Sunday, December 30, 2007


Just some quick cute photos of baby Finn from tonights wonderful dinner with Stian's family.

Grandma and Finn hanging out in the blanket I made for him.

Hanging out in the blanket

Reading with Uncle Stian

Santa Cruz and San Luis Obispo

A quick trip squeezed in before I head on out to Hawaii tomorrow. This post is short as officially I am packing (unofficially i'm watching a movie.....but should be packing).

We headed out to Santa Cruz on Friday afternoon. Stian was a great tour guide, did the quick tour around the university, the seafront, beaches, walked around town then ended the tour with some arcade games on the broadwalk. Needless to say, arcade games have somewhat advanced since either of us last played and we failed miserably at all, even the pin ball!

On Saturday we kept on going south to San Luis Obispo to visit some of Stian's high school and college friends. Had a burrito lunch, a nice walk and even some bowling in the evening - really fun. This morning we then met up with Kelly, Dave and little Lance for breakfast and a walk around the town, then back to Oakland for dinner with Stian's family.

Both places were a lot of fun and i'm so glad I got to see a little more of both California and Stian's past stomping grounds. Thanks for taking me baby!

Tomorrow 8.30am I'm off to Hawaii. Guess I better pack huh.....

Santa Cruz broadwalk

San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo pelican

Stian, Kelly, Lance and Dave

High school and college friends reunite.....with a few "new" extras in there too....

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A name...

Ruby Erica Phillips........very cute....congrats again to Jamie, Rachel and big sister Lauren.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


.......Baby Phillips is STILL baby New Years maybe????

Merry Christmas!

A day late, but there we go - just shows I have in fact been relaxing enough not to check my email and computer every five seconds - and as everyone who knows me will know, thats a total miracle in itself.

Had a wonderful day with Stian and family, hope you all had good ones too!

(Carlo and Bella entertaining us after some present opening).

Thursday, December 20, 2007


.....come on baby Phillips.......kick mum and dad into giving you a name before christmas huh......

Golden Gate, Muir Woods and Sausalito

Yesterday we did a tourist day. Originally the plan was to go into San Fran for a wander around, but the weather was so nice we decided to go up to Muir Woods instead - good call Stian! My beloved sherpa drove me over the Golden Gate Bridge, stopped to take photos and walk a little on the bridge, then on to see the giant redwoods. This was the one place i wanted to go this December and I have to say, although most of the trails were closed, it did not dissapoint.

Though less than an hour away from SF, to be amongst the giant trees, the smell of the outdoors and more than anything else just the quiet (i'd forgotten how much noisier living in a city is.....guess I'll just have to get used to that one in Honolulu huh....) was just amazing. To look at the giant Coastal Redwoods that have been standing many tens of feet high since way before my great grandparents were born puts a perspective on life and is really the crux of why I love the outdoors and really need those visits often.

I usually spend my time running around in the car, many hours reading and writing email, talking on the phone, getting stressed about running late, missing appointments, getting the latest gadget or not making enough money. Yet amongst those giant trees it reminded me that slowing down is not the end of life and that you really don't need all those things to survive. Here is a tree that has lived in the same way for a thousand years, going at the same pace, no new fangled way to take up those nutrients, just the same pace of life that it's parents had and in fact since time began. Not that I don't appreciate progress, I just feel sometimes that we've gone on way too far out the other end and need to start migrating back to a simpler, and so hopefully longer and happier, life. Thats my plan anyway.

The Golden Gate Bridge, my first "real" sighting, as every other time i've been to SF, it's always been obscured by fog....

Stian was trying to teach me the finer points of taking the self portrate.......well I still chopped the top off the Golden Gate.....

On the bridge...

In the trees.......ever the scientist....Stian for scale.....

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Just hanging out...

Just hanging out in Oakland, ahhhh. Last night we went to Stian's parents christmas party which was fun, other than that just went for some low-key shopping in the afternoon. This morning Nicola, Lala, Finn and I have been hanging out while Mike and Stian painted the house. After looking at photos of Riley (I miss you Riley!) and playing with my new phone we played with playdough (god I love playdough) and now it's nap time. Who knows what is up for the afternoon, there is a sense of lethargy around.

So here is Lala and I (taken by Nicola), talking to each other on my two phones. And wearing a pair of Emma's pink trousers (which Emma grew out of) that made me miss the Shank family today too...:0(

AND PS - Baby Phillips still has no name....come on guys!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Babies everywhere!

Babies babies everywhere!

I just found out today that my friends Diane and Dan had their wee one last week - Dahlia Maribella (and soooooo adorable she is too) - congrats guys - AS WELL - as early this week my cousins Jamie and Rachel had their baby girl (as yet no-name) - congrats guys, and as well to Lauren on being a big sister!

Back from Tahoe...

We up and left for a long (looooonnnnggg) weekend up in Tahoe. Stians family have a condo up there, so we went up and hung out for five days and although we were somewhat lazy (well very lazy), still had a great time just relaxing, recouping and watching movies. To me that is probably the most snow i've seen in a really long time, to Stian it was just a mere sprinkling. Somewhat appropriate though - I just heard today the Cape is snowed in with a storm and WHOI had a day off work!

On sunday we went out to Northstar resort to do some skiing. I had my second ever ski lesson and in the afternoon met up with Stian, went up a ski lift and reminded myself that I really can't ski, and have the bruises to prove it. Monday was a chill out at home day, did some catching up on work, books, went for a wander around Truckee, took the scenic route home. Tuesday we had a lazy morning, then went for a cross country ski in the afternoon - that was alot of fun, though I again reminded myself that coming downhill on skis is not (yet) my forte. Weds we then headed back into San Fran after a West Wing watching morning while tidying up the condo. Some pics from the short trip....

Stian in style.....just before he got ran into and taken down.......

Kings Beach, on the shore of Lake Tahoe.....look snow!


Thursday, December 6, 2007


LaLa's baby brother arrived yesterday - Finnian Luca - 7lb 13oz - all doing well, totally adorable and came home from the hospital today. Congrats to Nicola & Mike & Lala too!

LaLa was so excited when she found out last night (while staying at grandma and nonno's house) "Uncle Stian, Uncle baby sister is a boy!".......

Uncle Stian with his new nephew.....who is indeed a boy.....

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


...a sigh of relief maybe. I'm here, i've finished packing and i've started chilling, which is really nice. I'm not as much of a mess as I thought I would be either, I guess I was just a mess while packing and it's lifted now i'm finally at that point.
So i'm now in Oakland, staying with Stians sisters family and having a fabulous time. Their baby has not yet appeared, due date was yesterday, but he/she is still holding out. I've been hanging out with Lala who has been playing her guitar, showing me all the things for her new little sister/brother and being as cute as usual.

Today Stian is over in Berkely dealing with opticians, so i'm hanging out with the girls, and we're about to go out on a play date. Nothing quite like hanging out with kids to make you chill.....:0)

 to keep a 3 yr old entertained? PhotoBooth on the Mac of course.....:0)

Friday, November 30, 2007

On my way....

...sat at Boston Logan airport on my way, making the hard choice of Wendys, Panda Express or Dunkin donuts for lunch......why does aiport food always suck. At least I got my last Pie In the Sky in before I left the hole.....

9 hrs and i'll be in Oakland....

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Aloha party #3 & 4

Well, it's time, tomorrow at 4.30pm i'm headed out on a jet plane, don't know when i'll be back again......but it'll be soon, i'm going to miss this place way too much to stay away too long.

Two more Aloha parties on monday and weds - #3 with Leslie, Emmy and Calli (and Stian and Lily), I'll really miss you guys. #4 held by Kate, Annette and co. and involved consumption of many varieties of deserts, yum is all I can say. Just about got to everyone I hope, I'll miss you all.

So i'm just about there - out of my house, sold the car, bought the bus ticket. Stian headed out weds and was such a huge help, not sure where I would have been without him. Kate was a superstar today (as she always is) at kicking my ass into finishing up getting out of my house, and Kathy & Rod were there usual fabulous selves - so finally, I am just about ready to go - one more chiropractic appointment to sort out the trapped nerve in my neck (oh that was a great surprise weds AM) tomorrow AM and I'll be ready to get on a plane for least physically if not mentally.

Tomorrow onto San Fran, to stay with Stian and family, can't wait for some much needed R&R. Half way to Hawaii, i'll be hanging out there until the end of December, ready to start the new job January 1st.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Aloha Party #2

Stress......oh yes.....but boy am I glad that Stian is here, I would be a wobbly piece of jelly on the floor without him right now (and have already had one 3 yr old meltdown today). I don't think he really realises just how much he helps me out either, both in the physical by packing and lifting boxes, telling me I'm stupid to keep certain things, but also in the emotional by just being around, a friendly physical being, giving me a hug when I need it and some space when I need it too. Just having someone around while i make a mess of the house, doodle and meltdown is a comfort.

Today we had dinner at the Baileys, a wonderful affair of great food and even greater company. Said goodbye to the hamsters and aloha to Ellen and co. True friends are amazing things, and I'm really sad to leave all the great ones I've made here. Saying my goodbyes is proving very hard.

Friday, November 23, 2007

To do list.....

57 items......and 3 deferred until I get to SF

Bugger........better stop blogging and get packing I guess......:0)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

One more time.....

My Thanksgiving present today has been to have Riley over just one more time! we had a wonderful day - went to Dan and Cls new house (congrats!), picked up the Riley boy, went for a romp with Niko (Kathy) and Milo (Kate) which all the boys loved and worked a charm to wear them thoroughly out. Then some wonderful turkey dinner at "Chez Catanach" and i'm just about ready to be rolled off the couch and into bed!

Hope you all had a good one!

Back in the swing...

...well maybe. Just back from Rio and it has become apparent that when I left, I literally just pulled the door shut and tried to forget about it...either that or a tornado hit the inside of my house while I was away.....maybe i'll just go for the second option.

Rio de Janeiro was fun, a good meeting, some good days off, relaxing, though a little sad at my last InterRidge duty. I put up some more photos on my picassa gallery from the trip.

Now it's back to packing, Stian arrives tomorrow which I'm very excited about......though I had this dream last night that he'd walk in the door, see all the mess and walk straight out again.......and I wouldn't blame him either!

Happy Thanksgiving to all out there!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Rio in the not-so-rain.....

Meeting over, this morning just another day and a half in Rio before heading back to the cape. And Rio did pull through today, the sun was shining, the street vendors were out, the beaches were hotting up......and Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) was calling......

Today we packed in two days of sightseeing and fun into one, and although it was a busy day, it was a wonderful one, and we even had time to sit on the beach in the late afternoon....even if it was only for 15mins before we got cold and the rain started again....:0)

Tomorrow it's time to fly back, the steering committee meeting has been great, my time with InterRidge is coming to a close (sniff sniff), Rio has been fun, but it's time to get back and get packing.....

Me and Kristen at the meeting dinner. We went to the 'Scenerarium' of the trendiest restaurants/clubs in Rio!

Waiting for the train to take us up Corcorovado Mountain to the Cristo Redentor

The gang on the train on the way up..

......maybe this is a way to get InterRidge more money......come on Cristo...

...and a frog on the train on the way's amazing to me (as much as I like the frog), but with beautiful views all around, why put tacky wooden animals everywhere!

Pao de Azucar....or SugarLoaf Mountain....overlooking Rio. This spot was made famous by the James Bond scene in Moonraker......was waiting for Jaws to appear to bite through the cables and was ready at a moments notice to climb onto the top of the cable cars, whip off my trousers and go sliding down the cables.......

Making my own James Bond Movie...

....anyone need any 'Catchup' with their fries?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Rio in the Rain...

Yes, I am in Rio, and yes, I can confirm (even after a few caiparinas) that it does indeed rain in Rio. And that indeed, it can be downright chilly too (even if it is 'chilly' wearing shorts.......that just was not what I expected).

Kristen, Stace and I had a day to explore before the start of our meeting today (which is going well), and to be honest, it was a washout. Still alot of fun, but isn't it just typical that the one nice day you have in a cool country is the day your stuck in an over-airconditioned room from 7.30am - 6pm? Yup, today it was not raining, still cloudy so we didn't get to enjoy the mountains in all their splendor, but at least you didn' t get soaked walking to the taxi!

Here are some initial pix.....please send the good weather gods this way....we have monday off to explore and are hoping to go up the cable cars made famous in James Bond's Moonraker..........yes, I want to relive the moment with Jaws......:0)

The grey sky above probably the coolest TGI Fridays you will ever see! On Copacabana Beach, just opposite our hotel!

Sand sculptures.....we still have no idea how they survived the rain....but keep an eye on this blog for pix of the funniest sand sculptures you will ever be posted soon.......:0)

The famous Copacabana Palace Hotel.......we had Cairparinas in here for Kristens Bday the day we arrived. Totally cool place.....sat by the pool, watched the rain, drank and then pretended the Porsche was ours on the way out.....for some reason they didn't believe us......

When in eating a traditional Brazilian Feijouada......meat stew with everything in.....including Pigs Foot (on my spoon), Pigs ear, Salted rump, Tail.....and just about everything inbetween.......I have to say though, it was very tasty. And despite this picture, Kristen enjoyed the pigs foot too....:0)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

To do list......

38 items....

might have turned a corner......might......:0)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Aloha Party #1

Friday night saw a wonderful end to an all round crappy week - an Aloha party! Dan, BL, Breck and Cl, as well as all the people who came made for a wonderful night with some fabulous food and great company.

Thanks guys!

Tomorrow it's off to Texas for a cruise meeting, then off to Rio de Janeiro for the IR Steering Committee Meeting, back just before Thanksgiving - good timing huh!

Friday, November 9, 2007

To do list...

43 items

Still at the point where I add more eachday than i take away...

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Riley dog...

The Riley dog arrived into Dan and CLs life around the same time I landed in Woods Hole and we were instant pals. Otherwise known as the "ADD dog", "riley boy", "part-time pup" and sometimes just "bad dog", Riley soon became an often seen fixture around my office and house, making my various lodgings his second home, with always a full bowl of treats and bones. Riley is a rescue dog, part golden retriever, part who knows what, but whatever it is, it's a wonderful mix! Riley often hears the words "what kind of dog is that!" from strangers, with many weird and wacky combinations thrown out there. If people ask me, he's a mutley, the best kind of dog...

I arrived in the Hole to start my postdoc amidst very sad times, and Riley (like so many of my great friends here) has been such a large part of my recovery (and therapy) from that, and such a large part of my Woods Hole life that I will sorely miss his over-exuberant hellos, his fuzzy hugs and general goofiness. Riley has always been there, whether I am happy or sad he's always pleased to see me and always makes me laugh, you can't beat that in a friend, human or no. How do you say goodbye to someone who really doesn't understand the word "goodbye"? Will he always run into my old office to see me? Will he still chase after my old car all the way around the WHOI ringroad? When I do come back to visit, will he remember who I am???

Last night I had Riley for what may be his final sleepover at Aunt Rhians, and it made me very sad to start saying my goodbyes to him. To many it may seem like I am anthropomorphising the Riley dog, but to all who have met him they know he has an abundant personality that though is not human, is as good a friend as you could ever wish for. I'm still trying to get Dan and Cl to post Riley out to Hawaii now and then, maybe even do an exchange in San Francisco - thats about half way isn't it??

So here is to Riley, and some of my favourite photos.

- Photo by Dan & Cl on his first day. Such a cute puppy, though it was obvious from the start he was a "toy consumer"....

- A very young Riley, just trying to figure out the controls while I was gone.....

- Just not a morning dog, Riley would stay in bed while I got up, got tea, took a shower and got dressed.....just about the only time of day you could call Riley mellow.....or even close to mellow.....

- Riley and his friend Niko having a morning romp today

- His last sleepover. Riley curled on top of my feet on the couch. Cute boy.