Thursday, September 30, 2010

My name is Marshell... oh no.. that's not the first time I've done that...

I think I just died laughing.

This YouTube video, I think, requires a very... different sense of humor.

Hehe.  Hang gliding on a dorito.  Pfft.

I'm going to go watch it again.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New: Ground Beef Hand Moisturizer!

Hey y'all.

I'm here today with another food post.  Please don't shoot me.

I made SLIDERS!  The cutest little buggers in the food industry.

I started out with some thawed ground beef, and proceeded to knead some Worcestershire (JUST A TOUCH) some heavy cream and some salt and pepper into the beef.  (You can thank Pioneer Woman for the majority of this recipe, by the by.  It took me approximately 4 or 89 minutes to wash the grease off my hands.  But now they.. feel... freakishly smooth....

After forming them into patties, I chopped up one clove of garlic and put it in a pan (my idea! my idea!) with some butter and oil.  I let that get nice and hot, and then I dropped the patties in there.  At this point, I was very excited.  I cooked those up for a couple minutes on each side (medium heat) and VOILA!

I didn't have any biscuits or buns, so I cut end pieces from a bread loaf into four pieces.  Yeah, they're that tiny.  And I wanted you to see how cute, but I still haven't found my camera cord, so I took a few quick pictures using my terrible lovely webcam.

This is me being very excited to taste, and frightened that it will be awful (I always feel this way when I cook something new):

This is me chewing, tasting, wondering, exploring, and taking it all in:

And this is me after seeing how flippin' delicious these things are:

I exploded. They killed me dead.

I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say

As I was reading and eating my breakfast, I listened to my dad's iPod.  The song "I heard the voice of Jesus say" came up.  It was just a beautiful instrumental by Fernando Ortega, so I googled the lyrics for some encouragement. 

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"Come unto Me and rest;
Lay down, O weary one, lay down,
Thy head upon My breast."
I came to Jesus as I was,
So weary and worn and sad;
I found in Him a resting-place,
And He has made me glad.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"Behold, I freely give
The living water; thirsty one,
Stoop down and drink and live."
I came to Jesus, and I drank
Of that life-giving stream.
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
And now I live in Him.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"I am this dark world's light.
Look unto Me; thy morn shall rise
And all your days be bright."
I looked to Jesus, and I found
In Him my star, my sun;
And in that Light of Life I'll walk
Till pilgrim days are done.

These words are true comfort, my friends.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Oh dear.

This day is just positively worrisome.  And I like to keep it real.  So I'm gonna tell you allllll about it.  Come on, it'll be fun! Just like plucking out every eyelash one by one!

I woke up without a voice and with a sore throat, and I had chills.  Mama suggested Tylenol, so I took it.  I started to feel better after a couple hours.  Then, I really needed to recharge my phone plan because my phone was practically screaming at me that "funds were insufficient."

So, after deciding I was well enough, I pulled on some clothes and was out the door to walk down the street where I recharge my phone's plan. Bad idea.  When I got home, I was worse, and I can barely concentrate on school.

Not to mention I ended up recharging not my number, but my mom's number.  So I'm still stuck... And there's no way I'm going back today.

Also, today I have a rhetoric class, and I'm afraid I'm going to scare everybody with my creepy raspy voice.

And, did I mention it's COLD HERE??  As in, I had a sniffle-y nose by the time I made it to the recharge-place.  And in the apartment, the air isn't even on and I'm wearing socks.  Normally, I would love it, but not today.

Don't get any closer.  You might catch my whine flu.

This is a rather alien concept to me....

Another meme for y'all!

1. Do you believe, somewhere deep inside, that blondes do indeed have more fun? That they are "dumber" than brunettes or redheads? Be honest!

This question makes me nervous. I... I.... think brunettes rock everyone is equal.
2. Which animal would you most like to observe in its wild habitat?

Horses.  I have always wanted to see wild horses.  It's not quite the same as seeing them behind fences on the side of the rode when you drive past.  
3. This week the U.N. announced that Dr. Mazlan Othman has been appointed the official "Alien Ambassador," should any extraterrestrials contact us. Have you, or has anyone you know, ever seen a UFO?

I saw one the other night.  Except it was most likely just a jet.  Yeah, so never mind.  I don't know what I'm talking about.

4. Name your favorite Hitchcock film.

I can honestly say that I haven't seen one.  I know.  I should be ashamed.  Or should I?  Are they any good?  Gosh I feel out of the loop.

5. Would you rather spend time at the library, the mall, a craft store or home?

I'm torn.  Not the library; to be honest those places give me the heebie jeebies.  I don't like to think about how many people have snotted on touched those books.  And I really, really like the mall.  And I have a freakish love of craft stores.  And I am kind of a homebody.  Soo... I guess maybe I'd say go to the craft store, pick up something fun to do, and then come home and play with what I bought.  :)
6. Which Disney princess is your favorite? (Or Disney character, if you are a guy)

The little Mermaid, for sure.  Though, I'm more like Snow White in regards to my skin tone.  And the fact that I love to sing while birds softly alight on my fingertips as I fetch water from the well.

7. What kind of art is your favorite?

Drama! Acting.  I love to act, and I love to watch other people act.  

8. How do you feel about viral videos, that is, videos made by amateurs that end up on Youtube receiving thousands of hits?

I guess it depends on the video, but most of the time, I am an enthusiast.  

9. Where do you buy your jeans?

Used to be Old Navy, but the jeans I've been wearing a lot lately are from the Gap.  

10. Tell me about your first automobile accident.

I have never actually been part of one.  And I hope that remains my answer forever and always.

11. Have you ever been honest when you knew you would benefit more if you would be dishonest?

I'm sure I have, in fact, I can think of a few instances, but it's nothing I want to share here because all the stories involve others, so it's not my story to tell.  But I can say it's one of the hardest things to do.

12. If you were appointed "Ambassador to Aliens," what would you show and tell first about life on Earth? What would be the most difficult thing to explain?

I feel really very sill answering this question.  VERY SILLY INDEED.  I feel that perhaps I would show them... ugh who am I kidding.  I have no idea.  I think I'd find it hard to get past the fact that there are aliens. talking. to. me.

Have a nice day!

Monday, September 27, 2010

My new page

Hey everyone!

I've created a side-blog, a little "buddy" for this one, so to speak.  It's a review blog, where I weigh in on products I've tried, and recommend them to you.  Or try to convince you not to buy them, in some cases.  I know that a good bit of my readers are ladies, and I think it might appeal more to them than boys, but I hope there will be something for everyone.

To check it out, look under the blog title up there ^  and click the reviews tab.  The rest, you can figure out.

Thanks so much, everyone.

(Oh, and if you like, you can send me emails about products you've reviewed, and I will post them on there too.)

A letter to Chuck

Dear creators of the hit television series, Chuck,

Thank you.  I had been working so hard on my homework, and I sat down to "get away from it all."  and the season premiere happened to be on TV.  I was thrilled!  I was beyond thrilled.  So I grabbed a piece of weirdo cake, curled up under my Snuggie (Because I can eat cake!  While I'm in a blanket! Because it's the blanket! With arms!)  

And, darling, wonderful, genius creators of the hit television series, Chuck, you haven't ceased to amaze me.  You wowed me.  I sat through the episode whilst laughing, sighing, laughing, grinning, biting my nails, and laughing some more.  

So, basically, wonderful creators of the hit television series, Chuck, I want to thank you.  And also, I love you.  I love you all.  From the bottom of my happy little heart.  

Sincerely yours,

A Retrospective

Things I liked today:

  • Saran wrap.  It's so helpful when I'm too lazy to dig for a tupperware container cleaning up my leftovers.
  • My laptop.  But I love her all the time.  Hi, Sue!  Even though your shift key is lose and you can be a bit slow, I love you nonetheless.
  • My weirdo cake.
  • Cream cheese frosting.  To top my weirdo cake.  Yes, ma'am.  It's a wonder I'm not a whale
  • My mother's great taste in music.  I've been jammin' to her playlist all. day. long.
  • Cold weather.  Y'all.  I wore my leather jacket to the store today, and everybody else was wearing jackets too.  I'm WAY beyond thrilled.
  • My boyfriend jeans.  (Read:  this is a style/name/shape of jeans.  I don't even have a boyfriend. No, thank you.)  But seriously, these jeans are great.  Gap; 1969; rolled up to a cuff... ahh.  Perfection.
  • A market right across the street.  Very handy.
  • My snuggie.  I'm rather sick at the moment (I know, again!) and it keeps me cozy. 
  • The pretty orchids on the table.
  • Mozzarella with olive oil and balsamic 
  • ACE.  Pronounced Ach-ay.  It's got vitamins A, C, and E, and is made up of carrot, lemon, and something else juice.  It's delicious.
  • Getting to proofread Uncle Marshall's sermon.  Ah, the power of the red pen!  
  • Coldplay... cento percento.
Things I did not like today:

  • Forgetting to wear closed-toed shoes to the market (cut me a break, I lived in Hawaii most of my life) and coming home with cold toes.
  • When people leave their shopping baskets on the floor and stand smack in the middle of the aisle, and don't move when I say "permesso."  How rude!
  • When there aren't any plastic bags left for produce so I can't buy any more bananas.  (You have to have a bag to buy produce here... I'm not just a weird-y who has to use a bag.)
  • When I can't remember the words to a song I really like.
  • The sad verse in the song Molly Malone about how "she died of a fever and no one could save her..."  (Wail! Gnash teeth!)
  • When the mint plant outside just. won't. grow.
  • Dead tomatoes.
  • Uncle Marshall is leaving today.
  • When I had to use powdered vanilla for my cream cheese frosting. (I know! What is that, even?)
  • Too-abrasive Italian boys.  They make me nervous.  I mean, it's flattering that you think I'm "carina" but would you please not scare me by saying it out loud while I'm going to the market??  It freaks me out!  That is no way to win over a lady.  (insert sigh.... here)

And that's about it for now.  Arrivederci, kiddos.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A face for radio

My dear Uncle Marshall has put it into my head that perhaps I ought to go into broadcasting.

You see, I like to talk.

I like to talk a lot.

If I didn't, I wouldn't have a blog.  And I'd probably have more friends.

Moving on... we were watching the funny Discovery Channel show 'Top Gear."  On this show, they're all British, and they're, again, really funny.  So naturally, I began speaking in a British accent.  Uncle Marshall then proceeded to tell me I ought to make a podcast to go along with my blog.  And he says I don't need a partner because I'm already like 50 people in one.  (Is that a compliment...?)  Well.

I like the idea!  Perhaps I will one day, once I actually figure out what to talk about.

Also, today, we went to a street market, and I snagged a super cute leather (or, most likely pleather) jacket for a great price.

I once told me dad I'm a leather jacket kind of girl*, but I don't have a leather jacket, so I'm not living up to my full potential.  (I'm pretty sure, at the time, I was trying to convince him to purchase one for me.  Didn't work.)

But now, I'm happy to say, I'm free to be me.

*Not to say I'm some hardcore biker chick, no.  I mean I'm a leather jacket girl in the sense of it paired with skinny jeans, heels, and a frilly shirt.  Thankyouverymuch.

Friday, September 24, 2010

If being spontaneous in my baking endeavors is wrong, I don't want to be right.

Well oh my.

By golly, I think I've done it!

You see, I was in the mood for cookies or brownies or SOMETHING to tickle the sweet tooth.  But, unfortunately, we don't have many cookie ingredients in this home, namely, chocolate chips.  So, I put together a recipe using naught but my brain and some random ingredients that I thought might taste kind of good together.

And you guys.

I can't even... it's so... oh my goodness.. it's like... ahhhhhhh.

I'm not even sure how to give you a recipe, because I just measured using my eyeballs for the most part.  Only things I areas in which I was precise were a teaspoon of baking soda, and a cup and a half of flour, and 1/4 cup of sugar.

But I'm about to tell you what else is in the cake.

I don't know if it will sound good to you.  But I was hungry when I made this, and it turned out, it was delicious, so if you think it sounds gross, you're wrong.


In a mixing bowl, I put a stick of softened butter, I think maybe a tablespoon of nutella and a tablespoon of peanut butter.  And then a drizzle of honey.  And a drizzle of espresso.  And 1/4 cup of sugar.


(Sorry for yelling.  I'm very excited.)

Then, I think I put in some milk and an egg.  (I should have written this down.)  And quite a bit of chocolate syrup, cinnamon, and some salt.


(Sorry.  Desperate times= desperate measures)

Then I added roughly a cup and a half of flour (all-purpose) and stirred it all up till it was really creamy.  I had to add a bit more milk and espresso to thin it out a titch.  I put it in a greased brownie pan (Pyrex or something) and then put it in a 175 Celsius oven.  I don't even know how much that is in Fahrenheit; this was all very experimental.  Clearly.

OH OH, before I put it in the oven, I sprinkled large-grain brown cane sugar on the top for a bit of crunch.  That was a good call on my part.

I think it was probably in the oven for a good 15-20 minutes, but then again, I don't really know.  I don't really know anything.

Who am I?

Once I took it out of the oven, I let it cool for a good hour/hour and a half.  Again, not too sure.

Then I cut it up into squares (It's kind of more like a cake at this point actually....) and then I put a piece on a paper towel.

I sniffed it, I poked it, I prodded it, I tested it on several lab rats, and finally took the plunge.

I bit in.

And you know what?

Best cake-brownie-cookie thing ever.  I don't even know if I could make it again, but man.  That's some good stuff right thar.

Now go make it (or try... this post is even confusing me).  Or, just come visit me and try a bite.  Either way, my craziness actually was good for something today.

May all your cakes be spontaneous,

Thankful Thursday

{Updated to add:  A few hours after I posted this, I realized it was, in fact, Friday.  Not Thursday.  Please forgive my blatant disregard of time.  But I'm not changing the title. It's catchy.}

Today, I'm just a doing a quick post to quickly say the things for which I'm thankful today.

1.  Cool weather.  When I video-chatted with my brother Will last night, I sat out on my balcony.  I was so cold that I put on a thick hoodie! It was fantastic.

2.  Espresso.  Need I say more?

3.  Uncle Marshall's visiting.  We're having a fun time!

4.  My new-found motivation.  All of a sudden, I'm very driven to do my schoolwork and do it well, and I'm trying hard to help keep the house clean.  This is weird for me.... Those of you who know me are probably pretty shocked right about now.  Usually it's a struggle for me to do things I'm supposed to be doing, but lately my conscience has been eating away at me until I do what I'm supposed to be doing.  But it is only by God's grace that this is the case!

5.  My teachers.  My mom, my geometry teacher, and my rhetoric II teacher.  They are all truly delightful.  I struck gold this year!

6.  My online buddies.  I have so many friends now through my online school! I'm really hoping I can go to the gathering at the end of the year and meet them all in person!

7.  Living in Rome. Again, need I say more?

8.  My laptop.  She's my baby.  Her name is Sue.

9.  The plants and herbs on our front balcony.  I love watering them in the evenings and looking at them while I study.

10.  Cookies.  In fact, I think I'll go make some right now....

11.  Above all, God's overwhelming mercy to me.  Who am I that he should love me?  What have I ever done to deserve his affection?  Nothing.  But he does just the same, and it's beautiful, and it fills me with joy and hope.

That's all for now.  Of course, I'm thankful for much more than that!  But that's just a glimpse into my mind right now.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Enti-tea of Tea, or, Tea amo.

My dear Uncle Marshall is visiting the Malone apartment for a week.  He enjoys being in the kitchen immensely, and so I am getting some really good food at this juncture.

This is perfectly fine with me.

He is the owner of Teasy Teas, formerly Portsmouth Tea, and his teas are outstanding.  The site isn't up yet, but I want you all to keep checking until it is, and you will not be sorry. I mean it.

I am sipping a little concoction that he made, and I thought, with his permission, that I would share the recipe with you all.

Lemon-Rooibus Iced Tea:

What you will need:

6 (or so, depending how strong you like it) teaspoons of rooibus tea. (Also known as red-bush)
1/2 a lemon
Simple Syrup (or just plain ol' sugar)

How to make it:

1.  Fill a small pot with some water.
2.  Spoon in your 6 teaspoons of rooibus loose tea, and toss in a slice or two of lemon.
3.  Bring it to a boil.
4.  Turn off the stove, and let the tea sit in the hot water (fancy people call that "steeping") for no fewer than 10 minutes, though past that you can steep it as long as you like.  
5.  Strain the liquid into a a pitcher, or teapot, or whatever you wish to store it in.  You can leave the lemons in the pot.  

How to serve it:

1.  Put ice in a shaker or any cup with a lid that you can shake vigorously.
2.  Squeeze about two lemon slices over the ice in the cup/shaker.
3.  Pour the tea over this, add just a titch or a dab or a smidgen of sugar/simple syrup, and close the lid.
4.  Shake,shake,shake... shake,shake,shake... shake your ICED TEA
5.  Pour into a glass.
6.  Chug.

Delightful, no?  Perfection in a glass, I'd say.

Have a tea-riffic day!

Someone, please stop me.  These puns are just absolute obsceni-tea.  They're monstrosi-teas.  I'm feeling a little guil-tea.   

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

In which I let other people think for me!

Way-ull.  Tomorrow (If I'm not mistaken) is the first day of fall.  I COULD NOT BE MORE THRILLED ABOUT THIS.  I can't wait for cool weather.... coats... boots.... hats... scarves... ahhhh....

I am participating in a meme, because I can't think of anything else to say to y'all, and it's called "The Random Dozen."

And before you ask, yeah, I probably won't do it every week.  In fact, I'd bet 100 bucks that I forget for the next three months.  And, you do not have to participate.  There we go!  Pressure is now officially off all parties.

So here goes:

1. Have you, or has someone close to you, ever won an award for anything? 

Perfect Attendance Award, 4th grade.  Boo-yah.

2. Who is the nearest relative to you who has served in the US Military?

My dear ol' Dad.  Hence the whole "Living in Rome" aspect of my life.

3. Share something that stirs the patriotic spirit in you. 

O, say, can you see that hearing the National Anthem sung at events and sports games always makes me feel very proud to be an American.  Where at least I know I'm free.  And I won't forget the ones--- ok, you get the picture.  Really any patriotic song, The National Anthem, Proud to be an American, Red white and Bluegrass, all make me very happy.  And yes, I'm not kidding about that last one. 
4. Where are you in the birth order in your family? Do you think your "placement" made a difference in your personality? 

I'm the youngest.  And yes, it did.  It made my personality the CUTEST.  :) Just kidding.  No, I think I'm glad I was younger, because I have my big brother Willie to look up to.  I don't know if my personality would have been different, but I don't honestly think I'm cut out to be the oldest, so I'm glad God knew that... :)

5. Name one trait you hope you carry that was evidenced in your parents or grandparents.

There are tons.  I think general organization skills from my Mama and my Yaya would be nice.  But then, I wish I was more adventurous and sweet like my Gammy, and more hoo-hoo-ha-ha funny like my Papa and my Daddy, and more cultured, linguistically and in regards to cooking, and like my Bebob.  You asked for one, I gave you five.  Wasn't that generous of me?

My family is downright swell, y'all.  
6. If female, do you prefer wearing a skirt or pants? If male, shirt and tie or polo? 

I'm a girl's girl, you see.  I would wear a skirt/dress almost everyday, though I do love my Gap jeans and my sweats.  But I'd say I'm more of a skirt girl.
7. Approximately how many times do you wake during the night? What do you do to go back to sleep?

Umm, I'd say I wake approximately MAYBE once, on average.  I'm a good sleeper.  To go back to sleep, I generally just have to curl up in a ball and shut my eyes.  The end.  

8. Share a favorite movie quote.

"It should take you exactly four seconds to cross from here to that door.  I'll give you two."
-Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's.
9. What is your favorite Fall candle scent?

Huuuummmm... well, it's hard to explain, really.  We don't have it this year because it's in a storage container in who-knows-where at the moment, but we have a cute candle that looks like a tree trunk with a squirrel on it.  Even if you don't light it, it fills the air with this sweet aroma that just makes me so happy.  It won't seem like fall without it...

10. What is one Fall activity you're looking forward to?

WEARING CUTE, WARM CLOTHES.  I don't think I've said that before, have I?

11. Tell us about a pleasant surprise that happened to you recently.

My uncle decided to come to visit! He'll be here in a few hours.  He's my dad's twin, so I'll be saying this a lot: 

"Questo e il mio zio. Lui e' il fratello gemello di mio padre."  "This is my uncle.  He is my father's twin brother."

Didn't even need, baby.  WOOHOO!

12. What was it like when you first met your in-laws-to-be?

Actually, you know, it was quite an interesting experience! They were so kind and sweet and...

Hehe.  Just kidding.  Because I'm 16!  Ha! Get it?  GET IT?   HA... Ha.... ha.... ha.... ha...ha....


Sleepy-Eyed Morning

Swirling, swirling mass of thoughts
All my dreaming, all for nought
Waking up to a voice that calls:
"Bacon, eggs, and toast for all"
Father's cooking, I'm still sleeping
Through my lids the light is seeping
Press my face into my pillow
I'm as dead as a faking armadillo
I groan again, I'm feeling contrary
My body screams for sanctuary.
Waking up is hard to do.

I rub my eyes and I stretch my toes
I curl under my quilt 'cuz those toes done froze
Aware of the day all around me
I'm sure that the day can live without me.
I squinch my eyes and I breath real slow
I wrinkle my brow and assess my woe.
Only a minute, I say in my head
Only a second, and I'll get out of bed.
Waking up is hard to do.

But suddenly, I hear, throughout the house
Fork against plate, spouse talking to spouse.
I hear mother talking, and father, he too,
And I toss away my quilt, the pretty one that's new.
I drink in the smell of eggs, bacon, and toast
That indeed is what I want the most.
I stumble through the hall, still half asleep
I stumble through the kitchen, having not made a peep.
Mama asks how I slept, I mumble, "Just fine"
As I stumble and tumble towards the breakfast plate; mine!
I plop down in my chair with some salt and a fork
Realizing it's quite possible, I look like a dork.
My hair is a mess, my eyes smudged with mascara
Yesterday's face on the next day will scare ya.
But my heart is delighted by the plate on the table
I eat it, devour it, as quick as I'm able.
I thank my dad and put my plate away
A delicious, warm breakfast is the way to start a day
Waking up ain't so hard to do.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Made by and for people with too much time on their hands

Would someone please explain this to me?

I can't even... gosh... how much time must that have taken?  That's... unbelievable.

And I promise not to watch it more than 48 times.

I post song lyrics for blog posts. It's an illness.

So, I love love songs.  I'm not in love with anyone, and I never have been, but I absolutely love love songs.  Something about the feeling in the voice of the singer, and the delicate musical rhythm, the tender preparation of the lyrics.  And yes, we are talking ballads.

It's really the only kind.

It's the same way I love romantic movies, ala Audrey Hepburn and the like, and stories of princesses finding their prince charming's in fairy tales.  I don't like the angry, quick-paced love songs.  I like the ones that are slow, smooth, often broken-hearted but hopeful, and sweet.

One of my dearest friends introduced me to a really good singer, Regina Spektor, and her song "The Call."  It's really a gorgeous song, and I've had it running through my head lately.  It's definitely a love song, but it's subtle.  This song was used in the credits of the first (the newer series) Chronicles of Narnia movie.  Here are the lyrics:

It started out as a feeling
Which then grew into a hope
Which then turned into a quiet thought
Which then turned into a quiet word

And then that word grew louder and louder
'Til it was a battle cry

I'll come back
When you call me
No need to say goodbye

Just because everything's changing
Doesn't mean it's never
Been this way before

All you can do is try to know
Who your friends are
As you head off to the war

Pick a star on the dark horizon
And follow the light

You'll come back
When it's over
No need to say good bye

You'll come back
When it's over
No need to say good bye

Now we're back to the beginning
It's just a feeling and no one knows yet
But just because they can't feel it too 
Doesn't mean that you have to forget

Let your memories grow stronger and stronger
'Til they're before your eyes

You'll come back
When they call you
No need to say good bye

You'll come back
When they call you
No need to say good bye

Isn't it lovely?  Here's the YouTube video so you can listen:

Tell me, what's your favorite love song?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow

I am sitting on the little balcony outside of my room, and thinking.  I read for a while, but the breeze was so enticing.  I turned off my book light and put my book back in my room, and stood.  Leaning against the rail, I watched, listened, felt, and breathed easy.  Within moments, I was relaxed and at peace.  I giggled as, through an open window, I saw a family arguing over what appeared to be the TV remote.  I heard a happy voice from across the street talking to a little girl, and saw an older couple holding hands as they basked in the cool evening..  Various people stride by in the street below, walking dogs, talking excitedly, and enjoying the crisp weather.

I drink in the night, soaking it into me like a sponge.  I want to know the stories of these people, but for now I am content to just be a fly on the wall.  The breeze tickles my face and takes great delight in rumpling my hair, but I welcome it.  I only wish every night could be like this one.

I think about my life, and am still in shock.  It's hard to believe that I'm actually in Italy, so far away from all of those who I know so well.  But I'm quickly reminded of my surroundings as I hear a man across the way chattering happily to his wife in that beautiful, rolling, musical language.

Breathing it in, I am absolutely in love with this little place. As I feel the wind on my face, I realize that this night, to me, is "true... pure... lovely..."  and I fix my thoughts on it, and on God.

I shall go inside with a smile on my face, and write it down in my prayer journal, thanking God for this.  For all of it!  For my home, for my new city, for my chance to be in Italy, and even for this quaint little balcony.  It is all only possible because of God's matchless grace, and only because of his love for me and my family.  I still have my struggles, and plenty of them, but I can rest in this wonderful opportunity given me by the Lord, and in his mercy to me.

And, as I type this, it almost knocks me down that all these thoughts and prayers that I have had on my mind tonight have been triggered by a simple, faint, breeze that kissed my face, and in fact, laid me low.

This week, I intend to spruce up this balcony a bit, because I feel that I will be spending much more time out here.  :-)                      


Hai il numero sbagliato, dude.

I walk into the kitchen to talk to my mom the other day, and as we talk, the phone rings.  Mom picks it up.

"Hello? Uh... I'm sorry I don't understand..."

I tell her I'd be happy to take the call and try to talk to them, so she hands it to me, telling me that whoever it was told her to wait just a moment.  I take the phone, wait, and finally hear a voice.

Italian person:  Yes?  Ah, hello.  You call?

Me:  No, no, I didn't call you.

Italian person:  You did not-a call for appoint-a-ment-a?

Me:  No, I didn't call to make an appointment... What kind of appointment?

Italian person:  Ah, what-a city are you in?

Me:  Well, I'm in Rome, but I don't see how--

Italian person:  What is your street-a?

Me:  Who is this?

Italian person:  What is your street-a that-a you live on-a?

Me:  I'm not going to tell you where I live until you tell me who you are!

Mom walks up, looking at me quizzically.  She laughs as I tell the man that same thing several times.

Me:  *sigh*  Please tell me what kind of appointment you mean, so I can figure out who you are.

Italian person:  You don't-a have a appoint-a-ment-a?

Me:  I'm sorry, I really have no idea what you're talking about.

I then hung up.  I hate to hang up with people, but he seemed to be getting frustrated and a bit upset, and the fact that he was asking for my street quite relentlessly made me nervous.

What can you do?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Is there a hitchhiker's guide to having a sore knee?

Today, I am not doing much of anything. I simply can't, you see. My fever went away, and yesterday I thought my knee was healed, too! But, alas, how wrong was I! We went to the mall last night, and about halfway through our trip, my knee started bugging me. Then I heard (and felt) a pop, and suddenly it hurt.

A whole lot.

I was able to limp around for a while longer, all the while feeling thoroughly stupid, and finally we made it to the food court where I could sit down.

May I digress for a moment?  Thanks!  Riddle me this: why are food courts called food courts?  No sports are played there, unless you call shoveling pizza into your mouth a sport.  It's nothing like a tennis court.  And it's not at all royal; not like a "court"yard or "the Queen's court."  It's a travesty, really, and the whole idea of a food court should be renounced promptly.  Let's, for the sake of my sanity, call them a calorie-consumption venue.

Digressing back to the point.

Once father had purchased the cheese pizzas, we all sat down in the calorie-consumption venue.  I was enjoying my calories immensely, and my knee was thanking me for the rest.  I leaned down to grab a bobby pin out of my purse to pin my bangs back, but that attempt did not, in fact, come to fruition.  You see, directly before I was able to find said hair pin, my knee popped.  Yet again.  And I swiftly lost my appetite, pushed my pizza over to my father, and held out my hand for my mother to give me some motrin.  At this point, I was entirely distressed.

Not being able to shop to my full potential really gets me down, man.

Once we returned to our living quarters (I'm feeling very literal today), I put on my pjs, plopped on the couch, and put my leg up.  I was freezing, so I brought my pink snuggie along, too.  We watched some Friday Night Lights, and then we retired to our bedchambers.  But not before getting eating a peanut butter/nutella sandwich, for my appetite had returned!

And now, my mother and father have come to the conclusion that I must rest my knee until it gets better.  I am not happy about this.  I want to go, I want to do, I want to BE!  But unfortunately, my knee will have none of that.

But, I have plenty of homework to keep me company.  And my best friend, Kindle.  (On my Kindle, I'm reading Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and it's really all too funny.  I've been rolling.)

Now, I shall leave you with an excerpt from this funny, funny book.  The context is that the spaceship is being chased down by two missiles, and the people in the spaceship would rather not die.  So, they press a button (the Improbability Drive) though know one knows what will happen whenever you press it.  The missiles turn into a sperm whale and a bowl of petunias.

"Another thing that got forgotten was the fact that against all probability a sperm whale had suddenly been called into existence several miles above the surface of an alien planet.  And since this is not a naturally tenable position for a whale, this poor innocent creature had very little time to come to terms with its identity as a whale before it had to come to terms with not being a whale anymore.  This is a complete record of it's thought from the moment it began its life till the moment it ended it.

'Ah...!  What's happening?' it thought. 'Er, excuse me, who am I? Hello?  Why am I here?  What's my purpose in life?  What do I mean by who am I?  Calm down, get a grip now... oh!  This is an interesting sensation, what is it?  It's a sort of... yawning, tingling sensation in my.. my... well, I suppose I'd better start finding names for things if I want to make any headway in what for the sake of what I shall call and argument I shall call the world, so let's call it my stomach.  Good.  Ooooh, it's getting quite strong.  And hey, what about this whistling, roaring sound going past I'm suddenly going to call my head?  Perhaps I can call that... wind!  Is that a good name?  It'll do... perhaps I can find a better name for it later when I've found out what it's for.  It must be something very important because there certainly seems to be a heck of a lot of it.  Hey!  What's this thing?  This... let's call it a tail- yeah, tail.  Hey!  I can really thrash it about pretty good, can't I?  Wow! Wow! That feels great! Doesn't seem to achieve very much, but I'll probably find out what it's for later on.  Now, have I built up any coherent picture of things yet?  No.  Never mind, hey, this is really exciting, so much to look forward to, I'm quite dizzy with anticipation... Or is it the wind?  There really is a lot of that now, isn't there?  And wow!  Hey! What's this thing suddenly coming toward me very fast?  Very, very fast.  So big and flat and round, it needs a big wide sounding name like... ow... ound... round... ground!  That's it!  That's a good name- ground!  I wonder if it'll be friends with me?'

And the rest, after a sudden wet thud, was silence."

Good day.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Where have all the good poets gone?

In one of my classes, Tapestry of Grace, I had to read some poems this week from the Norton Anthology of Western Literature.  These poems are full of beautiful lyricism and fabulous imagery, and I had to share with you my favorite.

Summer (Translated from the Hebrew by William M. Davis)

The earth, like a girl, sipped the rains
Of winter past, and those the ministering clouds distilled
Or perhaps, like a secluded bride in winter
Whose soul longs for the coming of love's time
She waited, and sought the season ripe for love
Till summer came, and calmed her anxious heart
Wearing golden tunics and white embroidered flax.
Like a girl who delights in her finery and raiment,
Every day she renews the grace of her embroiderers
And provides all her neighbors with new garments.
Every day she changes the colors of her fields
Now with strings of pearls, now with emeralds or rubies, 
Offering her meadows now white or green or gold
Or blushing like the sweetheart kissing her beloved.
Her trellises display such gorgeous glowers
It seems as if she stole the stars from heaven.  
Here is paradise, whose sheltered buds are clustered
Among the vines, kindled with blushes that incite to love.
The grapes are cold as snow in the hand of him who plucks them.
But in his entrails, they burn as hot as fire.
From the whirling cask, the wine, like the sun, is rising.  
And we shall bring our onyx cups to pour it.
In the love of wine we shall stroll beneath the bowers
Around the garden, and smile with tears of rain, 
Bright with shining drops spilled by the clouds
That scatter round like strings of pearls.
She finds joy in the song of the swallow, and in the songs of the vintagers,
An in cooing pigeons tamed by love,
She twitters in the branches, as the maiden sings
Behind her zither, swaying as she dances.
My soul is attentive to the breeze of the dawn,
For it fondles the breath of my beloved. 
A wanton breeze it is, that steals the scent of myrtles
To waft it off to lovers apart.
The heads of the myrtles rise and nod in turn
While the tremulous fronds of the palm tree
Seem to applaud the singing of the birds.

Why does no one write this way anymore?  It saddens the heart.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I don't make this stuff up

Sup, y'all.

It's 9:30 pm, and I think I'll head off to bed soon.  Just thought I'd go ahead and check in since I don't think I'll be able to blog tomorrow, but we'll see.

Last night, I went to bed and my knee was a little sore, but I figured that was just from all the walking I've been doing.  So, when I woke up this morning, I was not excited to notice that me knee was still sore.  Luckily, though, it was bearable.  I sat down to do some schoolwork, and around 9:30 I got up to hug my mom as she walked out the door to go check out the outlet mall.  I noticed that, uh, I couldn't really walk.

I texted mom a bit later asking what I should do, and she told me to take a motrin and maybe ice it.  I got up, took the motrin, and fashioned an ice-pack that would stay on my knee using a dish towel and a rubberband.  It was very fashionable.

The ice pack in the towel secured around my knee stayed on!  It was just one of those plastic square things that you keep in the freezer, and it was placed on the back of my knee.  So I happily began to walk back to my desk, aka our breakfast room table.


You know how if someone kicks the back of your leg, around your knee, you kind of fall forward?


Apparently the same thing happens if you put something big, square, and hard behind your knee and then try to walk.  I took one step, and fell down.

Come on!  After laughing for a moment at how silly I knew I looked, I adjusted my gait.  I then went on to do more school work, because I'm nothing if not entirely studious.


I was having trouble concentrating, but managed to push through a bunch of reading and some note taking and some pyramid making.  (Geometry, aka, arts and crafts.  Which I've never been good at.)

Mom got home as I was frustratedly trying to even out my scale model of a real pyramid.  I was getting more frustrated then was probably appropriate.  Then I was having trouble turning in some homework on my computer, and I couldn't find my homework assignment for another class on my computer.  So, naturally, I started crying.

Mama, understandably, was rather confused by my response to the situation, and came over to my work space to give me a hug.  She kind of looked at me funny and asked if I was hot.

"Uh, well, that wasn't the first thing on my mind, but yeah I guess I kind of am."

"Well, I'm pretty sure you're running a fever."



Well that explains everything, except the knee.  I'm sick!  I'm so glad to hear that I'm not just going crazy.

Actually, on second thought, I am going crazy, but that's been on going for 16 years, so that's off topic.

So, then, mom had to go to a hair appointment, and the electrician and mosquito screen (for our windows) guys came.  And our landlord and his slightly intimidating mother.  And I had to try to deal with them.

I don't speak Italian, in case you forgot.  My dad was supposed to be there, but he was held up at work.  (It's been a busy day here today.)  So that was really fun.

In a nerve-wracking, sorry-if-I-throw-up-on-your-shoes-and-then-cry-on-your-nice-new-jacket kind of way.  Luckily, I managed to push through, and Dad got home to finish with the proceedings.

I made it into my online class, and when that was done, I was done.  I plopped on the sofa, grabbed my Kindle, read two pages, and fell asleep.  I woke up at 7:30 (not kidding) and felt nauseated, yet hungry.  I didn't think I could stomach anything heavy, so I decided against the chicken my mom made.  I had, instead, half a sleeve of Ritz crackers, a string cheese, and later, a bagel.

I eat like a three year old.  Don't judge me.

Now, I'm going to bed.  I have already told my parents that if my leg hurts like this tomorrow, I'm going to the hospital.  I don't even know if I was joking.  But I am really tired of all the limping.

Good night.

Apiphobia's the name, COMPLETE AND UTTER TERROR is the game.

I'm sitting at my desk, aka our breakfast room table, and having a quick snack break.  I thought I'd drop in and apologize for a grave error I have made in my life.

I have never believed in phobias.

I always sort of thought that phobias were simply had by people who just really don't have much to 'em.  You know... hypochondriacs, silly geese, and the like. And you know what?

I was so wrong.

Why the sudden change of heart, you ask?  Because I've quite literally, no joke, developed a phobia.


The little buggers, or any other stinger-bug like wasps and yellow jackets, scare the jeepers out of me.  If one gets near me (and, several people have noted they actually follow me around) I flip out.  I. Must. Run.

Mom always calmly tells me to stand still, and they won't bother me... but to no avail.  Something triggers in me and I must flee the scene, which turns into me looking like an idiot in front of whoever's watching.  My heart pounds wildly, and I dance around trying to make sure it doesn't. touch. me.  If I see one land on a person, I step back and feel the need to warn them, though I try to be calm.  I lose control of my body and it generally just takes off in the opposite direction of said stinger-creature.  My mouth goes dry, I shake, and at times, I've been known to squeal.  RF thinks it's funny, because it kind of is.  After the fact, I realize what a silly goose I am.  But all the while, while I convince myself it's irrational, my eyes are wide open.  Looking for bees.

So, in a nutshell, I'm a weirdo.

Thank you.  Have a bee-free day.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Boulevard of Broken... Ancient Structures?

I'm a bad person.

This blog thing.  Well.  I'm not very great at it, apparently.  I just am far too slow.  But, I've finally sat down with some time to write!

Let's start with Saturday.  Pancakes.  My book.  Pajamas.  A nap... at 12 pm.  Because of said pancakes.

That pretty much sums it up.  You may be wondering "Why art thou so impossibly lazy?"  Well!  Be not disheartened!  I wasn't the only one.  Mom and I both rested, while dad did some studying.  But our excuse explanation is that we wanted to be well rested for Sunday.

"Why," you ask, "Would one rest to be well rested on Sunday which is the day of rest?"

This particular Sunday, dear readers, was not restful.  I woke at 6 (I'M SORRY, WHAT?) and then showered, put on jeans, a t-shirt, and tennis shoes.  This does not sound like the Caroline you know, does it?  I know.  It even surprised me.

Moving on, we left to take the Subway to Piramide (named, aptly, for the large pyramid outside of the station) and met other people from my dad's college.  My buddy, RF, waved a chocolate croissant in my face as I sipped my dainty cappucino, and then we set off.

We set off.  On a twelve mile walk.

I was fresh as a daisy for the first while.  We saw some really cool things!  Firstly, we saw the walls of Rome.  They were crumbly and broken, yet somehow still magnificent.  We saw an aqueduct, and the numbers for how much water those provided to Rome a DAY are mind-blowing.  Some million gallons or so.  It's truly unbelievable. Now, my explanations are going to be a little stunted because I seriously couldn't hear a thing the tour guide said.  (And I still can't find my camera cord, so go here for pictures.  It's my mom's Rome blog.)

We went to San Giovanni in Laterano, one of the most famous churches in Italy.  It was unbelievably gorgeous on the inside, and I think that that beauty is something that churches today really miss.  Amazing churches are a lost art, and it's quite sad.

We saw a set of steps, Scala Santa, inside a little building.  It is said that Jesus walked these stairs on the way to be judged by Pontius Pilate.  Now, though they are marble, they are covered by wood because mere mortals are not allowed to walk on the sacred steps.  The faithful Catholics climb these stairs, and only do so on their knees.  It seems rather moralistic to me, and I don't believe that we should literally worship the ground that Jesus walked on, but simply worship him for what he did.  I see how, if those really are the steps he walked on, that could be a really cool and amazing thing, but I don't believe that they have healing or forgiving powers, for they are in fact, simple steps of marble.

I chugged a gatorade and ate some pringles, and we were on our way again.  We saw more things than I could explain here.

It was, in fact, 12 miles.

We ate lunch at the British Embassy, and then continued.  By the end of the day, my feet were covered in blisters and I was pretty much ready to crash and/or die.

When we returned home, I showered, my sweet mama rubbed my feet, and we gathered around the laptop for some good old Friday Night Lights.  That's some good stuff right thar.

Monday, we went to Italian class and I did schoolwork.

Today was another walk!  This one was far more casual, though.  We went by the Circus Maximus, several Piazzas, and the Jewish quarter (which was my favorite part.)  It wasn't as long, and it was just the spouses club.  They let me hang with them because I'm really great.

It has nothing to do the fact that they feel sorry for me.  I'm sure of it.

Oh I'm kidding. ;)  It's just because I'm homeschooled and I don't bug 'em too much.

Now, I'm going to go read because I think if I try to walk another step, my calves are going to revolt and tear themselves from my legs, so goodnight, dear readers.

Buona notte!

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Haiku. Just for You.

I'll write a post soon
For now, I do my homework
And rub my poor feet.  

(I walked 12 miles yesterday.  Stand by for a long-winded little post.)

Buona Mattina, e nel caso io non ti vedo, buona pomeriggio, buona sera, e buona notte.

If you can guess what (or at least movie of origin) that quote is up thar that I put into Italian, you get a gold star.  No seriously.  A gold star.  Just. for. you.

(And if my quote has Italian grammatical errors, don't be surprised.)

(I'm only human)

(Nothing but a little girl.)

(Just a wee lass.)

(And google translate can be rather poop-y.)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Love I've Been Given

The lights have gone down in my room
Enclosing my soul is the fear of my doom.

I can't see your face like I need to
All the sins in my heart seep right through.

The tears down my cheek are burning
And all I can know is of yearning.

It's so very clear that I need you,
So why is it that I can't hear you?

I open the book and pore over the pages,
My soul and my heart break free from their cages!

A light turns on that some can not see,
So why, oh god, did you choose me?

I'm broken, unworthy, and constantly failing,
Not walking right beside you, I feel I'm only trailing.

Yet you waited down the path and held out your hand,
In the midst of this sinning, dry, weary land.

My heart begins to sing a new song
As you continue to love me like you have all along.

I've never seen it so clearly before,
And now I simply can see nothing more.

My cry is now only the tears of my gladness,
I can't even remember where I left all my sadness!

I may stumble, I'll still fall, but I have been forgive.
You wait for me still, oh the grace I've been given!

You've cast out my demons and taken my heart,
You've washed it and tamed it, you gave it a part.

You gave it a part in your magnificent story,
And soon, very soon, you'll take me to glory.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Espresso, homeschool, and music, oh my!


So it's been a while.

I'm just surprised I didn't get emails from friends asking me if I died!  (It happens.)

I just felt the need to step away for a couple days.  My real, legit school started this week, and Mama and I have been hitting the NATO college for a lot of events and lectures, Italian classes, and the like quite a bit lately.  It's pretty busy around here!

Yesterday, while my mom was at a spouses' coffee in the bar at the college (Read: bar in Italy is not like bar in America, fyi.  It's coffee.  Cafe.  Think Starbucks, but cheaper.  Way, way, way cheaper.) I went to the gym.  Ran the treadmill, lifted, used some of the machines, and did push-ups and lunges.  I then proceeded to feel like jell-o for a couple of hours.

I cooled off and changed into nice clothes. (the "man" won't let you wear gym/casual clothes in the college, though honestly, I don't really even know who the "man" actually is when it comes to the college.  But I digress.  I digress quite often.)  I tip-toed over to the library where it was cool.

If you were wondering why I tip-toed, it's because my ridiculously cute gladiator sandals (not a tourist schtick. They really are "in" here.) are apparently equally ridiculously squeaky on the floor in the college.  I might as well have been wearing a cowbell.

I read some schoolbooks, and then squeaked over to the bar.  (Read:  NOT AN ACTUAL BAR.)  I went up to the barista, and said "Un espresso, per favore."  I figured I'd just knock one back before continuing to work on my reading.  I get by with a little help from my caffeine.  She pointed over to where the spouses (spice? speese?) were sitting, and asked:  'Are you, er, with-a the spouse?'

'No, but my mom is.  I'm here waiting for her.'

'Oh, ok.  I make-a you one, moment, please.'  (I just love the way Italians speak English.)

She brought me my drink, wrinkled her brow, and said rather shyly, 'Er, may I ask-a... how old are you?"

I decided to use my Italian to make her more comfortable, and said "Sono sedici anni."  (Sedici being 16.)

"Oh ok, I was thinking you were, er, older!"  This is probably because she's seen me with the spouses (Spice?  Speeseee??)  because I take Italian with them and I am going to be attending Art and History lectures with them.  She smiled at me and said, 'You are very nice!'  and waved away my .50 euro.  I thanked her, she attended the next customer, I drank my (free!!) life-blood, and headed back to the library to wait for my mama.

I finished all of my reading for that day, and so I read my Kindle.  Mama got there, and we waited with a friend while our other friend who was going to drive us home got a tour around the college.

We came home, I had lunch, and at 5 pm I had my first real Rhetoric II online class, which was fun!  I'm really excited about that.  Today, in about an hour and 15 minutes, I have my first real Geometry online class!  I'm... relatively excited!  I mean, as excited as a bookworm like me could be about a math class.  But my teacher and the other kids are sweet.  But I'm pretty sure I'm the oldest one in the class, because I did pre-algebra, algebra I, and algebra II before geometry.

I think it'll be a good school year.  I feel it in my bones.

Or perhaps that's the copious amount of caffeine currently shooting through my bloodstream.  Could be.

Anyway, I'm also on a music kick right now.  I mean, it's not like I ever didn't enjoy it, but for some reason I can't take my headphones out of my ears right now.  It's actually my dad's iPod, because mine decided it doesn't like me anymore.

I understand.  I loved it... to its demise.  I think it's salvageable, but I don't really want too work on it right now.

Right now, I'm listening to Fernando Ortega.  I like his music because I've never been good at memorizing scripture, but he writes beautiful music and then sings exact scripture for the lyrics, so I can memorize it better that way.  Not to mention, it's entirely soothing and gorgeous.

I also like Foreigner.  Go figure.

I never was normal, you know, and I never claimed to be.

Friday, September 3, 2010

I do not take my country music lightly

Yes, it is in fact my second YouTube video of the day.

I have reasons, though!  You see, my life the past two days hasn't been really anything to write home about.  I've had my orientations for my online classes, done some homework, and learned about some cool stuff I get to do this year sight-seeing wise, because my dad's work is offering tours of some really neat places on the weekends. But I don't want to spoil all my future blogging by telling you about it now!

I wanted to share, though, this powerful video.  It's Carrie Underwood at the CMA's performing "Jesus Take the Wheel."  That may sound ordinary, but it's not.  At the end of the song, she transformed it into a big, powerful singing of the hymn "How Great Thou Art."  It gave me goosebumps.

I'm frustrated with ABC, because on television, they cut out the hymn part and cut to a video of "A day in the life of Taylor Swift."  Now, I love me some Taylor, but I find it absolutely infuriating that they cut out a hymn.  Anyone have a guess as to why?

Now watch!

Sound off in the comments:  What do you think about ABC's choice to cut the hymn?

And also, um, Carrie Underwood?  Girl's got pipes.