Weekend at Mushi’s

Posted by barb on Feb 19, 2007 in Pictures, Random Thoughts

Much of what we did and talked about this weekend is classified, but I can report that Mushi and I had a BIG TIME!

Our first order of business, after dropping a little cash in a local scrapbooking store, was to get ourselves inked. Mushi’s friend had recommended someone, Tony at No Regrets Tattoos, and had warned him that we would be coming by today. He had an artist coming in to interview, so when we stopped by the shop a bit before 1, he told us to come back around 2:30. That gave us a chance to hit B&N to look up animal tracks to help finalize Mushi’s tattoo design. We had to wait a bit after we got back, and got started around 3:30. I went first, cuz Mushi wanted to see the color he used on my vine (see pictures), which she was considering for her tat.

My last tat was done over 10 years ago, so I couldn’t remember how much it hurt, but I remember that it hurt. Also, the one I got today was on my ankle, which I was a bit worried about, since it’s less “fleshy” than my back/shoulder where I had my last one. So, yes, it does hurt. It feels a bit like someone taking an exacto knife and scraping up your skin. The ankle was definitely worse than the shoulder, since as he went around, he hit a bony spot and there seemed to be more nerves closer to the surface in places. I’d often get the “funny bone” weird, hurting as he was doing one bit or another.

I think that was a nerve! Almost there...

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On the tracks

Posted by barb on Feb 16, 2007 in Random Thoughts

Jo's ready to go!

I now have mixed feelings about taking trains. Many of you who know me remember the infamous train ride I took from New Mexico to Minnesota (with a stopover/change of train in Chicago). I refused to take the train for years after that incident. (Those of you who have not heard the story, speak up in the comments, and I’ll make a post about it later.)

Back in July/August, I took the Acela up to Boston – the Acela is all business class and even has a “quiet car” where cell phone conversations and loud conversations are banned. All rows have a plug-in so I could use my laptop for longer than the battery lifetime. Plus, the ride was relatively smooth, so I could get real work done. The ride was rather pleasant, and a nice change from wrestling the security-heavy airlines. Maybe I was ready to forgive the train.

Today, I took the Carolinian from Alexandria, VA to Cary, NC. Business class was relatively full, so I took the first available seat I found (there were maybe three other available seats). Turned out I was next to a very talkative man and across from another pair of talkative people. Actually, things started out alright. I pulled out my laptop and started working on my paper for ApJ. Unfortunately, each row of seats has only one plug, and the other guy was already using it. He offered to switch off when my battery got low, but I was finding it hard to work on my paper, and was feeling a bit shy about asking him to plug in so I could play my game. Instead, I packed up my laptop and worked on some sudoku puzzles.

The conversation started when he came back from the cafe car about an hour and a half into the trip. He started to tell me about the conversation he’d had in the cafe car about Iraq. Great. I should have had my headphones on by then, but I didn’t. Stupid me.

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Downtown with the girls

Posted by barb on Dec 31, 2006 in Random Thoughts

After we went through the Mary Poppins exhibit, we stopped at the gift shop for some gingerbread cookies (which you can smell all the way through the exhibit). I sat down with Kira while Andrew went to tell Mom and Dad (who had Sofia) where we had gone. I gave Kira one of the gingerbread men, and she said to me, “He’s going to run away.” I replied, “Maybe you should eat his head off…that ought to do it. Or you could eat his feet, then he couldn’t run.” So she popped his head off, and then proceeded to tear him up into three strips – one with the feet, one with the arms, and a mid-section. She shared some of the strips with Jo, and nibbled happily at the cookie. Later, she gave the cookie’s head to my Dad, and said that the gingerbread man was going to run away, but she took his head off so he couldn’t. Oh great, I’m going to be blamed as the aunt who taught her niece to tear the heads off of cookies so they can’t run away.

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Posted by barb on Oct 24, 2006 in Pictures, Random Thoughts

Jo in her cute new sweater from Sweetie

Anyone who’s read this blog for a while knows about Felicia, my “PhD bear”. I got Felicia at Build a Bear the night of my PhD proposal defense. She’s working on her PhD in astronomy, just like me, and has accompanied me to grad-student type places over the past three years (such as AAS meetings and talks I’ve given).

So, when we went to Build a Bear last weekend for my birthday party, I knew I needed to pick another friend that somehow meshed with my personality. Jo was born. She’s more of an arty type than Felicia. In fact, Jo is currently writing a novel, though she won’t tell any of us what its about. I’m still getting to know her, but the part of her personality that has been emerging is quite different from Felicia. She’s much girlier, picking an outfit with fairies on it. Her chosen Halloween costume is a Tinkerbell outfit; her reason was that she really liked the wings and the cute little ballerina-type slippers.

Oh, and notice the sweater she’s wearing in the picture – Sweetie knitted that for her along with a matching scarf.

Anyway, I just wanted to introduce Jo, since she might be showing up here from time to time, just like Felicia.




Posted by barb on Oct 21, 2006 in Pictures, Random Thoughts

The big 3-5!

Creating the crepe paper curtain

Sweetie flew in last night, so she and I headed off this morning to pick up balloons and ice. (I bribed her my noting that there was a Starbucks next to the party store – this got her going without too much cajolling this morning.) When we got back to the house, Crash and Mushi had arrived (a 4-6 hour drive for them, which they did this morning…yikes!). We used the tall boys to help us decorate for the second phase of the party; though, some things were better left to us girls.

Next we took off for lunch and a quick stop at the Hello Kitty porn store (as Mushi calls it), since Mushi wanted to see what new stuff they had. From there, we headed off to Tysons Corner for phase one of the party.

The girls convened at Build a Bear Workshop, while the guys went off and did whatever. Our party leader was great with our bunch of crazy, fun-loving, more-kid-than-adult adults. Oddly enough, none of us actually picked out a bear at Build a BEAR – there were four bunnies, two puppies, and a giraffe. We all danced while we stuffed our “bears”:
Stuffing Jo Lorna stuffing Henry Laurie getting down as Ruby gets stuffed Stef getting down as Bailey gets stuffed Sweetie gets it on as Harriet gets stuffed Mushi's turn to get down as Margot gets stuffed

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Merry Christmas Everyone!

Posted by barb on Dec 22, 2005 in Pictures, Random Thoughts

Felicia and Patrick Decked for Christmas

Things are going to be quiet around here for a week – hope everyone has a wonderful and safe holiday!

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House of Halloween

Posted by barb on Oct 30, 2005 in Pictures, Random Thoughts

Have I mentioned that I love Halloween? Yes? Well, I’m going to say it again. I LOVE Halloween!!

Witchy Felicia and her familiar, Patrick

Everyone in the house gets into it — that’s Felicia and Patrick. Felicia has a witch costume, and after Patrick saw it, he wanted to get into the act, so I gave him my cat ears so he could be her familiar.

And I carved my pumpkins today – I’ll post pictures tomorrow with the candles burning.

Hahahahahaha   Me with the pumpkin guts

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Felicia at the Uncles

Posted by barb on Jun 2, 2005 in Books, Travels

And she had a great time browsing the shelves.
Felicia looking for books at Uncle Hugo's SF Bookstore

We bought a lot of books, but the pile that Felicia and I bought will be shipped later, when a could other books arrive. So much for instant gratification.

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Felica’s day at the AAS

Posted by barb on May 31, 2005 in Science Musings, Travels

Felicia presented her poster at the AAS meeting yesterday, so I took a few pictures for her to remember her trip.

Here she is asking a question about the Chandra X-ray Observatory.
Felicia at the Chandra booth

She also stopped at the American Astronomical Society booth to ask about membership.Asking about AAS Membership

When Felicia passed by the Glast booth, she saw that JD was having some trouble with a Python script, so she stopped to help him out.
Felicia helping JD with a Python question

At the end of the day, she had picked up just about every give-away she could find in the Exhibit Hall – she could barely lug her bag back to the car.
Felicia with her loot bag

We’ll post all of her pictures from her big day after we return home next week.

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UMD Observatory Talk

Posted by barb on Feb 21, 2005 in Pictures, Science Musings, Thesis/Grad Life

I gave the talk last night at the UMD Observatory, titled X-ray Astronomy: Frequently Asked Questions.

The forecast called for snow and icy conditions, which probably kept a lot of people from the observatory. The group was small — about ten people were there for the talk. I had planned for several children to be in the audience, and feared that with only the one there, my talk might be at too low a level. However, at the end, three people asked questions, which suggests that it was at an accessible level. Overall a good experience for me, and hopefully for the attendees as well.

Felicia came with, and gave her talk, too, as shown in the picture below.
Felicia giving an X-ray astronomy talk at the UMD observatory

She also went down to the telescopes, and adjusted the pointing on one:
Felicia adjusting the pointing on one of the UMD telescopes

And checked out some of the astronomy posters there:
Felicia checking out posters at the UMD observatory

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