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Travel to Italy - August 19-20

Friday, September 29, 2006 10:54 AM

The view from our apartment at Greppi di Silli - August 20, 2006

On the morning after the ceremony, we got up early and went over to Andrea's parents' house for breakfast.  We had most of the families over for breakfast and to open the wedding presents from the previous night.  Andrea's mom fixed a wonderful breakfast that included a hashbrown casserole and a french toast casserole among other dishes. 

After breakfast, we got loaded up and went to the airport in Des Moines for the flight to Rome.  The flight from Des Moines to Cincinnatti was short and uneventful.  We then got on the airplane for the long flight to Rome.  The Delta 767 that we were on did have one cool feature: when the in flight video was not showing, they displayed the location and orientation of the airplane on a map with the other vital stats like altitude, ground speed, and time to the destination. 

We arrived at the Leonardo da Vinci Airport in Rome at about 10:30 in the morning on the 20th after flying overnight.  Customs was much easier to get through than I expected but the Rome airport's baggage system that estimated the bag arrival time wasn't even close and our bags didn't get out for nearly 20 minutes after the stated time. 

Once we had our bags, we went out to get our rental car.  The Rome airport has a rather bizarre design that had us feeling like we were snaking around in circles to get to the rental car counters.  Once we got our car paperwork taken care of, we had the Europcar rental desk call Greppi di Silli to get good directions since we only had a vague idea of where they were located at.  The directions were to take the A1 autostrade to the Firenze-Certosa exit, follow the signs to San Casciano, and then call for detailed directions.  So off we went.

The initial driving experience was rather intimidating because I was in an unfamiliar car (an Opel Meriva), and I was not familiar with the local signage or driving customs.  Despite all of the challenges, we quickly got out on the autostrade and headed north towards Florence.  Almost 4 hours later, we got to the Firenze-Certosa exit and started attempting to follow the signs to San Casciano.  We passed the Florence American Cemetary from World War II as we headed south, and just south of the cemetary, our lack of knowledge of the local road signage started popping up again.  We had a couple of misdirections before we ended up in San Casciano.

Of course, when we got to San Casciano, our T-Mobile cell phones that were supposed to be set up for use in Italy before we left were not yet working.  So we couldn't call Greppi di Silli for directions.  We figured that the address for Greppi said Mercatale val di Pesa, so we decided to follow the signs to Mercatale.  Once we got to Mercatale, we set about finding someone who could tell us where Greppi was.  Being a Sunday, all of the stores were closed and there was almost no one on the street.  Thankfully we found a nice gentleman who, although he spoke no English, recognized Greppi and, after a quite a few hand gestures, had us follow him to Greppi.  Our thanks still go out to this man because we would have never found the agriturismo without his help.

Once we got to Greppi, Michel helped us get checked in and allowed us to use the computer to contact T-Mobile to find out why our phones weren't working.  Fortunately they started working about 10 minutes after we got off the computer.  Michel then pointed us to a local restaurant called "I Toscany" for dinner.  The food was wonderful and I discovered what has become one of my new favorite dishes, prosciutto e melone.  After dinner, we went back to Greppi and crashed for the night after a long and tiring two days of travel.

Photos from the first day in Italy

 
By: Shane
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The Ceremony

Friday, September 29, 2006 10:23 AM

August 18, 2006 - By the Des Moines River

When we got back to the hotel from the state fair, I went up to my room to get ready for the ceremony.  It didn't take long to get ready and after getting dressed, I went back down to the lobby to meet everyone for the ceremony.  Once we had everyone rounded up in the lobby we left for the Des Moines Botanical Center at about 4:45. 

Once we got to the Botanical Center, we finshed the last bit of setup and then started with the pictures that we could take without Andrea.  Once we finished with the pictures at about 6, we went back out into the lobby to talk with the arriving guests before the ceremony started.

At 6:30, we started the ceremony.  Pastor Mike did a wonderful job officiating and Andrea looked truly stunning in her dress. 

After the ceremony, we held our receiving line and then took all of the pictures while the rest of our guests ate dinner.  We then came back in and did our first dance to Joe Williams' rendition of "Alright, Okay, You Win."  We then proceeded to cut the cake before the dancing began. 

It was a wonderful night.  Our DJ, Claude Wilkins, and our photographer, Don Davis, both did a great job all night long.  Greg and Suzie both did an exceptionally good job on their toasts and we all enjoyed dancing the night away.

Photos from the Wedding

Professional Wedding Photos by Don Davis

 
By: Shane
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Wedding Day at the Iowa State Fair

Friday, September 29, 2006 8:59 AM

On the wedding day, it's Game Over

Continuing the story of the wedding week and honeymoon, I now get to August 18, 2006, the day of the wedding.  I got up early in the morning because I had to go to the tux store to pick up my new pants and Andrea's dad's new jacket. 

After picking the fixed tuxes up, I went back to the Savery where I met Heather, Daniel, and Pastor Mike in the lobby to go to the Iowa State Fair.  We then jumped in the car to go pick up Greg on the way to the fair.  After getting no response from Greg after a number of tries, we gave up and headed up to the fair without him.  Once we got to the fair, we headed straight to the agriculture building to see the famous butter cow.  This year, the three butter sculptures were Superman, Mr. State Fair (Bill Riley), and Jersey, the butter cow.  The cow is carved out of about 3200 pounds of pure butter. 

Following the butter cow, we went and grabbed lunch and Pastor Mike and Daniel began a competition to see how many snow cones they could eat.  Next we went into the art building and wandered around until Greg called for us to meet him.  Greg and I both got the fried oreos for dessert and Pastor Mike had a fried hoho.  We then went to look at all of the livestock and then passed by the butter cow again on our way out so that Greg could get to see it. 

At that point, it was time to head back to the hotel to get ready for the ceremony.  During the 4 and a half hours I was there, I had about 5 people stop me because they liked the shirt I was wearing and had to get a picture of it!

Photos from the Iowa State Fair

Up next:  The Ceremony 

 
By: Shane
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Rehearsal Day

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 3:40 PM

Court Avenue Brewing Company - Capital Raspberry Wheat

On August 17, the day of the rehearsal, Andrea and I went for a his and her massage at Sahar's, where Diana works.  Following the massage, Diana trimmed my hair and then Greg got in to town from Austin, so she trimmed his hair as well.  Greg and I then went to check in to our respective hotels before the rehearsal.

I met Pastor Mike in the lobby of the Savery at 3:45 and then Mike, Daniel, and I drove over to the Embassy Suites to pick up Greg and then go to the rehearsal at the Botanical Center.  The rehearsal went well and took about an hour and then we all left to go to the rehearsal dinner at the Iowa Machine Shed Restaurant.  Dinner was fried chicken, smoked pork chops, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, cole slaw, and bread. 

After dinner, we went back to the hotel and then Daniel, Heather, Steven, and Jason took me out to some bars for the night.  We went to an English style pub for a couple of drinks and then went to the Court Avenue Brewing Company where I had the wonderful Capital Raspberry Wheat beer.  We had a few more drinks before I left to call it a night.

Photos from the rehearsal are in the Photo Album.

Next up: Wedding Day

 
By: Shane
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Wedding Week

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 3:28 PM

I'm finally starting to catch up on the photos from the last 6 weeks, so I'm long overdue for some journal entries about the wedding and honeymoon.

On August 12, Greg came up from Austin to throw my bachelor party.  We met at my apartment at 4pm and were joined by Dan and John.  We then left my apartment to go to the Rockies game where we watched the Rockies beat the Cubs 8-4.  We then went to the Cheesecake Factory for dessert before heading to the Wynkoop Brewery for a drink and then called it a night.  Photos from the bachelor party are here.

On Monday, August 14, I drove out to Iowa for the wedding.  It was the typical 9.5 hour drive and I got into Des Moines at about 11pm.

On the 15th, I ran some errands with Andrea in Ankeny in the morning.  In the evening we went to the Titanic exhibit at the Science Center of Iowa.  The exhibit was really interesting with a collection of artifacts from the Titanic and an IMAX movie on the recovery of the artifacts from the wreck.

On Wednesday, the 16th, I went to pick up the tuxedos and get a gift card for Heather in the morning and watched Brendan in the afternoon so Andrea and her mom could run errands.

Next up: Wedding Rehearsal and the Wedding

 
By: Shane
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Visa

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 9:19 AM

Visa

I'm finally working at my first client for Fujitsu now.  I started on Monday at Visa in Highlands Ranch.  Thus far, I haven't done much because they're still slowly working on getting me access to all of the systems I need. 

In the small world category, within the first 10 minutes I was at Visa, I ran into a friend from church in jr. high and high school that I hadn't seen since then.  She's the facilities coordinator here, and we're going to go have lunch tomorrow to catch up.

 
By: Shane
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Cats

Monday, September 11, 2006 8:49 AM

Cats - 25th Anniversary Tour

Last night, Andrea and I went to see the Cats 25th Anniversary Tour at the Buell Theater at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.  The show was wonderful and we both really enjoyed what could be the last time Cats appears in Denver for a long time. 

Before the show, we also went and tried the new Saltgrass Steakhouse over by my apartment.  I had been to the Saltgrass in Houston a number of years ago and the Westminster edition lived up to my memories from Houston.  The steaks were very good and were a good meal before the show.

 
By: Shane
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First Day at Fujitsu

Wednesday, September 6, 2006 7:29 PM

Fujitsu Consulting Today was my first day at Fujitsu Consulting.  I got to the office at 10 am and met a number of my new coworkers.  I got a new employee goodie bag that included a notepad, a mouse pad, a retractable phone cord, a Fujitsu foam stress ball, a coffee mug, and a $5 Starbucks gift card.  After that, I read some orientation materials and then began to set up my new work machine.  The laptop is a Fujitsu Lifebook N Series with an Intel Centrino Duo @ 1.83 GHz, 2GB of RAM, dual 160GB hard drives and a multi-layer DVD burner.  Then I went to lunch with John, Matt, and Tom at Chipotle before spending the rest of the afternoon continuing to set up my computer.  Tomorrow I will finally meet with my new boss when he gets back from vacation and then schedule an interview at a client site.  So far everything is going well and I'm looking forward to getting into some real work.
 
By: Shane
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Back

Saturday, September 2, 2006 8:13 AM

I'm back from the wedding and Italy.  Everything was fabulous!  Today we're off to Winter Park for the weekend since my stepbrother, Steven, is getting married on Sunday.  I will post more details of the wedding and the trip later.

 
By: Shane
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