Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat!

Wow! Today certainly has not calmed my fear of owls! I received a package today from Bevin Rae that took multiple owls to carry it! I nearly ran away in fright at the sight of all those birds winging their way toward me, but once Rowena and Ophelia C. assured me they carried something for me and were not merely erratic birds (nor were they as over-excited as the bunch of owls that landed me in St. Mungo’s), I relaxed. A little bit, anyhow. :)

The package was for our in-House Trick-or-Treat swap, and I was blown away at how much there was inside! At first I couldn’t believe it was for that swap, as Olive said to use a bubbled envelope. I thought she meant a small one. I almost feel bad for how small and simple mine was that went out. Bevin used a bubbled envelope, but it was a large one.

I got a knit sock pattern, a crochet scarf pattern, a kit to make a Halloween garland, a witch pez dispenser, a post card from California, a candy corn candy holder STUFFED with candy (I don’t know how she got it all in there!), 4 pairs of plastic vampire teeth, and some Ravenclaw blue ink that I used with my quill tonight. :D On top of all that, there was also another envelope in there stuffed with fun craft goodies from her kiddos to mine!

My boys were very excited to see it all and were quite upset with me when I told them it was too late for them to get into it tonight. (I didn’t get the package until my husband got home.) They seemed to be pacified, though, with a sticker each and to each play with a set of the fangs. Tomorrow we’ll be crafty. :)

I’ve been keeping myself quite busy with S.P.E.W. as of late. I still haven’t heard anything about anything officially this term for it, so I’ve kind of just gone my own way and done my own chapter of it, if you will. As October is breast cancer awareness month, I’ve been making free beanie-style hats, some knit and some crochet, for cancer patients losing their hair because of going through chemotherapy. The first 7 I made are long gone, and I’ve got another 15 to send out yet. Over the past couple of days, I’ve finished 3 of those needed 15, and am working on the 4th.

I am really not happy with the fact that our Internet is down again. I had started to get back into playing WoW, and was actively leveling my paladin, trying to prepare for the expansion by making level 70 before the release on November 13th. The other night, I got up to two bars away from making level 66 and was in the midst of getting the seasonal achievements for Hallow’s End…and I got booted offline. I’m trying to give the Italians the benefit of the doubt that it was caused by the massive storm that we’ve had going on over the span of the past couple of days, even though it stormed the whole day before it cut off that night and that it was clear out today and we’re still not back online, but given that they’ve shut us off twice in the last 8 months, it’s hard. They had better not have disconnected us again. (The Italians will shut off your Internet without any cause, just so they can charge you the reconnect fee to get a little extra money, and it ticks me off! They get away with it!) If they did, they’d better hope it’s my husband dealing with them, because I’ll have no patience with them. Especially since we’ve been back online from the last time for maybe a month! I guess only time will tell, though…

Tomorrow (Halloween), there’s a carnival going on at the base in the afternoon, so I’m hoping I can get my boys to actually wear their costumes (they wouldn’t the other night) and get some pictures. Here’s hoping!

So, thank you, Bevin Rae for the spectacular trick-or-treat package! I absolutely love it! I feel quite spoiled!

Now playing: Eberhard Kraus - Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565
via FoxyTunes

Monday, October 27, 2008

Halloween Preparation

What a fun night! The Husband got a brand new video game (Fable II for the Xbox 360) and he wanted a few hours to play without the interruption of the boys, so he “kicked us out” of the house for the day. Not that I was sad to go! We spent the day at Kristin’s. When we first got there, we carved pumpkins. I’ve never carved a pumpkin before! The most I’d ever done was draw a face on it with permanent marker. Kristin had a pumpkin carving kit, but she couldn’t find it anywhere, so we had to use the “medieval” tools of knives and spoons. LOL I actually think they turned out quite well, considering I’d never before done it and had to use, what I hear is, such “primitive” pumpkin carving tools. I picked up two pumpkins from the commissary the night prior, so that there would be one for each of the boys. A really got excited about it and got into scooping all the insides out with his spoons and dumping it into a bag. It didn’t quite smell like what I expected…I guess I just thought it’d smell like pumpkin pie. LOL It most definitely did not! On A’s pumpkin, I did two spiders, and on C’s, I did a ghost. Kristin carved a cat and stars on hers.

One of Kristin’s other friends, Liz, came over as well with her 2 month old baby girl. We all ended up going over to the base to try and take the kids to the Trunk-or-Treat and the non-scary hours for the Haunted House. Unfortunately for me, neither of the boys would wear their costumes. I went through all the trouble of getting A a Halloween costume (Spiderman!), and he refused to wear it. I didn’t think of costumes ahead of time enough to order any online or ask my in-laws to send us some, and the options at the BX were little to none. They had infant and adult costumes and pretty mush nothing in between. So I was going to let C decide between his and A’s costumes from last year, James or Thomas, but he didn’t want either. Kristin's son looked really cute in his skeleton jumper, though! If we get to make it to the Halloween carnival on base on Halloween day, maybe I can convince them to dress up then. Or maybe The Husband can. He seems to have that touch.

When we got to base and around to where the line was for the trunk-or-treat, it really ended up not being worth the wait. The line was waaaaaaaaaay too long to stand in with 4 kids aged 2 months through 3 years. It was a little nippy as well, and not good for the littlest ones to be out in. So instead, we went to the food court inside and the boys got pizza. That made them happy. The food vendors also had some candy set out for the kids, so we got a little (and I mean very little) bit anyhow. While I was there, I had to run and grab some diapers (I ran out in the diaper bag before we even got to base!) and picked up a little thing of Snickers bars as well, just so that A could say “trick or treat!” and get some candy in his bucket. I let him hold on to the bucket for the trip back to Kristin’s. That turned out to be a mistake.

Kristin and I were talking in the front, when all of the sudden, an aroma caught my olfactory attention. And we’re not talking about stinky diaper aroma, either. I could smell chocolate. I asked Kristin if A had gotten into the candy, and sure enough, he already had half of the bar gone! (They weren’t the mini-sized…probably about the size of the ones you see at the check-out counter.) I didn’t even know he could open packages like that! Needless to say, he didn’t get to hold the bucket for the rest of the trip. I guess the chocolate-y mess could have been significantly worse than it was, but I was just too miffed (and amused, really) that he’d even gotten it open to fully appreciate that. He got some on his socks and some on his shirt. (He was pant-less due to a wetting accident, just before getting in the car.) No chocolate, seemingly, on his car seat or anywhere on the car’s upholstery, thank goodness! We went back to Kristin’s and baked some cookies. Yum! A was very excited about using the cookie cutter to help make Halloween sugar cookies! In fact, when I turned my back (I know, I know, foolish me!) to put one on the cookie sheet, A helped himself to using another cookie cutter, smack dab in the middle of the rolled out dough! He even had pulled it up and set it aside, with the dough caught inside the cutter! He’s getting awfully sneaky and very independent. He makes his own choices on what he wants to do and acts on it.

After the cookies were all in the oven, the boys played their little hearts out while Kristin and I chatted and crocheted. (I’m teaching her how to make the round ripple afghan!) She and I got to decorate the cookies, too. At first we thought about letting the boys try to do it, but then this mental image of A squeezing the icing tube as hard as he could and making a huge mess just wouldn’t get out of my head! So we had fun with it instead. I looked at the clock at about 10p, and thought that I should start to get the boys ready to go. I really try to not keep them out too late. When they started getting inexplicably cranky, though, was when I finally got around to getting us out the door. Guess why they were so cranky….it was because it was two in the morning!!! I can’t believe we stayed that late! I have no idea how 10-30 minutes turned into four more hours! I still can’t believe that was four hours!

I got home and the boys in bed, and went downstairs to apologize to The Husband for us getting home so late, and I asked him if he enjoyed his 13 kid-free, gaming hours, and you know what he said? “It wasn’t long enough.” *eye roll* Gamers. ;) LOL So today I was going to return Kristin’s cell phone to her (she accidentally left it in the car last night), and he suggested that I take the boys and a movie and that the boys and I stay over there for an hour or two…or five. LOL We ended up getting to have some yummy pumpkin pasta dish that Kristin had never made before. It was quite tasty! Much to The Husband’s dismay, though, the boys and I didn’t stay nearly as late this time around. LOL All in all, I had a fantastic weekend!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ahh, that's better...

Whew! Some of the pressure has been let off! I finished the round ripple tree skirt last night.

You can't tell from the pictures, very well, but the middle red, green and white section is done with the Red Heart Holiday's got silver sparkles in it...never again will I buy that yarn! It's too painful!!! The overall effect once it's done is nice, but in my opinion, not really worth it. My finger felt like steel wool was being rubbed across it. Ouch!

But as of this morning, it went off to join the other donations for the deployed troops on the front range. I didn't make it very large, but that's because their tree is only 4.5' tall...I hope they like it!

In other news, I finished another hat!

Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and I've still not heard anything about S.P.E.W. through HSKS for this term, I've decided to do my own little chapter of S.P.E.W. I'm making hats free for cancer patients undergoing chemo, and I am also going to sell some on eBay, with the proceeds going to cancer research. Here are all the hats I've finished so far:

I also got my Trick or Treat package sent off to my Ravenclaw "spoilee" yesterday morning. My owl, Sylus, took off dutifully and purposefully. I hope they get it quickly!!! :) I can't wait to hear the reaction to my's absolutely priceless!

So now I'm just down to working on the Special Olympics scarves and finishing up on Draco's package! Yay! ::scampers off to work on said projects::

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Up to my ears in it!

Wow!!! So much homework needing completed in this Ravenclaw dorm room! The hats for cancer patients is going to be an ongoing thing, likely through the whole winter, which is well past the end of this term. The same goes for the Special Olympics scarves. I'm trying new forms of Transfiguration for those, stitches I've never tried before. And the first one is coming out quite well, if I do say so myself! On top of all that, I'm attempting a modified version of a Transfiguration spell I am very adept at: the round ripple! I'm making a Christmas tree skirt in a round ripple variation! Donations are being taken at our local military base to go with the tree that they sent down to our deployed troops on the front range. On top of all that, I've still got some Potions to finish up! I've been collecting the ingredients for a little while, and I still have a couple more to get, but I can't wait to put it all together and mail it off to Draco! Plus I need to get the final ingredient for the Trick or Treat potion to send fellow Ravenclaw! :) The identity of my housemate I'm sending to is a secret until they get their package. :) I bought the Ravenclaw item when I was in Venice, so I really hope they like it!!! I know I do! LOL

On top of all that, I have requests from a family member to do some research for the Italian-themed Christmas they're having this year (in honor of us being here) and to find a sock monkey pattern to make them for my nieces. :) And I found a free crochet pattern that I'm going to use. I'm definitely going to have to tweak it a definitely needs longer arms and legs, and I may have to adjust the rest the meantime, I smell a surprise from one of my two boys. I'd better go and locate the source and get it taken care of, and then I'm off to work more on my Transfiguration and S.P.E.W. awareness. I swear that campaign never rests...::sigh::

Saturday, October 18, 2008

What a happy birthday!!! :D

WOW!!! If I could sum up my birthday trip to Venice in one word, that would be it. WOW!!! I couldn't stop saying that over and over when we got to St. Marco's (St. Mark's) Square. I literally got tears in my eyes when I walked into that piazza! And if I teared up over that, I imagine I'll be in hysterics when I actually get to go to

We didn't actually get to spend literally all day in Venice, since we had to make a necessary run to base in the morning first, but we caught the 1pm train out. I got to actually ride on a train. Since I don't count the time I took A on the "A Day out with Thomas" train ride (it was a very short ride), nor do I count the little amusement park trains, this was my first train ride!!!

Me with my adorable traveling companion, Collin

Everything on the trip went amazingly well! After we got our train tickets and a were waiting for our train, another one going to Venice came in that was half an hour late, so we went on that one instead. It was awesome because we didn't have to worry about being stuck with standing room only space, like we probably would have on the train we were going for.

When we got into Venice a little more than an hour later, which included being on train tracks over a body of water that's larger than Lake Erie (which, until yesterday was the largest body of water I've ever seen), we stopped to use the bathroom at the train station so we didn't have to deal with the "squatter" toilets. (And wouldn't you know I forgot to take a picture of one...) Just outside the train station, there were pigeons everywhere! It made me think of Bert from Sesame Street and his "Walk Like a Pigeon" song I grew up listening to. LOL And those birds have no fear of humans! Well, okay, there's some fear, since they fly away if you charge at them screaming, but they are the boldest birds I have ever seen! It actually reminded me of the movie Just Married with Ashton Kutcher and Brittany Murphy in the scene where he's going nuts over the pigeons while she ooo's and ahh's over the art and architecture. Brave, brave birds.

One of the brave pigeons

We walked around and saw all kinds of things on our way to St. Marco's (St. Mark's) Square. I took over 200 pictures yesterday!!! A lot of them, though, are of the same or similar taken of buildings from different angles. pictures of waterways and bridges, pictures of the different colored building faces...The waterways are basically their roads there. You can't drive on those roads, so there's a lot of walking involved! And the bridges aren't sloped. They've got stairs. So Kristin and I got a great work out! LOL

One of the water roadways

It was just so amazing to see all that I did! To be in those streets that have been there longer than America has been a blows my mind! And when I walked into St. Marco's Square.....WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was almost overwhelming! To see in real life what I've only before seen in pictures and movies....I can't even put it into words! It was all so beautiful! The Basilica, Doge's Palace, the Bridge of Sighs, the gondolas...all of it! It was just one of those moments where it really hit home that I am living in Europe!!! So many people look at places like Venice and just see an old, dirty city that has little to offer, but I just don't understand how they can think that way! There's such a trove of history and art and culture and!!!

Me taking one of many pictures

We didn't get to actually go into the museums or anything because I was just too wrapped up in seeing everything and taking pictures and drinking it in. So that just means we'll have to take another trip when we can see even more! ;) Kristin thinks (and I agree!) that she and I should go near Carnivale. Oh, that would be an experience!!! And we're planning to go see an opera in Venice sometime, probably next summer. I mentioned that to The Husband and he said we couldn't go to the opera without him...LOL

Sorry if my thoughts seem a bit random and choppy today. Yesterday's trip put me in the mindset of watching Casanova with Heath Ledger, and I keep seeing places pop up on the screen that I saw in person just yesterday!!!

I got some gelato yesterday, and I felt so proud of myself, or as I said to Kristin yesterday, I felt like "such a big girl" to order my own gelato in Italian! Kristin had had to tell me what to say, and I'm fairly certain the person in the gelaterie knew English enough that I could have ordered it in my native tongue, especially as she was smiling at me as means of encouraging my attempts at Italian, but it was just so cool to do it in Italian! :D I got two scoops so I could have my strawberry and try a new flavor. I went for vanilla. It was sooooooooooooo good!

Trash can outside one of the gelateries

I also spent my birthday money from my in-laws on something I have wanted for years....I bought a quill! :) It looks so awesome! And I was blown away by the shop owner that I bought it from! There were two other couples in the shop when I went in. The first of them was Italian, and they were, of course, chatting away in their own language. The next couple was French. I recognized a few words here and there. The shop owner went from Italian to fluent French without seemingly a second thought, and then turned around and spoke English to me!!! I was floored! I wonder how many languages he does know! He was an older gentlemen...not quite as old as my grandparents, but definitely older than my parents.

My quill!!!

The detail on my quill. Isn't it gorgeous?!

Then, of course, I only took a bunch of pictures in St. Marco's Piazza. How could I not?! I wish I had room to post all of the pictures I took, but I don't want to overwhelm everyone! LOL Facebook has a limit of 60 pictures per album, so I did a pick and choose of the best pictures. Here's the link to the album so that you can all see it at your leisure. :)

On the way back to the train station, a little while after my "big girl" moment, Kristin and I stopped in at McDonald's and ordered Happy Meals! LOL

McDonald's in Venice! :)

It was a long afternoon full of walking and window shopping. I also did some actual shopping, but I don't want to post all the pictures of what I bought yet, since some of the things I bought are gifts for others! :) We got back to the train station about 10 minutes before the next train we needed departed, and we got seats on that train, too!

As soon as I got home (after 11 pm!), I went to go have some of my birthday pumpkin pie that The Husband bought for me...unfortunately, it was not a pie that, like he thought it was when he bought it, a frozen pie that just needed to be thawed and eaten. It was a pie that was supposed to remain frozen until you bake it. I tried to make sure it was thawed for my eating it, so it had been sitting in the fridge. I was more than a bit surprised when I opened the box and gooey stuff went everywhere! LOL I did bake it, though, and while the crust is burnt and the filling isn't 100% cooked, it's still got that pumpkin taste that I love so much. ;) I may just have to buy another one. ;) LOL All in all, it was one of my best birthdays ever. :) A day without my boys to see Venice and have some adult time and end it with some pumpkin pie! On top of that, The Husband has had nearly a full week off from work and he's taking me out to dinner tomorrow night! :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Happy (early) Birthday to Me!

My husband gave me one of the best brithday presents ever last night! To the untrained eye, it would appear to be no more than a piece of paper, but what it really was....was he's taking leave for my birthday! All week! He had Monday off for Columbus Day, and went to work today, but he's off for the rest of the week!!! Yay! I'm so excited! The weekends always seem too short as it is. Only when he has a 3-day weekend does it feel like he's actually home for a fair amount of time, so now that he'll be off from tomorrow all the way through next Sunday....YAAAAAAAAAAAY!!! I'm so happy!!!

And in other news from Italy...while I was offline for a week (and that was one of the longest weeks of my life!) I got to hang out a lot with Kristin which was tons of fun, and we went to the bazaar on base (which reminded me a lot of "Affair of the Heart" that I went to in Oklahoma with my mother- and sister-in-law last year, except with European products) and I even convinced The Husband to go with me the next day to do some Christmas shopping! :D Then Kristin and I went to a sort of festival that was going on in downtown Sacile. I took a few pictures, but they were mostly of the buildings around town and the boys having fun. It seemed to be a wine and cheese festival, or so Kristin figured, given that there were wine and cheese vendor stands everywhere and little else. And on that glorious day....I got my first taste of gelato!!! OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH my GOSH is that stuff GOOD! I've been craving it ever since! It's a MILLION times better than ice cream! Maybe I'll be able to get some this week since I'll have access to the car... :) I really want to try another flavor, but that strawberry was soooooooooooo good! Maybe I'll have to splurge and get TWO scoops... ;)

A loving the waterfall

The boys and me out and about at the festival:

And my first taste of gelato!:

But I need to get going...I'll likely be cleaning today so that I don't have to do it while The Husband is home. I'd rather relax and knit or crochet and enjoy his time off. :) Later!