Wednesday, April 29, 2009

central time

i haven't ever spent much time in the central time zone before. it's only an hour behind the eastern time zone. it's not enough of a change to make any real difference, but sufficient enough to confuse the heck out of me. for example, it's a bit after 10pm and i am watching 'the daily show.' why does it come on at 10pm here? i don't understand. so i keep thinking it's after 11, and my computer says it's after 11, and my brain and body feel like it's after 11, but my phone knows that it's just a bit after 10. i am so confused!

well, not really. i kind of get it. but not totally. anyhow, as i said in my last post, i am in minneapolis at the university of minnesota this week. i am supposed to be learning all about human embryonic stem cells, how to grow them, how to turn them into various other cell types. and also about ips cells and how to make them. is it possible to learn all of this in just 3 days? of course not. but hopefully i'll leave here knowing enough to not completely f*ck things up! oh, and back to being confused again, for some reason i keep thinking i am in wisconsin. i want to go there someday. apparently they eat a lot of cheese there. apparently there is a special technique used for eating cheese curd where you 'squeak' it between your back teeth. i do not even pretend to understand this, but i do wonder what cheese curd tastes like and if i would like it.

i am also fortunate enough to be traveling when the swine flu s*it hits the proverbial fan. i thought someone on one of my flights here had tuberculosis, but now i think it must have been the swine flu. there's going to be a pandemic, if you haven't heard. SNOUTBREAK '09!!! hopefully i won't be bringing the swine flu home with me back to pittsburgh on friday.

so about my trip ... i flew (almost typed flu! freudian slip!) here on monday morning via detroit. on the flight from pittsburgh to detroit, i had the worst possible seat on the plane. it was a window seat in the very last row of the plane. only there was no window because the engine was directly beside me. the flight was completely full, and there was a man who was literally about 6'5 and 350 pounds in the center seat next to me. crazy. needless to say it was a tight squeeze, but it went quickly enough. i had about 10 minutes after we landed to transfer to my connecting flight, and made it with time to spare thanks to some help from peter who provided me with the gate number that the northwest associate was too busy to look up. here is me getting ready to board my flight:


my seat was way in the back again, but there were a lot of empty seats so i got to sit in an aisle seat with no one next to me. much comfier! i landed in minneapolis:


then caught a shuttle to my hotel. we drove through downtown where i took an inadvertent photo of a comcast sign:


we crossed the mississippi very near where the bridge had collapsed a couple years back:


after i checked into my hotel, i went for a walk to check things out and find something for lunch. i wandered into the hong kong noodle house and had an amazingly yummy and cheap lunch. i later found out that this is one of the best places for lunch nearby, so i definitely got lucky with my choice!

the minneapolis film festival is going on this week, but sadly i'm not going to have a chance to catch any films.


they're building a really nice new football stadium for the golden gophers (tee hee) to play in. i think it won't be ready until 2010.



i stopped into the lab at the stem cell institute to meet some of the people there and pick up my materials for the class, and then went back to my room to rest. i was pooped from getting up early for my flight and trying not to breathe the tuberculosis/swine flu contaminated airplane air. there is a full length mirror across from one of the beds and for some reason i decided it was a good time for a selfie or two.



i wandered around for a bit more after skyping with peter and erik (it was SO nice to get to see and talk to them! i am really missing my guys), saw a beautiful sunset and grabbed a salad from the leaning tower of pizza.



it's just about midnight now, or actually it's almost 11pm. but i am totally scompered from all of the chaos of the past few days. i'll have to finish this another time. tschau!

north by northwest (airlines)

greetings all from the great white north! i've been in minneapolis since midday yesterday. i traveled here to attend a human embryonic stem cell course at the university of minnesota. it's late and i am very tired, but i wanted to jot off a quick blog. i am really appreciating this nice cool weather here after the obscenely hot streak we were having in pittsburgh. from what i have seen of minneapolis so far, it is a beautiful city and i definitely wouldn't mind coming back someday for a vacation. today was the first day of the course and it went very well ... very informative, and also a very long day! i'm going to head to bed now, but hopefully i will be able to get some of my photos uploaded soon (horribly slow and spotty internet connection here), and maybe tomorrow evening i will feel more up to writing a blog. until then, goodnight!


Friday, April 24, 2009

today in pictures

i'm bummed out because erik is getting a cold (and maybe i am too), but it was a nice day today, aside from the fire that interrupted our lab meeting, which i actually didn't mind too much at all. here are some pictures i took today.

in the warm sun, the tulips were wide open this afternoon:






and the phlox was not quite as sunny today:


yet another sunset (because i just can't help myself):



my 24th on the 24th

the number 24 has always had special meaning to me. first it was my birthday, and then the date of my wedding (and also my age on the day that i got married). since i can't think of much else to say right now, i am offering this - my (current) 24th most popular photo on flickr (as determined by the magical flickr wizards):

please to enjoy, big fish

big fish

Thursday, April 23, 2009

things and stuff

today i was at the lab until 5 so peter picked up erik. i actually made it home before them by about ten minutes (traffic was a total clusterf*ck today for some reason) and when i pulled in the driveway i noticed that the phlox next to our driveway is in full bloom and the sun was shining beautifully on it. i thought "aha! i am going to run in and get my camera and macro lens (which i have been loving, btw - thanks peter!)!" so i did. i was amazed that peter and erik still weren't home, but i took advantage of the few quiet minutes and took some pictures of the things blooming around our tiny front yard. the tulips are starting to bloom (but have yet to fully open), but i didn't get any nice photos of them. here are a couple of the ones that turned out ok:

one tiny phlox blossom (in too much sun to be REALLY nice, but i still like it

dandelions are everywhere already(much more interesting BIG)

lilac blossoms from our neighbor's tree that encroaches on our driveway

vibrantly pink and wonderfully fragrant hyacinth

we had to do some grocery shopping this evening, and on the way home we saw yet another pretty sunset. the picture doesn't do it justice, but the sky was ablaze with brilliant pinks and oranges.


good night and TGIF!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

one more

detail of the hot metal bridge, warholized:

hot metal bridge

magnolia warholized

i really like the way this one turned out:

magnolia blossom

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

springtime in pittsburgh

every now and then i become motivated to make mosaics of some of my favorite pictures with fd's flickr toys. here is one that captures some of my favorite photos of the spring so far (that can be reasonably displayed in square format without requiring me to crop them).

the colors of spring

so what else has been going on lately? over the weekend i went to an old friend's birthday party and saw some people i hadn't seen in over a decade. it was actually a lot of fun and i ended up staying out later than i have in a very long time. i think it was close to 4am by the time i got home. the next morning i paid for it when erik started banging metal roasting pans loudly together as soon as we got up (which was mercifully late).

we went to the carnegie library in oakland on sunday afternoon and then to schenley plaza so erik could ride the merry-go-round there. happily it was free and he rode three times and thoroughly enjoyed it! he rode the rabbit, the tiger, and the elephant. he was so good and held on all throughout the ride, so i got to ride too instead of just standing beside him. i didn't have my camera with me but i got a couple of cute pictures with my cell phone.




my mom's been on vacation for the past week or so, and this weekend peter got a call out of the blue from my dad (i don't think he's EVER called me) asking if we wanted to get together for dinner sometime this week. i later found out that my mom put him up to it, but nonetheless we went out to olive garden this evening and had a really nice dinner together. he told us that quite frankly it's a little lonely with her away, and it was nice getting to visit with him without many other people around, like most times when i see him. we actually got to have some really nice conversations. and erik really loved having dinner with his pop pop who fed him some really yummy chocolate cake!

and the pens won tonight again, making their lead three games to one over the flyers. yay! i'm not really a big sports fan in general, but i do enjoy hockey, especially during the playoffs! i really wish we could've gotten to a game this season ... it was supposed to be my anniversary present to peter (all the way back in november). oh well ... maybe next season.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

easter weekend

here i am getting behind again! i am sensing a trend here. :)

last weekend was easter weekend and we couldn't have asked for better weather. both saturday and sunday were sunny and gorgeous and really nice days. my mom had let me know earlier in the week that delmont's easter egg hunt was on the saturday before easter, so we decided to take erik out for it. it was kind of interesting/fun going there because it is the same easter egg hunt that i used to go to when i was a child at newhouse park. the park was almost exactly as i remembered it ... with a great playground that i loved as a child and that erik had fun on before the hunt was afoot. it also brought back memories of when i played softball in high school too because it was our home field.

here are erik and peter going down the old school slide:
erik on the slide
peter on the slide

a few more of erik playing before the easter egg hunt:
erik inside the ship

erik on the slide

then we all lined up for the hunt and i insisted we be photographed with the bunny ears on:

peter - he's so hard core

erik bunny

i am so weird

i love this picture of erik and his granny!
granny and erik

erik did really well with the hunt which was actually more of a scramble. i was pleasantly surprised that all of the kids/parents were very well behaved and there was no pushing or fighting when it came time to grab the eggs. erik understood that he needed to grab the eggs and put them in his basket (although he got a little distracted about halfway through and started inspecting his eggs). i think he had fun with it, and i was really proud of how he did at his first easter egg hunt!

erik "hunting" for eggs

erik "hunting" for eggs

erik "hunting" for eggs

erik "hunting" for eggs

erik posed with the easter bunny (unfortunately i cut off his ears):

erik and the big bunny

and a family picture taken by granny:

bunny family

after the easter egg hunt we went to may favorite restaurant in the world, cozumel. we had some awesome mexican food but my favorite waiter who makes chicken noises at me (and has since i was in high school) was not there. i hope he still works there so i can see him and have him make chicken noises at erik someday! on the way back to my mom's house we stopped by gene & boots (who make my favorite chocolate in the world!) to get easter candy. i couldn't resist taking some pictures of the giant chocolate bunnies and other candy. (i am drooling just looking at these bunnies. sadly i finished the last of mine today.)

giant chocolate bunnies


when we dropped my mom off at her house, i saw her neighbor's beautiful weeping cherry tree and snuck over to take pictures of the white blossoms against the deep blue sky. i think i was caught in the act since they came out their front door as i was standing there next to their tree, but i don't think they really minded.

blue blue and white


when we got back home, peter and erik were pooped and crashed out on the couch for awhile, but i wanted to take advantage of the nice weather so i took a walk around the neighborhood in search of pretty things to take pictures of. i took both my digital rebel with my new macro lens and my new powershot sd790. this was my first time using the macro lens, and i had a bit of trouble because it was very breezy so it was difficult to get and maintain a nice sharp focus. i did get a few nice shots though.



this is my favorite. i like the nice soft bokeh:


i trespassed again to take some pictures of a lovely magnolia tree:


here's a macro of a magnolia center, both beautiful and weird, taken with my "little" camera. these make me miss our old house with our gorgeous magnolia tree.

hidden treasure

i went home and talked peter and erik into walking down to the little playground down the road.

erik playing

then we went home and dyed easter eggs. i had so much fun with it!

easter egging

peter dyeing easter eggs

erik dyeing easter eggs

easter eggs

easter eggs


and a beautiful sunset on a lovely day:


i had a lot of fun assembling erik's easter basket:

erik's easter loot

and on easter morning erik had fun disassembling it:

erik discovering his easter basket

while my guys hung out and napped, i went to the lab for awhile and when i got home, my mom came over for an easter dinner of pot roast. i cut some daffodils for a bouquet for the table and it was very pretty.



we had a simple and yummy dinner, and afterward we all went to the playground and had fun watching erik play. it was a really great easter weekend and so nice spending the time with my wonderful family.