Thursday, December 20, 2007

Almost finished!!

They have been here almost everyday, which has been crazy! The electrician was here yesterday and the plumber will be here all day today, so hopefully we will be in there soon! Nia is really going to miss playing with the workers when they go out to their vehicles. She trys her best to get in their way and make them laugh!
Check out the pics!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Master bathroom remodel

The guys have been working for a week and a half and have made some serious progress. All of the base work is done, so I think the rest is going to go pretty quickly (and smoothly hopefully). The tile started putting tile in on thursday and it is looking great. Will post more pictures next week!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Francis Film Fest

The Francis Film Fest was a huge success! There were about 35 people that showed up for our party including kids and dogs. Thank you to all who brought food or equipment for our event! We look forward to having the FFF next year and hope more people will be able to show their faces and throw their cornhole bags. A special thanks goes out to Jeff Reed for accepting the position as lead technician and got the movie up and going. Where would we be without you...well, sitting and staring at a white sheet is where we would be. Not quite as much fun! I only have a few pictures from the event, and I am sorry that it was never posted. I must have forgotten to post! Yikes, I am somewhat new at this blog thing.

FFF will be in June 2008 for those of you early planners! Hope to see you soon!

Friday, May 11, 2007


We are taking off today, but I wanted to backlog some of the days that I missed recently. I hope everyone has enjoyed following us on our journey, thanks for your comments. We will be back in the states Friday evening around 10pm. See you all soon! We look forward to our everyday simplicities, ie: bigger showers, regular toilets, understanding menus and people that speak english. See you soon!

On Wednesday, we made it over to Positano. A town that is down the Amalfi coast from Sorrento/Sant Agnello. We decided to take the bus ride there and then once everyone was scared to their core from the tight corners and heights, we decided to take the boat back. Good choice. You cannot believe the small bus that we were on and for 30 mins, all you heard was the driver honking (similar to a clown horn) before he went around every corner. The turns are so tight they need to warn each other. Very exciting, since we look out the window and realize that we are a few 100 feet up the steep rocky cliffs...just a little scary. Anyways...we get off at the stop for Positano and the climb begins. At least this time, we are climbing down. We find a narrow path of stairs and begin our descent. After about 20 mins, we are half way! Just keep on moving down , more stairs, and little restaurants and hotels-B&B's that are tucked away in these corners. I am glad that we are not staying at one of these places...we would never find it!! Although the sights would be beautiful!
We make it down to the shops and the lemons the size of your head...seriously! And we find ourselves on the coast, a somewhat sandy beach and tourists. Not as many as Capri, so that is good. Positano is absolutely wonderful. I think I could live here. The homes, hotels and restaurants are built right into the thankful I wasn't on that construction crew! But it is such an amazing sight!! The most beautiful view is from the boat. Everyone should visit Positano for an afternoon, it is truly breathtaking. What a way of life they live there, climbing stairs and uphill walks and swimming in the ocean. The rest of the afternoon is spent at our wonderful hotel pool. We have vino and birras by the pool and relax while we read books. We need a day of relaxing.

Tune in later to read about our trip to Pompeii
ciao, marie

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Sorrento, Sant Agnello and Capri

good afternoon to all of you in the states!
Our time in Sorrento has been sunny and beautiful! Thank god that the rain stopped following us in Rome. We took a 2 hour train and then 1 hour train ride afterwards to get to the Amalfi Coast area, mostly we were looking for Sorrento and our hotel, the Esperidi Resort in Sorrento. As we exit the very small train station, we come to realize that our hotel is actually in the neighboring town of Sant Agnello. So we wait for the bus, when it doesn't show at the scheduled time, we get back on the train before our tickets expire and go one stop back to Sant Agnello. Now we are in the right town and have no idea where to go. We start walking and begin to find road names...ones that are not on our map that we have. excellent! We come across some tourists from Germany that try to help us and then they realize that they are actually staying at the same hotel as us! Wonderful. The streets become a little more beautiful and less busy then the downtown square, and lemon and orange trees are everywhere! What a sight! Esperidi hotel, we have arrived at last. It is also the host of a cooking school which is fabulous as we come to find out! (yum) We settle in and check out our surroundings. On we go to find some food. We start walking toward the water to find a ristorante. As we walk we are suddenly aware of all the dog poop on the sidewalks, "Watch out for that poo"! Ha Ha...and then bang! A loud noise catches us off it a gun or fireworks or what? Then we hear some mopeds and then BANG!!! Even louder, we all duck, not sure what the heck is going on. Turns out is was some sort of Snap firework that resulted in us all having to change our pants.. just kiddding. After our hearts settled back down, we made it to a ristorante right on the water that overlooked Sorrento! The horizon is beautiful with only a few boats and the view of the mountain towns that wrap around each valley. How did they ever build those houses? Tony (how fitting) seats us at a table and we begin to drink vino and wonderful appetizers. The meal is amazing and so are Tony's stories of the Russian mafia and an old house on the coast. Very interesting. The clams and mussels as well as the risotto and fettucine fill our bellies. Wonderful dinner, thank you Mom and Dad!! Time to head back home and we stop at a Bistro that has outdoor seating and huge beers (birras). We sit for awhile and listen to the Live Divas concert circa 2004 with some famous US singers...everyone is singing the Celine Dion song from the Titantic...hmmm. back to camp we go! Our rooms are of, no bed bugs so far. But they are basically glorified trailers, I mean chalets. We have personal bathrooms and showers (with hot water and shower curtains) and also mini kitchens that would make some NYC studios jealous. Loverly. Especially, because the pool is open and the restaurant is unbelievable and walking amidst the orange-lemon trees is not half bad. Internet station and plasma tvs in the meeting area balance out the very modern decorations. We love it here! Tuesday, 5/8: We go to Capri (Ka-Pree). One helluva walk, about 30 mins or so, and a lot of stairs and finally we are at the boat dock. Only to find out that our 10:45am boat has already left or maybe didn't even run today. Noone seems to know. Interesting. But anyways...we get on the next boat out to Capri and arrive with the rest of the tourists . Every 30 mins a new boat comes to drop off about 100 tourists on this island and seems that they never leave. First we decide to go swimming in the sea, and we head over to the very rocky beach with the locals and go in the extremely cold water. Go in with a smile and come out with goosebumps... but they don't seem to think it is that cold. How is that? We soak up some sun, read a little bit and then off we go... back to the restaurants for some pizza marguerita and gelati. We figure we have to eat as much gelati as we can before we have to go back to American icecream. for those of you that have been to Italy, you know what I mean. After eating, we do as the lemmings do and take the funicular car up to the town and overpriced shops to see the exquisite views and take wonderful pictures. We hope to see someone famous, but only see people flaunting their money instead, and $42,000 bracelets...yeah you read that right! Down we go on the funicular and off back to Sorrento's docks. Thank you Capri, although we decided not to see the Blue Grotto, we enjoyed your sites, people watching and swimming. ciao bella! Marie

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Bed bugs...yeah thats what I have

A short note from your friendly nurse.

If you find yourself with red spots that don't itch primarily on your face, arms, and neck they are pretty much one of two things....either bed bugs or flea bites. What we have here are bed bugs....they are contracted from a room that is a little too yuck. They can also spread from bed to bed when you sleep in close quarters...i.e. four people in a room with two twin beds and a double bed. All beds touching one another...picture sardines in a can. Also not helped by using a small, thin, paper towel-like towel as a bath towel....very small, surprisingly absorbant, but not great. We (Joe, Amy, Brian, and Jen) only stayed truly sardine style for one night. One unforgettable, very, very loud night, with mosquitos buzzing around our heads and earplugs trying to drown out the street noise...bella.

By the way it takes approximately 5 days for bed bug bites to begin to fade.....they are fire red until then...fantastico...especially when you have about 12 bites on your face....bella

Thank you for your time

Roma, roma, roma

Hello all...marie and binger here...
We just left Rome yesterday with a ton of great memories. I think we have perfected the art of gelati consumption and drowned ourselves in vino and birra. The sites in Rome were even more beautiful and amazing than we remember. If coming to Rome you MUST do a tour of St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican....can you believe the letters around the dome in St. Peter's are 15 feet high!! We also did a tour of Palatine Hill...and had a fantastic tour guide (Marie) for the Forum. It is pretty crazy to think that it took until the 20th century for them to excavate the Forum!
Brian and I saw Castel San Angelo which was a fortress for the popes when they were under attack...lots of cool things and medieval weapons. Mark and Marie went back to the Forum to do a reshoot of the area with the camera and then we went to St Peter in Chains. The hotel we stayed at was wonderful and centrally located to everything we wanted to see....very very good choice. Except, mark and marie had a combination shower, toilet, sink room...meaning you could quite literally go to the bathroom while showering and brushing your teeth:)
We celebrated Marie's birthday in Rome at the only Mexican restaurant where no one else eats and the margaritas are so strong that I think Brian and Marie almost cried. The service was in the pooper so we downed our margaritas and mojitos and went on to the next place. A little pub crawl if you will. We ate dinner at a restaurant called the Old Bear, lots of old wood and dark corners, but fantastic food. Without a reservation we had to eat and run, very quickly. On to the next place...Played some darts at another bar, then mark tried to take some Indian dude on at darts, little did gullable mark know that he was a dart-shark;) Enough...on to a Enoteca (wine bar) by our hotel where Brian danced around all of us and we almost got kicked out. I guess you can say that the stupid americans were the entertainment for the bar! home at last.
We should have stated in the beginning about the most annoying part of Roma...the Indian guys who bother you every 5 minutes to see if you want a flour-filled balloons with stupid faces, chinese magnetic rocks that make way too much noise, and then at night they have flying glow in the dark toys...none of which we want! No, No, No is the response. And no, we don't want to pay for roses they were trying to give us for free.
Anyways...the Trevi Fountain at night is beautiful. The only disappointment was that no one fell in the fountain, we hoped and wished, but it just didn't happen. But we did see a bum who had an extendable antenna looking thing with a magnet on the end that he used to steal coins from the fountain. (....These are peoples wishes...but this one...this was my wish...and it didn't come true...i'm taking it back...i'm taking them all back. "Mouth from Goonies")


Marie and Binger

Thursday, May 3, 2007

We are alive...and full of gelati!


We made it to Italy and are able to use the internet...the train ride from Switzerland to Florence was beautiful, the ALPS are something else.

Florence is bigger and busier than I (mark) expected. Rich with history, old and traditional, but yet upscale and modern at the same time. Watch out for the mopeds...they will run your ass over!

We saw the duomo, simply amazing architecture. Ate too much gelato, walked about the whole city, at least the touristy areas. Did not get to see david's wiener at the ACADEMIA museuem, but did make it to the UFIZZI with a tour by VINCENZO...and met up with him and his wife that night for drinks to thank him.

We did the wine tasting and cooking class today and it was the best thing we have done by far!!! There was only eight of us, and everyone had a great time. It was tucked away in the hills of tuscany, about a half an hour outside of Florence. We made pasta, drank vino, asked questions, drank vino, ate appetizers, drank vino, tasted olive oil, drank vino, ate fetticune, drank vino, .....BREAK....drank vino, JOE SPILLED VINO....drank GRAPPA...ate Gelato, and FINALLY drank CAFE (espresso) our driver was drinking and eating with us, but he must have a higher tolerance than us.

Tomorrow we leave bright and early for ROMA...see lots of sights and try not to get pick-pocketed.



Mark & MARIE

written by mark

Monday, April 30, 2007

We made it to Switzerland.

Hello everyone.

I forgot how messed up the keyboards are over here. And now understand how hard it is to read in German, all the instructions to get on the blog site are in German...very difficult. We got to Cleveland airport, and what did we do? We sat down at the Tequileria and had beer and margaritas to watch the NFL Draft. Way to start off the vacation. The flights were no problem. Continental flights allow you to watch a movie of your choice on your own personal tv, fantastic. We laughed our way through the Night at the Museum and even had a few mixed drinks as well. Note to Dad LaGuardia: you will enjoy Night at the Museum very much. But, you are not supposed to by the Duty Free liquor and then enjoy it on the plane...who knew?

Luzern, Switerland is fantastic! The weather is a little cool, and it has rained a little bit both days, but the sun comes right out afterwards. After a few doubts from the Amy, we took the World's steepest Cog railway up to Mt Pilatus and hiked around. Then we took a gondola down the other side of the mountain, stopped at a town halfway where we realized that they were just opening the Tobagan rides at a ropes course...of course we had to try it out!
We are safe and Mark, Joe and Brian are speaking with the locals at the bar in our hotel as we speak. As some of you know, Joe is not speaking German to them, not even English. We like to call it Italglish...a mixture of Italian and English, quite funny really.
Hugs to all, we will write more soon.
Love, Marie and the crew!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

T minus 4 days!

The countdown continues...we are leaving in four days, yes that means that Saturday April 28th we are out the door for a few weeks! I cannot believe the trip is already here, it seems like yesterday that we just pulled the map out to figure out our route. Now, all the details are in place and all we have left to do is grab our passports and e-tickets and get on that plane, everything else is just extras. Ok, I guess we could bring an extra pair of underwear and we cannot forget the clothesline that Joe keeps reminding everyone to bring, because you never know when you are going to need some twine! Oh and Dr Binger is in charge of bringing the first aid kit. I have the Duct Tape, because you cannot go anywhere without it! Check! Group, we will see you on Friday to have one last Hurrah before we take off! Here we go!