Christmas Drama

on Monday, December 29, 2008

First Thank You everyone that left Christmas wishes. Sorry I haven't been able to personally thank everyone.

Needless to say I am VERY thankful Christmas is done and over with until next year. Christmas Eve was kind of quiet, spent at my husband's parents place with relatively no drama. Christmas Day spirit was spoiled by someone who felt that they needed to be the center of attention and try to start a relatively stupid argument with the computer technician (aka my husband - from now on he'll be referred to as "the computer technician).

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Merry Christmas 2008

on Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays everyone! I know this is a couple of days early but tomorrow I do not know if I will be online very much, if at all. For sure not on Thursday. Tomorrow evening we're going to my husband's parent's home for a "light" Christmas Eve dinner, then on Christmas Day we are going to be at my husband's sister's home for lunch. She's a very good cook, but usually cooks enough for an Army.

Do you feel the holidays have become too commercialized? I feel that they have. But at the same time, if the present is something that someone needs, I have no problems at all with that and is money well spent. Yes our family gets together to eat and exchange gifts. I do enjoy going shopping for gifts, but for gifts that the receiver would enjoy and can actually use. I do not believe in buying to "impress". Books are a great gift. I've made a Wishlist over on Amazon.Co.UK of books I want to read. At the moment I am bookless, having read everything I have. Why the UK version of Amazon you ask? Well it is easier and faster to receive books and such from the UK compared to North America.

The photo is of the company across the street from my apartment building with their hanging Santas.

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Busto Arsizio Christmas Market 2008 part 2

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Busto Arsizio Christmas Market 2008

on Sunday, December 21, 2008

Here are some photos of this year's Christmas Market here in Busto Arsizio, Italy. I will be posting some more photos in the coming days, so stay tuned!

As you can see it's been unseasonably MILD here recently. It snowed a couple of weeks back, maybe a couple of inches maximum. Since Thursday its been in the 50's every day. Today the high temperature was 61. No this is NOT normal for this time of year here and according to the forecast is not supposed to let up until towards the end of the week. There is a CHANCE of snow on Friday. So no White Christmas here this year.

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2008 Christmas Tree

on Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Here's our Christmas tree for this year. Pretty simple and basic tree. I'm the one in charge of putting the tree up and tearing down, the computer technician (the husband) usually does not help out with that. This time of year he's usually pretty busy with work so helping with the tree is the last thing on his mind.

A fellow reader brought up on my last post about the Christmas Markets that I forgot to mention. Christmas Markets are pretty popular in Europe. Depending on the city, the Christmas Market usually starts the end of November or beginning of December and runs until Christmas Eve. The Christmas Market here in Busto Arsizio (site is only in Italian, sorry!) opened on November 29th, including fireworks in the evening. It is not a very big market, maybe around 13 different stands. Products available ranging from sweets, wine, grappa, dolls, ceramics, Christmas ornaments, candles and other choices.

Traveling this time of year to visit different Christmas markets seems to be pretty popular. I know a couple of people that enjoy doing such, not only in Italy but also for example going to Germany and Austria where there are bigger and better markets compared to what a person can find in this area. This afternoon I found an interesting website that lists some but not all of the Christmas markets here in Italy and also Europe. Unfortunately the site is only in Italian.

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Christmas in Northern Italy

on Tuesday, December 16, 2008

This is my seventh Christmas here in Northern Italy. Where has the time gone?!? It almost seems like yesterday Christmas 2002, my first Christmas here. I always stay here in Italy for Christmas, I do not go back to the States for the holidays. The main reason being is that I do not wan to run the risk of getting stuck in an airport for a day or two due to a blizzard.

So what is Christmas like here, at least in Northern Italy? There are not a lot of differences between Italy and other countries like the United States or Canada. Some people do put up Christmas trees and decorate it, depending if they have the space for the tree in their apartment. In this area there are more apartment buildings compared to single family homes. Therefore there are not any Christmas lanes like in the States or Canada. More and more people though are decorating their balconies, usually with Christmas lights and the "in" thing is also having a hanging Santa Claus off the balcony.

Last night we went to a Christmas Party in Milan. The parts of the city we were in was all lit up, with tree trunks covered in Christmas lights. Strands of lights on light poles to appear as trees.

A typical bread, usually in and around Milan is panettone. Panettone is kind of a sweet bread with raisins and candies. Then there is pandoro, which is kind of similar to panettone, but sweeter and no candies.

Our family Christmas traditions are pretty simple and "normal". On Christmas Eve we go to my husband's parents for dinner and usually open presents. Then on Christmas Day we go to my husband's sister's house for lunch. This year we're going to be opening presents on Christmas Day, for my niece. She still believes in Santa Claus.

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Happy Birthday little lady!

on Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Today is my niece's fourth birthday.  She's quite the little gal, the apple of her Uncle and Auntie's eye.  Happy Birthday Annina!  Annina is a nickname for Anna.  Yes she was named after me and we ALMOST share our birthdays.  My birthday is tomorrow.  My niece would have been born on the 11th but my sister-in-law had to have a c-section due to my niece's umbilical cord being wrapped around her neck.  For me it is not important that we share or birthday or not, but that she is happy and healthy.  The above photo was taken in May when we were in Rimini, she was having bread and Nutella for breakfast.  

I always speak English with her and she responds back in Italian.  She responds back correctly and has learned that if she doesn't understand to ask.  I've spoken only in English with her since the day she was born and I'm not about to stop now.  That way, by the time she starts school she'll have a head start compared to the others when it comes to the English language.  

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The Friendship Flower Award

on Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I would like to thank Windmill over at the Windmill On The Hill for the honor of The Friendship Flower Award.  This really made my day, thank you so much!  The rules for this award are as follows: Copy this badge and put it on your blog; Link back to who passed you this award and Spread this award to at least 7 bloggers you are friends with.  

I am passing this award to the following seven people who's blog I enjoy dropping on every day on Entrecard.  The lucky winners are:

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November Top Droppers

on Wednesday, December 03, 2008

I would like to take a moment and thank my top Entrecard droppers for the month of November. If you are a fellow card dropper on Entrecard, please stop by these great sites and show them some love. If you're not on Entrecard yet, hop on over and check out what all the buzz is about!

Either this week or beginning of next week, I would love to put together a blogroll of all of the Canadian bloggers that are on Entrecard. My reasoning for doing so is since at this point in time it is not possible to search blogs on Entrecard by geographic location. So I figured why not start up a blogroll/list of Canadian Blogs/Bloggers. If you are one, please feel free to comment and let's get the ball going!

November top droppers:
Picture to People
HRM Business Practices & Notes
The Way I See It
My Thai Friend
Learn How To Make Money On The Internet
Photography by KML
The Ad Master
Bryan Karl - Everything Online
Computer Aid
WindMill on the Hill

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Ireland photos November 2005

on Monday, December 01, 2008

Back in November 2005 my husband and I spent about three days near Dublin Ireland to have a bit of a "vacation" after I had spent about 4 months in the United States to be at my dad's bedside when he passed away.  
My husband arrived the day before I did, on a Monday, rented a car and checked into the hotel.  I had left my hometown on Black Friday by bus to Chicago.  NEVER again, a 16 hour bus ride to go 600 miles!  Spent the weekend in Chicago, then about an 8 hour flight from Chicago to Dublin to find my wonderful computer technician hubby waiting for me at the Dublin airport.  
The weather was typical Irish weather, a bit rainy and DAMP.  

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Happy Thanksgiving

on Thursday, November 27, 2008

I FINALLY have my wonderful iMac back in my possession! My husband at the moment updating/upgrading it. HOPEFULLY he'll be done shortly with it. At least I have it back and will be able to use it momentarily. Thank you everyone for being so patient during this "downtime". Now I'll be able to catch up on things, including dropping cards on Entrecard, recommencing looking for computer technician jobs in Canada and also of course blogging. My laptop has been handy during the last week but nothing beats my desktop.

I would like to wish everyone in the States a Happy Thanksgiving. We are not celebrating today Turkey Day, MAYBE on Saturday after I get off of work. If not with my husband's family, a minimum of just my husband and I. His family isn't really into celebrating "American" holidays like Thanksgiving.

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Attention fellow readers and Entrecard Droppers

on Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I haven't been able to and also today may be a bit slow, if at all to respond to comments and drop cards on Entrecard. Yesterday we were in Switzerland all day and today my beloved iMac has gone into the shop to have the DVD player/burner replaced. HOPEFULLY I'll have it back either this evening or some time tomorrow. My iMac is only a couple of years old, I've had it for the last year without any problems up until now. Why am I having the DVD player/burner replaced? Yes my husband and I are smokers and my computer technician of a hubby figures that the lens on the DVD player is majorly dirty and since my iMac is still under warranty, is having it replaced. So I beg your pardon if for the next day or so that I may be slow to return comments and drop on your blog via Entrecard. At least I still have computer/internet access via my old Mac PowerBook. My laptop is a little slow and old. It's about 8 years old and minus being slow, works perfectly.

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I Love Your Blog Award

on Friday, November 14, 2008

Thank you to Dori over at From A Yellow House In England for the I Love Your Blog award!  This is the first time I've received a blog award.  Thank you so much Dori!  Now I'd like to pass on the "love" to the following bloggers.  The catch it guys and dolls, that you link back to the person who gives you the award and pass it along to seven of your favorite blogs.  

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Paisley Scotland Photos

on Thursday, November 13, 2008

This is an old thread mill in Paisley.  Now closed and abandoned.  

This is Paisley Abbey which dates back to the 12th century.  
Side view of Paisley Abbey, with a statue in memorial of Alexander Wilson, who was a Scottish-American poet, naturalist and illustrator.  He was born in Paisley and passed away in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  

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Glasgow Scotland

on Tuesday, November 11, 2008

May 2007 I had the pleasure of going to Glasgow Scotland and spending a week with a good friend of mine. I throroughly enjoyed the week seeing the sights in Glasgow, Paisley and also Loch Lommond. With the advert of the low-cost airlines, a round-trip ticket from Bergamo Orio al Serio Airport, near Milan, to Glasgow Prestwick Airport in May 2007 I spent about $60 on Ryanair. Sixty dollars doesn't even fill my gas tank.

If you haven't had the opportunity to visit Scotland yet, I would highly suggest going. I found Glasgow and the area very clean and green. The people were very warm and welcoming. They were genuienly friendly and open. Nor did I feel any Anti-American sentiment while I was there.

Hopefully later in the week I will be posting more photos from my trip in Scotland.

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Top Entrecard Droppers

on Sunday, November 09, 2008

I've been using Entrecard for a little over a month and a half now. I have come across interesting blogs that I otherwise would not have. Up till today, here are the top Entrecard droppers on my site, please check them out:
My Thai Friend
People You Need To Know
Picture to People
The Virtual Dime Museum
My Sweet Haven
Thailand Land of Smiles
HRM Business Practices and Notes
Make Money Work Online
Dallas Marketing Services
60 Were Enough

So far I've really enjoyed Entrecard, have found some fellow Expat sites but would love to see more Expat sites or Canadian blogs on there. If you're an Expat blogger or a Canadian blogger and you want to check out other quality blogs and/or you want more traffic to your blog, check out Entrecard now!

p.s. This is NOT a sponsored post.

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Italian politics

on Saturday, November 08, 2008

Today a little bit about Italian politics. Italy has a population of around 57 million people in a surface area less than the state of California. Between the Senate the Chamber of Deputies there are a total of about 945 politicians in Rome. Each politician earning around 19,150 euros a MONTH, plus benefits. Not including benefits, the Italian politicians cost the Italian taxpayer around 217,161,000 euros a year. This is NOT including the salaries of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi or President Giorgio Napolitano. Does Italy, or any other country for that matter, actually NEED so many politicians in the capital?!? Some perks/benefits Italian politicians enjoy are:
FREE Cell phone
FREE Cinema tickets
FREE Bus & Subway tickets
FREE Stamps
FREE National air travel
FREE tolls on the motorway
FREE Gym & Swimming pool memberships
FREE Alitalia tickets
FREE Clinics (not sub-standard care either, of course)
FREE Life Insurance
FREE Car & driver
FREE Restaurants

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Lucerne Switzerland photos part 2

on Friday, November 07, 2008

As promised here are some more photos from my trip last weekend to Lucerne Switzerland.

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Comment problem fixed

on Wednesday, November 05, 2008

It was brought to my attention that the comment feature on my blog was not working. I have hopefully fixed the problem so please feel free to comment away!

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Lucerne Switzerland photos

As promised, here are some photos of my trip last weekend to Lucerne, Switzerland. Keep checking back as I will post more photos later.

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Election Day 2008

on Tuesday, November 04, 2008

As you all know, today is election day in the United States. I have already sent in my absentee ballot about a couple of weeks ago. If you are an American citizen, have you voted yet? If you're not voting today, whether in person or via absentee ballot, why?

This is a big election for the United States, if not the world. There is going to be a "changing of the guard" in the White House. Either McCain or Obama. Either way it is going to be a first. The first woman Vice President or first African American president.

The majority, if not all, of my students at one point in time have asked me questions about the election and who I think will win. Italians are curious people and I mean that in a good way. My impression is that for the most part Italians would prefer to see Barak Obama as president. Several people have asked me directly almost making a subtle hint "Are you going to vote for Obama?".

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Alpen Doch, Switzerland

on Monday, November 03, 2008

As promised here are some photos from our weekend in Lucerne Switzerland.  Today's photos are from Saturday of the area where our Bed and Breakfast was, near the village/town of Alpnach Dorf.  Stay tuned this week and I will be posting more photos of our trip to Lucerne Switzerland.  

We stayed at a Bed and Breakfast called The Schuermatt, which is located on a small farm that has cows, horses and a mule or two.  The owners, Josef & Madeleine, where very friendly, kind and hospitable.  My husband was the one that had to do all of the talking, since the owners speak German and French, neither language I know.  I think it's time I start studying one of the two languages, since we've been spending a lot of time in the French and German speaking parts of Switzerland.  

As you can see from the photos below, we were surrounded by mountains and it had snowed a couple of days earlier.  The air was so clean and crisp and the view was breathtaking.  The only sound we could hear was the occasional cow bells.  Saturday evening we had a delicious homemade cheese fondue for supper there at the Bed & Breakfast.  Breakfast yesterday morning consisted of sliced ham and roast beef, grapefruit juice, yougurt, bread, croissants, three different types of cheeses, jam and nutella, coffee and FRESH (we're talking fresh from the cow fresh) milk.  

If the occasional smell of manure puts you off or you're a city person, this place isn't for you.  But if you're searching for a down home type of place with everyday nice people, I suggest staying at The Schuermatt.  Just make sure if you're unable to speak German or French to have a dictionary with you.  Also, don't forget your GPS to get there.  The rooms are clean as is the shared bathroom.  They do have some cats and dogs, so if you're allergic to either one, best stay away.  The cats and dogs are not allowed onto the second floor where the guest rooms are located.  

If you're planning a trip to Switzerland and want to stay at a Bed and Breakfast, I would highly suggest checking out this website.  This is the site we found The Schuermatt on.  Seems to be the "official" listing of Bed and Breakfasts in Switzerland.  You can also buy a book of all of the listings also.

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