Monday, March 28, 2005

Foundation has been poured!

Well, This is my first post, as it seems Ryan has been a bit behind the times. We have some new pictures of the foundation, but I won't be posting them yet, maybe in a day or two. Ryan seems to be pretty occupied with his new hobby, "war driving" as he calls it. He's driving around town with his laptop and GPS in search of wireless connections. I think his plan is to map all of Shelton...we'll see.

So, we've been waiting and had some delay on the foundation. We didn't pass the inspection at the first run through, so we've been waiting for that, but finally they poured the concrete on Friday, and today they removed the forms. Now we'll be waiting for Uncle Dean to come along and do some backfill. He's been sunning in Mexico, and just got back, so hopefully sometime this week we'll be on our way. It's been raining here buckets, and when we drove to look at the foundation tonight it looks like we have a moat around our hoping that the puddles, or lakes, don't get in the way of the backfilling and further progress. We have windows leaning against our honey bucket, can't imagine that they'll get used too soon, so hoping that they don't get stolen. I think maybe we should get some tarps for them just so they're out of sight.

We've decided to try the "for sale by owner" route for a little while on our current home. Not having to fork over 6 % commission would be nice. We have a little time to kill before we have to list it, so thought we might as well try. And with all the houses for sale in the neighborhood, we figure it'll get seen by those looking. We're finishing up the little things, like paint and trim, and hopefully can have a sign out by next week.

Well, that's it for now, signing off.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Paris Day 1 pictures

Shalisa in our Hotel Window

So after we hopped on our train from Brussels in the morning, we arrived in Paris around noon. The first thing we did was head on over to our hotel. Our hotel was on Rue Rivoli which connects the Bastille to the Louvre, so it pretty much runs right down the heart of Paris. We were 2 blocks north of Notre Dame and about 4 blocks east of the Louvre.

After we got our bags unpacked and got our bearings we headed off on our first trip in Paris. We headed off to the Carnavelet Museum. This was a museum that covered the history of Paris from the early middle ages up to present day. It was a good first stop because it sort of got us oreinted and we had a better idea of what things were the rest of our trip.

After grabbing a sandwich we headed off to the signature landmark of Paris, the Eiffel Tower. We took the elevator up to the top and spent a good hour or so snapping pictures of Paris from the top of the tower. We took pictures all the way around, but I thought the best pictures were those of the Seine River. We then hung around up at the top of the Tower for quite a while, waiting for the sun to set and the lights to come on. After sitting at the top of the tower for about an hour we headed back up to the observation deck and got to take in the beauty of Paris at night. The whole city was aglow and the Seine at night was especially beautiful. After snapping a bunch of pictures and losing all feeling in our fingers from the intense cold (and yes, we actually lost feeling in our fingers it was so cold from the wind way up high) we headed on down the tower.

We snapped a few pictures of the Tower at night but not too many since we were both so cold, and we figured we would come back another night from a better angle to get some really good pictures. (Which we did a few nights later). After that it was off to bed and Paris day 2.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Brussels Pictures Posted

Cathedral of St. Michael in Brussels

So I got some of the pictures from Brussels (our first stop) posted over at the gallery. We only spent 1.5 days there, but even in that short amount of time we really saw a lot.

Our first day that we arrived in Belgium was spent at the Royal Military History Museum which was a pretty impressive collection of all sorts. They had a lot of weapons and cannons from early European wars all of the way up to modern warfare. I know my favorite part, and I think Shalisa's as well was the Air Hanger at the museum. They had a TON of planes ranging from WW I planes all the way up to modern day FA-16's that are flown by the Belgian air force.

After we slept for about 12 hours we headed out to see the rest of Brussels. We first visited the Cathedral of St. Michael .

If you have a high speed internet connection you need to right click this link ( and check out the movie. It is a movie of the interior of the Cathedral of St. Michael while the organ was playing, it was awesome but the movie is 14.5 MB's so it will take about a minute to download on Cable or DSL. Just right click on the link, save it to your desktop, and then double click on it once it has downloaded (you can also just click on it and wait for it to play, but it doesn't give you any status bar on how much has been downloaded... so it just starts after about a minute or 2 depending on you connection, if you download it you can tell exactly how much time is left).

After that we headed off and of course HAD to buy some Belgian chocolate. While we were wandering around eating our chocolate (and we did a lot of eating) we also saw the Manneken Pis which is a famous statue of a little boy peeing. It has become quite famous and is the unofficial symbol of Brussels. We also visited the Grand Place which is regarded by Rick Steves as one of the most impressive medeval squares in all of Europe. After visiting it, I can say it is the most impressive square I have seen in all of Europe (but I don't have quite the amount that Rick does, but it was impressive). One of the buildings on the north side of the Grand Place is the Hotel de Ville which was the Town Hall for Brussels. It was really hard to capture on camera because you couldn't get far enough away to get the whole thing in your camera.

After that we wandered around some more, we saw the Grand Palace of Brussels, the Palace of Justice and we walked through this amazing park as well. We of course have pictures of all of that as well as literally hundreds of other pictures from Brussels that we would love to share with you if you want to see them. These weren't even the best pictures of Brussels, but just a sampling of some of what we saw. I will try and tackle our first night in Paris in a little while so check back soon for the next picture update.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Bon Soir!

Good evening from Paris!

Well yesterday Shalisa and I visited the Louvre. We saw so much art that by the end my eyes started to hurt. We got to see TONS and I mean literally tons of sculptures ranging from stuff that was in early mesopotomia 4000 years ago to stuff that was sculpted just 200 years ago. We saw Greeks and Romans and of course French sculpture, and that was just the begining! There was the winged victory and the Venus de Milo.

Then of course we moved on to the Louvres speciality, paintings. We saw Rembrandts, Botecelli and of course the worlds largest collection of Da Vinci paintings... all 5 of them :) The Mona Lisa had a HUGE crowd around it, I was able to push my way to the front but Shalisa couldn't see it. We wandered through about another 1000 paintings or so and split for lunch. We then had a beautiful walk through the Tuleries Garden to the Musee d'Orsay. There we saw a whole bunch of impressionists from Degas to Van Gogh (Van Hock as they prounounce it) to Monet. We had a great view of Paris through the clock tower. We then headed off to this great little side street called Rue Clare where Shalisa bought some fresh flowers, we picked up some groceries, and had fresh crépes from a street vendor (after many crépes I have to say butter and sugar is the best [beurre et sucre as they would say in French]). We finished the day off by going back to the Louvre which is open late on Wednesdays. It had REALLY cleared out, and although there was still people at the Mona Lisa it went from this huge crowd to 4. Shalisa and I where both able to take some great pictures and we were able to enjoy some of the paintings we had missed earlier in the morning in the huge crowds.

Today we woke up to snow, and oh was it snowing. Although it is hard to tell how much snow is really falling in downtown, we took a day trip out to Versailles and you could really see the snow there. I would estimate there was a good 6 inches of snow on the ground and we had a grand old time playing in the snow on the lawn of Versailles. We toured the palace, but both of us were a little underwhelmed, but I think that is because last year in England Windsor castle was so magnificant, and because of all the revolutions in France (I didn't realize, but since our revolution they have had 5!) a lot of the artifacts and treasures have either been looted or melted down to forge weapons or sold to pay for wars. We still saw some of the crown jewels, but it is sad that so many of these great treasures of history were lost. After Versailles we hopped back on the RER and visited Napoleans tomb (impressive, he is buried in 6 caskets!) and the Rodin museum. Rodin was the sculpture who did such sculptures as "The Thinker", Balzac, and "The Gates of Hell" from Dantes Inferno. All very impressive and right there in front of us. We finished oof the day heading to the Sacre Cuer Basilica which is another impressive French Church. It was the first place that didn't allow camera's so I had to whip out the spy cam :) Had dinner in the Jewish quarter (falaffel) and am now at the internet cafe... phew what a busy last few days, and the next 2 look just as busy :)

I hope everyone is doing well, and we are now on the home stretch of our vacation, so hopefully we can all see you soon!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

So sad... have the wrong cord for USB :(

Because I have the wrong cord that means no pictures until we get back :(

But I can tell you what we have been up to. Yesterday we visited Disneyland Paris and MGM Studios Paris. I think my favorite atraction was Motuers Action! which was a stunt show similar to the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt spectacular but with cars flying through the air (literally) and people running around on fire (also literally!). I think Shalisa's favorite atraction was Alice's Curious Labrynth which was a huge hedge maze in Disneyland.

Today we visited Notre Dame in the morning, but due to the weather (cold, brrrr!) the Tower climb is closed for right now. We will try again later in the week and hopefully they will reopen. We also saw St. Chapelle which had an AMAZIING amount of stained glass. We headed back to our hotel around 3 and decided to call it a day early so that we could rest up (we are both tired, Disney always does that) plus tommorow we are headed to the Louvre which will probobly exhaust us once again. Sorry about the lack of pictures, but once we get back I am sure there will be no shortage of them