Archive for May, 2008

Five for Adventure!

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

It’s not often we can get all five of us together, in one photo, smiling and with all eyes open. This is a rarity. Don’t expect too many blog posts or Scrabble moves for the next couple of days. We’re off to Sopron in Western Hungary. Not for any particular reason. Just to see what’s there.

Spaceship Photo — Wow!

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

This is a photo of NASA’s Phoenix Lander landing on Mars. This is not an artist’s imagination. This is a real photo taken by the Mars Orbiter. You can see the parachute, the cords and the still-glowing heat shield. I can’t describe just how cool this photo is. This is an awesomely cool photo.

Junior Space Program

Monday, May 26th, 2008

I was following the landing of NASA’s Phoenix lander earlier today and noticed that there is a DVD on it with 70,000 names of students and enthusiasts. I wondered how they got there and found NASA’s “Put your name on this spaceship” page for an upcoming Lunar mission.

Dan-dan and Camilla were thrilled! Their favorite pretend game is to drag Aaron’s bathtub into the living room, climb in and pretend it’s their rocketship to the moon. This thing was made for them!

I’d encourage other kids with this kind of interest (Calvin? Calvin? Bella?) to follow this link.


Monday, May 26th, 2008

Lounging at the downstairs cafe while kids are looking at toys in a shop window next door.

Ed: “You know, Gabi, I’m really kind of liking this trip.”

Gabi: “Really?”

Ed: “Yeah. Even though you’ve dragged me away from home where I had my big screen TV, high speed internet, dog and all of that, I’m really kinda enjoying living in Budapest.”

Gabi (aghast): “Ed! This is your trip! It was all your idea! You were bored living in Temecula, cooked up this harebrained plan to live in downtown Budapest and dragged all five of us out here. You damn well better enjoy it!”

Ed: “Bored? I couldn’t have been bored. I had a big screen TV.”


Sunday, May 25th, 2008

We went visiting Gabi’s friend Kati and her family on Saturday. They’ve known each other since they were six. As you can see from the photo, when two families of three kids each get together, it’s quite a crowd.

Kati has two teenage girls, Vivien (13) and Nicky (17). Both are bright and learning English. We’ve offered to bring them to California for a year to help Gabi with our kids. Nicky would come the year before entering university, and Vivien would come herself when she’s almost ready for college. It gives the girls a chance to learn English and travel before starting serious studies. For us, it gives Gabi some very much needed help, as well as giving us someone in the house who speaks Hungarian. It’s a win-win for everyone.


Saturday, May 24th, 2008

For regular readers of this blog you’ll remember not every single entry is from Ed.  This is from brother Chris holding down the fort in Southern California and as you can guess from the title we are indeed expecting.  Baby Aaron will have a like aged cousin playmate.  Here’s our own brood finding out.

 Norma is 18 weeks along and Isabella (8) and Calvin (6) are thrilled (Daddy’s happy as well).  Our projected due date is Oct. 22 and everything is proceeding as expected.  We have an ultrasound scheduled for June 3rd I think though we are not inclined to find out the gender so please if I post the scan don’t tell.

The picture stems from a story I have always been told about how I was introduced to the family.  I was the last of five kids and when Mom found out she was pregnant with me she had a full house with three substantially older kids, Cally then 12, Nic 11 and Helen 9 (Ed was 2).  Dad apparently gave Mom a gift of a child’s silver spoon with a ruby and diamond broach attached for good measure.  Well Norma didn’t get a broach but I stopped by Tiffany’s on the way home from work (sometimes living in a city is nice) and bought a new sterling silver spoon (the others had been passed down to us already) with Norma’s full knowledge of what I was doing.  We had not told the kids until we were well out of the first tri-mester but now it seemed like it was near time as Norma is starting to show a bit.

So I pulled in the garage and the kids as per usual tumbled down the stairs to greet me and I said, “hey kids, I have a suprise for you all!  There’s a gift for Mommy in the trunk why don’t you take it up to her?”  They took up the wrapped Tiffany’s box (thinking it was chocolate) and then watched Mami open the spoon.

They had no idea, no clue, what it was for.  We finally fessed up after they played with the spoon a bit and the only word I can think of is “beam”.  They just beamed at Mami and back and appear every bit as thrilled as they could be.

So here we are. I’ve been scanning classifieds looking for a new family car.  Norma is resting a lot and we’re on our way to a new little adventure.  I’d love to hear stories from the older siblings or Mom and Dad about their memory of the spoon gift.  Our spoon is now resting and waiting for its first use.



Friday, May 23rd, 2008

This weekend, we are full of visits and adventures. There is a wine festival outside of Budapest tomorrow and we have a visit to one of Gabi’s friends outside of Budapest today (train trip!).

Here are some photos of last weekend’s minor adventures:

Hungarian Apple

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

Pretty cool, eh? Do you like the extra characters on the keyboard? Since I touchtype, they don’t bother my English typing too much, and they allow Gabi to type more comfortably in Hungarian. Also, it feels measurably faster than my MacBook Pro from the year before.

Random Thoughts

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

Random thoughts, sparked by going to bed early and waking up at 6am.

  • Current score: Dan-dan, 20kg; Camilla, 13.5kg; Aaron, 7.4kg. They’ve all been to the doctor in the last couple of days. Nothing serious, no worries.
  • White nights have arrived in Budapest. I came home last night at 9pm, and it was still light outside. I woke up around 5:30am this morning, and it was light outside. Northern latitudes do this to you.
  • There is no early morning culture in Budapest. No early morning cafes, no place to get a good cup of coffee opens until 8am. I miss this aspect of the US.
  • Our weekends are now absolutely, completely and fully scheduled until the day we leave. Thanks to everyone who’ve made our stay so enjoyable — we’re likely to try to do this again someday.
  • The first weekend in June will see our only solo family trip around Hungary (the trips to Eger, Gyula and upcoming to Lake Balaton are all with friends and family). We’ve chosen Sopron as a destination, but are open to suggestions.
  • The computer meltdown on Sunday was the most serious one that I have ever had. Complete destruction of all data in my primary computer: 12,000 photos from 2000 to the present, various family videos, complete work records for eight months, all accounting data, five years of corporate and personal taxes, every address and phone number ever given to us. That everything was completely normal within five hours after installing the replacement is nothing short of miraculous. When in doubt, backup! Grand total actual data loss: about 10 pictures from an outing to Budapest’s main park on Saturday.

Disaster in Computer Land

Monday, May 19th, 2008

Sunday afternoon, we returned from an outing in Budapest’s main park. I stepped to the computer and tried to turn it on. Nothing on the screen. I could hear things whirring and beeping in appropriate ways, but no joy getting anything on the screen.

When I initially put all of my personal and business lives onto a laptop, I knew this would happen sooner or later, and probably in some terribly inappropriate location or time. Well, it happened here.

I took my dead machine to the local Apple Store. They said, yes, it’s under warranty but will likely take 3 weeks to order parts and fix it. I can’t be offline for three hours, much less three weeks, so the next move was to pull out the credit card and buy a replacement computer.

I’m now sitting in the office waiting for Time Machine to finish its business and let me carry on with my work. It will be interesting to see how well the backup works – all of the websites, discussion boards and blogs I looked at raved about it.

Update soon, I hope.


Five hours later. A big “atta-boy” to the folks who designed Time Machine. Everything went without a hitch. The new MacBook Pro is a photocopy of the old one – all the passwords, hidden wi-fi connections, etc. are all there for me to use. Plays Scrabble very well, I made two very good moves.

And very big razzberry to the folks at Parallels, the only program that would not work after transferring to the new laptop. (For those who don’t know, Parallels sometimes allows users to run MS Windows software on their Macs.)

To anyone at Parallels: yes, I have a fully legal copy of your software. No, it would not work on the new computer. Yes, your website told me to download the new version and all would be fine. No, you did not accept my valid and paid for registration number. No, you did not answer the phone. Yes, your answering machine did hang up on me after half an hour. Yes, you did charge me $30 for telephone technical support when I was desperate to talk to someone, so I could tell them about your accounting error that does not allow me to use your website. No, you did not answer that phone call either, even after I had paid you. Yes, because I am traveling and have no option but to use the virtual machines I have built with your program, though I am absolutely sure now to move to VMWare after this experience, I BOUGHT A NEW DAMN PARALLELS LICENSE for $79 so I could download the should-have-been-free update of your software so your DAMN PROGRAM would work. And, yes, it was a 1 o’clock in the morning here in Budapest, as a matter of fact (4pm in California, so you don’t have an excuse).