The drive…

Posted by barb on Dec 20, 2008 in Travels

Given the high price of airline tickets, at least prior to Thanksgiving and into early December, we decided to drive to Montreal to visit Andrew’s family for Christmas, rather than flying. So, today we made the trek up. We had checked and re-checked weather in up-state New York to see if we would be able to make the drive or not – given that it’s December, a time of snow and blizzards in the Northern US. It appeared that the weather would hold – with the chance of storms coming the yesterday and tomorrow, but not today.

We left the house around 6:30, but stopped for breakfast at a nearby Mexican restaurant, so didn’t really get on the road until 7:30.

For the most part, the weather held – there was no snow on the groun in DC or Maryland. A small dusting had taken hold in New Jersey, but nothing on the road – it had probably snowed a few days earlier. By the time we hit New York, there was ground-covering snow. It started to become clear that snow had fallen within the past 24 hours in New York – the roads were clear, for the most part, but we ended up passing several snow plows.

Snow started falling, but just a little, as we were passing through the Adairondacs. Traffic had died down by that point, and we were driving a bit slower.

The real trouble came when we stopped for dinner in Plattsburgh – when we got off the highway, the roads were clearly not as well cleared. The first light we went through, I had a bit of trouble getting the car going and going straight. We slided around for a while, then settled on Applebees – only one of two restaurants we saw.

The border crossing went well, but apparently the Canadians don’t know how to clear their roads as well as the Americans — at least in Quebec. The roads instantly became more snowy and I was a bit more nervous driving on them. It didn’t help that we got off the main road rather quickly. The side roads had maybe had a plow, but not for a while and they were slippery.

But, I drove slowing and carefully, and we made it to Andrew’s parents by 7PM, in one piece.




Posted by barb on May 13, 2008 in Pictures, Travels

I know things have been quiet around here lately. I was hoping that after I defended that I would magically find a new fount of energy which would result in a flurry of activity both in my life and in my blog. Truth is, I’m tired. I’ve been tired for months, and I have a feeling that it’s going to take an equal amount of time to recover.

We did take a long weekend in Myrtle beach a couple weeks ago, and I have to say that it did wonders for my morale. For the first time in a long time, I can say that I was truly happy. I went into sensory overload in the Build a Dino Store there, but a good kind of sensory overload. We played loads of mini-golf, and also played in the ocean.

Wave rolling over my foot Dinosaur Adventure: Me and the steggie Felicia with her shell collection

(All of my Myrtle Beach trips are here.)

We haven’t gotten on our bikes this year yet, and that’s probably going to wait until mid-June, after I get back from a meeting in St. Louis. I haven’t gotten into my scrapbooking yet, though hopefully that will pick up this weekend. I have had loads of ideas for blog posts (pink? in a John Deere store??), but lose interest by the time I get to a computer. I promise that I’m coming back, and I’m getting less tired and more happy every day, but I have a feeling that its going to be a while before “My Silly Life” is terribly active again.

I’m trying, though.

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Give up?

Posted by barb on Dec 7, 2007 in Pictures, Random Thoughts

Sweetie needed more help than the pictures in my hotel room. In my previous post, the top-left picture had a brick building with the Harvard crest on it, and the top-right picture had the MIT dome (I think). So where am I? Cambridge, Mass.

Here’s another cool picture that I snapped last night in Harvard Square:
A galaxy over Harvard Square

And now I’m on my way home….Yay!



It’s Thursday, so clearly I’m out-of-town

Posted by barb on Dec 6, 2007 in Pictures, Random Thoughts


Let’s see if we can guess where Barb is based on the art in her hotel room:
Can we tell where Barb is this week from the hotel art?



Airport blogging

Posted by barb on Oct 26, 2007 in Pictures, Random Thoughts, Thesis/Grad Life

Greetings from the Huntsville airport, here in sunny Alabama.

I thought I’d blog earlier this week, with being at a conference and bored in the evenings, and all, but obviously it didn’t happen.

I’ve been at the Eight Years of Science with Chandra meeting this week. I travelled with the Constellation-X booth, but I also had a poster at the meeting. Attendance at this meeting was actually fairly low, but surprisingly, it was the first time I’ve had any interest in my poster from researchers doing work in my field. Yup, I’ve brought posters to 3 or 4 AAS meetings and the last Chandra meeting – all relating to my thesis work, but this is the first time I’ve had a discussion with anyone *in my field*. And they seemed interested in it! I have to say that it’s nice to finally have some outside validation of my work.

Con-X booth Felicia at the Chandra meeting

Other than that, it was a typical conference. A few interesting talks, a few boring talks, and several talks that I just didn’t understand (either due to language/microphone difficulties and/or due to material).

Felicia and me at the Space and Rocket Center

Yesterday (my birthday…hurmph) the conference ended at noon, so I packed up the booth, and then Felicia and I went over to the US Space & Rocket Center, which was right next door to the hotel. I actually had gone many years ago, when I was in junior high or high school (can’t remember exactly when), with my aunt, uncle and grandma. Sadly, I was a little disappointed this time around. One of the coolest things to see was the Saturn V rocket last time. Now the Saturn V is getting a new home, in an under-construction building next to the main building. Translation: I didn’t get to see it. They also have a mock-up of the Saturn V standing in the “rocket park”, but the area was also under construction, so I couldn’t get up close to it.

Oh well. I did get to see the other rockets, and took some pictures with Felicia (more posted to Flickr later). Plus I got some astronaut ice cream – since I couldn’t have cake on my birthday, at least I got some ice cream.

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Chicago Report

Posted by barb on Sep 8, 2007 in Pictures, Travels

I just got back from Chicago – thankfully the migraine that threatened this morning did not manifest itself into a full-blown headache. Still not feeling great, but at least I’m home.

Here are some of the highlights of the trip:

  • I flew out last Friday, a few days before my conference, so my parents and I could play for a couple days. They drove out from Minnesota, and we met up at the hotel Friday evening.
  • Saturday we went out to Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago, where Frank Lloyd Wright had a house and studio from 1889-1909. We toured the studio and house, and then took a walking tour of the neighborhood where FLW had designed several houses.Sadly, I don’t have any pictures of the day, because I lost my camera somewhere between the end of our walking tour and our hotel. Sigh. Dad and I went back that night, and we all went back Sunday morning, but no camera.
  • Sunday, Mom, Dad, and I went to the Museum of Science and Industry (after first going to get me a new camera). I’ve been once before, but it was 10 years ago, so I didn’t remember much, and I’m pretty sure that much of it has been re-vamped since then. We didn’t do any of the “extra” activities, like the IMAX or touring the submarine, but we still spent all day there. If you’re in the area, I definitely recommend it.
    Dad and Jo in the combine Robie the Robot Look out, Jo!  That's a jet engine!
  • Monday, Labor Day, Mom and Dad had to head back, so they dropped me at the conference hotel, and after I settled in, Jo and I walked out to Navy Pier. She talked me into getting her a second Chicago t-shirt, with matching shoes. I also stumbled upon the stained glass window museum on the pier – very cool.
    Jo at Navy Pier Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows
  • Tuesday I walked around downtown, seeking out some of the public sculptures that were listed on my “pop-out” map of Chicago. I ended up at Millennium Park. One thing that struck me on my walk was the amount of green in Chicago. Not in the downtown, strictly, but between the city and the lake. Chicago has refused to let developments take over the waterfront, and has left a strip of green between the waterfront and the tall buildings. There were points when I was walking through the gardens that I could have easily forgotten that I was that close to a large city. It was very peaceful.
    Monument wit... Clarence Buckingham Fountain Inside Cloud Gate
  • Wednesday the conference began, and I started feeling ill. All-in-all not a bad conference, though I didn’t get in much networking, as I had hoped, because I’d just go back to my room after the sessions.

I’m glad to be home. It was mostly a good trip, besides losing my camera, skinning my knee, feeling ill, and nearly having a migraine while traveling. Huh. It doesn’t really sound like a good trip, does it. Oh well, it wasn’t as bad as all that.

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Nightmare Travel

Posted by barb on Sep 8, 2007 in Random Thoughts

It looks like I’m trying to cram all of my nightmare travel scenarios into one calendar year. As I write this, my vision is fuzzing out – the first sign of a migraine. Sadly, I can’t just hop in bed with the covers over my head, because that would put me out for 3-6 hours. Instead, I’m finishing my packing, watching a special on ice cream on the History Channel, and forcing myself to have a breakfast of leftover dinner rolls, Teddy Grahams and Diet Coke. The airport shuttle will be here to pick me up in about an hour.

My other nightmare scenarios?

  • Being sick while travelling – this happened in May when the night before our flight home from Montreal I was up all night. I won’t get into details, but let’s just say that it was a terrifying flight home, and not from turbulance.
  • Being sick at a conference – this happened this week. I have not been feeling well since Wednesday. I managed to go to all of the sessions, though I skipped the networking and special events. Gah.
  • Losing my camera – this happened last Saturday. I lost it after we did a walking tour of Frank Lloyd Wright houses in Oak Park. Not sure exactly where I lost it, but no one turned it in at any of the places we visited after I last knew that I had the camera. I bought a new camera Sunday morning, but lost all of my pictures of the Frank Lloyd Wright houses. Dad’s going to send me his, but I had some different ones, so I’m really bummed.

I know there are more nightmare travel scenarios – certainly worse ones – but I’m not about to mention them, as I still have two trips to take before the end of the year.

Share some of your nightmare travel stories (or worries) in the comments.

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Mental note

Posted by barb on Sep 3, 2007 in Random Thoughts

A 35-year-old skinning her knee is just pathetic.

Just sayin’.

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Sherlock’s Last Case

Posted by barb on Aug 4, 2007 in Concerts, Travels

Minnesota Showboat

We went out to the Minnesota Centennial Showboat this evening to see Sherlock’s Last Case. This was Andrew’s first time at the Showboat, but hardly mine.

Back when I was in high school, my aunt Maggie would visit once or twice a year. This meant that my Mom was always looking for fun things for us to do when Maggie was in town. I don’t remember what year it was, but one summer Mom found an ad (or review) for the Showboat. We decided that it sounded like the perfect thing to take Maggie to.

Honestly, I don’t remember what shows we saw there. The experience, however, was always fun. The Showboat has generally played melodramas (at least in the summer shows we’ve gone to). This means that the show is generally a little campy, but also that the audience gets to participate by “boo”ing the villain and “yay”ing the hero. More than that, the show is always accompanied by “olio”s between the scenes. These olios often outshine the show itself. They defy explanation that will do them justice, but suffice it to say that they are silly, often hilarious, comedy-musical shorts.

Blurry Showbaot stage

I remember the Showboat being an old-fashioned paddle boat, complete with a large paddlewheel. I was a bit disappointed by the new showboat, which is really just a floating theater. According to the Showboat’s website, the boat I remember was shut down in 1993 for repairs. Sadly, it was destroyed in a fire set by a stray welding spark in 2000. A new showboat was commissioned, and opened in 2002. I suppose I can’t blame them for designing a new venue which would maximize stage and seating over a design with a paddlewheel, but still.

The current play is the first I’ve gone to at the new theater, and I must say that they have upheld the high standards I remember from my youth. The play was very well done, even if it was hard to tell sometimes who, exactly, the villain was. (At one point, the audience actually boo-ed Holmes, and egged on the man trying to kill him.) The olios were, as usual, a highlight, with the “Cover Girls” a personal favorite.

If you happen to be in the Twin Cities area and looking for something to do one evening, I highly recommend a show at the Showboat, no matter what that show might be.



Random stuff

Posted by barb on Jul 10, 2007 in Random Thoughts

My officemate is complaining that I haven’t updated this blog enough. Of course, he could just talk to me, but that’s too much trouble.

So here are some random bullets of stuff that I’d thought about writing at the time, but never got around to:

  • Yes, we’ve been biking this summer. We don’t have a clear goal like we have the past couple of years. I’d rather work on getting my speed up than shear distance, but it’s hard to figure out how to make myself go faster. It should be easy to measure if we’re going faster or not, but how do you make yourself go faster without wearing yourself out completely? It would suck to be 10 miles from the car without enough energy to get back.

    Anyway, Andrew wrote a cool little applet that I’m trying to work into my blog sidebar so y’all can keep track of how much biking we’re doing. I’ll let you know when I have it working.

  • We went to Montreal over Mother’s Day to see Andrew’s mom. I’d heard about an exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts on “Inspirations of Disney” running this spring, so we decided to go. We stayed in Montreal and visited McGill campus and the Redpath Museum, the McCord Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts. We also walked around Old Montreal, and stopped at the Montreal equivalent of Build a Bear to get outfits for “the girls”. And we spent Mother’s Day with Andrew’s parents, taking them to dinner and driving up Mount Royal.

    The trip had some fun quirks, though. The trip out was fun because we ended up sitting on the airplane on the tarmac for 2.5 hours. They then brought us back to the terminal so we could get dinner (and the plane could refuel) before we finally got underway. The trip home…well, let’s just say that I was up in the bathroom the entire night before. Fortunately I slept for the plane ride, but it was a bit scary, if you know what I mean.

  • If you look at my Flickr stream at all, you’ve probably noticed that I’m uploading loads of old pictures. I’ve decided that I need a back-up of my pics somewhere, so I’m going through all of my old pictures and putting copies up on Flickr.
  • Andrew started his new job a couple of weeks ago, and he seemed much more content. Now if we can iron out our scheduling bugs. He gets home much later than he used to, so I’ve had to take over some of the cooking duties. It’s not that I can’t cook, it’s just that I don’t like it as much as Andrew does. (I don’t hate it, I just find it annoying to have to do it day after day after day after day after day after day.) Then again, I’ve warned him that my schedule may get wonky once I start writing my thesis.
  • We had a yard sale a few weeks ago, and I set up a table with my scrapbooks and jewelry. I sold one of my bracelets, and lots of people “ooo”ed and “ah”ed over my scrapbooks. I think that if I could get enough stock to get a table at my work’s craft sale this fall I could do pretty well. The problem with selling on Etsy is that people can’t pick them up and look at them — the pictures just don’t do justice to the work that goes into the books I do. The problem at the yard sale was there was a bit of sticker shock, since people were looking for bargins, rather than full-priced items.
  • Speaking of Etsy, I made my first sale to a complete stranger last week! One of my blanket bears is on her way to a new home in California. Yay!

I think that’s it. I don’t promise to be better about posting – my heart just isn’t in it right now, but I’ll pop by from time to time.

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