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Summer 2008 Journal


<h>June 20, 2008</h> <ul> Took the <i>07:21</i> <c>S3</c> from Kempten to Kloten. Continental Airlines flight <c>#79</c> departed Zürich at <i>10:35</i> (about 1 hour late) and arrived at Newark at <i>13:40</i>. We picked up one-way rental from Avis (for a small fortune) We drove upstate through pretty heavy traffic in New Jersey; further upstate, it's much better and it's smooth sailing. We stopped in Little Falls to eat at the East End Steakhouse (becoming kind of a tradition) and arrive in Ilion at around 21:00 Annie Watkins was there too because Megan had her Baccalaureate dinner that night. </ul> <h>June 21, 2008</h> <ul> Ate breakfast with Nid and Mil. Marco & Mil returned the rental car and rented a road bike in from Schuss Bikes in New Hartford. Karen, Gary, Kath and Marco go to Eli's graduation party Karen, Gary and Kath go to Kelly Long's graduation party Karen, Gary and Kath go to Erin Turner's Hawaiian-themed graduation party Marco rides up the <a href="{root}albums/view_picture.php?id=11984">Gorge to Cedarville Road</a>, then back on Silver Street Marco, Mil and Nid go to see <i>Get Smart</i>, then stop for mint-chip ice cream at Dave's on the way home. </ul> <h>June 22, 2008</h> Karen, Gary, Megan, Marco and Kath go to Morgan Trevor's graduation party. <h>June 23, 2008</h> Marco went for a ride up the <a href="{root}albums/view_picture.php?id=11982">Frankfort Gorge</a>, up Albany Road and back down the Ilion Gorge. We went to Utica with Mil & Nid, trying to find "Utica Monday Night" festivities. They turned out to have been cancelled due to a forecast of bad weather. Instead, we went to Tiny's Grill on State Street in Utica, where Max, Nadia and Marco had Reuben's---for the first time ever, they claimed---and Kath had a hamburger. Toward the end of the meal, a jazz band started up. Back home in Ilion, Max and Marco lost twice to Kath and Nadia at cards. <h>June 24, 2008</h> We had a quiet day, then dinner at Max and Nadia's. Afterwards, we played cards again and tied, 2--2 (again, with Max teamed with Marco and Nadia with Kath). <h>June 25, 2008</h> Marco took a mind-bogglingly long bike ride from <a href="{root}/albums/view_picture.php?id=11640">Ilion to Hamilton College</a>, then back along the wrong way on route 51, traveling well into Richfield county. When he got home, he re-fueled with risotto at Max and Nadia's, then pizza and wings at Karen and Gary's. After dinner, Kath and Marco walked up to visit Amanda and Rob. <h>June 26, 2008</h> Kath went to Utica to pick up some more supplies for the graduation party. We ate dinner at the Brass Tack in Frankfort with the Van Evera clan. Sean, Amber and Chloe arrive at around 23:30 that night. <h>June 27, 2008</h> Marco went for a ride to <a href="{root}/albums/view_picture.php?id=11981">Cedar Lake Country Club</a> and back. The day of the graduation has arrived. The whole Van Evera clan attends the Ilion High School graduation for the class of 2008, which takes place in the main gymnasium. It's quite hot and humid in the gym, which is not very conducive to staying awake or alert during the long ceremony. Megan got the Joseph Sorge "Never be less than your best" award for a cool $1000, for which she was called to the stage to personally accept the award from Mr. Sorge himself. She also snagged the Marion Brill scholarship for $1200 and the Kathleen Tiso scholarship for $100. The school offered an array of home-made cookies and punch after the ceremony. It started to rain quite hard, clearing away a lot of the humidity, but forcing the Van Evera clan to pile into the van like a clown car. Because we were illegally overloaded, we had to take a quick left through Columbia Avenue to avoid the police check at the main exit from the school. <h>June 28, 2008</h> Marco went for a ride up the gorge and back down through <a href="{root}albums/view_picture.php?id=11983">Frankfort</a> We started the day at the Graham's for Nicole's graduation party, then had Megan's graduation party at the Snowdrifter's Club way up on Barringer Road (Just over the first hill past the Maple Crest golf course). There was a big turnout and, even though it rained off and on, we still had a lot of fun. Kath and I saw a lot of old friends (Rob, Jeff, Kristin, Andrea, Kevin, etc.) <h>June 29, 2008</h> Clan Van Evera---Sean, Amber, Chloe, Karen, Gary, Megan & Grammie---went to Max & Nadia's for brunch on the terrace outside. It was warm out, so some of us swam in the pool. Sean & Amber had to leave earlier to return to Maryland, but Chloe stayed behind with Bop-bop and Grandma (Gary and Karen, respectively). Kath and I went to Rob & Amanda's later to watch the EM final. When we got back, we played some more cards, with Max and Marco taking two wins off of Kath and Nadia. <h>June 30, 2008</h> Max, Nadia, Karen, Gary, Megan, Kath & Chloe drive up to Forestport to Penny & Keith's camp. Marco rode up <a href="{root}/albums/view_picture.php?id=11980">on his bike</a>. Penny, Keith, Amalia and Jesse (friends from California) were there. In the afternoon, we drove over to North Lake where we went canoeing, kayaking, swimming and had a campfire, beer and snacks. Later, we had a massive fire-grilled steak dinner at the camp. <h>July 1st, 2008</h> Marco and Kath took it easy, with only a hair appointment at 18:30 at the <i>Hair Shoppe</i> with Bob in Frankfort (a few dozen feet after turning left on Litchfield Street). Kath had 10 inches cut off for <i>Locks of Love</i> and Marco got an excellent trim (didn't have enough hair to donate). Later that night, the Van Evera clan and Max went to "Car Nite" at Dave's just outside of Schuyler. When we got home, the parents drifted off to bed and Kath, Marco and Megan watched <i>Juno</i> (well, Kath watched the first five minutes before drifting off as well). Marco and Megan set up her laptop. <h>July 2nd, 2008</h> Marco rode to <a href="{root}albums/view_picture.php?id=11641">Pumpkinhook Road / Richfield Springs / Little Falls</a>. The whole family gathered once again at Max & Nadia's for swimming and happy hour. Later, Marco, Kath, Max & Nadia had fondue and played some more cards. <h>July 3rd, 2008</h> Karen, Gary, Megan & Chloe pick up Kath & Marco at 07:00 for the big road-trip down to Maryland. From there, we pick up Grammie Watkins and are ready to head south. The trip is long, but starts off right with breakfast at the <i>Cracker Barrel</i> in Binghamton. A little bit later, we stop just over the border in Pennsylvania to pick up some fireworks to smuggle into Maryland. We got to Sean & Amber's at about 16:30 where the weather was nice: hot and humid. We had a delicious fondue for dinner. <h>July 4th, 2008</h> Sean, Gary and Marco set up Chloe's pool, which would be monopolized by adults looking to stay cool. Sean, Amber and Marco did a cross-fit workout in anticipation of the massive over-eating that would follow. We had an awesome Fourth-of-July/Chloe-birthday party with a lot of food, a lot of drink and lots of fireworks (personal supplies). <h>July 5th, 2008</h> We all headed into tick country at Wye Island with family Golshani. We all hung out on a small beach, relaxing, noshing and playing backgammon. Later that night, the town of Easton entertained with fireworks. <h>July 6th, 2008</h> Another easy day at casa Van Evera (Maryland) with some frisbee and football with Sean, then bocce with Amber, Sean, Karen. Marco threw in a solo cross-fit workout early in the morning. We all took turns cooling off in Chloe's pool. Before we left, Sean & Amber made some excellent pizzas with homemade pesto dough and topped with leftovers from the various barbeques, parties and picnics: <ul> Potato & Bacon Feta & Spinach Sausage & Peppers BBQ Sauce & Pulled Pork </ul> Later that afternoon, we had to bid adieu and took off into truly horrendous holiday traffic. After about an hour, Sean called on the cell phone to ask how we were doing. We told him to look out his window, because he should still be able to see us. We got home very late after about 9 hours on the road. <h>July 7th, 2008</h> Kath, Megan & Marco met Rob for lunch (Franco's, what else?), then packed for California. Marco & Kath played Max & Nadia and split two matches evenly. <h>July 8th, 2008</h> Max, Marco, Kath and Megan get an early start, driving to Albany to catch a flight to California (Max was only the chauffeur, unfortunately). The flight took off on time, but the transfer was delayed in Chicago because of a surly passenger who refused to sit in her middle seat and was wandering up and down the aisle alternately wheedling people to trade, offering $5 to trade and being outright abusive. All in all, it was quite amusing until the flight attendents called the <i>freaking police</i> to escort her off the plane. The lady was at least fifty and neither very hale nor very hearty---do we really need to call the police and treat an obvious anti-social as a terrorist? Anyway, we got to LA a little late and were picked up by good old D, who drove us back down to Orange County like a force of nature. We spent the afternoon at the pool and hot tub in her condo complex. Dinner was at Joe's Crab Shack, where they had the temperature at about 60ºF, nearly killing the two Eurotrash, who weren't even accustomed to light air conditioning. <h>July 9th, 2008</h> Diana server up a sumptuous breakfast in what would turn out to be a trend. We got a bit of a later start because we were all feeling lazy, but finally decided on a visit to the Queen Mary. Once we got there, we also picked up tickets to see the Soviet sub "Scorpion" docked in the same harbor. With our first-class, nearly all-inclusive tickets in hand, we took the "Haunted Legends" and "Behind the Scenes" tours. Afterwards, we visited the rest of the ship and the submarine. We had lunch but, after nearly six hours at the Queen Mary, needed a bit of dinner. Diana suggested La Crêperie in Long Beach, which was excellent. We did some window shopping---well, one of us had to buy a guitar-playing rusty metal cat---before heading home. <h>July 10th, 2008</h> We got a much earlier start for our day in Disneyland. Here are the rides we took that fabled 14-hour day. <h>Disneyland</h> <ol> Space Mountain Autopia Tarzan's Treehouse Jungle Cruise Pirates of the Caribbean Haunted House Hungry Bear Restaurant Indiana Jones Adventure </ol> <h>Adventureland</h> <ol> Grizzly River Run Redwood Creek Challenge Trail California Screamin' Maliboomer Twilight Zone Tower of Terror California Screamin' </ol> <h>Back in Disneyland</h> <ol> Splash Mountain Thunder Mountain Dinner & Entertainment Star Tours Matterhorn Bobsleds Mr. Toad's Wild RIde Indian Jones Adventure </ol> Oh yeah, we had a good time. <h>July 11th, 2008</h> Marco took a bike ride with Diana's bike and did some cross-fit training in the morning. It would be a good start to what would turn out to be a shopping day with the girls. We started out in Ikea, continued to the Container Store, Best Buy, Barnes & Nobel and ended up with a late lunch at Cosi at the Irvine Spectrum. We saw Diana's lonely little office, then headed back home. We played some cards (Jass) later that night. <h>July 12th, 2008</h> Marco took another ride with Diana's bike down Bake Parkway, all the way to Irvine Boulevard and back, then did some cross-fit with Diana. Diana, Marco, Megan and Kath head out to Costa del Mar to check out the tide pools and all of the fascinating critters that make their home there. We hiked in the broiling sun from Reef Point to the Arches Rock and back, which was about 5 miles round-trip. After a lunch of Gatorade, almonds and carrots, we napped, read and played some more cards. That night, we ate in, cooking up some chorizo, potatoes and various salads. Peter, Nicole, Ivy and Priscilla came over later for a visit. <h>July 13th, 2008</h> We got a 10:00 start and headed down the coast to Carlsbad to visit Pat, Julie and their twins, Nicholas and Ryan. We headed over to Swami's---a beach near some sort of cult templte---where Pat gave Diana and Marco some surfing lessons. Megan and Kath swam a lot, but begged off on surfing. Marco and Pat stayed out for hours, chatting and surfing (though where Pat was surfing, Marco was just happy to stand up for more than a few seconds before face-planting into the salty surf). We picked up some Mexican takeout from Roberto's on the way home and had a nice evening (with some lively conversation between Marco, the liberal pansy and Pat, the merciless libertarian). <h>July 14th, 2008</h> With a few big days behind us, we relaxed around the house, heading out for some local visits with the car. Diana took us to see the <i>Live Oak Canyon Road</i>, the Oakley Corporation headquarters, and the <i>Great Park</i>, though it was kind of closed that day. At any rate, it looks like an interesting outdoor addition to the admittedly somewhat overurbanized splendor of Orange County. We had a late-ish lunch at the California Pizza Kitchen after shopping around at the Irvine Spectrum and plundering the <i>Old Navy</i> store there. In the afternoon, Diana cajoled us into going to the <i>Wild River</i> water park near her house, which was an awesome---albeit a bit cold---time. We did as many rides as we could in the few hours we had there. We even guilted Kath into going on some completely enclosed, completely pitch-black tube rides during which she deafened us all with her screams. Good times. Here are the rides we did: <ul> Wild River Bowls (only Marco & Diana) Toboggan Cobras Abyss (the dark one mentioned above) Some other dark-tubed ride Cobras (again) Abyss (again) </ul> Back at home, we finished up some pizza leftovers. <h>July 15th, 2008</h> Marco got up early and took a bike ride through the <i>Live Oak Canyon</i> we'd visited the day before, riding 22.5 miles in all that morning. Since we were leaving on the red-eye that night, we packed up our stuff, ate breakfast, showered and headed on out for LA at about 11:30 for what would be a jam-packed day. Marco was allowed to drive to the <i>Disney Concert Hall</i>, our first stop. His reluctance to stop for pedestrians got his driving privileges taken away thereafter, though. We took a partial audio tour of the beautiful building, then headed over to the <i>California Science Center</i> to see the <i>Living Body</i> exhibit (by Gunther Van Hagens). We also saw some iMax movie taking a tour of the human body. Finished with the science center, Marco decided he wanted to eat at an <i>In & Out Burger</i>, the closest franchise of which happened to be in Huntington Beach on the other side of Compton. So on through Compton we drove to get to the burger joint, which was as awesome as expected and cost next to nothing for people used to paying Swiss prices for food. Because we still had time to kill before our flight, we of course stopped at another mall and plundered yet another <i>Old Navy</i> store in Carson before getting dropped off at LAX by Diana. The flight was relatively uneventful, though the nighttime takeoff afforded us a breathtaking view of LA: the moon was up and shone on the ocean, illuminating the surf breaking on the endless beaches as we headed first out over the ocean, then circling back east again. The second pass over LA revealed a landscape of golden orange sulfur lamps glowing and stretching nearly from horizon to horizon. Clusters of silver nestled here and there to mark large business and shopping districts. Our transfer was in Cleveland this time and we banked in to the airport in the early morning light, with the shore of Lake Erie stretching away to the horizon, appearing as endless as the ocean in the early dawn. <h>July 16th, 2008</h> We arrived in Albany and were picked up by Max and Nadia, who took us to breakfast at Denny's (it would be the first time for Max, who really liked it). We spent a slow day catching up with the families at both houses, then had dinner at Karen and Gary's. <h>July 17th, 2008</h> Another lazy day for Nadia's birthday, with Megan picking up a several-hour tutorial on how to use her Macbook from Marco before Marco, Kath, Max & Nadia headed off to Cooperstown for what would turn out to be an excellent dinner at the Hawkeye Bar & Grill for Nadia's birthday. <h>July 18th, 2008</h> We squeezed in one more trip to the Adirondacks, with Marco, Megan, Max and Kath hiking up and back down Bald Mountain, then meeting Nadia for lunch at Walt's Diner (homemade desserts!) in Old Forge. After lunch, we headed over to Nick's Lake, where we all napped, read and some of us swam before heading home at around 16:30. In the early evening, we walked to downtown Ilion to watch the Doo-dah Parade and had dinner at the ensuing block party. Kath & Marco caught up with some more old friends, then we all headed back up the hill before ending the evening with a beer and more snacks at Gary and Karen's. <h>July 19th, 2008</h> Kath and Marco got up early to pick up Megan and register at the public library for the Ilion Days 5k Run, which started at 08:00. The weather promised to be muggy later in the day, but was good enough for a run. After a long hiatus from running, Kath came in at a respectable <c>34:07</c>, Megan at <c>29:56</c> and Marco at <c>25:49</c>. Because they're old and decrepit, Marco and Kath's times qualified them for third place medals in their age categories. When we got back up the hill, Karen and Gary had a sumptuous breakfast waiting for them; Max, Nadia and Grammie showed up as well. Later, Kath, Max & Marco went shopping, packed and took care of some last-minute errands. Marco finally packed away the <a href="">GI Joe toys</a> he'd unpacked and set up for possible sale. Dinner on the final evening was at Max & Nadia's (fair's fair as Karen fed us breakfast after all). The Van Everas and Keegan (Megan's beau) arrived and we swam, had happy hour and played badminton before a long, long raclette dinner that was only occasionally interrupted by rain. <h>July 20th, 2008</h> Early in the morning, Max and Marco picked up the rental car that would take Kath and Marco down to Newark. We had breakfast outside on the terrace before, then said our goodbyes. Around the corner we went to say goodbye to the Van Everas (with all grandparents making an appearance), then got on the road by noon. We hit some rather heavy---and inexplicable---traffic that threatened our takeoff time, but made it to the airport more-or-less on time, but a bit nervous. We needn't have been as our flight was delayed by a few hours and we had all the time in the world. The flight home was uneventful (though Marco <i>still</i> hasn't been on a plane with on-demand movies) and we spent the rest of the day fighting jetlag. Marco made a full indian meal with Pulau rice and all the trimmings, which Kath appreciated very much.