| 09.30.2006 | July Catch-up

I finally finished working up Marla's pictures from July (only three months late!) You'll find shots from the end of our trip in Seattle, a good number of swimming/water pictures and general child-like craziness in this set.

Two things I will never tire of saying:

  1. Being a two camera household creates LOTS of pictures.
  2. Being a two camera household means I get to see many of things I would normally miss out on!

@ 11:57 AM by TNorthcutt | Comments (1)

| 09.17.2006 | Salzburg, Austria

The final stop on my short European jaunt was to Salzburg, Austria. I was unsure what to expect, with my only real exposure to Austria being from The Sound of Music.

After spending a couple of days there let me tell you that Austria in general, and Salzburg in particular, are among the places I definitely want to visit should I go back. (Recall that I returned from my trip with clothes for my own little Austrians.)

The scenery was spectacular, bumping up against the Alps to the north and turning into deep green hills in the south. The people were very friendly, the food was fantastic and the architecture was old but well maintained.

The hotel we stayed in, The Goldener Hirsch, is slap in the middle of the old town center and was established as a hotel in 1407. It blew my mind that the place I was staying had been in continuous operation as a hotel before North America was even discovered.

Unfortunately the weather was rainy while we were there so photo ops were few and far between. The night shots from above the city are some of my favorites.

@ 1:31 PM by TNorthcutt | Comments (0)

| 09.16.2006 | Berliner Dom

One of my favorite buildings in Berlin was the Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral). It was right across the river from our ultra-modern hotel and I like the juxtaposition of the old and the new.

Surprisingly the cathedral is only 100 years old, finished right at the turn of the century. It was bombed in World War II (what wasn't?) and just finished a major reconstruction project in the late 90's.

Unfortunately it was sunset when I paid it a visit and I wasn't able to get inside for a tour. I made the most of the light, however, and took some of my favorite pictures of the trip.

Note: If the Radisson you are staying in has "SAS" attached to it you're in for a treat. They're nothing like the cookie-cutter hotels found in the US. In Berlin there's a 100-foot tall fishtank in the center of the lobby, the Frankfurt Radisson is crazy circle and the Strand in Stockholm is like a castle. If you're abroad book Radisson!

@ 1:17 PM by TNorthcutt | Comments (0)

| 09.13.2006 | Berlin, Germany

I went on a quick trip to Germany and Austria for work at the end of June. First stop: Berlin, Germany.

The last time I was in Germany was the summer before The Wall came down. The city was divided with the few border crossings guarded by scary-looking guys in heavy wool trench coats, carrying machine guns and flanked by German Shepherds.

We spent a few hours in East Berlin and I've said for years that it was the most depressing place I've ever been. The city looked and felt as if the color had been completely sucked out of the world. Every thing was brown or gray, from buildings to clothes to even the people.

My what a change a few decades of democracy and capitalism make!

Nearly nothing remains of the miles long concrete barrier that separated East from West. The "death strip" of vacant buildings, mine fields and barbed wire was gone, replaced with gleaming glass apartments and huge office towers. I couldn't believe the transformation.

We arrived near the tail end of the World Cup, with Berlin being one of the host cities. There were games in the city before and after our visit but none while we were there. The fans remained, though, and, despite my general distaste for soccer, I really was sucked in by their enthusiasm and enjoyed the games we watched.

The photos here are from my wandering around the city with David "crt" Wright the evening before our meetings started. It's amazing what you can see in just a few hours of wandering.

@ 7:37 PM by TNorthcutt | Comments (1)

| 09.11.2006 | Rattlesnake!

We were taking a relaxing walk in the canyon across the street (O'Niell Regional Park) Saturday night when we spotted a snake slithering through the bushes.

Being the fine father that I am I wanted to responsibly show my children the beauty of nature. I remember thinking about It being important to teach them to appreciate wildlife...

... until I heard the high-pitched rattle start up.

Then my thoughts were all about, "Let's get the Hell out of here!"


It seems that we crossed paths with a Western Rattlesnake, one not uncommon in Southern California. The past few years of above average rain have increased the population of their prey (rats, mice) and, in turn, the population of rattlesnakes has exploded.

We'd previously only seen gopher snakes so close to home.

Marla relayed to me tonight that a friend's dog was bitten by a rattlesnake in their backyard just earlier today.

Guess I'll have to add that to the list of things to look out for when we venture outside! (There are also tarantulas, mountain lions and deer across the street.)

@ 9:07 PM by TNorthcutt | Comments (2)

| 09.10.2006 | Charles Xavier Rogan

Normally when one sibling dumps a bucket of water on the other's head there's going to be trouble.

This time around, though, both parents and children were in a good mood and the water on the head only served to further lighten the mood during our visit with the Rogans, newly moved back to Seattle and newly blessed with a big bundle of joy.

Charles Xavier Rogan was born a strapping lad, shortly after their arrival in Seattle, and this was our first chance to meet him and see their new digs.

Matt played an excellent host and entertained Emma and Henry in the pool. They later retired to the play room for some smokin' Geotrax fun.

At the end of the gallery there are a few shots of Mt. Rainier peeking out of the haze. If you've never been to Seattle "The Mountain" dominates the horizon pretty much everywhere you go in the summer. When discussing the weather it's common to ask, "Is The Mountain out today?" (It stays hidden in the clouds for most of the fall, winter and spring.)

@ 10:29 PM by TNorthcutt | Comments (1)

| 09.09.2006 | Meet Natalie Michelle

We continue our vacation photos with a set from meeting Natalie Michelle Worcester.

Our friends Karen and Charlie Worcester had their bouncing baby girl just a few weeks before we arrived in Seattle. Emma, as always, enjoyed meeting a new baby. (See these from just a few weeks ago.)

The highlight of the visit, though? Not the new baby but rather Charlie's impressive collection of ancient Matchbox cars. Emma and Henry both had a grand time playing with the real metal cars.

Trivia: did you know there are only ever 75 models of Matchbox cars available at any given time? True story!

@ 9:54 PM by TNorthcutt | Comments (0)

| 09.04.2006 | 4th of July in Seattle

We took our summer vacation this year in sunny Seattle with Grandma and Grandpa Mandel.

The weather was glorious throughout the entire trip so Emma and Henry had a great time in Grandpa's huge backyard.

They spent the week doing the kinds of things you imagine kids outside during summer ought to do: roll in the grass, run, scream, "Oooh!" and "Ahhh!" at the banana slugs, gather pine cones and the like.

We went to Kirkland for the 4th of July, first playing at the lake (getting thoroughly wet in the process) and later watching the parade. The parade was a first for Emma and Henry and both really got a kick out of it. They loved waving at everyone as they passed by.

@ 2:39 PM by TNorthcutt | Comments (5)

| 09.02.2006 | Sprinklers Gone Wild

It's been a few years since we had any water sprinkler antics here at home. It's a cherished memory from childhood for me and I was glad when Emma tried it for the first time two years ago.

Henry got his first taste of the joy that is playing in the water sprinkler when they failed to turn off a few weeks ago. I wasn't there to enjoy the show but Marla captured the experience and all the thrills.

I can close my eyes and just about hear their shrieks of joy.

@ 10:10 PM by TNorthcutt | Comments (0)

| 09.01.2006 | june catch-up

The month of June came and went.

Need proof?

Here are the photos!

Yes, sir, the passage of an entire month captured forevermore on "film." What evidence would society have of this great month were it not for the dilligent efforts of my wife and children?

@ 5:48 PM by TNorthcutt | Comments (0)