02 febbraio 2012

3 kittens get sterilized, & Neri's b'day

2 Feb 2012:  Bill took Maia & Silva to Dr L to get them sterilized on 19 Jan.  The night before he caught Maia the large gray male kitten, by putting food in a jar with holes in it, into our kennel.  Maia loves to eat & thinks by his stomach, kind of like some humans.  We kept him overnight upstairs & he was really good & quiet except for a few meows.  The next morning Nerina put some kibble into the trap & then she put Silva the gray female kitten into it.  So off went the 2 of them to their surgeries.  On the way there Silva was lashing out in her cage, of course trying to get out.  The doctors had to turn the carriers around & around to try to jab at the cats to give them their punti for their anesthesia.  
Before Maia woke up from his sleep, Dr G was saying that she had a friend who wanted a gray cat with bella silver tips.  Then when Maia awoke he became wild & crazy, & Dr G reconsidered that he would not be a good choice for her friend.  After the 2 of them came home, Bill had them upstairs overnight so that they could recuperate & be warm.  The girls were pretty good about all of this except when they heard “meows” & then they started barking.  The next am Bill gave the gatti their freedom.  They shot like arrows running as fast as they could, up the tree by Giorgio M’s shed, & launched themselves over the 18 foot stone wall & into Germana’s giardino.  There they stayed for 2 days.  We had never figured out why they went there, like Mama Kitty before them, until Germana had told Neri that they were born in what used to be an old barn in her yard.  Maybe that is where they felt safe.  But Germana is smart, she doesn’t feed them, so of course they came back to Neri to be fed.  
On Monday 30 Jan. we were invited to Neri’s for caffe’ & birthday cake to celebrate her 80th birthday!  She had ordered a bella torta with soft cake layers, cream filling, & cookies on top.  Now I know where my family gets their sweet tooth from, their Italian ancestors & today’s Italians who seem to know how to make every imaginable dessert.  I remember while living in Germany that the Germans also made great ones.  We sat around & talked to each other & Giorgio.  We gave Neri a card with a cute gray kitten on the cover, & a cd of organ music composed on a fancy new church organ by Bill’s fratello Terry of Orlando.  Then Neri’s son Maurizio came over with his wife Ardea & daughter Chantal.  Bill & I left after awhile & came home, all of 10 feet from their casa to ours.
Bill had made an appt to get Stella spayed for the next morning, the 31st.  Bill had learned that it is best to try to catch the cats the nite before their planned surgery.  At night Maia accidentally got caught in the trap & Nerina let him out.  He didn’t remember that 2 weeks earlier he had got caught.  Bill went to bed having no luck catching the furba black female, Stella.  The next am he called Dr L about 8:30 to cancel the appt.  Then about 8:45 he called Dr L back telling him that he had caught Stella in the trap, using salmon juice.  So off they went to her appt.  Dr L waved a cat toy at her to distract her while his wife gave her a shot in her butt.  After her surgery Bill brought her home.  He kept her upstairs to recuperate in her cage.  She really is beautiful with her black hair, yellow bright eyes, & cute little cat body.  Dr L said about Maia that he will be a good cat to have around & that he will protect the females from males trying to bother them.  We think that he is very sweet.
On Tuesday evening Bill told Neri the good news about Stella, she seemed very surprised & said that she was contenta.
Stella was very quiet in her cage overnight.  She did not pee at all even though Bill gave her a little cup of water.  On Wednesday morning Bill set her free at 7:00 & she went over the wall.  On Thursday morning she was eating on our porch at 5:00 ravenously.
Wed the weather turned very cold with temps in the low 20’s, very windy with gusts about 20 mph, & snow on the montagne.  We skipped the girls walks Wed & Thurs because of the cold, but I did go shopping at the base Wed.

01 gennaio 2012

New year with the pups!

 1 Jan 2012:  It is new year’s eve & we are at home with the girls.  They are asleep in their bed out in the hall.  We are afraid that they will wake up & bark if they hear any fireworks in our town.  They had a really good day, going for a walk with Bill early, & then in the afternoon we all went for a walk together to the park & then down the main street toward home.
Since they were so clean & sweet smelling from yesterday’s bath & grooming, we all took a nap together, just us girls.  They were so cute & cuddly, Hon down by my legs & Ted by my arms & then on the pillow with me, licking my face & mouth.  Soon afterwards they went downstairs because they wanted Bill to give them their Kong toys with treats.  I think it is darling how they love their daily routine.
Sunday am, the girls slept quietly last night & so did we, even though I heard a vicino shooting off fireworks, but the girls didn’t.
Wednesday is my birthday!  I plan to make a yellow cake & ask Nerina & Giorgio if they want to come over.
I ordered from Jefferspet in Dothan, Al a “brake fast” food bowl.  It has bumps inside of it that is supposed to slow down a dog that gulps down its food & eats too fast, like Teddi.  The bowl is red.  Ted almost chokes herself from how she eats.  Sometimes I must give her chest percussions.  We will see if the new bowl helps, when we get it in the mail.  I also will be getting a free Kong recipe booklet, for the perfect dog.  Mommy will have to go to the PO to pick up the girls’ package when it comes in.  

To see a really cute video of Teddi with the poochie bells & peanut butter, click on this video:

To see a really cute video of Honey also with the poochie bells, click on:

03 dicembre 2011

28 Nov 11:  We had ordered new interior doors several months ago, seems like 5 or 6 months, & had waited patiently to get them.  Finally the workmen came out at 8:00 last Monday to begin installing them.  That morning was very hectic with the men in & out of the house bringing in the doors & all their equipment.  It was very noisy with them using their drills & other tools.  The pups of course barked & barked.  Because the men were working on both floors, we really didn’t seem to have a good place to put the pups.  At about 9:00 I decided to go to the base to spend the day.  I didn’t feel that I really needed to stay home with all the noisy commotion.  Bill could tend to the pups & the house.
So I hurried up & got ready to go, grabbing my stuff especially my heavy coat.  When I started our Mini I saw that the temp reading was 37℉.  Gradually during the day the temp warmed up into the 50’s.  The skies were clear & sunny as they remained all during the week while work continued on our casa.  At about 10:00 I did a quick shopping at the commissary.  I bought some orange juice & some bottled water because I was very thirsty, not having had my normal breakfast or drinks, because of my quick exit from the house.  After 11:00 I went to the Mensa to eat lunch which was pasta pomodoro & apple strudel.  I wish I had eaten more, maybe some fish, because I became hungry after an hour or two.  Being finished at the flight line, I drove to area 1 to spend the rest of the day.
I parked in front of the hospital between it & the library.  Then being very tired I took a nap in the car which is something that I don’t usually do, but at which Bill is an expert.  He could write a book about it.  Then Bill & I called each other several times so that I could be updated on our remodel.  Then I went to get a caffé from the hospital vending machine, & later went to the library.  Bill called me before 16:30 to tell me the men were finished for the day & to come on home.
Once home Bill filled me in on the work that had been done, & told me how hectic & noisy the day had been which I pretty much knew.  The girls had kept him very busy.  The next day Bill figured out that our dining room would make an excellent baby pen for the girls by putting a pet gate between that room & the kitchen.  I had never wanted to use the dining room as such because of our Turkish carpet in there.  But we were desperate!  Anyhow the girls loved this.  They got tons of attention over the next 4 days until the work was completed on Friday.  They sat with us while we had our caffé & cookies & tried to charm us into giving them something, maybe a piece of banana.  We put their bed in there but they also liked laying on the rug.  We were amazed at how they never pooped or peed in there, excellent babies.  To avoid going by the men, we invented the dining room doggie window.  Bill would walk to the backyard & then I would hand him the pups through the window one at a time.  Taking them out often was the secret to keeping the room clean.  Honey liked to get under the table between the chairs which were covered with long blue scroll design covers, kind of like she was in a doggy den.
The men were here for 4 days.  While working on the 2 bedroom door frames they damaged the partition between them.  So they called their manager who called a muratore or stone mason to come out to do the repair, before those doors could be put on & the work finished.  This process took about 3 days.  Finally on Friday morning the workers were done with the doors & left here, which we were happy to see them go.  Friday afternoon the muratore returned to finish the partition.  Before he left I asked him to write his name & # for me in case we would ever have need of his services again.  He quickly told Bill what he had done & said goodbye.  We really liked him & were impressed with his work.  He had made the partition look like brand new & the wall finish ready for Bill to paint, at a later time. 
During all this time I slept downstairs on the couch for 3 nites from Tuesday thru Thursday.  On Monday I slept in my bedroom without a door.  During the nite & the next day I was coughing, hacking, & spitting up as if I were a “several packs a day” smoker.  I felt like the end for me was near.  I also felt very itchy & realized that it was not healthy for me or anybody to be near or breathing all the dust bits or masonry which covered our whole house, but especially the bedrooms senza doors.  If I ever have this type of work done again I will buy some masks to cover our nose & mouth.  We noticed that one of the workers had a terrible cough, & that neither of them wore any safety equipment that we could see such as masks or ear protectors.  We found this so strange.  By Friday nite I was so happy to sleep in my own bed.  This was after we had shook out all the bed covers & quickly cleaned the room.
We are very happy with our 7 new doors, 4 upstairs & 3 down.  They are solid wood with noce lite or light walnut veneers.  They are a bella brown color with a reddish tint & came with gold colored handles & locks with keys.  Now I can finally go into the bathrooms & lock the doors for privacy, even if only the two of us live here.  Each room is more quiet because the doors have a seal around them & they are not warped like the old ones.  These are the same doors that some of the hotels use.  The doors were made by Dorigo, a company in Treviso, Italy.  The hardware was made by AGB, also in Italy.  They are of excellent quality & should help us enjoy our casa more & save energy on gas for heating.  I like the way the doors are smooth, springy & tight upon opening & closing.  The old ones probably 40 years old, would open & close with a bang, not very pleasant.
We saved some money on the project because Bill took the old doors & frames to the dump in our rimorchio or trailer.  We had to ask the lazy workmen to carry away the cardboard that had covered the doors & frames.  This they did on the 2nd day, I think.  But on Friday they left without carrying away a giant, heavy bag of trash from their work, even though Bill had asked them to do so.  Overall though we were glad that these men would not be coming back, that the work was finally done, & that we could try to get our house back to normal.
That Thursday afternoon we sat in the living room & watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade while I brushed out Ted, & Hon either snooped around on the rug or sat next to me on the couch.  Friday evening we had Nerina & Giorgio come over for caffé.  Nerina bragged on how bella & wonderful our new doors were, & joked that I had spent all of Bill’s money & that he had told me “i soldi sono finiti” or the money is all finished, there would be no more.  We laughed at that.  Neri & Giorgio told us about the old times when they were younger, maybe 50 or 60 years ago, & what life was like in the cortile.  The families that lived here all knew each other & were related, with there being the nonni, grown children, & younger ones, & the families marrying each other.  Many more people lived here than do now.  They would have big barbecues of pigs.  They would pack up a mule to go up the mountains to have a picnic.  Sounds like a different, older style way of life.  Most people did not have cars like they do now, so they lived closely to each other & within their town or local area.

Door lock & part of handle

Broken partition between our 2 bedrooms


15 settembre 2011

1 Sep 2011:  On Tuesday 30 Aug, we all went on a bike ride-walk on the trail later in the afternoon.  We enjoyed our exercise & being outdoors.  There had been a tempesta on the previous Saturday with rain & winds of 80 km an hour, or at least that was what Silvano our vicino had said.  The storm did not last very long but it caused our temperature to cool off some, which we like.  It did much damage in the local area with tree limbs fallen down.  In the fields next to the trail we saw corn fields knocked down.  
The girls were darling on the trail.  They found something brand new to interest them, acorns which they tried to eat as if they were squirrels.  After riding & walking for about 1.5 hours we headed back to the car.  There Bill took our photos, maybe I will put one on facebook.
I spent the better part of today grooming the girls, bringing out their natural beauty.  Yesterday Bill put together our late Rocky’s old bed for the girls to sleep on downstairs.  It is a metal frame with a canvas cover stretched on top.  We need to buy more of the hard-to-find covers that fit.  After the pups were done with their sprucing up, I saw them standing awkwardly on the floor.  Bill saw to his horror of horrors that one of the bed legs had collapsed leaving the pups afraid to get back on their bed.  So of course Daddy fixed it for them so that they could get their after-spa treatment beauty rest.
13 Sept:  Sunday we went hiking in a place called Forra Del Cellina which is by Lago di Barcis Lake.  A forra is a very narrow gorge.  It is close to us & only took us a short time to get there, with the girls riding in their little box in the back of the Mini.  Bill let me out in front of the entrance to the first tunnel.  When he parked the car, he was lucky enough to find a close spot because someone else had just pulled out.  This place has no entrance fee which we really like.  People are required to wear helmets but we wore our own bike ones, which saved us 1E each, so about $3 for the two of us.  We also really like that dogs are allowed to go inside.  We are so used to so many places not allowing pets.  This place is open most days of the week in summer, but for fall, winter, & spring it is only open on Sundays.  They have an excellent web site with up to date info.
We also carried a small flashlight for use in the dark tunnels but didn’t use it much.  The girls were so excited to be going to a new & different place.  The walk is paved with guard rails all around.  We looked up at very tall rocky cliffs with trees & bushes on part of them.  We looked down at a very narrow gorge with the Cellina river running through it.  There were big boulders in some places.  In the spring the river becomes white water in some places, with some people rafting.
The outbound part of our hike was mostly downhill, which meant the return part was mostly uphill.  By this time I was mostly tired & hot.  We had stopped a few times to take water breaks & to rest during our hike.  We also took some photos of the place & of each other.
This area has caves where people can go on a guided tour.  There are pipistrelli  or bats in the caves.
Before we went home, I went to the visitors’ center to use their very clean restrooms, while my family looked out over the lake.  Not far from the center there is a restaurant with tables outside, where we saw many people including German motorcycle riders.
We arrived home about 17:00 & Bill fed the pups, while I made myself some espresso & a p & j sandwich.
Monday afternoon Bill cut the grass which usually makes Honey bark.  The night  before I read online something about aroma therapy & how it can be used to relax dogs.  So I put some oil of peppermint, oil of lavender & almond on my hands & rubbed them together.  Then I rubbed Hon & Ted which they seemed to love.  I don’t know if the oils really relaxed them or if they just liked Mommy’s special care.      

9-1-11 Marilyn with Honey & Teddi

Mommy with babies on bike trail

wagging tongues

9-11-11, us at Forra Del Cellina

Ted doing an "up stay"

Darling husband & pups with dangling zampe


ancora or again

23 agosto 2011

     22 Aug: On Saturday the 13th of Aug, we all went on our bike ride walk on the trail & we had a really good time. The girls were their usual excited little selves.
     For the past week or so the weather has turned very hot, into the 90's. We haven't had any good rain lately either, but this is typical for August. So for me to get my exercise or do something outside, we go out late in the afternoon or night. Bill being an early morning person, he usually rides his bike then. This past Saturday we drove to Col Alto in the area of Piancavallo, which is the local ski area. Col Alto is above Piancavallo & is at 1250 meters. We walked a short ways up the hill in an area that was rocky with green patches of grass & some wildflowers, purple campanula or bells & yellow flowers. We saw 2 malghe close to us, which are buildings for hikers & backpackers to stay in overnight. We think that there was one man in a malga, but we didn't venture inside. At the top of the hill we were surprised to see 2 really nice wooden benches at an overlook. Sitting on them & looking around, we saw patches of trees on slanted hills, kind of funny looking. Below far down, we looked at the base's flightline, part of area one, the CRO hospital, the industrial area, & Pordenone in the distance. Col Alto is probably covered with a few feet of snow in the winter. We saw karst which are rocks eroded by underground rivers, causing them to have strange shapes.
     We took photos of the landscape, the malghe, & of each other. The girls were adorably sweet sitting on Bill's lap & next to me, taking their turns drinking cranberry juice. Leaving Col Alto we walked down the path to the car. Bill opened the Mini's hatch & Ted jumped up but not into her box. So Bill grabbed & put her inside. As we looked down we saw little Honey standing up on the back of the hatch with her 2 little arms reaching up & resting on the car, very touching. She is so tiny & short that we must pick her up to place her into the box. After arriving home & viewing the photos, we were surprised how belli they turned out. Once again the pups provided us with wonderful material for our blog & maybe one or two photos on Facebook.
     Yesterday Sunday we went for a night walk rather late to the park. We saw many people sitting on their porches or yards talking to each other, very summer-like. Before going to bed I ate some ice cream & walnuts. Bill had not been buying walnuts at the base for awhile because they have become expensive. But they are much cheaper than at the off base grocery stores. These tasted really flavorful & helped to satisfy my before-bed snack desire.

a malga

Mommy with babies

view from Col Alto, Aviano AB below

trees on slanted hillside

handsome husband with pups

more sweetness

due malghe

view on opposite side of Col Alto

02 agosto 2011

We love our Teddi Bear!

We love our Honey Bird!

27 Jul 11:  I had to take a break from hugging & kissing Teddi in the bed today, to write in our blog.  On Friday the 22nd we went on our bike ride-walk on the trail.  The girls as usual were very excited, especially since Bill had taken them to Dr L in the morning.  Bill said that when he drove up & parked in front of Dr L’s, Teddi “Miss Innocent” jumped down from the back of the hatch like she usually does.  Honey started to come out of her box, saw where she was & wrinkled up her forehead, & then went back into her box, “what a smart girl”!  So Bill had to pull her out of the box.  Honey wanted nothing to do with going to the vet & all that goes on there.  Hon had her anal gland squeezed, & Dr L examined a bump under her left arm, which he said was just a wart.  Dr L trimmed Ted’s long nails.
In the afternoon after parking at San Biagio, for some reason I decided to go down a dirt road that Bill said went by the assini or donkeys.  The road was very muddy with potholes of water which we had to skirt around.  Bill or I walked the bike while the other of us held onto the girls.  Bill would pick them up sometimes so that they would not get too dirty.  They loved being carried by Daddy & were so adorable when I looked at them.  We saw 2 assini on our left.  The road wound around to the right where it joined up with a mostly gravelly one.  Going down this I went too fast while I looked down at my gear indicators (of which I have none on the right handlebar), & I almost wrecked.  My ride had not gotten off to a good start.  Then where the road forked I took the left side which met back up with the paved trail.  Along the trail we stopped for our cranberry juice drinks a few times.  There were very few other people out that day.  As I started to go up a short tough hill, I pushed hard with my legs & realized that I was somewhat out of shape.  Then I went down the paved trail & made a u turn to the left at the end of the trail, where there was dirt & gravel from a farmers' dirt road.  Almost having a wreck, I put my left leg out after braking hard & then the bike & me went sideways to the left.  After that I saw my family coming towards me & told Bill about the almost wreck.  He said “maybe you should stop riding today because your reflexes don’t seem good”.  Then we all went down the trail a short ways & met up at the Mini.
Am Saturday I woke up & couldn't walk, I had injured my left knee on my ride the day before.  I had pushed too hard to go up the hill & I must have sprained my knee when I jammed it on the ground during my stupid u turn.  So I stayed in bed all day with an ice pack on my knee & later used a brace.  Bill sweetly brought me my food & drinks while I took naps or watched t v.  Sunday I also used an ice pack, the brace, rested, & elevated my leg when I could, (RICE).  I'm almost becoming a 1st aid expert but not really by choice.  
We have been having cold weather like March, with the bora winds blowing east of us from the direction of Trieste, where I go to my dermatologist, Dr M.  Ted was afraid to go out one morning to pee or poop.  She doesn't like to get her fluffy blond hair wet or blown around.  The temps have been in the 50's or 60’s & mostly rainy, at least here in Giais within our microclimate.  Bill came home from shopping at the base today & said it was hot there.  
Domani at 09:00 Bill has an appt with Dr L to get the stray brown-black cat that Nerina has been feeding, spayed.  Neri had talked to Bill earlier about wanting us to help her get some of the strays fixed.  She is a very loving, caring person.  Of course to make matters more complicated, the mom now has 3 kittens, 2 gray & one almost identical to her.  I haven’t turned the kits upside down yet to check their sex.  They are skittish of us.  It probably doesn’t help that we have “eau de puppy dogs” all over us.  Yes the kittens are cute & charming, Bill loves to watch them play & frolic.  If they stay inside of our sheltered courtyard they will be safe & should live long lives (?).  Tentatively we plan to have them spayed in November or December.  However, I am still the mommy to 2 pups, no cats!  Neri is their mommy.  
The kits seem to be winding down their nursing, but they are still trying.  They knead their paws on the mom while doing so.  I’ve learned some of this cat lingo from my niece Kelley & younger sis Suzanne who are both ardent cat crazies.  In the meantime the males have been fighting, & Bill says the mom is brave & chases them away.  Nerina hits them with a broom or scopa.  The males could kill the kits so that the mom will mate again, horrible.  Any of the toms could be the bio dad but I think maybe it is a pitiful looking gray one.  He doesn’t look healthy or well fed.  Bill says he looks like he has fallen on hard times.  There is also another grigio cat that is fluffy, looks well fed & is probably someone’s pet.  Sadly fixing these cats is not a priority for so many people.  Their irresponsibility causes problems for others.  None of these strays belong to anyone in our courtyard but somehow they have ended up here where previously there was only Hon, Ted, & Laura’s Guappo, a bello black & white boy spaniel.  As an attempt to laugh at a potentially sad situation Bill said "the mom will go into early menopause", or as my cousin Jamie says "she will have a hysterectomy"!  She just kills me whenever she says that.
2 Aug, Tuesday:  yesterday Bill & I went to the base where we ate a delicious lunch at the Mensa.  We had risotto with saffron which gave the rice a pretty yellow color, & I also had a piece of cake.  I’ve never learned the names of all the Italian cakes & pastries, so I must do more important research.  Then we did some errands & shopping before going home.
Update on the cats:  Bill was wonderful to take the mama presto mattina Thursday to her spay appt.  He held the kennel box which he had washed out earlier, while Nerina dropped the mama inside.  They had to do some fast thinking & work to outwit her suspicious nature.  Later that afternoon, Bill paid Dr L & then later Neri gave him the money, 100E which is about $150.  Bill then gave her the receipt.  It would be great if everyone had neighbors like Neri.  I am also happy that we could help out in some way.  After Bill brought her home he let her out of the box.  She had self dissolving stitches & was given an antibiotic shot & a pain med.  Dr L said that she is a half wild cat & would probably try to run away, which she did.  I’m so used to dogs where if we bring them home, they stay.  They are smart enough to know where their bread is buttered.  I’m much more comfortable with having my little luvs inside with me.  Neri said “si perda un gatto non mai” which means one never loses a cat, they always come back.  We laughed at that.
After the mama ran away & took the kits with her, they were spotted by our vicina to the back of us, Germana.  Then the next day we all saw them perched up on an old stone wall, about 12-15 feet high, which divides our cortile from hers.  They were just looking down on everybody with their cat eyes & their pointy ears sticking up.  As of yesterday they seem to be back & forth from here & Germana’s.