Famille Du Pentium

Another Day, Another Llama Video

Friday, August 27, 2010

Aaron Varsity Soccer

Aaron has been invited to join the McCracken Middle School Varsity Soccer team!  Since he also is on the Symphonic Band, which means he will be very busy this fall.  He’s also still playing soccer in AYSO.  So he’ll have plenty of games!

posted by Michael Humphries-Dolnick at 3:16 pm  

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Cruise & Vacation Videos

I’m still sorting through the videos from the trip.  A few have been uploaded to my facebook wall… if you’re a friend, have a look.  Some will get posted here via YouTube once I have time to sort through the YouTube machine.

I’m torn on posting a review of the cruise itself.  I start to write it, then I putter out.  I’m not sure if my audience really cares about the minutae details of the boat.  School & Soccer season starts soon, and there will be plenty of blog material to post as that gets started.  Meh, I’ll figure it out and let you know.

posted by Michael Humphries-Dolnick at 6:18 pm  

Friday, August 20, 2010

European Vacation & Cruise – Recap and Highlights

So for those of you too tired, bored, afraid, or otherwise uninterested to look at all the pictures, in all their glory, or read all the blog entries, after the jump I’ll post some pictorial highlights from the trip.   There might be one or two more posts about the cruise, but it’s all starting to wrap up now.  Note: I haven’t gone through any of the pictures and deleted the stupid shots, finger-in-the-lens shots, or anything else boring.  You have been warned.  Now, where’s that pesky “more” button?  Oh yeah, here it is.


posted by Michael Humphries-Dolnick at 3:19 pm  

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hotel Review – Marriott London County Hall

Before and after our cruise, we stayed in London.  For five days before our cruise, and one day after, we toured London from our base camp at the Marriott London County Hall hotel.  Here are my experiences.


posted by Michael Humphries-Dolnick at 11:56 am  

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Justin’s Sleeping Vacation

Justin has a rather special skill – when he’s tired, no matter where he is, he can sleep.  It’s not that he’s narcoleptic or anything, he doesn’t fall asleep first thing in the morning or in the middle of playing.  But as the day progresses, and especially when he’s had a full day, he’ll fall asleep when he’s tired… no matter where he is, or what position he’s in.  I thought I would show you a few of the places and positions that he found.


posted by Michael Humphries-Dolnick at 10:09 pm  

Monday, August 16, 2010

Disembarkation – Southampton – London – Jack the Ripper

After 12 days and 9 ports, it’s time to disembark.  A fitting picture for today, as it’s the end of our cruise…

We made our way back to London, to the same hotel we stayed at prior to our journey.  We had traditional English tea at tea time, and then rested up prior to going on a Jack the Ripper Walking Tour.  This tour takes you to some of the locations where Jack the Ripper struck.  Pictures are of London around Tower Hill, where we waited for the tour, and then the tour itself, and then some pics from the Tube ride back home.

posted by Michael Humphries-Dolnick at 1:46 pm  

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Cruise Port 9 – LeHavre & Paris

Our last port before we disembark was LeHavre, in Normandy.  We chose the Princess tour to Paris, which included a brief city tour as well as a guided tour of the Louvre, then lunch at the Eiffel Tower.  It’s pretty hard to say you didn’t experience Paris, after you’ve eaten lunch at the Eiffel Tower.  The Louvre was not surprisingly crowded, but surprisingly hot, which made it difficult to keep  the kids engaged.  But we did see the Venus De Milo, Winged Victory, and of course the Mona Lisa.

Mona Lisa was interesting. This is a piece of art that many humanities and art teachers refer to, to demonstrate the introduction of “point perspective” – that is to say, oversimplified, that artwork began to use visual angles to give the appearance of perspective.  All boiled down, you’re supposed to view Mona Lisa from various different angles, and no matter where you view her, her eyes are always “looking at you” – not forward, but toward you.  But you can’t.  There are ropes keeping you surprisingly far away (I would have expected to be able to get just a bit closer – it still required a bit of optical zoom on the camera to get a good shot) and getting to the front of the rope isn’t managed at all – just a big muddle of people jockeying.  Moving from one side at the ropes to the other side of the room, still at the ropes, would have required an iron constitution.  A queue would do a lot of good here.

The Louvre tour was expectantly short, only about an hour, then we made our way back to the bus and toward the Eiffel Tower for lunch.  You can’t help but be a bit overwhelmed, eating lunch in a fine dining restaurant on the first level of the Eiffel Tower.

After lunch, we were a bit pressed for time and the elevators going back down were all full, so we had to take the stairs down.  Yes, there are stairs.  Back on the ground, we made our way back to the bus, and then started the long (2.5 hours) drive back to the ship at LeHavre.

It was a great experience for everyone, albeit a bit crowded and hot.  Not sure I’d do it again, but I’m glad we did it this trip.

Some picture commentary: First, we made our way from LeHavre to Paris, and arrived at the Louvre around DSC03648.  Mona Lisa at DSC03669.  Then, we made our way to the Eiffel Tower, arriving about DSC03686.  Then, we started making our way back to LeHavre about DSC03694.

DSC03703 forward shows some pictures from the last day on the ship, like the Baked Alaska celebration after dinner on the last night, and Flat Stanley at our room.  Then the IMAGXXXX photos are Marla’s, starting back at the beginning and working forward again.  Worth a look through those, as she got better pictures of Mona Lisa.

SLR long & wide lens pictures are HERE.

Tomorrow, we disembark 🙁 but we’ve got one more day in London before we go home, and we took a Jack The Ripper walking tour, which I’ll talk about.  Then, I’ll do some reviews of the ship, excursions, and hotels that we stayed at.

posted by Michael Humphries-Dolnick at 1:36 pm  

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Cruise Day At Sea 2

My original plan was to celebrate our anniversary by renewing our vows on this, the second, sea day.  But the captain’s schedule didn’t work out for it, so our renewal of vows was on our first sea day. No big deal, but it left us without any real solid plans for Sea Day 2.  Which was fine, because at this point we needed to rest up.

The kids spent most of the day at their “clubs” – these were great activity centers for the kids that kept them busy in the evenings and on sea days while we relaxed, went to shows, and played in the casino.

That said, we were invited to visit the captain on the bridge on Sea Day 2, and we took some great pictures.  Enjoy!

posted by Michael Humphries-Dolnick at 9:41 am  

Friday, August 13, 2010

Cruise Port 8 – South Queensferry & Edinburgh, Scotland

Still with us?  Hard to keep up?  Imagine actually being there.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved our vacation, but it was very busy, as you can see.  That’s OK, only three more ports, one more day at sea, and one more day in London before we’re done!

Port 8 brought us to South Queensferry, the port town for Edinburgh, Scotland.  I’ve always wanted to see Edinburgh, so I was looking forward to this.  Upon our arrival arrival at the port (this was a “tender” for the ship, meaning they anchored at sea and sent little boats with passengers to shore.  Don’t worry, you’ll see pictures later) we were told by Princess staff that there was no shuttle, and we should make our way from South Queensferry to Edinburgh by taxi.  A few steps outside the port, and there were plentiful private shuttle services to Edinburgh on air conditioned, comfortable buses for five quid each person, each way.  Too bad Princess doesn’t want to run a shuttle anymore; I guess they need to sell more shore excursions.

Anyway, to the point: Edinburgh is exactly like London.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful city and all, but not much different than touring London.  We had two disappointing experiences in Edinburgh: one, a bigoted highlander running a tartan shop didn’t want to talk to us about Clan Maxwell tartans because, as she said, “Maxwells were not a Clan, they were a family, and they didn’t have a tartan.”  Sheesh.  Second, all the restaurants along the shopping and tourist streets were little cafes with limited seating, and our lunch-hungry family of five ended up eating at a TGI Friday’s because it was the only place that had enough seats for us.

The first couple of pictures you see are the view of the South Queensferry Bridge from our tender.  We dubbed this “Lego Bridge” because they have covering over part of the bridge for painting, which makes the bridge look like it’s made of Legos.  After that, pictures of us touring Edinburgh on our own.

Oh yeah, I guess you want the pictures link.  Here it is.  Tomorrow: Day 2 at Sea, and then… Paris!

posted by Michael Humphries-Dolnick at 1:22 pm  

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I Made Aaron Salsa!

Here’s a quick break from the July UK Cruise posts.  This summer, Aaron has been participating in a gardening club at his school, McCracken.  Yesterday was the last day, and they were harvesting their garden.  Most of the food went to a food pantry, but the kids got to take home some veggies.  So Aaron came home with two tomatoes, a jalapeno, and some basil as well as some other stuff.  So I’m sitting at the kitchen table, looking at these potentially delicious fresh veggies, thinking what kind of sandwich I would make with them.  Then it dawned on me – something snapped, and I decided that I *really* wanted some Salsa.  With no cilantro, I had to Google “salsa no cilantro” and came up with some great recipes, which included basil instead of cilantro.

The only problem was lack of onions, and the recipe I decided on called for Balsamic vinegar.  I figured I could cheat a bit, and went to the store and bought a red onion and some Balsamic vinegar.  Came home, stuck everything in the blender, and then refrigerated for an hour, and – Viola! – I had Salsa, with (nearly) 100% ingredients grown by Aaron at McCracken.

Aaron tried it, and approves.  The recipe is after the jump.


posted by Michael Humphries-Dolnick at 10:54 am  
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