Saturday, June 27, 2009

One year later...

A year ago today we made it through a tremendous storm. Luckily we had no damage to our house. In fact, I think our ultimate loss was a couple pepper plants. I was sure my hostas and peoney were toast, but both came roaring back to life this spring. Our neighbors just half a block away weren't so lucky - they ended up with a trailer on the back deck. One of the more seriously damaged houses just a couple blocks away is still being rebuilt. Here's a slideshow of some of the pictures I took that day:

Friday, June 26, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I located my mystery castle!

I am bouncing up and down right now - and kicking myself at the same time. This is no easy feat, but somehow I'm managing it.

In July 1991, I spent three weeks in Germany. One of the days we were out sightseeing, we stopped at a castle ruin where only a single tower remained. We climbed to the top where there was a spectacular view, and where I discovered to my horror that I had one shot left on my last roll of film! I took a deep breath and tried to make it count:


Unfortunately, I didn't make note of the name of the castle or the town in my diary (why? I don't know). Later on (but still in pre-Google days) when I wanted to figure it out, I didn't have an easy way to find out what route we'd taken or any information about this particular ruin, though from time to time I would give it another shot, to no avail.

Years passed, the diary was put away (scanned first, of course, and eventually I saved a copy in my GMail and elsewhere, where it was essentially buried and forgotten). Today the light bulb clicked and it finally dawned on me that these days I have everything at hand to at least narrow the search for my mystery castle.

I pulled up the diary in Gmail and skimmed through the pages until I found the entry I wanted:

July 11, 1991: Today we went to Ravensburg, Weingarten and Wangen. We went to several churches in each place. On the way home, we visited an old tower near a small town. The tower is all that is left of a large castle that used to be there. We climbed all the way to the top of it on some rickety old stairs that seemed ready to fall at any moment. The view from the top was breathtaking, but the climb down the stairs isn't something I'd like to go through again.

Then I went to Google Maps and put in the last place I knew we stopped before the castle: Wangen. I made Lindau (where I was staying) the destination and told Google Maps I wanted directions.

The route shot me right past Neuravensburg, a small town on the edge of a small lake. I zoomed in and found what looked like a footpath going up a hill to a squarish gray blob. The footpath took the same general route I remembered, and on the same side of the road. I googled the name of the town and found the blob was indeed a tower! After a search for the town's name in Flickr, I came up with this shot (as well as pics of the tower from the outside).

At last, mystery solved! With under five minutes of research. Why I didn't think of this when Google Maps first surfaced I'll never know. *sigh*

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The power of a handwritten letter

I'm not a football fan, but I love this piece about Peyton Manning. I think it says a lot about him that he takes the time to send handwritten letters to former opponents when they retire. Writing letters is a habit I basically dropped altogether in the last few years. I don't even send cards anymore. On one hand, I think that's sad. On the other hand, it seems so counterproductive to go buy a card (spending money, killing a tree), write something in it, buy postage (I don't keep it around anymore) and take it somewhere to mail it. Gah! It sounds like so much work compared to e-mail.

But then I see these men and their appreciation for having received such a precious and unusual item. It almost seems to not matter what the letter says, even though the sentiments within *are* important. But if Manning had e-mailed those same words to these other players, no one would really take notice. The other men would have thought "Well, that's nice," and moved on with their day. Because Manning took the time to handwrite the letters and mail them, they have sticking power and carry a weight that no e-mail could.

This video originally aired on January 3 (according to my notes) and I wanted to post it a long time ago, but ESPN didn't put the video up on their site until February 6. *ahem* Are you listening, ESPN? Good thing I made a note to look for it again later. Unfortunately, "later" was now.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Look out, they're 21!!

Look who's 21!

They won't have to wear disguises at the bar anymore! 
Happy birthday, Josh & Jon!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Before Edward there was David

keifer sutherland
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As I explained to a friend recently, this is why I have nothing left for Twilight. I spent it all on Lost Boys years ago, but that was before the intervention...

Monday, June 01, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad!

Today is my parents' 40th anniversary.
Gee, weren't they cute back then? (and I guess they still are)
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Perhaps this is why I haven't been blogging?

Reality Check

...more likely it's a combination of yet another laptop cord going to pieces, rearranging the house, cleaning the house, having guests, cleaning the house, appliances deciding to go on vacation without notice, and the fact that it's all either too exhausting or depressing to even tweet, much less blog about. I'll be back with a vengeance this month, water heater or no water heater!