See Greg smash

My buddy Greg was doing a project to replace the side wall of his garage, and he asked me and Nick to stop by for moral support. When we got there, though, we found he was doing just fine on his own:


Greg and his dad were on the case, drilling screws into concrete, and doing other manly stuff:


The framing in the wall had rotted away – a problem we see all the time around here, since the houses and outbuildings are old enough to collect Social Security:


The boys had propped up the roof while they were dismantling the wall:


Nick is shown here supervising, which is really where he excels:


Tournament win for Nick

Our man Nicholas had a good weekend on the soccer pitch two weeks ago. His team entered a big tournament in Lancaster – about 90 minutes away from us – and they won their age group.


The boys were amused that their trophies were still in their boxes, which led Nick to say that he had received a cardboard box for his efforts.


He’s such a wiseacre – where does he get that?


Happy Thanksgiving!

We have loads of new material to bring you, so let’s get started with Turkey Day. We played some touch football in the morning, and then went to the Kings’ house in New Jersey for the big meal with the Sperger clan. A good time was had by all.




Here’s the ‘grown-up table’ just before seating:


Gramps was on the job cutting the turkey:


Here’s our gracious hostess with my lovely wife:


No Thanksgiving meal would be complete without dessert. Pie, anyone?


We had a great time and reveled in the warm hospitality of the King family.

Next up, Christmas!

City of the Gods

Gentle readers, I’m having some technical difficulties uploading photos to share with you.  So I’ll have to try again on my full post about the City of the Gods and the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe next week.  I did manage to get hold of one picture of the Pyramid of the Sun:


It’s roughly 60 meters (180 feet) tall, and those tiny dots on the top are people.  I climbed to the top, and the view was well worth the effort.  More about that next week.  Meantime, Happy Thanksgiving to all!  We’ll be back again on Monday.

Glimpses of the Mega-City

Mexico City is gigante – around 25 million people live in the broad valley that makes up the capital.  My meetings and my hotel were out on the western edge of town, in a relatively new area called Santa Fe.  You could look out from the window into a ravine that ran below the hotel:


I had a ton of work to do in order to get ready for my meetings, so I spent a lot of Monday in the hotel room, getting ready.  On the “When in Rome” principle, I had some chilaquiles for breakfast – chicken over a bed of tortilla chips in green chile sauce, with refried beans on the side.  Delicious.


Late in the day, I went over to a nearby shopping mall to knock out some souvenir shopping for Chels and the kids.  The mall would not have been out of place in the Philly suburbs, and even featured many of the shops and restaurants you would see here, such as Rainforest Cafe and TGI Fridays.  As I mentioned, security was intense everywhere – there are two armed police stationed at every entrance to the mall:


The view from the hotel room late at night was beautiful – like Chicago and Los Angeles, Mexico City appears to stretch into the distance forever:


And then at sunrise, the view out to the mountains was capitvating:


My meetings at one point took me into the center of Mexico City, from which we could look back out at the hills of Santa Fe and its surrounding neighborhoods:


There were, of course, many similarities between office space in Mexico and the offices we use back home.  Corporate conference rooms are just about identical anywhere.  But the rest of the building around us was colorful, whimsical, and clearly influenced by local architecture:


I was also delighted to see that we were in a very trendy part of town – the office building in which I did most of my meetings also houses most of the Mexican subsidiaries of American movie companies, including Disney and Sony:


So I was running with a glamorous crowd… but would you expect any less?

Tomorrow: The City of the Gods, and Our Lady of Guadalupe.

On the way to Mexico City

Last week’s trip took me to the ancient capital of the Aztec Empire, Mexico City.  There was some worry in my house about this trip.  We hear a lot of bad things in the news here about Mexico and its violent drug wars.  There are kidnappings.  This was not a run-of-the-mill trip to Germany, where the only real worry is whether you should go for another plate of schnitzel or not.

Fortunately, I can say right out that the trip went very well.  I never felt like I was in danger, though I would also note that security around hotels and offices is intense.  We had an armed guard at the entrance to our office, which is something I’ve never seen in any of our other offices.

This trip started out like many others, with a wing and a dream:


Unusually for me, I had to change planes along the way – in Atlanta.  My first flight was right at sunset, and the red skies were indeed a delight to see:


I always love to see the edge of twilight on the horizon:


By the time we reached Atlanta, of course, it was well after dark:

The international terminal at the Atlanta airport was pretty well empty when I passed through:


I’ve also noticed from all this travel that I spend a fair amount of time waiting in hallways and jetways:


I arrived in Mexico City at 11:30 p.m. local time – they are an hour behind the East Coast, so it was after midnight at home.  I took a long but uneventful taxi ride to the hotel, and fell asleep pretty much as soon as I got in the door.

Tomorrow: Glimpses of the mega-city.

Another week, another trip

Gentle readers, I’ve got another business trip for work coming up next week.  Publishing will resume when I get back.  In the meantime, my assistant will be handling my e-mail and calls:


See you again soon!

Oh, and don’t forget – today is 11-11-11… I don’t know how we celebrate, but we get one more of these next year (12-12-12) and then we’re done for the rest of the century.  Enjoy!

Same suit, different kid

If I go on now and then about how much Nick is growing, it’s because I cannot fathom how quickly he has jumped up into young adulthood.  These two pictures might give you a sense for it, though.  The first one is of Nick heading out to a classmate’s bar mitzvah in October of 2009:


And here is Nick in October of this year, heading to his first high school formal:


Amazingly, that’s the same suit – altered this year to fit him just a little while longer.  (It appears to be the same tie, too.  Not much variety in Nick’s closet.)  Nick is just about done with that suit.  But the changes in his face and build are incredible to see.

Wayback Machine: December 2001

After yesterday’s post, I got into a bit of a reverie about the passage of time.  While looking back through the photo archive, I stumbled into some photos of Nick and Maria from Christmas 2001.  Look at those little creatures!  It’s amazing how much they have grown and changed in ten years.

Christmas 2001 hugging

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go find a tissue.  There’s something in my eye.  Yeah, that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

Couple more looks at Halloween

Every year on Halloween morning, the kids’ school has a parade around the campus.  Parents come out, shiver in the early-morning cold, and cheer as the motley crowd passes by.  Here are a couple of pictures of Maria and Anna out in costume for the parade.  Maria is the yellow/green popsicle:


And Anna, of course, is the pink iPod:


How can it be that Halloween was only a week ago?  Feels like it’s been a month already.