Saturday, October 31, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Andy

Happy Birthday to my brother Andy!
Hope you have a great day - I miss you and love you! I wish we lived closer to each other so we could celebrate your special day together.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


I love chard, and I super love rainbow chard because of the color. Amazing, rich jewel like tones grown 100% organically in nature. Just incredible!

To top off the joy I was feeling from admiring my beautiful produce, the Babe entered the kitchen while I was cooking with a white box - guess what was inside?

What a nice surprise! It must be love.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom

Happy Birthday Mom!
I hope all of your wishes come true and you have a wonderful day!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Manic Monday

If I had the closet of my dreams, this is what I would be wearing today...Brit Pop

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Meeting Blog Pals

If ever given the chance and you are visiting close to someone whose blog you read, see if you can meet them in person - it is well worth it.
While in Malta my Mom and I were able to meet Ilene of An American in Malta blog. I have been a reader of her blog since she started it right before moving to Malta last October. She has now been there a year and has had many adventures along the way. I decided to send her a note and ask if we could meet in person as we had only exchanged messages through her blog and I was planning on being in the same area where she lives. I heard back and we had decided to meet for coffee the first Sunday my Mom and I were in Malta. We walked over to Cara's Cafe and sat down, a few minutes later I see who I think is Ilene come in so I go over and introduce myself to her. She joins us at our table, we have coffee and chat about her life in Malta, our journey there, her journey there, our shared dislike of flying and other things. Before we depart, Ilene asks us over to dinner, we accept her offer and get her address and part ways until later that evening.

7:30 PM we arrive at Ilene's house and meet her partner Mr. S and their friend, the lovely Miss Z who are both from Germany. Ilene gives us a tour of her super cool vintage Maltese home filled with original tile floors that change pattern depending on what room you are in. Her home is spread over 3 floors, a rooftop and a back open patio. The star of the household is Egypt, the black Persian kitty that also moved to Malta with Ilene from the east coast. Egypt is super cute and put on a little bit of a show for us looking down at us from the staircase when we first arrived.
We sat down for a wonderful dinner cooked by Mr. S - roast chicken with vegetables which was so delicious, with that we had some tasty wine and great conversation. It was very interesting to get the perspective of expats from the US and Europe that are currently living in Malta. We talked about jobs, health care and other things one thinks about when considering perhaps being an expat one day. Z had a job interview the next day and we were all hoping she got the job so she could stay in Malta, it turns out I read on Ilene's blog she did get the job which is amazing and I am so happy for her. When dinner was over Ilene brought out a cake that Z had made, what a cake it was too - sort of like a layer of cheesecake inside a apple spice sort of cake along with strong hot coffee it was the perfect way to end a fabulous meal. Ilene was leaving for the states a few days later so this was the one time we had to see her, which was a bummer because I could have seen us hanging out again during our stay in Malta. Anyway, the evening came to an end and we all said our good byes, surprisingly enough, I didn't take any photos of all of us together (a true testament to how much fun I had).
Ilene, you and Mr. S were wonderful hosts, thank you so much for opening your home up to us, we both had a great time. I hope that next time I am in Malta we can get together.

One more blog you all must check out Gourmet Worrier - Nanette, she was in Malta the same time we were and I had just found her blog before we left, it is lovely and she shares a lot about Malta and also has some Maltese recipes on her blog!

Friday, October 23, 2009

*{Fabulous Find}*

With the Christmas right around the corner, this cute whimsical red and white set caught my eye at Crate&Barrel.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I know I showed what my journal looked like from the outside before I left here - this is a little peak of what it looks like inside. Of course I had to scibble out some of my writing as to keep some of my secrets to myself.

Happy Birthday BayLee

Today is by B-Boy BayLee's Birthday!

He is 4 years old and the love of my life. BayLee came to us when I thought I would never be happy again (after Marley passed away) and he helped put me back together. BayLee has brought so much laughter and silliness into our home and we are blessed to have him.

Neti Pot

I have been using a neti pot religiously for years and have decided to use my blog to sing its praises as it helped me out tremendously this morning with this sinus thing I have going on. I am stuffed a bit, but not as bad and lot of the pressure has come off. Anyway, if you suffer from allergies, hay fever, sinusitis, or even just need cleared out once in a while check out this article on how to use a neti pot and it's benefits here.

Cute neti pot above can be found here - otherwise go to Whole Foods Market or your local health food store, they carry them there.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Story of Familija (Family)

Frank, Roger, Marlene, Mary Rose, Mom, Me, Noel

For the full story on how I found my extended relatives in Malta in 2006, please refer to posts from October 13-23, 2006.

This time around, I wanted my Mom to come with me and meet her cousin and her extended family in Malta and that is what we did.
After arriving on Friday, October 2nd we took the weekend to relax, rest and get caught up with the time there and on Monday I called my second cousin Noel and my Mom's cousin's husband Frank to let them both know we had arrived safely and would like to get together soon. We had written and emailed prior so they knew when we were coming, etc. The plan was to meet them at 4:30 PM on the next day and we would go to their house for dinner.

The next day we spent the day around Sliema, walked to the post office and I went for a swim and then we got ready for our night with the family. I had met them before so I was not nervous and knew how relaxed of an environment it would be, but couldn't get a read on my Mom and how she was feeling. I was exited more than anything to see them again. We walked to the hotel where they were picking us up (our apartment was on a tiny one way street) and there they were, my second cousin Marlene and my Mom's cousin's husband Frank. We said our hellos, hugs and kisses and got in to the car. Frank then announces that we are going to Birkirkara (B'kara) where my Grandfather grew up to see the house and to visit the parish Church there (Saint Helen's). Our ride over was hilarious, everyone taking so loud on top of everyone else, in this family, the loudest wins! Please note, just because someone is talking loud does not mean they are mad, it might just mean they are Maltese. An older Maltese man told my husband that at the Maltese Club a while back and I was laughing so hard. Anyway, we get to the square and I look right at my Grandfather's house and try to imagine what it was like when he was here. For my Mom, not having been there before, I pointed the house out to her and took some photos of it. We walked across the street to the church and went inside. Marlene said a prayer for the family and to St. Helen and we went over to where they have the patron saint statue behind glass and Marlene and Frank both told us the story of St. Helen. It was very sweet because Marlene's name is Mary Helena put together so St. Helen is her namesake in a way and obviously one of her favorite saints as she told the story of her with so much passion and fervor. After the story concluded she reached in the little wooden holder to see if there were any cards with St. Helen and a prayer on the back of them and you would have thought we stuck gold as Marlene exclaimed "...only 2 left! And they are both in English where they are usually in Maltese! It is destiny!". She handed us the cards and we scanned both sides and put them away for safe keeping. This Church is one of the most ornate in Malta and it was incredible on the inside. The Church was completed in 1745 towards the end of the Maltese Baroque period (you do the math, it's old). I did not take any photos inside as to not be rude, I never know how people feel about that although you can google the church to see the inside.

After spending time in B'Kara we went on to Balzan where my Mom's Aunt's are buried, but the cemetery was locked and we couldn't get in. I took a photo of some folks that are also relatives who's plaque is right on the edge that you can see from the sidewalk, they are my Great Grandfather's sister and her husband.
It was so nice this time to get a refresher on who is who in the family and also to go to B'Kara and Balzan with them, we didn't do that last time, but I did find my Grandfather's house on my own last time with the help of a Maltese friend Joe who went knocking on doors with me. That is what lead me to my second cousin Father Ray as well.

After our short stop in Balzan we went to Frank and Mary Rose's (my Mom's cousin) house for dinner. My Mom was about to meet her cousin for the first time! Pretty incredible that all of this was happening, I did a quick thanks to God for leading me to the family back in 2006. There is only so much people will let you know over the Internet, pounding the payment is really the best way to find these things and what an adventure it can be, trust me on this one. We pull up and Frank says, Ray is there - sweet, he is the first one I met, how exciting to see him again. We get out of the car and head in the house and my Mom is greeted at the door by her cousin Mary Rose, she is so cute and just as I remembered her. We move inside the house and Fr. Ray says hello and I meet my second cousin Roger for the first time (he was unable to come over last time). Fr. Ray had to leave (he is super busy all the time, he just got a promotion in the spring and is the delegate to the Archbishop for the parishes in Malta). The door opened again and it was Noel and his wife Miriam, I had met Noel but not Miriam last time. I was super happy to see him as we hit it off pretty well last time and have been in contact intermittently via email. Miriam was super cool and so sweet. We all looked at photos in Frank's well organized books (my last visit was in one of them!). My Mom asked some questions abotu who was who in some photos she had and it turns out in one of the photos of a couple, it was Mary Rose's parents! My Mom also told them that when she was a kid her Dad's nephew came to visit and asked who that was, it was Mary Rose's brother! Amazing!

We all sat down and had an epic Maltese meal, started with little nuts and crunchy things, then Maltese sausage was passed, then came the timpana (baked pasta with a pie crust top), after that the main dish was served (pork loin roulade), mixed vegetables and potatoes and then there was the cheese course served with Maltese galletti. With all of that we had wine, water, soda and my beloved Kinnie. After all of that came dessert, a cake and also a sort of creamy fruit pie dessert and we noticed it had a Happy Birthday stick in it, I said nothing in case maybe it was put in there for the happy occasion (I have learned to keep my mouth shut when it comes to things like this because I have been to Asia a number of times and I cannot even tell you how many times people have sang me Happy Birthday or have given me a Christmas card in March). My Mom on the other hand was like, "Who's Birthday is it?" I leaned over and just said under my breath, "it is just a happy occasion" her response was "Oh, I thought it said Happy Birthday" just loud enough that people could hear. I then saw Marlene lean over to her Mom (Mary Rose) and then announce to everyone that it was in deed Mary Rose's 81st Birthday - she was just hesitant to say anything! Well, then we all sang and that was an event in itself, I think the entire neighborhood heard us or shall I say Frank for that matter (he was very dramatic). We all ate dessert and the conversations we had were unforgettable and so funny, everyone loves to laugh in this group especially! Frank is super funny as well as Noel and Roger so they were cutting up the entire time. The evening ended and Noel and Miriam drove us back to our apartment. On the drive we had nice conversation about relationships, marriage, etc. and also they mentioned taking us to Gozo on Saturday because it is much easier if you have a car and you can see more of the island. We made a plan to meet at 9:30 AM Saturday morning and we were super excited to see the sister island.

It was a great day! Our family is not super big here in the states or in Malta so I believe it is important to have as much fun as you can when you are together and that is what we did.

A Nun's Life

I recently read about this website called A Nun's Life in the UK issue of Marie Claire magazine and find it very interesting. I have added a link on the right under Blogs I Dig and have made it a part of my online reading for the time being.
I love that Nun's are blogging!
This is the ariticle from Marie Claire:


Battling a sinus infection over here and feel like my head may explode all over my desk. Can't stay home and get better because I am just getting back from vacation.
My ears are plugged, can't hear when my boss is calling me. My nose is running like a faucet and my eye keeps tearing.
Miserable to say the least.

More Malta stories to come, just have had a minor set back with this freak illness.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Manic Monday

If I had the closet of my dreams, this is what I would be wearing today...
Birthday Cake

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Harbor Cats

Cats are all over Malta and so are boats and I super love when they come together. Here are a few shots of cats hanging out by where the Sliema ferry arrives in Valletta (the best mode of transportation if you ask me). The guys who have their boats and fish at the harbor are so sweet with the cats too, we saw the cats being pet and held by the macho boat men. I appreciate the brief glimpse of sensitivity in these men and the kick back nature of these fish loving felines.
I call these waiting for dinner...this cat was so cute and watched every move the fishermen made.

Dreaming of this Rental

My Mom and I looked at a lot of real estate postings while in Malta and I can't get this one out of my head, I took a photo of the listing and had to look it up for more photos.
Check it out, at 500 Euros a month ($743 USD), not too shabby!
Here is the description:
Three double bedroom HOUSE OF CHARACTER laid out over four floors. This well furnished rustic property boasts of a well equipped kitchen/breakfast overlooking a yard filled with plants, two living areas, and ensuite and two shower rooms, an old Maltese wooden balcony with sea views and a roof terrace with fantastic views of the port and Valletta. In this property one finds genuine Spanish and Moroccan furniture and genuine antique artifacts. One of a kind
Thinking about one day taking a sabbatical from my job, staying in Malta for a couple months and work on my writing with a few weeks visit from Tim of course!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Cafes in Malta

The first thing I ingested after landing in Malta was a cappuccino - they are not like any others I have had, I know I have blogged about my love of Maltese cappuccinos before so I apologize for the redundancy, but honestly, I think this is the secret to Malta being rated as one of the happiest countries to live in.
When we landed and got our stuff unpacked we went for a walk along the sea and had the first of what became a daily tradition of one or two cappuccinos. Sometimes we ordered sweets to go with them, a Kannoli Tal-Irkotta here (below), a cream filled rum baba there and on the last day, a plum doughnut (below). The thing we loved best was that we could seat ourselves, order a cappuccino and sit at a table on the sea for hours on end and never be handed the bill or rushed out. Sunday's we went to Cara's Cafe and Mom read the newspaper while I drooled over British fashion magazines and Maltese design magazines. One day we were at a cafe for almost 3 hours! We would just sit and chat or not and just space out. I would take my journal and write, Mom wrote postcards (I forgot my address book). I got used to being able to just sit, have coffee and relax. I know you can probably go to Starbucks or Peet's and do the same but the scenery is not at all anything compared to looking at the Mediterranean Sea or people walking their dogs along the promenade or just being surrounded by historical beauty. I love the cafes in Malta and they are definitely part of the lifestyle there that I adore.
PS - I want to make mention of this, but don't know where it will fit in, but my allergies were nonexistent in Malta. For those of you how know me, you know I suffer from severe allergies and I ate bread, cheese and drank wine and had no troubles at all!

Back Home

Got home last night after a slight delay in Chicago.
Can't say that I am thrilled to be back, that is for sure, however the 70 degree sunny weather makes it pretty nice.
I missed the Babe and BayLee, but am ready to pack them up and take them back to Malta with me, maybe some day. My Mom and I looked at ALL of the real estate postings and I am hoping to one day be able to spend at least a couple months there.
I will be posting some of our adventures with photos as I took copious notes and kept my journal while we were there. I didn't have too much time to blog while I was away and to be honest, it really helped me to unplug completely and relax. I had so many moments just to shut down, not talk and just get a break. I didn't read the news, no TV, nothing. I did however fall madly in love with a Maltese published magazine called Design and Decor - OMG, this magazine is incredible - Maltese homes and their interiors, which are incredible. Lots of updated old homes and restorations. There is an article called Arabic Influence that is to die for also one called Well Worth the Wait, I have to hide this magazine on myself and save it for a rainy day so I can drool over it all over again.
Thanks Angela, Robin, Sara and Emily for your comments while I was away - glad to see you were checking in on me, it means a lot. I love you all!
Well, trying to come up with my first story to share.
Stay tuned...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fun in the Sun

So much fun being had and no time to update - internet is not close to where we are so I have been out of touch.
Cruise around the island tomorrow, God willing, stormed last night and the sea is rough today.
Last full day tomorrow too, how sad.
Anyway, stories and photos when I come home.
Love to you all, thanks for your comments!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Manic Monday

If I had the closet of my dreams, this is what I would be wearing today...
Katie's Dream Malta 09

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Quick Update

Hello from Malta!
We hit the ground running and I have not had much time to post and Mom is now waiting for me, so it may be a quick one and I will come back later.
Here is a summary so far:
  • Flight to Chicago to meet Mom was super delayed and I would have missed my connection to London, so I flew SFO to LAX, literally RAN to the gate just making the plane to London.
  • Met up with Mom in London and flew to Malta (which was on time!)
  • Got to Malta, suitcase was lost - one of them and not the big one, so ok, I can deal, but was stressed and anxious until I got it
  • Anton picked us up and drove us to the apartment (same guy as last time - super nice)
  • We went and walked along the sea which was stirred up a bit from a storm the night before we landed so no one was swimming although it was HOT
  • Got a cappuccino, sat and people watched on the water
  • Went grocery shopping
  • Out to a Maltese restaurant for dinner to kick off the trip with a traditional meal, I had bread and an antipasti plate with goat cheese, tomatoes, olives, etc. Mom had fish soup ad timpana - so good. Also, the vino - yes!
  • Went back to apartment, stayed up until late looking at tour books and planning our days as much as we wanted (pretty lax though)
  • Went to bed, slept until 10 Saturday
  • Woke up, had tea, bread, laughing cow cheese and fruit and took off for the day
  • Called airline to no avail - long story, but Anton picked my suitcase up for me! He is a God send, seriously.
  • After the bag arrived the weight was lifted.
  • We took a ferry across to Valletta for the Notte Bianca festival held once a year.
  • Sat in a cafe and had the best pizza ever and beer
  • The festival started and I can't explain it until the next post, but lets just say AMAZING!
  • Stayed out in Valletta until about 10:30 PM and walked down to take the ferry back to Sliema.
  • Dragged our asses into bed, hot, tired but still not up to speed with the time so we didn't sleep too well.
  • Sunday, met up with Ilene from an American in Malta blog (see links on right until blogs l dig). Drank coffee and talked, now are walking around in the sun and going to Ilene's house for dinner! Such a nice woman and so sweet to invite us to dinner at her home.
  • All for now - I will write more later, but if I don't please know we are having a blast and that it why I have not wanted to spend time on the computer.
Babe, I miss you! I think we need to come here in the spring (hint hint).
Hi Dad and Emily!
Limited time on the computer and I have to check my email, so gotta run!
Much love!


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