Monday, July 31, 2006

Havana Nights

Ironically, at about 2:30 am on Saturday evening/Sunday morning I was in the midst of a discussion with a person extolling the virtues of Cuba. This doesn't happen every day, either both for the time of night and the subject matter. This same person (a Castro sympathizer, I might add) mentioned how Castro is getting on in years and he's been grooming his brother, Raoul, to take his place. I got a bit of a chuckle thinking about little brother Raoul, and yet here I am watching the 11 o'clock news and what do I hear-- Raoul has stepped in for Castro, perhaps pinch hit is a better phrase. Random, no?

The Fifth Beatle...

You can find some amazing things on the internet, for instance, that this man, standing next to George Harrison is the infamous "fifth Beatle", who knew?

Monday, July 24, 2006


This weekend we hit the driving range. You know you're in less than peak physical condition when golfing makes you sore the next day.

Friday, July 21, 2006

You know you're an Italian woman when...

a) you find yourself living in New Jersey and b) its 1am and you're making sauce.

Saturday, July 15, 2006


After ADT tried to remove our fireplace surround while installing our security system and broke half of the tiles attached thereto, it took us a while to get replacements.

We knew they were Delft and after some research (and buying more than one extremely obscure book from we were able to identify the maker of our tiles as being Tichlaar Makkum. Apparently the Tichlaar Makkum people have been making tiles in the Netherlands since 1594 so they know a thing or two about replacing broken tiles. After photographing each of the broken tiles and sending a sample piece to their factory after a few short weeks we received a big box from Holland with pretty impressive replicas. Then, due to sheer laziness and other assorted interfering home improvement projects approximately two years went by with our lovely replacement tiles sitting in their box waiting to be installed.

Finally, the time had come...

Here we are laying out the tiles in order to determine whether we need spacers... turns out, opening was 41 1/8 inches, and we had just about 41 1/8 with all of our tiles...

Next we had to clean the existing area and remove all of the old mastic-- which meant the fun little job of chiseling the old mastic off of the brick... great way to vent frustrations! (This is the after picture...)

Then we attached our tiles-- interestingly enough the new tiles were ever so slightly larger than the old tiles, which meant that we had a bit of a puzzle piece effect trying to get the tiles on either end to match with the trim tiles which had remained unharmed by ADT...

Finally, grout! Grouting turns out to be not that difficult, provided you have the right tools, most important of which being big rubber gloves! This has had the unfortunate effect of making me think tiling and grouting is not so tough. Now I have grandiose plans to finally regrout portions of one of our bathrooms-- (a plan which was supposed to happen over last thanksgiving but it never quite turned out that way....) Not to mention planning to make a side table with a tile top (the tile being none other than the infamous sea creature tile salvaged from the master bathroom-- what can I say, you can only sell so many of those on Ebay, we still have a small truckload full of them.)

Monday, July 10, 2006

Beirut Hilton

If you were ever wondering what the pool at the Beirut Hilton looks like, I think I have a good idea for you...

Wednesday, July 05, 2006