Dear Friends and Families,
February 14-18 and 19-25
written February 17 and later
Of course the major
reason we have for trading Pommersfelden for the Tower District was to
be closer to family. On the weekend following Valentine's Day, we
started benefiting from that closeness.
Gabby, Ava, and Sam came to stay a day at Mamo's house. The great
grandkids bring a huge amount of energy with them, particularly after
being belted into car seats for three hours. The noise and
activity in Mamo's normally quiet and orderly home is a change, one
that she very much enjoys. So do we.
After a quick pizza dinner at Mamo's, Marianne and I went to the Saroyan Theater
for a performance by the Fresno Philharmonic that combined "cirque"
acrobatics with classical music. Russian acrobats and Russian
music dominated the show, with the acrobats commanding more attention
than the orchestra, I'm afraid. The theater is part of the
downtown Fresno Convention Center and on this Saturday night the place
was filled to overflowing with three diverse attractions: the
philharmonic/acrobats; "Valentine's Super Love Jam", a huge dance with
nine bands; and "559 Fights", amateur cage fights. We could tell
we weren't in Pommersfelden anymore.
On Sunday our little
crew descended on the new house. Ava and Sam were quickly at
home, enjoying the toys pre-staged in the house, patio, and play house
(otherwise known as the art shed.) Once again they filled the
place with fun for everyone. A good reason for moving across the
breakfast, it was a full day of playing for the young visitors.
The most fun place was a pile of dirt. Ava built "houses" while
Sam pushed dirt from one mountain to another. This may not be the
most sanitary playground, but the kids seem none the worse for
it. I think they have been exposed to germs before!
and Reuben joined us for a bratwurst dinner. The not-too-cool
February evening was great for sitting out on the patio. This
dinner did point out the need for a good barbecue grill, something for
the next visit.
On Monday (17th), we shifted play spots. It really is fun, enjoying February sunshine with family.
After Oso Park, it was
lunch at Wild Chicken Wings. This was the first and last time for
us, because the service was so slow we had to skip afternoon naps
afterwards. The consequence of THAT, was an early-to-bed evening
for the kids -- not a bad solution for the adults.
On Tuesday, Gabby, Ava, and Sam headed
off to Lake Tahoe
for skiing, hoping there would be snow. (There wasn't.) The
family packed the giant black car-truck with supplies for the five-hour
drive and left us with a quiet house, too quiet.
On Wednesday, Marianne and
I headed out early for a flight to Colorado. Leaving from Fresno
was a lot easier than from Pommersfelden or Frankfurt! The taxi
ride was short, the airport lines almost non-existent, the gates fewer, and
boarding quicker. The flight itself was fine, although the pilot
had worried us about possible bumpiness arriving at Denver, bumpiness
that didn't happen. The Colorado mountains were snow-covered,
unlike our California Sierras.
Jen was there at the airport to meet us and drive us up to
Longmont. Thanks. After lunch with Brian, we unpacked a bit
and waited for Rich to get out of school. Even though we saw him
just last summer, I swear he's grown inches. I guess that's
something 11-year-olds do.
We enjoyed a Chinese dinner and, afterwards, Brian took us on a tour of
"TinkerMill", a co-op for folks doing all sorts of techie hardware
experiments. He showed us the 3d printers, the laser cutters, the
automated sewing machines, and the lock-picking kit the members play
with. Don't ask me about the last one. I had read about
such places and it was interesting to see one in person.
Most of our stay here will be relaxing, since Brian, Jen and Rich all
have their normal schedules. We will enjoy the break from
On Thursday, I took some time to look at the
local damage from last September's flooding. The scene along Left
Hand Creek, just a block or two from the family's home, is peaceful
now, but still shows scars from last Fall. We understand that the
scenes are more dramatic up in the hills, but we'll probably pass on
too much exploration.
Later, Marianne and I went Christmas shopping. Pearl Avenue,
downtown Boulder, has plenty of interesting shops and we managed to
complete our long-overdue task. In the evening we enjoyed the
gift exchange. Now we are caught up!
|Last September and today.
Crooked walking bridge and old debris.
Friday was another quiet day, except for a visit to Rich's school.
Saturday started with more being lazy, but by mid-day we had enough
energy to go to the local Butterfly Pavilion, one of Rich's favorite
spots and a good cold weather stop. There are three general
areas, covering butterflies and moths, small aquatic animals, and bugs
and spiders. Guess which one Marianne did NOT like.
Elementary was a cheerful place, with lots of art on the walls.
Friday's special activity was "Celebretea", when 5th graders get to
present reports on their choice of celebrity. Lots of imagination!
Rich chose Jim Hensen, inventor of The Muppets. He and his
classmates were enthusiastic answering questions about their own
celebrity. Lots of smiles.
After our education, we headed to Boulder and a gathering with one of
Marianne's old school colleagues, Sharron. She came with husband
Dick, daughter Katie, and grandson Nathan and we all enjoyed a couple
of hours of laughs and good food. We vowed to meet up again, in
California or Colorado or?
Rich led us through the butterfly house.
He also explained all the little sea creatures.
Kids are fascinated by bugs, adults not so much.
Sunday was even more unplanned than Saturday, except for "the boys"
(John, Brian, and Rich) going to see the new Legos movie. I'll
admit I don't go to many films, but attending one with lots of energy,
in a theater of excited kids, is a pleasant way to spend a few hours.
Monday was the flight home, after an hour drive down to Denver
International Airport. Everything was pretty nominal and
uneventful. I did over-exercise my little camera on the flight
over, but this is one time where I liked being on a window seat.
Now we are home again in Fresno, but that's another story.
|Denver Airport and the city and foothills out.
Roads and ski slopes.
Cold and canyons
Sierras, reservoir, and central canal
John and Marianne