Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas in Sicily

Everyone has the 'I just woke up on Christmas morning to open presents, so I look like crap' photos, right? Well, here are ours!

Token doesn't look too happy about finding a gift from Coldwater Creek! :p

But I am very excited about my Rachael Ray 'oven-to-table' casserole dishes!!!!

Poor Token... he was sick on Christmas. We spent all day lounging around, playing with our new Wii (wheeee!!!!!). I'm happy to report that he's feeling much better.


Nikko even got in on the action!


And here are my two guys... awww....

Poor Nikko - he has such a rough life.



Happy New Year, everyone!!!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Snowman Building on Mt. Etna

We went up onto Mt. Etna with some friends on Christmas Eve to build a snowman. There wasn't too much snow, but just enough to build a busty, voluptuous snow-woman, complete with potato ears and a ginger bow.

Snowball fights ensued, snow was dyed yellow (by two dogs... don't get the wrong idea!), and a good time was had by all!

Token, master snowman maker.



The group, minus one photographer:

After playing around in the snow, we found a little cafe, got some hot chocolate, and then went to Token's co-worker's house to play Wii Fit and dominoes. I am proud to say that I topped the hula-hoop record on the Wii Fit and Token got second place in dominoes, and he'd only played once before. I'm not sure if we'll be invited over again.... :p

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone!

Later today, Token and I are going up on Mt. Etna with some friends to build a snowman family. After that, we're going back to a friend's house for dinner. We've been tasked with bringing sangria. I think we have a good recipe for White Sangria from my mother-in-law, so we're going to make that. Good times.

Tomorrow, we'll open presents in the morning, and our neighbors invited us over for Christmas lunch in the afternoon. They are having a Mexican food-themed Christmas. Should be interesting eating beans and rice on Christmas Day! :p

On the 26th, we are going to a winery up on Mt. Etna with some friends. We rented a van, so no one has to worry about not sampling the wine. Yay!

I volunteered to have my office Christmas party at our house this year, so everyone is coming over on the 27th. We're having steak, chicken, Token's beans and mashed potatoes (or cheesy potatoes, I'm not sure which just yet), broccoli/cheese casserole, rolls, green onion popovers (a new recipe I'm trying out), Heath bar cheesecake and peppermint cookies (another new recipe I'm trying out).

I think on the 28th we'll be sleeping in.

If you didn't get our Christmas card in the mail yet, here's what it looks like. I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to save it directly from Shutterfly, so I had to finagle a way to get it on here. I had it saved as a Word doc, then converted it to a PDF, and then opened it in Photoshop and saved it as a jpeg. Whew! Hopefully you'll get it soon!!!

With love,
Tracie

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow!!

I took these pictures of Mt. Etna this morning on our drive in to work. I think it's safe to say that ski season is officially upon us. Wheee!!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Before we headed to the airport to head back to Catania, we stopped at the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The weather was absolute crap, but we made the most of it. The tower leans a LOT more than I thought it did. It was pretty cool!


I counted the steps to get up to the top. It was 218 and that didn't include the spiral at the very top. While you were walking up the steps, you could *definitely* tell you were leaning.

View from the top:

Token "leaning" - haha!!
My turn to lean:
Token lookin' all GQ like:
Mr. GQ is married to a girl who decided to "prop up" the Tower with her bum. Great match! :p

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Duomo in Florence. Otherwise known as AMAZING.

It's a well-known fact that I'm not into history, or art, or museums. I think that that's been established. So I don't need to tell you that I was preparing to be completely bored walking past and hearing about the Duomo in Florence, right? Well, I think this is a cue to lower my expectations for everything, because I was blown away. The place was absolutely, amazingly, breathtakingly stunning. I don't know how well it translates onto film, but take my word for it. It was the most beautiful structure I've ever seen.

Ready for the stats, courtesy of Wikipedia? Construction on the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore started in 1296 and major construction was done in 1436. (Tracie note: that's a long time ago.) It went without a roof for a long time, because the Florentine people wanted to make sure they had the right person hired who was going to do the job right. From the time the cathedral was started, in 1296 and the time it was completely constructed, 1469, 173 had gone by. That's some patience, folks. In my opinion, it was worth the wait.


Bellissima!

It's raining, it's pouring....

It has been raining nonstop for two days here. A little insane! I imagine that when it finally clears up, there will be a nice layer of powder on Mt. Etna. Don't you worry - I'll have my camera handy to get some pictures!

Where did we leave off? Nude men statues! Hm... how am I going to top that today? It'll be tough, but I'm willing to at least try, although I already know I'm going to fail.

And so it goes.

Here's a cool picture from one of the bridges that goes across the river Arno.


Yours truly on the bridge.


An artist drawing in chalk. So cool. I dropped him a euro or two. Too bad it rained the next day. I wonder how upsetting that was for him?

More coming in the next post!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Statues

Where'd I leave off? Oh, that's right. Still site seeing in Florence. This shall be the post of MANY statues. Just a word of warning for you modest types: most of the statues are of NUDE MEN.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Seeing the Sites of Florence

Our first day in Florence, our tour guide took us up to the top of a hill that overlooks the city.


There just so happened to be a bunch of farmers on strike on this day, but other than getting in the way of some great photos, they didn't really disrupt our day too badly. Like this. The entire parking lot was FULL of John Deere tractors. Our guide said that farmers from hours and hours away drove their tractors here just to park and protest. A replica statue of David and a John Deere tractor- art AND country together in harmony.

Speaking of the replica David... they have them all over the place! I think we saw five "fakes" before we saw the real thing. They are quite proud of that nekkid man. :p

After coming down from the hill, we walked along the River Arno, which is fairly famous and goes about halfway through the country.

Token took the opportunity to call his mom and dad in Guam to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving.
Along the river, there were a lot of light poles, which were very different...
After wandering along the river, we met up with a local tour guide who gave us these Secret Service type ear pieces to wear for a walking tour of the city. This was the first place we saw. It's the Santa Croce church, and the outside of it used to be used for executions!
I really liked the front door. Very ornate and detailed.
There was also a really cool statue on the outside. I couldn't get a good picture of his face, but he was a bit scary looking! Like there needed to be red laser beaming out from his eyes.
The pesky protesters strike again! They cleverly blew up a bunch of balloons right in front of the church.

I just like this picture.

And finally for today, this beautiful creature is the (butt of a) Florentine cow. And it is enormous. Freaky big. And Token ate some of one for dinner the last night we were in Florence. Poor little gentle giant. Token maintains that it is one of the best steaks he's ever had. That's saying something, folks. (I know this is a horrible picture, but I didn't want to get too close, and this is the only angle I had. Sorry!)