Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Moment of tranquility for week ending New Year’s Eve, 2010

This is the waterfall on my employer’s campus. The ice in high def is surprisingly beautiful, particularly for an “everyday” object.

Go forth and own the peace.

Monday, December 27, 2010

More winter birds…

A couple more clips of the birds I shot (with a camcorder!) the day after Christmas. As you can see below, not all creatures are well-equipped to walk on ice.

A couple of clips showing birds that aren’t of the yellow-breasted variety.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Grizzly Prickril…

I’ve been spending a lot of quality times in the woods around Walldorf. Not exactly the stomping grounds of Grizzly Adams (are you old enough to remember him), but as close to roughing it as I’ll be getting (voluntarily) in the near future.IMG_4693 (1024x683) It snowed like crazy all Christmas Eve and last night too. However, there’s been virtually no wind so the snow is piling up deep on everything, even the thinnest of tree branches.IMG_4695 (1024x683) The woods keep getting more beautifuller.IMG_4700 (662x1024) The sun breaking through on these trees was spectacular.IMG_4708 (683x1024) IMG_4713 (1024x683) I strolled close to the pond and took some nice video. There is only a small unfrozen pool next to the bank that is now home to all the waterfowl.

Folks have put out bird feeders near this area. I spent quite a bit of time filming the hundreds of birds getting their fill. Getting my camcorder to focus on these little buggers was much harder than I had assumed. I’m happy with the results though.
More to come soon.

Room for dessert?

In what amounts to a passing of the generational baton, B made her mother’s walnut cake. It was excellent. IMG_4622 (1024x683) There was also an assortment of cookies, some of which were left for Santa. I’m not sure how he got them down, but I’m glad he found the strength to power through it.IMG_4617 (684x1024)By the way, B found this cookie jar here in Walldorf for about 3 Euros. Cute little chap, no?IMG_4579 (683x1024)

Christmas Dinner…

It was just us this year, but B still managed to pull together a top notch Christmas dinner (or Christmas Even dinner to be more precise).IMG_4602 (1024x683)IMG_4599 (683x1024) As usual, we got a little bit of help from the Bolz butcher shop in Kirchheim and, as usual, the duck and ham were superb.IMG_4595 (1024x683)Their meatloaf-like stuffing also deserved high praise.IMG_4601 (1024x683) B made “salada da sogra” and some wicked traditional stuffing with sausage.IMG_4597 (1024x683) Assuming I really only need 2,000 calories or so per day and calculating my caloric intake over the weekend, it looks like I’ll have to run from here to Warsaw to avoid gaining weight. If it weren’t for all this snow, I’d be on the road right now…

Saturday, December 25, 2010

New post to inner circle…

I’m finally getting around to posting some pictures of the kids to the inner circle blog. If you’re a member, click there to see that and probably some Christmas pictures soon.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Winter wonderland…

It was softly snowing this morning (and has all day) so I wanted to go into the Walldorf woods to shoot some pictures and video. I had planned to head out with Robert at about 10:00 when I discovered that B had failed to turn the camcorder off when she filmed Robert’s play on Wednesday. That meant no battery power and a full hard disk.

After doing some charging and clean up on the hard drive, Robert and I made it out the the woods around 14:00.walldorf pong winter_4544 Panorama (1280x351) IMG_4568 (1280x853) IMG_4559 (1280x853) It was absolutely gorgeous. I had seen several deer while jogging a week or so earlier, so Robert was excited to see some. I tried to manage his expectations down, but, believe it or not, we hadn’t been there 5 minutes when about 5 dear crossed the trail in front of us about 50 yards away. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to the video camera in time.

Anyway, I took some nice video, which compensates for the lack of picture taking.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cleansing the snow-laden palate: Moment of tranquility for the week ending on Christmas Eve!

As I watch snow fall outside, thought I’d give folks out there and myself an attractive alternative.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Heidelberg snowy castle reloaded…

A few more shots of the Heidelberg castle in a blanket of white. The last couple of pictures are vertical panoramas.IMG_4480 (1024x683)altstadt snowy vert_4475 Panorama (552x1280) castle snowy vert_4477 Panorama (534x1280)Here’s the snow-blind lion on video.

Snow at the castle…

Soon after we rolled out of bed this morning, it started to snow. I decided to head into Heidelberg to take some pictures and film a bit from up on high at the castle. By the time I got there, the snow was very fine so made the city looked foggy, but still beautiful.hberg snow castle 4466 (1024x222) IMG_4435 (683x1024) This lion gives new meaning to the term “snow blind”. IMG_4443 (683x1024)After a while the snow stopped entirely. IMG_4480This is my favorite shot of the day.IMG_4459 (683x1024) With a little cropping (or a microscope), you can see folks on the Haupstrasse and the skating rink (where we were yesterday).IMG_4459 (591x888)Copy of IMG_4459 (850x567)If you haven’t been to the castle in the snow, I recommend it.IMG_4504IMG_4453 (1024x683)This clip looks like a still shot, but if you load it in Youtube you’ll see the merry Weihnachtsmarkt crown winding their way up and down the Hauptstrasse.

A video is worth a thousand pictures…

Well, not a thousand. But here are a few clips I took at Heidelberg’s Christmas market on Saturday. Directly below is the Kornmarkt.

Here’s the area around the skating rink. The kids were having a blast in the snow.
And here’s the eats. Gotta love Weihnachtsmarkt food…

Kornmarkt Madonna…

I’ve always loved the view of the madonna statue in the Kornmarkt with the castle behind. It’s particularly beautiful when decorated with a bit of snow and with the Christmas market in full swing around it.madonna_4258 Panorama (1024x863)IMG_4249 (673x1024) IMG_4252 (683x1024)Enough said.

Back to H-berg…

My mission on Saturday was to wrangle the kids and keep them distracted far from home while B made ready the compound for her birthday party (more on that in future posts). The kids’ mission was to get their picture took (as we say in Oklahoma) with Santa. We killed two turtle doves with one stone (that metaphor is adapt particularly well to Christmas, no?) by going to Heidelberg’s Weihnactsmarkt.hberg xmas markt_4296 Panorama (1024x989)The sun was out, but low on the horizon and disappeared behind the castle mountains relatively early. The weather was nice, but cold! hberg xmas markt_4302 Panorama (1018x1024)It looked as though the Altstadt had been flocked, which made for nice shots in my opinion. IMG_4324 (683x1024) IMG_4323 (682x1024)The muscle man in the Marktplatz was carrying a hefty load of snow on his shoulders.IMG_4269 (683x1024)Santa was positively snowed under.IMG_4314 (683x1024)We parked near the Kornmarkt and didn’t make it past the Marktplatz. We instead headed to the ice rink and the girls gave it a whirl, Sophia with the aid of a helper penguin. Emily, as usual, was cruising around unassisted in a matter of minutes. IMG_4328 (1024x683)

Merry Wimpfin…

Last week we packed into the car early (by our standards) and headed to Bad Wimpfin, a lovely little village about 30 minutes from Walldorf. IMG_4223 (1024x683)We had heard the Christmas market there was something special and, as usual, Bad Wimpfin didn’t disappoint.IMG_4248 (682x1024)Unfortunately, I wasn’t in a very photographic mood, which you can tell by the uninspired images below.IMG_4215 (634x1024)IMG_4213 (662x1024)Regardless, the Weihnachtmarkt in Bad Wimpfin is everything a Christmas market should be, traditional, not too crowded, and full of place selling tasty grub.IMG_4247 (1024x682) If you haven’t been there, think about putting it on the list.IMG_4230 (1024x682)Here’s a bit of video of a place selling grilled Würst etc. My blood thickens just watching it.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Eclectic and getting eclecticker…

A couple of weeks ago, B bought our tree (near Schwetzingen). She swears it looked much smaller “on the lot” (it’s tall and much girthier than it looks below). Anyway, we all set about decorating it that night. IMG_4042 (682x1024)It’s not as well illuminated as in past years as a couple of strands of lights went on the blink (actually, off the blink) and we couldn’t be bothered to try to track down replacements. My favorite ornaments are still the ones we picked up in Amsterdam.IMG_4001 (1024x685)This year while in Brazil we bought a beautiful Baiana to give the tree a bit of tropical color.IMG_4012 (683x1024)We also hung the ones we got in Greece. IMG_4056 (1024x684)We now have four continents and a whole slew of countries and cities represented. If we don’t start staying put, we’re going to have to put up multiple trees, probably starting next year.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Torture, Medieval Style…

On Sunday the 6th, we headed to the Weihnachtsmarkt in Esslingen am Neckar, close to Stuttgart. Our friends Chris and Heather had been before and made the trip with us. Although it was a great idea on paper, it turned out to be a bit of a whipping by the time all was said and done.IMG_4153 (679x1024)The city is absolutely gorgeous and the medieval market is huge and elaborate. IMG_4195 (683x1024)However, it seemed that everyone in southwest Germany was eager to see it as well. It was packed!IMG_4164 (1024x683)IMG_4204 (1024x683)Add a little cold rain and you’ve got the recipe for a less than ideal Christmas market experience. Since I had to drive back, I couldn’t even take the edge off with a little Glühwein, which was being served in interesting little earthenware (?) cups.IMG_4170 (1024x683)IMG_4174 (1024x682)On the upside, there was a section that was dedicated mostly to kids, with a Ferris wheel and a shop where the little ones could make candles. I shot a little video from the street above.

I can’t wait to go back in better weather to see the city, which boasts an old city wall and a lot of gorgeous architecture.