Monday, December 29, 2008

Now we are here, in Xanadu

That song is stuck in my head! We got to my sister's house in Carbondale last night, had a great dinner, and watched the movie Xanadu after the kids were in bed. If you don't know what movie I'm talking about, you missed a great 80's movie - complete with feathered hair, legwarmers and roller skating! It stars Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly of all people. The scary part is I haven't seen it in over 20 years yet I knew the chorus of every song. Such memories. :)

On our way up to Laurie's we stopped to visit some old friends that now live in Fairplay. Their son Aiden is just a couple of months older than Brandon and they had a great time playing Legos together while we talked. It has been fun to visit with old friends - I'm bummed we didn't have enough time to visit my friends in Denver!

We are enjoying the sunny but cold weather here in Colorado. Today Patrick and I are getting caught up on our Italian homework and I checked on my work email. We have decided to postpone the preview trip to Italy until the work permit is approved. If we go now, we can't sign a lease on an apartment so it really doesn't make sense to go look at apartments for a week. We'd probably find something we love and then it would be gone by the the time the work permit is approved.

So, we are still in limbo. Now we are starting to talk about all of the things that we will do if we don't go to Italy... kind of like a consolation prize. We already wanted to re-do our family room... plan a trip to Europe instead... etc. Something to look forward to if there is disappointing news and our work permit is cancelled.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas & Italy Update

Merry Christmas to all! We are having a great time here in Colorado. We had a safe and pretty clear road trip out here, we drove south through California and then over on I-80. 500 miles longer but very little snow, so it worked out well. Now we are enjoying the sunny (but cold) weather in Colorado.

Tasha is getting used to her new home, getting along well with Rizzo (her 5 year old golden retriever "cousin") and getting lots of love from her new family. She's even going up and down the stairs, which she has some trouble with at her advanced age.

A quick update on the work permit... delays continue. There are still complications with the approval by the Italian immigration authorities in Milan. There is some additional paperwork they would like to see, but with the shutdown at work and the holiday closures in Italy, nothing will happen until January. Even then, it may take a while to get the paperwork together. We aren't sure that we will be able to go on our house-hunting trip in early January because of the delays, so things are really up in the air at the moment.

It's a weird situation to be in this limbo. It feels like a real possibility that the Italian government might say No, which I hadn't really believed could happen before. The people helping with our immigration approval in Italy are working really hard to not let that happen, but we don't really know at this point. What a bummer that would be. But, until we have an answer one way or another, we keep waiting...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas is Over

OK, just in terms of Christmas decorations. We took them all down today and packed them away because we are leaving tomorrow for Colorado and our cat Stevie likes to chew on them, play with them and generally cannot be trusted alone for any length of time with them. We were worried we would come back to:
a) A house full of cat puke because Stevie likes to chew on the artificial tree and then will get sick.
b) A Christmas tree on it's side because Stevie decided to play with the tree
c) Random ornaments everywhere because Stevie figured out how to knock them off and chase them around.

Really, he is a good cat. Christmas is just such a hard time for a cat... so many things to play with...
(Pic of Stevie today, hanging out under the Christmas tree.)

Friday, December 19, 2008

More Snow in Oregon!

We've been having all of this unusually snowy weather - three snow days for Brandon this week! It hasn't been a lot of snow but we don't have snow plows here and it keeps warming up during the day, melting and then freezing into ice. Combine that with a bunch of people who don't know how to drive in snow and ice, and well, you have some hazardous conditions.

Anyway, this morning was GORGEOUS. I used my new little "always with me" camera and went for a little walk at work to take some pictures. The snow was amazing, the morning light was amazing. You can see the results in this album.

Today was the traditional half day at work before the holiday. I am now on TWO WEEKS of vacation from work. Woohoo! This is a much needed break. No news on the work permit front, hopefully I'll hear something soon!

Here's another fun picture of a snowy Brandon this morning. Also check out the "ElfYourself" greeting Patrick created. We laugh every time we watch it!

PS - I changed the comment settings so that it is hopefully easier to leave comments. Let me know if this helps!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Our Pupster

I didn't have anything new to write about today, so I was looking for a Christmas-y picture to post and ran across this one I took of our dog, Tasha, last year at Christmas. She's been the best dog! We got her at six weeks old in October 1996, so she's 12 years old now. She is the dog that everyone loves - so sweet and calm, wonderful with kids. We are taking her to Colorado to live with Patrick's sister while we are in Italy. We are so happy that she has a place to live with people who want her, and another golden to keep her "young" and active. We will miss her a ton though! The house is going to feel empty without her here to greet us or snuggle up with us.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Work Permit Woes

So, we didn't get rejected for the work permit but... we didn't get it either. There are some complications that the folks in Italy helping with the application are trying to work through. The fact that we are employees of one company but will be working on another company's site is apparently a problem. There was some additional documentation that our company had to provide and then they have another appointment on Friday. If I've learned anything after Tuesday, it's don't plan on a date for this stuff!

I liken it to when I was pregnant with Brandon... I didn't realize until my due date passed how much I was looking forward to that date. And it was such a letdown when it came and went with nothing. But everything came out all right (no pun intended) then and it will now, just have to wait. And learn Italian.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Anxiously awaiting word...

Today is supposed to be work permit day. I expected to get up, check my work email and know that I have my work permit or not. But no! Not yet. I have to wait, so you all have to wait too. :)

Yesterday was a fun mail day! I got my box of books for the Italian lessons I'm taking, quite the stack of books. So I could do my homework. Yes, I have homework!! Tonight I have my second online lesson. 90 minutes of learning to speak Italian. Can you be "out of shape" for school? I think I might be.

I also got a box with my new camera - a tiny little Canon Elph. This doesn't replace my amazing, wonderful Canon SLR camera for photos, but it does let me have a camera with me wherever I go. Brandon and I had a good time playing around, taking pictures of us together.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Lovin' Live Music

Last night Patrick and I went to the KINK FM Holiday concert in Portland with Patrick's friend Andy. It was great! There were four acts:
Matt Nathanson - my current fav (pictured, thanks to Andy). Love his music and he is fabulous live! What a great entertainer. We just saw him live in Eugene in November, where he played for two hours. I would have loved him as the headliner.

Amos Lee - Kind of a funky folk singer. I loved the music but didn't like his voice at first, it grew on me through his set. Great beat.

Augustana - a young band that sang acoustically for this concert, because the stage was being set up behind them for the headliner band. There were some sound problems with their mic and the audience kind of left them, but I left the concert wanting to hear more and downloaded their 2 CDs off of iTunes today. They are a great "find."

The Pretenders - Yes, the one with Chrissie Hein. They are still around - go figure! She's been rockin' for 30 years now and still put on a good show. Her voice is great! The lead guitarist (definitely not the original one, probably not even 30 years old) was fantastic. They were fun but didn't play too much of their old stuff, and I don't know their new stuff.

It was a great time! I'm lovin' live music these days. It is fun to go to these smaller concerts (we were standing second row) and "get to know" the musicians in a different way. I also love finding a new band like this... now I have some new music to enjoy.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Something Fun

Brandon got this Lego guy in his Advent calendar this week. I love it! Too bad they don't seem to make women Legos, or I would grab one, give her this camera and then claim it as my own. It's amazing what you can do with Legos!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

In a Holiday Mood...

I went in to change my blog design to a more holiday template, and they didn't have one! Eventually I'll need to learn some of this HTML design myself. But in the meantime, I remembered this picture I took last December on a frosty morning and thought that would be a nice one for a holiday mood! Too bad I haven't figured out how to make my own blog banner with the photo, or I'd put this up.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I'm on Facebook!

OK, I haven't updated my blog because I've been spending my computer time on Facebook. Thanks a bunch Katey! She sucked me into it. Actually it's been fun because I've already been chatting with people I haven't been in touch with for years, as well as throwing snowballs at my brother and cousin. It's easy to spend time on it though!

Today was a really good day for work. Really good. Last Tuesday we found out that we had a potentially HUGE problem on the project I've been working on for six months. Like it could delay the project another six months. We had to wait until today for the final data to come in though, and it was GOOD. So we don't have the big problem we thought we would have and we've passed another hurdle. I am so relieved, the whole team is relieved, the managers are relieved. We have happy people on this project from here to Italy and Singapore. Whew! We're not done yet but this brings us one step closer.

So that makes it a really good day! You don't get days like this very often, where things go right instead of wrong. I am enjoying this moment for sure.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Oh, what fun...

Today I went shopping. BOOK shopping, and what fun it was. I already posted on the fact that we are taking book donations for the Italian branch of the Sloma Family Library. :) In addition, I decided I would also stock up on a bunch of books in my favorite genre, fantasy fiction. I researched some new authors and series (I love Listmania on and for this), made my list and then headed out to The Book Bin in downtown Corvallis.

Was that ever fun to take a big basket of books up to the checkout! I think it was one of my most fun shopping trips ever. Imagine this stack of 20 or 30 paperback books at the checkout. A box and two bags to take to the car. I don't know why doing this was so much fun, but it I just get giddy thinking of that pile of books. I want to go read but I must control myself. (New mantra - save them for Italy, save them for Italy.)

There are some missing books here and there in the different series, but I've got my list now and I'm going to hit used bookstores wherever I can to fill in the gaps. How handy that we have a trip out of state planned soon. Any suggestions on used bookstores between here and Colorado?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Vote for Me!

Vote for my layout for the Pen Scrappers contest:

Vote 4 me at!


Pretty Please.

Pretty Please with a cherry on top. Tell your friends too!

5 Weeks!!

Wow, things have heated up on the Italy move. December 16 is still the key date for the work permit, but now we have a targeted start of assignment date - February 1. We also have our "preview" or house-hunting trip scheduled from Jan 11-17. Patrick and Brandon's first trip to Italy!

I realized today that means there are only 5 usable weeks left to get ready before that - there are 8 weeks total. With two weeks of Christmas break from work, most of that in Colorado, plus a week of house-hunting in Italy, that brings the time to get ready at home and work to only 5 weeks.

It feels incredibly short when I look at it that way! Today at work I started going through a "what MUST get done" list and scheduling it out. We did the same at home, thankfully Patrick will do a lot of that. It is going to be busy, busy, busy though!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Much Better

OK, by Tuesday I was much better and today even better. It's been a busy week at work though, because we have visitors here from Italy for meetings so it means more time than usual in meetings and lots of eating. That would be good, if I were a starving waif, but not so good for my current size. Oh well. Tomorrow is the last day of the meetings and then things will be back to normal, but with a lot of catch up to do.

Cute Brandon story.... the other night Brandon says "I love math!" He loves doing addition of 3 and 4 digit numbers, with the carrying. He even got out a piece of paper and made up problems to show us how good he was at it. So much fun! He really has been working hard at math, and it is paying off. It warms my heart to hear him say "I love math!" :)

Monday, December 1, 2008


After looking through pictures last night I played around with this one and got inspired to make a scrapbook page. It seems about the only thing that gets me inspired to scrapbook these days is a cute head shot of Brandon. :)

I'm home from work today, the cough I've been dealing with got really bad last night - waking me up a ton. So here I am taking it easy, and hating it. It is so hard for me to take a day off! There is just so much to do at work. I'm tired and need to go lie down and take a nap though. I know I am sick when can sleep until 10am and then am ready to go back to sleep at 1:30pm. That is just not normal. Zzzzzzzz.