Sunday, August 12


From the Empire State Building, Katie then organises a sail-boat ride off the Southern tip of Manhattan around the Stature of Liberty (Eitan's toy well chosen). Our moving circus heads down-town and we meet London friends Tim and Kitty who join us for a sunny afternoon. We are treated with spectacular views of lower New York, which is oddly remiss with out the WTC. The sad debri-holes are clear and the Freedom Towers will eventually go up - contemplated completion by 2011 at 1776 feet. Eitan puts up a fight about his life preserver but Gracie prevails - is there any doubt?

Bedroom View

Saturday starts with a massive ground assault beginning in Bronxville (Larry and I chuckle that D-Day was comparatively easy). Sonnet, the kids and I head by train for Grand Central Station. We stroll to the Empire State Building to meet Moe, Grace and Katie. Marcia, Larry, Susan, Joe and Joey (in baby-stroller) arrive by car to join us for a very looong line to security, ticketing and, finally, the Up Up Elevator. The wait is worth the effort and we are treated with a 25 mile view with nary a cloud in the sky (Jersey still looks pretty bad). Eitan and Madeleine beg for a Statue-of-Liberty or Empire State Building snow ball. We give in finally and Madeleine scores a faux diamond ring and Eitan takes The Lady.

My photo taken from the 79th Floor, where construction work allows for an interesting frame of the sky-line. I love the window-locks to keep out any burglars!

I ♥ NY

Here is the crew before the Natural History. Madeleine jumps to see the Boop-Pooper and tantalised Moe with her pony-tail. This morning Eitan goes for a full-on time-trial up-and-down the five flights of stairs to Katie's apartment. He does this 14X. Madeleine joins for 10X. That's 70 floors by my math ! and the stair climbers are beat red and raring to go afterwards. Never under-estimate the energy of a 5 or 6 year old.

Madeleine on her bad dream last night: "There was a very stinky water slide and somebody grabbed me and took me to the top of the water slide and pushed me off the water slide. I went down the water slide with my eyes closed and hit the water. It was very scary, but I liked the water slide. So it wasn't a bad dream really."
Grace: "See Madeleine, sometimes it is ok to be afraid."

The Whale And The Squid

We arrive at JFK Wednesday evening and head straight for Bronxville. Driving our enormous SUV, I get lost in Westchester which brings back many memories of before most notably an unauthorised, pre-Brown return trip from Manhattan with Dan Duane at 4AM... but that's another story.

In Bronxville we re-union with Marcia, Larry, Susan and Joe and Joey for a Big Dinner. The kids are wired to the Big Apple and finally fall asleep at 11PM.
Friday is wet and humid and we randez-vous with Moe, Gracie and Katie in Manhattan at Katie's flat. After hugs and kisses for us and the grand children, we go straight for the Museum of Natural History and the Dinosaurs. On IMAX, we watch their recreation and Madeleine tells me "they are quite big, daddy." Glee's are heard all around when a brontosaurus poos and the narrator says: "we have many ways of learning from the Giant Creatures." From there we explore the museum to the blue whale where I take my photo of the giants battling beneath. Somehow this exhibit captures the spookiness of the depths. The family has dinner at the Grand Central Station Oyster Bar then catches the White Plains train to Bronxville.

Friday, August 10


Cousin Moire stops by the hotel bringing presents, home-made pie and magazines, God Bless Her. Sonnet and she catch up the last year since her wedding to Turk - this summer the honeymooners honeymooned in Tuscany. We are forever indebted to her when she miraculously arrived in London in October 2000 and saved our bacon following the boy's arrival. Those were sleepless times but all the more dear because they were so.


Bill and Susan insist that we see Denver's newest museum - pictured. I learn that the the original Denver Art Museum was designed by Gio Ponti and local fellow James Sadler in 1971 and completed in the early 1980s. It is a 28-sided, 7 story construction whose exterior is clad in bespoke gray tiles designed by Dow Corning. In 2006, the Frederic C. Hamilton building extension was completed following the design specs of Studio Daniel Liebeskind and Brit Probst. It opens October 7, 200 and is clad in titanium and glass. It 's pretty cool to look at though Sonnet and I agree that it somehow feels oppressive. There is no denying that it is impressive in scale and imagination.

Next to the museum is a lush grass lawn where I try to catch the kids and vice-versa. It's good exercise and Denver's altitude hurts. Afterwards we wrap it up with a smoothie and drive to our hotel near DIA for an early flight to New York and Bronxville.

Thursday, August 9


We visit Sonnet's uncle Bill and his lady friend Susan, who writes a bi-monthly column for the Denver Post and is involved in Denver's City Counsel. Bill is a Venture Capitalist and a founder of the Centennial Fund back in 1981. Centennial today is one of the largest between New York and California. Bill's other efforts have been equally successful and his Silver Creek Ventures has returned 10X - easily one of the Great And The Good. Today Bill is pulling back from the investing business to concentrate on local activities including God and Country. On the latter, he testified in front of Congress last week regarding private equity and taxes - he believes they should be higher which is perhaps a unique view in the industry but consistent with his views for the six years that I have known him. During testimony, Senator Orin Hatch asks whether investors may flee the US to which Bill calmly notes that among his reasons for staying are Utah's many lovely mountains. Touche!

Good Bye, Montrose

My photo taken at a picnic stop alongside Route 70 (I need to check the peak's name, which is on a scrap paper somewhere in the SUV which BTW after two weeks is a Waste Land). I do recall the height: 14,229 feet according to the sign post making what's-its-name the 14th highest in the Rockies (according to Wikipedia). Today we say our sad good-byes to Stan and Silver, leaving Montrose around 10AM heading for Denver and the airport. Tomorrow we fly to NYC to see Gracie, Moe and Katie and the Lees - my Aunt Marcia and Uncle Larry. The kids are amped and look forward to The Empire State Building and a private boat-ride around Manhattan, which Katie has arranged for us. Look out, Big Apple!

Madeleine on the highway: "Are we on the runway?"
The kids chant over-and-over-and-over: "Are we there yet?"
Me to them: "I want SILENCE in the back!" I threaten to put a tape-line separating the two, and am reminded Moe's 540 and similar back-seat skirmishes.
Eitan: "This is the best holiday ever."

Tuesday, August 7


I pose for Eitan. I'm quite proud of my moustache BTW. I take it from Sonny Crockett (Colin Farrell) in Miami Vice, the movie. A further bonus: if I move my lips in and out, it looks like somebody doing push-ups. I tell Sonnet that this is not the last time she will hear this joke.


We leave the kids with the grand-parents and split for Ouray which is in the San Juan Mountains and 40 miles south of Montrose. Ouray's rocky splendor and mineral hot springs offered mystic healings for the Ute Indians who lived in southwest Colorado for 1000s of years. Then the white man arrived in the 1840s in search of San Francisco and gold. Ouray's inhospitable terrain was not colonised until the discovery of ore and silver in the 1860s and in 1877, the Chief Ute Ouray was forced to sign papers turning over the land otherwise shared peacefully in and outside his tribe. In 1887, the Denver & Rio Grande Railway arrived and the town grew to 2,600. Within five years, however, silver's value crashed and the town would have disappeared - if not for Tom Walsh, who discovered gold. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Sonnet and I stay at the recently redone Beaumont Hotel, which was built in 1886 and hosted Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Hoover. We are up in time for a morning hike along the Uncompaghre then head to the Hot Springs for a 5-star message and spiritual soak.

I learn that in Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged the protagonist's secret headquarters in "Galt's Gulch" was inspired by Ouray.

Monday, August 6

Kung Fu Fighter

Sonnet takes the kids to Mike's Farm this AM to see the agriculture while I do some work and mess around with this blog. Upon their return, we go for a dip and Eitan discovers the Power Of The Force. Wearing his (over-sized)bath robe, we practice Kung Fu ("Master Eitan we are wise in the ways of the Kung Fu warrior" I say). He loves this and we goof around the otherwise empty hotel. This afternoon we will drop the Little Shakespeares with the Grandparents and head for the Beaumont Hotel in Ridgewood - an award winning, restored Victorian that has been serving the Rockies since the late 19th century.

He Must Be A Republican

Rep. Don Young, Republican - Alaska, is under federal investigation along with Senator Stevens, also from Alaska. Further discrediting himself and the state, Young was forced by House GOP leader John Boehner to apologies to his Republican colleague Scott Garrett from New Jersey. Garrett had the audacity to oppose an appropriation for Native Alaskans which may have included the Bridge To Nowhere. Said Don: "There is always another day when those who bite will be killed, too, and I am very good at that. Those that bite me will be bitten back." Though their families are not related, Stevens and Young share the same gene pool. Go figure.


Sonnet, Marcus and I drive through the Grand Mesa and the Uncompahgre National Forrest in a day that starts early and ends at Ouary, a small town famous for its hot springs. In the middle, we go off-piste taking Route 97 at Naturia which eventually becomes gravel then dirt. The countryside is red and orange and dramatic before it comes to a Dead End, to our surprise. We drive by Telluride, Placerville and Ridgeway which offer different vistas of the Rockies. Eitan and Madeleine spend the day with Mr. And Mrs. Stanfill, who reports that "the children behaved wonderfully." The main stop on the day was the Russel Stover chocolate factory - which strikes the kids bug-eyed. As for the Ouary natural baths: think "dangly bits."

Sunday, August 5

Corn competition!

The corn eating competition kicks off at 1430 sharp in two heats: ten men and ten women, head-to-head. With eight minutes on the clock, eaters showcase various styles from the famous "type-writer" to the more modern "shear". A corn cob must be picked of all kernals and contestants are not allowed to collect a corn pile, ie, they must eat the corn. The ladies share a three-way tie of 13 corn, while the men are dominated by Tiny, a 400 pounder who apparently has won as long as the competition has been held. Tiny devours at least 20 corn but it could be more as several ears are disqualified as "incomplete." His shearing technique strips the vegitable bare and nobody has a chance against him. Tiny competes.


The Olatha festival began sixteen years ago and now draws people from far and wide (all hotels in Montrose are full). Last year, 90,000 ears of corn were eaten on the day and this year the goal is to break 100,000. The corn is field-to-mouth in 30 minutes and is pretty damn good. I take notes of what I see and I see a lot of smoking, fat (obesity), baseball or cowboy hats and thongs. No beer or alcohal though due to insurance and family-values, I learn. The folks next to me consume french fries, nachos, syrupy donuts and smokes -- all before 11AM. The younger kids check each other out and the girls show mid-section, sans bra (I notice). There are some great t-shirts: "Kickin' bass", "Gun Control is Using Both Hands" and "Ain't No Red Neckin' Here."

"If I swore you were an angel, would you treat me like the devil tonight?"
Own lyrics by The Vigil Brothers Band, on the Big Stage today

Summer Fair

The Olathe Sweet Corn Festival is today and we make tracks for the Big Show. Olathe is a small town surrounded by, yes, corn fields and ten minutes down the road from Montrose. The day kicks off with the local banks pancake breakfast then transitions over to the football field for the main action. The grounds open at 10AM and some 25,000 people will pass through the welcome gates. The Big Draw this year is country singer LeAnn Rimes, who has soled 37 million records since her debut album "Blue" when she was thirteen. She's now 24 and smokin'. Free BBQ and boiled corn is on offer from sun-up to sun-down and we find a spot on the main field under a sun umbrella but near the main stage. Food stalls, games and commercial stalls surround the turf. The Army has a visible presence hosting a wall-climb and recruiting booth. Madeleine pigs out on a double scoop of strawberry.

Friday, August 3


Sonnet's mother received her nick-name, so the story goes, during her birth when Mary D yelled "Hi-Ho Silver!" and the rest is history. She tells me that her outfit includes the two words in the english language which do not rhyme: orange and silver. Sonnet joins Silver for her Friday Ladies-That-Lunch in downtown Montrose. This is a power-center of the community, as far as I can tell, and offers a liberal oasis in an otherwise gun toot'n, Republican vot'n Colorado which BTW otherwise went Demo in '04. I take the kids to - you guessed it! - the p-0-0-l. We get some adult time with Marcus this evening as Stan baby-sits and we go to the movies. Hoo-ray!

Uncle Marcus

Marcus is in from Seattle to see family and regard his fast growing nephew and niece. During the past several years, Marcus has lived in Kathmandu and Kabul, Afghanistan, where he built grade schools for women. This results in a general discussion on Interesting Jobs and Marcus enjoyed a Whopper: transitioning to Seattle, he drove Ronald McDonald, in complete costume, around the state for $16 an hour. Ronald was unable to drive because of his Red Shoes and his contract required him in costume. Plus their Honda had McDonald's decals on the sideboards. The duo would pull into a (small) town and were usually greeted by loud cheers from screaming children packing into a restaurant. On occasion, the franchise owner would not promote the ticket so on entrance adults would turn their heads to see -- what? their strangest dream come true? Now Marcus is a graphics designer and living the good life in WA.

Phil Moyers reports that 45% of Americans support the impeachment of George Bush for wiretapping.


My photo at Ralph Lauren's ranch.


The Rockies are a broad mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch more than 4,800 kilometers (about 3,000 miles) from northernmost British Columbia in Canada, to New Mexico. The highest peak is Mount Elbert, in Colorado, which is 14,440 feet (4,401 meters) above sea level. Mount Robson in BC at 3,954 meters (12,972 feet) is the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. The Rocky Mountain System within the United States is a U.S. phsiographic region. Though part of the Pacific Cordillera, they are not to be confused with the Pacific Coast Ranges which are located immediately adjacent to the Pacific Coast and where our family has a cabin in Big Trees National Forest.

I'm watching the Giants and waiting for Bonds to hit the Big Number 755.


We drive to Telluride with Marcus or about 45 minutes from Montrose on the scenic route. Once there we catch a gondola up the mountain where a friendly ranger tells us that half the bowl was formed by volcanic activity and the rest by plate movement. From our spot, we see the range familiar to every Coors drinker and on each beer can. Nice. I decide to jog from top to town or 10,500 to 8,750 feet. Even downhill its a challenge and my legs are screaming by the time I re-connect with the kids, happily eating ice cream cones. Madeleine asks: "did you see a badger?"

"However, I only applied to one college, the University of Colorado, and I think MIT was the perfect school for me. Maybe that was a mistake."
Steve Wozniak, co-founder Apple Computer