Thursday, November 15, 2007

Una - one year later

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of Una being attacked during our morning walk. She has made a full recovery while staying at the Winchells.



Photo Shoot

Emily and Krista took the kids to Sears this morning to have photos taken for our Christmas card. Rowan is a bit sick, so it was a fairly painful experience. They decided that we should try again in the afternoon, so we went back at 3:30. The afternoon session was a little worse than the morning session. Here are a few of the photos.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


This is from SwissINFO and should make my coworkers very happy.

Up to 120 centimetres of snow has fallen on the Swiss Alps since Friday,
the largest amount at the start of winter for over five decades – and more is
expected. Tourism authorities in ski resorts are rubbing their hands, not
only because of the low temperatures but also in expectation of a record

The southeastern resort of Davos in eastern Switzerland,
which lies at 1,560m, saw 62cm of snow fall within 24 hours, according to the
national weather service MeteoSwiss on Sunday morning.

St Antönien, also in canton Graubünden, reported 64cm and Braunwald in the neighbouring canton of Glarus saw 72cm, the same amount as Unteriberg in canton

The last time so much snow fell in November was in 1952, but what is also unusual about the current weather conditions is that the stormy northwest wind is carrying relatively large amounts of snow down south, for example to the upper Engadine valley.

According to the federal institute for snow and avalanche research in Davos, the level of snow above 1,500m has reached 120cm since the snow began to fall.

The areas hit most were the northern slopes east of the Susten pass, the resort of
Samnaun, the Silvretta mountain range and northern Graubünden.

Experts warned on Saturday of a significant danger of avalanches in the areas and raised the warning to its second highest level.

However, no one had been caught up in an avalanche and there was no major damage, according to police, who said few people were currently on the slopes. On Sunday evening the warning level was lowered to "considerable".

On Monday morning, however, Viasuisse, a traffic information provider, warned of snow-covered roads above 600m – including northbound access routes to the Gotthard and San Bernardino tunnels – and it said 14 passes were closed.

Those in the tourism business were delighted by the unusually early and heavy

They are hoping this winter will see the number of overnight stays and skipasses sold make up for the disappointing previous winter season, which ended up being the warmest on record.

In Graubünden, Switzerland's largest tourist region, many ski resorts are planning on beginning the winter season a week early and are currently busy bashing the

Resorts in the Bernese Oberland are also looking forward to a better start to the season.

Eduardo Zwyssig from the Gstaad-Saanenland tourism office is hoping the first ski areas will open on December 1.

Gieri Spescha, spokesman for Graubünden tourism, said: "The important thing now is for people in lower parts of the country to notice that winter has arrived."

What's more, the winter conditions are set to continue. MeteoSwiss expected 15-30cm of snow to fall at the beginning of the week and predicted that it would even make it down to lower altitudes.

If the weather proverb connected to St Martin's Day – which on November 11 commemorates the 4th-century Bishop of Tours – is to be believed, we're in for a hard winter: "If Martin's beard is white, a long cold winter will bite."

Only the southern canton of Ticino can expect milder weather in the coming weeks, with temperatures rising to 13 degrees thanks to the north Föhn wind.

Day 2

The concept of Niamh sleeping through the night was wishful thinking. I went back to the room on Sunday morning (first night in US) and the entire family was up. This was a bit disappointing for two reasons:

1. It was only 4AM
2. Breakfast wasn't survived until 7AM

We went for a short walk and then played in the hotel room until breakfast. Emily pulled the mattress off one of the beds and the kids would run across the box springs and jump onto the pillows and mattress. It might be one of their favorite activities.

The kids took a nap at 8:45 and slept until 11:30. We then went to the airport to have lunch. We discovered that there is an entire security line for people who are premier on United, so we didn't have to wait in line at all. The only issue we had is that I had to take my money belt(what do you call it when it is around your neck?). This wasn't really a big issue, but was sort of a pain to do. I use it all the time and have never had to take it off to go through security. That might be because it normally doesn't have four passports and four residence permits in it.

The flight left more or less on time and went fairly smoothly. The aircraft, an EMB-120, is very noisy, so you couldn't really hear the kids. Bend is warmer than we expected.

Niamh slept through the night, but Rowan got was up form 1AM to 4AM. I think Emily and I will need a vacation from our vacation.

Clann Mhic Canna'

I recently received my results from Family Tree DNA and learned that I am related to members of the 'Ó Catháin clan', but may only be part of the 'Clann Mhic Canna'. I plan to upgrade the DNA test so I can get more definitive results. Here are two links that might be of interest.
McBride Family Project

Sunday, November 11, 2007

We survived!

We survived the plane trip to the US, but there were a few issues. Since we brought our car seats with us, we used a mobility car to get from our apartment. This worked fairly well, but I had to run to the platform with the last load of stuff because the train had already arrived. Since Morges isn't the first stop, the luggage racks and all the other normal luggage spots were taken. I had our pile of stuff right in front of the door. The only problem with this strategy was that I had to move the luggage at each stop so people could get on and off.

We got to the train station and were told that the flight we were booked on was probably going to be delayed or cancelled due to whether at Frankfurt. We got booked on a flight that was supposed to leave 90 minutes prior to ours, but actually only left about 30 minutes earlier. There weren't four seat available together on the earlier flight, so we were given four non-adjacent seats. I asked a few people to move, so within a few minutes after takeoff we had 3 seats together.

All went fairly well in Frankfurt. The security line was very short again (very different than my first two Frankfurt experiences!) The flight left Frankfurt about 45 minutes late and we had a headwind so we arrived at SFO an hour and a half late. We had four seats together (the middle section on a 747) and were in economy plus so that was nice. Rowan got on a sugar high and didn't sleep for the first six hours, but then took a 3 hour nap and was up for the final 2.5 hours. Niamh was more or less up the same times as Rowan. At the end of the flight she wouldn't go back to sleep and screamed for a while. We received a few comments about how well behaved the kids were, but one lady did remark to her husband that they were "screamers."

I know Rowan enjoyed the airplane and I think Niamh would have enjoyed it more if it hadn't been 14 hours on planes in the same day.

We took the shuttle to the local Courtyard hotel for the night. Niamh has slept through the night (this might still be wishful thinking, as it is only 4AM), but Rowan got up at 1. We have been playing with cars for the past 3 hours. We assumed that one child would be awake most of the night, so we got two adjoining rooms for tonight. It might have to become a standard first night plan after a major time change. It is nice to have two doors between the sleeping child and the whining child.

We're off to Bend later today and will be back in the Bay Area on the 21st.