Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ciao, 2009!

Today I find myself, as I'm sure most of the world is, reflecting on 2009. Without a doubt 2009 is the year I've spent the most consecutive time with my husband. That alone makes it the best year to date. While it hasn't been as world shaking as 2006 (I graduated college, got married, moved to Italy and started my first job), I've had so many more adventures and experienced more things than I ever thought that a little girl born in Wichita, Kansas, would ever live to see.

Some 2009 highlights:

I got high-speed, wireless internet (lived without for 3 years)
5th visit to Rome
My first visit to France
I fell in love with Dusseldorf
I became a commander's wife
Saw my first rugby match
Went to Oktoberfest
Said goodbye to my husband
for the second time

And resolutions? I don't think I really have any this year. I do think I'm going to try to spend a little less time on Twitter and a little more time creating. Creating in all ways: cooking, writing, crafting, learning, stretching, conversing, creating more balance.

Now that I type it out that acutally looks like one of the biggest resolutions I've ever made.

Goodbye, 2009, you've been so good to me. Arrivederci!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

After Christmas shopping

One thing I miss the most about the States is the clearance, especially after Christmas sales. At least I have the miracle of the internets and the internets have spread their world wide web tendrils to my Macbook. And my Visa.

50% off at Barnes and Noble.

A list, yes?

  • The Shaper the Knife the less You Cry
  • Nigella Express
  • How to Eat
  • The Wilde Women
  • The Prince of Tides
  • Love Walked In
There are two Nigella Lawson books on there. She writes her cookbooks like books to be read, not directions to be followed. Her love for simple, well made food is something that I admire and share.

Plus she's gorgeous.

And my 3 year old nephew saw a picture of her once and said, "It's Nikki!" My aspirations of secretly taking over Nigella's life and making it my own started then.

I've been thinking about new year's resolutions. I just made my deployment goals so new years resolutions for me seem like they'd just be echoing what I've already set out to do. That doesn't mean I'm not making some. I'll keep you posted.

Resolutions for y'all?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Eve

I don't know how many of you know about life at an APO. But the government tries to provide the people here with basic comforts of home. One of those comforts is publishing a newspaper in English that can even be delivered to your house. (or you can check it out online) This is today's front page. The small print under the picture says:

With sleigh bells attached to his rucksack, Mike Lord waits for a helicopter at Camp Liberty in Baghdad on Tuesday. Lord, a civilian contractor at the base, said he'd grown out his hair and beard for the season and planned to visit as many U.S. bases as he could in his up-armored sleigh.

People like Mike Lord make me smile.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Someone wants to say hi

That's the love of my life. He's saying hi to me, our niece, and my mother-in-law. He makes my heart go pitter-pat. Doesn't he look hot? He looks kinda badass too with that gun strapped to his leg. Which, in my completely unbiased opinion, makes him hotter.

Oh, dear. I better stop before this post moves up from a PG rating.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one.

While most people are waiting to take vacation and take their Christmas breaks, this is the busiest time of the school year for us (let's not talk about summer). Our center is open from 0600 to 1800 (6 am to 6pm) on days that there is no school. I am working the morning shift into the afternoon with no lunch. Awesome, right?

The amount of work drama that has been going on today is off the charts. I don't think I have enough engery at this point to recount what's been going on. That and if you don't know the people explaining the back story will take longer than anything.

So, I'm around. Just busy at work. I hope to have more posts about more interesting stuff soon.

3 days 'til Christmas!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Let it snow!

from back balcony

This is what I woke up to this morning! A picture taken from my back balcony gives you an idea. And believe it or not it's still snowing. This rarely happens. I plan on drinking peppermint tea all day.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Hello friends. I'm lucky enough to be puppy sitting this cutie while her owner is in the States for two weeks to celebrate Christmas with her family.

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Shopping: check

I finally have all my Christmas shopping (that I have to mail) pretty much done. I spent all last night wrapping presents and got the big one mailed out to my parents today. I'm hoping to get everything mailed out by Friday.

I have a confession: I usually really hate shopping for Christmas presents. I know that sounds weird but living overseas from the rest of my family I'm really at a loss. I don't know if cousin Annie has taken up knitting or if my dad discovered a new love for tofu. This is the kinda stuff you miss out on when you don't see your family regularly. And you can only buy the women so many baskets of soap and bubble bath. The men really don't need that many do-dads. I'm starting to run out of "Italian" things to send people too.

I felt the same distain this year, too. Then as I was wrapping presents a transformation started to occur. I started to get excited about what the people receiving the gifts would think and looked like when they opened them. I started picturing their faces, their excitement. It made me excited. Now I can't wait to get these last few things in the mail instead of dragging my feet like I usually do.

So what about y'all? Feet draggers on Christmas gifts or do you skip to the stores?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Best Christmas Card Ever

My Aunt Aimee sent me this card along with a HUGE box of presents for the hubs and I. She's an artist. I haven't opened the presents yet, but I think this my be my favorite present in there.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas cookie/movie extravaganza!

On Saturday I got together with some friends to make Christmas cookies and watch Christmas movies.

The recipe said it made 3 dozen. But I'm pretty sure we only got 18ish cookies out of it. And no, we didn't eat gobs of cookie dough either. It just didn't make a lot, which is weird because usually sugar cookie recipes make a ton of cookies.

The icing was also a taaaaaaad runny. Wasn't it Martin Luther King who said, "it's the flavor that counts, not the beauty." Or something like that.

I made Buddy the Elf from the movie Elf (which we watched) in cookie form. He was delicious.

We also made Christmas hearts.


It is SO a thing.

This is Cecilia (in grey) and Missy (in green). They were two of my three cookie cohorts. No one was too keen on getting their picture taken since we were all in our sweats. It didn't stop me.

Movies watched:

The Muppets Christmas Carol
Love Actually
The Grinch
Charlie Brown's Christmas

Extravaganza? Complete success!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Slowly getting in the Spirit

It's wasn't until last week when I went to the Christmas market that I started feeling like doing anything Christmasy. I'm still on the fence about decorating my house. So I decided to make one of the things I look at the most, my computer, in the holiday mood then maybe I would be too.

I got this cute background from Pixelgirl Presents. Check it out. They have some other cool ones too.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Behind every good man is a good woman. And that woman is Martha Washington.

I've done it. I've taken the plunge. I'm going back to school. I've decided to get my associates in early childhood education. I already have my bachelor's in english. I have been thinking about getting my masters for some time, but I can't commit to a field of study for that massive amount of money.

I also LOVE school. I love it like I love puppies and flowers and writing. I love going to class and getting in discussions about WHAT an author was trying to say when really deep down I think they were just telling a story and people get all nutso after the fact just so they can go to class to get in said discussions. So if I do go for my master's I want to go to class. Talk. Get red marks on my papers from my peers. At this point in my life I don't have a university that can provide me that in a brick and mortar setting like I want. So I'm waiting until I'm 100% committed to spend 50k to go to a room and talk with other people about a book I read. (I really should join a book club.)

Online associates it is.

Hey, military spouses. If there are any of you out there reading this blog I have to let you in on a secret. It's called MyCAA. They give military spouses $6000 for school. It's super easy to apply and get approved. You should do it. They are paying for my school in full. The support that the American community is starting to give to military families is amazing.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Me: Hi, my name is Nikki. Blog readers: Hi, Nikki.

I’m going to be brutally honest with you today. If you can’t handle the self deprecation and whining, stop reading now. Go check out a happier blog post. I have a lot of them before this one.

DIGRESSION: Out of the 1 billion blogs on the internet I’m pretty sure .86 billion of those are for whining. I don’t want to hear your whining. The whole world certainly doesn’t want to hear your whining. Most of your friends would prefer if you would just shut up. Please let me help you. Go to a bookstore or Wal-mart or your personal computer and buy a journal or notebook or open a word processor and write your whinings there. Then close your chosen apparatus and feel better about whatever was bothering you. That way if you ever become famous no one can you words that you published freely against you. Or if you never become famous your mother-in-law, or future mother-in-law if you wish to one day become married, won’t be able to hold those words said in self pity and anger against you. END DIGRESSION

My husband left for Afghanistan a week ago. I usually give myself a grieving period of 3 days when he leaves for a long time. And by grieving I usually mean playing a game my most favorite Joshilyn Jackson calls “What can I eat?” I am the most professional champ of this game even though I HATE it. I hate it with the fire of 1,000 suns. (If you want to know how this game is played check out this post.) But the thing is that I have taken this game to a new level. I MAKE things to eat that are generally not ok for dinner. Example: If I want something sweet and don’t have any cookies or chocolate in the house I’ll make a bowl of frosting and eat it. ALL OF IT. IN ONE SITTING.

While I’m eating whatever I’ve made I’m usually thinking, “Why am I doing this? I don’t want to eat all this. After this bite I’m going to stop. After this bite I’m going to stop. Now I’m really going to stop. I’m stopping. I just have to eat this one side to make it look even with the other side. I am a horrible person for eating all this.”

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Sad, no?

It has to stop. I didn’t stop after the 3 day grieving process. On day 5 I went to the commissary and bought lots of healthy foods like spinach and fish with plans of stopping the madness. Day 6 started well but it ended with chicken fingers, French fries, chocolate fudge brownie ice cream and cheesecake.

What better way to stop a destructive behavior than to admit on a public forum that you make icing for the intent of eating it from the bowl and that you followed chocolaty ice cream with a whopping piece of cheesecake and that I bought brownie mix for the sole purpose of eating the batter? Wait, I hadn’t mentioned the brownie batter before. More ammo for y’all to keep me in line with.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas flowers

I feel like Italy is the Christmas capitol of the world. 98% of the Italian community is Roman Catholic... of course. So Christmas here isn't taboo like it was becoming in the States when I left 3 years ago. I don't think anything there has really changed.

Here's another little tidbit about Italians where I live: they love fake flowers. I mean LOVE them. They have stands full of fake flowers at the market. They have the real flowers too, but more often than not they are fake. So real looking I almost bought some to take home until I heard the vendor say "plastica" and I realized.

I bought a few ornaments from this little stand. It was homemade ornaments in support of a local elementary school.

I hope y'all are ready for Christmas overload on this blog because there is more to come.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Camisano Christmas

Every Sunday Camisano has a market. It's the best market in this area if you ask me. Today, next Sunday and the Sunday after they have little Christmas additions.

Here's a hot chocolate stand at the market:

Sometimes you gotta add more chocolate to the chocolatey-ness. Italian hot chocolate is out of this world. It's really thick and not too sweet. It's like liquid chocolate. I know that the name hot chocolate insinuates liquid chocolate but Italian hot chocolate is really just like melted, delicious, European chocolate. Next time you are in Italy in the winter time, I really suggest you pick one up.

They also had cute little handmade goods like these gooses:

There's some more good stuff I took pictures of at the market but it's a different type of stuff so I'll share tomorrow.

Happy Sunday.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

He's gone

I have been absent this past week because I've been trying to soak up every last moment with my love. He left for Afghanistan. He will be gone a year which I am so thankful for. The last deployment he went on was 15 months. It's going to make such a difference when 3 months of the deployment have gone by and we only have 9 months left instead of a year.

I have so many great goals that I can't wait to get started on while he's gone. Busy, busy, busy is the key. He's going to be busy staying safe. Please keep us both in your prayers.

Some things on my list of goals:
a trip to Paris (which is booked!)
furthering my education in education
write, write, write
read books
take tons of pictures

The list is still growing and I plan on recording progress of my adventures here. I love the internet for keeping track of my life so easily. I can have thoughts, pictures, videos, etc all in one place.