Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Onward to Erie

After all the Christmas festivities at my two families, we headed to see Megan's folks. Its about a 3-4 hour drive from Toledo, and Cleveland makes a nice stopping point whenever the kids get stir crazy in the car.

In Erie we visited the new Tom Ridge environmental center on Presque Isle state park...it was really nice! It highlights the use and changes of the penninsula over the years and has some good interactive exhibits. There is a tall lookout tower with great views of the bay. Also, the building has some cool green features like natural convection cooling and use of recycled materials.

Also we visited the Splash Lagoon waterpark, whew some of those water slides are crazy! I went down this one that takes you outside (in the dark) and then back into this huge vortex type thing that then drops you down into a big pool of water. When you come to the surface you can barely tell which way to swim to get to the edge.

On our way back to Toledo, Megan and the girl stopped in Cleveland to see the My Little Pony live show. Me and the boy went to the downtown library for a while, what a very impressive place!

Friday, December 22, 2006

The party continues

Today we picked up the boy and then headed over to see a family we met while he attended the Grove Patterson school. We left our remaining gold fish Jerry with this family when we moved to England and were sad to hear that he had given up on life...but it was a long life of 7 years for the carnival fish won in the ping pong toss.

Later we headed over to one of my good friends Jim's, who put together a nice party for us. Some old friends from Napoleon as well as some newer friends from the Toledo area dropped in. There were kids hopping around; real english ales; the Los Straitjackets holiday songs in the background... what a great time. Thanks a lot Jim!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Breakfast with Laura

Today we had breakfast with a good friend of ours, Laura Lago, and her daughter Abigail. Laura has this way of coming in and out of our lives at important times. When we were getting maried, she was the nice lady at the fabric shop who helped Megan pick out the fabrics for her dress. When we had the boy, she was the wise lady who helped us plan Liam's naming ceremony at First Unitarian. Megan has spent countless hours with her sewing and pontificating religion. She has spent some nights at our place with the kids so Megan and I could sneak out for a while. It was good to see her again and I think she feels back at home in the old west end.

Later that day we made a family trip to the dentist (health care isn't so great in UK) and then the boy went for an overnight with one of his good friends.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Lunch with co-workers

Today Megan and I ran around town getting some gifts sorted for Christmas. We stopped in for lunch with my former boss and my old team...it was really nice hanging out with them again for a while.

Monday, December 18, 2006

a day in Ann Arbor

Today Megan and I wandered Ann Arbor... Pinball Pete's arcade, bookstores, cafe, etc. Later we saw US vs John Lennon at the Michigan Theater main hall, a very beautiful venue! It had lots of music and interviews and was produced pretty well. It filled in a lot of gaps for me because I've never known much about him (and Yoko). A quip about Bush near the end really cheapened the whole thing and I'm really surprised this wasn't edited out. Only in a town like AA do you get a standing ovation at the end of a Monday night documentary at the theater!

We almost moved to this town once, I think it still has possibilities when we move back to the states.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Lunch at Mom's

Today we drove to Napoleon and had lunch at mom & Dave's. Later Megan and I made our way to the Holiday Inn French Quarter while the kids spent the night at grandma and grandpa's.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Flight to Toledo - Back in T Town

We came home for a couple weeks to meet with family and friends over the holidays.

We arrived at Toledo Express at 7:30 and headed to Liberty Center to stay at dad's house for the night. The kids were very shy and didn't know what to do when they saw my dad and step mom...but they soon warmed up. It was a weird feeling driving the old Saturn again, I like my Vauxhall Zafira much better I have to admit.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Has it really been that long?

Yes, yes it has. Megan and I were married at Hope Lutheran Church on Indian / Bancroft 10 years ago today. Since then we've done some very nice things like finish college, start a family, remodel a home, and live abroad. I wonder what the next 10 will hold?

I sure hope it slows down a bit because that decade absolutely flew!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Lymm Dickensian Parade 2006

Lymm is a nice old town between Warrington and Manchester. Each year around this time they have a Dickensian parade (in the style of Charles Dickens). We took our friend Bob to brunch and then stayed for the parade. He'll be moving back home to the states soon and we will sure miss him and his wife!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Pied Piper Opera

Tonight after work I packed up the family and we went to the Lowry theatre in Manchester to see the Pied Piper. The venue was small, had a great little orchestra, the singers were amazing, and acting full of emotion and movement. Even though it was billed as family friendly, I wasn't sure how the kids would take to it. But from the moment we walked in they were interested what was happening on stage; I think they got a lot out of it.

The Lowry is a really cool piece of building right down at the quays in city centre. Out across the water you can see Old Trafford and the Imperial War museum.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Manchester VBUG

Since moving from Toledo I haven't gone to any .NET user groups. Last night that all changed as I went downtown to catch Dave Sussmen and Alex Homer talk about Linq and the MS Enterprise Library. It was a nice venue in a lively part of town (near china town). I really like how Alex had some problems with his demo, but immediately knew how to recover. In the process helped you understand how the situation could easily occur. He covered a bit on Partial Trusts at the end which would be interesting for ISPs or companies that bring in .NET development from outside companies.

Afterward we went across the street to a pub for a while. Alex and Dave are both great guys. We talked about religion in public schools all the way to round-abouts in "Americker" as they say.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Signs of winter in Widnes

When it gets cold, you can see the foxes come out of hiding because they are hungry. Here is one the boy spotted from his bedroom window a few days ago...

To all my poor friends back in Ohio...we've had frost 1 day so far, but complaining about the weather seems to be the official national passtime here.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Another Place

Today we drove to Crosby, a coastal town where an artist named Anthony Gormley put a bunch of human statues in the sand walking out into the sea. Its titled "Another Place". Rumor has it the whole installation is moving to NYC sometime soon.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Dismal election...

Things really did not go my way in this election. The Cosi failure realy bugs me, considering it was 1/6th the cost of the Zoo levi which passed by a wide margin and passed a levi in the last election as well. It doesn't make sense to me.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween...

Trick or Treat is catching on in the UK. We had a few lucky kids frequent our house for an unhealthy share of treats.

Monday, October 30, 2006

In support of COSI

I've added a temporary banner to my page in support of COSI issue 11. I feel this is of great importance to the medium-long term success of Northwest Ohio as a technology corridor.

Every couple of years we hear of some administrator (e.g. superintendents, board members, mayors) getting lambasted on the perceived lack of short term success and brain drain of our population. However, children are raised and educated over decades, not 24 month cycles. To build a creative young and vibrant community, we should continue enriching schools and attractions for children, adolescents, teenagers, and young adults. The benefits from an institution like COSI are not easily quantified and will not see results overnight. Likewise the damage of its removal will not be seen overnight. But it will have serious negative consequences for the following reasons:

1) Loss of a local, highly fun and anticipated, destination for school age children to learn about science.

2) Loss of an excellent tourist destination for families both living in the region and passing through.

3) Moral loss of another downtown Toledo venture

4) Loss of huge prior investments of time and money, getting another science museum opened would require the same large start up costs in dollars and manpower.

5) Additional disused building in downtown Toledo.

6) Positive economic impacts diverted to other science centers such as Ann Arbor, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, and Fort Wayne.

7) Moral loss to a generation of children who are already seeing large battles about redevelopment of schools and continuous closings of schools.

I won't try and pad out my list to try and get to a magic number 10. These are negative aspects regarding the loss of COSI. What do I see as positive aspects? Some are just the flip side of issues already listed. Here are some more positives:

1) COSI is a good place for families to hang out - it is a safe, fun environment for families of all backgrounds.

2) COSI has value for children - obviously they learn about science in fun ways.

3) COSI has value for adults - they spend time with their children and grand children learning and nurturing.

4) COSI has value for employees - a creative job in a town considered by many to be dull.

5) COSI has value for people who have never even gone through its doors - it improves our economy directly by attracting people to downtown, and indirectly by fostering our next generation of citizens, employees, and entrepreneurs.

I feel I've become somewhat of a science museum aficionado, having seen about a dozen around the US and half dozen in Europe. Most recent was the 10 year old Scientastic in Brussels. It is a nice museum supported 95% by admissions, but too tight on space, located in a dark area underground. I've seen from a customer side, the whole range of science museums; free to the public, to being completely supported by admissions. It is a difficult balance, but an important one. Tipped to much towards independence and you end up with run down facilities and not much great content. Too heavily supported by taxes creates a heavy burden on the community and a place not focused on its customers.

I think $5 year per average homeowner is probably too small an amount for COSI to be asking, but they may be fearful of even this amount getting passed. I don't understand this mentality when I consider community support for some other organizations that are great successes (Zoo, metroparks, museum, libraries). Look at the comparative age of these organizations; COSI is still an infant. I believe we should bring it along for another generation by supporting this levy. Vote yes on Issue 11.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Here is an attempt at a panoramic shot of the main square in Brussels. I'll add a viewer control once I figure out Blogger's rules on javascript...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Fall 06 Roadtrip - Day 6 - Luzern

Today we headed to the Transport Museum in Luzern, which is a very massive museum reminding me of the trains at Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, and parts of the Smithonian in Washington DC.

There are some great features for kids, like free razor scooters to travel around between the buildings, or on this special track to help learn traffic patterns.

There is an outdoor construction yard where they can sort, transport, and build with these resin bricks.

We stayed here about 4 hours, but I think you could spend about 3 days to truly go through and read everything.

Later we walked the streets of the city, visited the Library, browsed some shops, ate some nice foods.

This is a town I could definately see myself coming back to someday.It is very pedestrian friendly, and I've never seen so many bikes and scooters in my life. Check out the vintage bike in this photo...notice the lever brake that pushes directly against the tire.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Fall 06 Roadtrip - Day 5 - Luzern

We had a good breakfast at Rotberg, walked some trails, and then were on our way.

It looked like it would be a nice day, so we decided to drive right past Luzern to Alpnaschtadt. This is at the base of Mt Pilatus where you can catch a cogwheel train up to the top. Considering my wife is mildly clausterphobic, and the kids might freak out with the cable cars as well, we decided this train would be the best route. It took about 30 minutes to reach the top, and 4 tickets cost about $130 for the round trip, but the views were amazing.

Later we checked into our hotel, and walked the streets of Luzern, what a beautiful city! Here it is looking down from Pilatus.

Here it is looking back at the mountain a few hours later, overlooking the mill bridge. This bridge has these old paintings in the rafters depecting death coming for various people.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Fall 06 Roadtrip - Day 4 - Mulhouse / Basel

Today we got up and moved out of the Luxembourg Hostel. We drove through the Alsace area of France to the city of Mulhouse. This region is where France, Germany, and Switzerland meet, mostly German speaking. I've since found out Mulhouse was a German city before WWII. We visited one of the largest Zoo and botanical gardens in Europe. Check out those exotic north american bison...

For a time I was off the TomTom maps lost in Basel. This was a harrowing experience, because after cutting down a couple of side streets looking for a place to turn around, I found myself in the middle of this pedestranized triangular shaped intersection, with light rail trains coming / going in 3 directions, hundreds of people, bikes, construction workers pointing me to drive in a direction that was even more full of people. Ugh, somehow got turned around and back out of that place.

We were getting hungry, it was getting dark, went to a MacDonalds and they had no cash point, didn't take any form of credit or Euro, and didn't know where we could find a cash point. For the record, it can be very difficult to pay by credit card and to find a cash point/ATM in Switzerland! People knew what we were looking for, just didn't know where to find one. Do people work on a cash basis in this country?

At 7:00 it was dark and we were searching for our hostel. Our GPS took us to an intersection where we should find a small driveway. We followed this up the side of a large hill. We found the parking area we needed, but only a farmhouse nearby, no sign of the castle. After calling Thomas, the hostel keeper, he told us to search around for a small orange lit button. We found this button and it illuminated a path going up the hill through the forest. He assured me it was only 150 stairs and will see me in a little while, but first warned me to not bring too much luggage. Due to Megan's planning we had this night's clothes / supplies already packed into 1 duffel, so we started the ascent. About halfway up, the lights went out. We were in a pretty thick forest at this point, and there was no light. My daughter started flipping out but Megan soothed her with the glow of her mobile phone. The boy and I forged forward to the top of the hill, where we found another glowing orange button. Pushing this lit the way for another 10 minutes, plenty of time for the girls to finish the hike. Now we could see this old fortress, it was so cool! The kids were pretty sure this place was haunted, but they weren't too keen about going back into the forest either. So we entered through these thick, meideval looking doors, climed some more stairs, and were finally greeted by Thomas. He looked like he was in his mid-30's, shaved head, one of those evil looking goatees...but very nice and helpful. He took us up to the 3rd floor for our room. We settled in and made the beds, and then went back down to the dining hall to play some games and have a snack. You can see the scale of the main support timber to the left of Megan in this photo.

Eventually we settled in for bed. For some reason I woke up at about 3AM and walked over to one of the windows. There was not a cloud in the sky and I could see so many stars. I just looked and thought about things until I got too cold and went back to bed.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Fall 06 Roadtrip - Day 3 - Luxembourg

Here are some pictures from Luxembourg. The day was overcast so I didn't get great photos. Luxembourg was originally built as a fortress city, and has this cool laberinth of caves beneath a section of the city that they call the "casemates". In this picture you can see part of the old fortifications and the entrance to the caves is nearby.

This is a cool bridge near the casemates. The lower bridge connects two parts of the tunnel system.

Cool fountain, the city center is very walkable.

I remember walking through town up this street thinking, boy, I wouldn't want to drive through here. On our way out of the city I ended up having to drive up this hill through the arch...not on purpose ;-) ugh.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Fall 06 Roadtrip - Day 2 - Lille France

Woke up and took our time with breakfast. Drove into Lille city centre to have a look around. They have really nice underground parking right in the middle of town, as we later found that many other cities do as well. Rarely do you see ugly above ground parking garages or huge expanses of blacktop surface lots in the old parts of towns.

As it turns out they were having a diwalli festival over a two week span, and really spruced up the main street of town with these huge elephant statues and lots of lights. We had some really nice pastries from a bakery, toured some indian exhibits (ancient arts, pop culture, labor in the textile industry, etc). They had an old open air market inside one of the buildings that had old books, coins, stamps, antiques. I bought an 1968 ed book by JP Sartre.

Eventually our legs got tired (Megan says full bellies) and we trooped back to the car. Next destination, Luxembourg City. Driving was pretty fast and easy on the way to Luxembourg. On the way we stopped this amazing rest area that was two large timberframe pyramids spanning the highway. but getting through the city in the dark with only vague directions was probably a bad idea. I had no clue how the roads emerge from cliffs, onto narrow bridges, and zig zag around in this city. It was amazing at night, and even more amazing the next morning when we could actually see what we drove through.

Fall 06 Roadtrip - Day 1

We set off from Widnes at 6:30am for the white cliffs of Dover. Driving went pretty smoothly, still getting accustomed to my new GPS (Mio p550). Arrived at ferry at 2:30pm including 2 stops along the way. The weather was a little harsh so the ferry bobbed around a little but the kids just thought it was fun.

After I drove off the ferry it was a little disorienting going on round abouts in the a clockwise direction and driving on the right side of the road again...but it soon became comfortable. We set off for our hotel just outside of Lille France, about an hour away. It really strikes me how similar the landscape of France is to northern Ohio. Lots of corn fields and barns, patches of trees and wildflowers, narrow country roads.

One particular corn field has been turned into a technology park, with lots of new office buildings. Here we found one of the coolest hotels I've ever stayed in. You walk in and see a coulple of NICE billiards tables, fooseball, a fully stocked bar, a cafe, plenty of lounge chairs and couches. The place is covered by a translucent roof to keep it bright inside, and all of the rooms look inward towards this atrium. For only 60 euros I got a room with two big beds, kitchenette, real art on the walls, a widescreen TV, and a dolby surround DVD player / music player (complete with subwoofer). This even included breakfast for all 4 of us! Really this apartment / hotel is geared towards young professionals who would come to work at this business park, but worked out perfectly for us.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

long time no blog...

Mailed off my absentee ballot request to good old Lucas County BOE this week. Have been having a great time with my new job and co-workers. Had a major episode of deja-vu on Wednesday. I distinctly remember waking up about 5 years ago and telling Megan that I saw myself surrounded by a bunch of co-workers that I didn't know. Well, now I know them! I saw the exact same windows, desks, and stairway, sitting from a place I've never sat at until that day. So creepy!

In other news, we've spent a lot of time planning out our Fall 06 European road trip. I'll be blogging and posting picks as soon as I can. We'll be covering about 1900 miles in 10 days, including a ferry trip across the channel. I've been talking to the kids about the trip and pointing out some of the countries on the map. Today my daughter brought me her scrap book from our Spring road trip to the Smokies and Orlando. She told me about each picture and told me how much she liked going to all those places. :-)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Weekend log

On Friday evening we had some friends over for some pizza.

Saturday we slept in then drove to Blackpool in the afternoon. It was too windy to make it to the top of tower. It is sort of England's equivalent to Vegas, but with no real comparison...closer resembling Niagra minus the falls.

Sunday we checked out Gulliver's world, which is a smallish sort of theme park about 10 minutes from the house. It is comparible in size to Waldameer in Erie PA. The kids had a blast and it was not crowded at all.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Weekend log

Saturday we went to a fair in Victoria Park, right here in Widnes. It had these great old organs, ranging from very small to gigantic. The biggest one had a dance floor in front and some girls were showing off thier vintage dancing skills from the turn of last century.

Some intereting cars and motercycles on display. This 1960's Triumph Herald is for sale for 1500 GBP.

Also they had plenty of junk food, midway games, and carnival rides.

Today we took the train to Liverpool. The Widnes station is a mile and a half from our house. It takes 30 minutes to get to the end of the line. It cost 11pounds total for our round trip tickets. From Limestreet Station you walk a block and arrive at the Walker Art Gallery, central Library, and Liverpool World Museum. Both the gallery and the World Museum really impressed me. Admission to both were free, and either would have been worth paying 10 quid per ticket, easy.

The art gallery was very good for families, because they've redesigned a wing just for kids. After they've played for a while, they get a scavenger hunt to look for certain works around the museum. Both kids were into the hunt, but I could see them stopping to take a good stare at some of the paintings...wonder what was going through those little minds. The world musuem is done up very nicely, with 5 levels divided by subject matter (sea life, 4 great human civilizations, bugs, pre-history, and space). Then on the other end of the buidling it has in depth sections on other civilizations, Indian-Asian, Japanese, African...you could spend days going through all the stuff. Once again, they worked really hard to make things interesting for adults but also for kids. My son loved counting the 24 arms of the bodhisattva or compassion, and my daughter was quite taken with the mummy.

Something tells me we'll be going back there many many times!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

You've never seen a church like this...

My supervisor brought his team together from around the world this week. For dinner we went to Alma De Cuba. This is a 200 year old church in downtown Liverpool thats been converted into an upscale resteraunt and bar. The approach from the street gives no clue about what is found inside. The nave is a long marble bar, with and tall narrow booths along the edge. Almost like confessionals, all done in very dark rich woods. Great old stained glass going down the sides. At the front of the place is a very ornate alter that they've prett much left alone. Going upstairs (on spire staircase, stones worn where you step) there are candles leading the way to the balcony which wraps around the walls. These are the main eating areas. Sat next to Eddie who I haven't spent time with since the Ben Lee concert. The food was perfect, decent wine, great company, a time I won't forget.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


We put the kids into swim lessons...the local public fitness center is very nice. We can watch the kids practice through this window.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Badders and Boddis

Had a friendly doubles match of badminton tonight, and afterward a few Boddingtons at the local pub. I could get used to this! This pub, called Micklehead Greene, is pretty close to our place. It has a decent menu, large non-smoking section, beer garden, outdoor playground, and most importantly, a big supervised indoor play center. It has video cameras so you could be anywhere in the pub and check in on your little ones. Even slighly older kids would be entertained whilst you drink your beer due to the free playstation kiosks. I could really get used to this!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Trip to Microsoft Campus in Reading

Today I drove down to Reading (pronounced "redding") for a Sharepoint 2007 seminar. The system blew me away. I think the search crawler complete with knowledge mapping email account scanner is the most impressive part. Out of the box it will allow you to scann your company's email boxes for key words and associations to quickly help you find knowledgable people an any subject indexed. It has privacy features as well, such as a user filtering what content can be indexed. Enough of that boring techy stuff...

The campus is in a beautiful setting along the river Thames, just northwest of London. I stayed in what must be one of the oldest Quality Inns around, built in 1890. Of course I don't know when it became a QI, but it just seems wrong.

The drive was so perfect. Blue skies, colorful sunset, hot air balloon drifting overhead. One thing the British really seamed to have figured out, is they don't have nasty looking utility poles and wires strung about. Also, they tend to keep the greenways green, and sprawl kept to a minimum. One thing they haven't figured out, is how to put garbage into a trash can (or recycle etc). There amount of litter here is astonnishing, and you never see volunteers cleaning any of it.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

First day of school

Both of the kids seem quite happy with the local public school...I know I am. After meeting the teachers, parents, and seeing the behavior of the kids, you couldn't ask for much more.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Like a rock...

Had to get a picture of this...

Can't you just hear Bob Seger singing about it? I've now seen 4 huge American vehicles over here...guess that averages 1 every 2 weeks. First was a Cadillac Escalade with 22" blingbastic rims. Next came a huge Dodge Ramm 4x4. Then a Ford F150 Harley Davidson edition. Finally, the Chevy full size conversion van. There is also a common thread, they are all black. Though the others didn't have the rivet wrap around look.

Don't worry about the parking job, everyone parks crazy over here. Can't imagine the cost in gas...my jaw about hit the ground when I first filled up my Zafira. 50 pounds, that's nearly $90 folks!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Weekend log...

Friday night, Dominos pizza party at the Myers household

Saturday we visited the Catalyst science museum here in Widnes. It started off great, with some great interactive exhibits for the kids. Made it through the first floor, onto the glass elevator all the way to the top. This gave a nice view of Widnes, Runcorn, the Mersey River, etc. There are no tall buildings in Widnes, so this 5 story view is about good as it gets. To our dismay, we found that this science museum only had 1 more floor to explore, and the place isn't exactly sprawling like COSI.

So by 1pm we were finished there and looking for more to do. Decided to head down to Wales and take Megan and the kids to a place I had already been... Conwy. We didn't go inside the castle there, but we spent some time walking the town. You can't go very far without being harshly reminded that this is a medieval town from the 13th century! I didn't really know where I was going, but headed back towards the bay. We slowly drove past 4 people riding these huge beautiful horses. The road started narrowing, and sloping, and winding. We rounded a corner that went steeply down to an old wall section of the city. The road lines followed right on through an opening in the wall, but it looked only to be 6 feet wide and 5 feet deep. No way I'm getting my van through there. So here I am in my 6 speed Zafira (that I'm in love with), burning up the clutch in reverse trying to find an area to turn around. More people are coming down this road (albeit in tiny cars). I managed to turn around and take a different tunnel back into the town (easy, we had at least a foot of space on either side of the van). The streets of town are very tight, winding, and confusing. Down one street I met a huge bus face to face. The driver just stopped, and motioned that I must turn around. Once again, I find myself backing this thing up and turning around. We found that there was a small blue arrow indicating that section of road as one-way, but very easy to miss. Normally here you would see "No Entry" written on the street where you are not supposed to turn in. I decided to give up driving and found a parking spot. We walked the town center, bought some pastries, saw a creepy old church, browsed some shops, had some ice cream (ask the boy about the dungeon), and then were on the road again.

Next we stopped in Llandudno, a great seaside town right next to the Great Orme Head. This town would be a great place to stay at a bed and breakfast for a relaxing time. There is a long pier that you can walk out on the bay with some midway style amusements. There is a cafe, bar, and arcade at the end. It is very scenic.

At the end of the day, near sunset, we drove around the one-way marine drive (in the proper direction). It was so beautiful. Some mountain goats were trotting up the road, when they saw our car, they hopped onto the stone wall out of site. We assume they knew what they were doing (not committing suicide?).

On Sunday we went on a smoothie making adventure in Lymm. My friend Bob has lived in Lymm Hall for the last 6 years. He made this great little map and 30 point plan for my son to follow. It included things totally unrelated to smoothie making but the kids didn't take notice. In the end we finally arrived at a field with wild black berries, a plum tree, and an apple tree. The formerly majestic estate of Lymm Hall is in "gentile decay" as Bob puts it.

Monday, August 14, 2006

weekend update...

Spent most of the weekend unpacking and truly moving in. Took a break yesterday to see the Knowsley Safari Park. When we approached the baboon area we saw some people driving on the exit road (at a more than moderat rate of speed) with the primates hanging onto their their cars! After we drove through we could tell why...it was like a drive through chop shop! They had absolutely no fear of vehicles, tearing off car parts and running off with them to the bush. Crazyness.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Our stuff came today, I'm so happy!

When they said 3 to 6 weeks for our ocean shipment, I think they meant to say 3 + 6 weeks, because this is week 9 that we've been without the bulk of our 'stuff'.

The kids are elated that their old toys and beds made it safely. Luckily Megan and I just bought a new one when we arrived.

Got the kids computer configured and seems to be happy running on 240v. Looking forward to re-assembling my rig...I'm going through BF1942 withdrawal.

Will still keep filling in the blanks from our Paris trip and other items I noted but didn't have time to finish journalling yet.

One interesting thing I noticed tonight is that my amazon rank is about 68,000. Have gotten some decent approvals of my reviews, but people seem to really hate my review of Raising Victor Vargas. I really like artistic, creative, dark films...but this one just wasn't that good. Can anyone give me an amen? Oh well, can't win em all.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Paris Day 5

This was our last day in Paris, and probably one of the best. We decided to catch the train out to see the Cite Science Center. It is a terrific place, with a lot of something for everyone. Admission: depends how much you want to see inside. Going through the area geared towards kids, on similar scale to COSI, 15 Euros for the 4 of us.

We spent a good deal of time inside the center, but noticed a lot of activity out back. Behind the center is a cool water garden with a huge reflective geode (theatre inside).

There is a big dragon slide at the edge of the canal. You climb up about 30 feet through its rib cage and come out its mouth. Notice how small the person looks sliding down this thing! Admission: Free

On the other side of the canal is a sprawling public park.

And what Paris park would be complete without a carousel? I turned on the fast exposure for my Canon and got this terrific shot of my wife and the kids as they rode by. If you look closely, you'll see that there is an upper deck to this ride. Admission: 1 Euro

Paris - Day 4

Eiffel Tower - from the second platform. It was way too busy to wait for lift to the very top.

Pony ride in the park

Eglis du Dome - I guess Napoleon is burried here?

Rodin's Garden - Son standing at the "Gates of Hell". Boy, get away from there!

Jarden Antlantique - Metro Rooftop garden

One of our books about Paris noted what to see from various train stops. At this one, there is a park built on top of a train station. It has raised walk ways and tucked away places. At certain parts you can look down through the ground and see the trains.

The kids enjoyed themselves at this park for a while before we set off for dinner.

We ate at Hippopotamus, and then, very full and very tired, headed back to our room.