Friday, May 26, 2006


It's Friday already. I relish the weeks where Friday feels like a Thursday. I think this week went particularly fast because I took Tuesday off to spend time with some friends that were visiting from Ontario on their way to a wedding in Denver. Anyhow, I don't know that I look forward to Friday as much as some people, but there are a lot of nice things that go along with a Friday, especially payday Fridays that precede long weekends. (Note to Canadian readers: the Memorial Day long weekend always follows the May 24 long weekend.)

The Memorial Day long weekend marks a few things for us. We arrived in Boulder last year during this long weekend. In fact, yesterday marked the official anniversary of our entry into the U.S. as visa holders. A year ago today we were getting up at my cousin Kathleen's house in a Chicago suburb and heading off toward Iowa. Our anniversary (May 27 - 6 years tomorrow!) was spent travelling through Nebraska.

We arrived in Boulder on May 28 only to find that there were no rooms in Boulder that we could afford. Our townhouse wasn't going to be available until June 2, so we found a Ramada Inn in North Glenn (about 20 minutes east of Boulder) where we stayed for 4 nights. Boulder was packed with people from all over N. America because of the annual Bolder Boulder race that takes place on Memorial Day, a 10K race where 50,000 people run, jog or walk (or a combination of the three) through the streets of Boulder. This year, I've entered with a couple friends to walk the Bolder Boulder. Actually, I think I'm signed up as a jogger. You can enter as a runner, a jogger, a walker, a jog walker or a walk jogger, although I don't know what the difference in the last two would be. They put you in waves according to how fast you think you'll be moving, so that slower people don't get in the faster people's way. Anyhow, it should be fun!

Lastly, the artist who painted these pictures for the 2002 and 2003 posters is Jim Freeheart, an artist that we've seen around town over and over... he is a modern-day Monet. I absolutely love his work... the guy inspires me. I've been thinking a lot about painting again.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

A boat to Mexico

I’ve heard that some people have little books where they write down the funny things their kids say. I think that if I had a book, which I don’t, I would be writing down entire conversations, like this one:

Earlier today, in mom and dad’s room, Kai on the bed waving around his new “John Deere tractor blanket” that I made out of a fitted sheet for him: Mom, we’re on a boat.

Me, sitting in front of the laptop computer, which lives on my sewing table when the machine is stowed, same room: We are? What kind of boat?

Kai: A white boat.

Me: Oh… really?

Kai: Um, yeah. A white boat. And I’m the driver. And you’re a passen’er, and dad is a passen’er, and Jake is a passen’er. And I’m the driver.

Me: You are? Wow… lucky you.

Kai: Yep. Someone needs to drive, and I’m the driver. Drive drive drive drive drive!

Me: where are we going?

Kai: to Mexico!

Me: really, Mexico?

Kai: Yeah, to Mexico, to your work!

Me: So what kind of boat is this?

Kai: (indignant that I’ve already forgotten) It’s a white boat!

Me: But is it a sailboat, or a motorboat?

Kai: It’s a sailboat.

Me: Are we going to leave straight from Denver?

Kai: No, we’re going to leave from BOULDER.

Me: Oh… I don’t know if that’s possible, Kai. I don’t know if there’s water that goes straight to Mexico from Boulder.

Kai: (distracted) Drive drive drive drive drive…

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Back to Normal

I arrived back in Boulder on Monday afternoon, two days earlier than I originally planned. With all the mission objectives accomplished, it was decided that rather than intercompare with the DC-8 on Monday and transit home on Wednesday, we'd be able to finish everything necessary so that by the time the intercomparison was done, the plane could just fly home. So it's all done...
Tuesday and Wednesday, all the instruments was stripped off the plane, and by yesterday afternoon it was bare - seats, racks, inlets, you name it, they were gone. It's almost depressing how fast they can be removed. What took almost 2 months of effort to install took less than 14 hours of labour to dismantle. Our group didn't even start the process until the second day, and we were completely off by 4 PM. Sadly, all our stuff is now in pieces, and it will take more than a few weeks of work to put it back together in the laboratory.

So my second trip to Seattle turned out to be rather short, but it was still successful. My inlet (HO2/RO2) hadn't been working for 2 1/2 flights, and on Saturday and Sunday we managed to get it back in working order. This was a relief, specifically because of the intercomparison that was done during the transit flight. Because we had a hard down day on Friday, I even got to have a day off, during which I went back to the Pike Place Market - and this time I got to see it "in action". Keep in mind that the two main features of the market are flowers and fish. The crab is a dungeness crab - a VERY tasty little guy - I like it more than lobster.

I also took a few pictures of Paine Field, where the C-130 lived for the last month. It was on a ramp next to an old B52 and a plane that used to be the Queen's. This is why it has 4 props even though it was fairly small. The B52 is just a behemouth... 8 jet engines, a HUGE bomb bay (that you can duck into and stand up inside, if you're so inclined), and wheels on the ends of the wings.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Kai's third birthday pictures...

I thought I hadn't posted enough pictures today... here are a few more. Let me know if you want copies of the files sent to you directly, and you haven't already received them.

(aside: I think we have a really cute kid... I don't know how this happened.)

Seattle revisited...

I forgot to take the USB cable for my camera to Seattle - which means that I wasn't able to share any photos until now. I've also recently uploaded all my recent pictures to the easypix site (contact us if you don't know how to get to them) from Mexico, Seattle, and from the in-between-time when B was visiting.

This is from the ferry flight from Boulder to Seattle when we intercompared with the NASA DC-8. They were significantly closer to us this time. This was somewhere in California.

This is from a fly-by we did of Mt. Bachelor (~9000') in Washington. There is a research station at the top of the chairlift, which you can JUST make out on the left side of the photo - just below the summit.

Downtown Seattle, from somewhere over Puget Sound.

And of course, some touristy things...

The Space Needle, although we didn't go up. We have the C-130 to see Seattle from above.

At the butterfly pavilion in the Science Center (sic) where I found my inner child again. What's the first thing four scientists do when they explore a new city? I know - let's go to the science center!

Covert shot of the original Star Wars toys at the Science Fiction Museum - I was in true geekdom heaven there.

The Pike Place Farmer's market - sadly, it closed just as we arrived.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

beauty and the beats

becky arrived home on tuesday from having spent two weeks in seattle. and i have to say that after being away for five of the last eight weeks she looks more beautiful now than she ever has before. it is true, the heart does grow fonder.

so the beauty informed me today that she has been nominated for a governor general's award. she is in the process of sending in an updated copy of her cv to york university who will submit the application or something like that. this is a very competitive award, although just to be nominated means that you have accomplished a great deal in you field of study and your advisors feel that your are one of the best young minds to recently graduate with a phd. believe me when it comes to chemistry she is brilliant. her dissertation is this huge red book and i can't even get through the abstract. don't get me wrong, she is smart when it comes to other things in life but when she talks science sometimes my head hurts.

i am so proud of her, she is brilliant, beautiful and a great mum.

me on the other hand. well i am about to complete my rock climbing course (which i loved). and i am about to start planning my trip to longs peak this summer, i have some physical training to do but that is secondary to knowing what it means to be a mountaineer.