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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

leap day

You caught me.  I'm still on my sofa, where I've been for the past two hours.  Two hours of me feeling like I'm an eskimo as I identify all of the different kinds of snow falling from the sky.  Slush came first.  Hard, wet and heavy.  Then came the snow globe, with fat wafting flakes pirouetting across the sky.  Then sleet.  Who knows what will come next?  I don't, but I'm loving it.  My sources tell me that this is the first snow Nicosia has seen in 15 years.  With the excitement it is eliciting, I wholeheartedly believe it.  

I thought I was done with snow, that I had outgrown it after one season of mild temperatures and drizzly rain.  All it took was one afternoon of low hanging clouds sprinkling white flakes outside my window and my opinion was changed.  Snow is a wonderfully miraculous thing that does wonders for a panorama.

Sadly, my camera just doesn't do it justice, but I will have those memories of Leap Day 2012, when it snowed in Nicosia.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

reasons why i love my husband: green monday

Here in Cyprus it is Green Monday, a day off from work to go barbecue, recoup from Carnival, and to kick off Lent.  It is a day of leisure for all.

All but my husband, that is.  He woke up, per his usual Monday morning routine, at five, showered, got dressed, and went to work to tackle his typical Monday workload.  There are four others at the office with him, all of whom had regional meetings via telephone throughout the day.

Mr. F?  He had to get them the numbers.

While I always marvel at my husband leaving so unbelievably early on Mondays and still functioning at a normal level, today was supposed to be his day off.  Not only that, but he is majorly sick.  (According to him he has SARS contracted because he has not had a Coke in nearly a week and his immune system doesn't know how to react.)  He spent all weekend asleep, which isn't really a surprise for those of you who know him, but he hasn't slept like this in a long time.  We went for a walk Saturday morning to soak in some sunshine, and then he came home and went to bed.  And slept.  Until Sunday afternoon.  At which point he did some more work and fell asleep.

But today he is working while sniffling and wheezing.  All because that is what he feels he is supposed to do.  He's my hero.  When I get sick like this, I curl up in bed and hide until it's over.  Work? If possible, I avoid it.  If not, I complain to no end.  Mr. F, for the most part, has just worked clear through the day, with minimal complaint.  He's my hero and I'm so very grateful for him.

Monday, February 27, 2012


I can't believe I'm about to say this, but it's time to start thinking about Easter.  Here in Cyprus they celebrate later in April, following the Greek Orthodox tradition, but that still only puts us about a month away.  A month?  How is that possible?  I know I say that every month, but seriously...time is going so fast!  So fast, in fact, that another holiday is creeping up on me before I have my etsy shop going.  (It's coming, by the way!)

So while I know most of you are still digging out your homes from snow, I am really excited to introduce a few Easter cards now available for order.  A cute little bunny and some rather pretty eggs are a great way to send someone you love a note.  Don't forget about my other cards as they would make perfect basket fillers!

All cards are $3 a piece, measuring approximately 4"x6", with envelope.

Email me to place orders and for more information.  Also available for custom orders. Last date for international orders for Easter cards is March 24.

Friday, February 24, 2012

snow day

It never ceases to amaze me how much this strangely foreign little island actually feels like home.  It's cozy and comfortable with the right dose of charm.  While the city is still growing on me, beyond its borders, the landscapes are breathtaking and make this midwestern girl feel very much like she is back in the rugged backroads of the American west. The mountains here are rough and rugged with conifers like I have only ever seen around Sisters, Oregon.  Then there is the sage and vast openness akin to my beloved southern Utah.

This time of year, the whole island is covered in a thick blanket of green.  Grasses and blooms that lay dormant through the torturous heat of summer burst into life in milder weather and under the inducement of so much rain.  The grass is thick and luscious.  

My favorite has to be this wild weed that I have yet to capture a photo of, which is really remarkable because it grows rampantly all over the place.  It is a tall grass with wonderful chartreuse colored blossoms.  Those blooms have been such a comforting punch of color through the cold drizzly rain this winter.

It's a tiny place, this Cyprus, but it's our home and I wouldn't have it any other way right now.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

thankful thursday

This week I am thankful for...

cute, healthy babies
emails from second moms telling me that they've been thinking of me
an entire Saturday with my husband having fun and just enjoying life
watercolor flowers
phone calls with my mom
phone calls with my dear friend as she nears her wedding
homemade brownies and popcorn (not eaten together)
ever constant support from our families
intoxicating lilies that just keep blooming
MAIL! real letters from family keeping us in the loop

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

to my friends

you make cute babies.  like, ridiculously cute babies.  ridiculously cute babies that are too far away for me to pinch and cuddle and coo over.  ridiculously cute babies who have been filling my whole heart with so much joy, gratitude, and love that I am about to burst in delight.  cute babies who remind me of how wonderful their parents are and how lucky I am to count them as my friends.

congratulations to my dear friend of many, many years who had her first baby this weekend.  he's absolutely beautiful and I couldn't be happier for you!

Monday, February 20, 2012

happy monday!

How was your weekend?  Mine was amazing.  Like honest to goodness wonderful.  Saturday was spent entirely with  my tall guy, a delight I haven't been able to enjoy in over a month.  We woke up to the Cyprus sun, giggled, made biscuits, then went for the most glorious drive across the island.  I never get sick of talking to him.  Ever.  He's just my favorite.

Yesterday I woke up with the beginnings of a nasty cold, so we spent the afternoon hunkered down in our cozy apartment.  Mr. F worked while I buried myself beneath one of my favorite quilts and read an enticing book.  Isn't there something delicious about a good read?  I love how the words take you away and ensconce you in worlds you may never before have considered.  

I'm moving slow this morning, wishing for a few more hours of that Saturday drive and some more cuddles beneath the quilt while I read.  But Monday morning inevitably sneaks in and bring reality back that my book had all but eradicated mere hours ago.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

pros and cons

happy:  mr. f has a killer job.  not so happy: mr. f has worked for the past three weeks straight.
happy: mr. f taking time on Saturday night to help me with the party at church.  not so happy: mr. f coming home and working until four the following morning.
happy: killer Monday morning at work for mr. f (the happiness of this cannot be emphasized enough!!) not so happy: mr. f leaving for work at six in the morning to have killer Monday.
happy: waking up with my cute boy, seeing him off to work with a pan full of brownies for his coworkers, and then watching the sunrise from bed.

thanks for working so hard cute boy!  you're the best!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

thankful thursday

I have kind of been struggling lately.  Nothing major, just a lot of "woah is me" for no good reason.  It was stretching on for a few days and honestly, I was getting sick of it.  Loneliness in a foreign land was getting the better of me, followed by self doubt, isolation, and a whole lot of meh.

That's when I stumbled across this poem..

Nearly everything in this resonated with me..the party mess, snug clothes, house issues, and especially the freedoms offered by my country.  While I had known it, this little poem reminded me that I have ever so much to be grateful for.  In the days that have followed, I have felt myself grow lighter as I try to look at the world around me through the lens of a thankful heart.  

In the spirit of maintaining a grateful demeanor, I am pleased to announce a new (hopefully weekly) segment, Thankful Thursday.  To kick it off, please enjoy a free download of the above art print I created of Nancie Carmody's poem.   I've been out of ink, but can't wait to print it off and hang it somewhere!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

reasons why i love my husband: valentine's edition

Me (to the rest of the world): Last call for international orders for valentines!

Mr. F:  I'd like to order you as my valentine.  ;)

Me:  You'd like to order me as your valentine, eh?

Mr. F:  How much is shipping and handling?  Tell ya what, you do the shipping, I'll take care of the handling.

I really do love this boy with all of his cheese and innuendo laden dialogue.

Wishing you a Happy Valentine's Day full of giggles, smiles, and love!

Monday, February 13, 2012

lightning strikes

Inspiration can land at the funniest times, don't you think?  It happened to me twice today, which I'm taking as a sign that my psyche is ready for more painting and less baking.  The first attack took place as I was cutting out brownies with a cookie cutter.  The way the heart shapes were aligning illuminated my mind and gave me a point of reference for a project I've been wanting to start for awhile.  Stay tuned for more details.

The second was, to me, far more silly.  I was taking a brief hiatus from party-prep and surfing the Old Navy website.  Clothing here in Cyprus just has not been appealing to me at all, so I find myself looking at websites often.   As I was browsing, this screen came up.

To you, it looks like a bunch of flip flops, to me it was the perfect color combination.  I grabbed my paints, measured out some paper, and went to town.  The resulting piece is exactly the burst of color and happy I've been wanting for my little home.  Best part?  It took me ten minutes.

All I did was find a frame I had lying around from IKEA.  I measured out the visible space, then used that to cut out 4 pieces of paper.  (Mine were 10cm wide and then I trimmed the length once they were all done.)  With the paper cut out, I used a wide watercolor brush and applied the paint.  

While the paint dried, I took some butcher paper and wrapped the mat that came with the frame.  When the color blocks were ready, I spaced them out on the wrapped mat, then trimmed the length.  Stuck it in the frame, then presto-change-o!  There is colorful, happy art in a pinch.  Such fun!  Now to hang it...

Saturday, February 11, 2012


The other morning I decided to go for a jaunt through parts of my neighborhood to rejoice in the return of the sun,  and to "work off" some of the sugar cookie overdose.  While I highly doubt the latter happened, I was very glad that I had my camera on hand so  I could finally catch some glimpses of a more traditional Cypriot neighborhood.  While we live in a tall apartment building, these crumbling homes of history are mere blocks away.  Who am I kidding?  In a country this small, everything is a block away.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

cookie cutters

I've been bonding with these cookie cutters this week.  I found them at a local shop that specializes in baking products.  (Also known as "the place that sells normal muffin tins and lots of sprinkles.")  Admittedly, I giggled a bit in delight over the stamp on the side of each cutter, "MADE IN USA."  Since moving here, I'm coming to learn that things like cookies and muffins are very much so American creations.  And I love them.  And my cookie cutters.  And the fact that the space heater creates a glow like a roaring fire in the back of the photos rather than drawing attention to the fact that it is actually drying out my rain soaked wall.  Good times, good times...

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

sugar overload

Today was the day I blew caution to the wind and embraced my ever growing hips and waistline.  I baked I-don't-know-how-many dozen sugar cookies and tried my hand at marshmallows.  The latter are still setting, so word is still out on those suckers, but let me tell you, those cookies are killer!  I'd like to say I did this all for our church shindig this Saturday (please come, Nicosia Branch!!), and I did, but let's be honest, there's a lot to be said for avoiding a heaping stack of ironing and the ever growing dust bunnies in the corner.

That said, I really am looking forward to getting back to "real" life come Sunday afternoon.  I've got a brain that keeps me up at night stuffed to the gills with paintings and projects I want to do.  I have a few cards waiting for Easter that need to be assembled and ready to display, not to mention some orders left to fill for some really sweet friends of mine. Okay, and the pile of laundry that not so secretly I'm really looking forward to ironing (crisply ironed tea towels are just shy of freshly laundered sheets in my book).  The dust bunnies, however, can wait.

I'm also ready for lettuce.  I know, that sounds blasphemous, but fruits and vegetables sound so good to my sugar and butter filled soul right now.

Are you getting ready for Valentine's Day, too?  What are your plans?

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

more maps

So it has been brought to my attention that to those of you who have been paying attention to the news in recent weeks and are more geographically savvy than myself would come to the above discovery.  Cyprus is in the middle of a hotbed of political strife and conflict.  

I have been paying attention, remotely, to the events in Syria and Egypt because of Mr. F's work and a dear friend of mine who is currently living in Cairo.  Somehow my brain had failed to make the connection that it might appear that we are in danger due to some seriously close proximities to tumultuous countries.

I would like to clear the record and assure family and friends that we are beyond safe where we are.  While these countries are close geographically, the issues surrounding them are worlds away.  The worst that has happened is that gas prices have gone up ten cents per litre in the past few weeks.  No bueno, but other than that, we're just fine.

To those of you who have been concerned, thank you!  It means a lot to know people care.  


It's Tuesday morning and I'm still trying to figure out where the weekend went.  It disappeared amid mega-errands, Mr. F having to go into work on Saturday, lots of meetings, some more baking, and general tomfoolery.  Honestly, I lost track of a lot when I got a call from Mr. F screaming the wonderful words, "WE'RE LEGAL!!!" into the phone.  After months of worry, trips to the post office and UPS, we are officially legal residents of Cyprus.  I think my understanding of the immigration debate in the States has changed drastically.

Mr. F has taken his passport with him everywhere, flipping to the page with his work permit in wonder, awe, and deep gratitude.  We were really getting worried that we might have to leave.  To celebrate we did what any mature, sensible people would do.

We went to see The Muppets!  Out of the four of us in the the theater, Mr. F and I were the only ones laughing.  Okay, let's be honest,  I laugh too loud in movies as it is.  I once had a Swedish girl stare me down for excessive giggling while watching Ratatouille.  So I know my standard of laughter is not in synch with normal movie watchers, but come on!  It was so funny!  Good old fashioned American giggles were just what we needed.

Saturday was proving to be fairly uneventful with Mr. F at work and me taking advantage of having the car and driving around Nicosia like a chicken with my head cut off.  The sun was shining gloriously, allowing all of us rain-soaked souls to dry out and warm up.  Realizing how rare these kinds of days have been lately, I picked Mr. F up and we drove to Limassol to go walk along the sea.  We discovered a lovely municipal beach and walked and walked and walked.  It felt like weather we're accustomed to experiencing in mid-May.  Not February.  I don't know how long we'll be here, but I really doubt I'll ever get used to the Cypriot understanding of seasons.

Now we're fully into the new week and I feel like I'm still catching up from the week before.  It's looking like it will be a lot of fun, what with a party, some serious baking, and lots of work for both of us to do.  

Thursday, February 02, 2012

sunday dinner

Just a little bit of silly and some really, really good food.  Me somehow learning the art of cooking is a dangerous thing indeed.  Plus it's given me ample justification for wearing aprons all the time.  Feel free to stop by for dinner any time you're in the neighborhood!  I can almost guarantee there will be fresh biscuits on the table.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012


Can you believe it's already February?  Better yet, can you believe it's February and I only have 14 days to reach my goal of mailing out "Christmas" cards "on time"?  Scary thought...

I'm currently hiding from a chicken pot pie that I'm terrified to make.  While doing so, I thought I would share a few little quirks about Cyprus, since I haven't shared much lately besides "immigration sucks."  And just for the record, we really are happy here!  There are just days, but you get those no matter where you are.

Cypriots love coffee.  And smoking.  I think it's a toss up between which they love more.  That said, this island has some of the biggest coffee shops I have ever seen, and I'm an American!  People come to the coffee shops and sit for hours on end talking, working, and more often than not, playing card games.  It's really fun to watch.

Parking makes no sense.  There are "rules" about where you can and can not park, but no one follows them.  The most customary parking lots are the sidewalks, which are small enough to begin with.  No matter how busy the road, there will always be a car just parked on the side or up on the curb.  It's hilarious, until you nearly crash into said parked car.

This is the rainiest, coldest winter Cyprus has experienced in almost 100 years.  There has been steady rain for the last week with bursts of sunlight, but never long enough for anything to really dry out.  Most people have been taking advantage of this and are weekending in the mountains to play in the snow.  We haven't done this yet.  We are very well aware of what snow feels like, thank you very much.

Shops are rarely open.  No, seriously.  Local businesses close every day for a two hour lunch break at about one.  The post office is only open until 1:30 every day.  On Wednesdays EVERYTHING (but the coffee shops) closes by three.  No milk?  Tough.  You have to wait until Thursday.  Most places close early on Saturday as well and absolutely nothing is open on Sunday.  It gets kind of chaotic keeping track of everything and I almost always forget that the markets are closed on Wednesday afternoon.  (Today I remembered and walked to the market in the morning...ten points for me!)

Cars are essential.  People laugh at you when you tell them you walk around town.

I know there's more, but I think I've avoided the pie long enough.  Happy February!!