Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Weekend Recap

This past weekend was a busy one...a day at the Franklin Park Zoo (Saturday) followed by another excursion to the Boston Harbor Islands with some friends (Sunday). The past few weeks it's been feeling a lot like summer--hot & humid. Some pics.

Sophie encounters her friend the gorilla.
Bird brain.
Sizing up the animals.
We're on a boat! (Sophie with friends Tom & Lisa)
They played some 1860s rules old-timey baseball at Georges Island on Sunday.
2 minutes before falling asleep on Dad's back, wearing Yale hat, after a very full day!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Fort Independence

Flash back to last Sunday...we spent the day getting nice & sunburned at the beach in South Boston (a.k.a. "Southie). The L Street and M Street beaches join up with Fort Independence, an old fort (pictured below).

Fort Independence
View from above
Sophie running with ball.
Almost ready to crawl...

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Vote Lando!

Mount Auburn Cemetery

On Saturday afternoon we went to take a walk in Mount Auburn Cemetery. I've always enjoyed walking in interesting cemeteries (see my jaunts in Cimetiere Montparnasse , Cimetiere Pere Lachaise, and the Boston Granary Burial Ground), so we decided to check this one out. It sells itself as "the first landscaped cemetery in the United States"--I guess before this one most cemeteries were very austere and barren--and Mount Auburn is quite pretty, doubling as an arboretum and a favorite place for bird watchers. It's also enormous--we only saw about 25% (hard to make much progress with Sophie getting distracted every 2.5 seconds while walking) of a 174-acre grounds. Here are some pictures:

Friday, July 17, 2009

Only in Duluth

Don't ask me why, but for the past 6 months or so I've been reading the headlines of the online version of the Duluth News Tribune, my hometown newspaper, on a near-daily basis.

A truly bizarre headline appeared today: "Duluth police search for rubber ball fetish burglar"--you will need a (free) username & password to read the article, but it is well worth it. Apparently some dude with a known fetish for slashing large rubber exercise balls with a knife is being sought after the St. Mary's Hospital exercise room discovered, yep, you guessed it, a room full of slashed large rubber exercise balls.

I've also been closely following articles on The Red Plan (Duluth's plan to reorganize the school system--I'm against it primarily for nostalgiac reasons) and (during the school year) the online version of my old high school newspaper, The Greyhound.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

In Memorium

In honor of the now-defunct Duluth-Superior Dukes Northern League baseball team (1993-2002), I named my Fantasy Baseball team the Duluth Dukes (the full name was too long to be an option in the yahoo league in which I am playing).  To my surprise they are tearing up the league and recently overtook the Sandlot Bullies to claim the #1 spot at the All-Star Break.  I attribute my success to (a) dumb luck, and (b) focusing on pitchers (rather than hitters) in the draft.  Here's to a good 2nd half.

PS--the Duluth-Superior Dukes franchise is still in existence, only as the Kansas City T-Bones.  

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

More Indy Weekend Photos

Most of Friday was spent lounging around the yard & pool.
Billy the Kidney's arrival was not met with glee by all (see Maxime weeping below--and James was so scared out of his mind that he had to be physically separated from Billy at all times).
Henry wears the Billy the Kidney cowboy hot.
Sophie & James at breakfast.
Mamie Pat & Sophie at breakfast.
Smilin' Max.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Very Kidney Birthday

Just got back from a great weekend in Indianapolis, where the Hellmanites all gathered to celebrate my Dad's 65th birthday!

Amongst the highlights:

1. An outstanding cake developed by my sister Susie, in which a giant marzapan Rick Hellman, complete with banjo and his faithful samoyed Zeus, was featured as the centerpiece.

2. This cool hollowed-out watermelon fruit dish, once again by Susie.

3. Grandchildren up the yin-yang.

4. In order to really do things right, I arranged to deliver a happy birthday wish in the impressive form of Billy the Kidney--the human-sized kidney mascot from the National Kidney Foundation of Indiana. Thanks, NKF! You'll hear more from Billy the Kidney in next year's Holiday Greetings card...I started early for once.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

French-Fried Vacation Photos

A few pics from Claire, Sophie, & Max's vacation in LaBaule, France last month!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Purgatory Chasm

Great walk yesterday at Purgatory Chasm, about an hour or so drive from Boston. They have several hikes there including a short but rocky one in which walkers navigate a series of interesting rock formations in a gorge probably resulting from ancient glacial migrations. We were pretty tired after such a full day that we opted against staying up past everybody's bedtime to watch the Boston fireworks. Some pictures from the day.

Here's a shot of a rock formation called "Fat Man's Misery".

Nate navigating "Fat Man's Misery"--obviously not one we could take the kids to see.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Chestnut defends hot dog title with record 68

Chestnut defends hot dog title with record 68

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I've covered this on Nate's Blog in the past...Joey Chestnut helps keep the "America" in "July 4th" by winning his 3rd straight Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Competition with a record 68 dogs eaten in a span of 10 minutes.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Max & Sophie Making Each Other Laugh

Return of the Family! They arrived safe & sound on Thursday afternoon. Everybody's doing great.

Max woke up at 4:30 am (and therefore so did I) due to the time difference. Hopefully he'll get back on schedule. He's also grown in several more blonde hairs since the last time I saw him.

Here's a video of Sophie & Max making each other laugh.