Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wrath of God

I don't think I've ever seen it rain this hard before. Bruce and I went down to soho for dinner but got drenched, even with umbrellas. NYC has gotten 4 inches of rain today and it just keeps coming. I'm looking forward to heading home tomorrow.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Nice Weekend

Marsh and Carolyn came for a quick weekend visit and got a load full of kids sports. They got to virginia on Friday and we broke out the grill for the first time this year which was key because we needed the fuel to watch a soccer game and two baseball games on Saturday. The boys did well on the field and they each had some nice hits with Sam slamming a triple and Dylan hitting a key double. We had to rest a little on Sunday but grandpa and I took the boys to the field for some practice and Nicole and grandma did some planting.

They caught a flight to Minnesota this morning and I grabbed a train to New York where I have some meetings the next couple days. Based on weather forecasts, I will not miss any of the kids practices this week. A ton of rain is on the way.

Sent from my iPad

Friday, April 25, 2014

Safety Sam

I arrived at school a little early to pick up the boys and got to see the in action as patrols.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Full Bloom

The flowers are out and the pollen count is rising.

Spoofed Email Part 2

So, it wasn't the Italian router but a more insidious attack on AOL itself that sent all the annoying spam to your inboxes.  AOL is saying that less than 1% of their users were effected but they really don't know that.  Regardless, something got into our contact lists in AOL and started sending e-mail as if it was coming from us, which it was not.  Whatever stole the contact lists still has them so watch what you click on.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Rome Photo Collection

I just finished uploading a bunch of photos of our Rome trip to Flickr.  I've included a link to get to them and no, this is not a spoofed spam link.  I promise...

Easter Bunnies

The egg hunt proceeded a little late. Dylan isn't feeling well but managed to grab a few.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Baseball Season Begins

We lost 8-2 this morning but Dylan had an RBI with a fielders choice out at first and Sam got on base with an error by the second baseman. Dylan struck out once and Sam twice. They both played well in the field. Dylan had some great throws from center and left and played a solid inning on third while Sam caught two innings and fielded a pop up at first and snagged a couple hard grounders. They played well for having jet lag.

Spoofed E-mail


Sorry to say but you have been getting spoofed email from someone (thing) that hijacked my AOL contact list.  These email are not coming from any of my actual machines or the actual AOL account.  The jackass program is sending as if It’s coming from my AOL account but is it actually coming from another email server and address.  (you can view source and hunt through the code to find the actual email address)

I believe Nicole and I both had our AOL contact lists copied from our ipads in Italy (we did not have computers with us).  All our computers were powered off during our trip so it’s not something running on one or our computers here at home and the offending email do not show up in our sent folders.  It’s possible, that the router we were using at the apartment was compromised in some way.   However it happened, they seem to have found a way into AOL contact lists and not the other providers we use.   

I don’t use my AOL account much anymore and my contact list was only 19 addresses while Nicole’s is much larger.  We are back in the states now and have changed passwords but since the contact list was stolen and our email addresses are being spoofed, you will continue to receive the stupid e-mail with a link ending in PHP.  Never click on a link sent to you that has a PHP extension as a general rule.

Nicole and I can’t stop the email from being sent but you can mark the email as span when you receive them and if everyone does this, eventually the Internet will find a way to block this or make the offender move on.  Reporting these as spam should not actually effect receipt of email from our addresses since they are not actually being sent by our addresses. 

On another note, I’ve been getting spoofed email from some of my contacts lately (all AOL users and users that don’t use AOL anymore but never closed down the account) as well but most of them have been showing up in my spam filter.  Do a search on AOL spoofing and you will find the problem is happening all over the place. This may be a bigger problem or just a flare up of something that has been happening for years. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Morning Departure

This was the view from our apartment in Rome as we were leaving to meet our car to the airport at 7:30 this morning (Central Europe time). It's been a long day with a 10 hour flight and all the other stuff you need to do to fly from one country to another. The boys are at baseball practice right now but it's 1am on their clock at the moment, I'm sure they will crash pretty hard when they get home. Rome was a great choice for this spring break. We learned a lot, had a ton of fun and brought home memories that will last a long while.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Last Roman Dinner

We ate too much but had a great time. The boys got their last gelato for a while and the gelato guy across the street is sad to see us go. We are hoping to be back in DC in time for baseball practice tomorrow.

Cool blue

The weather really cooled down the last couple days which made it really nice for walking. It wasn't really that hot early in the week but 70 and a little humid is hot for my Minnesota bones. 62 and breezy is more like it, which is what we got,right now. Spent some time in the Piazza del Rotunda this afternoon watching people, drinking wine and staring at the Pantheon. Good last day of the trip.

Mid Air

We walked down to the Bocca della Verità (mouth of truth) at the Santa Maria in Cosmedin where we stuck our hands in the mouth and tried not to lie. We also toured the church a bit and visited the crypt. It's a beautiful day so we walked some more and found a funky coffee bar in Trastevere and sat for a while. We ate in Trastevere last night as well, it's a quieter neighborhood than where we are and a nice change of pace. We are doing a little packing now but will likely head out for one more site before resting up for dinner. 

Sent from my iPad

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Narrow Streets

Lots of narrow winding streets in this town and pedestrians share them with vehicles of all sorts. At first the boys were pretty leery of the car and trucks coming at them or from behind, now they just keep walking and end up inches from the vehicles mirror and they don't even flinch. I would not ant to drive in the city.


Our trip to Ercolano was wet but the ruins of Herculaneum were pretty spectacular. Pompeii was a much bigger town and more people stayed once the volcano started erupting but Herculaneum was a richer town and the size of the ruins make it easier to see in a shorter amount of time. The many remaining frescos were beautiful and mosaics were in incredibly good shape. I have lots of pictures but this gives you an idea.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Volcano Rain

The trip down to Napoli and back was very nice on the Francessa train going 300 kilometers an hour or so. Our driver for the day met us at the station and drove us up to Vesuvius where we had to walk a very steep and fairly long trail to the top. It was very cloudy and wet up there and we didn't see much of the caldera but it was fun non the less.

From there we drove down to Ercolano to see the ruins of Herculaneum and the had a very nice lunch at a vineyard on the side of the mountain with a wine tasting. My knee is killing me now and we are laying around thinking of dinner at some point.

Taking the fast train

At 284 kph the trip to Napoli is only an hour. We went with first class tickets because frankly, they were better and not much more expensive. Besides, they are bimbi gratis. (Kids were free).

Monday, April 14, 2014

Elephant in the Room

After a little rest from the Vatican tour we marched over to see the capuchin crypt. It's a collection of 3,700 Friers bones presented in an ornate fashion. The Capuchin monks had some different ideas on the afterlife. Look it up. Not sure what this elephant is all about but the boys look good. We ate at an Argentinian steak house tonight because we needed a change. Off to Napoli and Mt. Vesuvius early tomorrow morning.

St. Peter


We arrived at the Vatican at 7:15am where we met our guide. The doors open to the general public at 9am and there was already a line that wrapped around the corner waiting to get in. We were amongst the first dozen people to enter at 7:30 and went straight to the Sistine Chapel where we spent 20 minutes staring at the ceiling with 50 or 60 people. We circled back and did the rest of the museum and St. Peter's until around 11:30. The place turned into a real zoo when the non-tour guide groups were let so the extra cost for the private guide and early entry were well worth it. This is Barbara and her handy iPad with additional pictures and maps. She was very nice.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Pantheon at Night

We had a little rain this afternoon but the evening was very nice. Rome at night is very pretty. Heading to the Vatican early tomorrow.

Little Liars

On the way to Trevi Fountain for night shots.

Isola Tiberina.

We visited the Jewish Quarter and toured the synagogue there before walking over to Isola tiberina and then back thru the Ghetto where Nicole picked up some Passover food. We watched the Liverpool vs. Manchester City game at an English pub down the street and now we are resting a bit.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Roman Way

Sam learned how the Romans drink from the public water fountains but was having some issues getting it in his mouth. You put your finger at the end of the spigot and thevwater shoots up through a hole at the top where you can drink. He'll learn eventually.

Went to a soccer game tonight. Roma won 3-1. Time for bed.

Roman Forum

We had a private tour guide for our visit to the colosseum, palatino and the forum. That's the forum behind us. The tour guide is the way to go because of the size of the whole area and it's nice to have someone challenge the kids with history. The boys knew quite a bit and had a lively debate on which one was Romulus and which was Remus. Those are the twins that Rome is named after. Romulus ended up killing Remus so you can guess which one they wanted to be.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Hungry Building

Long Day

Our plane was on time and the flight in-eventful. In fact it went by pretty quickly with the boys watching 100's of on demand movies and tv show while Nicole and I each watched "A Great Beauty" which was set in Rome. Customs and border control was easy, our driver was waiting for us and the apartment was ready to go at 10am and beautiful btw. We were tired but trudged out to see some of the city. This is at the Pantheon. We also visited the Spanish steps and Trevi Fountain. We did take a little nap but are heading to dinner now.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

In Bloom

It took a few extra weeks but the cherry trees are doing there thing.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

The Old Bamboo

Our outing at the park to throw the baseball around turned into battle with with sticks. Boys will be boys.

Make a Wish

Debbie blowing out the candles.

Picture Day

Yesterday was picture day for the Indians. At least for eight of them. They were missing a couple kids so the team photo won't be entirely complete. We went out for dinner in Catonsville after that. Celebrated our friend Debbie's birthday. Good times.

Friday, April 04, 2014


Sam and Medhi did a little duet today for a Fairfax school competition. They sounded good together and looked spectacular.  He even made it for the half hour of baseball practice. You can see and hear it all here. 

Sent from my iPad

Thursday, April 03, 2014

No More

The place where I've been taking guitar lessons lost it lease and is closing at the end of April. That's Jodie, my instructor playing a little banjo under the sadly broken sign. He's moving on to another shop and I'll follow but I'm going to miss this little strip mall music store.