Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Skype Clarification

Ok--go to skype.com. That website has detailed instructions on what to do. It requires that your computer have a microphone, not necessarily a headset. Apples typically have microphones, PCs probably don't. That's really as much as I know. The website has more answers than I do. My dad was able to get Skype set up with virtually no help from me, so all of you in the Computer Generation better not have any trouble. :)

Sunday, August 20, 2006


How many of you have signed onto Skype now? Remember Skype? That great free webphone thing I was blathering on about last month? I need to know your Skype names so that we can talk. I also need to arrange times to talk to you all. Remember that we're 7 hours ahead and that we don't have internet at home, so we have to come to Jack's work to make this happen. Our Skype name is: jackwaiteroma
And yours is...? Leave a comment and let us know.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

We have gas!!

Never have I been so thankful for the discovery of fire than this last week. I woke up one morning and attempted to make coffee with one of these guys:
Put it on the burner. Turned the knob. Nothing. Jack scoured the interior of the apartment (which doesn't take long) and the outside. He turned every valve he found and nothing. No gas. Also, now, no water. (Luckily he figured out which valve that had been relatively quickly.) We realized that we didn't know if the gas had even been turned on. Gettting in touch with the landlord or gas company is next to impossible right now because all of Rome is shut down for August. So for the last...however long...we've been coming to Jack's work to cook and getting coffee out. Yesterday, however, I was poking around under the kitchen sink and found a new valve!! Gas! Fire! Coffee! Pasta! I literally danced around the apartment at the sight of the blue flame.
After coffee and lunch I was washing dishes when Nora noticed a small lake forming on the floor. Apparently poking around under the sink had loosened the PVC pipe/drain and all of our coffee/pasta was washing under our sink and onto our floor.

I've got fingers in the dike of my sanity.

Luckily I've got yummy things to eat, pretty things to look at, and Jack and Nora are here. And they've got fingers too!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

We Are Here

We made it!!! Before all the craziness erupted in London (whenever that was). I have to say that I think I am in a state of shock right now. Exhaustion, hunger, language barrier, and this world being so completely different from the world I am used to will lead to shock I guess. I would love to write more now (I would love to be able to write everyone a personal email as well) BUT I have got to go get some food now. It can not wait. Also, I can not contract words when I write on this Italian keyboard because I can not find the apostrophe. Look what happens: canàt. SEE! Thatàs not what itàs supposed to look like!! But my hunger is blurring my vision and I canàt find the correct key what with all these Euro signs and § and ç getting in the way. Just remember: à = apostrophe

I will write more later. Promise.
By the way-- everything is as beautiful and amazing as I remembered. I predict my shock will subside in a few days. Iàll write more then.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Excavation of Villa delle Vignacce

this is the excavation of the area. we've uncovered a wonderfully intact bath comlex: a hot water bath (caldarium), a warmish water bath (tepidarium), and a very cold water bath (frigidarium).

I say "we incovered...", but it's really all of the people in this picture below who did the work.

And below are the managers of the whole thing: Stefano, Alessio, Dar, Sara, and Dora.

This is Dora--the glue of the whole thing--putting the pieces together.

and this is the view inside the bath, which had some amazing mosaic tiles from multiple ages.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Checking Off the List

Before Jack left we constructed a list of all the things we needed to do in Austin before going to Rome. Here are a few of my favorites:

The Avenue B Grocery.
Where fresh sandwiches are made in the back and the aisles are filled with all the specialty chip and drink accompaniments one could ask for. The man who runs the place is also part of the draw. Always good conversation while he's making your sandwich. (Especially during football season if you're into that sort of thing.) Actually, when I went in there a few weeks ago, I told him that his grocery was on My List, and he told me that I was the third person to say that to him that day. Enough said.

The Dry Creek Cafe
It's called a Cafe because there are wonderful delicacies like pickles and bags of chips to choose from. There's also one of the oldest juke boxes in town and a decor that has not changed a bit in the last 50 years. The chairs are still broken, so are the tables, and nobody has felt it necessary to invest in a fan or two. We sweat there last weekend for the 50th anniversary. Said "hello" to Sarah (the 93-year-old woman who owns the place, whom I affectionately refer to as the Beer Nazi) and enjoyed the best value view in town. (In terms of value in time, money, and headaches it beats the snot out of the Oasis any day.)

Hut's Hamburgers
Jack and I used to come here every Tuesday (or was it Thursday?) for 2 for 1 Southern Fried Chicken Night. Apparently so did a lot of others in Austin, and they stopped that special. They still do 2 For 1 Burger Nights, although their burgers are worth full price. As are their fat onion rings and fatty shakes and malts.

Tamale House
The one on Airport. The one with Migas that lay swimming in a soup of cheese. They are worth every pound to my hips and arteries.

These are all places that I've been going for over 10 years, and I'm satisfied with one last trip as a final goodbye. Or a see you later. What I am not ok with is only finding out now, right before I'm leaving the country, that there are other AMAZING GEMS in this city that I don't feel satisfied with yet! For instance this one:

Little Thailand
WHY did I not know that an authentic Thai restaurant resided in a trailer under the Garfield water tower? With a free jukebox? Where a Living Will can be completed for you while you eat? Honestly, is this the sort of thing that remains secret among friends?
Or this one:

Actually the picture isn't obvious but it's of the Independence Brewery. The fact that there's a brewery in Austin is "meh" exciting. The fact that they serve their beer free the first Saturday of every month is something I should have known about before now! And the only reason that I am still coming to Rome, Jack, is because this Saturday happens to be the the first Saturday of this month.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

my touristy walk

the first stop was the Pantheon, one of the best preserved buildings anywhere. originally built in 27 b.c. by Agrippa. rebuilt in the 2nd century by Hadrian. i can't quite find words to say how amazing this building is, so i won't try.

this is apparently the best espresso or cappucino in all of rome, which of course measn all of the world. it was damn good. i still don't know why a hot espresso is so tiny, while a cold, sweetened espresso is about 3x the size. who knows...

the madness that is trevi fountain in the summer...

and more trevi fountain. it is one of rome's reasons for being so powerful for so long. they always have had pure, cold beautiful water piped in through the aquaducts. this is a monument to one of them. all of the fountains in rome--and some are as small as fire hydrants that constantly flow small stream of water--are drinkable. and this with lead pipes that don't make kids mentally retarded because they have long been coated with minerals from the very rich water. it's so cold...so good...especially on a hot day. it turns faucets foggy with its cold.

and here is one tier of the spanish steps. you can't see the other 2 from this angle. in renaissance times, sexy people would hang out here, waiting to be seen and discovered by artists who would use them to immortalized as their subjects for sculptures and paintings.

not much has changed. the sexy still congregate here, joined by tourists with fanny packs and camera straps that take away any bit of sexiness.