Miners take Manhattan

Last week a business trip took me to Newark. It's not my favorite city, but we were able to take the train to Manhattan one night. Here's my friend Scott in Times Square:

Wow. That picture is amazingly bad, isn't it? Don't click on it to enlarge it- it will just get worse. I used that as inspiration for the new toy that I bought on Monday.

Anyway, we took the subway to Greenwich Village, had a good dinner at a Spanish restaurant, and then visited the Maria-recommended Peculiar Pub, home of 517 different kinds of beer.


Blowing in the Wind

While I was conveniently on a business trip last week, Fort Collins got a wind storm. Winds hit 80 mph, and a falling tree almost killed a bunch of kids at a day care center. We lost 2 sections of our fence, so my neighbor and I spent a good part of the weekend fixing it.

In what "seemed like a good idea at the time" we decided to do it right, and fix a large section of the fence that was constructed rather poorly. The worst part was digging up the old fence posts, which the previous owners had thoughtfully sunk in concrete. The posts are in place, the cross-beams are anchored in position, and we've started nailing the planks back on. I expect a good part of next weekend will be finishing the job.

Here's a view of the construction:

Our other neighbor lost a piece of fence too, and Home Depot had a line of people buying fence planks.


Austria Vacation Log: Day 4, München, Ulm, Langenargen

We came up with our plan for the day over breakfast. We had lots of grand ideas, as we still had a large laundry list of places we wanted to see in München. As we went through the list, though, we came to the conclusion that less is more, and opted for a single outing- the Alte Pinakothek (follow this English link for a good selection of art online).

Self-portrait of Albrecht Durer (photo credit:

This is München’s most famous art gallery. Compared to the museums in Italy, it was surprisingly affordable- only €5, including the audio guide. We only saw about half the museum before running out of time. Lots of “Maria mit Kind” paintings, unlike Italy, which was mostly filled with “Maria con bambino”.

After leaving the museum, we walked back to our hotel, picked up our bags, and walked to the train station. We arrived in plenty of time for our train, so we browsed the food counters for lunch. I had the bratwurst standby, while Dorinna opted for a spinach and cheese strudel. For desert we split 2 pastries. I made a poor-choice, and got some fruitcake-like substance rather than chocolate.

We had reserved seats on the train, and the trip passed quickly and comfortably. We traveled to the town of Ulm, where our friend Dieter met us at the train station. After dropping our stuff in his car, we made a beeline for the Münster, the tallest church in the world. We thought about climbing the 768 steps, but settled for exploring the cavernous interior. The church is all cold stone and vaulted gothic ceilings. Very nice, but also very cold and creepy.

Münster(photo credit: Wikipedia)

Afterwards we walked around the town. We had ice cream, saw some of the old neighborhoods, and walked on a short trail along the Donau (Danube). Our favorite part of the walk, however, was walking alongside a small stream. This brook ran right through the center of the town, with houses perched on all sides, and small bridges criss-crossing it everywhere. Dorinna says that Ulm is one of her favorite cities in Europe.

Leaving Ulm, we drove to the nearby town of Laupheim to pick up Dieter’s wife Michaela. We visited her parents and brother, an American friend, and their daughter Isabel. I tried speaking some German but my vocabulary is still very limited. I managed to ask Isabel the name of her toy stuffed animal dog. By contrast, Michaela’s brother spoke impeccable unaccented English.

After the visit, we packed ourselves into Dieter’s two door car and drove to Langenargen , a small town on the shore of the Bodensee (Lake Constance). We stayed the night in a summer cottage belonging to Michaela’s parents. We went for dinner, sitting outside on the lakeshore. I had fillets of fish from the Bodensee in garlic butter, with potatoes and salad. Lots of wine, including a champagne and fruit juice aperitif, insured a wonderful (and late) evening.

Me and Dorinna at the Engel Hotel-Restaurant (photo credit: Dieter Glauß)


Headless Woodland Animals

Last year, our friend Kevin got home from visiting a haunted corn maze and let his dog out. When the dog came back in, there was something in it's mouth. He reached in and extracted the item, which turned out to be a squirrel head. Thus was born Dorinna's 2005 Halloween costume idea...

Here she is as a headless squirrel:

Our friend Kim picked up on the theme and went as a headless bunny, and our friend Shirley went as a headless skunk.

What choice did I have? I went as a crazy axe man, covered with blood, and holding 3 bloody animals heads on a rope.


Emma is on the Internet!

Here's "Gustav" playing with my niece Emma. "Gustav" was Emma's souvenir from our trip to Austria

(photo credit: Jen Linder)

(photo credit: Jen Linder)

(photo credit: Jen Linder)