Thursday, December 28, 2006

Almost time for those New Year's resolutions...

Carol and I were joking the other day about making a new year's resolution that we meet more people with a villa in the country. We were watching "the Sound of Music" and thought how nice it would be to know someone with a house like the von Trapps. You know, a quaint, little, stone mansion surrounded by the Austrian Alps, or whatever mountain range runs through there. So if you are such a person, give me a holla'. We'll come visit. (Then again, we'll likely visit you anyway)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Jeff's Gift

Here is the gift I made for Jeff. It is a quilt that tells the story of Jeff. Each white panel shows a significant part of Jeff's life: his birthday, a family photo, pictures of pets, cincy, Italy, etc. The black and red squares are made of 2 t shirts. The red one is his old Oak Hills cross country shirt that was too small for him so I acquired a few years back and the black shirt is from his UC gravity storm days. GS was the UC ultimate team he played with and I got a shirt as well. I chopped them up and put them in the quilt.

Another picture taken Christmas Eve. Jeff and Mother.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

The following is a shared recap of the holiday weekend, brought to you by Ovaltine.

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.

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


Yesterday I read an article in the new "body and soul" magazine about satisfaction. The author defined satisfaction as a deep yet simple contentedness. I tried to remember a few main points because I could relate it to my life right now and also something Jeff said in his blog a few days ago.
-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

Happy Hanukkah

Light the menorah, spin the dreidle, eat latkes. mmmmm latkes. Okay, so for the uninformed, latkes are fried potatoe pancakes. Basically. I don't mean to minimize them or anything. But anyway, I kept sampling the crumbs as we were making them today and of course the crumbs have the most grease in them. Plus I ate one (or two)full latkes, so now my belly is achey. uhhhhhh. I feel like Home Simpson after a good meal. mmmmm pork chops....

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

Moving and Babies

We spent this past weekend in Cleveland helping the Butlers move (part way) into their new condo. Luckily for us they saved the heavy stuff for the paid help. (To be done tomorrow) We had good weather to move, sunny (surprising for Cleveland) and in the 40's. Dorothy and Ken and Bob helped also. We had a good flow going between the five of us. Moving boxes downstairs, arranging the loft upstairs. Dorothy and Ken made some really yummy food for lunch. (thanks a bunch for the potato soup and fresh rolls.)

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

new addition

As of 7:15ish EST on Sunday, December 10 I officially became an aunt. My brother, Keith, and his wife, Pam had their first child. A boy. 9lbs 9oz. (I'm learning that Gromen babies tend to be big. whoopie) Kyle Frederick Gromen. Kyle is my other brother's middle name (Jeffrey Kyle) and Frederick is our grandfather's name on my Dad's side. So this kid is a Gromen through and through. (good luck kid). I don't have any pictures yet, he's only a couple of hours old! But I'll get around to it some day.

Congratulations Keith and Pam. I can't wait to meet the new addition.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Decorating Carol's Tree

We went over to Carol's house on Sunday to help decorate her tree. Every year Carol gets a pine tree from her sister's property out in the country. It started out years ago as just being a branch they might find. Then it progressed to an actual tree, but very small and spindly. (Think Charlie Brown christmas tree.) This year the tree was so big, we had to cut 12-18 inches off so that it would fit in her house. It's still kind of spindly and bare, but that's why god made lights and ornaments. And besides, asymmetry and lopsidedness give the tree some character. After struggling to get the tree straight (sort of) and standing on its own (no strings attached) we put the lights on. We then adorned the tree with strands of popcorn and silver strings before hanging the ornaments. Carol has some classic ornaments, right out of the 60's. All are originals that she found at yard sales or Goodwill stores. All the hard work added up as the tree looked festive by nights end.

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

Tis the season...

To go shopping. Now, I'm not a huge shopper but it is that time of year. So, being the eco-conscious individual that I am, I am going to share with you a link to a green gift guide put out by one of my favorite blog sites (Number one on the list will always be me bro. But this is another regular of mine) check it out. 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.

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.

Kent's list:

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

Old phots from Italy

I was transferring photos from the PC to the mac when I came across some photos from our trip to Italy with Roy and Tif. I picked out two from Venice that I like. Then I found the picture of the bag of biscotti that was wicked good. Lucky for me, mio fratello wants to know what kind of biscotti to bring back for me and now I have a picture of the yummies!! Jeffo, see below.
This a view from the Doge's Palace looking out of the canal. I developed a fancy for lightposts while I was over there and I particularly like this one.

Some of you may recognize this picture of the door and canal because we have it blown up and hanging on our wall. We had it printed on canvas so it looks like it could be a painting. Our friend Lincoln Castricone has a professional printer for this sort of thing. Unfortunately he moved away from Athens so we can't use his services as easily.

Thanks to Tif for taking this picture. Jeff, this is it. I know it won't pack as well as the some of the other brands, but if you could bring back a few bags, I would be grateful. Grazie!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Photos from South Carolina

Here is one of those amazing Charleston homes we saw along Battery Park. Not a bad little crib.

Sunset at Edisto Beach.

Another house in Charleston.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

South Carolina

We are in Edisto Beach, South Carolina visiting the Butlers. It's been a great trip so far. We had turkey and football on the greatest holiday ever. (See Jeff's blog for more info on that) Yesterday, we drove into Charleston, South Carolina and spent the day walking around. Very beautiful town. The houses are amazing. The history is fabulous. And the weather was perfect. We'll post pictures later.

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

Bye Bye Baker

This is Baker Center, known to OU Alumni as the student center. Here you could find a friendly coffee house with open stages, a rec room with pool, ping pong and air hockey, and office and meeting space. Most importantly, there is the Baker Center Ballroom, where we had our wedding reception. Well, all this is going, going, gone... OU has built a new and improved (it has an escalator) student center. And this building will eventually we torn down. Sad. yes. Progress. I guess. These students today demand higher quality than those of yore. We were happy with a crumbling building with no A/C and heat that barely worked. It's charming. But that won't do anymore. There must be moving objects and fancy lights to awe and inspire.
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

Few more autumn photos around Athens

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.
Another fall color shot for all you out there who enjoy such things.
This is the Athens County Courthouse in the setting sun.

College Football

What a week for college football. Some big games starting today. WV is playing Pitt tonight. That's a shout out to my friends the Prudiches (in Athens and abroad), who I know follow the Mountaineers. They were winning last I looked. yeah. Then there is OSU-Michigan this saturday. blah blah blah. That might actually be an interesting game. And of course, the OU-Akron game going on right now.

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

Weekend Update

Sunday, 6:45 PM and I am pooped. We had a busy weekend and we didn't even leave Athens. But we got a lot of stuff done around the house. On Friday, we attempted to put up an antenna on the house in the hopes of getting one of the big three from Huntington, WV. We were unsuccessful, but did manage to get PBS out of the station half a mile away. Wahoo. Antique Roadshow, here I come. Other weekend events included cleaning the house, putting up plastic in the windows (cause it's frickin' cold now!), and going to OU Volleyball games. OU won again and again. They are so sweet. Something new to the games this year is the OU marching band alumni that still live in the area are playing during timeouts and between games. They still do the dances and everything. Very fun.

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

The German Experience

This is the Mosel River Valley in Germany. It is well known for its wine. It also reminds me of Cincinnati, with the hills and the river. We stayed in Traben-Trarbach which is the next picture.

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)
Dietrich and Ingeborg on the ferry we took on our bike ride. The ferry only takes bikes (and people) across the Mosel River. I think it cost 1 euro.

We would love to explore the Mosel River region again sometime. Maybe on bikes, as there are bike paths connecting the cities. It is very beautiful and green and clean. We highly recommend it.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


I wanted to see how a panoramic shot would look on the blog.
A rest stop along the Ring of Kerry in Ireland.

Ride at Lodi

This is a photograph taken in the city of Lodi which is in the Gargano Peninsula in Italy. My King's Island pals will recognize the fuzzy image as a ride known as the Zephyr. In Lodi, we happened upon a community festival celebrating some saint or another. And no festival is complete without dizzying rides. Now, the Italians have added a new dimension to this fan favorite. That is, the ribbon. You may be able to make out a little pink fuzz in the upper left hand corner. It is indeed a ribbon and the object of the ride is to grab the ribbon and you get a free ride. So here we are, kids are enjoying the ride, swinging around in circles and maybe grabbing the ribbon. Well, these kids have it down. They work in pairs where one kids holds the other's chains and puts his feet on the seat of the swing. This kid gradually gives more and more push to the other. With the right timing, the pusher swings the other kid out (while still holding on to the chains) with his feet. The grabber kid grabs the ribbon. The same two kids kept winning, but they had plenty of competition. They kept winning because, the pusher was wearing thick gloves which enable him to hold on to the swing. It was quite enchanting as we watch this for a good 30 minutes.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election day

Go out and vote!

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Hey everyone, it's Jeff's birthday on November 6. Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to Jeffo. Happy Birthday to you. (pretend like it's Nonna singing into your answering machine. That should make you smile.)

Weekend Update

We had a very busy weekend. Friday night we had dinner and a play with our good friend Carol. We saw "A Comedy of Errors" at the OU Theatre. It was very well done. If you are in Athens this weekend, go and see it. Saturday morning, we awoke early and drove to Cincinnati. We met my Mom at the Contemporary Art Museum. Two of the 4 floors were closed, so it kind of sucked. Too bad the website didn't mention that. Not to waste a trip downtown, we walked down to the square and over to Carew Tower. That place has changed alot. Then we went up to Findlay Market to buy yummy cheeses and olives and a cookie. On our way out, a guy with one bag of salad left sold it to us for a buck. Dyn-0-mite. That was a sweet score.

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

The Gym

I managed to find my way back to the gym Wednesday. The weather here was cold and sour. I was not very motivated to run outside. I guess that my body and mind have not yet acclimated to the frigid wind that accompanies winter.

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

Shameless Plug

I was listening to the BBC this morning and they were talking about overfishing. This reminded me of an organization that Pam works for, National Coalition for Marine Conservation. It's website is Check it out. This is another good one,

Thursday, November 02, 2006

a request

Yes, we do take requests. Marco asked us to write about our trip to Italy in which we met some amazing people. We spent 4 weeks this summer in Europe, and 3 of those weeks were with Jeff in Brindisi.

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

Halloween, Boo!

Can bloggers get writers block? And what does that block look like? Is it wood or concrete?

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

You tube

In case you haven't been to the website, You tube. Now is your chance to go. We have a favorite, you should check it out.

Eddie Murphy's brother, Charlie Murphy, does the voice for Mr. Spock. It's very funny.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Ultimate Halloween in Athens

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.

"The Village People" had a great representation though the numbers were down. They did have enough to play and beat up on some college teams. Great job OU alums.

As you can guess from the photos, we had our annual Halloween Ultimate tournament here at OU. Weather didn't cooperate, but it didn't rain all day. And that howling wind just added to the atmosphere of the celebration of Halloween.

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!

Dug looks hot in his headdress!
"Please officer I didn't do anything wrong"

OU students and alums pose for a post game photo op.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Little Trucky

Here's Kent in the little trucky at Forked Run. I want to get more pictures of it up, but Kent's been taking the truck to work, so I can't get a picture in the daylight. But this one is decent. Grandpa Gromen would be proud if he saw the truck today!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Furnace Continued...

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

The furnace adventure.

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

Weekend Update

It was homecoming for OU, this past weekend, which always brings a variety of things to do. Did we take advantage of this. Hell no. We skipped town to play a little Disc Golf down at the Forked Run course. Kent won by a stroke. We drove the little trucky down through the winding roads of Southeast Ohio. The colors were awesome this weekend.
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.
This is a church in Tralee, Ireland. There was a beautiful flower garden outside. That's where we are taking this picture from. We then went in the church. Very huge, typical Catholic church. And Jeff get this-They had a picture of Padre Pio in there. This guy gets around. It made us smile to see the Padre.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

This is a scene near Kent's place of work.


Hi everybody! We have decided that our lives are so interesting that others would enjoy hearing what's up with us. We will be posting every day, because that is how much stuff we have going on. Okay, not really. But check here often because we hope to post stuff. Especially pictures, because we have loads of them and what better way to push our stuff on to you. So let's get started.