August 29, 2006
Sights of summer
Lots of things happening here. I think my adviser and I have cracked this last bit of analysis. I've got a bit more of set up to do and will run it tomorrow and find out. Also, I had a very promising job interview last week. It came completely out of the blue from someone I interned for a few years ago. I'm really excited about it, but I won't say more until I know for sure.
In the meantime, I thought I'd post a few pictures of goings-on in our back yard this summer.
This a beautiful bloom on our gardenia plant. We received it two years ago as part of a wedding gift. It's been a trooper to survive the Minnesota winters -- we bring it inside, but it isn't exactly tropical in our house in January. It had buds on it fairly early this summer, but they just sat there closed for the longest time.
Then, during the hottest, most humid, most miserable stretch of weather when everything (and everyone) was withering, the gardenia was in its element and unfurled its blooms to celebrate.
Among the regular back yard visitors this year was a newcomer. A baby bunny found a home among the flowers and plants. It has been fun to watch the little fellow grow up.
We didn't have a lot of free time to spend in the yard this summer, but there was one area that we gave attention to. There was an overgrown patch in the back along the alley, between our garage and the neighbor's. It was something we saw every time we left the garage and when we came home again. This was the year to do something about it.
We dedicated a weekend to weeding, soil preparation, and planting, then another weekend to put in a border. I decided to go with annuals, since if we didn't like it, we could start over again next year.
I think it turned out very well!
Apparently, others did, too.
Our neighborhood council encourages alley beautification projects in the form of an annual alley garden award. It isn't a real competition, just recognition for a nicely planted and well-maintained plot of alley real estate.
A few weeks after planting, we were notified that we won an Alley Garden Award. And a few weeks after that, we found a little blue award flag planted among our flowers. Even though it's a little thing, it was very nice to receive an award. And in our 'rookie' year, no less!
February 7, 2006
January 17, 2006
Winter break pix
A few quick pix from Winter Break. We had a really nice Christmas spent visiting family and friends on the East Coast. Amidst our traveling, Ben and I made a quick trip into New York City. We did some tourist-y sight-seeing, like visiting the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center.
Neither of us had been to an opera before and we thought seeing a performance at the Metropolitan Opera House would be a great New York experience. As fate would have it, our first taste of opera would be a light operetta -- something to get our feet wet, so to speak. The Metropolitan Opera was performing Johann Strauss' Die Fledermaus. A comedic story of drink, dance, frolic, and pranks.
Lincoln Center was beautiful. They had their own Christmas tree -- this one decorated with the shapes of various musical instruments.
The inside of the Opera House was very beautiful as well. There's a grant atrium decorated with crystal chandeliers and plush red fabrics. Here's the view from our seats. You can see there is a railing in front of each row of seats. Embedded in the railings are small display screens that show English subtitles for the performances (you are given the option of disabling the subtitles). Die Fledermaus was performed with the traditional German songs, but with English dialogue. I was at first surprised when the subtitles displayed during the dialogue as well as the songs, but that turned out to be useful since some of the singers/actors had thick accents.
Saving the best for last, we were delighted to be able to visit my sister and her husband and their new baby, Henry.
Category "Cool web stuff"
December 8, 2005
What a wonderful world...
This was the striking Astronomy Picture of the Day yesterday from NASA. It's actually a composite picture of satellite images taken both at night and during the day, plus artificial exaggeration of the lights.
The following companion picture was featured a few years ago, titled "A Digital Sunset over Europe and Africa."
Category "Around town"
November 9, 2005
Wednesday squirrel blogging
You've heard of Friday cat blogging. Well, after a long day of cleaning up statistical programming code, I thought I'd take a break and do a bit of frivolous blogging.
This is a picture I took last month -- the result of me trying to take a quick snap of a new visitor to our backyard. Saint Paul is the only place I've lived where I've seen white squirrels. I don't know if they are true albinos or just white, but there are at least two areas where you see them. One is in the Como area and by the U of M's St. Paul Campus, the other is in Highland and Macalester-Groveland area. (As an aside, there are more St. Paul neighborhood maps here.)
In addition to the pleasure of spotting one in my neighborhood, the squirrels are kind of interesting from a genetic standpoint. There must be a high enough prevalence of the "white" gene circulating around in the squirrel populations in these neighborhoods to keep that trait from dying out. I wonder if there are any other traits conferred along with the whiteness.
Anyway, right after I took this picture, a black squirrel and grey squirrel swooped in and shooed the white squirrel away. It's too bad I couldn't get a picture of all three. I hope it comes back to visit!
Category "Hiking n' Camping"
May 15, 2005
California central coast trip
Our vacation along California's Route 1 highway was a beautiful tour of sea, sand, coastal wildlife, and very twisty roads. By camping our way up the coast from San Luis Obispo to San Francisco, we had access to some of California's best beaches and parks on the cheap. This is definitely a "must see" experience!
This was the view from our solo camp site at Monta�a de Oro State Park, near San Luis Obispo. By far the best view we've experienced in our long years of camping.
Dining with a view... We've got this sunset all to ourselves. Interested? You can reserve it online (it's the Deer Flats site)
MdO also had amazing tide pools, easily accessible from their coastal trail.
Our drive up the coast was gorgeous... and hair-raising. Hwy 1 up to Big Sur gives new meaning to those yellow "caution: winding roads" road signs.
Monterey Bay is a spectacular and special place. We saw lots of marine life on our whale watch tour, including a huge pack of Risso's dolphins.
Lots of wildlife, big and small. This voracious snail was part of a large group that emerged after a long rain to snack on the lovely garden in the Mission San Luis Obispo de Toloso.