Thursday, November 30, 2006

just had to share this!

see for the complete list!

—"Aaay" (Fonzie, "Happy Days")
—"Come on down!" (Johnny Olson, "The Price is Right")
—"De plane! De plane!" (Tattoo, "Fantasy Island")
—"D'oh!" (Homer Simpson, "The Simpsons")
—"Don't make me angry ..." (David Banner, "The Incredible Hulk")
—"Dyn-o-mite" (J.J., "Good Times")
—"Good grief" (Charlie Brown, "Peanuts" specials)
—"Good night, John Boy" ("The Waltons")
—"Here's Johnny!" (Ed McMahon, "The Tonight Show")
—"Hey hey hey!" (Fat Albert, "Fat Albert")
—"Holy (whatever), Batman!" (Robin, "Batman")
—"I can't believe I ate the whole thing" (Alka Seltzer ad)
—"I know nothing!" (Sgt. Schultz, "Hogan's Heroes")
—"I love it when a plan comes together" (Hannibal, "The A-Team")
—"I'm Larry, this is my brother Darryl" (Larry, "Newhart")
—"I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV" (Vicks Formula 44 ad)
—"Is that your final answer?" (Regis Philbin, "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire")
—"It keeps going and going and going" (Energizer Batteries ad)
—"It takes a licking" (Timex ad)
—"Just one more thing" (Columbo, "Columbo")
—"Let's be careful out there" (Sgt. Esterhaus, "Hill Street Blues")
—"Live long and prosper" (Spock, "Star Trek")
—"Mom always liked you best" (Tommy Smothers, "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour")
—"Norm!" ("Cheers")
—"Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon?" (Grey Poupon ad)
—"Read my lips: No new taxes!" (George H.W. Bush)
—"Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids" (Trix cereal ad)
—"Smile, you're on `Candid Camera'" ("Candid Camera")
—"Space, the final frontier ..." (Capt. Kirk, "Star Trek")
—"Tastes great! Less filling!" (Miller Lite beer ad)
—"The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat" (Jim McKay, "ABC's Wide World of Sports")
—"The truth is out there" (Fox Mulder, "The X-Files")
—"Time to make the donuts" ("Dunkin' Donuts" ad)
—"Two thumbs up" (Siskel & Ebert, "Siskel & Ebert")
—"Up your nose with a rubber hose" (Vinnie Barbarino, "Welcome Back, Kotter")
—"We are two wild and crazy guys!" (Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd as Czech playboys, "Saturday Night Live")
—"Well, isn't that special?" (Dana Carvey as the Church Lady, "Saturday Night Live")
—"Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?" (Arnold Drummond, "Diff'rent Strokes")
—"Where's the beef?" (Wendy's ad)
—"Would you believe?" (Maxwell Smart, "Get Smart")
—"Yabba dabba do!" (Fred Flintstone, "The Flintstones")
—"Yeah, that's the ticket" (Jon Lovitz as the pathological liar, "Saturday Night Live")
—"You look mahvelous!" (Billy Crystal as Fernando, "Saturday Night Live")
—"You rang?" (Lurch, "The Addams Family")

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Be it ever so humble ...

... there's no place like home!

proud to be a Portlander! (Portlane?)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

O Christmas Tree

Today we set up our Christmas tree. It was a lot of fun as we took out our ornaments and, as we hung them, remembered where we first got them. Our friends Anneli and Evelin helped us to decorate and commented that we had so many ornaments. Tim said it is because we have so many good Christmas memories.

Anneli, Evelin and Chris put decorations on the tree.

The finished product!

Peter had fun playing with trains we had set up under the tree. Posted by Picasa

Free Horse and Wagon Rides in Monument Square!

Free Horse and Wagon Rides
November 24th through December 22nd
Fridays 4-8pm Saturdays 2-6pm Sundays 1-5pm
Pick up and drop off in Monument Square
Thursday December 14th 5-9PM. Extra night for Merry Madness! Pick up and drop off at the corner of Fore and Union Street
Free rides throughout the Old Port and Arts District. Courtesy of the Portland Symphony's Magic of Christmas and L.L. Bean, keeping you warm, inside and out.

smoking around children

I hope and pray that a similar law (no smoking in an enclosed vehicle with children present) passes in Maine!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

smoking killed my mother -- quit before it kills you!

there's no place like home for the holidays

PORTLAND ‹ Maine State Ballet brings the magic of the holiday ballet "The Nutcracker" to the Merrill Auditorium stage in Portland. The annual ballet opened Saturday and runs through Dec. 3.
Linda MacArthur Miele, Maine State Ballet's artistic director, said this year's cast totals 246 dancers. In what Maine State Ballet hopes will become a new tradition, the Wescustago Youth Chorale will perform during shows today and Dec. 3. The middle school and high school singers from Cumberland and North Yarmouth will accompany the Maine State Ballet Orchestra during the dramatic Snow scene.
Also this year, Maine State will feature a new Clara, danced by 14-year-old Elizabeth Dragoni of Scarborough. She played Gretel in this summer's production of "Hansel and Gretel," Miele noted.
"She is a brilliant little dancer, very classical. Over and above that, she is a very fine actress. We found that out this summer, when we tried her out as Gretel. She was able to hold the audience's attention throughout the whole ballet."
Karla Kelley will conduct the orchestra.
Remaining performance times are 1 p.m. today, 7 p.m. Friday, 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Dec. 3.
Tickets are available through PortTix at 842-0800 or Tickets range from $15 to $40. For information, call 781-7672 or visit
PORTLAND - The University of Southern Maine Chamber Singers, under the direction of Robert Russell, will present the annual "Joyous Sounds For A Festive Season" musical program at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Immanuel Baptist Church, 156 High St., Portland. Suggested donation is $9. Call 780-5555 for information.
The program has an international flavor, with holiday carols from the United States, Ireland, Ukranie and Nigeria, and includes classical works by Edvard Grieg, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Benjamin Britten and Michael Praetorius. The finale is a candle-lit "Silent Night."
The USM Chamber Singers represent the best singers at the university. Chosen through audition, these undergraduate students focus on warmth of tone, precise intonation and the artistry of understanding the nuance of text. Throughout northern New England, the Chamber Singers have performed a diverse repertory centered on a cappella literature of the Renaissance era and the 20th century, and music of various world cultures.
Russell is professor of music at the University of Southern Maine and music director of Portland's Choral Art Society. Russell is active throughout the Northeast as a conductor and clinician and recently led the Chamber Singers in a choral prelude at the Washington National Cathedral.
n PORTLAND ‹ Portland Stage Company previews its annual production of "A Christmas Carol" at 2 p.m. Thursday and opens the show at 7 p.m. Friday. It runs through Christmas Eve in the theater at 25A Forest Ave., Portland.
The Portland Stage adaptation is true to Charles Dickens' book. Portland Stage artistic and executive director Anita Stewart will direct a cast that includes many familiar faces: Mark Honan, Maureen Butler, Daniel Noel, Christine McMurdo-Wallis, Edward Reichert, Sally Wood and others. Playing Scrooge will be Paul Barry, who last appeared at Portland Stage in "The Price" this past spring.
Tickets range from $15 to $37.
Call the box office at 774-0465 for tickets, or visit
PORTLAND - The American Irish Repertory Ensemble, Maine's Irish theater company, presents the premiere of "A Christmas in Kerry" by Maine playwright Clare Melley Smith beginning Friday and running through Dec. 10.
Based on "Christmas Stories" and "Letters of a Country Postman" by Irish author John B. Keane, the play follows a postman on his rounds in the weeks before Christmas as he and his fellow residents in the fictional village of Lisnacoo are inspired by the holiday spirit.
"A Christmas in Kerry" will run at the Studio Theater at the Portland Performing Arts Center, 25A Forest Ave., Portland. Tony Reilly, artistic director of the Irish theater, will direct.
"We're excited to be presenting the first production of this charming and very funny play," Reilly said in a press release. "It offers audiences another holiday entertainment choice, and we hope 'A Christmas in Kerry' will become part of Portland's Christmas tradition."
The seven cast members play more than 40 roles as the lives of the villagers intertwine over the course of the play. There's a failed actor who gives his best performance, and finds the true meaning of the season, playing Santa Claus. Tickets are $16 and $12; for reservations, call 799-5327 or go to
PORTLAND - The Choral Art Society will perform its 17th annual "Christmas at the Cathedral" concert at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 317 Congress St., at 8 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 and 7 p.m. Dec. 3.
Joined by the Portland Brass Quintet, the Choral Art Society will sing familiar seasonal music, a cappella motets - including Gabrieli's festive "Jubilate Deo" and Rachmaninoff's poignant "Cherubic Hymn" - and music for chorus, organ and brass.
CAS begins its Christmas concert with its signature processional, "Personent Hodie," an arrangement of a Renaissance tune for brass and organ. This season, the society will reprise Dan Locklair's vibrant setting of the traditional Gloria text with a large brass and percussion accompaniment, a work commissioned by Choral Art Society seven years ago. Christmas at the Cathedral concludes with the popular candlelit "Silent Night" with singers encircling the hall.
Tickets purchased in advance cost $15 and $20, and at the door are $20 and $25. They are available by calling 828-0043. Tickets also are available at Books, Etc. in Falmouth and the Old Port, Little Sebago Gallery and Frame Shop in Windham, Gulf of Maine Books in Brunswick and Starbird Music Shoppe in Portland. The doors open approximately an hour prior to the concert.
PORTLAND - This year's "Magic of Christmas," presented by the Portland Symphony Orchestra at Merrill Auditorium, will draw on the talents of hundreds of Maine artists and performers when it opens Dec. 8.
The annual holiday celebration runs through Dec. 18, with 15 performances. This year marks the orchestra's 27th annual "Magic of Christmas" program. Robert Lehmann, who teaches strings at the School of Music at the University of Southern Maine, will conduct the concerts. Lehmann is music director of the North Shore Philharmonic Orchestra, and conducts both the Southern Maine Symphony Orchestra and Portland Youth Symphony Orchestra.
Baritone George Merritt is well known in the Portland area, having starred in the 2001 "Magic of Christmas" and in several Good Theater productions. In New York, he has starred in such shows as "Big River" and "Jekyll & Hyde," and earned a Drama Desk Award nomination for his role in "Lost in the Stars." In this year's "Magic," Merritt will narrate "A Christmas Memory" and reprise his 2001 performance of "Go Tell it On the Mountain," in addition to performing several other numbers.
Vocalist Kelly Caufield is a Gorham native and graduate of the University of Southern Maine School of Music. Her soprano has been featured in the PSO Richard Rodgers Centennial Tribute Concert, and as soloist with the North Shore Philharmonic Orchestra. She, too, is a regular of Good Theater. This year, Caufield's will solo in "The Sandman's Aria and Evening Prayer" from Hansel and Gretel, accompanied by two children's choirs.
Rob Westerberg directs the Magic of Christmas Chorus, a group of more than 130 volunteers who are members or friends of the Portland Community Chorus. Saco Bay Children's Choir and Southern Maine Children's Choir will perform several numbers, as well.
Principal dancers from Maine State Ballet and Portland Ballet will perform a portion of the pas de deux from Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker."
Tyler Sperry and Nell Green of Portland Ballet will perform Dec. 8 through the matinee Dec, 15. Janet Davis and Glenn Davis of Maine State Ballet will dance the evening performance on Dec. 15 through the final "Magic" concert Dec. 18.
Ray Cornils, municipal organist for Portland since 1990, will perform the Organ Prelude on the Kotzschmar Organ one hour before each performance. Cornils will also join the Magic "cast" in numbers throughout the concert.
Tickets may be purchased through PortTix, 842-0800, online at or at the PortTix box office at 20 Myrtle St. New this year, the opening night concert has been designated as a preview, with tickets priced at $20. Tickets for all other performances cost from $15 to $55, with discounts available for seniors and students.
PORTLAND - Good Theater, the professional company in residence at the St. Lawrence Arts Center in Portland, will ring in the holidays with "Broadway at the St. Lawrence" for five performances Dec. 14-17.
"Broadway at the St. Lawrence" mixes songs of the season and Broadway favorites performed by Broadway star Robert Bartley, guest vocalists Ellen Domingos and Marva Pittman and a dozen of Maine's best vocalists. Brian P. Allen directs.
Bartley was in the original Broadway cast of "Miss Saigon," as well as national tour of "Cats." He also has performed at Maine State Music Theater in Brunswick.
Domingos has just returned from New York City, where she has been performing and modeling for more than 10 years. She began as a young performer at Maine State Music Theater at the age of 8. Allen recruited Pittman from North Carolina, where she teaches middle school. The two women will sing songs from "Rent," "Dreamgirls" and Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Song And Dance."
Joining the singers will be local favorites Timothy Bate, Gregory Charette, Katie Daley, Todd Daley, Laura Harris, Jennifer Manzi, Jackie McLean, Bethann Renaud, Amy Roche, Steve Underwood and surprise guests. "Broadway at the St. Lawrence" plays at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14, 8 p.m. Dec. 15, 3 and 8 p.m. Dec. 16, and 2 p.m. Dec. 17. Tickets range from $20 to $35. For tickets or additional information, call 885-5883.
PORTLAND - The Portland Conservatory of Music and State Street Church pair up to present "Celtic Festival of Light" at 4 p.m. Dec. 17 at the church, 159 State St.
The program will include musical selections from the British Isles and beyond. Conservatory faculty, students and friends will perform. Suggested donation is $5. For information, call 775-3356.
PORTLAND - Portland Ballet brings Portland's Victorian era to life with its holiday performances of "The Victorian Nutcracker" at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 22 and 2 p.m. Dec. 23 at Merrill Auditorium.
"The Victorian Nutcracker" follows the traditional story of "The Nutcracker" but with a Maine twist - the set designs are inspired by the rooms in Portland's Victoria Mansion. Well-known local historical figures, such as Mayor James Phinney Baxter, Ruggles Morse, J.B. Brown and Hermann Kotzschmar, take the stage in this ballet.
Lawrence Golan will conduct the Portland Ballet Orchestra. To add to the festive atmosphere, the audience will be greeted by the Victorian Nutcracker Festival Singers, caroling in the lobby in Victorian costume.
Portland Ballet will also perform "The Victorian Nutcracker" at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16 and 2 p.m. Dec. 17 at Schaeffer Theatre at Bates College in Lewiston. Tickets for performances at Merrill Auditorium range from $17 to $47 and are available through PortTix, or 842-0800, or by stopping in at the PortTix box office on Myrtle Street. Tickets for the Schaeffer Theater performances in Lewiston cost $20 at Bull Moose Music stores.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

for people in Maine

SOUTH PORTLAND: Learn how to make wreaths at workshop next Saturday
Holy Cross and St. John the Evangelist Parish will hold their annual Advent wreath-making workshop. It will be held from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, at the Holy Cross School Cafeteria, 436 Broadway Ave.
The cost for all materials needed to make one wreath is $10. There will be a craft table for children, and snacks will be provided. For more information, call 773-8710.

Friday, November 24, 2006

what I'm listening to

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Täna On Elizabethi Sünnipäev

Today is Elizabeth's birthday, and we had a fun time celebrating with her. She woke up to the smell of bacon and cheese eggs for a special breakfast. Then at lunch time she and I had lunch with Evelyn at the university cafe when Evelyn had a 30 minute break from classes. In the afternoon, she came to the corps to join us for Corps Cadets, mostly because everyone wanted to wish her a happy birthday. I know I've mentioned it before, but birthdays are a big deal in Estonia, and everyone wants to shake your hand and say "Palu õnne" to wish you the best on your special day. Some of the ladies at the corps gave here a 1kg box of chocolates, and I bought an Estonian peanut cake to share with everyone.

When we got home, Elizabeth and Evelyn went out for some special girl time while I cooked the special supper that she wanted: spaghetti and meatballs. After that, we had birthday brownies and ice cream.

We were going to have birthday cake, but when I went to the only store in town that has American foods, they had the Betty Crocker cake mix, but were out of frosting. But they did have fudge brownie mix, and Elizabeth said it made a great birthday surprise.

Before she went to bed, she said to us, "I had a really great day!" so it looks like her 11th year is off to a good start.

The cake we bought for the corps celebration of Elizabeth's birthday. Tim decided to take a picture after realizing the cake would be completely butchered by the time he finished cutting it up! Posted by Picasa

At the corps, everyone sings "Palu Õnne Sulle" Posted by Picasa

Helping Elizabeth to celebrate her birthday at the corps are (clockwise from left): Sergei, Tanel, Andrus, Elizabeth, Chris, Evelin and Anneli. Posted by Picasa

Another shot of the gang at the corps. Posted by Picasa

At our family celebration of Elizabeth's birthday, Tim brings out the birthday brownies with 11 candles burning brightly. Posted by Picasa

Elizabeth and Peter admire the birthday brownies. Posted by Picasa

Blowing out the candles. Posted by Picasa

please pray for my sister-in-law

Today Angela is having surgery at Mercy Hospital.

Please pray for her, Danny (my brother), David (her son, in Kuwait), Jessica (her daughter, just had a new baby three and a half weeks ago), and Christina (her other daughter, student at University of Maine).

And for us as well; it is always harder to be away at these times.

Thank you, friends.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Dr. Sears calls this giving someone the cold shoulder

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

please pray for Chris

from Chris:
"A quick prayer request...
I am under attack from areas that I never expected. But that's just how the enemy works right? The jerk loves to kick me when I'm down. But anyway, please, oh pretty, pretty please pray for me. I've been shot down and I need some cover fire to get through this, so please dump out some prayers for me. Lord save me... So anyway, keep my back covered while I try to make it through the trenches! I can't do this on my own, please help. Keep me covered. Thanks in advance, Chris"

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

please pray for Tim's parents

Tim's father is in the hospital. Apparently he woke up early this morning and made his way to the bathroom. While there, he began to feel light-headed so grabbed the sink for support, but ended up fainting and falling into the bathtub. He has two pretty good bumps on his head, but apparently didn't need stitches. They spent the day in the Emergency Room having blood work, CAT scans, etc. Finally, they admitted him for observation. The only thing they told them they found so far was that his blood pressure was 188, and he's on medication which usually keeps it down. Hopefully they'll have more answers tomorrow.

Tim's mother is scheduled for a procedure on Wed. and has to begin her prep tomorrow afternoon. She's been having terrible problems for many months, and has waited a long time for this so doesn't want to cancel. Hopefully day will go home tomorrow - if not, she'll have more people drive her back and forth to get everything done.

Monday, November 13, 2006

please send mail to David!

Nov. 13 is the first deadline mentioned at the above web site.

PFC David M. Smith

96 Transportation Company

APO, AE 09366

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Rome, Germany & Home

It's finally time to tell you about the last part of our trip (can you believe I'm such a procrastinator?).

We landed in Rome in the afternoon and were met by a man from the Army there who drove us into the center of the city. He brought us to the Army's regional headquarters for Italy, where we stayed at a lovely apartment they rent out for a reasonable price. It was roomy, with two large bedrooms, a full kitchen, living room and dining room. The even had some food waiting for us, and we were able to have a nice snack before we took a walk to explore the neighborhood.

That was an adventure in itself! We were heading to Termini Station, the main rail hub, where wanted to stop into the tourist info office to help us with our planned tour of the city. But I got a bit mixed up on my directions and we ended up taking the long way around, walking for nearly an hour through some rather questionable looking neighborhoods in nearly 80 f (26c) temperature. It was a rather rude introduction to the everyday life of Rome, which is a very loud, crowded and dirty city--a dramatic contrast to the beauty and rich history we discovered when we visited many historic sites in the subsequent days.

When we finally reached Termini, it was another adventure to find the tourist office, and once we found it, there was not much info to be had. But I did get a nice free map of Rome that would keep us on course the following days.

By then, we were tired and hungry, so we decided to go to an Italian restaurant (of course), which was a real treat. It was incredible having familiar Italian dishes in Rome, prepared by Italian cooks. We had bruchetta, pizza, raviolli, spaghetti and lasagna. It was tasty and not too expensive, and so helped us to overcome the exhaustion of getting there. To prevent getting lost, we took a cab back to the apartment and settled in for the night.

The next day, after a nice breakfast in the apartment, we set out to follow my perfectly laid out plan for the day, starting at the Colosseum. We got there no problem on the subway, and waited around 45 minutes in line to get to the ticket counter. That's when my perfect plan fell apart. To get a children's discount, I needed my passport (which I had left in our room), but I decided to just pay the regular fee since we had waited so long. I pulled out my credit card, and the guy said, "Cash only." Then I was in real trouble because I hadn't had the chance to get any euros at that point. So a bit dejected, we left and sat beneath the Arco di Costatino (the Arch of Constantine) to regroup.

Because so many of Rome's historic sites are so close to each other, we found that it was easy to re-order our plans. We wandered through the Roman Forum, with its vast and impressive ruins. It gave us our first real taste of the incredible Roman architecture that is so famous. We were surrounded by many large marble columns in various states of collapse, but you could easily see where all of the various market places and houses were. It must have been really impressive in its time.

From there, we walked up the long stairway leading to the Capitoline Museums. We explored outside for a while, and Peter enjoyed running in the large, open courtyard and looking at the ancient fountain. We even saw the famed She-Wolf sculpture. But we decided not to go inside so that we could see more of the city.

After a quick stop for lunch (Italian pizza), we walked on, making an unexpected stop at the Area Sacra Argentina. We weren't even aware it was there, but it was another ruined building and courtyard, but in this one Julius Caesar had been stabbed. For Chris, who has read about Roman history, it was an impressive find.

From there, we went on to our intended destination, the Pantheon. This former pagan temple turned church was an architectural wonder, and we walked around looking upward in wonder and around us at the well-preserved ornate floors, walls and artwork.

We were ready for a treat after that, so we discovered another Italian treasure: gelato. It is ice cream that is tastier than any ice cream I have ever had before, with real bits of fruit or other things mixed in. It is hard to describe it so that you can appreciate just how good it is. But after that first taste, we were sure to have some every day we were in Rome.

Next, we walked to the Fountains of Trevi. It is said that if you throw a coin over your shoulder into the fountain, you will have a swift return to Rome. So Chris and Elizabeth made sure they took a turn.

We took the subway to explore a few of the many impressive piazzas before stopping at a grocery store to get the fixings for supper (real Italian sausage!) heading back to the apartment.

The next day I tried again to follow my perfect plan to go to Vatican City. We took the right tram, but in the wrong direction! By the time we realized it, there was no way we could get there in time because there are always long lines. So we revised plans again and headed to the Colosseum. This time I had money and passports (I discovered the child discount was only for EU residents, so I ended up not needing them!) and the line was much shorter. So we were able to explore this most famous of Roman attractions. It was interesting to see the vast interior and match it to what I have seen in books and on TV for so many years.

After lunch (more pizza and gelato) we made our way to Palatine Hill, the price of which was included with our ticket for the Colosseum. I had never even heard of Palatine before planning our trip to Rome, but for all of us is was one of the best sights in the city. There were wide-open green spaces among the ruins, which felt like a refuge from the noise and dinginess of the city.

From there, we walked through the Circus Maximus on our way to the Santa Maria in Cosmedin Church. This houses the infamous Mouth of Truth, where legend says that a liar who places his or her hand in the mouth will have it bitten off. Chris and Elizabeth took their chances, but came out unscathed.

Before heading back to the apartment, we took the subway to explore a few more of the piazzas and see the Pyramid of Cestius, which looked strangely out of place in the city.

On our final day, we headed out determined to see the museums and cathedrals of Vatican City. When we arrived (after taking the right tram!) we saw that the line to the museum wrapped around three long sides of the outer wall of Vatican City and it would have probably taken an hour and a half or more to get inside. That didn't seem worth it, so we kept walking (ultimately circling all of Vatican City) until we came to St. Peter's Square, where the Pope addresses the faithful. It was another one of those moments where I felt amazed to be standing in a place I had seen pictured during so many significant moments in history.

After lunch (pizza, lasagna and spaghetti--you have to eat real Italian food when you can get it), we checked the lines going into the Vatican Museums and found they were much shorter. In less than 30 minutes, we were inside. (One funny side note: Italians love children, and the Vatican guards were so enamored with Peter that they completely ignored our bag as it went through the x-ray machine.)

We had been told that even in a full day, you could never see all of the wonderful art there is inside, and it was true. We took much of it in, from the wondrous Michelangelos in the Sistine Chapel, room after room of Raphaels, works by Leonardo da Vinci, glorious sculptures, and many other wonders. It was a feast for the eyes, but we chose to focus on the things we knew we wanted to see rather than gorge ourselves on everything and feel exhausted. We left feeling satisfied.

We ended the day at St. Peter's Basilica. It was awe-inspiring to be inside this grand cathedral, with its ancient sculptures, graves of popes and saints, and the chanting and prayers of the masses that went on aw we walked around. We told Peter that the building had the same name as him, but he didn't seem to be as impressed as we were.

The next morning, we flew from Rome to Hahn Airport in Germany, where we had nearly seven hours before our next flight. So we rented a car to see a bit of the area, and are so glad we did. After the noise, busy-ness and drab colors of Rome, the beautiful green countryside of Germany were both figuratively and literally a breath of fresh air. It was especially nice to drive up and down the mountainous terrain (we don't have mountains in Estonia). We first went to the town of Herrstein, where we planned to walk through the old center of the village. But the tourist information center was closed, and we couldn't find exactly where the old center was, so we enjoyed the view of the old Bavarian homes from our car and moved on.

Our next stop was Idar-Oberstein, which also had stunning scenery. We stopped at a outdoor festival they were having in the center of town, which had music and many local craftspeople selling items. After another stop at a playground for the kids, we headed back to the airport, ending our trip where we began, in Riga.

The next day we drove back to Tallinn, happy we had taken the trip but even happier to be home again.

Following are a few pictures from the trip. Click here for lots more.

Chris, Peter and Elizabeth enjoying the sights in the Roman Forum. Posted by Picasa

More of the impressive remains inside the Roman Forum. Posted by Picasa

Chris and Elizabeth throwing coins into the Fountain of Trevi. Posted by Picasa

Peter on a fallen column inside the Colosseum (no, he didn't knock it down!). Posted by Picasa

Chris and Elizabeth inside the Colosseum. Posted by Picasa

Elizabeth does some impromptu archaeology on Palatine Hill. Posted by Picasa

Elizabeth and Chris risk losing their hands in the Mouth of Truth. Posted by Picasa

Elizabeth and Peter at the grand fountain in St. Peter's Square. Posted by Picasa

The long, impressive hall of the Map Room in the Vatican Museums. Posted by Picasa

The kids with the bronze statue of St. Peter in the Basilica. It is supposed to be good luck to touch his foot, and over the centuries that part has worn away to nearly nothing. Posted by Picasa

there's no place like home

Saturday, November 11, 2006


27 May - 22 June
26 September - 30 November

Thursday, November 09, 2006

shame on you, Jim Dobson!

You have no less time available to you now than when you made the commitment to help a member of the FAMILY who needs you to FOCUS on him! I think you're distancing yourself from him and it's making me sick.

I thought it was great that three potential father figures were chosen for the task.

You and I have had our differences in the past, but this really takes the cake!

Shame, shame, shame on you!

"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." (Proverbs 17:17)

Your backing out on this has further added to the pain of the situation. I really didn't think that was possible!

Monday, November 06, 2006

New life ... whole spirit, soul and body!

"I am a deceiver and a liar. There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I’ve
been warring against it all of my adult life. For extended periods of time, I would enjoy
victory and rejoice in freedom. Then, from time to time, the dirt that I thought was gone
would resurface, and I would find myself thinking thoughts and experiencing desires that
were contrary to everything I believe and teach.... When I stopped communicating about my problems, the darkness increased and finally dominated me. As a result, I did things that were contrary to everything I believe."

"Yet my hope rests steadfastly in the Lord who is forever faithful ... every man (woman and child) needs a Savior."

"Just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life." (Romans 6:4b)

We believe that our first parents were created in a state of innocency, but by their disobedience, they lost their purity and happiness, and that in consequence of their fall, all men have become sinners, totally depraved, and as such are justly exposed to the wrath of God.

We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has by His suffering and death made an atonement for the whole world so that whosoever will may be saved.

We believe that repentance toward God, faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and regeneration by the Holy Spirit are necessary to salvation.

We believe that we are justified by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and that he that believeth hath the witness in himself.

We believe that continuance in a state of salvation depends upon continued obedient faith in Christ.

We believe that it is the privilege of all believers to be wholly sanctified, and that their whole spirit and soul and body may be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I keep thinking that the "I-sin-every-day" alternative to "the privilege of ALL believers" leads inevitably to this kind of moral downfall -- of course not in everyone this dramatically, but it is to be expected!

"May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Thessalonians 5:23)

I am so grieved, and scared! Like seeing a car accident on the road reminds you to drive more carefully!

Let's continue to pray for our brothers and sisters!!


Thursday, November 02, 2006

my mother would echo a little girl saying, "Pwaise de Woord!"

Sasha will have his visa on Friday.

His address is

Maine Correctional Center
17 Mallison Falls Rd.
Windham, ME 04062
Attn: RWS #10263
He suggested a prayer list on morning services at the correctional center. This Sunday they called him up to his surprise and he started things off.