Archive for January, 2008


New Years 2008

   Snowqualmie snowboarder on New Years Day.   St Andrews Castle From a White Christmas, to White New Years Day skiing & snowboarding for Jake & RJ, to whitecaps on the North Sea at St Andrews…    then the sun burst out in glory and Jake & Dad climbed the stairs to the top of St Rules Tower to admire the view.

                                             Wind-wipped seas off St Andrews Castle

   St Andrews Cathedral   St Rules Tower


Happy Birthday, Nana! (Mom!)

Bellevue Botanical Gardens light show is destined to become a world-class attraction.  Tens of thousands of lights added each year, it seems.   We surrounded her with lights – first the Bellevue Botanical Gardens; then friends & candles at Scott & Pattei’s.  Love from all of us!     Chocolate cake by Jillian!  Yum!  Dinner by Scott & Pattei.  Fellowship by all.


Around the World on Christmas Day

Kusnacht train platform Christmas morning.  6:45 a.m. train platform, Kusnacht, Zurich

  8:30 a.m. pastry & coffee, Zurich airport

Breakfast in Zurich airport                       Jake & Santa’s Helper at Schiphol, Amsterdam

1:00 p.m. milkshake & salad, Schiphol, Amsterdam 

5:00 p.m. dinner, Clyde Hill, WA

Christmas Night-Clyde Hill  9:00 p.m. cookies & milk.  Bedtime at the end of 22-hour (& 9 timezones) day.


Zurich Christmas Eve

Singing Christmas Tree in Zurich–where hundreds of children from different schools and choirs take shifts singing carols.  Straight from the Hauptbahnhof in Zurich, we walked directly to the singing Christmas Tree in the heart of the shopping district, just as the children began to sing carols in English, German and French.  Jake visited the biggest toy store in Europe; we got a quick dinner in the train station and then caught a train to our hotel.  The next night was Christmas Eve, and we worshiped at the International Protestant Church downtown, where we were invited in an hour early to get out of the cold and enjoy tea and treats.  It was a lovely service, with seven Scripture readings, each by a foreign national from a different part of the world, in a different accent, but all in English.

Franz Carl Weber.  The biggest toy store on the Continent.  We found it by asking (auf Deutsh!) the first child  we met on the street.  She answered us in English :)   Zurich Christmas shopping


Remembering Sir Edmund Hillary (1920-2008)

Sir Edmund Hillary celebrates work with Sherpa people on behalf of the American Hiimalyan FoundationI met Sir Edmund once about ten years ago, at a dinner with the American Himalayan Foundation, a charitable organization that supports humanitarian projects among the Sherpa people whom Sir Edmund loved.  It was a memorable moment for me, but certainly not for Sir Edmund.

I remember how gracious Sir Edmund was to me, a complete stranger.  He warmly received my introduction, tolerated my inconsequential dialog, and posed for a picture with me.  He displayed a humble gentleness that I have also encountered in my meetings with the first American to summit Everest, Jim Whittaker, and his rope-mate Gombu, a Sherpa man related to Hillary’s rope-mate Tenzing Norgay.

These giants of climbing history are humble.  My own miniscule climbing experience has taught me this much-mountains make you humble.  Mountains reveal the power and majesty of a creation that strips us of all pretension. Perhaps Hillary, Whittaker, Gombu and others in their league have faced risks of fame down here in the land of media circuses and chicken dinners on white table cloths, but the mountains do not present that particular kind of risk.  Mountains make us more human, because they make us more aware of our place in comparison with the size of creation and its Creator.

Along with unknown millions, I add my humble salute to Sir Edmund, and the fine example he set for the rest of us.


Rothenburg Christmas Market

Old red wagon loaded with Xmas gifts is the internationally recognized icon of this chain of Christmas stores.  It was like walking thorugh a miniature Disneyland full of Xmas decorations.Next stop–Rothenburg ob der Tauber,  five trains northwest of Munich.  This midieval walled fortress town on the bluffs above the river valleys has been practicing Christmas for about 750 years, and they’ve just about got it down.  What a beautiful place.  Was saved from destruction during WWII.  We worshiped the fourth Sunday of Advent in the 700-year-old St Jakobs (yes) Kirche, a huge, beautifully maintained, sumptious place with a 5,000-pipe organ.  St Jakobs Kirche


Day at the R&A

I finally made it to the Big Room!     Linda & Bruce in the Big Room with the big picture windows overlooking the Old Course.

That’s right–the locker/lounge of the R&A (that’s the Royal & Ancient Golf Club for you duffers).  Of course we had to wait until St Andrews Day to get in, because that’s the only day of the year when non-members like us can walk in.  Yup, here we are just paces from the honorary locker of Arnold Palmer and so many other less-well-known-but-serious golfers.  What a classy joint!  What a view!  I’ve done the math: if only I could live for about another 100 years I might have a chance of shooting my age.  :’)

St Andrews Day evening in the Big Room