Friday, December 14, 2007

Blog moved

I'm moving the blog off of blogger onto my own domain.  You can find it here.  I've not figured out a way to have blogger forward you to the new domain (especially those of you subscribed using feed readers).  You'll have to updated your RSS feed to the new location.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Aunt June, Part 1

My Aunt June passed last week Thursday (2007.10.11).  My fathers' older sister by 10 years born June Glos in 1943, not sure of the date.  64 years.

From right to left, my grandfather Glenn, my grandmother Edna, holding aunt June, my great-grandmother and grandfather, and my grandfathers' brother George.

Even though I just got back from Europe and 19 days of vacation work was considerate enough when I needed to back to the Midwest for a week for some unpaid time off to spend some time with family.  I flew out on Friday and returned late Thursday night.  There was no official memorial service.  Rather than morbidly stand around a dead body, her children (3) decided to have the body cremated and instead have a gathering over the weekend; more on that in Part 2.

I don't have too many memories of her.  She moved away before I was born and there really wasn't any family get together's on the Glos side, which I would come to find out later was due to a family spat between my Grandfather and his brother.

I spent two months in her home in Tampa Bay, Florida one brutally hot summer between sophomore and junior year in high school (summer of 1987).  Later after her husband passed, she and my cousin Carol (June's youngest daughter) moved back up to Illinois from Jackson, Mississippi.  My Dad and I drove/flew? down there and helped them move back in 2 trucks, my dad driving one and me the other.  My most vivid memory is of either Carol or June harping on me that I drove the U-Haul too close to the center line.

At the time I was going to college full time and working full time so I still didn't get to know my Aunt very well.  I do recall that she was very opinionated and she let you know how she felt.  It was also always kind of weird to here her call my Dad her little brother.  He was, you just never think of your Dad as somebody's little brother.

As time passed life went on and we never really kept up with one another accept for through my Dad.  Last I had heard she had suffered a stroke about 6 months ago, lost the ability to speak, and then finally passed on, although there was a heart attack mixed in there as well.

The Glos family curses that I know of are alcohol, smoking, and what appears to be heart disease.  So some genetic and some lifestyle.  I don't remember her being a drinker, but of all my family members, it appears the I am the only one who has been able to veer away from the smoking habit.  My Dad swears that the smoking is what eventually did the deed, also killing his older brother Glen Jr, and he loves to recite the story of his first heart attack at 43 years old (yea that young) when the doctor leaned over in his ear just after stenting his heart via angioplasty and said, "Quit smoking or die".  He quit the next day for good.

I was there when my Uncle, Glen Jr (nicknamed Chip), passed.  It wasn't a pretty sight and I can still remember it like yesterday.  If you need a reason to quit smoking, go watch someone die from it.  The black liquid he coughed up in his final last breaths will be etched in my mind until the day I die.  My father took it pretty hard and from my phone conversations over the phone, he was angry and hurt that June never stopped the habit either.

I was second guessing myself.  Do I go?  Do I stay?  I'm out of vacation.  I didn't know June all that well but my Dad sure could use me.  I made the choice.  Gotta go.  No kicking yourself later for, "I should've".  And money, well... that's all well and good but 10 years from now you're going to remember being there for family, not what you did at work and why you didn't go.

After a nice conversation with my employer Edith and my direct boss Jill, who both reinforced and encouraged me to go, I made arrangements not really knowing at the time whether there was a service or what was going on.  Luckily, you can lessen the cost of airline flights by calling directly and getting a bereavement fare, but you have to have the funeral home name and address, funeral directors name, and name of the deceased so that they can check up on you.

So I arrived in Chicago O'Hare airport on Friday at around 7PM CST.  It took me 2 hours just to get out of the there with the rental car, what a nightmare.  Standing in the Avis line for 45 minutes and the funny thing is that it's normal.  Every Friday the agent told me.  Well why don't you guys staff for the this then?

More later...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Morning Bike Commute

Sunrise in Portland

Sore butt when I took off from the house this morning from the commute home last night and not having ridden in 2 months.  My mind was playing games.  Telling me that it would be so much easier to just drive to work.  But then I think about my weight and my family history of heart disease and then I see this gorgeous sunrise.  I stopped and took a picture.  Once I got to work I was glad I rode even if I am 10 minutes slower than I was 2 months ago.  It feels great.  It's a strange play between motivation prior and enjoyment afterwards; even when you know you'll feel good when it's over it's hard to take that first step... but the rewards are worth it.


Friday, September 28, 2007

Home Sweet Home

It's 3 am as I type this.  We got in around 10 pm last night and went straight to bed.  25 hours of travel to get home and neither of us slept so we were pretty exhausted.  Should help the jet lag.  Not complaining because 5 hours of sleep the first night should be pretty good.  The next three days until work week should be a haze of napping and getting things back together after having being gone so long.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Munich (oder München)

San Fransisco Coffee Company - Munich

Posting from a coffee shop in downtown Munich.  The San Francisco Coffee Company actually as strange as that may sound. Sneaking in a post whilst Heidi grabs us some beverages.  The Internet still proves to be elusive whilst traveling at hotels we've stayed at and I've ended up paying 19 Euro for a 1 month connection to T-Mobil.  The hour by hour and minute by minute charges just seem to be price gouging.

The coaching by horse and carriage for two days was a great way to see the country-side and the highlight of our trip.  I have many pictures and video to share.

We're doing Munich for 3 nights and two days.  Yesterday we did the Oktoberfest tents!  What a blast.  Today was our first day of bad weather.  It's been raining all day so we spent the afternoon in the Deutsches Museum, basically the equivalent of the Smithsonian.

Tomorrow we take the train back to Vienna and fly out Thursday morning.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Forest house at the lake

View from the balcony

We've arrived at the hotel "Forsthaus am See", forest house at the lake, tonight in Feldafing, Germany, about 45 min southwest of Munich.  Tomorrow Andreas picks us up for the Coaching trip and so this is the reason we are here as this is close to his stables.  It's quite the vacation area for well-to-do Munich citizens though.  Many million dollar mansions along the lake.  It reminds me of Lake Geneva, WI, the spot of rich Chicagoans to vacation.  Although I think the lake here is just a little deeper, and the view of the mountains (not sure which ones they are) on the horizon is quite spectacular.  My guess is we are headed in that direction tomorrow.  Should be interesting.

Rothenburg 092

Rothenburg 094

What I've gleaned in 1/2 day:

  • There's a path that appears to go around the lake used by pedestrians and bikes.  Larger than the Lake Geneva one.
  • The vegetation is much more like back in WI/IL than OR.  Less pine and more deciduous.  I can imagine when the leaves change here in a few weeks it will be beautiful.  This is in contrast to Baden-Baden, north of the Black Forest, which was more like OR, with many pine and they also grow Pinot Noir grapes for wine as well there.
  • You gotta be rich to live here.
  • Looks like you could create some nice singletrack for MTBing. :)
  • More use of German.  The woman who picked us up at the trainstation, Bahnhof, English wasn't very good and we rely more on our German as we approach the less tourist area.  I had to order most everything today and communicate in German but don't let that scare you off.  Most know enough English to get by.  Partly I'm fueling my own desire to speak another language since I feel ignorant that I only know one.
  • Cool tempuratures.  Jackets at night.  Jeans and long-sleeves during the day.  The driver said she hasn't seen the lake frozen in years though so probably quite temperate like Oregon and UN-like the Midwest.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Quick Hello

I am feeling lazy so just wanted to let you know we are alive and well here and enjoying the city of Rothenburg.  Today is our last full day here and we'll be doing abit of shopping.  We plan to pickup a nice Black Forest cuckoo clock as a reminder of the trip.  Also a stop at the famous German Christmas store, Kathe Wohlfart, of which there are shops all over Europe.  I guess this town is their company headquarters.

I'll leave you with two shots taken yesterday.  The first is apparently a world famous part of this town where the old inner castle wall meets the newer outer castle wall.

Rothenburg 024

The second is of a more humorous note.  A "Packer Backer".  Here in Germany.  I guess I shouldn't be surprised.  Wisconsin and Germany are fairly well linked and my old home territory.  So for your enjoyment is a Green Bay Packers fan sporting is hat... (and perhaps even a Harley-Davidson t-shirt although I'm not sure - try zooming in and see what you think).  I don't think he saw me taking his photo.

Rothenburg 027


Monday, September 17, 2007

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Rothenburg 159

We are in Rothenburg now.  We are here for 4 nights.  As I type it is the 2nd night, just after 10 pm (although to post this may take awhile to type...).

What a beautiful city.  Rothenburg is an old medieval town surrounded by a castle wall.  We decided to spend a few extra days here to just relax.  It can be a pain to pack the bags every other day to go off to a new town, and basically waste some of your day traveling, and we would rather just enjoy the stay awhile.

The hotel we are staying at, the Kosterstuble, is beyond words.  Just take a look. 

Rothenburg 007

We finally found some WiFi.  It's at the hotel, free and not great but better than paying 8 Euro for 1 hour.  Everytime I tried an upload a batch of photo's to flickr they bounce so I'm left to only loading up a few at a time for the blog posts.  I'll have to wait to get home to upload them all.

We went on this very fun Night Watchman's Tour the first night where we learned all about the town from a unique perspective.  The guy giving the tour has been doing it for 15 years or something.  He dressed the part, dressed in a cloaked robe with halberd in one hand and candlelit lantern in the other.  He gave the tour in English, albeit German accent, and interspersed it with some very funny commentary.  He even has a DVD if your interested, including some clips on the web if your interested in hearing his voice, maybe we'll pick up a copy while we are here.

The food at our hotel is good and we had a nice dinner the first night here outside.  Afterwards we went to this cool, Lord of the Rings, Hobbit-like place for drinks.  I'm enjoying this drink called Radler.  It's a mixture of beer and lemonade.

Today we did more exploring.  Up to the top of the 200 foot tower in the center of town.  We did the full 1.5 mile hike around the town on the castle wall, which is where I took the photo at the top of the post.  Also toured the Town Vaults and saw some dungeons, armor, etc.  Went through a couple of old churches and looked at things that were built, made or constructed bake in the 1400-1500s.  This stuff is old and it gives you an appreciation for what people were able to achieve so long ago.

I have to say that even though the Euro is stronger than the dollar, some things seem substantially cheaper here.  4 drinks at the bar and our bill is only 12-14 Euro.  I can get two scoops of ice cream in a sugar cone for 1 Euro.  And that's what we've been doing alot of.  Stopping at a small cafe.  Heidi has coffee and I have hot chocolate or tea along with a baked good (and there's so many baked goods here). 

We've had beautiful weather since we've been here.  Tonight was the first time it has rained and it only did so for about an hour after dinner.  We retired early tonight to just do some reading and more relaxing.

Tomorrow we need to do some laundry.  Then Heidi's going to get a manicure.  I on the other hand am going to see the best museum in the world of torture devices.  It's called the Medieval Crime Museum or Kriminalmuseum.  Also take a look at a craftsman museum by going through a house built in 1270.  That's old.

I'll leave you with this photo of the fountain in Market Platz. 

Rothenburg 009

In medieval times the fountain provided water to the populace.  Notice the the pipes coming from the mouths of the faces on all four sides.  You'd move the metal rail you see so that the water would go into your bucket.  Also if you look at the yellow building on the right, you'll see what looks like a board sticking out almost at the top.  It's the old pulley used to haul grain, salt, etc, to the top of the building.  Every building here has these relics.  They stored about a years worth of dried goods here to keep it out of the rain, the roads used to be muddy and filthy (yes both animal and human waste) and for use in times of defense when the castle was under siege.

Danke schon!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Baden-Baden: 2 nights / 1 day

We arrived at 7pm at the train station and had a short 15 minute bus ride into town.

Our hotel was at the top of the hill next to the church.  It was quite a hike after 10 hours on the train.  75 steps at least when I stopped counting up stairs.  But the streets were all cobblestone and narrow.  Since the church bells ring every 15 minutes from 6 am to 10 pm, I was afraid sleeping would be difficult.  It wasn't and I think we've now made the conversation to European time.  We took no naps the next day.

The room we had for two nights was nice.  The bathroom was a very welcome upgrade from the one we had in Vienna.  At least it didn't smell...  Unlike the other toilets, this one was very American in that the water hole (or whatever it's called) was at the back.  All the ones in Vienna were at the front.  Why?  Dunno.  The only downside was that it was on the 3rd floor and those 50lb bags were getting heavy after all that hiking to just the hotel.  The Frau had no problem taking Heidi's bag up and she looked thin and wiry, not even 100 lbs soaking wet.

Breakfast was good.  Meats, cheese, bread, jam, butter.  Heidi is enjoying the coffee.  I'm liking the hot chocolate.  The Germans must like their sweets because the hot chocolate is always available at cafe's etc, usually 3-4 versions, with whipped cream, without, spiked with Rum, etc.

We had awoken late and rushed downstairs to eat so afterwards we took showers and didn't get out to enjoy the day until 11:30.  The previous day of travel and shaking out the last bits of jet lag had us starting the day late but felling really good.  It's vacation anyway and we weren't on any timeline to begin with.

We strolled around town and through a very cool garden.  Like our parks only less cut grass and more tree, foliage and trails.  It was right next to a private palace with large intimidating castle-like walls.  Would have been cool to go inside but is was closed to the public.

There's two baths in Baden-Baden.  And old school Roman style bath, called Friedrichsbad, which supposedly takes 3 hours to get through.  There's umpteen (17 I think) different stages - water at 38C then a shower, then water at 58C etc.  Heidi expressed some concern because a few of the stages involved mixing men and women together... nude.  Yes.  Nudity is not a problem here.  There was also a newer bath, called Carcalla, with similar stages but you were a swimsuit.  Both baths are actually steeped in history as is the town.  It's built on an old Roman settlement and the baths are on top of hot mineral springs.

We settled on Carcalla and Heidi immediately signed up for a 50 minute massage.  While she got her message, I toured the old Roman ruins.  Previously a Roman soldier bath house had existed here and it was interesting to see how they heated the floor, etc.  I joined Heidi after here message.  The entire bath house was very cool.  Many different showers, whirlpools, aroma steam rooms, and even and all nude area with steam log cabins.  After a couple hours we left feeling like jelly.  Very relaxed and at ease.

We were now ready for some dinner and settled on this nice restaurant we came across.  With the streets small and the buildings right next to the street, the building are usually square around the block and have a passageway to the middle of the building with a garden, fountain, etc.  It's very private and very nice.  This place had tables set up there.  Food was great.  I'd add specifics but I don't have the information near me now.  I took a few photos as well.

After that we stopped for some ice cream, strolled some more and then stopped a bar.  We got to know the bartender Chris, who is originally German, now lives in Miami, Florida, but has been here for two years visiting family in Baden-Baden. More on the beers later but we found some interesting information about Budweiser and Lowenbrau. 

As we were leaving town this morning a couple commented on our large rucksacks as we had them on our backs walking down the 75 stairs to get to the bus station.  I commented that my German wasn't so good but that yes, we were on our way to the train station (Bahnhof).  We stopped and then had a 10 minute conversation with them.  Hans and Margaret were on their way home from church.  My guess would be their 60s/70s.  Margaret could not speak any English but Hans was pretty good so we proceeded to have a conversation in half German and half English.  We told them we were on our honeymoon and headed to Rothenburg.  Hans said they had honeymooned their years ago and that we would love it.  Margaret was commenting on our hair color and eye color and saying how beautiful she thought Heidi was.  When I looked over I could see tears welling up in her eyes which made me almost tear up.  It was a very warm nice conversation and of course Heidi loved it. 

We can't wait to come back here to walk the Lichtentaler Allee, see the Casino, and go the the Friedrichsbad.

I'm running out of time waiting for the train so until then...


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Train Ride

Yesterday was a long day.  We rode from Vienna to Baden-Baden.  11 Hours door-to-door but went from the far side of Austria to the opposite side of Germany.  The trains are super fast though going close to 200km/hour.  We made fast time and it wasn't like US trains.  We sat comfortably and drank beer and ate food.

Baden-Baden is an old small town with cobblestone streets and old buildings.  Once we arrived around 8pm we showered then went out for dinner and strolled through the pedestrian only streets.

The Internet has been elusive here.  I had to pay 8 Euro just to use 1 hour of WiFi here at the Hotel am Makt.  I have many pictures and would love to intersperse them through my posts but don't have the time nor bandwidth.

Today we have plans to spend a few hours in a Roman bath.  It should be interesting.

Tomorrow we head to Rothenburg for a few days.


Vienna: Day 2

Up at a decent hour today for breakfast of meat, cheese, bread and various jams.  There was a little bit of sliced fruit.  Apples and grapes.  One does wonder how Austrians get their daily servings of fruit and vegetables though with such a heavy meat and cheese diet.

Today was a long tour of the Hapsburg residence.  In particular the Hofburg Palace and the Imperial Apartments (Kaiserappartements).  They had audioguides in English which was nice.  Although the Rick Steves guidebook made it seem like you could do this museum plus another 2 or 3, we were tired after 3 hours of walking and listening.  I guess our idea of a vacation includes alot of relaxation time.  Not that it wasn't cool checking out all the royal silver and porcelain collections (and that means collection after numerous collection - seems like one for everyday of the year for umpteen years).  We also got to learn all about the Empress Sisi and toured all the Emperor Franz Josef and Empress Sisi rooms.  One for the Large Salon, another for the Small Salon, and so on... These were certainly "wish-I-were-God" royal rooms.  Throughout the tour we were not allowed to take photo or I'd have snapped a few inside.

After the tour, we had lunch at the Hofburg and relaxed for awhile taking in the sun.  It's been cool here, no shorts and a jacket at night (50-60s), but when the suns shines down it feels good.  Either we were tired or a little jet lagged still so we headed back to the hotel for a nap and to rest up for the evening.

We got all dressed up that night and headed out to see a Classical music concert in and old old room.  It was great.  The acoustics were really good and the players were great as well, although I'm sure listening to it in Vienna added to the ambience of the evening.

Afterwards we had dinner at a Beisl.  These unique Vienesse taverns are all over.  I originally thought they were part of some chain ala-Starbucks but not so.  I must also add that it's nice to have to ask for the bill and not be bothered every second to know if you want more food or drink or are ready to leave.

We wrapped up the evening with dessert at Sacher which is supposed to be the place to have Vienna dessert called the Sacher tort.  Not bad.  Wierd to hear techno in the place.  Reminded me of a martini bar.

We also spent some time trying to figure out where to go next.  We only booked 2 nights in Vienna (or Wien as it's called here) so we needed to figure out where to go next.  We checked into staying an additional night but our hotel has no rooms, at least not one with a bathroom.  Also, we have noticed the terrible smell coming from our bathroom.  The shredder toilett, while environmentally friendly and European, may be a little lacking in American standards.

Gruss Got and Gudent Abend!

Vienna: Day 1 (Long day)

Long day.  Ride and shine, Portland Standard Time at 4:30 am.  4 hours to ORD.  2.5 hours wait.  8 hours to Vienna.  Add in the extra 9 hours and you lose a whole day.  Leave Tue morning from the Pacific coast and arrive Wed morning in Vienna.

Flight from ORD to VIE was surprisingly good.  I got a kick out of the flight attendants red uniforms.  Of course, a majority were blondes with strong Austrian accents.

The food was also surprisingly good.  We were happily presented with a menu.  With two separate times to be served.

We used real silverware on real plates.  Gotta love the recycling impact.

Cool movie, music, games were available in each headrest.  Saw Shrek 3 and Spiderman 3.

Once we landed it was time a little struggle to get out of the airport.  Luckily most signs are in both German and English.  We waited forever to get the 3 day pass for the transit system here in Vienna and then got confused trying to figure out if we should take the express CAT train, the bus, the S-Bahn or U-Bahn.  We did meet a couple interesting English speakers.  A woman from Chicago who was on some kind of spiritual journey through Czech Republic and another from England.  Once we found and boarded the correct train we couldn't help but notice all the graffiti.  In fact, it wasn't until later that evening that I really found the vibe of this town.

We were also struggling with out choice of travel bags a little.  We decided to use the Rick Steves bags.  They have no rollers and are meant to be used like a backpack.  Well I could see Heidi was struggling and I felt bad.  Once we were on the cobblestones in Vienna I can see the point where rollers might be no good but they sure would have been handy in the airports.

We did get a cool room.  It's in the old old old part of Vienna.  The one that used to be surrounded by castle walls.  So you know it's old.  I felt like I was in an episode of the Bourne Identity. 

Then we went strolling around around.  The architecture is very cool.  Lots of statues and ornamental things on buildings.  The roads are non-symmetrical, narrow and a mixture of pavement and cobblestone - including the bike lanes! 

We just wandered and ran across some interesting stuff.

After walking abit we got hungry.  We happened across this place called Trzesniewski.  THis is a Vienna specialty; finger sandwiches.  You basically walk up and pick out what appears to be a single slice of bread covered in a spread of different kinds.  Cheap.  Fast.  And damn good!  Check out the little sandwiches and small 1/4 liter of beer served in a little mug!

We then walked some more and found our way to this large old church called St. Stephens.

We noted it was interesting the woman begging with their children right at the entrance and exit from the church.

Then our jet lag started to catch up.  We headed back to the hotel at 2pm and crashed for 4 hours, showered, and headed back out for dinner and some drinks.

We were recommended the Ofenloch and ran into this nice couple.  We were actually seated next to them in the same booth you see below.  Very friendly and helped us with a couple sights to see.  Their English was bad but that gave me plenty of practice with my German.

After that we headed over to Brezel-Gwolb for some after dinner relaxing.  Had this cool beer called the Raudel? which was beer mixed with fruit juice.  Heidi had the local Vienna white wine.  The interior was old and built upon Roman ruins.

After that is back to the hotel to sleep.  What a long day.  Just after midnight here and it's only 3pm back home.

Auf Wiedersehen.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

End of the Beach Weekend

Hope you had a great time at the beach.  We did.  Couldn't ask for better weather.  We had the whole house to ourselves on Sunday night.

It took my all of last night to upload the photo's of the weekend and we are heading out the door now to catch the bus to catch the train to the airport and off to Vienna, Austria.  See ya soon!


Friday, September 07, 2007

Vacation: Day 6, Thursday Sep 6

Mt. Saint Helens.  Wow.  Another long day in car. 

More later.

Heard an owl hooting tonight outside the house... way cool.


Vacation: Day 5, Wednesday Sep 5

Tour Guide. Columbia Gorge.  Multanomah Falls.  Hood River.  Mt. Hood.  Timberline.  10 hours - 250+ miles.  Tiring day.

Update to come.


Vacation: Day 4, Tuesday Sep 4

Out the door at 10 to get to Husum, WA.  Location of the Riverdrifters White Salmon River run meeting location.  Class 3 and 4 rapids.

Whitewater rafting.  Dinner with father after he arrives in town.

Update placeholder.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Vacation: Day 3, Monday Sep 3

Hangover recovery day.  Wake up easy.  Yogurt and granola fuels a bicycle ride.  I take Ray on a tour of Portland for 20 miles which included the Esplanade and Terwilliger.  The final test was a ride up the steep grade outside my house which he did quite well.

Ray rides the hill on 17th

Ryan enjoyed an afternoon nap.

Ryan enjoys an afternoon nap

Afterwards we introduced New Seasons and local organic food.  Followed by a picnic at the top of Council Crest.

Council Crest picnic

Later that evening we grilled out and went to bed early so we could hit the rapids refreshed the next day.


Vacation: Day 2, Sunday Sep 2

Ray and Ryan flew into PDX at 11:00 am.  Went solo since Heidi was running a little behind and was tired from the previous day.  Hopped on the 9:45 bus to downtown, grabbed the Max train to the airport.  Flight was early by 20 minutes but that was fine since I got there in plenty of time.  From there we got the rental car and I drove them back to our house, taking the Fremont bridge so they could get a good view of the city, hills, and other bridges.  We dropped off their bags and had a beer on the back deck.

From there we headed downtown to get some lunch.  First stop, Rogue brewery in the Pearl.  Had the Kobe Beef hotdog that the Willamette Week was bragging about.  Didn't think it was anything special; neither did Ryan.  We hung out at Rogue for a few hours just enjoying the afternoon sun and good beer.  One memorable beer was the Snakebite, a combo of cider and Dead Guy Ale.

Enjoying a beer at the Rogue Brewery

Next stop was OBA for happy hour.  The hostess however was weird.  We needed to wait for a table outside so she asked us for our phone number (strange thing #1).  She told us 15 minutes so we grabbed a seat at the bar.  We get a call two minutes later (strange thing #2) before we even order drinks from a phone number with an area code of 232 (strange thing #3).  Then when we go outside to grab the table she tells us someone sat down walking by without waiting in line.  How about kicking them out of the table? (strange thing #4)  We gave up and went elsewhere.

Right down from OBA is Manzana where we easily grabbed at table outside and stayed for a drink.

After Manzana came Henry's.  Ray was looking forward to Celis White.  On tap.  Along with 100+ other beers.  Ryan seemed to appreciate the ice trough along the bar and became a Hefeweizen fan by the end of the day.  They both dug the Halibut Fish & Chips, which I sill consider to be the best in town.

Old friends at Henry's

Another first timer at Henry's


It was getting dark by now and we had quite a few beers in us.  We started heading towards Old Towne and got distracted along the way.  First by the gay bar party scene happening in front of the bar with all the red lights (? name).  They had the road blocked off and were chargin $5 cover.  We could see two guys in their underwear dancing together without going in.  They got a kick out of the Portland gay scene regardless.  Another distraction, Sparticus.  Rabbit ears.  Gun oil.  Too funny.

Unique hood ornament

Distracted again into a bike bar.  We each took turns posing on the bike we weren't supposed to when the waitress wasn't looking.  Two bands played.  War Wagon was the first which didn't turn out too bad.  The following bad sucked bad...  From there, Heidi and Ryan lost wind.   Ryan falling asleep at the table and Heidi was tired as well so they grabbed a cab and Ray and I left for Voodoo donut.... which I couldn't seem to find in my condition and so we ended up at Thirsty Lion Pub where we enjoyed the weird albeit much appreciated requirement that Oregon bars have food when they sell liquor; all the way to closing time.  The home-fried chips (way good) and chicken strips were a life saver.  We had to wait 20 minutes before we caught the last running bus home so we decided to check out the strip club across the street...  the worst I've ever been to so we decided my Dad owed us $10 ($5 ea in cover) because we saved him the trouble.

Posing at the biker bar

When we got back, Ryan was fast asleep.  Long day.

Tired after a long day


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Vacation: Day 1, Saturday Sep 1

Errands.  Dishes, bank, website, haircut, phone calls, laundry.  With friends and family arriving all week, I needed to get this stuff done.  Heidi had to go to Eugene for the day because her good friends' father passed away and the memorial service was that day.  This left me with ample time to do all the above and some extra time to do a few rewards.  Treated myself to a all beef hotdog picked up from Edelweiss and some baked goods (carrot cake and chocolate crackle cookies) from the local bakery.

Haute dog from Edelweiss

Tried to take it easy because I figured the next day was going to be a big one with my two friends Ray and Ryan flying in and I haven't seen them in 1 1/2 years.


Sunday, September 02, 2007

Vacation: Day 0, Friday Aug 31

Day 0 because it's not really a true vacation day.  Had to work until 1PM.  It still counts because the excitement is there at the start of an entire month of doing what you would do if you didn't have to work.

Great day for a round trip bike commute to work.  The 2 1/2 hour, 40 mile round trip is becomes more enjoyable when it's paired with a 5 hour work day and sunshine.  Sometimes I need to pinch myself that views like this are available most everyday.  Mount Hood pokes through the clouds and overlooks houses on the Columbia river channel.

Mount Hood

After a shower it's still early afternoon.  Heidi gets off work early too because of the Labor Day weekend and she's got a great boss.  After a few beers enjoyed on the back deck we decide it's time to try Apizza Scholls, a small family run pizza joint.  We'd heard it was good but what we experienced blew us away.  Great beers and awesome pizza.  They take special care to make the dough each day and cook it in special ovens over 600 degrees.  That ended up with a perfectly crispy pizza.  They didn't open until 5PM and this was the line to get into the place at quarter to.

The line to get in Apizza Scholls 

We spent a good 2 hours there and decided to end the day by relaxing at home.  The day certainly seemed longer with the shortened work day.  I could get used to this...


Friday, August 31, 2007

Beach Weekend: Directions

Here's the address to the houses for the beach weekend:

851 Happy Camp Rd, Netarts, OR 97143

Here's directions directly from the Portland Airport.

Here's a direct link to the beach house on google maps.  From there you can click on the 'To Here' link and get directions door to door from your location.

And for the ultra-lazy, here's and embedded map:

View Larger Map


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Weekend Cocktails

Here's what we got cooking:

  • Case (11 we drank 1!) of Barbera from Remy Wines (pronounced like Hanna-Barbera)
  • 1/2 Case (6) of Sangiovese from Remy Wines
  • 1/2 Case of Pinot Noir (Oregon grape!)
  • 1/2 Case of Pinot Gris
  • 2 Cases of Prosecco (better than Champagne) for toasts, Mimosa's and Belini's!
  • 1 keg of Widmer Hefeweizen

That's it!  You'll notice there's no hard liquor.  So if you are a mixed drink, hard alcohol junkie, feel free to bring you own bottle.  I'm also not sure what we're doing yet for soda's - so make sure you bring your mixer.  I know my friends and I will be purchasing some bottles of all sorts of local brew for sampling so you won't be alone.  The above is just some stuff we love and wanted to make sure our friends and family could taste!

We had to try the Barbera from Remy Wine last night.  This was our favorite from the wine tour we went on during Memorial Day Weekend.

Remy wines

Heidi calls it a 'big red'.  My Neanderthal, beer drinking self just calls it real real good.  It's like no other red wine I've tasted and it's damn good!

Remy Wines

I think that's a picture of her on the wine bottle?  She's a private wine maker that makes small batches.  She also uses a glass cork.  Better for the environment, not only available from Portugal (current cork bark), etc.  And that's what Oregonians like.

Glass Cork


Sunday, August 12, 2007

What did I do this weekend?

Another weekend passes.  Strange how you have all these plans to get things done and end up asking yourself on Sunday night, "What did I do this weekend?".

Friday Heidi and I got our marriage license.  Afterwards we stopped at Lucky Lab.  Good brew.  Cheap and moderately good eats.  Drinking beer and eating food on the dog friendly back patio of the old sheetmetal warehouse was cozy.  Afterwards as Heidi met up with her friend Cassandra, I drove back to into work thinking I might be able to help finalize the release.  Guess it was easier to help by phone.  Just missing the announcement by 1/2 hour and no one there I drank a beer in an empty, partially sunlit office and then left.

Saturday brought meal planning and a trip to New Seasons.  Hopefully we can stick with the plan.  After a nap, it was mow the lawn, increase the size of the fire pit, and finish setting up the new WRT350N router.  Interesting to see how the remote attached storage, FTP, and media streaming works out.  It states, "And you can get to your files from anywhere in the world through the Internet", but I think that just means access via FTP.  After dinner by the fire I saw an awesome streak of a meteor, from the Perseid meteor shower, including a vapor trail across the night sky.  Weird that being only 5 minutes from downtown and you can still see stars. Best viewing is supposed to be tonight.

Today we were up early for the Bridge Pedal.  It still amazes me that this city closes down expressways for bicycles; 20,000 of them.  Both the 405 and I-5 bridges close so that we can ride over them.  We did the 24 mile, 8 bridge.  I'm hoping to do the 10 bridge next year.  Perhaps on a tandem.  Heidi did well without much training; riding downtown this time (finally!) and almost making it back home.  She had to stop on the climb up Terwilliger whilst I quickly pedaled home to get the truck and come back and get her.  Not bad though for 30 miles and probably around 2000 feet of climbing for someone who never rides.

After the bridge pedal we hung around the Bite of Oregon for a couple of hours.  Picked up a couple of CD from two good bands and sipped down a couple beers.

So the question is, is it going to be a keg of Hefeweizen or Okto for the Beach Weekend?


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Beach Weekend Food

We figure we'll be feeding about 25ish people Fri night, Sat morning.  Around 60ish people during the afternoon/evening on Sat.  And 25ish Sun morning.

Friday Night

With people coming at various times we figured we just pickup some ready to bake pizza's to toss in the oven.  Might be nice to pickup some dough/sauce/toppings for homemade ones as an option.

Saturday Morning Breakfast

You'll have options.  Option A:  Yogurt, granola, fresh fruit.  Option B: French Toast made with cinnamon swirl bread, bacon, and champagne and OJ for mimosa's.  All ingredients organic and picked up from New Seasons our favorite local organic grocery store.

Saturday Afternoon/Evening

I wanted to do a pig roast but apparently they only know how to do them Hawaiian style out here.  While that would be cool, I doubt the property owners would want us digging a large pit Fri night to cook a pig in.

However we did run across a great guy who moved here from Texas named Charles.  We spotted him a few Saturdays in a parking lot where he had a Texas style BBQ setup.  We stopped and had some beef brisket, corn on the cob and started talking.  He does catering on weekends and if he's not doing that then he sets up in the parking lot for folks to drive by, stop in and order.  He has a normal job during the week and does this on weekends.

So Saturday, Charles, will be cooking us up some great BBQ.

3 meats:

  • BBQ Chicken
  • Pull Pork Sandwiches
  • Brisket


  • Smoked corn on the cob
  • Potato salad
  • Cole slaw
  • Texas beans
  • Corn bread 


Heidi's friend Lisa just opened a cupcake bakery in the trendy downtown area of Portland, the Pearl District, called Cupcake Jones.  She'll be baking us 60 jumbo filled and 100 mini cupcakes.  A whole variety, heavy on the downtown chocolate brown and carrot cake.

Sunday Morning

Most folks will be leaving this morning to head home.  We figured there would be enough leftovers from Sat breakfast, cold pizza, and BBQ to have a breakfast at the houses.  Either that or we could head into town.

Sunday Night & Mon Morning

More leftovers and fend for yourself.  There will be only one house and I'm not sure who's staying Sunday night except me and Heidi!  But you're more than welcome if you don't have to be to work on Monday.


We will be picking up a case of Sparkling Wine and a case of Oregon Wine (maybe two or a mixture of red and white - although Pinot Noir is the big thing here).  For beer, I'm thinking of getting a keg.  Of what I'm not sure yet.  Something from around here.  The short list right now is something from Raccoon Lodge Blonde Bock or Seasonal, Widmer Hefeweizen, and Deschutes Brewery (Bend, OR) Black Butte Porter or Seasonal.  Although a keg only serves 200 beers, which I don't think will cover everyone.  Not to mention the small party which will no doubt occur on Friday night.  For that we'll have to BYOB and fill the rest out with bottles or your own personal favorite.

What else?

That should cover it.  Of course, if you see something we are missing, feel free to bring it.  You may also have snacks or whatever you want to bring.  The kitchen is fully stocked with pots, pans, silverware, cooking utensils, etc.  So bring what you like and we'll figure it out.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Oregon Beach Reconnaissance


Part 1 - Eugene, Florence & Yachats

After a Friday night at the 20th Oregon Brewfest we got a late start getting to the beach on Saturday.  We've been wanting to do some recon on the houses we're renting for the party in September.  Another excuse to go was that Zach (Coin of the Realm) was playing at the Drift Inn again Saturday night in Yachats.  We didn't get to the beach until 4 PM; a 2 hour drive to Eugene where we stopped and had lunch with Olivia, then a 1 hour drive from Eugene to Florence. 

Florence has some great sand dunes.  Need to check this out someday.  They've got ATV and dune buggy rentals or you can even try sand boarding.  After we checked into the B&B, we opted for walking over 1 large dune and laying on the beach which was surprisingly warm.  Make that hot (seemed alot hotter than 74).



After that we headed to Drift Inn for some music and food.  Ate way too much again here... again.  Can't go wrong with the Marionberry cobbler al a mode.

We gorged again in the morning with the 5 course breakfastEdwin K B&B.  Great food.  Decor a little girlyish (example: note the teddy bear below).  Great storytelling from Marv.  Interesting bathroom with no door.  Nice showerhead and whirlpool.


Part 2 - Netarts

The drive from Florence to Netarts is mostly highway 101.  This is a national scenic route and I can't stop saying enough about how great the coast drive is.  It gets even better when you drive off 101 and head towards Netarts.

We came across a deer in the middle of the road in Netarts Bay.

The 3 houses are right next to each other and right up on the beach.  Here's the view of the houses from the beach.


Looks like there's going to be plenty of parking and the houses themselves are actually on pylons.


The houses are right at the mouth of Netarts Bay.  Here's a look west to the Pacific Ocean.


And a little 360 degree video (the wind was strong that day)

A small 1/4 mile walk up the beach you can see Three Arch Rocks.


People were flying kites...


And boogie boarding


We came across multiple fire pits along the beach and I've yet to do this so I'm looking forward to a nice beach bonfire that weekend.  You'll also find a stream coming straight out of the side of the mountain and onto the beach.

I think we're going to have a good time that weekend.

Part 3 - Netarts to Portland

On our way home to Portland.  The final leg of this journey, we stopped in Tillamook and picked up some smoked salmon and beef jerky at Debbie D's.  You can stop here as well (or during the weekend since Tillamook is only 8 mi / 14 min away).



Thursday, July 05, 2007

Independence Day

Get up late.  11am.  Out the door and on the Eastbank Esplanade at 1pm.  2nd ride this year for Heidi.  10 miles.  1 hour.  Hot day.  Home, shower, eat, relax, and then on the bus to the Blues Fest by 4:30pm.  Good music.  Ok food.  Bad beer.  Miller only (why?).  Stay for fireworks.  Not bad.  Wait over 1 hour for bus to get home.  The #54 passes our stop because it's crammed full.  We make it on the #56.  It has to pass up 2 stops full of people because we were the last ones allowed on.  Full.  What's up with that Trimet?  Heidi promises next year we'll ride bikes down.  While we wait get to meet some interesting people.  Guy born in Iran, made into Iraqi citizen but says he's from Israel. (is he clear on this?)  Watch a vocal shouting match ensue between 2 American Indian girls, talking and looking like there from the South side of Chicaho, and a handicap woman over her complaint of their smoking - a Portland man comes to her defense - kinda.  He would like them to stop with the foul language in front of his daughter.  A drunk nineteen year old girl holds up a 12 inch American flag to cars passing by.  Eventually she and her 2 friends grow tired of waiting and call friends for a pickup.  As I sit and contemplate how it sucked to wait for the bus (I could've drove, should've rode my bike etc...), I realize that the best parts of life are happening here in front of me.  Meeting new people and experiencing life.

We look down on the blues fest from the Hawthorne bridge.


Boats in the Willamette River in front of the festival.


It wouldn't be Portland if there wasn't some political statement to make.


Always a Starbucks in sight - even on a hot day and look at the line!


Yoga?  At a Blues Festival?


This guy rocked.  Sean Carney Band.


Getting crowded on the other side of the festival.


What a great harmonica player.  Mike Tracy.  Kept calling himself a nobody from Eugene.  Very impressive.  How about the pants on the guitarist?


Tugboat moves the fireworks barge into place on the river.


Not sure what they raised the bridge for.  It is cool to see it happen though.




Happy 4th.  Later.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Weekend Update 2007.06.30

Relaxing. Time spent with our hobby - food and drink.  Red wine, pasta, Italian sausage on the grill, crunchy garlic Romano bread in the toaster over.  In bed by 10pm.  Up at 5am, can't sleep.  Cinnamon swirl french toast and bacon.  Nap at noon for 2 1/2 hours to recover.  Do dishes, mow lawn, dig a fire pit, and make run to grocery store.  Saturday night its homemade Sangria, went overboard and cooked up some nice tenderloin on Friday on the grill.  Does it truly cost $22.95/lb or is that because we bought it at New Seasons?  Wrapped in bacon with corn on the cob, grilled vegetables and some hashbrowns.  Have our first backyard fire.  Sunday.  Read the paper, spiced chai and leftover cinnamon swirl bread toast.  Make run to Heidi's boss' mothers' house to pickup firewood.  Unload firewood.  Margarita's, taco bowl, chips, salsa - the roses grow naturally around here...

Firewood run

Empty firewood binFull firewood binMargarita's and Roses