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!