Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Santa's Story

I found the autobiography of Santa. It's cute, it tells the story of the original St. Nicholas and then gives a sort of history lesson while chronicling what Santa did after his 'supposed death' in 343 AD.

I'm reading it to Chris and recording it as we go. To download the mp3 and listen for yourself click here. It's set up with 25 chapters so you can read one a day in December leading up to Christmas. I haven't been able to keep up with it enough for that though.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Art Basel

John and Laura drove from Orlando to Miami this past weekend to experience Art Basel Miami and the invited me to tag along. We had a lot of fun. Being art students they really enoyed the art. I enjoyed it but I what really held my attention were the people. They have a friend who lives in Miami, Michael, who convinced his parents to let us all sleep on their couches. His parents turned out to be amazing hosts and even cooked us breakfast the next morning.

The whole weekend was really nice.

Thursday Chris, Roger and I are heading down to Orlando. Roger and I won't return until sometime in January - I have lots to do so that's all I have for now.

Oh yeah, pictures from Miami can be found here.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Movie Review - The Ex

The Ex - 4 thumbs down
I am so disappointed in Zach Braff - poor choice man! It sucked! We gave it four emphatic thumbs down. We actually turned it off half way through - when Zach's character drug an invalid up a flight of stairs just to hurl him down in an attempt to prove he can walk, we had enough.

Very disappointing.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Boston Commons

Chris had a long overnight in Boston this week so I went out to join him. We both got in around 11 on Tuesday and had the afternoon to wander. I went out on the 7:30am flight that Chris flew back to Cincinnati.

We had fun, we sat and people watched and chatted in the Boston Commons and wandered around the Quincy Market. We had dinner at the McCormick & Schmidts in Quincy Square - it was happy hour so they had $2 appetizers - yum :)
Pictures are here.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Over the River and Through The Woods

...To my parents house I go!

I'm leaving for Orlando, with Roger Doger, the weekend of December 14th. We plan to stay at my parents' house through early January. Chris has off the 8 days around Christmas (holy cow, I know!) and we planned last year that his family would meet us in Orlando for one big Christmas fest. So - I'm heading down early. (Roger's newest nap time position ----->)

With my Christmas vacation starting so early, Chris and I have already begun thinking about gifts and we're pretty much done shopping (crazy huh?). Don't get too jealous though, I still have to buy everything we've picked out once I get to Florida.

All of the holiday thoughts have prompted us both to update our wishlists too. Mine can be seen here and you can find Chris's on his site.

The business is going well too. I expected the holidays to thwart all new business, but I've been surprised and things are going strong anyhow though I'm hoping things will really pick up after the new year. We have a site about to go live this month, another in December and a redesign in process too. I've been taking advantage of my new freedom too. Last week I worked from Denver with the boys and tomorrow I'm working from Boston where Chris has an 18 hour over night. :)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy T-Day

Chris had a 30+ hour overnight in Denver that put him there Tuesday night through Thursday (Thanksgiving) morning. I decided to use my new found freedom to join him and take advantage of the free hotel and an opportunity to visit The Boys in their new home. I got to cross another state off of my list too! I forgot the camera so no pictures to show, but we drove all over Denver and even down to Boulder - the weather was crummy but I think the landscape has potential to be pretty on a nice day. It snowed (yay!) while we were there. We had yummy Chinese food and great conversation - it was nice.

Chris had to work a really early flight this morning so I slept in a bit and then caught the next flight out to Cininnati.

The past several T-days I've found myself alone in Cinci while he worked. This year we're lucky and his seniority is finally kicking in - he gets home tonight around 8pm and doesn't go back until Monday - woohoo! Recently though, I've spend my T-days alone in the house, watchin old movies. This year I found myself out an about.

It was nice.

The airports were dead. The roads were nearly empty. Every parking lot was abandoned (except a few restaurants). Nearly every car I passed contained a family unit obviously heading somewhere for their annual feast. It prompted me to consider how corrupt our country seems to have become, how crazy things have gotten with the latest generation seeming to place little or no value on family. How Sundays are no longer a time to focus on spirituality and family but just another day. How many families seem to quickly becoming stratisfied and disjointed. But even with all of that seeming to happen in our society that we still drop everything and shut down on Thanksgiving. I found the empty roads and deserted parking lots to be very reassuring. As I drove through the neighborhoods on my way home from the airport I could tell which houses were the host of this year's celebration and which had been abanonded for a cousin or aunts larger home. Some houses even had people braving the dreary weather to toss the football before dinner. I even saw one house where some adults were seated in a semi circle on folding chairs etc. while the kids put on what I assume was a play or talent show - adorable. I decided that this play has become a family tradition and that the kids draw names for who gets to play what role and that while all of this is happening the grandparents are inside laying out the feast so as soon as the curtain falls they can all dig in.

Seeing the traditions carried out and the families gather did make me feel a bit lonely since my family is mostly in Florida. But it also made me feel profoundly thankful that I have my own family now and I get to spend tonight with them (Chris and Roger) eating our own T-Day feast.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


We had our 6th Annual Pre-Thanksgiving Celebration this past weekend. My family has gotten rather large and it's become difficult for us to all gather on holidays because so many of us have to juggle time with in-laws, friends etc. So to be accomodating and make life easier, we've started getting together a bit before the actual holiday in order to make the actual day less stressful. The other nice thing is that we invite EVERYONE. Our family tends to suck people in growing beyond blood related boundries. This way we get to see our family and all those important to us.

As usual we had a good time and for the first time in a long time all of the cousins etc. were able to make it. The only family member missing was Grandma Doris - she suffered a small stroke earlier in the week and was trapped in the hosptial. We asked my cousin Donavan's son, Clayton to pray - he did an awesome job. See?

This video is also on YouTube here .

We also had a great gamenight (as referenced here) and a picnic too. All of the pictures are up here.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Wise or Otherwise

We had a family game night on Sunday. We played a new one that John(ny) found at G-mart called Wise and Otherwise. It's basically a version of Balderdash only instead of making up definitions you have to finish an old proverb.

We had a lot of fun. Here are some of the Proverbs we found and our versions of them:

Money is hundred-footed.

Chinese Proverb

Money is an earthquake in your pocket.


Money is like rice, hard to grow but quick to go.


A girl's love is like water in a basket.

Spanish Proverb

A girl's love is as sweet as honey, fragrant as roses and rough as sandpaper.


The world will not conquer him who is always rubbing his beard.

Hindu Proverb

The world will not conquer him who does not fear victory.


The world will not conquer him who conquers himself.


The world will not conquer him who prays on the cow.


Happy nations have no history.

Belgium Proverb

Drink or Run.

German Proverb

Eat what you can with your grandfather's fork.

Estonian Proverb

Coffee and lover are best when they are hot.

British Proverb

A mouth that has eaten salt can no longer eat unsalted.

African Proverb

A mouth that has eaten salt needs a drink of water.


Beware of squint eyed persons and buffaloes with outspread horns.

Siamese Proverb

Beware of squint eyed persons and curly haired dogs.


Beware of squint eyed persons and those who always have one hand behind their back.

(not sure who)

Overall the game was a lot of fun.

Audio Books 101

When you read a book you put your own inflections and emphasis on the words and phrases, you interpret it in your own way. In some cases this is the best way to experience a book. It's a very different experience listening to a book versus actually reading it, you're now subject to the inflection and emphasis that the reader places on the text. If the individual reading the book is good at it this intermediary can greatly improve the book's impression. If the reader is bad it can ruin an otherwise good text. Things like tone, cadence, articulation.

I have found that the best way to experience a good book is to hear it read by the author – it seems that when this is possible you get the exact intentions of the author the text is read with the emphasis and inflection that they intended which in turn encourages you to take it in and interpret it as intended.

Another thing that makes a big difference in audio books are voices. Some readers are great at using voices or different speech patterns for different characters. Some books even have completely different readers for different characters - espcially if the book is written from the perspective of multiple characters.

Below are great examples of the various type of audio books - all of which I recommend.

Author Read
- Eat, Pray, Love by Liz Gilbert
- Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani
- The Pleasure of My Company by Steve Martin
- Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

Great Reader
- The Queen of the Big Time read by Cassandra Campbell
- Water for Elephants read by David LeDoux
- The Wedding read by Tom Wopat

Great Voices
- Citizen of the Galazy read by Lloyd James
- The Lottery read by Paul Michael

Multiple Readers
- My Sister's Keeper written by Jodi Picoult

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Halloween, iPhones, Mountains and more

We went to Seattle for a few days and wound up staying almost a week. Here are some scattered thoughts and updates from the trip.

I finally got to see the new house which is looking fabulous and we made it up to Mount Vernon to see Chris's cousins. We went trick-or-treating with them which was a complete blast. After the kids passed out in a sugar induced coma we stayed up late drinking wine and chatting with Debbie. We, of course, also called Chris's sister Jen and had fun picking on her drunken state.

While up north we met up with Rick and grabbed a quick lunch at the Skagit Valley Co-Op (which is completely awesome by the way - I now want to live in a town with a co-op). David let us take the new Porshe on the trip so Chris was very happy - my tush however was a bit bitter about it.

Once back on Bainbridge Chris gave his parents a very, very long iPhone lesson (puke, I know) and we were able to meet up with some of the old Smolland Lane crew for dinner.

My mission for the trip was to find lavendar - I succeeded with flying colors! I got two satchels of lavendar along with shampoo, conditioner, body wash, soap, incense and lotion - woohoo!

Saturday Chris was able to race with Chris - they lost, but just barely - to Demeyer. Then the whole racing crew had lunch at the pub. It was festive, fun and yummy. Chris had an Elk Burger (eww) and I had a crab and artichoke melt (yummy). Sunday we went over to Hurricane Ridge - WOW. You have too look at the pictures and watch the videos (there are three and they're all worth watching). It was amazing!

We've been home a couple of days and tomorrow Chris is off to work I'm Orlando. I love this new freedom!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Costumed Weekend

My last day at work was Friday (yay!). We celebrated by going to a couple of parties over the weekend.
Friday night we went to the 5th annual WAABI Bourbon Tasting. It was an enjoyable night and it was really great to see all of the folks I used to work with at Beam. They were are very nice and seemed genuinely glad to re-unite. They had a great turn out at the event and based on the prices of the bids on the silent auction I think they did very well for the two charities they support. Last year Chris and I came home with two baskets of goodies from the auction, this year everything was out of our price range which means great news for them.

Then Saturday night we decided to take a chance and go to a stranger's costume party. I ate lunch with a group of programmers at my now old job. A friend of theirs and a previous co-worker had a costume party and invited the whole crew. They said that I should come and bring Chris and we decided to go for it. We shopped for costumes that afternoon and were able to throw some pretty great ones together for a very affordable price.

The couple (Brandon and Carrie) hosting the party were awesome and made us feel right at home. When Carrie realized that neither of us had ever met her or her husband she was thrilled and excited to meet new people. The party doubled as a house warming party for them so we got the grand tour. Their home was gorgeous. As the night wore on Brandon (who is in a band) provided us with an impromptu guitar sing-a-long. Over-all the company was great and the costumes creative. The guy in the plaid is the BudLight hitch-hiker - his axe isn't a weapon, it's a bottle opener - he actually afixxed an opener to it. We're glad we crashed. More pictures here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Career Changes

I realized that I never really posted here about the big changes coming up in my life. Chris and I did an analysis of our financial situation and decided that we could make it on one income. Knowing this we agreed that it wouldn't be irresponsible for me to quit the corporate world and give my business a shot full time.

I've become increasingly frustrated with corporate jobs and I've always felt I had it in me to be my own boss. In addition to getting the opportunity to test out my theory, working from home will give me more flexibility to travel and enjoy life with Chris now while we're munchkin free. If things go really well (fingers crossed, breath held) I can turn my little side business into something that can serve as our backup plan and allow me to work from home on my own terms indefinitely.

So, I did it.

Only two and a half more days and I will officially be free of my repressing, boring corporate job. Yay! I received calls/e-mail from 6 new potential clients for The PCoach in the past week alone so I am very encouraged.

We already have all sorts of plans to take advantage of my new-found freedom. The WAABI Bourbon Tasting is this Friday so I'll get to see all my old Jim Beam homies. Then Tuesday I'm finally going to ride on a flight where Chris is flying (which I've never yet been able to do because of work), we're going to St. Louis and back. Then we get to run across the airport to catch the last flight out to Seattle. We'll spend Halloween with Chris's cousin and her kids then the rest of the week and weekend with his parents, friends etc. We'll get to have (early) Thanksgiving with his parents. Once we get back I will be hitting The PCoach advertising hard and hopefully working 20-30 hours a week for a client that I'm still working the details out with.

The weekend of 11/10 is my family's traditional Pre-Thanksgiving celebration so I'll be down in FL for a long weekend. Then our whole family, both sides (!), will converge in Orlando for Christmas so I'll be spending almost two weeks down there for that.

Lots of fun and exciting changes for me. Now you know!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Movie Review - Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her

Watched Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her with Roger tonight and we give it four thumbs up. I don't even know how it wound up on my Flix List but I'm glad it did. It was a pleasant little surprise.

It reminds me mildly of Magnolia meets Playing by Heart only more real. It's one of those plots where everything intertwinces, only in this one they're clear about it. It's broken into several stories that are clearly defined. When I reached the end I found myself caring about the characters, feeling like I knew them and wanting to know more about their stories - a fairly amazing feat considering the short time in which each story and character is preseented. The shots are smooth throughout the film and some creative angles used. None of those cheesey scene transitions I always hate.

The casting is superb. I don't necessarily like Calista Flockhart but she was perfect for the role of Christine. Her monologues were well done. Glen Close is normally too stern for me but she was a perfect fit for Dr. Keener and her facial reactions during her scenes are so subtle and suitable.

Overall I was very impressed. I'm adding it to my wishlist, it's one I think I'll re-watch.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Road Trip!

Chris and I have the whole weekend off together (yay!) and fall suddenly hit our area. The leaves are rich tones of gold, auburn, red and orange. There is a nip in the area and today the sky was clear blue.

We went for a two hour drive through the windy backroads of the "tri-state" area. We wandered over to Madison, Indiana - a quaint little town that Chris discovered via the internet. The drive was amazing, Chris's M3 hugged the roads perfectly and the farms and forests were great scenery. About half way there we started seeing barns full of drying tabacco and signs to "watch horse drawn carriages, next 4 miles" etc.

We started off at the park along the river where I accidentally got some of the river water on my shoes. Chris is now monitoring my feet for contagious infection ^_-. With the changing leaves and the cloudless sky it was actually a pretty sight.
We then secured a parking spot on Main Street and hit the antique shops and at the first one we found a spice rack for $12. The owner was a sweetheart who interupted her lunch to ring us up (all the while trying not to stare at my nose ring - it was cute). I know it seems backwards but I am going to paint it fun colors and then paint the names of the spices on the jars. We went to the Madison Mercantile and bought a Veggi Soup mix and two Veggie Dip mixes. The owner recommended stufing peppers with the dips which we plan to try next time we entertain.

After we had made our way up one side of the street we had worked up a hunger so we stopped at the Downtowner Cafe for some fuel. We hit it right after the lunch rush so the service was great. Chris enjoyed a Frisco Melt and I had a "Duo Combo" with a BLT and a garden salad. We people watched as we ate and marveled at the Biker Dudes sitting outside, with perfect posture both devouring supper healthy salads - it was a slight contradiction :)

After lunch we bought some Fudge at the Toy Shop and then finished making our way back down the other side of Main Street. The drive home was just as enjoyable and we saw proof behind the "horse drawn carriage" warnings when an Amish family pulled out in front of us.
Over all it was a very pleasant day. The rest of the pictures are here.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Only one person in this picture has passed, but I feel like two of them are gone...

Sometimes I miss them.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


It was SOO vital for the Comair pilots to take paycuts that Delta pushed the issue with the pilots for a year. The pay cut got Delta around 2 million in savings per year.

As soon as Delta came out of bankruptsy what did they do? Re-brand. Spending $10 million!

Delta has been out of bankruptsy for a couple of quarters now. Yesterday they announced their third quarter standings. $2.4 billion in cash lying around? Why not give some of it back to the employs then huh?

I know he loves his job, but the industry sucks!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Finally! The Saga Continues

My all time favorite book is Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett. An odd choice, I know, but I just love it. I love how epic it is, how you really get to know and love or hate the characters. I also have always like the time period. This book was assigned as the summer reading at the end of my junior year of highschool to be studied when we returned as seniors. When we received our copies of the paperback from our English teachers they already had huge chunks of text blacked out with a sharpie. I was furious - how dare they require reading and then censor it. I raised a fuss, encouraging everyone to fight and go to at least go out and buy an uncensored version. In the end I didn't go back for my senior year, I finished my required credits that summer, but I still read the book. I've re-read it every summer since. I'm oh so familiar with Prior Philip, the Evil Lord William, gorgeous Aliena and the quirky carrot-head Jack.

Chris knows this and he apparently got wind some time ago that Follett was releasing a sequal, which I had no clue about. It was released on Tuesday and on Wednesday he stopped by the book store to buy me a copy - they were already sold out! He wound up surprising me with a copy in the airport when we were heading town to Orlando this weekend.

I am already about 200 pages into World Without End and I already love it though I don't yet know if it will compare to it's predecesor. It takes place about 200 years afer Pillars of the Earth and so far is chronicalling the continued life at Kingsbridge and following many of the decendants from the first novel. So far the characters are just as dymanic and fabulous.

I just wish that Chris could get into the first one so he could be excited with me about the new one. I do wish I had a fellow admirer to share it with...
PS - for the record I have read every single one of Follett's books and there are few I didn't thoroughly enjoy so if you haven't read anything by him I highly recommend that you give him a shot. He tends to do extensive research on topic before writing about them so most of his books include amazing and accurate details.
PPS - I do wish he wouldn't insist on putting his picture on the back of every book - he's so weird looking!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Wow - Look at Me Ma!

Sometimes when I look around my house, at my cat, my husband, our things, accomplishments and the life we've created together I think to myself, how did I ever end up here? What did I do to deserve all of this?

If you had asked me five years ago where I would be now, this is the last thing I would have come up with. I never would have thought my best friends would be members of my family, that I would be married, with my own business and living in a house...

I need to dream bigger. :)

For those who are curious this tangent of thought was triggered by our upcoming anniversary - 4 years since our first date. Nothing compared to my parent's recent celebration of 35 years, but it's still a lot to us.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Movie Review - The Guardian

The Guardian - 3 1/2 out of 4 thumbs down

I know, I know - what were we thinking right? Chris and I watched The Guardian a few nights ago. It wasn't as bad as we thought it was going to be, it was worse. The script was so incredibly cheesey, the acting was mediocre at best and the graphics were laugable. The entire movie we could so easily predict what was going to happen next that it wasn't even fun to tear it apart.

I am glad to say though that this particular bad movie is Chris's reponsibility as it was on HIS Flix list.

The only reason it gets half of a thumb is because it still wasn't the worst movie I've ever seen.

I got a chuckle yesterday because based on my current movie ratings Netflix recommended The Guardian as something I might like. Shows you how accurate their recommendations are!

Sunday, September 30, 2007


Apparently even though we had a great cat sitter stopping to play with and feed Roger, he missed us immensely, as you can see.---->
He has been especially affectionate since our return and even has some mild seperation anxiety. I just got these pictures downloaded from the camera. I don't care if I seem like one of those creepy people who treat their animals like kids. He's too darn cute not to brag about!
<-----We don't know how he got there but he apparently decided that Chris's bicep is a force to be reconned with:

Finally was able to get some video of him as well. My favorite is below. Notice how he goes about getting my attention, leading me to his toy and then decides that gnawing on my hand is more fun than the toy...

If you're intersted, more pictures here, videos here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Autism Speaks

My cousin has twins, one of which is Autistic. He's a sweet little guy, a completel infectious laugh. His mom (Angie) is the type to be very involved in his education and treatment and is constantly researching and helping to raise awareness for Autism.

She sent me a link to a website related to the band Five for Fighting. It has all sorts of videos related to Autism and each time you watch one, close to a dollar is donated to research for Autism. Some of them are really amazing. If you find yourself with a few minutes to spare why not spend it perusing here?

This one was my favorite so far - but I've only watched a handful.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Move Review - 10 Items or Less

10 Items or Less - Three out of Four Thumbs up

Chris and I watched this together our first night home from Italy. He was a little bored by it but I really like it. I will say it's not a movie for everyone though - it has a very Naturalistic style to it. Rotten Tomatoes sure didn't like it, but that doesn't mean much to me.
The overview is that Morgan Freeman meets Paz Vega (from Spanglish) in his usual way (he talks to everyone) and they randomly end up driving around town together for the day. The entire movie is you following their budding friendship as they drive around. That's it.
But to me there was so much more. If there ever was a Non-Ant, it is Morgan Freeman's character in this movie. The soundtrack really adds to things too. There are moments where I was afraid their friendship was going to cross over into an awkward romance but the director/writer was smart and never went there. The movie is low budget and was filmed in 15 days. After watching the director's notes it seems that much of it was improvved as well - which makes it more fun to watch.
Now to be fair, yes, Morgan Freeman is essentially playing himself. But the character he plays obsurdly obssessed with his identity as an actor and even admits that it has isolated him so I don't think that it means that Freeman is stuck up etc. And as for Vega - well I think she's gorgeous and fiesty so they made an unusual and likeable team.

Overall it's a good date movie and would have been PERFECT for ANTi so I highly recommend ANTi alumnis to go watch it.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Roma - The Summary

We made it back to the states just fine, we even got the first class sized seats on the flight back which was really nice. The first thing we did after we'd caught up on sleep was go to lunch at First Watch. It was airconditioned and they put a pitcher of free water with ice on the table for us. We were extatic!

Roger was so excited to have us home, he purred and meowed like never before. He was so hyper that he couldn't sleep our first night home and kept waking us up for cuddles and play time.

I've already managed to get down to Orlando for a quick trip as well so that I could tell the family all the details of our trip while it was fresh in my mind. The more I talk about it the more grateful I am that we were able to hang out with Fabio - being able to enjoy his company and that of his friends really made the trip that much more memorable and special for us. Being immersed in another culture and language like that was just so much fun for me. Chris and I are already talking about what our next trip will be. We definitely caught the Travel Bug.

I'm not sure how, but I have already managed to narrow down the 3 gigs of pictures and video (over 500 files) down and posted the best on Flickr and YouTube. If you view the pictures on Flickr I recommend a slide show on slow, click on the picture (an 'i' pops up when you hover your mouse over it) and it will pop up a bar along the bottom with my notes. We've already shared the details of our trip with our closest family and friends - if anyone else wants a personal update you'll have to contact us, otherwise what is here is what you get.

Now - back to real life. :) I have to do laundry and start mentally preparing for my return to Corporate America tomorrow - yikes!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Roma - Part Quatro

Monday - THE VATICAN, FINALLY! We toured St. Peter's Bascillica with our favorite tour guide, Eugene. It was by far the most overwhelming thing we've seen yet. The amount of gold and art and talent was just breath-taking. The picture below is off of Chris's phone and is of St. Peter's Bascillica looking up into the main dome. Because all of the art in the church is either mosaics or marble and no actual paint, photos are allowed here. The line for the Vatican Museum was too long and Eugene said his tour wouldn't be worth it because we'd be too short on time by the time we entered. So we went on our own. It was close to closing time so we sort of sped through to get to the Sistine Chapel which is at the very end. Again. Wow. Wow. Wow. This will have to be explained in detail later.

Tuesday - It's our last day and it is raining a bit. We are going to revisit our favorite spots and restaurants (of course including gelato and espresso). Tonight we may hang out with Fabio and friends one last time. Then early tomorrow we head back to our poor lonely Roger. I think we are both looking forward to ice, a soft mattress, air conditioning and TV in English!

Talk to everyone soon!


Roma - Part Tre

More on Rome.

Friday Cont. - That night we met up with Fabio and friends again. They picked us up at a MetRo stop and took us to Fabio's condo for dinner. He has a great view of the airport (to be expected for a flight fanatic like Fabio) and very nice, sleek, modern place. They tried to give us a traditional Italian dinner experience. For dessert we had fruit - uve-fragole- which is a grape bread with a strawberry, they are odd to eat but oh so yummy! Chris got to spend lots of time speaking with Fabio about his flight experiences, cars etc which was a treat for him after weeks with me. :) After dinner we were able to just lounge and talk with the group, it was nice to hear about their restaurants (100% Natural) in Mexico - we learned that they have more than 40 in total, we had no idea there were that many. Fabio was kind enough to take us all of the way back to our B&B after dinner, on the way he wanted to stop at Gelato di San Crispini (I know, funny sounding name) for the best Gelato in Rome - he also remembered that they had Cannella (cinnamon) flavor. We got there after 1am and they were closed, we could see people cleaning inside. That didn't stop Fabio though. He put his hazards on, stopped and ran over. Less than 10 min. later he returned with Gelato. How?!? we asked. 'I look like a man with a pregnant wife at home who will kill me if I don't return with her favorite Gelato!' he said with a sheepish grin. I really like Fabio!!! :)

Saturday - We lounged and wandered. We picniced in Villa Borghese again (our peanut scores are over 5000 points!) After our picnic we meandered down to our favorite restaurant of ZioCiro for a long relaxing dinner. Then we went to Piazza Navona and watched the street mucisians and artists. We stopped for the espresso that Fabio introduced us to as well.

Sunday - We got up early and went down to Porta Portese over the river to visit the Sunday Flea Market. It was a long walk, but a cool thing to see. The problem was that once you entered there was no escaping you had to walk the entire thing! There were lots of people crammed in and it was especially hot. The vendors were selling the same thing they sell in the states - lots of used junk ;) After we survived the flea market we needed a nap and wound up at a little trattoria across the street from our B&B where we had a nice dinner of pizza with Amy from Boston. She wandered in alone the same time as us so we invited her to join us. She was in Rome for a couple of days on her way to Israel for her nieces wedding.

More to come! Ciao

Friday, September 14, 2007

Roma - Part Due

Another installment from Roma!

Wednesday - We were in Florence last night. It's much smaller than Rome, in every respect. The sidewalks were tiny, but just as crowded as those in Rome. We got to see Michelangelo's David. It was amazing. The little museum goons were all over yelling 'no foto!' but we snuck a few. We'll post them when we get back. Our hostel there was really nice, the people who run it were very friendly. Because Florence is smaller, there are more ammenities downtown, such as internet cafe's, laundromats and supermarkets. The SuperMercadi's are awesome! A sandwich shop charges 2,50 euro for a bottle of water - at the Mercadi, ,70 eurocent!

Thursday - We got a late start, but that was okay. We went to Palazzo Medici Ricard and saw this little chapel that is completely covered in Fresco's painted by Benozzo Gozzoli in 1459, they were breathtaking. The chapel had no windows and we could't figure out how the artist could see to paint such amazing detail back then. Even the backround scenery had really vivid details. The no foto goons were too good in the small chapel and we couldn't get pictures, but I'm sure you could find it online. The frescos are called Journey of the Magi. In the Palazzo was also a ball room of sorts with a ceiling that words can't describe. Picture were allowed here so we took a ton and some video. After the Palazzo we went shopping, yay! Florence is known for it's leather and fine jewelry. To the right is a picture Chris took on his phone of me shopping. We bought a belt for Chris and some souvenires for the moms and me. We also bought a few other things. Then back to Roma. That night we hooked up with a friend of The Boys (doug + james), Fabio - who was born in Rome. He has friends from Cancun in town. It was a 17 year old girl Coral, her mother Andrea, her uncle Dannyboy along with Fabio's friend Maximilliano - Max for short :). We all went to dinner, which Fabio sneakily paid for (he was extremely considerate and gracious), then got some of the best coffee ever. They have secret techniques that they are very serious about, they cover their coffee makers so you can't wathc! John, if you want us to buy you some, e-mail Chris's mac account and we will! Then went on a wild goose hunt for a Party Village that sets up in the summer, it sounds like an outdoor night time festival. We never found the party (though we did find out from a hooker (a shim if you will) that it's only on Fri/Sat nights so that's why we couldn't find it), but we did get to see a lot of Rome we wouldn't have otherwise. It was nice to be in a car vs. walking! The cars are so INSANLY small! Max's car, which is smaller than a Mini Cooper, actually had 4 doors, when they opened the back doors Chris's jaw dropped, we naturally had assumed it was a two door.

- We're sitting here waiting for our laundry to finish. 14 Euro for two small loads, yikes! But you have to have clean undies, right? We've seen most of the typical Roman sites and we're both kind of feeling like we should be going home soon you know? Like it's been the typical vacation length and our bodies are assuming it's almost over. But we still have almost a week! We plan to do lots of people watching and we're going to hit some of the lesser known sites, possibly hit the beach as well we'll see. Hopefully tonight or tomorrow night we'll have dinner with Fabio and friends again and find the Party Village. Monday we plan to go to the Vatican with the really great tour guide (Eugeno) that we found on our tour of Palentino Hill. We're actually pretty excited about that. I have managed to pull the muscle that runs along the back of my right ankle. It's not awful, but it's slowing us down. We've bought an ace bandage type of brace for it and at night I'm using those icey/hot stick on things so it's not too bad. From all the walking though both our bodies are a bit beat up, but it's well worth it.

Again, if you need to get a hold of us, use Chris's e-mail since we check it more frequently.

Miss everyone and can't wait to share pictures! We'll try to update once more before we leave.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Roma - Part Un

We just now found an internet cafe to update from. The internet at our B&B is down.

So far we have seen most of the major sites in Roma.

Friday - we slept a lot :)

Saturday - we explored. We walked in a big circle and hit the Pantheon (my favorite so far), Piazza Nirvona (a big square with great architecture and artists all over), the Spanish steps, the Colleseum and more. We went to ZioCiro for lunch. AMAZING! (thanks Dallas!) Saturday night was Notte Bianca (White Night) which is Roma's yearly celebration of the arts. Hundreds of thousands of people were out. The stores and historic sites were all open all night and the transportation was all free. Wild time. More details to come when we return. We ate dinner at DaDiego (it was alright - sorry Meg - no Carlo but Kimo missed you a lot :)

Sunday - Villa Borhese - Rome s equivelant to Central Park only way better. We laid in the grass, people watched and ate good food. (back to ZioCiro) We found ourselves at Trevvi Fountain people watching some more. We split a small pizza and a bottle of wine for dinner while sitting on the steps to the fountain and people gazing. Apparently a picnic in this location isn't allowed though because after we were done the polizia scolded us. Oh well.

Monday - the historical stuff. We toured the Colloseo, the guide, Pauolo was so so - he mainly told us about things that we had read the night before in our guides. The sites though were spectacular, the workmanship and the thought that it has been there for 2500 years was amazing. Afterwards we joined up with another guide for a tour of Palatino Hill which is currently thought to be the site of the original city of Rome. This tour guide was fabuloso! His name was Eugene, he is a student who is passionate about history and gives the tour for tips only. The tour of the Colleseo lasted about 25 minutes and we paid 11 Euros each. The tour with Eugene was 2 plus hours and we tipped 5 Euro. Very much worth it. He gave a 6 hour tour of the Vatican today that we wanted to join but I have hurt my ankle and we wanted to let it rest for a day. Dinner was Leonardo near the Spanish Steps (thanks Meg, an excellent recommendation).

Tuesday - today we relaxed. We ate a legal picnic in Villa Borghese. It's so great up there, around every corner is something else amazing. We have a running Peanut game that is up to 1900 points (Chris wants to play until he wins :)

Tomorrow we head off to Florence for a night.

Basically, people watching is our activity of choice. Throw in good food, good wine, fun with communication and a few 2500+ year old buildings and that's our trip so far.

Pictures will follow when we return. Talk to everyone soon!


Friday, August 31, 2007

Viva Roma

Chris and I are finally planning to take our honeymoon – 13 months late! J We leave on Thursday (9/6) for Italy. We plan to spend two weeks there, most of which will be spent in Rome though we are planning to spend a night in Florence and at least one day trip to Naples in search of the best pizza in the world.

We booked a B&B near the Trevvi Fountain within blocks of a Metro stop. We obviously plan to see the Pantheon, Vatican, etc but our main goal is to wander and enjoy the culture, food and wine. Other than details about getting to and from our hotels we really haven't researched anything – which is highly unlike me. But I'm excited.

Work has been crazy and very unrewarding. The PCoach is doing excellent but still being a young business it's stressful. Chris hasn't had a real vacation since he started Comair in May of 2005 so we really need this.

The B&B has a PC with internet access and we'll have Chris's iPhone for emergencies, but we plan to stay as disconnected as possible. I'll try to update this blog occasionally with pictures to make you jealous though ^_- Make your souvenir requests soon!

The Boys!

We've got these friends, Doug & James (affectionately referred to as The Boys). Doug was Chris's student back at DCA in 2004. We've been friends with them every since. They moved to Phoenix, we moved to Cincinnati, they moved to Chicago and then back to Phoenix so we're all over the place. The funny part about it is that we don't keep in touch very well, but every 6 months or so we'll get together and it's like no time has passed. It's fabulous!

We've gone to visit them three times, twice in Phoenix and once in Chicago (pictures here) but they've never come to visit us – who can blame them? Cincinnati isn't exactly a hot spot of fun! Well Doug recently decided that he wanted to apply for a job with Comair and asked Chris to help as a reference. They did all the BS paper work and within a couple of days Doug had an interview! He's scheduled for Sept. 4 th in Cincinnati and we started planning a night out with him. Then it occurred to me – buddy passes! Why couldn't Doug come up early and use one of our Buddy Passes for James? They did.

They arrive Saturday afternoon and are staying through Tues night. So Doug and Chris can go over boring pilot info while James and I shop. Yay!

Sorry Mom, looks like we won't be coming down. But I'll come see you soon! J

Monday, August 27, 2007

New Beginning

I finally have gotten around to doing something about my blog. I've had so many designs, my blog entries go back to mid-2002. Previously I've always linked to those thoughts from the past, but this time I think I'll pass on that. I still have them, for my own reference, but I think it's time to start fresh with my public ramblings.

So, here you are. Welcome to my new place to vent, share, ramble, emote etc.

I am still dreaming of Butterflies and Sunshine and forever Walking to the beat of my own Drum.

See you again soon, back here.