Saturday, December 25, 2010


Found this link on  ...have been wandering Raising Olives for the last few hours looking at the various posts.

If I can find some white dominos, I may make some to donate for next year's Santa Workshop.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Got to figure out how to share more pictures ..

I've upload too many pictures between my two blogs ... so I have to figure out how to set it up so I can share more of my life ... will be back soon!


Sunday, November 7, 2010


Spending most of my spare time putting the house in order - amazing the stuff that I have tossed and donated, as well as quite a bit that just needed to be put away.  An E-friend sends this into the E-group we both belong to ...thought I would use it for today.

For Today...

Outside my door ... it was sunny-ish this morning, ended up as cold, rainy and windy by the time DH came home from golfing.  He and a co-worker only got 9 holes in.  DH said it wasn't the rain that was the problem, it was the clouds ... you couldn't see where your ball headed off to and you sure couldn't see the greens.

The cat ... Indy was curled up on the couch under a fluffy blanket sleeping most of the day ... kinda cute listening to her little kitty snores.

From the kitchen...cleaned out the fridge and made chicken and rice soup from the left-over roasted chicken DH brought home for dinner last night.

I am hearing...right now, DH and I are listening to "Cool Runnings".  I really like the positive message of believe in yourself.

I am wearing...a tourist scrub shirt and fleecy pants - need socks, my feet are cold.

I am reading...a mushy romance "Wolf and Dove" as well as Debbie MacComber's "One Simple Act".

I am thinking... about my DS who is in Virginia for a week of schooling before heading off for his new command.

I am thankful for...the many blessings in my life.

I am hoping...the weather is nice next weekend when DH and I visit Rome.

I am creating... a mess?  With tossing, purging and general putting-away, I have several bags of donations for the thrift shop and another of papers for recycling when I go to work tomorrow.

One of my favorite things... the part of "Cool Runnings" after the team crashes (sad about the crash itself) when the team carries the bobsled to the finish line.

A few plans for the rest of the week...have a doctor's appointment on Thursday and then off to Rome for a couple of days explorations.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


DH and I have been exploring local festivals the last few weeks ... lots of them going on this month.  Here's a couple shots from Bronte (pistachios), Militello (prickly pears) and Zafferana Etnea (all sorts of produce grown on Mt Etna).
A car on display at Bronte that DH and a co-worker stopped to drool over ...
Street lights entering the town of Bronte ...

I'd rather eat the pistachios ... a window display on the main street of town ...

Beekeeper at Zafferana festival

Some of the items grown or produced on Mt Etna -
this is at Zafferana's festival

Prickly Pear liquor from Militello -
this area is famed for the prickly pears grown there

Always searching for love ... 
this is just of the many balloon characters on display 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I really enjoy looking at doorways and windows when outside the States .... so many wonderful details.   DH and I saw this one in Militello while enjoying the Prickly Pear Festival.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Terracotta sun DH and I found while exploring Ragusa Ibla. 
It's good sized ... over a foot across when you go from ray tip to ray tip.

Monday, October 18, 2010


After being gone to Naples the last four days, spent most of today catching up with laundry and making friends with Indy again (her nose was severely out of joint being left home alone all that time ...though I suspect she spent most of the time curled up sleeping in my bed).  Tossed together Taco Soup for dinner and made some cornbread with diced green chiles to go along with it.   This is one of DH and my favorite meals.

1 lb of lean ground beef 

1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced 
1 can of pinto beans, undrained
1 can of kidney beans, undrained
1 cup of frozen corn

1 can diced tomatoes
1 can Rotel tomatoes

1 4.5 oz can of diced green chilies (optional)
1package of ranch salad dressing mix 
1 package taco seasoning
1 to 3 cups of water (depends on how brothy you want the soup)

Brown the ground beef in a pan.  Add onion and garli and lightly brown.  Mix everything else in and cook approximately 30 minutes ...though longer doesn't hurt.  Have even made this in a crockpot.

I use whatever beans I have in the house and generally add a can of hominy to the mix.  We like the tortilla-flavour the hominy adds to the soup.  It's a pretty forgiving soup ... I've garnished it with any of the following:  crumbled tortilla chips, shredded cheese, sour cream, freshly chopped tomatoes, sliced olives or green onions. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Chicken pitchers are often given for housewarming gifts - to ensure safety from trepass and other dangers.  A friend in Spain had several,  one in a tuxedo.  I liked the tuxedo'd one so much, I have been looking for one for myself since DH and I moved back to Sicily.  Had a blue pitcher from our previous time in Sicily ... but the tuxedo'd chicken just had a lot of charm.   Finally found one a few days ago while DH and I were up in Naples to attend an International Bazaar at the Joint Services Base.  Hooray!  Both of mine are about 8" tall .. but you can get them from just a few inches tall to over a foot-tall. 

 The legend behind the pitcher - is it true or merely legend?  No one knows - but why tempt fate?

There were two wealthy families in the Republic of Florence in the early Renaissance period who were rivals for power. The Medici family held the power, but the Pazzi family wanted to grab it by killing the Medicis.

The Medicis, who had amassed their wealth by making peasants work their large land holdings, occasionally threw festivals for the peasants. Giuliano Medici especially liked the parties. So the Pazzis had someone suggest to Giuliano that he hold a festival in a village where one had never been held before.

The Pazzis then plotted to kill Giuliano and his guards at the end of the festival because they would be vulnerable from having drunk copious amounts of wine.

The Pazzis hired assassins, who probably would have succeeded except they had to sneak across a chicken yard to get to Giuliano. The chickens cackled in such a frenzy that it woke Giuliano and his guards, who caught and killed the assassins.

Giuliano was so excited that the chickens had warned him that he threw another festival the next night. He ordered artisans to create ceramic copies of chickens to be used as wine pitchers. Then he gave them to the peasants for good luck.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


On one of my genealogy newsletters, there was a mention of this song from WW2.  I looked it up on YouTube (found recordings by several people) and while the clip with Guy Lombardo was the clearest to listen to,  I just liked the personality of this recording...even though it's a bit fuzzy.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Lots of festivals going on here in Sicily now.  Last weekend, DH and I went to both a Pistachio festival in Bronte and another festival in Zafferana Etnea that will celebrate a different  products every Sunday this month.  Last Sunday, the focus was on grapes.  Other Sundays will focus on chestnuts, mushrooms, honey, wine and apples. 
Street lights in Bronte
Produce just picked this morning ... all kinds 

In a Bronte butcher window -- just thought this was funny

Getting ready to spin the honey before bottling right in front of customers in Zafferana


Suspect most everyone on this flight watched this safety presentation ....

Sunday, October 3, 2010


DH brought me "just because" flowers on Friday.  I put them in a vase a friend from San Diego blew and have them in the living room where I can look at them frequently.  They make the room smell really good.  I am one lucky woman.


One of Carmela's (our landlady) roses after a rainshower the other day.   She has more than a green thumb ... her whole body is green.  She could make a dead stick come back to life.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


DH and I were by the old port of Catania over the weekend ... it was still hot, but wonderful to feel the cooler breezes ... love how colorful these boats are. 

Thursday, September 30, 2010


It has taken 92 long years ....but Germany has reached its goal of completely paying the reparation bill from WWI. 

When the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, Germany accepted blame for the war and agreed to pay 226 billion Reichsmarks, a sum that was later reduced in 1921 to 132 billion Reichsmarks.  Part of the rationale for the large fine was to prevent Germany becoming a major power in Europe after WWI.  Instead, the aftermath of the Treaty of Versailles ended up providing Hitler support for his views and his rise to power in the 1930s.

Up until 1952 Germany had paid some 1.5 billion Reichsmarks in war reparations to Allied countries. But in 1953 the balance was suspended pending a reunification of East and West Germany.

When the payments started back up again in 1990, it was publicised that everything would be paid off by 3 October 2010 .... and that goal has been reached with 4 days to spare.

If they can pay off their debt ... then the rest of us should be able to as well.  I realize that there will always be extenuating circumstances that will pop up ... but for the most part, it can be done.  Think of the freedom you would have if you didn't have to continually "live in the past" (spending your today money paying off bills from the past).

Monday, September 27, 2010


A dear friend shared this with me recently ... I found it thought provoking.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Clearing out my recipe folders ..tossing ones that no longer sound appealing, trying others to see if they are keepers.  Tonight I made SINGAPORE TURKEY STEW.  Though the list of ingredients is long, it only took about 1/2 hour to make...mostly the making of the meatballs.

1-lb ground turkey
1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice (or can use equal parts of ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground ginger and ground anise ... I didn't have anise, so used a smidge of jerk seasoning)
1/2 teaspoon hot chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons flour
1 Tablespoon oil
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced (in Spain, it is called a tooth of garlic)
1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger (had part of a root in the frig from another recipe)
1 can (13 oz) coconut milk
1 can (14 oz) chicken broth
1 head (12 oz) bok choy, cut into 1-inch pieces (used Napa cabbage, next time I'll try spinach)
1 can (14 oz) baby corn, drained
2 Roma tomatoes, rinsed, cored and chopped (picked up a few cherry tomatoes at the Belpasso market today - used those)
1/4 cup drained canned sliced water chestnuts (will probably skip this next time or use jicama -- the ones I use had a metallic taste)
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 Tablespoon lime juice
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

In bowl, mix ground turkey, five spice, chili flakes and salt.  Shape into 1-inch balls. Put flour on a plate and roll the meatballs in the flour to lightly coat them.

Pour oil in 4 or 5-quart non-stick pan over medium-high heat.  Add meatballs in single layer.  Cook turning frequently, until lightly brown all over and barely pink in the middle (I cut a couple open to check - mine took about 8 minutes to get cooked through).  Remove from pan into a bowl and set aside for now.

Add garlic and ginger to pan and stir just until fragrant - 30 seconds or so.  Add coconut milk, broth and meatballs; bring to a simmer.  Adjust heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook until meatballs are no longer pink in center - another 5 minutes or so.

Stir in bok choy, baby corn, tomatoes, water chestnuts, green onions and lime juice and cook, stirring often, until bok choy leaves are wilted and stems are slightly tender - another 5 minutes or so.  Sprinkle with chopped cilantro leaves and eat!

4 servings.   I don't know where I got this recipe from .. I copied it from something, but there is no page number on the sheet as if it came from a book, nor did I write a reference on the page anywhere ... normally I do that.

DH said he would like to have it again ...

Monday, September 13, 2010


DH and I went on a day sail the other day ... it was a nice way to spend a warm day .... drifting along the coast, swimming in the (cold!) water, enjoying the breeze ...the crew provided lunch for us.  Fresh seafood pasta!  DH ate his share AND mine!

Catania and Mt Etna
Cyclops Rocks
He's turning blue!  He's wrinkling up!
He's a blue raisin!

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Had an eggplant left from our market trip the other day ... DH was grilling tossed this together.  Turned out fairly well.  Will add more garlic next time and use fresh basil.

Slice eggplant and soak in salted water.  Weigh down using a salad plate with cans on top so the slices are completely submerged.  Drain and brush both sides with olive oil.  Grill on both sides until done ... today, DH grilled them for about 5-8 minutes per side.  When the first side was done, flip them over and grill until almost done.  Top with a mixture of grated mozzarella and parmesan cheese, basil (all I had was dried, but fresh would have been much better) and some chopped garlic.   Grill a few more minutes until the cheeses are melted.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


A friend sent me this ... I think it's funny (definitely not how life is in our house) ... my husband ,,, well, let's just stay the jury's still out on that one...

Sunday, August 22, 2010


The Medieval Fest in Motta was held last week.  DH and I checked it out for a couple of hours on Tuesday.  Here is a clip of a dancing act held in the square in front of the castle at the top of town and another of one of the jousters.  The jousting was held on one of the two main streets -- the town brought in a bunch of dirt to cover the surface and lined one side with hay bales so the horses weren't at risk of clipping the edge of the sidewalk.    Lots of fun!


DH and I went over to Motta the beginning of the week to see the jousting and some of the other events.

Will post clips shortly ... but here are a few snapshots...
Two falcons -- the right-hand one is asleep
They did demostrations during the day

Banners over the main street to the castle

A window and ironwork in lower Motta

Thursday, August 12, 2010


a freshly paved stretch of road near Southern Guilford High School in North Carolina -- sad to say, I've personally have seen other road markings with the same mistake in several other places. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Clearing out the in-box on one of my Email accounts - yes, I have multiples.  One for famly and friends, one for work, one for my blogs, one for some E-groups I belong to and the last for the junk mail and other things that want an Email listed.   

Found an link to a blog I sent myself months ago .. always meaning to check it out:  100 Goals  @   -- so went and looked at it today.  I really like how it is laid out and what Steven has to share.

DH and I have been working off and on over several years on a list of experiences we want to try and places we'd like to go.  I've been working on decluttering and purging out the "stuff" that just doesn't mean anything to me any longer.

Hundredgoals re-enforces the concept.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


DH and I took part in the WorldWidePhotoWalk in Ragusa Ibla on 24 July.  This lion was one of a pair on a building bordering the Piazza Duomo.  Until I could look at the picture blown up on my computer, I couldn't tell if the lion was sporting a mustache or a hair-lip.  Love the crossed paws.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


Tried a new recipe last night ... other than reducing the amount of capers, it's a keeper.
1/2 pound of  boneless pork loin, sliced into four pieces
1-1/2 TB whole wheat flour
3/4 teas lemon pepper
1 TB butter (I added a splash of olive oil as well)
2 TB red wine
2 TB lemon juice
2 TB capers (turned out saltier than we like, next time will use 2 teas)

Pound the pork slices thin, I used a small saucepan.  Combine flour and lemon pepper; dredge pork slices on both sides.  Melt butter over medium-high heat; quickly saute porking, turning once until golden brown, about 5 to 6 minutes.  Add wine and lemon juice to skillet; and cook for at most two minutes (I added a splash of water, most of the wine-juice evaporated when it hit the pan).  Remove pork and keep warm.  Scrape all the browned bits off bottom of pan and cook for a couple more minutes until sauce thickens a bit.  Add the capers and serve the sauce on top of each cutlet.  Serves two.

Friday, July 30, 2010


DH has been playing poker with friends the last few weeks ....

last night was probably the last game though.


DH celebrated his birthday recently ... our landlords brought him a bottle of brandy and a tray of cookies.

Looks to be really good brandy ... but neither of us drinks. 

Guess it will be used in Christmas cookies.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Indy napping in her kitty-grass.
She's a Spanish Siamese and not the normal sleek, aloof Siamese one normally thinks of.  She likes people (after she gets to know you).

Thursday, July 15, 2010


These are on the tree growing in our front yard ... it is at least thirty-feet tall.  Took the second picture from our balcony.  I didn't know magnolias grew in  Sicily until we moved into our apartment.

With the heat here, most of the flowers are only lasting a day or so.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Kathy sent a picture of this guy from her garden ... she just added the eyes and mouth.   I like his curly hair!

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Top to bottom:
Overlooking the town of Maletto
Strawberry cannoli (Maletto is famous throughout Italy for its strawberries)
Looking up and down the main street (flag bearers going to the parade site)
Fresh strawberry cake (about 2-feet[0.6 meters]) across
Strawberry vendor
Freshly made gelato (even has strawberry seeds in it)
A pretty balcony I passed heading for the main festival area ...

Yup... summer is here! 

Friday, June 18, 2010


I have been clearing out old Emails recently and found this item which my son had sent me ... I am truly blessed by this wonderful man who is my son.   

Recently I overheard a mother and daughter in their last moments together at the airport. They had announced the departure.  Standing by the security gate, as they hugged, the mother said "I love you and I wish you enough."   

The daughter replied, "Mom, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed.
I wish you enough, too, Mom."

They kissed and the daughter left. The mother walked over to the window where I was seated.

Standing there I could see she wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on her privacy but she welcomed me in by asking "Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?"

"Yes, I have, " I replied "Forgive me for asking but why is this a forever good-bye?".

"I am old and she lives so far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is - the next trip back will be for my funeral" she said.

"When you were saying good-bye, I heard you say 'I wish you enough'. May I ask what that means?"

She began to smile. "That's a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone". She paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail and she smiled even more.

"When we said 'I wish you enough' we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them". Then turning toward me she shared the following as if she were reciting it from memory

“I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.”

She then began to cry and walked away.

It has been said it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but an entire life to forget them.

Please share this thought with those who have a place in your heart or your life....
If you don't send it to anyone it may mean that you are in such a hurry that you have forgotten your friends.

To all my friends and loved ones, I WISH YOU ENOUGH!!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Seems to me, that residents of many countries other than the U.S. are quite comfortable leaving a drink that may have been barely touched on the table .... the drink is a relatively minor part of the main activity which is spending time with friends and acquaintances. 

Many Americans, on the other hand, will finish the drink off when they leave, even if they are going to another place and can get another drink there ... the mentality being "don't want to let it go to waste" or "I spent good money on that".

This pattern of thinking is part of the reason behind signs like this ....