Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Rest of the Trip

New Years Resolution: Be more timely with my posting. OK, so much for that.

Continuing the Great Xmas Escapade

Christmas eve morning we drove from Brooklyn to Plains, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Wilkes-Barre, and the home of Jennifer's grandparents. For the Big Italian Family Christmas Eve Dinner, we made our second semi-annual trip to Betelli's Villa, in Wilkes-Barre. They offer a scaled down menu on Christmas Eve, but the Veal Saltimbocca was excellent, and Tristan couldn't resist the pasta again, of course.

(Have you ever seen the picture of that guy on The Smoking Gun who keeps getting arrested for huffing gold paint? Tristan could be a marinara sauce huffer.)

That night, Jonas, John, and Jordan gave up the opportunity to sleep in actual bed's at cousin Tahnee's house in order to be at Nona's when Tristan and Zoe woke up.

Christmas morning it was evident that Santa had gotten the memo about the kids' location, and he had delivered their prizes to the right place. We hung out and ate, and after lunch, Joe, Pam, Jared, and Julia arrived from their hotel.

That night it was off to Cousin Shannon's house for another family tradition. More food, games, and funny made-up stories about "postive attributes" of Democrats. We got to meet Briellia, Shannon and Brian's almost 2-year-old daughter, and see Brian's two-part homemade horror series "The House With Many Dolls."
We did get a decent photo of the immediate family though

My Big Fat Italian Christmas
My Big Fat Italian Christmas Hosted on Zooomr

The next day we headed back to Harmonyville, to slow down and relax. . . a little. Great Mom came over to start making tomato sauce for pasta. It's a two-day affair. That night we visited with Uncle Dave and Aunt Phyllis.
Chinese DressChinese Dress Hosted on Zooomr

We even got to see a cool video of Aunt Phyllis's eye surgery. I wish I had a video of my eye surgery.

Wednesday, Great Mom came over for day two of the pasta sauce, and we enjoyed it on some spaghetti and some of Nona's famous homemade ravioli. Great Mom was very eager to try some of that.

Thursday we met up with the Lamberts (Matt, Anne, and Peter)and the Flickingers (Dan, Jean, Emma, and Grace) at Saint Peters Village. Of course we were there to play on the rocks, and of course, somebody ended up going swimming, and this time it was Zoe. The kids love the rocks, and Dan, Matt, and I do to, having spent many hours on them ourselves as kids. I think Jennifer and Jean (Dawn was back at the house with the two youngest Lamberts) may tend to be more cautious. No matter. Despite Zoe falling in, we got a few good pictures.
1 Lambert 2 Flickingers1 Lambert 2 Flickingers Hosted on Zooomr

4 Flickingers4 Flickingers Hosted on Zooomr

When it got dark, we all went to the Lamberts' for what's becoming a tradition: meatball sandwiches and exhaustive playtime. Dawn, Jane, and Laura were already there. We had a great time, and the kids slept like rocks that night.

Friday, December 29th. Happy Birthday to me! It was pretty low key. We drove into Pottstown, and ended up having lunch at The Very Best Wiener Shop (their claim, not mine.) The restaurant is kind of a landmark in town, and has quite a history with the Roth family. My grandparents were regulars here for probably 60 or more years, and a picture of Grandad even hangs on the wall. Andy and I used to play for the restaurant's sponsored Little League baseball team in the late 1970's and early 1980's. The food pretty much sucks though, but it's cheap.

For dinner we went to Buick (Matt) and Christine Kozsuch's house in Eagleville. This is the first I'd seen them since their wedding in June, and the first time JR and the kids got to meet Christine. They have a great place and dinner was excellent. They're expecting their first child in July, and fortunately, Tristan and Zoe were well enough behaved to (hopefully) not make Buick and Christine resent their decision to become parents.

On Saturday, Jennifer went to see her friend Tricia from PSU. The kids and I went to Ambler to see Uncle Roger, Aunt Linda, and cousins Laura and Julia. We had giant hamburgers and a whole lot of fun.
4 Roth Cousins4 Roth Cousins Hosted on Zooomr

We had to hurry back to Harmonyville because Jennifer and I had reservations at "The Inn at Saint Peters Village". As a little aside, Saint Peters Village was a granite and iron ore mining town from the Victorian era in the late 1880's. There are still many original period buildings, but the village has not really been able to make a commercial go of it since at least the late 1970s. I can't count how many businesses have come and gone from the two dozen or so buildings. The village is currently undergoing a major renovation that I would guess would give it its best shot at economic vitality. The showpiece of this is the Inn. The restaurant has been getting very serious reviews in Philadelphia magazines, and is starting to get the attention of the foodies (and the culinarily ignorant that just like spending a lot of money on meals) who don't mind the drive from the city and 'burbs out to our neck of the boonies.

Some have said that their dining experience at the Inn was the best meal they've ever had in their life. I would not be one of them. It would place strongly in my Top Ten though. Despite the admonitions of the sommelier, who said my photos would be "washed out," I took pictures of my food anyway. And maybe the snooty "I always have my Mercedes serviced at the dealer" table behind us were looking at us funny, but at least I knew what a pomegranate was.

I won't make this a food review, but let the pictures, which were not washed out, but the way (so there!) speak for themselves.

Amuse Bouche (Happy Mouth /my translation)
Amuse BoucheAmuse Bouche Hosted on Zooomr

Jennifer's Appetizer
Appetizer: Rillets of DuckAppetizer: Rillets of Duck Hosted on Zooomr

My appetizer
Appetizer: Serrano HamAppetizer: Serrano Ham Hosted on Zooomr

Jennifer's Entree
Venison ChopVenison Chop Hosted on Zooomr

My Entree
Scallop and ShrimpScallop and Shrimp Hosted on Zooomr
(okay, that one's a little washed out)

Jennifer's Dessert
Dessert: Bread PuddingDessert: Bread Pudding Hosted on Zooomr

My Dessert
Dessert: Warm Bosc PearsDessert: Warm Bosc Pears Hosted on Zooomr
That pear-shaped pear sorbet was amazing! The pattissier could make a mint if he could package that and pimp it out next to the Ben & Jerry's.

Sunday we loaded up and drove home, making the trip in an incredible sub 8-hour time. The trip was nicely busy (in my opinion) and over-scheduled (in Jennifer's opinion). We're now on the every-other-year PA/NY Christmas trip, so we'll be back to do it again in 2008. Next year: a whole lot of sitting around home.
Saturday, December 23, 2006

New York Christmas, Part 3

Day 3.

We had to revist our favorite bagel place, so we walked down to Flatbush and Bergen to Bergen Bagels (see July 2006). We got a few to eat immediately, and a dozen bagels and bialys to go. They screwed up my coffee, putting sugar and cold milk in it (yuck), so I gave it to the kids, who downed it handily.

Zoe's RoutineZoe's Routine Hosted on Zooomr

We walked back toward Prospect Park, where they have a farmers market on Saturday mornings. We found Jared and Jordan, sampled some food and wine, and picked up some fixin's for dinner.

The four Roths headed back to the subway, and rode to the Grand Central terminal, and then set out on foot, mainly as a photographic safari of the urban jungle for me.
Reflected SkyscraperReflected Skyscraper Hosted on Zooomr

We stopped at Bryant Park to check out the free ice skating (with $10 skate rental). The lines were crazy long, so we skipped it, opting instead for some lunch at some place with a bathroom.

We went back to the Radio City area for some more pictures. I have an unexplainable fascination with old-school C7 Christmas lights, and some of the public art in that area were giant C7 lights, so I needed pictures.
Giant Tree Lights TwoGiant Tree Lights Two Hosted on Zooomr

Here's one with us in it, just for a sense of scale.
C7 FamilyC7 Family Hosted on Zooomr

I got a few more of the giant Christmas ball pyramid, but with Radio City in the background, for a sense of position.
Radio City Music BallsRadio City Music Balls Hosted on Zooomr

We headed south, meeting up with Joe and Pam near Lord & Taylor. They too had a Christmas window display so we checked that out. We left the kids with them, then I boogied south (with Jennifer in tow) to try to get a picture of the Empire State Building from the south side as the sun was setting.

Empire State Fading LightEmpire State Fading Light Hosted on Zooomr

It's not exactly the shot I wanted, but I'm not totally displeased with it.

Jennifer and I went on unsuccessful quests for eye drops and wine. On the way back to Lord and Taylor to meet the kids, we turned around and noticed this:
Empire State SunsetEmpire State Sunset Hosted on Zooomr

Bear in mind this was only 4:48 in the afternoon! I just can't get used to the early sunset in the winter in the north. Maybe that's part of the reason I left. But I digress.

We met back up with the others, and while they were browsing a junk store, I took a bunch more pictures. Here's the Lord & Taylor
Lord & Taylor Christmas WindowsLord & Taylor Christmas Windows Hosted on Zooomr

The blurry moving cars are intentional.

Taking advantage of Night Portrait mode (where the flash is coupled with a longer exposure ((to capture more of the more dimly lit background))) I got a picture of each of the kids with the Empire State Building behind them.
Empire State Building ZREmpire State Building ZR Hosted on Zooomr

Empire State Building TREmpire State Building TR Hosted on Zooomr

If you look carefully, you can see the crescent moon to the left of the building.

From there we took the train back to Brooklyn, kind of adopting a foreign gentleman (who I guessed was Russian) who didn't speak English, and needed a little help with the train schedule.

At Jordan's apartment, the meal was. . . PORK! Jordan makes a mean pork butt roast, and with some kale on the side and the food and wine we bought at the farmers market, it was a great dinner for us, Jordan, Jared, Julia, and Julia's friend Leslie. Joe and Pam opted to stay in Manhattan, so they missed out on a great meal.

Zoe fell asleep amidst all the chaos, and that was pretty indicative of how tired we all were from a long day.
Friday, December 22, 2006

New York Christmas, Part 2

Day 2

Woke up, went out and found the truck, and had to move it since where I had parked was not available from 9:30 - 11:00. So Zoe and I drove around looking for a spot for the better part of an hour, finally finding a place on Prospect Ave, about four streets over. The truck should allegedly be fine there 'til at least Tuesday, so hopefully it'll be there when we come back to it on Christmas Eve.

Went to breakfast at Tom's Diner, a local landmark.

From there we along with John O. (Jennifer's dad's wife's son) walked to the 7th Ave subway station, and took the B train all the way to Rockefeller Center. The subway, Zoe informed us, is her second favorite means of transportation, the first being airplanes.

We got to Radio City just in time to meet Joe (Jennifer's dad) and Pam and head inside.

Jennifer and her family used to do the Christmas Spectacular every year, but it was the first time for the kids and me. The place was spectacular. Just look at the lobby.

Hall FoyerHall Foyer Hosted on Zooomr

We had pretty choice seats way down front just to the right of the right aisle. The theatre was spectacular.

PreShow ColorPreShow Color Hosted on Zooomr

Joe hooked T and Z up with cotton candy that came with a free hat.
ShowtimeShowtime Hosted on Zooomr

The show was amazing. The kids also got some special attention that no one else in the theatre got. Right after the 3D part (where an animated Santa flies through NYC, finally landing right outside Radio City) when live-action Santa entered the theatre, he ran down right to where we were, and gave high-fives to both Zoe and Tristan, and no one else! I wish I had a picture of that!

The show ran a full hour and a half, and had many different scenes and themes. Here's their take on The Nutcracker.
Christmas SpectacularChristmas Spectacular Hosted on Zooomr

The show finished with the birth of Christ, which really surprised me. It was very nicely done. Overall, I'd highly recommend the show.

From there we headed out into Manhattan to just bounce around a while. There's this cool scene just outside Radio City
Big BallsBig Balls Hosted on Zooomr

We checked out Rockefeller Plaza, the huge tree, and the ice skating. It was crazy crowded, but pretty cool just to be there. From there we checked out the fancy windows (or whatever they're properly called) at Saks Fifth Avenue, and then walked down to Times Square, to the giant Toys 'R' Us, which was also insane. Their decorations were cool though.
Times Square WindowTimes Square Window Hosted on Zooomr

From there we walked back to Grand Central Terminal, and took the 7 train to the L train to the Bedford Street station in Brooklyn. From there we walked to Peony's apartment where we met her and Jordan, and then walked to Bamonte's restaurant. A cool old-school Italian place that's probably been there forever, with waiters as old as my dad in tuxedos, and pictures of The Sopranos cast and various other Guineas all over the walls.

We were met there by Jason, a friend of Jordan's from Heritage School (in Newnan, Georgia). The kids split some gnocchi Bolognese (which they were able to finish!). Jennifer had the lasagna, and I had the cavatelli Bolognese. We finished with some espresso (with complimentary sambuca!) and ginger cookies.

We called a car service, and got a Suburban to fit the five of us for the ride back to Jordan's. Shortly after wer got there, Jared (Jennifer's brother) and Julia (his wife) arrived. We did another small Christmas, and called it a night.
Thursday, December 21, 2006

New York Christmas, Part 1

After staying home for Christmas last year (for the first time ever), it was time to go back to the normal routine: visiting family and friends in the Northeast.

So Wednesday after work, and with everybody and the dog in the 12-year-old, 275,000 mile Toyota pickup, we made the eight hour drive to Harmonyville, PA, arriving at 10:30 pm.

Thursday morning without the dog, we piled back into the truck and made the two hour drive to Hoboken, New Jersey, home of Truck and Debbie, and Jerry, Mary, Anna, and the seven-day-old baby Anna.

We had some time to kill, so we ate a picnic lunch at a jetty/park on the Hudson, right behind Stevens Institute of Technology, and got out the camera.
Manhattan ViewManhattan View Hosted on Zooomr

There was also a skate park right there, and since Tristan was wearing his Heelys, he tried to skate
Hoboken Skate ParkHoboken Skate Park Hosted on Zooomr
Monday, December 18, 2006

Zoe's Solo

The children at Mebane Presbyterian Church put on their Christmas Musical on Sunday, and Zoe had a solo.

She received a lot of compliments, and we think she did an awesome job!

See for yourself.
Friday, December 01, 2006

Xmas Letter 2006

Welcome to the 2006 equivalent to the Traveling Roths' Microsoft Word Update Letter. (thanks to Snide for the term). If you're following the link on the Christmas Card, and this is your first visit to, welcome. We hope you'll check back regularly, and maybe even subscribe to the feed.

It's been a year for us, so we'll give you the summary in words and pictures. All pictures are hosted on Zooomr. Check out these and others there when you get the chance.

Not much going on. Did a weekend trip to Hanging Rock State Park.
Hanging RockHanging Rock Hosted on Zooomr

Hanging Rock State ParkHanging Rock State Park Hosted on Zooomr

Both kids won the "Music Student of the Quarter" awards for their respective Kindergarten (Zoe) and First Grade (Tristan) classes.
Music Student Z

Music Student T

In February, Zoe celebrated her Sixth Birthday with a party.
It's a Small Birthday After AllIt's a Small Birthday After All Hosted on Zooomr

Unfortunately, the day of the party we had Mebane's heaviest snowfall of the year.
North Carolina Blizzard

Despite the frightful weather, all the invitees attended.

In March, Jennifer and the kids spent some of Spring Break at the North Carolina coast.
Emerald Isle PortraitEmerald Isle Portrait Hosted on Zooomr

And whenever they're at the ocean, even in winter, Tristan and Zoe are going to get wet.
North Atlantic WinterNorth Atlantic Winter Hosted on Zooomr

Tristan took Third Place in the Chapel Hill School District in a spoken French language competition
French Student TFrench Student T Hosted on Zooomr

While Zoe scored her second "Terrific Kid" award.
Teriffic ZTeriffic Z Hosted on Zooomr

March was also the start of the spring soccer season. Zoe played for the U6 Sharks
Opa, Zoe, and OmaOpa, Zoe, and Oma Hosted on Zooomr

And Tristan played for the U8 Strikers
Opa, Tristan, and OmaOpa, Tristan, and Oma Hosted on Zooomr

As you can see, Oma, Opa, and their RV were in town on their way back from a month-long trip to the south.

With April's warmer weather and longer days, we had more opportunity to play outside, and take more pictures in the evening sun.
Zoe SpringZoe Spring Hosted on Zooomr

Tristan SpringTristan Spring Hosted on Zooomr

I got to play Jesus in a reenactment of "The Last Supper"
Playing JesusPlaying Jesus Hosted on Zooomr

And Easter was on a beautiful spring day
Easter FamilyEaster Family Hosted on Zooomr

would turn out to be a very busy, and very fun month. In early May, I got to spend a few days at a conference in beautiful Greenville, South Carolina. Read about that adventure here.

In the middle of the month we took our first big vacation in a long time out to Jennifer's brother Jonas' college graduation in Nevada. Check out the May archive for the details, but we had loads of fun. Here are the best couple of pictures from the 272 we took in five days.
Tahoe PanoTahoe Pano Hosted on Zooomr

PICT2942PICT2942 Hosted on Zooomr

Then as if the month wasn't busy enough, over Memorial Day Weekend we had a Pig Pickin'!
Barbecue By the BookBarbecue By the Book Hosted on Zooomr

along with a few more Traveling Roths, namely Andy, Shelly, Alex, and Ella
May CousinsMay Cousins Hosted on Zooomr

In June, Tristan became Napoleon Dynamite for the Glenwood talent show.
Tristan DynamiteTristan Dynamite Hosted on Zooomr

I took a trip to PA for my friend Buick (Matt Kozsuch's) wedding
Buick/DiamondBuick/Diamond Hosted on Zooomr

July was crazy. It started with a trip to NYC
Riding on the MetroRiding on the Metro Hosted on Zooomr

Then a week in Pennsylvania, with a couple more Traveling Roths (in this case Julia, and Laura)
Here Comes the ParadeHere Comes the Parade Hosted on Zooomr

From there Jennifer was off to Bennington College for grad school for three weeks, while the kids were on vacation in PA and NJ with Oma and Opa and their cousins, and Rabin and I were back to North Carolina.
crazycrazy Hosted on Zooomr

I got a short trip to NYC in, and got to see Truck, Jerry, Debbie, and Mary.

In August, things started returning to normal. Everyone returned to North Carolina, Soccer practice started again, and I had a great weekend in New England seeing my friend Greg, and going to the wedding of Truck and Debbie.
Truck Jerry DiamondTruck Jerry Diamond Hosted on Zooomr

School started once again. First Grade for Zoe and Second Grade for Tristan.
ZR 1st GradeZR 1st Grade Hosted on Zooomr

TR 2nd GradeTR 2nd Grade Hosted on Zooomr

. More soccer, the last beach trip of the year,
FudgeTown BoardwalkFudgeTown Boardwalk Hosted on Zooomr

and the capital campaign kickoff at Mebane Presbyterian.

October. More soccer. The North Carolina State Fair.
Pure JoyPure Joy Hosted on Zooomr

Tristan's Birthday
Partners in CrimePartners in Crime Hosted on Zooomr

Presbyterian Camping
Pano Grandfather MountainPano Grandfather Mountain Hosted on Zooomr

and Halloween
Halloween 2006Halloween 2006 Hosted on Zooomr

. The calmest month of all, I think.
Holiday FamilyHoliday Family Hosted on Zooomr

and Christmas preparation
Zoe on the FarmZoe on the Farm Hosted on Zooomr

. I got to play timpani in the Mebane Community Chorus' presentation of The Messiah, followed by performing with the "Mebane Presbyterian Church Orchestra" the next weekend. Then on Sunday the 17th, Tristan and Zoe performed in the church's Christmas Play.
PrePlayPrePlay Hosted on Zooomr

Zoe even had a solo!

So that's the bulk of it. From the 20th through the 31st we'll be in SE Pennsylvania, then New York City, then NE PA, then SE PA again, then back to North Carolina.

So Happy Hanukkah, Happy Festivus, Merry Christmas, (Happy Birthday to Me), and Happy New Year.

See you right here in 2007

The Traveling Roths
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