Monday, June 30, 2008

Praise Wawa!

Today when I walked into Wawa for my afternoon pick-me-up, I saw something that stopped me dead in my tracks:  the coffee bar was surrounded by a priest and five nuns.  Clad in brown robes with crosses and rosary beads hanging from their hips, they were in all their glory as they peacefully stirred creamer and sugar into their cups.  I couldn't help but grin.  I guess even the holiest people need a mid-afternoon caffeine boost!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Dylan David Liodice

Well, he's finally here! Our nephew and godson, Dylan David Liodice, began his own little journey in the world on Wednesday, June 25th at 5:58PM. He weighed in at 7 lbs 8 oz and measured 19.5 inches in length. We all agreed that he is the most beautiful baby we've ever seen. Dave and I had a chance to hold him and it was amazing to feel his little newborn body in our arms. I couldn't help but look into his little eyes and wonder who he is going to grow into one day. For a tiny little baby, he's got a world of possibility within him. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Phone Call

Getting a phone call in the middle of the night is typically associated with bad news, however, the one we got in the wee hours of the morning was anything but. The call we've all been waiting for finally came around 4am this morning. Our newphew, Dylan, is on his way!

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Art of Relaxation

"Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are." - Chinese Proverb

Going down to the shore to visit my dad on his boat is one of our favorite things to do during the summer.  I don't know whether it's the fresh ocean air or the lapping water, but the deeply relaxed state we enter when we're there is comparable to a week in the Caribbean.  We drove down to Brielle on Saturday morning and by the time we reached the marina parking lot, all of our cares and concerns had vanished. We spent the day Saturday cruising around the harbor, admiring the multi-million dollar summer homes (see below), and picnicking on the Metedeconk River.  Sunday, despite the grim weather forecast, Dave and I plopped down on the beach in Point Pleasant and closed our eyes as the sunshine warmed our skin and the sound of the waves whisked us in and out of sleep all day. This weekend was a great reminder of the importance of relaxation. We all get so busy in our day-to-day lives that sometimes it's hard to find the time to relax.  Sometimes relaxing in itself can be stressful, especially if you're trying to organize a trip out of town.  But I've found that even simple things, like sitting outside on the porch for ten minutes or taking a walk around the block, can help you find your inner calm amidst the most hectic of days.  

As always, it was hard to see such a wonderful weekend come to an end, but Monday mornings always bring daydreams about what the next weekend might have in store.

(P.S. - Apparently the guy who owns this incredible manse is my age!  Maybe I need to spend less time relaxing and more time inventing something!)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

We could all learn a thing or two from Tim Russert

Tim Russert gave the commencement address at my graduation from Lehigh University in 2003 and though I never watched Meet the Press, I was deeply saddened by his sudden death a few days ago. After learning of his passing, I proceeded to search the Internet for his name and was stunned by his list of professional accomplishments, which only magnified my sense of loss. Here was an accomplished man of a relatively young age who had just returned from a family vacation in Italy where they celebrated his son's graduation from Boston College. Things were good in Tim Russert's life and I'm sure he never thought that last Friday would be his last day. If he had, how would he have spent it? And what would he have thought of the mark he was leaving on the world? 

The next day, I woke up and today my last day? And if it is, am I happy with the things I've accomplished and the general direction of my life? The answer is yes and no. Yes because I've achieved 3 things that are deeply important to me: 1) find true love, 2) travel the world, and 3) live creatively (I could certainly improve on this one, but I do the best I can with the time I've got).  On the other hand, I look at someone like Tim Russert, who has accomplished so much greatness that it makes my life seem so small and trivial. There is still so much accomplish! How does one accomplish so much greatness in life? How do we each leave our own special mark on the world? One answer that immediately springs to mind is...fill your life with the things you're passionate about and eliminate, if you can, the extraneous things that drain you of your energy and rob you of your passion. Of course, to do this we need to closely examine our lives and be willing to make some painful changes.  For some people, it might mean ending a bad relationship and for others it might mean changing jobs. Whatever it is, it doesn't make sense to spend our remaining days here doing anything other than the things we feel passionate about. After all, even if today is isn't our last day, we're one day closer.

A Lesson in Patience

After our European backpacking adventures of 2002, camping disappeared from our lives for a while and I'm not exactly sure why. Maybe living out of a backpack and tent for five weeks gave us our fill? Maybe we failed to make the time? Whatever the reason, last year we finally started to dip our collective toe in the exciting world of camping again, after five years of being away from it. We've taken it slow thus far, camping at "safe" places with bathrooms and easy access to Wal-Mart for forgotten marshmallows and chocolate bars.  This past weekend marked our first camping trip of the 2008 season and while it was great fun, it was also a lesson in patience. Typically, we camp in May because we enjoy the cooler climates and sparsely populated campgrounds. Camping in the middle of June, however, brought with it some interesting surprises, like intense heat that forces you out your tent at 6:30 a.m. and summer thunder storms that force you to seek shelter under a very rickety, and difficult to assemble, canopy (courtesy of Wal-Mart). Luckily, we were with our friends, Chris and Bri, who know how to fun no matter what the situation, so a night of Texas Hold 'em ensued despite buckets of rain pouring down all around us. Overall, we had a great time camping, although there was one part of our trip that was borderline intolerable:  the wild insects that look like they could be part of the cast of Transformers 2. Poor Chris found an insect that can only be described as a flesh-eating, giant-winged half-caterpillar, half scorpion on his leg as he was tucking in for the night. Believe me, Chris's screams cut through the night air like a knife!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sending some inspiration your way...

If you haven't heard, J.K. Rowling recently spoke at Harvard University's Graduation Ceremony( Though I haven't read a single Harry Potter book, I love J.K. Rowling for what she represents...the power to make your wildest dreams come true despite your circumstances. Here are three quotes from her speech that I found inspiring and wanted to pass along:

"We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better."

"What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality." - Plutarch

"As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters." - Seneca

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Now that we're home from Norway, Dave and I are gearing up for the arrival of our first nephew, Dylan David Liodice...due July 5th. Chris and Randi are pretty certain that he will arrive early, so we're eagerly awaiting the phone call! Today was such a special day because Chris and Randi asked me and Dave to be Dylan's god parents. Of course, we accepted with honor. This is such an awesome responsibility; to play a role of spiritual, moral, and religious guidance in our young nephew's life. You cannot imagine how honored and excited we are feeling tonight! What an amazing journey this will be!!
(photo: Randi in all her pregnant glory)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Bethlehem on the Big Screen

We've only been home a couple days and already life is full of adventure. Our normally quiet little town of Bethlehem has been cast as the opening scene in the 'Transformers 2' movie. Apparently, through the use of green screens and other digital enhancements, the Steel will play the part of a Chinese industrial city. Dreamworks began filming yesterday, so helicopters were flying over the Bethlehem Steel for several hours last night. And since our house is just up the hill from the Steel, our walls were shaking and every now and then spotlights sliced through our yard and illuminated our windows. The experience made us think of the poor souls living in Iraq and how frightening it must be to live in a war zone. You can check out the complete story on the Morning Call's website:,0,5867176.story
(Photo: courtesy of

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Story of Dave's Heritage

Ok, the amazing story of exploring Dave's heritage has been posted. Scroll down to the May 26th post entitled, "Biland." Enjoy!

The trip may be over but the blog lives on

Life is a collection of a million little journeys, so check back from time to time to continue hearing about mine...

Good to be Home

We arrived home last night around dinnertime with no food in the house and no energy to go grocery shopping, so we resorted to our lazy night routine...melting into the couch with a pizza and catching up on the Lost season finale (I fell asleep an hour into it, so I still don't know how it ended). We slept for what felt like a hundred years and woke up at 6:30a.m., to the most beautiful morning. The air outside was brisk and cool and the sky was that cloudless clear blue that only comes a handful of times throughout the year. Wide awake and wired with energy, we decided to go for a walk before work. I don't know if it was the jetlag or the fresh energy that Norway had injected us with, but walking around our little town was like seeing everything with new eyes; things that are normally so boring and familiar had taken on new life...neighboring houses were more beautiful than I had remembered, the other people out walking were friendlier, and overall my life here was more inspiring than when I had left it. And then a completely unexpected thought arrived in my's good to be home. I guess even after the best journeys, there is something soothing about coming back.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Last day

We spent the last day on a train ride from Bergen back to Oslo, which took about 7 hours. The scenery was maginificent and it gave us some time to reflect on all the wonderful memories from our journey.

This morning we're catching our flight back to Newark and arriving back at home around noon. In keeping with family tradition, we spent some time last night at dinner talking about where we want to go next...maybe Greece? I'll be keeping my fingers crossed on that one!

Biking in Bergen

Our last day in Bergen, we rented bikes and pedaled through new parts of the city. What a fun way to see a new place. We checked out the University of Bergen and a beautiful park, covering a lot more ground than we ever could have on foot.