Saturday, December 29, 2012

Firenze v.2012

For some reason, it made most sense (money-wise) to drive to Venice, fly to Rome, fly back to Venice, and then drive to Florence.

We stayed on base at Camp Darby. No frills, but nice accommodations.

I forgot my camera at the room when we drove to Florence. Palm hit face when I realized it. If you think driving to Florence is a good idea. DON'T DO IT! It's madness. Drive to a smaller town and train into the city. Driving is a nightmare. Parking is even worse. We lucked out and found free parking in front of a line of townhouses. There weren't any parking signs or permit signs so we risked it. Thankfully we got away without a ticket.

Ponte Vecchio
Palazzo Vecchio
Palazzo Vecchio
I couldn't stop giggling about the major crackage happening behind me.
Market in Piazza della Repubblica
Piazza della Repubblica
Piazza di Santa Croce
Firefighters in action in Piazza di Santa Croce
Piazza di Santa Croce
Artwork taking up all of the piazza.
One of many tombs inside Basilica di Santa Croce.
It was a whirlwind visit. It was pretty busy in the city, but the lines were quick. We were able to visit most of the major sights in just an afternoon. Of course we missed a lot, but we felt satisfied with our day.

When we got back to our room, Will did his manly duty and grilled us some burgers. It was his first time grilling completely on his own and he did a perfect job! I was a proud wife.

Sea Pines Lodge

Friday, December 28, 2012

Ech & Will Quotes

Ech: New Boardwalk Empire! I watched it, it was SO good!
Will: [whips around and sends a death glare] F--- YOU!
Ech: Whoa! Just joking!
Will: For reals, you almost just got your head ripped off.

I don't know about you, but we love getting into shows after the season is either done or has had time to build up a good amount of episodes. We like to watch them on our time, not the network's time. We're almost caught up to Sons of Anarchy (I'm completely heartbroken over Opie's death.) We haven't even started this season of Dexter yet and we're only a couple episodes into Boardwalk. Honestly, we might just wait until after the mister gets back to get started. I don't see the point in catching up if we can't finish them together.

Will: If I was lactating would you drink my milk? No? But you could drink standing up!
Ech: Gross.

I don't know what I was watching, but Will walked up in the middle of it.
Will: Look at that ass!  .... That was a guy wasn't it?
Sadly, yes. Yes, it was.

I'm going to miss all these ridiculous conversations when the mister leaves. Hopefully we'll continue on with the craziness over Skype.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Buon Natale!

Here's the thing...I was so busy running around yesterday that I didn't take a single picture. Fail right?

We hosted our first Christmas at our house this year. I gathered up all our friends so we could enjoy each other's company and distract ourselves from being homesick.

The menu:
Mini Salad Bar
Warm Bean Dip (source)
Baked Potato Soup (source)
Turkey (SO easy to make, just throw a frozen Butterball turkey in the crock pot with the gravy packet it comes with and cook on low for 8 hours. That's IT! Shred it and serve it in its delicious gravy juices.)
Sweet Corn Bread (source)
Mac & Cheese (source) (It's a slow cooker recipe, but I made it on the stove instead.)
Mashed Potatoes (Out of a box...womp womp I know, but I made almost everything else from scratch so I no more energy for the real stuff.)
Grape Salad (source)
Cheesecake (recipe from the cream cheese box)
Pumpkin Pie (recipe from the pumpkin puree can)
Reese's Pie (from one of our friends)

Lessons I Learned:
Don't forget that you're defrosting'll have to throw it all out just to safe.
Give everyone a solid time to arrive. Putting everything out early and having to reheat it will throw off your cooking schedule.
Don't try to cook a whole box of instant mashed potatoes at once. It won't fit in the pot (the one I own anyway).
Remember to get extra containers to give away leftovers.
Remember to actually make people take home leftovers.

I had such a blast hanging out with good friends. I was heading for the doldrums over the impending separation from my husband. It helped a lot to hang out with couples who are going through the same thing and with our friends who will still be here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Roman Holiday Pt 10

If you've seen Roman Holiday starring Audrey Hepburn, then you know all about the Bocca della Verita or the Mouth of Truth. If you tell a lie with your hand in the mouth, it'll bite it off.

Arch of Janus
Chiesa di Santa Maria dell'Orazione e Morte
Church of Saint Mary of the Prayer and Death
Walking up Via Giulia
Moral of the story: Don't buy cheap umbrellas from the street vendors. All the trash cans looked like this.
Walking around Rome is so much fun! There are so many random beautiful interesting things to stumble upon. I'm definitely looking forward to my next visit to this city.

Our last stroll through the arches surrounding St Peter's Square.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Roman Holiday Pt 9

You know what I learned about the bus system in Rome? I hate it. HATE! We figured we'd save our feet some pain and use public transportation to get us close to the Colosseum. Lot of good that did us. I got overheated and sick on the bus and it took so many random crazy turns that we missed our stop and ended up at the bus terminal.

Eventually we found our way and ate lunch in a cute little ristorante in the shadow of the Colosseum. We didn't actually go into the ruins because Will wants to do a private tour with Dark Rome when we can afford it and we didn't want to spoil the experience. Plus the lines were nuts by the time we made it to that part of town. 

Will didn't think I saw him talking to the pretty girl about a private tour. BUSTED!
We walked around the ancient ruins site and found the Circus Maximus. Of course we went to the track and ran around like charioteers.

Riding in my invisible chariot.
My chariot broke so I jumped on my trust steed to finish the race.
My not-so-trusty steed ditched me.
Hanging out and taking in the sights.
Next time I'll finish up our trip in Rome with our walk back to our neighborhood of Rome.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Roman Holiday Pt 8

And we're finally on day 3 of our big trip to Rome. We only had two main goals for day 3: Vatican and Colosseum. We woke up early again and made a beeline for Vatican City. There were no lines for the security check so we pretty much just walked right into Saint Peter's Basilica.

Since it was All Saints' Day, there were a lot of private and public masses going on all over the church. (I realize I just outed myself for being a horribly tardy blogger by letting you know that we were in Rome a month and a half ago.)

Here's the thing about Saint Peter's Basilica. It's massive and there really are no words or pictures to truly describe how beautiful it is and how every inch of the building is intricately decorated. I'm grateful we were able to go so early in the morning because it was fairly empty. Even for the amount of people in the church, you could probably hear a pin drop. Everyone was hushed and admired in silence. Everyone was respectful of those there to worship. It was a perfect experience for us.

We also decided to climb the dome to the tippy top of the basilica. We really didn't know what we were getting ourselves into. I think the following pictures will explain how ridiculous the climb was.

As you can tell, the stairway starts out nice and wide. It gets more and more claustrophobic and the walls start to curve inward once you get to the domed part of the roof. The last part of the climb is a teeny tiny spiral staircase. As you can see in the last picture, we were pretty squished for that part. Mama and I are affected by claustrophobia so we had to encourage each other a lot. I'm going to be a lot less eager to climb to the top of old European buildings after this one. The views were gorgeous, but I'm not ever doing it again.

When we got back to the bottom, there was a procession through the basilica for a private mass. We tried to find out who he was, but the guards wouldn't say. Some people in the crowd thought it was the pope, but there's no way the pope would be down there with just a couple basilica guards blocking people. Plus he has a different hat.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Cold Feet

Did you watch this week's Grey's Anatomy? I swear that show makes me feel so many emotions every time I watch it. This week one of the plot lines had to do with Bailey and her upcoming wedding and it got me thinking about pre-wedding cold feet.

I had them. Big time.

Getting married is a big deal. I know a lot of people these days don't really put as much worth into marriage as they used to. Wedding vows mean something to me and I don't take them for granted.

So all that together means I was feeling a lot of jitters. Was I really marrying the love of my life? Is Will the love or just a love? 'Til death do us part is a really really long time.Was I really prepared to deal with all the ups and downs that come along with all those years? On top of that, I was finally living in Portland again after graduating from college. Was I really ready to give up the city I love, my family, and all my amazing friends to  be with this guy?

All of the dreams I had about sharing my life with Will far outnumbered all the doubts. Will is the love of my life, my other half, my soul mate. He annoys the crap out of me and makes me laugh the way no one else can. Somewhere in the back of my mind I must have known all this because I never once thought about backing out of our wedding on the week of. That sunny day in September was far from perfect, but still one of the best days of my life.

Just married and already giving me grief

Friday, December 14, 2012

Roman Holiday Pt 7

We rounded out our day of sightseeing at Castel Sant'Angelo aka The Mausoleum of Hadrian. Note to future travelers, the mausoleum is the lower half of the building. But with the destruction and rebuilding it doesn't look like much.

Castel Sant'Angelo
Castel Sant'Angelo
True story: Right after this picture, he turned around and knocked his head on the top of the door frame.
Castel Sant'Angelo
Castel Sant'Angelo
Castel Sant'Angelo
When we got to the top, it was raining and windy like crazy. You wouldn't know from the pictures of Mama.  We found the door to Narnia, but it was locked. Rats.
Castel Sant'Angelo
Locked =(