Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

Lorien and I are slowly getting ready to head into the city for New Year's Eve, precise plans not entirely known at this time. I just wanted to take a minute to wish anyone reading this a Happy New Year, and share what I just snapped of the sun setting (I know, I'm a sucker for sunsets) over Rose Street. If you look carefully in the distance, you can see the Golden Gate Bridge, which is visible during the winter when the trees have less cover.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Winter playground

Tahoe was fun, we did a little bit of various winter activities. Some snowboarding, some ice skating, some cross country skiing. Every time I go to the mountains in the winter after not having been there in a while it makes me long for real seasons again, especially winter. But maybe that's just easy for me to say, since out here winter becomes this playground that you go to, and not something that you have to endure day after day. Maybe I'd be singing a different tune if I had to deal with a real winter again after having acclimated so much to the Bay Area. Maybe not.

We didn't take a real camera with us, but there were some incredible sights. Coming down from Donner Pass along the backroads, just around sunset, with the full moon rising, was a pretty spectacular sight. And there was this eerie fog swirling above the Donner Lake. This picture from Lorien's phone doesn't quite do it justice, but it's all that I've got.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Ken says, "Sewing is hard"

Or at least that's how it felt doing a stupid little repair on my GoreTex pants. I guess like anything it gets easier if you do it repeatedly, but it's usually a long time between any sewing I do. I still can't get over that Matt made his own suit for SantaCon -- check out the lower right corner in this picture. I don't think I'm quite up for that.

But my pants are now fixed, which is good now that the rainy season is hopefully finally upon us for real. They're handy for biking to work; and Lorien and I are planning to head to Tahoe for Christmas for some snowboarding, and I use them for that too. Hence the late night sewing project.

Monday, December 17, 2007

SantaCon 2007

Santa's little helper is too lazy to post too many pictures repeatedly, so if you want to see more, go to our web site.

Happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007

Kitty progress, measured in small steps

While Selena The Cat may be a mysterious figure that lurks in the shadows,

she has been spotted actually eating side by side with Dirk. Or should I say Mr. Dirk, as he has been known to be called.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Cocktail hour

Maybe I'd post more frequent random tidbits of our life if I didn't always feel compelled to also post pictures, so here goes...

We just finished up our December cocktail hour. We started having cocktail hours a while back -- with the combination of planning a wedding and recovering from our fire, we were worried it might be the only way we could see our friends, having them come over to us. We've continued the tradition, and have semi-regular events (nearly) every month. Some are bigger, some are smaller, it's kind of random.

John and Heather came over, and just them, so I guess it was our smallest one yet. Although I think we maybe had one other small one some time ago where just Neal and Genevieve came over.

We had mulled wine (which turned out better than last year), latkes, some of our latest experiment in vodka infusions (with chai spices -- actually, pretty much the same spices as in the mulled wine), and some Christmas beers. For any beer afficionados out there, I heartily recommend Allagash Grand Cru, a spiced Belgian style ale from Portland, Maine. Of course, with such a small turnout, we have plenty of Christmas beers left to enjoy for the rest of the season. So stop on by and help us if you're reading this locally! (Although I suspect that most of our readership is from farther away...)

And congratulations to John and Heather who are expecting a baby!

Happy holidays,
- Rich

Monday, December 03, 2007

more Israel photos

Not more of mine, that is, but George Fono has also posted his online (actually, he beat me to it), so I might as well put in a plug for him at

I never really saw it as any kind of competition, but I think he may have. I managed to edit our 700-800 (I forget now) originals down to about 300. I don't know if George has 500 because he took so many more, or maybe Lorien was more convincing in getting me to edit down than Judy was.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Home for Thanksgiving

While it was a bit difficult getting on a plane again so soon after returning from the Middle East, and dealing with the holiday traffic, I'm very glad that we were able to head to my parents' house in Broomall for Thanksgiving. Last year we had stayed in California.

The best part of the trip may owe global warming a debt of gratitude. We perpetually talk of planning a fall colors trip some year (starting up north in Canada and working our way down to Philadelphia as the colors change), but we have yet to do it, so it had really been 13 years since I had truly experienced fall colors. Philadelphia (and the rest of the Northeast, I gather) has had an unusually warm fall this year, delaying the usual cycle. By Thanksgiving, the trees around Philadelphia are usually pretty much bare. Not so this year.

My excitement gave me the enthusiasm to rake leaves. Twice. And at a time when I should have been jet lagged (since it was something like 4:30 AM California time), I somehow got the inspiration on Thanksgiving to go for an early morning walk around the neighborhood and take pictures, when the morning dew was still out.

Steve and Laura drove from New Jersey with Matthew and David, and Larry and Sheryl drove from Indiana. So a little bit smaller than our last Thanksgiving home (when George and Judy came down from Toronto, and Elaine and Bill came down from New York), but a fairly big crowd nonetheless. I helped out with the cooking, contributing butternut squash soup, sweet potatoes, and cranberry sauce. (I learned my lesson last year not to try to bud my way into my Mom's well established turkey preparation protocol.) Oh yeah, we also roasted some chestnuts.

While we didn't end up getting the time to head to our favorite beer bar in Philly, or try out a new one, we did manage to find the time see a local band that we like, Lotus. The venue, the World Cafe Live, was a pretty nice place. Also fairly new, it certainly didn't exist back when I lived in Broomall.

We also went with the kids to see Enchanted. I was pretty impressed; it was one of the better Disney movies that I've seen in a while.

And finally, in a stunning turn of events, I haven't taken forever to put our pictures online! You can find the full album at

Pictures. FINALLY!

I'm sorry it's taken so long, but I have finally gone through and edited and organized and captioned our pictures from our trip to Israel and Egypt. Part of the long time was that I decided I wasn't entirely happy with existing tools for web publishing of photo albums, so I ended up writing my own from scratch. But now that it's all done, it ought to hopefully be much easier in the future.

So far all that's up there is the pictures from our Middle East trip, but I sincerely hope to in the not too distant future start back publishing the hundreds of photos that we've accumulated over the past few years.

The pictures themselves can be found at

We will continue to use this blog for more day to day commentary on anything that we feel like saying, which hopefully won't just be limited to times when we're traveling.