Wednesday, May 31, 2006

40 & Fabulous!

Katie's "40 & FABULOUS!" party took place on the red carpet this past Saturday night. Needless to say, the Guest of Honor was both surprised and thrilled to be the center of such adoration and celebration.

(yes, the girl in the front row in the black dress is my DAUGHTER!)
This was the scene shortly after we arrived on the red carpet in our SAAB convertible, to thunderous applause emanating from a speaker in our bedroom window upstairs. Katie was thrilled as throngs of admirers flocked to the car to catch a glimpse of their object of affection as well as possibly an autograph on one of the many headshots provided for the event by The Sock - Dave Flanagan. Afterwards, we ate fantastic food while 80's music (Katie's favorite musical decade) filled the backyard. Wine flowed, kabobs were devoured and good friends abounded.
After the sun set the party moved inside for cake and conversation. Finally, after 11PM or so, even Malcolm was worn out:
It was a GREAT party. Kudos to those who made it all happen. Much love and thanks belong to Dave, Lisa, Bridget, John & Kristin, Tony, Marj, Stacey, John Amend and Jenna for planning, setting up and putting on such an excellent bash.

Without all of you this party would never have happened. Your diligence for details and love for Katie combined to make Saturday a 40th birthday party that she will never forget. Everything was picture perfect, from the marinated steak, chicken, salmon and shrimp kabobs (yummy) to the decorations (outrageously spectacular), the cake (Lohan-riffic) and the "headshots" for signing (gloriously ego-satisfying). My thanks to everyone who provided food and drink, everyone who made a long drive to get to the party and to everyone who got a sitter (or who offered to babysit so others could attend), and to everyone who pressed a shirt or slipped into something fabulous to make this event just simply outstanding.
Thank you ALL for making Katie's night the best that it could possibly be.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Ah, Venice

Katie & I traveled to Venice this year for our 5th anniversary. The photos of Venice appear here:

Ah, Venice

As you can see, Venice is beautiful. Katie and I had decided years ago that we would visit Venice for our 5th anniversary but without the League of Stupid American Pig Dogs along for the ride. We must admit that while we enjoyed ourselves immensely we did miss their presence.
Katie had traveled to Venice once before while I was a Venetian Virgin. Color me impressed. I was amazed at the thought of an entire city that had been designed by the merchant class and had become a naval power all their own. The narrow streets and many bridges make for tough navigation around the city, though, because it is impossible to see landmarks from the streets. nevertheless, we saw many wonderful sights.
We did meet up with Ian and Annie on our trip, too:
We met them on our honeymoon in Certaldo and they are two of the best people ever. We have since visited each others homes and will do so again this Fall. I asked them to meet us in Venice as a surprise for Katie. Thankfully, wonderfully, they accepted. Our fantastic trip was made that much more so due to their presence.
After a week of experiencing the city Let me just say that Venice is a unique place full of contradictions. The canals are breathtaking (and sometimes smelly), there are Americans everywhere (too many Americans) and the local people are friendly (because there are American's everywhere and they want our money). In fact, my only complain about Venice is the tourism.
Go figure. :-)
At least three cruise ships stop here daily and deposit old people tour groups off near St. Mark's Square. NONE of them even try to speak Italian. This, in turn, has lead to all of the merchants and inhabitants of this area speaking damn near fluent English and they do not suffer non-fluent fools gladly. Therefore, it took over 3 days for my conversational Italian to kick in because NO ONE would speak Italian to us once they learned that I wasn't fluent in the language.
Except the doctors in the ER I went to. They ALL spoke Italian and NO ONE spoke English.
Long story short - I had a sinus infection that developed into something much worse; An "inflammatia di tonsiliti" or some such thing. Anyway, Katie was concerned and I finally agreed to see a doctor. The guide book stated that members of staff in the ER at Ospedale Giovanni Paolo spoke English so off we went.
The book lied. Bad book!
After a very short wait (compared to American ER's, anyway) 4 doctors looked at my throat (the third team to do so) and determined that I should be admitted to remove a "virus sack" from my throat. They told us this in fluent Italian, which thankfully was translated by new family member "Barbara", an Italian Literature professor who grew up in Venice. lives in Holland and was only in the ER for her Mom's doctors appointment . She heard our plight and offered to translate for us.
We owe her a world of thanks.
Once the word "Admitted" was translated, my American elitism kicked in. I asked Barbara to tell the doctors "Unless they say this is life or death to get on a plane then I am returning home tomorrow to Boston, MA - the home of the best hospitals in the world. I will NOT be admitted here to remove anything."
This flash of arrogance came from a few factors:
  • No one on staff spoke English
  • Their medical technology is 30 years behind ours
  • There was a pigeon walking down one of the hallways of the former pallazo as we went to the ER.

I cannot tell you how much I wish I had brought my camera to the hospital. I would kill for a pic of that pigeon. However, our friends Ian and Annie went back there on Friday to take a pic of the hospital:

Cool looking, isn't it?

Anyway, I signed out against medical advice after they gave me a shot of imoxicillin and a shot of cortisone (to reduce the swelling). Then they prescribed 3 more shots of imoxicillin that Katie needed to administer every twelve hours for the next 36 hours.

My wife hates needles.

I owe her a huge debt of gratitude, too. Thanks, honey!!

Because of these shots I was able to thoroughly enjoy the rest of our trip. Dinner with Ian and Annie was superb and our flight home was uneventful because, for the first time 5 days, my throat wasn't killing me.

We came home on Friday, weary but feeling great. I had spent 6 days in one of the world's most beautiful cities with the most beautiful woman in the world. I saw spectacular things, some funny things and even experienced socialized medicine. It was a weird, wonderful way to spend our anniversary.

Next year - Scotland!!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Random Blog-Thoughts

I am still gathering my wits (and getting over jet lag) before I detail our trip to Venice. While you're waiting, here are some thoughts floating around in my head:
  • New England was a wet and wild place while Katie and I were traveling. I will be so annoyed if ANYONE puts up a "Water Ban in Effect" sign anywhere within 200 miles of Boston anytime this Spring.
  • "The Da Vinci Code" may just be the worst reviewed Summer Blockbuster in quite some time yet it stilled racked up $77,000,000.00 this weekend alone. Are the critics wrong or is this just further proof of the dumbing down of America?
  • Speaking of movies, there has yet to be ANY film that I am really jazzed to see on the big screen this summer.
  • OOPS! I lied! X-Men III and Pirates of the Caribbean II are MUST-SEE MOVIES!!
  • I read "Lonesome Dove" by Larry McMurtry while we were traveling. This is an absolutely wonderful book that is historically accurate, supremely insighful and epic novel of the mythic west. It was a great and pleasant surprise.
  • Katie and I had a GREAT time in Venice, but there were times that we missed traveling with League of Stupid American Pig-Dogs.
  • Watching "24" is my BIGGEST guilty pleasure on TV. Plotlines get dropped, travel time in LA is reduced to seconds and there is ALWAYS a mole in CTU. Yet, I wouldn't miss a minute of the "Jack Bauer Power Hour" just to see what Jack pulls out of the Jack Sack or how his Magic Hoodie will allow him to escape from terrorists, protect him from a lead pipe or turn him invisible to sneak aboard a government plane. Ludicrous? You bet. But I LOVE it!
  • "The Office" is the Best Comedy on TV. Yet I was a bit verklempt when Jim kissed Pam in the season finale...
  • Finally, President Bush responded to a question from a reporter that his "best moment in office was when I caught a 7.5-pound perch in my lake." Given the mess he's made of everything else in the world I couldn't possibly agree more.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Under My Bed*

Under My Bed

It's another one of those letters.
You know the kind.
The kind that has your name
On the envelope...
But will never be opened by your hands.
It's another one of those letters.
The kind I tell myself I'll deliver...
But they never make it to your mailbox.
It's another one of those letters.
The kind that all my emotions sneak into...
But will never pass under your eyes.
And it's another one of those letters.
The kind that always end up
In that box, under that bed,
Strewn among all the other letters
That I SWEAR I'll deliver
That I PROMISE I'll put a stamp on
And mail out.
But those letters all end up
In the same place...
Locked away forever
In the box
Under my bed.

*Poem reprinted with permission (and courtesy) of Jenna.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

UPDATED: Truthiness - Served with a Side Order of Smackdown

UPDATE: Apparantly MANY Americans were impressed with Stephen Colbert.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Stephen Colbert brought a homemade batch of truthiness to the White House Correspondent Dinner.
And he served it up cold to the Commander-in-Chief.
You can view Stephen in all of his glory here:
Pay close attention to the look on the President's face when the camera stays on him for a loooong time. It looks like Bush is trying to figure out
A) How he can get Stephen Colbert drafted to the front lines in Iraq
B) Why no one pronounces the 'T' at the end of the name "Colbert".