Sunday, December 17, 2006

Then And Now

The top foto is what Winter usually looks like around here. Then there is today. Hard to believe, but it feels like Spring.

What Can You See In A Raindrop?

The weather here has been unseasonably mild. Today seemed more like April. It was the first time we'd had any sustained sunshine in weeks.  Lots of people were out walking with bemused looks on their faces. Pretty nice for 57 latitude in December.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Clouds On A Summer Day

Time for some more sunshine views to cheer us up here in the December gloom. Someday the sun will return and I can show you what a white winter looks like around here. It can be quite beautiful.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Time For Some Sun

It's been pretty much endless gray days here in Latvia as northern Europe continues its mildest weather in years. The bears are confused about hibernating, the birds are confused about flying, and the bushes are confused about budding. This is Seattle weather for December. We're usually blanketed in snow for the duration by now. I much prefer the white, sunny world to this damp, gray one. With less than eight hours of daylight right now we need all the help we can get keeping our spirits up. So, it's pleasing to look at pictures from last summer to remember what sunshine and flowers look like.

Friday, December 01, 2006

President Bush was in Riga earlier this week for the NATO summit. It was a holiday here and all the Old Town core streets were restricted. I think the President likes Latvia. It's one of the few countries that still welcomes him. The Cold War didn't end that long ago here. Now with the poisoning of Litvenenko in London, the world is getting a taste of the Russian approach to perceived international threats that the Latvians know only too well.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Post-Pub Picture

Here's St. John's Church on the walk home from visiting a Brit friend at the "Uguntina" pub last Saturday night. I balanced the camera on my wife's head and pushed the 2-second timer. We were a bit buzzed. A combination of the sacred and the profane?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

An Unlucky Number?

Thanks to Stephen Brown, who has the same name as my best friend when I was a kid.
LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


I know this is probably hard to believe, I could hardly believe it myself when I looked out the window this morning, but these were the actual colors, not enhanced in post-processing, only resized and sharpened a bit. The top one got a little treatment in NoiseNinja. I really like the little Fuji F30.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Things You Can Buy These Days...

 One of life's necessities - and a little something more...

Friday, November 03, 2006

I Think Winter Started Today

Still, I like this better than a gloomy gray raining-sideways day.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

"Things Are Getting Better All The Time..."

The food in the local restaurants is getting 
more interesting with each passing year. 

Monday, October 30, 2006

Friday, October 27, 2006

Thursday, October 26, 2006


These look like pancakes.

Are these edible?

On the left side there's a smiling, jumping little man. Can you see him?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Closed For The Season

The end of October means our rustic little cottage at the edge of town is down for the winter. See you next spring...

Monday, October 23, 2006

What's this?

Finally, our new place in Riga is almost finished. As usual, it's overdue. Most new construction is behind schedule because of a shortage of skilled workers. An estimated 50,000 Latvians are now working in the U.K. or Ireland.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Royal Visit

The Latvian President bites her lip.

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands...and her hat.

Since we are kind of on the subject of visits by famous former heads-of-state, we might as well include a current royal one who visited us last spring. It's certainly much easier to get up close to these folks in Latvia compared to the States. I guess Queen Beatrix isn't seen as much of a threat. Tomorrow, Queen Elizabeth is scheduled to visit. I'll bet that one will be a little tougher to approach so closely, but we'll try. She'll be in the same spot as the foto above, laying flowers on the Freedom Monument in Riga.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Yeltsin Comes To Visit

I think we need a break from fall fotos, so I'll put up some of Boris Yeltsin who visited us in Cesis a few weeks ago. Apparently he worked on a collective farm near here as a young man and wanted to see it one last time. Here he gingerly descends the stairs with his wife. The man over his left shoulder is the Prime Minister of Latvia, sometimes known as “Shrek”.

Latvia has a complex relationship with Russia and Russians. Almost 40% of the population are native Russian speakers, (though not here in Cesis), the result of 50 years of being the same color on the map as the old Soviet Union. Still, the folks were pretty warm to old Boris. They realize he contributed to Latvia's independence by not trying to prevent it. There were a few humorous comments in the crowd about his heavy-drinking days, but overall, they enjoyed seeing him.

With his wife.

Lecturing the Cesis Mayor.

I wish I could have that much hair at 75.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

More Fall Fotos...

Here's a couple of fotos of Jana Baznica - St. John's Chruch - taken while walking around and again from the living room window.

A Sunday Stroll

Today was another beautiful fall day just calling for a Sunday stroll. Here is the Cesis Castle built by the knights of the Hanseatic League in the 13th century and later sacked by Ivan the Terrible in 1588.

Market Day

My wife Inga and I walk almost every day, but Saturday is market day so it's always fun to see all the folks who come in from the country villages to buy and sell at the outdoor market.

I especially like to capture the faces of the older people who have seen and suffered so much. They are a fading generation, the likes of which we won't see much again after they've passed.

It says, "only homemade".

Sometimes, they look so frustrated and tired. I know their lives haven't been easy, living through war and the Soviet times. I hope they believe the future will be better. In most ways, it already is. Still, pensions are small. It's amazing to me to see their enterprise and energy. They're tough people.