Tuesday, September 29, 2009


We had a great weekend trip to Durango, Colorado. It was short- we arrived early Friday morning and left Sunday morning- but we really enjoyed seeing the town, and of course, seeing the wedding of two good friends.

On arrival at the tiny Durango airport, we secured our rental car and headed west into town. Our hotel room wouldn't be ready for a while, so we had a bite for breakfast at Jean Pierre's, a stop at the grocery for water and snacks, then pointed the car west for Mesa Verde National Park. On arrival, we got the official and required photo taken pronto.

The weather was just perfect- in the 60's and not a cloud in the sky. We agreed that the sun is more intense here in the high desert, and that the clear sky is more clear than we know it at home. And vistas go on forever. There were a few places in the park where one could look out over a vista and surely the horizon was hundreds of miles away.

The park is really a gem. We enjoyed seeing the Anasazi dwelling ruins, but also just seeing the high desert in all its glory. The low, sparse vegetation was in full color, providing a truly gorgeous drive on our way in and out of the park.

While we were visiting one of the ruins areas in the park, I even managed to find my next professional employment opportunity!

Friday evening on our way to the rehearsal dinner (to which everyone was invited!) we searched out and found the bakery Bread, just north of downtown Durango. I'd read one of Lance Armstrong's tweets about the place and their cookies, and we were not disappointed. Both chocolate chip and ginger snaps were out of this world. Besides, I also got one of their "bikes not bombs" cycling caps, and a handful of stickers as well.

Saturday morning I spent fishing in the company of Duke and Rowdy, which was quite a pleasurable experience. Arriving back in town, Kim, Sidney and Shannon joined me for a beer and lunch at the Irish pub in town, after which we cleaned up and suited up for the wedding. Held at the Lodge at Tamarron north of town, the wedding and reception were truly lovely.

Sunday morning we returned to the Durango airport and headed home.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fishing with Duke and Rowdy

This past weekend we spent three days in Colorado at the wedding of a friend of Kim's from high school. It was a real treat to have an excuse to fly in to Durango.

Saturday morning I spent a few hours fishing the La Plata River near town. Since I had such a short time I arranged the services of a guide through Duranglers fly shop. I arrived at the shop early Saturday morning and was greeted by Duke, my guide for the day.

Allow your mind to conjure an image of a Colorado backwoodsman. The image that appears in your mind's eye will be very close, I wager, to the reality of Duke. Somewhere in age between 45 and 65, face obscured by a long, grizzled beard and felt fedora mounted atop his head, Duke was every bit of what one could hope for in a guide- knowledgeable not only of the location, and indeed he knew every inch of the river we fished- but also affable and willing to offer tips and opinions. Duke's golden labrador Rowdy joined us, so I really had two guides for the price of one.

We spent the morning working our way upstream, fishing pocket water in this lovely freestone creek at an elevation of nearly 8500 feet. Duke had warned me when I arrived in the morning that the cold weather- mornings in the mountains this time of year generally have 30-40 degree temperatures- would have the trout "rolled up in their sleeping bags" until the sun rose enough to reach down into the canyon and get the fish active. He couldn't have been more correct- I didn't catch the first fish until nearly 11 o'clock.

I love seeing brook trout- and at this time of year they are particularly lovely with their highlights of red from spawning- but it would have been even neater to catch a cutthroat. Was not to be, at least not on this day, on this mountain creek. It was a beautiful day to be out, and I was happy to catch even a few trout.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tenure Party!

On Saturday our friends Kurt and Kristin Koenigsberger threw a wonderful party for Kim and Rob Spadoni in celebration of their promotions and awards of tenure. The two are pictured above planning to rule the world... or at least Guilford House.

Many thanks to the K's, as well as to all of those who came to help celebrate.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Christmas Carol Train

All Aboard!

Earlier this year I read a news article about a promotion that Disney studios had planned to publicize a new, animated version of Dickens' A Christmas Carol. The gimmick in this case was a train tour through the whole country with "whistle stops" at many towns where attendees could get a glimpse at the making of the film. The event was added immediately to my calendar.

On arrival in Cleveland, the train pulled up just across from the Cleveland Browns stadium, near the Port of Cleveland freight docks, the Amtrack cars fully decked in advertisements and with quite a few people waiting in line to enter the cars. They had each car filled with Dickens, Christmas Carol, and movie related paraphernalia. The first car held "portraits" of the characters in the film, as well as actual costumes which had been sewn so that the animators, using CGI technology, could render them accurately.

This car also had several glass cases with items from the Dickens House Museum in London, including some manuscript letters and early editions of the Carol and other of his works,
including a few issues of Pickwick, and a quill pen and ink bottle that had been used by the master himself.

Another car had intricate model works for the "set" of the movie- Big Ben being built, Scrooge and Marley's counting house, and nephew Fred's house.

At the end of the tour, we got to "morph" our own faces into characters from the film. Kim chose Marley, I chose Scrooge himself. Look for an interesting Christmas card from us this year! Finally, we were treated to a ten minute sneak preview of the film in 3-D. It was neat to see all of these things, particularly the treasures from the museum.

And yes, old Mr. Fezziwig was there!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Maillot Blanc

Just like Andy Schleck this summer at the Tour de France, Anna now wears the maillot blanc (awarded at the Tour for the best young rider), at least in our family.

In the last few months, she has asked for a road bike so she could ride with me. Who am I to discourage such a request? So I found an inexpensive, small frame bike for her to start out on, a Dawes Sheila. The only thing Canadian about it, I think, is the shape of the leaf on the sticker. But it seems to be a sturdy and reasonably lightweight ride for her to start out on.

We've taken two spins so far, one down to the lake and back through University Circle, which wasn't as pleasant as it sounds due to rough roads and a lot of traffic. Today's was a much more pleasant 12 mile loop to the east of home and back again.

We're both looking forward to many more rides together!