Posted by mike d. Filed in travel

We are back from our Italian honeymoon adventure! It was an epic 11 day trip through Venice, Florence, and Monterosso (Cinque Terre). We have 1300 photos, so get ready for pictorial overload!

Well, not really.

Here’s the deal. We’ve all seen more than our share of beautiful vistas, impressive architectural feats, and flawless art – so instead I’m going to post a combination of our atypical pictures bustling with personality, and the comically bad pictures.

So get excited: The Italy 2014 recap is coming.

Posted by mike d. Filed in A Day In The Life...

Jen and I are headed off on our belated Luna di Miele!
Our trip includes: Milan, Venice, Florence, and Cinque Terre. It’s going to be a whirlwind tour!

There may be a brief pause in posting, but make sure to come back for pictures and adventure recaps!




Posted by mike d. Filed in Food

Michelle recently took an educational trip to Italy to learn about cheese and foodstuffs. On Saturday Jen and I got the trip review, complete with epic pictures and videos.

Perhaps most striking was the parmesan factory. Check out the insanity:



Those cheese wheels are HUGE. They are about the size of a small tire and during the forming process take two people to lift before being split into this size. Each wheel is checked by a professional hammer guy* who knocks all over the place with a tiny hammer to determine if there are any voids in the cheese. Anything that’s deemed less than perfect is cut up and sold in a smaller form.

The wheels are aged for two years before being sold.

We did a quick guesstimate based off the height and length of these rows. Our estimate? 21,000 wheels of cheese in this facility.


*best job ever

Posted by mike d. Filed in House of Rock

The Kitchen is complete.

It has come so far from its point of origin when the drop ceilings and poor fluorescent lighting were marginally worse than the gross tile counters and the aging appliances. Eventually, everything was replaced. The first wave of changes came in 2009 with the new ceiling, lighting, and appliances. This weekend we finally completed the second wave of changes with the counters and cabinets.

Before (12/2004):


After (6/2014):


I am so relieved that it’s done.

Posted by mike d. Filed in House of Rock

Today we look at the counter work at the House of Rock!

First, removal of the existing counters!

The peninsula came off no problem. Not so with the other counters.


I took this second picture during a frustrated break as I tried to figure out how I could possible get the counters off.


Finally, I made the easy decision: get help.

I hired a contractor to get the last counters off and help professionally install their replacements. The work is still underway, but this next picture shows where we are at the moment.

New Counters

Looking good! We still have to cut the holes for the range and the sink and get the last of the backsplash up and secured. This is heaps better than our starting point for sure.

Posted by mike d. Filed in House of Rock

The Kitchen of Rock has been undergoing a significant transformation as it prepares for its life-transition to rental property.

1. Cabinets: painted
2. New Hardware installed
3. Counters removed
4. New Counters installed
5. Backsplash installed

Today, we look at the cabinets and the hardware. Check it:

Note: 80′s wood colored cabinetry. Also, we’ve removed all the drawers and a few of the cabinets. Ignore that. Also, we removed the hardware prior to this picture. It was overly ornate.

In Process:
So… much… painting…

Oooh! Classy.



Posted by mike d. Filed in A Day In The Life...

My in-laws, in support of my growing bird watching fascination, graciously purchased for me a set of binoculars for my birthday.

I have never owned binoculars.

All of my historic magnification viewing has been through telescopes or camera lenses. When I first tried out my new binoculars I was stunned! Depth! There was depth!

I agree that this is really obvious and something I probably should have anticipated. Still, this fascination got me wanting to learn a bit more about the history of Binoculars.

Without looking, take a guess as to when Binoculars were invented! Once you make your guess, proceed to the comments where the rest of this post pans out.

Posted by mike d. Filed in A Day In The Life...

Singular masculine Italian words often end in the letter ‘o’. When you pluralize those words the ‘o’ is switched to an ‘i’.

For example, Concerti would be the Italian pluralization of a Concerto.
Nonno (grandfather) becomes Nonni (grandfathers, or grandparents).

Presumably then I am a DiDonato but together my family are DiDonati

Extra credit: Feminine words end in ‘a’ and their plural end in ‘e’. That means you might have a pizza tonight, or you might have four pizze tonight.

Double extra credit: Why is the word ‘beer’ feminine and the word ‘wine’ masculine in the romance languages? This seems backwards to stereotypical beverage choice.




Other language varieties don’t contain the same gender choices, for example I think Irish languages have both beverages as masculine.

There’s a pretty good wikipedia article on grammatical gender that explains some forms of gender origination, but as to how these particular words claimed their gender? I haven’t a clue.

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