June 6, 2009

Springtime Weekends

Trying to get some more pictures up while I still can. Randi, Scott, and Julia came to visit Memorial Day weekend. We spent Saturday walking around downtown, including Faneuil Hall, the Holocaust Memorial, and the Common and Gardens. We hopped on the T over to Kenmore to take in some of the atmosphere before the Mets/Red Sox game, and then grabber dinner at Boston Beer Works while we watched the game. We got back to JP after dinner just in time to see the momentous game-changing home run that Omir Santos launched against Papelbon, much to the chagrin of Dennis Eckersley.

We stayed close to home on Sunday, splitting our time between playing some Rock Band, watching the Mets, and grilling some chicken and hot dogs.

Check out the pictures of the Marshalls’ visit to Boston.

Today, after walking to the mechanic to pay the bill on a bajillion dollars of car repairs, we headed over to Home Depot to pick up a pegboard and cable ties of various sizes. Back at home, we took all of our network electronics—cable modem, wifi router, VOIP device, and NAS—and strapped them to the pegboard. We included a power strip and stuck the whole thing out of sigh behind our TV stand. (This is all originally inspired by Declutter Your Desk, which I’ve been jealous of ever since I first saw it a couple of years ago.)

One step closer to having a baby’s room instead of an office!

pegboard for network equipment

June 5, 2009

Remember when? Fall '08 in Jamaica Plain

Ah yes, I remember it fondly. The weather grew cooler and the nights gained a bit of a chill. College kids flocked back to Boston and the economy collapsed. And, yes, Lynn’s belly was devoid of human cells not strictly her own (at least, as far as we knew at the time).

Over the course of a few weeks, Lynn and I got out to admire the foliage a few times. We took a couple of trips down the block to the Arboretum, and we also went with my mom over to Houghton’s Pond at the Blue Hills Reservation. Enjoy some pictures from back in the fall of ‘08.

(You can click on a thumbnail to see the full picture; when viewing a full picture, you can click on it or use the left and right arrow keys to move through all the pictures.)

May 23, 2009

Pregnancy in Real Life (or: When “Soon” becomes “Now”)

Lynn pregnant at sunset

So it turns out that real life is really quite similar to what’s in my imagination.

There seem to be several universal truths to being pregnant. People will give you lots and lots of advice, most of which is useful, and a lot of which is not. (Yes, there’s so much advice that the minority of it which is not useful is still a lot!) People will begin to treat you a bit like an invalid. People will give up their seats on public transportation for you. And, inevitably, people will ask if you’ve taken pictures of the pregnant belly.

So Lynn and I have now taken two sets of belly photos. The first was in New Jersey at 26 weeks, and the second was at the Jamaica Pond earlier this week (31 weeks). Please enjoy all of the belly pictures, and in particular my favorite one, over there on the right.

May 22, 2009

First Visit to Citi Field

Citi Field from the Promenade

A month ago, Lynn and I saw our first Mets game at the Mets new home, Citi Field. Despite some odd ‘bugs’ in the design (why in the world do the flags need to block the scoreboard?), I thought the park was beautiful. Love the wide open concourses, and love the fact that our seats are both better & cheaper than they were last year at Shea.

Please enjoy a few pictures from our first visit to Citi Field.

April 9, 2009

Pictures from Disney

I still have one day to write up from our February trip to Orlando. The short of it is that on the last day Lynn and I went to Kennedy Space Center before heading to the airport, and it was great. We saw the rocket garden, the museum of early space exploration, and we took the bus tour that featured views of the launch pads, an exhibit of a Saturn V rocket, and labs where modules of the International Space Station are being assembled. My main regret was that the more personalized tour was sold out. I would have liked to have tried that out. OK, so now I don’t have to write that up anymore.

I wanted to share my favorite pictures from our trip. Some of you have already seen them (e.g. on Facebook), but I’ve been playing with a new photo gallery on my Web site, so I wanted to encourage you to take a look at it and let me know what you think. I’m eager for any suggestions and feedback, whether positive, indifferent, or negative. Thanks!

And if you’re really interested, for comparison’s sake:

(Once I’m happy with the new gallery, it will be completely replacing the old one; all old links will continue to work.)

January 24, 2009

Denver in December

Early in December, Lee Sabow and I converged on Denver. The stated purpose of the trip was to finally get a chance to go to Mile High Stadium to see the Broncos at home, but we also spent a good deal of time walking around Denver, eating an excellent dinner, drinking a lot of scotch, seeing a light parade, and eating Mexican food. The weather was beautiful, the company grand, and our parents were kind enough to arrange for chocolate cake and champagne in the hotel room.

But the highlight was, as we expected, the game. On Sunday morning we walked from our hotel over to the stadium, arriving a few hours before game time. We took in the scene in the parking lot, bathing in the sea of blue and (predominantly) orange that was so foreign to those of us used to a sea of Giants, Jets, Seahawks, or Pats gear. We took in the team’s “official” tailgate—the Broncos Barn—where we downed a few beers (Bud rather than Coors, surprisingly), watched the early games on a score of televisions, listened to some live music, feasted on BBQ chicken, failed to win a raffle, and saw a few Broncos cheerleaders perform up close.

We headed into the stadium about an hour before game time. Starting from the south stands, we took our time walking around the lower level of Mile High, watching the Broncos warming up. Eventually we headed up to our seats and settled in for the game. Of course, it wasn’t long before a FG and a Cutler interception put the (heavily favored) Broncos down 10-0 to the hated Chiefs, and we figured we were in for a devastating yet somehow expected disappointment.

With time winding down in the first quarter, seventh-string rookie running back Peyton Hillis capped off an 80-yard drive by rumbling around the left end for 18 yards and a touchdown, and the Broncos were back in the game. Of course, it was only a few minutes later that Hillis would injure himself, and we’d be forced to endure the pain of watching ex-cell-phone-salesman Tatum Bell carry the rock for the home team the rest of the way. The Chiefs answered back with a TD and the Broncos were down 10 once more, until a second 80-yard drive was capped with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Cutler to Brandon Marshall. So halftime rolled around with the good guys down 3, but not out.

The third quarter saw one made field goal and one missed field goal (argh!) from the Broncos, and nothing else. So we entered the fourth quarter all square, with the Broncos deep in their own territory. Five minutes and a 28-yard Tatum Bell run (no joke!) later, another Cutler to Marshall pass put the Broncos up 24-17, but much of the 4th quarter remained. That’s when the Chiefs started their back-breaking drive, grinding out one first down after another as they marched down the field. A first-down sack was followed by a 19-yard completion, and the Chiefs continued to eat at the clock as they found themselves with first and goal from the Broncos’ 10-yard line.

The first down pass was off the mark in the end zone. Good pass coverage led to Thigpen scrambling up the middle and picking up 5 yards on second down. Third down saw another incomplete pass, and the drive came down to 4th and goal from the 5. With less than 5 minutes left and down a touchdown, the Chiefs went for it on fourth down. Thigpen dropped back to pass but failed to find any open receivers. As the Broncos line closed on him, he stepped up and decided to run for it. It looked like he’d be tackled for no gain, but he squirmed his way out of the tackle and took off for the end zone. But Dre Bly closed quickly and tackled Thigpen, just inches short of the goal line. The Broncos took over on downs on their own 1-yard line. Exhale.

After two rushes up the middle netted no yards, we figured we weren’t out of the woods yet. But on 3rd and 10 from the 1, Cutler hit Brandon Marshall for a 19-yard gain, a first down, and some breathing room. Two plays later, a Cutler-to-Scheff completion yielded another Broncos first down, and the game was iced. After the two minute warning, the Broncos knelt down three plays in a row and the celebration was on.

Good times. Enjoy a selection of pictures from the game and our weekend in Denver.

November 9, 2008

Obama in Nevada

Last Saturday in Las Vegas, Lynn, Lynn's Grandma, and I woke up at 5:30am to head over to neighboring Henderson for Barack Obama's last rally of the campaign. The rally was inspiring: I'd heard the words many, many times before, but I had never felt the electricity in person. We met a bunch of passionate and friendly people, each with their own story and their own reasons for wanting change.

I'm very proud of what America did this past week. I don't expect any miracles in the coming years, but I do expect a government that I can look at proudly and one from which I can expect accountability, honesty, and progress.

Please enjoy some pictures of the Henderson Obama rally.

August 20, 2008

Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg

(That name is real.)

The local Cambridge Semantics gang--plus Jen and Josie--went out to Sean's shack in Webster last week. After we got through our requisite meetings, we headed out on the lake for some fun. Here are a couple of my favorite photos from the afternoon:

Joe wakeboarding    Ben wakeboarding at sunset

Check out this gallery to see these pictures full size as well as the rest of the photos from the day.

August 18, 2008

Picture Round-up

Just a few words to surround some pictures from this summer. Click on a picture below for a full-size version.

On a sunny Thursday in July, I wandered over to the Pond in the late afternoon to see if there were any sailboat races going on. I'm not sure if I did see any races, but I captured a few shots of an orange sun coloring the pond and the boathouse. (I saw some sailboats clustered together; I have no idea if they were racing.)

duck on the pond    JP Boathouse

That weekend, I was down in New York to see my old friend Josh whom I hadn't seen in years. On Saturday some of the usual crew and I headed down to South St. Seaport and checked out the NYC Waterfalls. My overall judgment? Interesting but not overly impressive.

Waterfall under the Brooklyn Bridge

On Sunday, Mom, Josh, and I attended the Sunday night Mets vs. Rockies game at Shea. We got there early and trekked up to the top corner of the stadium, where the well-textured sky and setting sun provided an opportunity for a couple of dramatic shots.

upper deck    clouds over shea

August 16, 2008

In Dublin

St. Stephen's Green

We stayed in Ireland the day after our full-day tour of Blarney, Kinsale, and Cobh, as the ship docked the next morning at Dublin. Disappointingly, we only had a short day in Dublin, as we needed to be back on the ship in the early afternoon. Our plans were to take the Royal Caribbean shuttle into downtown Dublin, and then take advantage of one of the city's hop-on hop-off (HOHO, for short) bus tours as a convenient way to experience the core tourist highlights of Dublin in a few hours.

As the shuttle bus snarled its way through Dublin's morning traffic, however, Lynn and I rethought our plan. It was a beautiful day out, and a trip that couldn't have been more than 2 or 3 miles took us at least 30 minutes on the bus. We had little reason to think that the traffic would disperse for the HOHO bus, so we opted instead to arm ourselves with a map or two from Dublin's main tourist office and set out to see as much as we could on foot.

(Map of our walking route.)

From the tourist office, we walked east along Nassau Street and past the grounds of Trinity College. We never did get onto the grounds of the college (e.g. to see the Book of Kells), but the grounds seemed quite lush and expansive. We turned right and wandered through a gate into Merrion Square and Archbishop Ryan Park. The park was set off from the rest of the city by extensive woodlands, making the greenery inside all the more peaceful and relaxing.

doors of dublin

Leaving the park, we continued southeast to Fitzwilliams Street, which--unbeknownst to us at the time--is one of the primary examples of Dublin's 18th century Georgian architecture, and, in particular, the many-colored doors of Dublin. My camera had a field day with the doors, and then we turned west and walked along the south side of Fitzwilliam Square and cut through an archway to head towards St. Stephen's Green.

We wandered into the middle of the park, where we saw a musical performance by arbitrary park-goers conducted feverishly by park entertainers. We wandered around the center of the grounds and then past a lake and out the northeast entrance of the Green.

Checking our watches, we still had plenty of time before we were due back on the ship, so we set out west to check out St. Patrick's Cathedral. Along the way, Lynn received a hug from an Irish lass, though I found the premise of strangers hugging strangers a bit... odd. (Call me cynical.) Anyways, we were a bit disappointed that upon reaching the cathedral the main cathedral tower was completely encased in scaffolding. Still, the grounds were delightful and the church mammoth, and we took in as much as we could by walking the full way around the cathedral.

We then headed north and took a short stroll into the courtyard of Dublin Castle. The main tourable parts of the castle were closed to individuals when we got there, so we relaxed in the courtyard a bit before heading up to the River Liffey. We walked along the river a bit, and then cut one block down to walk through the pedestrian-only area of Temple Bar. This is a lively area full of eateries, souvenir stores, and pubs, and I imagine that it's quite the popular hang out for both tourists and young Dubliners after dark.

Completing most of our four-mile loop, we ended up back near Trinity College. We hopped in a taxi cab and headed back to our ship. This was actually an important part of our day as well, as we had an incredibly friendly taxi driver who told us all about various aspects of the city, ranging from the concerts playing there that summer (Eric Clapton was in town when we were there) to the new tunnel that was built to ease access from the city to the airport to a discussion of development along the southern banks of the Liffey in an area that was formerly used for gasworks and only now is worth the cost of decontamination. Enjoy a small selection of pictures from our (half) day in Dublin.

July 29, 2008

In Blarney, Kinsale, and Cobh

view from Charles Fort

Our next stop after Cherbourg was scheduled to be Plymouth, on the southwest coast of England. Mother nature did not find this an appealing plan, however, and gale-force winds prevented our ship from laying at anchor, particularly since we would have been forced to use small tender boats to take passengers ashore. Instead, we spent that day at sea, with many of us trying to convince ourselves that the moderate-to-heavy rocking movement was all in our heads.

The next day, the weather had cleared and we docked at Cobh, Ireland (map). Based on recommendations from previous cruisers in the area, we had signed up to take a third-party tour of Cobh, Blarney, and Kinsale. We met up with our bus and headed off to Blarney Village. Thankfully, we beat all of the Royal Caribbean buses to Blarney, and so avoided a long line at Blarney Castle (there are two tourist attractions in Blarney Village: Blarney Castle and the Blarney woollen mills--guess which one everybody flocks to first). We strolled through the lush grounds, and entered the castle for the winding walk to the top of the tower housing the Blarney Stone. Along the way there are various bedrooms, kitchens, and other quarters to be seen, though to be honest if you've seen one unfurnished stone room, you've seen them all.

At the top of the tower, we were greeted by magnificent views of the surrounding countryside, as well as an extremely well-rehearsed operation to allow the hordes of tourists their chance to kiss the Blarney Stone, thereby acquiring the gift of eloquent speech. For those of you keeping score at home: Lynn, Marc, Louise, and I all kissed the stone; Ferne and Dave skipped it. We lingered at the top before heading back down, where our egos were warmed by the sight of the crowds gathering to form a longer and longer line to the top--a line that we had avoided altogether.

From Blarney, we drove south and stopped at Charles Fort, just outside the city of Kinsale. This was a British fort built during the reign of Charles II and used until the British left southern Ireland in the early 20th century. While we had no time to explore the fort properly, we were able to enjoy the picturesque views across the harbour to Kinsale and the surrounding countryside.

Cobh Cathedral

Onwards to Kinsale, the culinary capital of Ireland. Kinsale is a brightly colored, bustling harbour-side city, filled with narrow streets, gourmet restaurants, and plenty of traditional Irish pubs that appear more than happy to cater to traditional tourists. We ducked into a pub and scored a table on their back patio for lunch. A sandwich (not Irish) and ale (Irish) for lunch, a short stroll through some Kinsale streets (featuring some entertainingly named establishments), and it was back to the bus.

We wrapped up the day with a drive through Cobh up to the magnificently situated Cobh Cathedral. The cathedral is looms dramatically over Cork Harbour, and offers sweeping views of the harbour and surrounding developments. We walked inside the cathedral, took some photos in and around the church, and returned to the bus and then to the ship.

All in all, a broad but not particularly deep of several Irish highlights. I didn't feel that I learned a tremendous amount about any of these spots, but I did take some pretty pictures. Please enjoy them.

July 24, 2008

In Cherbourg


(Last time, we were in London.)

We were supposed to spend our first full day on the cruise docking at Le Havre, in France. From there, Lynn and I were going to hop on a bus down to Paris and spend the day in the City of Lights with our good friend, Jonah. Unfortunately, French workers--as they are wont to do--were on strike at Le Havre's port, and so we were diverted to Cherbourg for the day. Oops, there goes our day in Paris. (See map.)

So we made the most of it in Cherbourg. My in-laws set out to the Musée de Normandie (Normany Museum) in Caen. Meanwhile, Marc, Louise, Lynn, and I failed to find three scooters to rent, and so we settled for four bicycles and set off along the coast. We biked for several hours, stopping frequently to take photos, eat, and enjoy the scenery. Gotta love the French seaside-shack lunch of a baguette with shaved steak, melted cheese, and the most fried french fries I've ever come across.

We headed back into town where Lynn and I dropped off our bicycles and then walked back to the ship. The rest of the day was rather uneventful; oh, except for the part where Marc and Louise got engaged. Yeah, that was pretty cool.

Please enjoy a few pictures from our day in Cherbourg.

July 10, 2008

In London


Lynn and I recently returned from our 11-night cruise to England, France, Ireland, Scotland, and Norway. But before we even embarked the ship, we spent just about 24 hours in London. From what we've been told, we experienced typical London weather--roughly 74 degrees (Fahrenheit) and barely a cloud in the sky. No wonder those Londoners never complain about their climate!

After depositing our luggage (which consisted only of two backpacks and two carry-on suitcases) at our hotel (£29 for one night), we took the tube to Westminster for the highly-recommended Westminster & the West End London Walk. The tour guide was excellent, the weather perfect, and the sights classic.

Left the tour a bit early to meet up with Ilona, Lynn's college roommate who lives in London. We crossed the Thames and walked along the south bank of the river. We caught lunch along the way (nothing special), passed by the London Eye, and took a brief gander at the Tate Modern and the reconstruction of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. We crossed the Millennium Bridge (ugly as sin!) and wandered up to St. Paul's Cathedral. There, I formally introduced London to Lee Feigenbaum by taking a nap on the steps of the cathedral.

The rest of the day saw us tour the closing markets on Brick Lane, enjoy an excellent Indian-food dinner, and got assaulted by a very-confused or very-drunk pedestrian while walking along Liverpool St.

We loved our glimpse of London: it feels very modern yet with a weight and classiness that only comes with the passing of many centuries. I'm sure we'll go back. Please enjoy a small selection of pictures from our one day in London.

July 6, 2008

Tux - In Memory

Our upstairs neighbor's cat, Tux (a.k.a Mr. Tux) was killed this weekend in a tragic accident. I've never had a pet in my life, and I've never really found any cats that I was particularly fond of. But Tux was different. We liked to say that Tux was a cat that thought he was a dog; he was always full of mischievous playfulness and cuddly friendliness. He was equally happy chasing a piece of string or a set of keys as he was nuzzling against my fingers or curling up in a lap. He loved to stretch out on the grass outside and show off by rolling over when he'd catch one of us looking at him. We'd find him napping in our planters or on our porch chairs, and if we ever left our front door open even a bit, we'd find Tux merrily trotting back to our third bedroom, or rolling over on our kitchen floor, or trying in vain to get up on our dining room chairs. Tux was fun and friendly, and never failed to bring a smile to my face. I loved him like my own pet, and I'll miss him tremendously.


Tux    Tux

Edited to add: Lynn was talking to Angelo Jr. upstairs, who observed, "We could all learn to be a little bit more like Tuxie." I couldn't agree more.

June 8, 2008

A Few Photos

In early May, Lynn and I went to Darcy and Todd's wedding in Worcester:


Over Memorial Day weekend we were at Cousins' Weekend 2008 at the Doral Arrowwood in Rye Brook, NY. I took some pictures of the fun and games.


And finally, from Passover back in April, a mug only a son-in-law could love:

October 8, 2007

An Oregon Wedding

For Labor Day weekend, we traveled to Eugene, Oregon, for the wedding of my cousin, Heather. We snuck away for a few hours on Thursday to visit the Oregon coast.

Oregon Coast

The next couple of days were spent indulging in the company of loved family members that we unfortunately get to see only rarely.

And then Saturday arrived, and we all celebrated Heather and Shane's wedding.

Please enjoy all the photos from our 2007 trip to Oregon.

June 7, 2007

Doyle's Road Race, Redux

When I first wrote about Lynn running Doyle's Road Race, I promised that I'd shortly share the conclusion I came to while watching the runners finish the five-mile race. Now's that time.

As I watched the runners approach the end of their journey, as I witnessed them expending final bursts of energy and leaning towards the non-existent tape, as the sweat dripped from their brows and their sneakers pounded the pavement, one thing became clear: these people are crazy! This isn't a stroll in the park; they're not smiling broadly and whistling a happy tune as they wrap up their morning jaunt. Rather, they're experiencing all kinds of pain, agony, suffering, and just plain insanity!

If you don't believe me, just take a look for yourself:

May 25, 2007

This Entry is Worth 29,000 Words

Please enjoy the pictures from my week in Banff. (Here's two just to whet your appetite.)

Banff scenery    Banff scenery

April 17, 2007

To the zoo!

This past weekend, Lynn and I headed down to the city to see Julie, Shayne, Jess, Pete, and, of course, the Della Torre newlyweds. On Saturday afternoon, Lynn drove into New Jersey for a bridal shower, and Julie, Brian, Marcy, and I took advantage of the beautiful (but chilly) weather to head to the Central Park Zoo. The $8 admission brought us a couple of hours of sea lions, penguins, puffins, seals, polar bears, a sea otter, a red panda, turtles, monkeys, and tropical birds and flowers. It was excellent. How could anyone not enjoy seeing penguins and polar bears?

We had picked this activity over some other possibilities mainly because I asked to go somewhere that I could use my camera, so please enjoy some of the pictures that I took at the Central Park Zoo.

Passover 2007, Part Two

After getting back from our New Jersey seders, we held a third seder at our place in Brookline on the eighth night of the holiday. We've had a few friends over for seders the past few years, and we wanted to continue the tradition. It was great: Passover was bracketed by love and joy shared with our family and our friends, and in my mind, that's what the holiday is all about.

Jess at the Seder     Jeff and Wing at the Seder

April 16, 2007

Shootin' Ducks

Well, I guess I wasn't particularly creative when I decided to process some duck photos I took about a month ago. Still learning my new D200, Wing and I walked over the Longfellow Bridge and took some pictures of a pair of ducks by the banks of the Charles. Enjoy this set of pictures of the Charles, the Boston skyline, some ducks, Wing, and, of course, a lonely cone.

Wing photographs the duck     the second duck

April 6, 2007

Passover 2007

I've got a lot of thoughts about Passover this year. Mainly, the thoughts relate to the fact that these were the first seders that Lynn and I have been to in New Jersey since Dad died. The corollary is that these were the first seders that I've ever led in Glen Rock. As I said at the seders, this is something that I never wanted to have to do. But if life teaches us anything it's that we need to be able to make the best of (really) bad situations, and with that outlook I was proud to lead the seders. People at both seders said that I did things a lot like Dad did. Of course, that's no coincidence; I learned everything from him. He was the best though, and all I can do is try to live up to his high standard.

There's a bunch more thoughts here about the composition of our seder crowds--about what's changed and what remains the same. But for now, I'd just like to share some of the pictures I took over the weekend. (I'm still learning my new camera, so the shots aren't as crisp as I'd like, and my post-processing leaves a lot to be desired. Apologies.)

Lynn and cousin Rachel     Julia

Enjoy all the pictures from Passover 2007.

March 6, 2007

Brian and Marcy: Together Again, For the First Time

Life is easy when you're around people you've known and been friends with forever. You've seen each other's best, and you've seen each other's worst. There's nothing left to be embarassed about and nothing worth boasting about. Nothing surprises and nothing disappoints. Old friends are comfortable; they warm the soul, and they soothe the spirit. Around them, all is laughter, reminiscence, and togetherness.

And when two old friends marry each other, it is a noteworthy occasion indeed. To be sure, it is a most joyous celebration, the likes of which we see far too rarely as we beat back the often dreary days of our lives. But more than that, it is special in its normalcy. It is normal to have these people in our lives, and to have them wedded is as comfortingly normal as to share a beer at the local bar. There may be a name change, but there's no sea change. We cry and laugh and celebrate, but we remain unchanged as fast friends, and we anticipate the next special moment of normalcy that we will share, together.

together again for the first time

Brian and Marcy: many happy returns, for all of us.

Enjoy all the pictures of Brian and Marcy's wedding weekend.

A Summertime Visit from Julia (August, 2006)

I have many pictures that have languished unseen for far too long. For the moment, enjoy these pictures (mostly) of Julia from the Marshalls' visit to Boston last summer. A few tastes:

Julia poses    Lee pushing Julia in a swing

Enjoy all the pictures of Julia's visit.

September 18, 2006

Separated at Birth?

Dodzie Sogah: biochemistry grad student
Rod Adkins
Rod Adkins: VP Development, IBM Systems & Technology Group

July 11, 2006

Meeting Halfway

For quite some time, Mom has been advocating spending a day somewhere in Connecticut halfway between Glen Rock and Brookline as a reasonable substitute for seeing each other when we can't make a full weekend work. I've admittedly been a bit hesitant to put such a plan into action, not least of all because the first time we tried this we ended up spending several hours at a crafts expo—not exactly my first choice for spending an afternoon. My other reservations came from what seemed to be Mom's primary method of figuring out where we would meet: find a point such that the driving mileage for both of us would be identical.

But for this past Sunday, not only did Mom suggest Farmington, but she also had done a good amount of research on activities in the area. And the weather looked promising. So as Lynn and I headed out west at 9:30 in the morning, I was cautiously optimistic. In retrospect, I should have dropped the "cautiously" altogether, as the day turned out to be fantastic on all fronts: weather, activities, food, and, of course, company.

After meeting up at the West Hartford Reservoir, we headed into West Hartford Center and ate brunch (eggs benedict for me, a veggie omelette for Mom, and New England red flannel hash for Lynn) on the roof deck at The Elbow Room.

After six of my eight TXT message correspondents helped me locate the phone number, address, and directions for Farmington River Tubing, we headed there. We enjoyed a peaceful two hours floating lazily down the Farmington River, at the end of which I did my part to repay Lynn for her courage the week before. You see, when we began, the only instructions we were given were that the end of the route was marked by a tube hanging from a tree, at which point we should head to the left bank of the river and climb up to the road (where a shuttle bus would take us back to our car). About 100 minutes into our tubing, Mom and I were quietly chatting and floating together, while Lynn floated slowly 15 yards behind us. We slowly came to the point of disembarkation, at which point Mom and I detubed and Mom climbed to the road while I waited for Lynn.

The thing is, Lynn was drifting extremely slowly on the far side of the river with her head tilted back and with no signs of any intention of heading towards left bank. After waiting in the thigh-high water for a few minutes, I decided that Lynn must have been fast asleep and started calling to her, at first quietly and then more and more loudly. When my sweet nothings failed to rouse her, I began to trek across the river after her. Eventually I caught up to her before she had floated much past our destination, woke her up, and towed her safely to the exit point. But if not for me, I have very little doubt that Lynn might yet still be floating in that tube somewhere out in the Connecticut River or Long Island Sound.

Once at our car, we headed back to the West Hartford Reservoir with a brief detour at a small farm stand to pick up an apple and some vidalia-onion tomato-basil dressing. At the reservoir we walked a brief ways to one of the many actual physical reservoirs on the territory, took a few pictures, and headed off to dinner.

Lynn at the reservoir Mom at the reservoir

We ate dinner at Ann Howard's Apricots, a restaurant and bar overlooking the Farmington River. We arrived early enough to have our choice of tables outside, yet late enough that as dinner progressed we were able to savor the beginnings of a beautiful sunset. The food was fantastic. Mom enjoyed a salmon filet grilled on cedar planks; Lynn savored the Chatham cod atop lemon (?) flan; and I devoured a strip steak served with a peppercorn sauce, mashed potatoes, and haricot verts. The coup de grace was the warm chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream, which Mom and I both decided very well may have been the single best dessert either of us has ever had in our lives. (Coming from someone who is not a big fan of overused superlatives, that's really saying something.)

We said goodbye to Mom and headed home, content, relaxed, and happy.

Enjoy all the pictures of the West Hartford Reservoir and the dinner view at Apricots.