Monday, April 28, 2008

The Mask

This is my hunky older brother, Luis, showing off the exotic mask that Kevin and I bought for him in the heart of the Amazon. Pretty cool, huh?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sail away, sail away, sail away...

Friday night we dined once again with our fabulous friends Matt and June. We enjoyed tapas, sangria, and a delicious paella at Sole in Waltham. The food was fantastic, the music was great and our waitress was quite the firecracker. She served our food with a smile and never missed a beat with our conversation!

Yesterday, the Boston Sailing Center was having their annual open house and offering free sailboat rides in the afternoon. Kevin and I decided to take advantage of this cool offer and so we headed to the harbor in East Boston, signed up upon arrival and waited about two hours for our turn. At around 5pm we finally got our 45 minute sailing around the harbor. Kevin complained when it was all over that we probably could have spent the two hours we waited in a more constructive manner, but I say, what the heck! We don't ever get to go sailing so for me it was an afternoon well spent especially because of the great the view of the Boston skyline we got from our vantage point on the water.

After our sail, we went to our friends Marlene and Rick's house for a barbecue and laughs. They always have a fun and ecclectic crowd of guests and last night was no exception. One of the guests present was renowned photographer Kevin Ames who specializes in nudes! (you can check out some of his work at

This afternoon, I will be joining Kevin and his basegall team of seven to ten year-olds at the bating for all! Have I mentioned that God is on Kevin's team?? No joking, the youngest player on the South End Little League Giants is a seven-year-old with a great attitude named "God". It's good to have him on our side!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Spring is FINALLY in the air!

We have thankfully finally had a string of beautiful days with fantastic weather in Boston. As a result, people are happy, skin is back in (or out, depending on how you look at it), barbecues are off the unemployed list, and flowers are blooming all over the place and their vibrant colors are a welcome sight.

So, last weekend we had our first cook-out invitation from Alexa and her fabulous fiancee, Scott, at their great new home...

this week Kevin and I worked on rehabbing our less-big garden which was painfully ignored by the tenants while we were away...

and today I took my camera around town paparazzi-style and captured spontaneous shots of the loveliest lady-blooms in the city!


PS: THREE is the Magic number!

Friday, April 18, 2008

The circle is complete!

Well, today we really did live the final chapter of our "Round The World" adventure as we picked up Kevin's motorcycle from the docks. We were fully prepared to have some difficulty getting the two-wheeled vehicle out of Customs, but everyone was very nice, probably bouied by the fantastic blue-sky weather we're having and are predicted to have throughout the week-end. The US Custom officer even signed and stamped our "unusually formal" carnet without much ado and sent us on our merry way to collect the bike from the shipper. At the shipping warehouse, once again we were prepared for a long wait, but in a matter of minutes (and after paying the mysterious $135 handling charge) the crate was brought out and plopped down on Kevin truck-bed. All together, the whole process only took about one hour, including driving time. Not bad at all. Needless to say, Kevin was very excited to drive over to his garage and unpack the bike as soon as he possibly could. First things first though, and it was lunch time so we drove to Wendy's first for a celebratory double-bacon-cheeseburger lunch.

We spent the rest of the afternoon unpacking the bike and all the riding gear we had packed along with it. In fact, we think we actually could have packed a whole load of gems and diamonds in the panniers and no one would have known any better. As Kevin put his bike back together, I put on my riding boots and a borrowed helmet and took my first ride in months...since Turkey in fact. The bike felt fantastic, I can tell it missed me as much as I missed riding it! The ride was as they say, "short-n-sweet", only a couple of blocks to get gas. When he was finished with his tools, Kevin took the same fuel ride, the teaser, and returned very happy. In fact, he will be riding his bike all weekend since he is teaching a motorcycle safety course tomorrow and on Sunday.

As we drove "home" with the bike strapped in on the flatbed, we noticed that many fellow two-wheelers had taken advantage of the perfect weather to take their maiden voyage of the season. Motorcycle are everywhere! Once at home, I proceeded to give my riding jacked a thorough cleaning, something I had been holding off on doing until we left the grime and pollution of the third world behind. Now it's all down the drain and hopefully my jacket will look blue again, not new, not after 365 days of consecutive wear, just blue; happy, happy blue!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Big week: Big Show, big smiles, big food!

Last week was a busy one once again as our social calendar was bursting with great invitations from friends, old and new alike. On Monday the 7th we went to a Toots and the Maytals concert at the Paradise. The tickets were free courtesy of our friend Julie who was lucky caller #4 on WERS and won them. The concert was originally scheduled for Sunday, March 30th but it was cancelled at the last minute and re-scheduled for last week. In order to make up for lost time the band decided to have two shows on the same night and we got to go to the second show which began at 11pm! Needless to say, when the lead singer and main attraction of the band is in his late 60s to early 70s and presumably has been sick for a week, one cannot expect greatness on the second show of a double-header. Indeed, there was no greatness as we could barely even hear Toots although we were in the front row. In fact, the sound system was horrible and the whole concert sounded as if it was coming through on a home-made transistor radio!!! The only saving grace was that we had gotten the tickets for free, so we did the best to enjoy ourselves.

Tuesday the 8th was a very busy day; we had the home-opener of the Rex Sox at 2pm and then at 7pm were treated(by my brother Mariano and his new family, the Wights) to great tickets to a WWE(WWF) "Smackdown" event courtesy of "The Big Show" himself!! The Sox game was lots of fun, complete with an elaborate world-series ring ceremony and a cool fly-over by three F-16 jet fighter planes. Best of all, of course, is that the Red Sox won 5-0. So, after the game we headed to a local pizza joint to load up on carbs so we would be ready to scream our heads off at the wrestling match. We had four complimentary tickets and, believe it or not, were only able to find one friend willing to come with us to the event. (I believe this is because people up here in our social circle are a bit lame when it comes to trying new things). However, the guy who happily agreed to come with us, Mario, turned out to be a huge fan and connoisseur of wrestling who filled us in on all the ins-and-outs of the very entertaining sport. The event began at 7:30pm and there were quite a few bouts before our guy, Big Show, came out to fight "The Great Kali". It was a true meeting of the giants. However, Kali turned out to be no match for Big Show and the whole thing was over in less than one minute! (see video below) I was amazed at how heterogeneous the crowd was at the wrestling event, how many kids were there, and how much fun everyone seemed to have. Definitely a new experience for us that we quite enjoyed!

Friday night we went to Tommy Doyle's in Harvard Square for the CD release party for "Jo Henley" the band in which our friend Tien Yi plays the drums. The sound was great as was the vibe and we were very proud of her and happy for her. On Saturday, Kevin went out around 10:30pm to meet up with two of his long-time greatest friends, Carla and Kari. They rendezvoused at Jillians and played pool and had beers and yucked it up until the wee hours of the morning.

On Sunday we had another social double-header: Late lunch at Dina and Peter's place and dinner with the Curleys and Skiadass at The No Name (this time I brought my camera!). Catching up with Dina and Peter was great and as always their cooking was delicious and their eclectic group of friends a great deal of fun. As content as my belly and I were after that gathering, I opted for the lobster again at the No Name 'cause I just can't seem to get enough of the delicious crustaceans. Hmm, with our bellies now really full and our spirits high from great conversation and friendship, Kevin and I headed home to retire for the night and be lulled to sleep by the sound of the Sox V. Yankees game playing on the stereo in the background.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Catching up

We've been back home about three weeks now. Since our return we've spent a lot of time catching up with paperwork (Tax season), local news, and friends. Last night we went out to one of our favorite restaurants, The No Name Restaurant, and shared delicious New England lobsters with some of our friends (no pictures were taken because eating lobster is a messy business and no place for a camera!). Today, we went to another local favorite restaurant, Hammersleys, to join in a surprise 70th birthday brunch celebration for our friend Irv. It has been great to hear news of all the new engagements (congrats to Tien Yi and Alexa and their husbands-to-be), and babies (congrats to Ben & Stephanie, Leigh & Jason, and Kyle & Jill). It is amazing how much things can change in just one year, and more amazing still (in a comforting and somewhat disheartening way) how much things stay the same...

PS: Today I want to send out a HUGE Besito and lots of huggs to my brother Mariano in celebration of his 29th birthday!!! Whoo hoo for you Marianoski!!!