolled around, things had changed and no option to try. I ended up being married to a guy who loved skiing (hard to do so when you end up moving to warmer climates), so I figured one day he could teach me. Year before, I didn't have the equipment (no snow-weather parka/leggings/etc) and we were really busy. Last winter, healing from a splintered tibia and fibula. Now? No thank you!!!! I've had enough brokenness to last.

So......what have you never?

Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Looooong Journey

Little did I know that a little search would lead me down the path I'm currently on.

Many months ago, I did an internet search for cleaning because I wanted an easier/simple cleaning schedule. I found a single blog. I found it so entertaining, I started reading from the beginning. That led to (eventually) a total of 5 organizing/cleaning blogs that I subscribe to that, yes, I have read from the beginning. All 4 are fun to read from ladies that I would love to meet. One usually has me in stitches....LOVE her humor. :-)

I discovered through those blogs that it is easier to clean clear spaces that are sorted and organized than it is to clean junk. Gotcha. So.....that pushed back the cleaning schedule (still not sorted...oops) and started in on phase 1 of......yeah, who knows how many phases. Time to organize. While I was organizing, I started to get rid of some things that I either 1) Didn't REALLY like to begin with so why sort them and/or 2) Didn't want to sort them/organize them.

Then I innocently went to our local library in search of free organizing books. I have bought books before, got them home, just to discover they weren't for me. Sooooo....borrow first and then if I like them ALOT, then I can buy them. Yeah....little did I know I would be "introduced" to an author that would turn our lives another direction and make my current path a little clearer. Who? A gentleman by the name of Brooks Palmer. He wrote a book that I could not put down. I have tried for YEARS to de-clutter and have.....some. Something clicked. I suddenly realized it was okay to toss stuff....I'm keeping the memory, but don't have to keep the {insert item}. I happen to be a sentimental type...the one that remembers (for the most part) where {insert item} came from. That, very irritatingly at times, makes it rather difficult when it comes to getting rid of stuff. Well, I can't get rid of the vase because our friend brought it back especially for us. *sigh Because of that one trait, we I have kept more than I actually want, but hard to get rid of. Somehow with that book, it was okay to donate that hideous interesting sweater vest mom gave me. Does she still love me? Yes. Do I still love her? Yes. I kept it for one excuse reason or another,'s now gone. Pppfffeeeeewww

That phase has been going along nicely....lots of bags of clothes to the bins for donation; garage sale; classifieds to sell some, etc. I went through a period of "THAT'S IT!!!!!!!!!!!!! TRASH IT ALLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" (screamy bits are intentional since that's what I felt) Then we did our garage sale and I came back down to earth. Things are now on the classifieds (overseas at the moment so no Craigslist, etc.) or to be taken to a thrift shop or two (no Goodwill either :-( ).

Then................along came my next blog. Not sure exactly HOW I came to finding it/start reading it, but it has altered my thinking yet again.

Every time I mentioned de-cluttering to someone it would be with a sigh and an explanation: "I'm a wanna-be minimalist that was raised by a pack rat." I believed that that whole living with nothing or next to it was pretty much impossible for me. Then along came the Yeah.....TOTALLY altered my thinking. How? I've discovered that a minimalist doesn't mean a bed in a room with boring white walls and that's it. Au contraire my friend. It means to live with what you need and love and that's it. A LOT different from the nothing-in-a-room idea I had. Ahhhhhh that....maybe. So....I we are now on the way to becoming minimalists. I thought it would be just me, but hubby is totally on board! Sooooo much easier. :-) Wish me us luck :-)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

5 Places to See

Well, one of the many (and growing) blogs I read just posted about 5 places. Hers was where she'd rather be (over housework), mine is more.....dreams. Places I would love to visit and are on my bucket list to go to. Sooooo......

1. Egypt
The pyramids, the sphinx, the Nile, ahhhhhhh. One of the top ones, if not the number 1. Hubby, not too sure wants to go, but would probably tag along with me.

2. Australia
Not sure where, just the whole continent would be nice. A swing by Sydney to snap a few pics and the rest is up to whatever tour guide/hubby takes me. One of the items on my bucket list was to see in person (no zoo) a kangaroo. Imagine my surprise when hubby & I went to visit my parents' house September a year ago. We went to a local event called Frontier Days. Long story, but can be a lot of fun. We were meandering around and found 2 very cool things (AND got to cross not one, but TWO things off my bucket list). My mom & I got to ride on an elephant AND they had a Joey there. Yep, I got to hold a Joey inside of his bag. Soooooooo cute!!! *sigh
See? He's waving. Collective: awwwwwwwwwww

3. Pompeii/Herculaneum
This one is actually a possibility in the foreseeable future. Ok...rabbit trail. For those of you who don't know, back hundreds of years ago, when Pompeii was being destroyed on one side, Herculaneum was being destroyed on the other. Most have never heard of the town since Pompeii is the biggie. I, however, took ancient Roman history and both towns were mentioned and discussed. Pompeii is more touristy because there is more of the city unearthed/preserved.
We live in the northern part of Italy at the moment because of my husband's job. While we are still here, these are 2 cities that we both want to spend some time in. They will probably be on our "Rome" trip. Yep, that one's coming up too. :-)

4. Japan
Again, don't really care what part, but want to see most of it. I would love to add Tokyo to my list of visited cities as well. Mainly because that's one of the biggies that we've all heard/read about. I would love to see
the culture, taste the food (to see if it's anything like the "Japanese" restaurants we go to), walk around and see the pagodas, take pictures of the lovely tress only seen in geisha films (there were 2 or 3 that came out not tooooooo long ago that made me want to go even more) or in other people's pictures.

5. Anywhere sightseeing with my hubby
I know, sounds rather awwww or sappy, but it's true. While most of the ladies I know want to visit Such-and-Such with their girlfriends, hubby is truly my best friend. We travel well together: I drive, he navigates. I love seeing new things/sites/experiences with him. There are times that I could've gone somewhere, but unless it's somewhere that I know (or am pretty sure) that he doesn't care about, I won't go. There are 2 places around here and 1 thing that I'll go without him: a glass place, a ceramic place, and a tour based on an author's character. Other than that, I want him along-side me. We can look back together, via memories and/or pictures and re-collect the experiences that we had on that particular adventure.

What about you? Where do you want to go?