Deutschland, here I come

Earlier today I booked plane tickets for a business trip to Germany. It’s been nearly three years since my last visit, so I’m eager to see some old friends again, and to wander around Heidelberg:



Wish I was bringing the whole family along with me.

It gets summery early out there

With the amazingly warm spring we’ve had this year, it’s been hard to believe that our swim club isn’t open already. Fortunately, Memorial Day Weekend is almost upon us, and that means three months of fun at the pool:


Side note – I can’t believe how much older Maria looks in just a year’s time. The above picture is from last summer. This is one from the last month:


Time flies.

Mother’s Day hike

We didn’t get out for a camping trip this year on Mother’s Day weekend, but we did go out for a hike on Mother’s Day itself. We tromped through the woods at Peace Valley Nature Center, which is about 30 minutes away from our house, quite a bit further out in the countryside than we are.




This is a family that needs to spend some more time in the woods! Perhaps some camping will be on the menu this summer….

Take Your Children to Work Day

Earlier this month, SAP held its annual Take Your Children to Work Day, an extravaganza that Nick and Maria have been enjoying for a few years now. (The festivities are for 4th graders and older; Anna has a couple years still to go.)

Here are the dynamic duo outside the office, bright and shiny:


Maria got to work right away when she sat down at my desk:


Nick had a bit of a different attitude:


The kids had a great time. I always enjoy taking them into the office – even though they don’t quite understand what I do for a living, they can at least have a picture in their minds of where I’m spending my time.

Field trip

Maria has been asking me for ages to chaperone one of her field trips. A couple days after I got back from California, I finally made that small-scale dream come true.

Here’s our girl at the start of the day, looking appropriately studious:


This was an environmental science trip, so we took a long walk along the Schuylkill River (say it “skoo-kill”) and then went to the old Philadelphia Water Works, next to the Art Museum.




We had a great time, and the weather was just perfect.

On the great balance sheet of parenting, does a chaperoned field trip make up for a week away on business? Maria would probably be graceful enough to say yes, certainly:


Chelsea runs Broad Street

We have a big road race here in Philly every spring called the Broad Street Run. Broad Street is the main north-south road running through the city; the race begins near the far northern end and finishes at the far southern end. The course covers 10 miles (16km). I ran it myself back in 2002, when dinosaurs still roamed the earth. This year, it was Chelsea’s turn.


Nick and I drove down to the southern end of the course and rode our bikes back upstream. We saw the first runners flash past us fairly quickly:


It was another 40 minutes before we saw Chelsea and her friends pass us. The race was jam-packed with runners – over 30,000 registered, and more than 27,000 ultimately crossed the finish line. Our vantage point looked like this the whole time we were waiting to see our favorite runner:


All those people made for an impressive sight – Broad Street was completely filled with runners:


The morning dawned hot and steamy, too, meaning those runners needed a lot of fluids. They made an impressive mess out of every water stand:



The finale of the race is at the fabled Philadelphia Naval Yard, which has a particularly special place in the hearts of the Sperger family – it’s the place where my grandparents first met:


Chelsea had a rough time with the heat of the morning, but she did fabulously, and is already planning for her next long distance race. There have been rumors of a half marathon later this year.

The many faces of an Anna monster

“Daddy, take my picture!” Anna is yelling at me, urgently, from her bath. “My hair looks like Nick’s hair.” Sure enough, Anna has given herself a faux-hawk ‘do:


I can’t even explain how she decided that she wanted to look like this in a photo, but I had a hard time holding the camera still because I was laughing so hard:


This seemed like a fine way to start a new week.

California Dreamin’: A few more scenes

Rounding out my weeklong trip to the Left Coast…

My colleagues and I went out one day for lunch at In-N-Out Burger, a California institution that has sadly not found its way to the East Coast.


It is not health food. Here is a lunch consisting of a Double-Double and some Animal Style fries:


Fortunately, it tastes much better than it looks.

The hotel I was staying in was undergoing renovations, and the workers were storing all of the old room fixtures in the basement parking garage. I thought it was surreal to see all of these things in such a stark setting:





Late in the week, I discovered that a construction screw had become lodged in one of the tires of my rental car, so I went back to the agency for a different car. Since this was California, they saw fit to give me a Prius as a replacement:


I was delighted to discover on my last night out West that the airport hotel offered a special perk just for me:


In a completely full parking lot, not only was the space available, it was also the closest space to the front doors other than the handicapped spaces. Dumb luck.

I don’t usually take many pictures from the airplane, but in the case of the snowcapped Sierra Nevadas, stretching as far as the eye can see, I made an exception:



What an amazing country. Some day I’m going to have to see all the bits in the middle from the ground.

Have a great weekend!

Phillies vs. Giants… on the bay

A couple weeks ago, I had a trip to Silicon Valley in California for work. Thanks to my friend Gurdeep and his sister, who is interning with the San Francisco Giants, I got to see the Phillies play the Giants at AT&T Park. This was a nice coincidence – I had just been hoping to catch a game while I was in town. Seeing the Phils, with Roy Halladay as the starting pitcher, was an unexpected bonus.


We had some great seats along the third base line:



If you remember the game at all, it was one of Halladay’s few rough outings recently – the Giants lit him up for three runs in the first inning, and the Phillies never really responded. So as the game wore on, we did a little exploring, courtesy of the club level passes that Gurdeep’s sister got for us. And I thought my view was nice… this was even better:


The atmosphere around the park is just fantastic:


Fortunately, the Giants also turned out to be a lot of fun to watch in their own right. I don’t pay much attention to them, normally, but they’ve got quite a team going. I’d love to see them vanquish their downstate rivals, the Dodgers, and show up for the 2010 NLCS against our Phillies.

One other nice thing about AT&T Park was that it was so overrun with Phillies fans that I had no qualms about flying the colors myself:


Honestly, I was also thinking, this is California. How nasty could their fans get? Well, I got a hint on the train ride back to the Valley. Gurdeep and I boarded the train, and everyone in the car booed loudly at me. I haven’t had that happen since, well, the last time I gave a speech in public.

(Kidding! Last time I gave a speech, people threw tomatoes. Silently.)

More to come. Good to be back, y’all!