Wednesday, February 22, 2012

101 in 1001

I'm admitting to stealing this idea from another blog that I read.  On that blog, my friend from high school made a list of 101 things that she will do in 1,001 days.  Ranging from running to cooking to being better at her job, I found the list to be inspirational and decided to do one of my own. 

My goal is to accomplish this list, in its entirety in 1,001 days.  So, faithful, not so faithful and accidental readers, here is my list:

  1. Travel to London
  2. Travel to Istanbul, seeing Hagia Sophia
  3. Visit the Alhambra
  4. Do the Red Light District Walking Tour in Amsterdam
  5. Take cooking classes in Tuscany
  6. Visit Alberobello and stay in a trulli cottage
  7. Take a picture with something Keenan-like in Ireland
  8. Let Tom plan a vacation entirely
  9. Travel by Hydrofoil somewhere outside of the Bay of Naples
  10.  Explore the Christmas Markets of Europe
  11.  Travel to Santorini, Greece
12.  Make a trip to the US to visit one member of the family on their own
13.  Travel to all of the places in my 2012 “Discover the Beauty of Italy” calendar
14.  See the orchestra in Ravello
15.  Eat a pig's knuckle in Germany.  Anthony Bourdain said they were delicious.
  1.  Perfect gluhwein
  2.  Cook my way through Williams-Sonoma’s Italian Cookbook
  3.  Make the perfect lamb tagine
  4.  Learn to make meloncello
  5.  Learn to make gnocchi from scratch
  6.  Make pesto from scratch
  7.  Make true Italian ragu
  8.  Having cooking lessons with Julie
  9.  Cook 10 things from my Pinterest account
  10.  Use my mini-tagines at a dinner party
  11.  Start up a Supper Club in Italy
    Italian Living
  12.  Place an entire order at Il Genovese without being overcome with awkward
  13.  Have a conversation with Gianni and the AGIP boys about more than the weather and being American
  14.  Eat out at different ristorante within walking distance once a week for a month
  15.  Fill up our wine rack with wines from the local enoteca
  16.  Maintain my wine journal – labels and all for each bottle we drink and like for one month
  17.  Have a cocktail party on our balcony
  18.  Have an Italian co-worker over for dinner
  19.  Make the perfect cappuccino at home
  20.  Attend a Napoli Football Game
  21.  Learn an Italian lullaby to sing to Amy

Healthy Living
  1.  Run a half marathon in Europe
  2.  Get to my goal weight
  3.  Bring my lunch for a whole month
  4.  Go one month with no alcohol during the week
  5.  Do “liquid lunch” twice a week for a month
  6.  Finish a work out assigned by Sara as she wrote it
  7.  Work out 4 days a week for a month
  8.  Look in the mirror and say “Looking good” and mean it
  9.  Complete every dance on Just Dance 3
  10.  Take the dance aerobics class over lunch
  11.  Fit back into my dress from the Rehearsal Dinner
  12.  Go kayaking
    Inner Peace
  13.  Attend church weekly for one month
  14.  Put my tax return towards charity
  15.  Read the Bible in its entirety
  16.  Donate blood
  17.  Volunteer
  18.  Go to mid-week mass
  19.  For each goal I complete, donate $10 to charity
  20.  Attend a bible study
  21.  Attend mass at the Vatican
  22.  Attend church service for another religion
Nickels and Dimes
  1.  Go a month without purchasing anything from Amazon
  2.  Go a month without purchasing any clothes
  3.  Set up my own 401K, outside of work
  4.  Get life insurance
  5.  Talk to an accountant about our finances
  6.  Have Tom explain our finances to me
  7.  Eat all of the produce purchased before it goes bad
  8.  Drink the entire quart of milk before it goes bad
  1.  Find out what I want to be when I grow up
  2.  What would it take to turn my blog into a book?
  3.  Take the AICP exam
  4.  Maintain my LEED credentials
  5.  Finish my master’s degree
  6.  Learn to use our new camera
  7.  Create a scrapbook of our first year in Italy
  8.  Buy 3 more board games
  9.  Have a game night
  10.  Read 12 books in 2012
  11.  Read all of Kurt Vonnegut’s books
  12.  Read the books that Christy has given me
  13.  Read the books that Lauri has given me
  14.  Put on sunscreen each time I see Tom put on sunscreen for one month during the summer
  15.  Watch all of the movies nominated for best film before the Oscars

  1.  Go through my sock drawers
  2.  Go through my t-shirts
  3.  Get my iTunes off of my old computer
  4.  Get my gmail inbox down to 100 emails or less
  5.  Get Tom a poster of EU coins to track his coin collection progress
  6.  Change our relationship to “married” with USAA
  7.  Get my shoes re-heeled

For Grins
  1.  Host a holiday party
  2.  Spend News Years In Naples
  3.  Make Tom go to the Navy Ball
  4.  Get back into date nights with Tom once a week for 2 months
  5.  Visit all of the places in our Naples coffee table book
  6.  Read Tom my blog posts before uploading them to ensure correct grammar
  7.  Send 20 Facebook friends a message at random to let them know that I am thinking about them
  8.  Hand write a letter to college room mates
  9.  Publically make out with Tom on a bench in Vomero.  Just once.
  10.  Buy one more piece of art in Europe that is truly special.
  11.  Absentee vote
  12. Research each issue on the ballot thoroughly before voting
101.   Write down things that I love about Tom on post-it notes and hide them around the house.

I'll keep you posted of my progress. 


Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Let's be honest, the pun potential with Amsterdam was readily apparent.  My trip up to the Netherlands started out a bit bumpy: I was late, the entrance to the highway was closed with no detour route to be found, I couldn't print my boarding pass, I waited in the wrong line twice.  Regardless, I got on my plane, drenched in sweat, still holding my belt from when I walked through security, looking like a crazed, rabid animal.  I wish I could figure out why they didn't treat me better in Milan....

When I finally got to Amsterdam, Tom met me at the train station, fearing my late morning and near rabid state would give a poor impression of America to the rest of the EU.  Once outside the train station, we ooo'ed and ahhhh'ed at the beautiful architecture and the lovely canals as we wandered towards our hotel.  "Oh!  There's a woman clad only in fish net."  Sometimes, I feel like my transition from the awkward 10th grade version of myself to the awkward 27 year old version of myself never really happened.  I still blush at nudity, I still say "That smells like pot, right??" and I still get wildly uncomfortable with sex toys in public (not like they are all that common, but we saw a lot more in Germany and the Netherlands).  All three of these things were very popular around our hotel.  We stayed at the ever swanky Sofitel on the very edge of the Red Light District and wandering towards this Thai restaurant I swore I saw, we got more than our fair share of the Red Light District experience.  Heck, we even saw a group of guys price checking hookers, deciding that 46 Euro was too much.  For what, I don't know, nor do I want to know.  But being one of the few people in our little group of friends here in Napoli who hasn't been to Thailand, I feel like I got a small taste of that lifestyle during our stay in Amsterdam.

But I loved Amsterdam.  And just to show there are no hard feelings about the hookers and drug use, here is my list of what I loved about Amsterdam:

1. Everyone spoke English.  Oh heavenly, easy to understand and converse!  It was a dream!
2. Everything was delicious.   Eggs, brunch, French toast, hutspot (mashed potatoes with onions, beef and cabbage), sushimi, Thai food.  Mmmmmm they had so much food and we ate so much food!!!  It was all fantastic and renewed my love affair with brunch.  Why oh heavens why do Italians hate brunch???  Warm food and alcohol before 10 AM is just good day planning!
3. Shopping: I went to Amsterdam and ended up buying a pair of Italian boots.  Who knew?  I also forced Tom into getting "European dude shoes" (read: pointy shoes) and a "European dude scarf" (read: scarf).  He balked and protested about both but during a sudden snow storm realized that the dude scarf is pretty clutch.

We wandered the streets and along the canals, taking breaks for coffee (but making sure that we weren't inadvertently wandering into a hash house which are also called coffee shops) and snacks, snickered at the public urinals and those using them with shame and tried to not get killed by bikers with seemingly cheerful bells who would definitely break a rib if they caught you with their handlebars. 

I can't wait to go back whenever Tom has business up that way again.  It was lovely and different and helped the 16 year old me grow up a bit to become 27.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Frigid Fingers

Being married to Tom is great.  He's a great guy.  Also, he tends to run hot all the time and I tend to always be cold.  My solution to this problem is to stick whatever body part (normally my fingers, toes or nose) on his neck or lower back as a means of a) tormenting my dear husband  b) warming up said body part.  It's shocking I wasn't single for a longer period of my life. 

Naples is having the coldest winter in 30 years.  Just like California had some weather anomoly when we moved there and the El Nino phenomenon when I was a child, I tend to move to the places that have unnaturally bad weather during my stay.  

Most of our friends have electric heating elements mounted in the wall as well as radiators.  We do not.  We only have the wall mounted ones.  And they suck.  A lot.  Our place is so effing cold that you can see your breath in the bathroom.  Taking a shower this weekend, the bathroom was so steamed up that I had a hard time finding the shampoo.  The thing is this: Italians don't use insulation in building construction.  This means that you spend a small fortune heating your house and moments later, your house is freezing again.  As I write this, my fingers are white from cold.  Needless to say, it's been unpleasant.  I have found that space heaters are heavenly and can regularly be found sitting as close to ours as is possible.  "Lynne, do you want to spread out on the couch?"  "No, I'm fine sitting on the edge of this one cusion, closer to the heater." 

We also tend to live only in our bedroom or the living room, keeping both rooms somewhat closed off to keep the heat inside.  If you need something out of another room, you have to sprint, gently open and close the door, grab the item and then sprint back.  "DON'T OPEN THE DOOR SO QUICKLY!  YOU'LL SUCK OUT ALL OF THE WARM AIR!"    [I am obviously the one speaking in all caps.  Tom is the one that leaves the door open when he changes the laundry.  Unacceptable, Keenan.  Unacceptable.]

On a completely unrelated note:  Over the weekend, during a flight of fancy, I bought a new Italian coat and... a fur collar.  It was such a splurge and so entirely unnecessary but I'll say that my feeling of being truly Italian was very high as I donned my new fur to dinner last night.  Rocking my D&G glasses and a fur, oh child, I felt the warmth of Alta Moda (Italy's designer fashion).  Upon returning to my home, I discovered that the cats are terrified of the new fur and a turf war began.  Trying to rationalize with my three cats, I sat down and said "Listen guys, we can work this out.  The fur is a new friend in our household, let's all try to make it feel welcome."  They scoffed at this idea and timidly sniffed the fur before hissing and running away.  Alas, the fur now lives in the closet and the cats are not allowed near it.  Crisis averted.  But note, cats, the fur is staying.