Thursday, December 28, 2006
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Another picture taken Christmas Eve. Jeff and Mother.
Monday, December 25, 2006
LORI SPEAKING -
Wow, what a weekend. Jeff came in from Italy and he's got a story of his own. Let's just say 2 delayed planes, 1 missed flight (from Rome to the US, no less) and lost luggage. It was not a great trip. But check out his blog for that story.
Our (Kent and Lori) calamities began on Saturday when I went to pick up my grandmother. On the way home, a ding went off in the car and some warning lights went on. For 1992, BMW sure had their sh*t together. This car practically talks to you. It has a screen that spells out what's wrong. Now my grandmother is 86 and I didn't want to worry her, but the car was overheating, the power steering went out, and something was up with the brakes. I did turn the heat on full blast to cool down the engine, and I knew it was mostly a straight shot back to the parents' house, so I thought if I could just make it for these last few miles, I'll be okay. The last mile is all up hill and around a few turns, but I figured by then I could call home if anything happened.
Well, I made it up the hills alright, although the temperature needle was in the red. I parked the car in the driveway and delivered the precious cargo. Then I told Kent the scenario. Not the best present I could give him, I'll tell you that. We looked at the engine, and the serpentine belt had broken and the car is leaking antifreeze. Kent made a diagnosis that the water pump is broken. Ideas storm through our heads about what to do next, but it's about 4:30 in the afternoon, and we have family coming over for an early Christmas party. After we call around and find out that Autozone is open on Sunday, we decide to enjoy the evening and tackle the issue later.
KENT SPEAKING -
Yeah, what a drag. When Lori returned from picking up her grandmother, and gave me the bad news about the car, I started freaking out in my head...with many different thoughts. The realization that the car "broke down" on a Saturday, and that very few shops would be open Christmas Eve, was almost devastating. Likewise, I was looking forward to a nice, relaxing weekend with my in-laws. I also considered the challenges of acurately diagnosing the problem, finding the proper parts, removing the old-broken-down parts, and lastly fixing the car with new parts. Oh yeah, I was scheduled to work Christmas morning. I had volunteered to work Christmas day since I do not have my own children, and many of my colleagues do have kids of their own.
I examined the car, recalled a few stories horror stories from friends and family, deduced the situation and exclaimed, without hesitation...."I think that it neeeds a new water pump".
I managed to make a few phone calls and surprisingly enough, the local Autozone carried the part I needed. I put the item on hold for pickup on Sunday. Later that night, I called Autozone back to confirm that they had the part for my 1992 525i BMW. Slightly obsessive, I re-affirmed that that they were open on Sunday, and their exact hours. Lori says that I asked the store clerk the same question 9 times.
On sunday, Kent and my Dad went to Autozone, which I have to give a shameless plug to. Those guys are awesome. We've had trouble in the past and they freely give friendly advice and service. (They once changed a spark plug for my friends car when she blew it between Athens and Columbus.) So Kent gets the parts and he and Jeff begin to tear into the engine. I took one for the team and went to church with Mom. Kent can list the details of the car repair if he wants, but I will say that he did a great job. After Jeff figured out how the serpentine belt loops around everything (yeah for engineers!) the biggest hurdle was cleared. With the engine back together, we took it for a ride across the street in the new neighborhood. The needle quickly found the red so we drove back home. We checked the radiator and there was fluid in there which meant it wasn't in the engine. Kent opened the radiator cap and the car hiccupped and the fluid went into the engine. He poured more in and let drove it again. This time, the temperature needle stayed steady.
My patience tried, I knew that air gets into the coolant line and has to be "bled". This takes time, and can be a little annoying. The first time I discovered this was a little while back, when working on the car, and thinking that I was done filling the radiator with collant, I took off on my merry way. Rather quickly the temperature gauge shot up, (like Bill Clinton when Monica enters the room). After a hiccup or two, I figured out that the radiator was in need of more coolant. Seeing your needle on the red end of the gauge is scarry and not fun.
I knew what to expect this time and kept my happy face on. I was amped up as the process was coming to a close. Once I determined that the coolant level was safe, I grabbed the cell phone and went for a little spin on River Road / route US 50. I popped the speedo up to 70 mph with no hitches. Later that night I added a wee bit more coolant, and took Jeff on an errand to the airport. With all-systems ago, 85-90 mph was a walk in the park. (Dont tell my wife)
Today, Christmas day, we drove home with no problems. Looks like Kent diagnosed and repaired the problem. Maybe that will be his next career. After becoming mayor of course.
A vote for KENT is a vote for Lori.
LORI - Drink your ovaltine.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
-Satisfaction comes when we connect with ourselves and our lives. -Valuing the journey is more satisfying than the finish line. -And fulfillment comes from the effort it took and the hard work to make it happen. It's been shown that the body produces dopamine when it is anticipating pleasure. This suggests the very thought of attaining a goal brings about a sense of joy.
This aritcle resonated whith me because this past week I have been making Jeff's christmas gift. Obviously I can't say what it is. But it's pretty involved for me and is using and abusing all my creative juices. But I've been having a blast doing it. I look forward to working on it every night. It's cool because I think about Jeff when I work on it and I feel like more love is being put into it. I think about (anticipate) his reaction and what he'll do with it etc. All the while creating that sense of joy.
This also leads me to Jeff's blog. He mentioned how shopping for gifts was pleasurable for him because he gets excited when he finds that perfect gift. He's also anticipating their reaction. All the while raising his dopamine levels. Good job Jeff. Maybe you should shop for me more often.
(After Christmas I'll put up a picture of the gift. Sorry I can't be more specific right now.)
Friday, December 15, 2006
So today, was our holiday party. We sponsor the latke fry and community members bring dairy dishes. There are always tons of people which means tons of food. Kugel, blintzes (which I didn't get, I know how you feel Jeff, when you got shut out of the pucce), salmon and cream cheese and fresh bagel (which I didn't get either, dang.), and loads of other stuff. Then there is dessert. uuuuuugggghhh. I shouldn't really think about it too much.
Monday, December 11, 2006
On Sunday we made it a baby day by visiting some friends who have recent additions to their families. Both babies were adorable. The perfect age really. Not talking back yet or running around, trying to keep up with them.
Here's a picture of Kent and his Mom in front of their old house.
This is Evelyn Kate Campbell
And this is Kylie Isabell Klein. I thought Hazel came out with a head of hair, well this one takes the cake.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Congratulations Keith and Pam. I can't wait to meet the new addition.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Saturday, December 02, 2006
This is a picture of the farmers' market in Brindisi from the trip two years ago. This is Cosimo's stand. He's on the left. Nice perspective Kent.
Here's another farmers' market shot. These guys are great!
This photo was sent to us by Marco "the russian" Russo. It was taken after the Italy-Germany game. (in which Italy prevailed, of course) Thanks Marco! This is a more recent photo.
Friday, December 01, 2006
Treehugger.com is exactly what it sounds like. A source for articles about sustainability and eco-friendly issues throughout the world.
And since we are on the topic of gift giving. I am going to throw out my (read Lori) own "wish list" for those who desire to bestow me with a gift this season.
1. Nothing. I really don't "need" anything. I have a house over my head, food in the pantry and warm clothes.
So take the money and:
2. Give to your favorite charity. (or mine. www.savethefish.org)
3. Take yourself for a walk. Even if it's cold as bloody h*ll. Do it a few times a week and I am sure you'll get use to it and start to like it. If the people I love are healthy and happy, that is the best gift you can give me.
So maybe you are like my mom and you want me to open up something on christmas morning. So here are a few consumables that I would like.
4. Fair trade chocolate. ummm chocolate. (Jeff is excluded because it might be hard to find this in Italy)
5. Anything under ten bucks that I don't have to dust.
6. Something handmade.
7. A family heirloom or treasure. I don't mind dusting it if it makes me think of people I cherish.
That's about it. If you've read this far, you must really like me. I like you too.
Canon EOS 30D Digital Camera with 2 GB memory card and lens. So he can take pictures of people he loves.
New muffler for the green machine.
Addition on the house, with new master bedroom and bath.
A clean and organized garage. (could be a party in the making!!!)
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Monday, November 27, 2006
Saturday, November 25, 2006
After Charleston we had dinner at Folly Beach and watched the sun go down. Then we went to see a christmas light display at a local state park. Here are some fun pictures we took there. The R2-D2 picture is part of a gingerbread constant. I guess the kid won third place in his division. Of course, if you know us, that kid would have won outright. I don't know who these judges are, but they obvious don't kow a smart, creative, thinking-outside-the-box kind of kid. So a stick to the judge and a carrot to the kid.
This is a fun picture of Kent.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
This is the new Baker University Center. Notice the slightly different name. It sits at the end of South Court Street (that would be the very top left) and Bird Arena (which would be off to the right). They had the foresight to include some parking too. As mentioned before, this building will house the only escalator in Athens county. Maybe all of southeast Ohio. who knows. This picture was probably taken from the Richland Ave. bridge. I don't know because I didn't take it. But my housemate probably did. He's the university photographer. I could ask him but he's not home right now. He probably took the other photo too.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
This photo is a somewhat blurry, but I love this grocery store. Seamans is locally owned and they have great amish cheeses. Supposedly their meat selection is devine, but I wouldn't know.
I just came home from the OU-Akron game. Oh it's still going on. I left after half time. It's a long standing tradition at Ohio. You leave after the band plays. However, OU was winning at half. In fact, if they win this game, they could go to a bowl game. The bobcats have come a long way in the past 15-20 years. I guess they're kind of good now...but I still go to watch the band.
While walking home I saw a funny sight. It was a dark and stormy night...really it was. And I turn the corner onto Rardin Ave. and there in the window is a christmas tree. All lit up and decorated. It's November 16th for crying out loud. The funny thing is, is that the jack-o-lanterns are still rotting on the front porch. Clean up from one holiday before you start the next people. So that's my rant for today.
Thanks for your time.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
This is Kent with the new bobcat mascot "Rufus". Not sure what I think about it yet. The old one was kind of dumpy looking but this one looks like it's going to kill you with its evil laser eyes.
We also went to the final show at the Front Room in Baker Center on Saturday. OU has built a new student center and it opens next quarter therefore Baker Center as we know will no longer exist. The Front Room used to be a bar, but was downgraded to a coffee house around 1988 when the drinking age was raised. It had a stage and quaint setting where open stages were held every friday night, and concerts on Saturdays. Yesterday, people (mostly locals) packed the house to watch some of their favorite bands who have performed here. Our friend, Tony Xenos, played. This is him below.
It was a fun show and Tony rocked. Too bad Plastic Pie couldn't reunite one more time for the show. No one can resist singing along to Flipper the Dolphin. oh well, I guess I'll always have my memories.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
T-T is two villages that was incorporated into one city/town. I don't think it qualified as a city to the Germans because of its age, which is hilarious because there were buildings that dated back to the 1500's.
We spent a day and a half here with our good hosts, Dietrich and Ingeborg. I found this lovely couple through couchsurfing dot com. Couchsurfing is a site that allows those with accounts to contact others with accounts in the hopes of securing a place to stay in their particular part of the world. You can offer a couch, pull out bed or even entire guest room (if you have it, which they did). You can type in the area in which you are visiting and (hopefully) a number of hosts come up. You then read their profiles and select someone who may have similar interests. We chose this couple because they seemed low key and not into partying. (Most users are in their twenties.) Dietrich even volunteered to pick us up at the airport. On the way to T-T, he gave us a tour of the area and mini history lesson. We visited 2 castle ruins which overlooked the city and then walked around the town a bit. We even visited a friend who owns a winery. All this before lunch. Dietrich then proceeded to take us to his house. This is when it got interesting. You see, Dietrich is an Ayurvedic Doctor at a five star resort spa. (This is not on his profile.) So we pull into the gated community with thermal spas and tennis courts. We unload our stuff and go to the hotel for lunch and a short tour. Now is a good time to mention that this is only our second day in Europe so we are still a little jet lagged not to mention, it had probably been a day or two since I showered. Considering we packed very little, I was wearing (and I think Kent was too) zip off pants and a lime green t-shirt. Not five star material. But hey, I'll never see these people again right?!! So here we are having lunch with other employees of the resort. A few spoke english so we could converse a little. (Plus mein deutsch est zehr gut.)
The whole Germany experience was amazing and we couldn't have been happier with our guests. They were both delightful and insightful to all things German. The next day, they treated us with a traditional German breakfast and a very nice dinner before we flew off. We also enjoyed a bike ride in the afternoon. We visited another town where they had a friend who just opened a natural foods store. (we bought chocolate, the natural kind)
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Ride at Lodi
Sunday, November 05, 2006
That night we went to a play with the folks. We saw "1776", stage managed by Nicola Romelli Burgun and starring Kevin Kunz. Another enjoyable production. We didn't think they could make the signing of the declaration of Independence into a musical but anything is possible. And we came out knowing a little more about our nation's history.
Sunday, we got to spend time with Tracey, Joe, JT and Aunt Cheri. We hadn't seen the Novotni family in a long time so it was nice to catch up with them. Plus we got to spend time with Nonna too. All and all a great weekend.
Friday, November 03, 2006
Yes, it is November in Athens. A month which is similar to March. A mixture of nice sunny days, which are cold in the morning and pleasant by afternoon. A cold spell hit us this week, but we are likely to experience some more good weather next week...60's, I hear.
While at the gym, I mindlessly hopped aboard the treadmill to pound away the time. As I was running, in-place, I thought how odd this whole experience is. Although I have done it many times before, it had been a while and seemed foreign. The machine that I had hoped to use was broken, and all of the other cool, new, heavy duty treadmills were occupied by walkers and joggers. I am a serious athlete. I want to use serious equipment. Yet I was forced to succumb to use the piddly, smaller, older, sorry treadmill. The one that looks like the gym purchased on sale for $ 12.99 from some back-woods yard sale.
So there I was, knocking out the miles, on this happless machine....and I felt inferior as I looked around me....the other joggers and walkers towering above me on their bigger, fancier, cooler treadmills. I tried not to notice. I attempted to distract myself by viewing the tv. Unfortunately, I only had two TVs to chose from. One was tuned to some sports talk show, and the other one had the news on. Both TVs were absent of volume. My focus wained. I looked around the room....trying not to make eye contact for fear of being labeled a starer. But this is nearly impossible because the other workout machines are all on top of each other, staring at me.
After 20 minutes on the treadmill, paying my dues, I jumped off. Have you ever noticed that those first few steps on solid ground feel so weird? I felt as if I was floating, or that if I so desired, I could do the moon-walk better than Michael Jackson. Ahh, the gym. Good for the mind? Good for the body. - KENT
Thursday, November 02, 2006
This is a picture we took one night outside the famous gelateria "Vertigo". Marco and I are getting the bunny ear treatment. Italian-style. Kent is in the back row, 2nd from left next to Jeffo.
Walking around Brindisi with Jeff is like walking around Athens with Kent. He knows everybody. And everybody knows him. He should run for mayor. We stop at the pizza place outside his apartment to chat about the soccer game. We run into people from work while walking the passengata (sp?).
Since this blog entry is inspired by Marco (the Russian) Russo, we will share with you, the reader, some of our fond memories of Italy.
We are by no means experts on Italian culture, however, we know what we see, and what we like!!! ....and boy, do we like Gelato!!!! which is the Italian version of ice-cream. Summertime in Italy means gelato, going to the beach (spiaggia) [or as they like to say, going to the sea], free outside evening concerts and World Cup Soccer (this year). We were fortunate enough to enjoy watching the world cup games, in Italy, with Jeff Gromen, and his Italian friends, who we now joyfully consider our friends as well. Forze Azzurri !!! Spending time in another culture is fun, exciting and a wonderful learning oportunity. It can also be a bit humbling when you cant speak the language very well. Having said that, Please (per favore) and Thank-you (grazie) are a good start and is usually well received.
One of Lori's favorite memories is when we were hanging out at the Vertigo around midnight (the Italians love to spend late evenings as the night cools off during the hot summers) and Alto Marco was attempting to teach Kent the word "merde", which means "shit". In order to pronounce the word correctly, one must learn to rollllll the R. What made it more difficult to pronounce was the huge grin on Kent's face. It is nearly impossible to say the word merde or to roll the R with a smile. After a few minutes of Kent trying unsuccessfully and everyone laughing along with him, he broke down and shouts out "Va fon cula (sp?)", which we cant translate for fear of censorship....and that our mothers read this blog.
The Va fon cula response seemed to deliver a favorable and spontaneous laugh out of everyone. Alto Marco noted jokingly, that his English is as good as Kent's Italian. Not so good. Capisci.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Today at work we dressed up for the Halloween Holiday. For those of you who do not already know, I work as Substance Abuse counselor at a residential treatment center for teenagers. I work with a number of good people, who truly care about kids. My co-workers try to get into the spirit of the various holidays, in an effort to have fun and to show the teenagers that it is possible to have good-clean-sober fun.
After work, Lori accompanied our friend Carol, who lives on the near east side of Athens (it is a booming metropolis), to greet tricker-treaters and to give out candy. The weather was a little sour, rainy and grey, but the mood seemed jovial and light. I stopped by to visit them after practice. We were greeted by witches, princesses, dragons, superheros and jedi. One little boy, probably age 7 or 8, was dressed as a Cleveland Browns football player. His helmut was orange with a traditional brown stripe and a sticker of the old fashioned Cleveland Brownie Elf!!! Go old school.
Monday, October 30, 2006
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Team "Ultimatoes" went 4-0. Wahoo! What a great combination of Ohio University grads ranging from 1995 - 2006. Plus a few honoraries for the day. Thanks to everyone who showed up.
Overall it was a great weekend. As mentioned above, we had representation from the class of '95 to present. Some women came out of the woodwork, like Beth Mazur and Karen Kloman. Great to see you ladies and everyone else who showed up!
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
We spent forever trying to get the pilot to light. After giving up, I happened to have an epiphany. I called my buddy Dennis, who re-built my Triumph motorcycle. Dennis is a good guy, part hippy, part Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, part bad-ass. He knows plenty about cars and motorcycles, along with houses and building. Dennis built a log cabin on his property in Meigs county….by cutting the trees, milling them, and stacking them by himself. He’s ripped and darn strong for a guy who is old enough to retire. When Dennis talks, I listen. Dennis suggested that I take a look at the THERMOCOUPLE.
I thought that he made the word up. I asked him to repeat the word. Then I asked him to spell the word. He encouraged me to examine the THERMOCOUPLE, noting that the coating might be corroded and could benefit from a gentle file. Not knowing what the heck this object is, or what it does, I proceeded to follow Dennis’s suggestion.
Slightly informed and with a renewed pepper in my walk, Lori and I headed back to the crawl space. As Lori was squirming her way into the crawl space, the trap door, which had been delicately propped open with a stick, accidentally came crashing down upon her head. The crash upon her head was a little painful and frustrating, especially considering that the trap door had a window….or should I say broken window. Lori appeared ok, with no signs of blood. Interestingly, later in the day, after Lori had left work and had attended an evening meeting, she discovered a piece of glass in her head.
After that fiasco, and a few more failed attempts to light the pilot, Lori was ready to head to her day job. I was on my own. It was me, the furnace, and my fears of snakes and spiders. After trying to light the pilot unsuccessfully, I decided to take some serious steps. I proceeded to tear apart the face of the furnace to remove the THERMOCOUPLE. On a whim, I thought that this little sucker has got to be replaced. But, prior to doing so, I decided to look up THERMOCOUPLE in Wikipedia. Go to:
and check it out. Ahh, the internet.
For about $ 8.00 I was able to purchase a new Thermocouple. Job done. Furnace pilot lit. Heat on….Marital bliss. A warm Lori is a happy Lori!
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
A couple of weeks ago on Labor day, Lori and I attempted to turn the heat on in our house. Allow me to clarify that last sentence. It was cold out and we tried to turn the thermostat up/on. Unfortunately, there was no response. Nada. Nyet. No heat. Which was disappointing….and meant that as a home-owner, I better find out what was wrong and fix it myself, or eat-it ($$$) if I call a repair-man.
Now to be honest with ya, my first instinct was to find someone to blame, which is a character defect of mine. (Maybe Rick broke it when we were out). Then I thought…maybe it was Lori, but then again, if I think about this long enough, 9 years of marriage has taught me better than to blame the old-wifey-sweetie. I don’t want any marital discourse over some crummy furnace problem (foreshadowing).
So, in order to diagnose the problem, one must break open our trap-door, which is hanging on with rusty old hinges, and then proceed to worm their way under the house into the dirty, dark, yucky crawl space. I nominated Lori. She nominated me.
My rationale behind nominating Lori is quite simple. She is much younger than me. Additionally, she is more flexible (from Yoga), and has narrower shoulders. Plus, she is not afraid of snakes and spiders. I detest both. I have nightmares about snakes. Lori is our designated spider person….meaning that whenever I find big-scary wolf-spiders in the shower I timidly yell “EEEK” followed by “Lori come get this +#&^---spider!” She then shows up, alas not as quickly as I would hope, and begins to talk pleasantries to the big-scary wolf-spider, making friends, and scoops it up into her hands.
The problem with me nominating Lori is two fold. One, she had to go to work fairly soon. (I had the day off from work) Second, I managed to piss her off. Furnace problems fall into that “guy category of problems”…..similar to cars, gutters, and bailing hay.
Lori is a Taurus, and they happen to be a bit stubborn on occasion. She also happens to not only have Italian heritage, but German as well. Where am I going with this? Yeah, ok, well, faster than you can say “Snoopy and the Red Baron” she has her boots on, a pair of MY old work-painter-pants, and is crawling under the house into the dirty, dark, yucky crawl space. Eventually, I joined her. (I had to make a decision of what to wear) Initially, I served as the flashlight holder and errand runner.
Fortunately, it did not take us to long to realize that the pilot light was off or extinguished. We thought, cool, all we have to do is to light the pilot. Unfortunately, our efforts proved futile. No luck. The pilot would not light... to be continued...
Monday, October 23, 2006
We did catch 2 of the OU Volleyball games. They won. Of course. They frickin' rock. The cool thing about Homecoming is that you see random friends from long ago. This weekend was no exception. As we were walking to the game we get a honk from a pickup truck. It is Athens, so we wave. The guy backs up and it's Sarver. On his way to his old professor's house. A few years ago, we saw Mark Simmons (Feebs) at the parade. I suppose that is what's cool about still living here.
On Sunday, we did a little yard work. Raking and mulching the garden beds. All that fun stuff. And this is just the first attempt. We'll have fun again later in the fall as the rest of the leaves drop.