Thursday, December 20, 2007

If You Watch LOST

There is a great new promo trailer for LOST, which starts January 31st! You can check it out here...

http://www.tvweek.com/blogs/james-hibberd/2007/12/abcs_new_lost_trailer.php

I am getting excited about the return of one of my favorite shows.

Monday, December 17, 2007

I'm Vexed

So, I realized something tonight.....I am having difficulty allowing myself to feel comfortable in our new apartment. Don't get me wrong, I love it. Angie and I have already made it feel more like home. Friends and family have already come over and helped us make some great memories. Friends and family have also loaned us stuff to furnish the home, which is greatly appreciated. But the problem is this.....since we moved out of our apartment in Ancona, we have stayed in approximately eight different bedrooms in seven different places. Some of those were hotels, some were by the hospitality of friends or family, yet none were for very long.

We moved out of our apartment on October 23, which is about eight weeks ago. That means we have stayed in as many bedrooms as weeks since moving out of our apartment. That means we have had very little stability. That means my mind has gotten more accustomed to staying briefly in places, than for lengthier periods. And that has created a habit. Now, a couple weeks into our new home, I am realizing the difficulty in letting myself relax. We will be in this apartment six months. It's okay for me to let my hair down.....even thought my hair is short. I don't have to pack up all of my belongings tomorrow, next week or even next month. We can put down some roots. I have met a couple neighbors, "D" and Steve. Seem like two nice enough guys. I want to allow God the opportunity to refresh us while we are here in the states. I want to relax in the Lord. Will I feel that feeling of relaxation? I think so. But I wonder, when that will happen. Will I wake up one morning two months from now, and realize it happened slowly and I missed the transition? My Lord knows. My job is to be content. We don't know the future. We can't trust in the things of this earth. What is a home, but shelter that God has provided. Hasn't He always provided everything for us? Hasn't He always taken care of us in every situation no matter how grim it appeared to be? Yes, yes a thousand times yes. Now, I just need to reconcile my heart and my mind.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ice Storm in Tulsa

So, we had only been in our new apartment in Tulsa for a week, when a major ice storm hit. It has been pretty bad, with up to half of the Tulsa residents being without power for one to three days. We have been very fortunate that our lone apartment complex has managed to keep its power on throughout the entire process. Our apartment has only had a few blinks off and on of our electricity and internet, other than that it has been great. Angie's sister, Mary Ann, and her two kids have been staying with us, while her husband, David, has been getting extra time making sure cable stays on for the homes that have electricity (he works for Cox Cable). My parents, and one brother lost their electric, so they went over to my other brothers house and he has two fireplaces....which ended up coming in handy since his electric finally went off today. At Wal-Mart today (my first journey out for two days) I picked up some more items in case the electric still does go off, like three cans of self-heating soup, a bag of beef jerky, several candles and heat bags, that once popped will provide small amounts of heat for 10-24 hours (depending on which bag you use). At Wal-Mart several of the food shelves were low or completely empty....my cashier has not had electric since Sunday. It's bad, but hopefully getting better. Here are some pictures.

Check out the thickness of the ice on these branches (above and below)!

Below you can see one of the many trees that fell in our complex...this one just happened to fall on one of the townhouses...ouch.
Below you can see the icicle beard along the truck we have been driving.
You wouldn't want one of these icicles to fall on your head.
This was the hot dog section at Wal-Mart (for all those using fireplaces and outdoor grills for cooking, I imagine).
The section below looks like it was part of the dairy section. Not sure if this was because it was shopped over, or because it went bad when Wal-Mart lost electricity.
And here you can see the empty pizza shelves, with one lone DiGiorno pizza left behind. There were more around the corner, but this sight was pretty shocking to see.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Moving Again???

So, here we are on the eve of yet again, another move. Tomorrow, Angie and I are moving from my brother's house into an apartment. Staying with my brother has been good and I'm glad we had the opportunity. Moving into an apartment however, will give us some routine, family space, stability and normalcy. Starting in January we will be travelling and speaking at several churches to promote and communicate about our ministry, and when we aren't travelling the apartment in Tulsa will be a great homebase to return to. Also, we are planning on inviting over family, friends and supporters to the apartment and providing them with some great hospitality.

Tomorrow will be busy, but good. In the morning we will get to the apartment, clean up after the bug bombs, and straighten what few things we already took over this evening when we got the keys. Then from 10 AM to noon, the cable guy will come to install internet and cable. Sometime after 10 AM several guys from Highland Park Christian Church will be coming over with all the furniture that many at the church have so selflessly loaned us while we are in the states for Home Assignment. We are awed and overwhelmed by the support our churches give us, and this is a great example. Later in the afternoon, we will work on the apartment, unpacking and moving things into their permanent position, then that night we'll come back over to my brother's house to watch OU play Missouri for the Big 12 football championship. Great stuff. I can't wait.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Breaking the Silence

Well, we've been back in the states six days shy of one month now. We are just now starting to relax. Five days after returning we headed out to Louisville, Kentucky for the Team Expansion team leader summit. It was a great experience for Angie and I to get to know other Team Leader's and become more prepared as a leader for our Verona team.

After the team leader summit, we stayed in Louisville a few more days going to various meetings with personnel at Team Expansion's home office and visiting our PACE church, Shively Christian Church. One day I got incredibly sick with fever and bronchial congestion but the next day it was gone and we were ready for to leave once more.

We then headed to Cincinnati, Ohio for the National Missionary Convention. We were able to connect with many old friends which is always good and hang out with Team Expansion missionaries as well as others. Our two main goals were find new churches for support and recruit for the Verona team. We spoke with several contacts in churches, but none seem to be able to help financially right now. However, we were able to interview and informally chat with several potential recruits. Many top notch candidates and we are in various stages of development with them. All in all, it was a good trip for us. We left Cincinnati Sunday and got back in Tulsa Monday evening.

The last few days have been spent with family and friends, enjoying the holidays and down time. There have been some negative stressors too, but the good definitely outweighs the bad and God continually supplies what we need in every given moment.

Tomorrow, I am looking forward to a good football game between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Oklahoma State Cowboys....go OU. Then tomorrow night I will be watching the Kansas and Missouri football game. The winner of that game will determine who OU plays, if OU comes out on top versus the Cowboys. Overall it should be a good day for college football.

We'll be working on things next week and then taking some vacation time during December which will combine with the holidays in order to provide us some great refreshment and recharging. We will be start doing presentations in January of 2008, so I will be putting the finishing touches on our promotional materials next month. And now to bed. G'night.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Moving Day...

Things have been a little crazy and abnormal since we moved, but still good. We have been able to bid farewell to most everyone that we wanted to before we left. We are thankful to the Casey family for allowing us to crash and work at their house during our last week.



Our moving day was very frenetic at first. The movers arrived at 7:30 AM on the dot (which if you know me is earlier than I like it) and they immediately installed the electric ladder. It is a ladder with a platform that raises and lowers. Check out the pics below.



Jason, Brian, Heather and Heidi all helped us throughout the day, which really helped the process happen. Jason wrote a great article describing many of our feelings at his blog found here: http://marchegiansun.blogspot.com/2007/10/moving-day.html.



We are not homeless. Tomorrow we head out to America where will be staying with family and traveling until December 1st. At that point we will move into a small apartment in Tulsa that we will stay in during our Home Assignment.



It has been hard these many months as we prepared to leave. We went through many different goodbyes throughout the months. It seems we are always saying goodbyes. Fortunately we only have a few more before we leave Ancona and then we won't have to say goodbyes like this for some time. See you on the other side of the ocean.







Monday, October 22, 2007

Moving Tomorrow...Really?

We are moving tomorrow. Even though I am sitting with boxes stacked up all around me and each room of the house looks more and more bare with each passing hour it still isn’t sinking in. Yes, it looks like someone is moving but is it really us? We have moved seven times (this will be move 8) during our eleven years of marriage. But we have lived in this house for six years! This has been home to Matt and I longer than any other place we have lived our married life! For me it is hard to say goodbye. It is hard for my mind to understand that this is my last day to call this home. I am sure it will sink in……probably about this time tomorrow when I look around and most of our things are outside on a moving truck…but for now I want to enjoy this last day as much as I can. I love my home here in Ancona and I want to remember this last day.
One more tidbit about moving. Out of the seven times we have moved it has rained every single one of those days. Guess what’s in the forecast for tomorrow? You guessed it….rain! Looks like we could be 8 for 8. I wonder what it is like to move in the sunshine?


Friday, October 19, 2007

How God Takes Care of Us

So....these last couple of weeks, we are constantly reminded of how God is there taking care of us, when we ask and even when we don't.

For instance, two days ago I was out for a meeting and was returning home. I had just talked with Angie and told her I could stop by our favorite pizza by the slice place and pick up some pizza for lunch, when she asked if I had been able to pick up some dishwasher calcium cleaner. I hadn't and she said not to worry about it that she would get it later in the day. I decided to go ahead and go by the store to pick it up to help her out. As I was walking I thought of the two air conditioner holes in our windows and how I needed to call the glass guy (in Italy you have a glass guy) to replace the panes before we moved. I thought of how difficult it can be to get ahold of this guy and kind of started to worry (my bad). You see we don't have much time left. So, I got to the street where our grocery store is (in Italy you have a grocery store - it's one block from our house) and I walked right by a guy carrying a pane of glass. Funny, I didn't think a thing of it...yet. I looked in at the grocery store at the line was extremely long...I thought about it and didn't think that Angie would want me to wait in the line that long just for the cleaner, so I turned around and headed home. Then I passed the guy carrying another pane of glass. I walked right by him and then stopped dead in my tracks. At first I just thought he was putting up some glass shelving in the store he was going in, but the panes were big....was he a glass guy? Could this be God's way of setting something up with some other glass guy so that we could get things moving in the glass department? I turned around and he was bringing another pane of glass up and I asked him, "do you work for this store or do you work with glass?" He said, "he was a glass guy." I said, "Good because I have two windows with holes that I need to get replaced before we leave." He said, "You'll have to ask the boss," then pointed behind me. When I turned around, there standing before me was our glass guy! I explained what we needed and that we were moving and he said he would come over right after that and measure them. He came and the next day they came and installed the new panes of glass. It was only 60 euro!

Then today, I planned on solving our moving problem. You see living in an apartment has some problems when you have large furniture. In Italy, they have these elevated platforms that you can rent that come up to your balcony and you put your stuff on it. You can also put smaller stuff on it and it saves you from using the elevator or going down the five flights of stairs (we're on the fifth floor). So, Angie helped me find some numbers and I started calling. We had a friend who had told us he knew someone who did moving and he would try to get some information for us. He didn't come through. So that's how we found ourselves four days before our moving date looking through the yellow pages. After calling a few places, it looked bleak. Many couldn't do it that soon because they were booked. And the prices for renting the elevated platform, moving van and having them help move was looking to be too expensive. The average move has a cost of 2,000 euro or more. Just the platform has a cost of 450 euro for a five hours. Remember we take even our kitchen with us, that means it needs to be taken down and then moved to storage as well as the rest of our furnishings. So, I finally called one guy by the name of Pino and he said the elevated platform was available for Tuesday, but we still needed a rental van. He graciously said he could be over in thirty minutes to give us a precise estimate for everything. He came and fifteen minutes later we had hired three movers, the moving van and the elevated platform. The Ancona team is going to be helping us that day too and he took that into account for how many other men he needed to bring. It is going to cost 600 euro for everything. God is awesome and he always takes good care of us.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Newsletter - October 2007


Here's our latest newsletter, enjoy. Click the thumbnail above to view it or right click and choose "save target as" to download it to your computer.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Missing Ancona Already

Boy am I going to miss Ancona. In two weeks, we are moving out of our apartment and staying with the Casey's for a week. In three weeks we fly out from Ancona to Tulsa. We will no longer be residents of the city of Ancona. We have been moving towards this for over nine months, but now it is real. Now it is happening. All around me is the evidence. Boxes clutter our home constantly reminding us of the coming changes. We are excited about Verona and what the future holds, but that doesn't mean we won't miss Ancona when we go. When we left Tulsa to come to Ancona (via Perugia for language school) we missed Tulsa, even though we were excited to "finally" get to Italy after raising initial support for almost two years. This December we would have lived in this same apartment in Ancona for six years. Except for our parents' homes, Angie and I have never lived as long in one home. And since we have been married, it has been the home that we have lived in the longest, six out of eleven years in December. That too is interesting, because we moved in our apartment on our fifth wedding anniversary, December 21, 2001. We have celebrated our marriage and our arrival in Ancona on the same day for almost six years now. As we go through these last few weeks here, we are saying goodbye to people and places that have been a large part of our adult lives. And we will miss them. That isn't to say we won't visit, and people from here won't visit us in Verona, but the convenience of being in this city near these things will be gone which causes a bit of sadness. We won't be sad forever, and each city we live in here on earth will pale in comparison to what God has in store for us in heaven. It's okay to allow ourselves to experience sadness, its part of our humanity and God made us this way. He also provides the wings of cover for us to run under and rest in his comfort. So, to Ancona.....thanks for all the memories, friendships, christmases, thanksgivings, beach days, short term teams, birthdays, ministry, laughter, church community, life, love and happiness you have provided through the providence and blessings of God. God is great and he has always provided what we needed and we believe he always will.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Look at the Size of That...


Have you ever seen a strawberry this big? It fit in the palm of our hands!

Monday, October 01, 2007

What's That Smell?

So, Angie and I were at church yesterday when I leaned over and asked her, "do you smell that?" She looked at me and replied, "No, what did you do?" I was referring to the good smelling food that was being heated up for the monthly potluck. She thought I had meant something else and we had a laugh about it.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

It's Almost That Spooky Time Again

I love music. I love using music to celebrate life as we go through it. I love most holiday music or television specials. Combine that with the fact that I liked to get spooked. I know, I know, there aren't such thing as ghosts, but tell that to my goose pimples and standing hair. I like movies that get me a little scared and stories that make me second guess if someone is staring at me in the dark. So, when October hits, I like listening to halloween music and spooky stories. Alas, I broke early this year and listened to some already. One annual favorite is an old armed forces radio show where a journalist is sent to describe the old frankenstein castle in Darnstadt, Germany. Each year, it was replayed each year on the Tulsa news/talk radio station KRMG. By following that link you can find the six minute radio clip online. It was also featured on Boing Boing. It is definitely one of my favorite old radio stories. Make sure you dim the lights before you listen.

In January 2005, Angie and I were driving back from the Mid-Witner Rally in Germany and we stopped in at the old Frankenstein Castle. I first reported back in January 2005, but I am finally getting around to posting some pictures from there.



Also, one of my favorite spooky songs is "Hey There Little Red Riding Hood" by Sam Sham and the Pharaohs. It isn't the lyrics particularly, although they sing them a little scary, but rather because when I was little my brothers (who were ten and twelve years older than I) would play it at night, while telling me there was someone skulking around in the backyard. There wasn't.

Kebabs, Not Shish-Kebabs

So for years, our team in Ancona has enjoyed a delicacy which does not hail from here. It is....(hold for it)....the Kebab. Not to be confused with the shishkebab, which is the small cubes of meat and vegetables skewered for grilling. But this comes from the Döner kebab variant, which in Turkish literally means "rotating meat". It's called this because the meat is on a vertical rotating spit that turns so that it is slowly roasted in front of a vertical glowing orange oven. As it turns the outer edges cook and the slice it off. They put this in a pita bread with various vegetables, including french fries, and mayonnaise and yogurt sauces. If you like it hot, they will also put some hot red pepper sauce. Wikipedia refers to the popularity of the take out kebab throughout europe..."Döner kebab is said to be the best-selling fast food in Germany, Poland and Romania as well as being popular in the UK, France, The Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Italy, Canada, and Australia." The meat used is usually beef, chicken or lamb. Our favorite place in Ancona has beef and chicken. Here are some pictures of our last outing at Tunital.


Homemade Stuffed Ravioli

So, one of the great things about living in Italy is experiencing the food. Another great thing is learning new recipes. Contrary to popular belief not everyone in Italy can cook, no more than everyone in America can barbecue. However, great recipes can be found. We try to share some of these in our newsletters as a way of involving you in our cultural experience. If you aren't receiving our paper newsletter and would like to receive it, email us.

Angie decided she was going to take some of what she had learned so far and create something of her own creation. She made homemade stuffed ravioli! It was good, as you can imagine. Here are some pics from cooking to plate.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Elvis in Ancona?

So, we were leaving our facility awhile back after easter and on the wall of a communist social club was this poster....



That's right. It's a resurrection party with the other king. However, as much as I like listening to Elvis, I don't plan on putting my afterlife in his hands.

Prayer of Thankfulness


This morning I decided to tackle packing the books in the living room. I turned on my favorite DVD of the Gilmore Girls and happily set to work. I hadn’t been working long when I noticed that I could hear a group of kids outside. I went to the window to see and there below in our piazza were kids on a field trip. One of the schools near our house has a teacher who on occasion brings his students to our piazza for class. It is a nice piazza with lots of trees and a small area with stadium like seating where the kids can sit and the teacher stands below so all the kids can see him. I have seen him down there many times and he seems like a fun teacher making the kids laugh and often including songs in his teaching.
I stood outside and watched them for awhile. I noticed two other people in our piazza a elderly man named Gino who is an older man who has lived in this piazza since he was a child. He has some form of dementia. Every day he walks around meeting new friends, of course these are the same people he meets everyday, and he is always willing give you a warm smile and to tell you a war story or two. Then there was Stefania who is a woman who wanders around the downtown area of Ancona. Some days she is as lucid as you and I and you can actually have a real conversation with her. Other days she walks the streets singing at the top of her lungs or on the really bad days screaming as if she is reliving a haunting memory over and over again. Every morning she walks from somewhere up back behind our building around and across the piazza off to wherever she is going that day. Then again in the evening she takes the same path but in reverse back to wherever it is that she calls home.
I know that in a few hours when school is out for the day our piazza will once again be filled with the voices of children playing. Every afternoon from about 5 until the sun goes down our piazza is filled with life. Children playing on the swings, sliding down the slide, playing hide and go seek, boys playing soccer and girls making up dances. The parents and grandparents sit around and talk about their children.
These are the people that we hear, see and talk to each day. They describe the daily life in our piazza and as I stood this morning and watched I felt comforted. All was right and normal today but then I remembered…not all is normal because I am packing my house into cardboard boxes. These people and sounds that have over the years become home to me are soon to be a memory. This will only be my home for a few more weeks. I don’t know what I will see when I look out my window in Verona but I pray that the people and sounds will again become comfortable to us. I will miss our piazza and I am so thankful that God has given us the years we have had here. So with a prayer of thankfulness in my heart I return to my boxes wondering what sounds I will hear coming in my windows when it is time to unpack these boxes.

Sick and Tired

I've been sick.

I don't like to be sick.

I think I have been going, going and going, as well as experiencing high levels of stress from moving, changing jobs, changing churches, leaving friends behind, etc.... When I finally slowed down for some time off, my body said, great now we can shut down. I have been going through a cycle of having cold like symptoms for a couple of days, then being congested and just feeling less than 100%. Oh well, I'll take some extra time to relax and feel better, so I can get back to being 100%.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Newsletter - September 2007

Here's our latest newsletter, enjoy. Click the thumbnail above to view it or right click and choose "save target as" to download it to your computer.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Some Things Never Change....

We have mentioned in the past how much Angie and I love the Fall season. It is our favorite time of year. One of the many reasons why is that we LOVE football, expecially OU football. Each Saturday, getting ready for the game, grilling or making chili, it all has comfort written all over it. So, it has been a great joy to still be able to watch our team live via the internet while living so far away from home. Normally, we use our slingbox (follow this link to see what it is), which is connected at my brother's house. The slingbox lets us watch normal cable channels via the internet. Well, this week the game was on pay-per-view, which meant that my brother had to move around the slingbox to a different spot in order for us to see the game. Thanks Greg. It makes living so far away a little less difficult.


Monday, September 10, 2007

And the Packing Begins

Fortunately for us, there is a Mailbox etc, right around the corner from our house. Angie and I went and picked up some boxes and bubblewrap so that the packing could commence. Rather than doing it all in one week, we are focusing on one room at a time and getting small sections packed away. The boxes in the dining room bring sadness due to the reality of leaving, and excitement in anticipation of a new adventure.

Dueling Rainbows After a Rainy Ancona Day

Have you ever seen two rainbows in the sky at the same time? Angie and I couldn't believe it. We just stared at it for awhile.


Friday, September 07, 2007

Stuck in Time

One of my favorite TV shows is The Andy Griffith show. We have been watching it every day at lunch time, while we eat. Life back then, was different, more simple, in small towns for sure people were more trustworthy. The other day, here in Ancona, I was meeting Brian Rotert for coffee and I got to the Cafe a little early. I was the only customer, so I ordered a cafe latte (in Italian it is a Latte Macchiato) and sat down, waiting. I go there often for meetings of accountability and such so the worker knows who I am, but not much mind you. She called over and said that she would be right back, she needed to run down the street and do an errand. So, she left and there I was for several minutes completely alone in a small cafe in Italy. This would happen in America, normally only if you really knew the person, but most of the time, it just wouldn't happen. That is one of the things I like about Italy, the trusting nature of life here. Like when I left a ring to be fixed at a shop and didn't get a receipt or when my watch battery needed to be fixed and the guy told me when to come back and pick it up, yet didn't give me any evidence that I owned that watch for my return.

It's not all roses when it comes to trust though. Most often foreigners are not trusted, usually those from countries other than the US or Britain or somewhere equivalent. And when it comes to religion, politics or people in charge there is quite a wall to be broached. I believe in time this wall can be broached and I pray for it to happen.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Fall

I love the fall! There is something about that cooler weather rolling in that I find energizing. I love to burn some candles and set to work in the kitchen on a hearty fall soup. Usually fall is filled with excitement and energy at our house with the anticipation that the holiday season is just around the corner. This year our house is also filled with excitement and energy but instead of our focus being on on the upcoming holidays we are preparing for a new city, to return to the states for a home service visit and moving our home into storage. A year ago we certainly didn't anticipate this! God has moved in some amazing ways over the past year. His hand has guided us to a new place, new roles, new team and new home. It is a lot of change but He is with us. In the midst of so much change He is constant, a pillar of strength, presence and comfort. I am so thankful!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Our Last Day at the Beach

So, the we spent our last day at the beach. Amazingly, almost every year, September brings in very cool temperatures and it has done so once again. The beach officially closes this coming Sunday, however, yesterday brought temperatures once more in the 80's and gave Angie and I one more day at the beach. It is more than just the last day at the beach for the summer, but our last day at our beach in Ancona. We are moving and leaving it and a million other little things behind. Often, in Italy, you go to the same beach all summer and Angie and I have been going to this same beach since 2002. That's six summers! That is many memories, many sack lunches and icees under an umbrella. God provided us with a wondefully relaxing "last" day, we needed it and we are so thankful to Him for it. Here are some pictures from this refreshing day.

Here's "our" beach, we spent many days off over the past six summers.
Here I am, with the Adriatic Sea behind me.

This is a restaurant on the beach that we like, so we ate there once more for lunch.


We had sauteed clams as an appetizer.

I had the homemade tagliatelle noodles with red sauce, clams, and scampi.
Angie had the homemade ravioli, with a butter sauce, shrimp and cherry tomatoes.


Here's Angie reclining after dinner, with the Ikea signs posted on the wall behind her.


They have great homemade french fries.

The last view of Ancona from our summer beach.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Newsletter - August 2007

Here is our August 2007 newsletter. Click to above to view it or right click and choose "Save Target As" to download it to your computer. You need Adobe Reader installed to view it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Save Your Rations

One of the things, that is hard to find in Italy is Dr. Pepper. Sometimes we have visitors from the states bring some with them, in the past when we have travelled to Germany we brought some back with us (it's easier to find there) and finally we found a store in Rome that carries Dr. Pepper some of the time, so when we go there we bring some back with us. It is enough to get us by while we are here, actually the Dr. Pepper is more for me, Angie is more of a Root Beer fan, which is also hard to find in Italy. I have been rationing what we have, drinking one as a special drink every once in awhile. I just looked up in the cabinet and there are ten cans left! And since we have about ten weeks left before we leave that means I can have one per week until we depart! Now, if I could just find some more Root Beer for Angie and maybe a little Strawberry pop.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I Love Audio Books

So, I have to say....I love listening to audiobooks. I think it is because I am so "" in my thinking process that it keeps me on track. Also, I like it when the author reads it. You get an idea of how they were really thinking when they wrote it. Or in some essay compilations they include live radio broadcast excerpts of the essay at hand, and then it becomes even more entertaining.

I remembered a quote from George Costanza, about audiobooks and I had to find (thankfully the internet provides answers at the click of a button). After a few clicks and a few dead end websites, I found it.....

George: You know what? I can't do this. I can't read books anymore; books ontape have ruined me, Jerry. I need that nice voice. This book has *my* voice. I hate my voice.

I don't feel as strongly about my voice as George, but I do enjoy having someone else read to me. In the past year, I have listened (read) to so many books it is amazing. And encouraging. I use audible.com which is a great service and has most books.

I saw they are having a $5.95 sale on audiobooks over there.....I guess I need to go browse their "shelves" now.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Summer Jamboree, the recap

So, we ended up hearing both bands. They were both really good. We went to the Cajun Tex Mex restaurant booth. I had chicken nuggets, some barbecue shishkebabs and a chicken fajita. All were small portions, but were good. Check out the videos below...

video

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Summer Jamboree in Senigallia, Italy

So, tonight, we are meeting our friend Emanuela and several of her friends in the city of Senigallia, which is about 30 minutes North of Ancona on the eastern coast of Italy. Each summer they host something called the "Summer Jamboree", which is actually a celebration of American music, food and concepts. Last year, Angie and I went and we got some food that at least some resemblance of American cooking, at the very least it was something besides pizza or pasta. Check out the website here http://www.summerjamboree.com/. We are going to have dinner out there and then hear one of two bands, either The Black Crabs or the Abbey Town Jazz Orchestra. I've never heard either of them, but it still sounds like fun. The first group is a rockabilly band from Seattle, Washington, the other group is a big band ensemble, made up of 22 volunteer musicians playing songs by Duke Ellington and Count Basie. We aren't for sure which group, because our friend asked us to go hear one of them and didn't tell us which one. Either one is fine with me.

Click here to hear The Black Crabs music

Click here to hear The Abbey Town Jazz Orchestra's music

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Dinner in Sirolo, Italy with Friends

Tonight, Angie and I headed to Sirolo, Italy. It is about a 20-30 minute drive South of Ancona. We went in order to meet some friends of ours for dinner and to spend the evening together. We got to Sirolo, which was a beautiful, cliff-side city, which overlooks the South side of Mount Conero, the mountain that just out into the sea, which is itself South of Ancona. The sun was just setting and it was a very cool evening, especially for August. The wind was lightly blowing through the city square. Angie and I proceeded to walk around the cliff railing and the rest of the townsquare while we waited for our friends to arrive. It was magical.

Once our friends arrived, we sat on a park bench and talked for a little while, then went to the restaurant. They had made reservations, which is normal in Italy, even at regular restaurants and therefore we had a table waiting. It was downstairs, so we went down. As we came down the stairs, we saw that the wall was half open and there was seating out of the balcony. As we sat down, we realized that off of the balcony was a cliffside view of the Adriatic Sea. The sun had already set, so we couldn't see the view, but imagined it to be very beautiful.

We had a great dinner together, then sat around the table for awhile talking. A normal Italian dinner can last for two to three hours, because of the familial socializing. After dinner, we split the check and went for an after dinner walk. Angie, Emanuela and Valeria spoke of womenly things and Luca and I spoke of movies and games of RISK and Axis & Allies. After we stopped at the videoarcade for Luca and Valeria's two young boys to gaze longingly at the teen playing, we went for ice cream, better known in Italy as gelato.
Then we strolled down the street talking with our friends and passing the time. We stopped at a few market stands that were open late, selling purses, mindgames, artwork, etc.... Then we started saying our goodbyes. We thanked them for a wonderful evening and they us. Then we parted ways, and Angie and I made our way to the car. It was a wonderful evening that deepened our friendship.