Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Stories of the Week

Need to start teaching Jacob the principles of correlation. Okay, he's a bit young. He came into the bathroom the other day when I was in there. He said, "Daddy, before you wash your hands you have to take a pee." I could see where he got the logic, but ... anyway, was good for a laugh.

The other day Jacob built an igloo out of Playdoh. When Jacob got up Mommy accidentally smashed it back into shape. Jacob was disappointed so Mommy got sent to the naughty corner. Apparently Jacob was more traumatized about this than we thought. He woke up at 5:30 this morning yelling, "Mommy, mommy." When Tania arrived in his room he said, "You broke my igloo." Kids.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

YPO Retreat

Arrived in England on Friday and immediately headed 2 hours south by car to a quaint, English country hotel for a weekend with my YPO (young presidents organization) retreat. It is an annual event where 6-8 of us get together to share leadership experiences. We meet once every 6 weeks or so in London and then 1-2x / year we go somewhere else. Last year was Tuscany, this year we were just north of Brighton, in the south of England. Next year we are headed to Brazil! Should be fun.

After a day-and-a-half of meetings we decided to take it easy for the morning and went out skeet shooting. I earned by urban badge by coming in last place in the competition but did manage to blow some clay out of the air. Good think I'm not needed in Iraq!

Our instructor, the bearded guy at the bottom, is the former national shooting champion for New Zealand for 10 years and represented them in the Olympics a few times. Obviously didn't earn his keep with the likes of me! That's alright - I don't like guns much anyway.


Who couldn't love this face???

In London for a week. Tomorrow will be the 5 year anniversary of Sept 11th. So sad and so strange still. I was in London when it happened and, in fact, have never been in the US on Sept 11th. As fate would have it I'm here again for this infamous day.

Typing away at my computer waiting for a colleague of mine to arrive for dinner so I had a few moments to clear out Tania's camera. Found these great shots of Andy. Isn't he charming?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Alex & Heather - Pasadena

After visiting Rachel & Jimmy in LA and Bubbie in San Diego (see posts below) we headed off to Pasadena for a night to see our great friends Alex & Heather before returning home. Can it really already have been a year-and-a-half since we last saw them?

Night one we went to a Thai restaurant in Pasadena with great food and shite (sorry A&H ... I know you love it) service. But we were there for the company. It was a Sunday night and the pretty much called for last call immediately as we were seated at 9 PM. "yes, we'll have appetizers, entrees, 4 rounds of beers and what do you serve for dessert?" Well ... we got the hint when they started stacking chairs. So we headed down to the Cheesecake Factory to spilt "just" 2 desserts. I think we forgot about the portions that they serve. Sinful & delightful.

Alex & Heather are about the embark on a 6-month! around-the-world trip going to Japan, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, India, Bali and Australia. Did I listen well, Heather? If you know them and want to follow their progress go to http://www.alexandheather.blogspot.com. Anyway, they are off in about a month so we were delighted to see them. Aren't they photogenic? If only you had seen this guy after some of our fraternity parties in college - not quite as GQ looking!

Actually, this shot was taken in the morning. We stayed at the Embassy Suites in Arcadia because we wanted to scope them out for cousin Jill's wedding October 21st (can't wait!). We chose this chain because we wanted a suite so the kids could stay in a different room without a 2x price on hotel rooms. We were pleasantly surprised at what a great hotel it was and how much value we got for only $149! Not the Ritz Carlton, but a really comfortable, clean and pleasant hotel. We'll be back.

LEGOLAND !!!!!!!!!

MAN did we have a great time at Legoland!!! (meant to be said in a Jon Stewart opening his show style) I can't think of a better place to take a (38?) 3-year-old kid. We went to Legoland in the scorching Sunday heat the day after we visited the Wild Animal Park. When we arrived we found the WORLD'S BEST marketing ploy. So good that I had to photo it.

If you had to think of one thing that all men fight over, covet and refuse to let go of? Okay, besides women. As I can attest from a Seinfeld episode it is the PERFECT parking space. So good that you never want to drive your car anywhere. So we arrived at Legoland and see that they have cut a deal with Volvo (maybe Lego is Swedish?) where the best, closest, most covented, practically-as-good-as-handicapped spots are reserved for Volvo owners!!! Here's my proof. I started the day in such a good mood.

But that was only the beginning. The entire family and Bubbie had such a good time together. We basically took turns going on fun rides with Jacob who doesn't seem to have any fear of anything any longer.

We started by flying a helicopter together, which actually went pretty high and could spin around 360 degrees. Daddy loved it as much as Jacob.

Next Mommy took Jacob on a train that goes around a track two times. Not exactly The Big Dipper but got some excitement for Jake as you can see from him hands up on the photo. Doesn't Mommy look great? She's been working hard at the gym lately - we're so proud. She's been taking increased doses of Methotrexate for her RA and at last the swelling seems to be coming down a bit. Go Mommy!

We then got to drive a boat around and Jacob enjoyed steering - for about 20 seconds before he got bored and wanted to look around at all of the things to see along the way. "You drive, Daddy."

And what trip to Legoland would be complete without a chance to play with giant sculpted lego things: animals, cities, pirates, treasure and so much more. We'll definitely be back.

We had a great time, Bubbie! Good job on moving to Carlsbad. Sea World next time?


Bubbie - San Diego

Made it down to San Diego on Friday for a long weekend away. You can see how delighted Bubbie and grandkids were alike. Day 1 was just chilling out and we got to see Bubbie & Stephen's new house. GREATLY exceeded our expectation. Carlsbad has come a long way since the sleepy town I remember in college.

Tania & I managed to sneak away for a cheeky lunch leaving the kids with Bubbie just a few hours after arriving. Was great to get some private time. Day 2 we raced off to the Wild Animal Park and saw lots of African animals. Although Jacob's favorit thing was the merry-go-round! He finally rode by himself.

More from San Diego trip to come. Out of battery on my laptop and way past bedtime! In London now.

Rachel & Jimmy

Had a marvelous visit with our dear friends Rachel & Jimmy who moved recently to Ranchos Palos Verdes (basically LA) in California. I went to university with Rachel and we lived in the same dorms along with a host of other friends that we saw on the same trip: John Wood, Alex Craigie and Stefan Kennedy (when we got back).

Rachel & Jimmy moved out to Italy (near Venice) for 6 or 7 years at the same time we were in London so we went and visited them, they visited us and we visited each other on neutral ground (Paris). They had a gorgeous daughter, Sofia, who was born 2 months after Jacob and they have known each other since early days.

Sofia is the sweetest girl and Jacob really loves to play with her. I'm not just being nice so that Rachel will read my blog - Tania can vouch for me. We were so happy that they moved back to the US (only a few months after us! Following us?). It was especially a treat since they live in LA and it was on the way to our roadtrip to see Bubbie in San Diego.

Unfortunately none of the pictures of Jimmy turned out and Tania & I had a moratorium on pictures of us being allowed in public after our 6 hours' drive. But you can see here how much fun the kiddies had. The picture of Jake & Sofia is when the were dancing to the beats of Jimmy's sister (a professional singer).

We also got to meet Baby Evan (not quite a baby anymore) for the first time. He's a whopping 13 months already - man time flies. Is that a theme of mine? Anyway, Evan was about right to play with Andy (almost) and Sofia loved being the big sis / mommy. Here they come to say "good bye" as we pack it into the Volvo. Sure hope they'll come and stay with us in Palo Alto soon.


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