Monday, November 30, 2009

Recycled Toilet Paper

Interesting website with tables of which manufacturers to avoid

The long and the short, avoid Kleenex, Puffs, Charmin, Cottonelle, Bounty and Viva.

"If every household in the US replaced one toilet roll with a 100% recycled one, we could save 423,900 trees".

That's a whole lot of trees! Things that end up in the drains and eventually oceans are rather close to my heart, so I always buy recycled. My favorite is the 365 Whole Foods Brand (good quality compared to other recycleds i've tried), but I just noticed Safeway has just started (or just started selling it in Hawaii) a 100% recycled toilet paper, so I thought i'd check that out. If anyone has any tips for cheaper 100% recycled i'd love to hear it!

A new blog

I've been thinking for a while I wanted a different place to put all my recipes for food, soaps and other homemade goodies. So over the weekend I started a new blog - Home Made Haole - where I will put all recipes and instructions and will link to there when I make something.

I was trying to find my recipe for mincemeat that spurred me on to put all these things in one place rather than spread out through my blog. I use this blog as a way to keep up with family and friends and as a journal for me rather than something I overly want the world to look at (though it is obviously an open blog because I can't deal with the privacy settings needed to make it specific). I just have so many pages now that i'm having a hard time finding recipes I want to repeat and I also wanted somewhere to record my good soaps, so I can turn to them again and again. I'm not going to write any personal things on there, and where I would usually write a recipe down here i'm just going to put there instead and link to it in a post from here, so it's really just another page and hopefully will keep me more organized!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The road is long but is it the right one?

I just saw an advert for this on TV. Natural Gas. Advertised as greener and cleaner and better than wind or solar power. Now while I agree natural gas is WAY better than coal and oil, and safer than nuclear, better than solar or wind? Really? An electric cooker powered by wind energy is WAY better than a gas cooker, but an electric cooker powered by coal is WAY worse.

The route of a "clean energy economy" is certainly a long one, but should we be twisting it with a refocus on another non-renewable resource? Or should we just keep on trucking down the straight and narrow until eventually all non-renewable resources are replaced with renewable ones? Which is better?

My thoughts. We need to get rid of coal power as soon as we can, and though I would love to see all of them replaced with wind farms in the next 5-10 years, it isn't realistic, as non-renewable sources, for now, just generate so much less power. So maybe a slight detour is needed, in tandem with clean sources, but certainly not in preference to. I think what got me is that natural gas should ever be advertised as better than solar ("the sun goes in") or wind ("it's not always windy"), as i'm sorry, but that is just the kind of advertising that leads people astray. There are actually people out there who will believe that...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving Weekend

A weekend of ups and downs. I was invited over to a colleagues house for Thanksgiving dinner and cooked a turkey for the occasion (he has a slightly "weird" version of Thanksgiving dinner, last year, with no turkey, so all were happy at the suggestion I bring turkey). It was fun, a mentor of mine from the UK is over and we had a fabulous time catching up and drinking wine.

Friday I worked most of the day, and the same for today. Friday I even got a short (4 mile) run in. Good intentions today, but no. My running has dropped off and I don't feel good about it. Last week I've been both manically busy and the weather totally sucked (think really wet and really windy).

Today hasn't been a happy day (not an unhappy day, but not overtly happy). The long story, I haven't worn deodorant since Canada, Thanksgiving what did I decide to do? Well, wear deodorant (Toms of Maine Sensitive if anyone is interested). Now, last night I noticed I have another abscess lump in my armpit (my other armpit). Small and I am so far totally on top of it, but man this sucks. I hope this passes quickly. Will I ever be able to wear deodorant again? Tomorrow marks 2 weeks until the marathon, and I really could use getting a few long runs in before then. I spent the day baking to make myself feel better.

Tomorrow promises to be more fun. A BBQ on the beach in celebration of Doug's birthday. My fridge is stuffed to the gills in anticipation.

My packed fridge. It literally NEVER looks like this on it's own...

Coconut macaroons, yummy!

And the annual mincemeat bake-off. Many hours later I now have 5 jars of yummy mincemeat.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

BSA sent me this, made me giggle...:0) Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and for me, phew for a holiday. Though somehow I ended up promising to cook a turkey for tomorrows feast at a colleagues house. Don't even ask. All I know is it will be delicious. I just finished massaging rosemary, garlic and olive oil into it. Yum.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Venting the frustrations.....

I've had all the pieces for this cardigan for Taylor done and finished for a while, but just haven't had the time to piece it all together. So to vent the frustrations I pieced it all together and sewed on the buttons. I hope it fits the chubby cherub! Kim and Carney were so nice to me this summer, I wanted to make the girls something special before I go there again in January. This is for little Tays birthday in December. I hope it fits!

Of course, all made utilizing my fabulous crochet hook holder, made by Nicola!

Getting closer....

To a work visa that is. This was supposed to be renewed months ago. But a series of pain-in-the-ass people and a new regulation, and here I am today, still without a visa renew for January. I guess we will be paying rush service after all. But this arrived today. This piece of paper says my PhD is equivalent to a US PhD. It says that I am worthy. I try not to let my feelings get in the way of what this nice company has done for me for the small fee of $300, because of course how could anyone assume that a PhD from the UK would be worthy in this country. Everyone needs an independent moneymaking company for this service, especially now that the US requires this of every work visa.

I could continue. But lets just add "rant about the US immigration system" here.

Tomorrow this will go into my file, and hopefully it'll go off tomorrow. But of course, Thursday is Thanksgiving, so there is no way in hell this is getting there until at least midweek next week. Nothing like cutting it down to the wire. Good thing I hadn't planned to leave the country for the holidays, as chances are, I wouldn't have been allowed back in.....

Monday, November 23, 2009


"Hectic - very busy with activity and confusion"

That's about right. I didn't think any week could top last week, but low and behold this one probably will. Even with a two day holiday at the end of it, I need those days to catch up without meetings! Today - teaching, meetings, writing my lecture for weds, writing a "prospectus" for big wigs for tomorrow, tonight wining and dining a guy from SEA. Tomorrow, taking big wigs on a tour of the SEA boat (we're trying to get funding for an undergrad course - have I mentioned that here before? If not i'll write something on it later), lunch meeting on that course, afternoon meetings about a proposal, probably still writing weds lecture. Weds, lectures, writing next week lectures. Other things on my list - revise a paper to get it in press (i'm running out of time!), three pre-proposals due end of next week, one final report, one other paper to finish to submit (it's so damn close!).........better get off the apologies if i'm a little absent this week.....

Friday, November 20, 2009

Be The Match!

It's easy - go to Be The Match, look over the health guidelines (and unlike giving blood here in the US, being foreign DOESN'T disclude you!), if you qualify, fill out the online forms, order a kit, swab your cheek, send it back and voila, you're on the Bone Marrow donor registry and may be able to help someone fighting blood disease!

Happy Weekend everyone!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Oh what a day...

It's 6pm and i'm actually debating going to bed! It's been a hectic week. I always knew today would be busy (teaching for 2hrs then loading the ship for an upcoming cruise that is collecting samples for me) but yesterday it got MUCH busier. On Monday an email came around that said people were getting together for a meeting today on ocean carbon (think Ocean Acidification) and I emailed and said I would be around, but sporadically as I would be teaching and loading etc. Well yesterday an email went around with a program, and low and behold there was my name, giving a talk. A few emails, and yes, they wanted me to do a talk, on how ocean acidification would affect deep water organisms. So yesterday was hectic, as i'm still trying to get lectures together for next week too. Last night was a late one, getting my lecture ready for tomorrows class and making this new talk.

Up early this morning, into work to do a few things and then at this conference at 8am. Headed to class at 10.30, back at 11.30, back to class at 12.30, back to conference at 1.30pm, and then my talk was scheduled for 2pm. Well, when I got back it soon became obvious we were WAY behind, and I was headed to the ship at 2.30pm. So I didn't end up doing my talk. In a way i'm relieved, as I am not a huge fan of talking, in other ways I am pissed, as i'd put effort into it. Ah well. Life is still busy, I still need to spend tomorrow putting the final touches on fridays lecture, and making my two for next week. I am so behind.

Here are some photos from loading the boat. I am really sad at not going on this cruise, it was supposed to go last year, and then October when I could have gone, but now it's going next week, when I can't go, because i'm teaching....

The Pisces IV submersible.

The Pisces IV submersible. This is the main sub that will be used during the cruise. It's smaller than Alvin, and can collect less, but still very cool. I love using subs....:0)

The Pisces V. This sub is kept onboard for safety, and luckily has never had to be used for those reasons. Unlike working in the East Pacific and Atlantic, there is nowhere close that could help if something happens to the sub on the bottom, so this second sub is kept onboard just in case.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

National Geographic

This is probably one of the best National Geographic photographer interviews i've ever seen. I wish there was someway to put it up on here, but I can't seem to figure out how to do that. Click the link, it's worth it, an amazing short story about photographing Leopard Seals in the Antarctic, no blood and gore I promise. It's stories like this that make me amazed at the world around us, and it's these National Geographic photographers that made me want to be a biologist, way back when.

Soggy Weekend

We have a lot of storms this weekend, very wet and windy and there are apparently some flood warnings out there too. Today I have a bunch of things I need to do at work and I need to go over to Coconut Island to collect some equipment, so decided I would run my long run yesterday morning. Originally my long runs were always on Saturday, but with teaching twice on Friday, then a TA meeting, to be honest i've been too knackered on Friday to contemplate getting up early on Saturday. And if yesterday was anything to go by I should probably stick to that.

I did wake up at 5am, but I did also roll back over. I re-woke at 6.30am and decided I should probably get something to drink and eat in me and try and get out the door. Anything over a 5 mile and I should eat something (I get hungry on AM runs), and yesterday was 14 miles. I pulled out a pack of raisins and some Hammer drink and went back to bed (bad move) and sat on my computer for a while. By 7am I decided I really did have to do it. So I dragged my butt out of bed and headed down to Diamondhead to run. I won't bore you with the details, but it was sluggish and I was lazy, but I did do the 14. At mile 8 (the turn around point to run back) it also decided to tropical storm on me. No cover, no nothing, so I just slogged through. This has made me certain I do not like running in the rain. My soggy shoes alone i'm sure weighed an extra pound each, and I had a guy laugh at me as I crossed back over Diamondhead because one shoe was squelching badly.

I did debate trying to redo the 14 this evening (last week I knocked 15 minutes off my 1/2 marathon time, yesterday I gained 3 minutes), but I've woken up with a cricked neck (with the bad weather I haven't been sleeping so well - my walls are paper thin, so when the storms roll in it's really noisy) so know that isn't going to happen. Maybe if it dries out i'll go for a walk or a swim later.

That said I have a butt load of work to do today, so should probably get out of bed......

Thursday, November 12, 2009

30 days to go

Just thirty days until the Honolulu marathon - yikes! Training over the last week has actually gone pretty well (post bad shoes and colds). I'm actually getting quite excited about it. It's going to be hard, MUCH harder than the 1/2, but i'm confident I can finish it, it might just be slow, and that's okay.

Here's my schedule Sunday-Sunday

Sunday - 18 (but I accidentally did 22, messed up on the route!) - 4hrs 10
Monday - Rest (oh boy I needed it!)
Tuesday - 5 m (so I missed this one, but did walk ~2m to stretch)
Wednesday - 10 m (1hr 50 - around Diamondhead)
Thursday - 5m
Friday - rest
Saturday - 14m
Sunday - rest

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


So these came out cute! Inspiration from here - Julie Adore - thanks Nicola! The reason they turned out as aliens? Well, that was just the colours in my crochet basket. As always, the second (pink) always comes out tidier than the first, but I think both are cute and plan to make more. I love projects like this. These both took just half an hour to do, so a nice, pre-bed project to take my mind off the day.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Slow Cooker Chicken Casserole

I bought a small slow cooker a while back while on sale at Costco. Primarily I use it for cooking steel cut oatmeal overnight for a tasty morning breakfast, but I'm trying to branch out. Today I made a version of this recipe - Julia's Easy Slow Cooker Chicken - and I have to say, it was delicious! And so easy to prepare in the AM before heading out the door (an essential!).


- Two chicken breasts - I used frozen that had been semi-defrosted overnight in the fridge - cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
- One potato, washed and cut into inch cubes (skin on - I love potato skin!)
- 1/2 cup of carrots (I used fresh baby carrots)
- 1 can of cream of celery soup (i'm sure any cream soup will do!)
- 2 "cans" of water - pour water into the empty soup can twice to wash out the dregs

Put all together in the slow cooker, slap on low and come back after work to tasty chicken casserole!


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Simple Cold Process Soap - In Pictures

Check out recipes and the equipment list below.

Gather your ingredients and equipment. I choose to use all organic ingredients, that's my choice, but it's not necessary and you can make cheaper bars without. You can make very cheap and nice bars just using lard and lye. I am making the "Castille Plus" recipe below and splitting the recipe into two - a peppermint-tea tree soap and a lavender soap.

First step - mix your cool/cold water and the lye. I do this in a tall plastic (BPA free) pot to prevent spills and if you do this in metal the lye will corrode. Lye is Sodium Hydroxide and has lots of precautions in using it - use in a ventilated area, use gloves, and I like to do all of that part in the sink. I would suggest doing this after the kids have gone to bed and keep the lye locked up somewhere.

Measure out your cool water and slowly add the lye crystals or pellets. The mixture will heat up. I then sit the tub in a sink of cool water, it helps it to cool down faster.

To use you want it to be ~110F

While you're waiting for your lye to cool, weigh out your other ingredients and put in a metal pan. Heat up your oils until they too reach ~110F. If you have solid fats you'll have to take the mixture beyond 110F and again wait for that to cool. The secret is getting both the lye and the oils to be the SAME temperature when you mix them together.

While you're waiting for your fats to melt, measure out your fragrances. Now unlike everything else, these measurements are in volume not weight. You don't have to, but I tend to add my colour to the fragrance so it's just one less thing to add. For colours I have some gel colours I bought, and i've experimented with natural colours like Paprika before too that I love using.

Okay - now both the lye and the oils are the same temperature. Add the lye to the oils (always in that order) and blend gently with the stick blender. The mixture will go cloudy and will start to firm up. You want to stop as soon as it reaches light pudding consistency. Which oils you use determines how long this will take. The important thing is you don't want it to firm up too quickly - this is called Seizing and makes it hard to pour.

Now add your fragrance and colour (both optional) and mix in. You can use the stick blender for a more even colour, but again, you don't want it to get too firm at this point.

To make a large batch to split you need to work fast at this point, and I wouldn't recommend this until you've tried it a few times - but certainly with the "Castille Plus" recipe this is totally possible to do, as you have a while (~15 mins) before it really firms up. Decant off the required amount into a separate container and then fragrance/colour the two (or more) batches.

You can also add herbs and additives at this point. I love adding poppy seeds for exfoliation or rosemary crushed up - which I meant to in this batch and forgot!

Now pour into molds. You can use many things for molds - pyrex dishes (line with wax paper though or you'll never get it out!), cardboard tubes, silicone bakeware (works excellent!) and wooden boxes with drop sides. I have these molds bought from a soap store here in Hawaii and really like them (the soaps come out really nicely, and they were ~$5 a mold). I would love to get a wooden box with drop sides at somepoint, as they insulate better (see below).

If you want to make swirls and patterns (don't try this on your first go!) you'll want a tray that will make several bars. Separate your mix and add colour to just one batch. Pour in the un-coloured and then pour in the coloured in lines on top. Take a chopstick and draw lines (make sure it touches the bottom of the mold). I haven't "perfected" this yet either!

When you're poured cover with plastic wrap (this prevents soda ash forming on top), and now you want to insulate your soap - as it still has to cook some more. I layer up my soap trays using towels and cutting boards (which you'll use later). If you have a wooden box you don't need much in the way of insulation (just on top).

After the soap is all nice and wrapped up I put mine in the oven - mostly because my kitchen is so small there is nowhere else to put it, but it's out of the way in there. You want to keep it wrapped for ~12hrs, and in the molds for ~24-72hrs depending on how hard your mix of oils go. Don't try and unmold them until they are hard enough not to squish. I usually make soap in the evening and unwrap the next evening, then leave to dry.

Once ready to be unmolded pop it out gently onto a cutting board. Cut the soap to the required size and trim to make nice edges at this point (it's easier to do this while the soap is soft). You also want to check at this point for any "ash" on top (white powder), as you'll want to cut that off too. Also look for pockets of oil or lye - if you have these you'll have to throw away the soap, as it'll be unuseable. The Castille Plus looks oily on top when you pop it - this is normal, but be aware this means that this soap has a shorter shelf life (~1yr - they will smell rancid when the oil goes off so you can tell) than ones that are "drier", this is just because it is so moisturizing and because there are no preservatives.

Once cut you want them to dry. Again I only have a small space, so I domino them on a cutting board (making sure they don't touch) and then stack cutting boards with all the soap on - if you are doing a couple of different "smells" you want to make sure they don't touch either as they'll cross over. Ones in molds take longer to get hard enough to pop out, but the sooner you can the quicker they will dry.

Now this is the hardest bit (at least I think so) - you have to leave these to dry for 4-6 weeks before use! You can use them earlier, but they'll be soft and won't last as long. The longer they dry the more gentle (the pH drops) they become too.

Happy Soaping!

Cold Process Soap - Equipment, Recipes & Links

Save yourself some heartache and get the right equipment to start with. I tried to do this without and regretted it! The soap did not come out well and I spent a lot of wasted time. It's worth the initial outlay to be able to make homemade and to know what is in your bath products.

- A weighing scale. All recipes (aside from the fragrances) are in WEIGHT not volume. Do not trust any recipe that goes with volume - they won't work and can potentially have high levels of lye left in them.
- A stick blender - yes, use it, or your arm will fall off and your soap will never set. They can be really cheap - and I recommend a cheap one.
- Thermometer - metal - don't even try the glass ones, they're not worth it as they don't last (I went through two before I finally went for the metal candy ones).
- A large metal pot - dedicated to soap making
- A tall sided plastic (BPA free) jug - for your lye dissolving, dedicated to soap making. BPA free because it heats up and you don't want BPA ending up in your soap!
- Stirring implements - I recommend plastic, dedicated to soap making and two - at least one being a large scooping spoon
- Molds - these can be anything that can hold hot (~150F) liquids - pyrex dishes, ice cream tub, specialized molds, wooden boxes, I've even heard of tin cans! I tried a few things and ended up buying some molds (for ~$5 per tray) and I have to say, wish I just had from the beginning!
- Plastic Wrap - you need this to exclude air during "cooking" and to line any dishes that are not flexible so you can actually get your soap out!
- Dish towels - to wrap and insulate the soap while it is cooking.

RECIPES - my two easiest and favorite

Basic Castille
10oz Olive Oil
2.5oz Coconut Oil
4.2oz Water
1.7oz Lye
2oz Fragrance
Colour as desired

Castille Plus!
23.5 oz Olive Oil
8oz Palm Oil (also called Vegetable Shortening in the supermarket)
8oz Coconut Oil
2oz Apricot Kernel Oil
2oz Avocado Oil
13.35oz Water
5.9oz Lye
6oz Fragrance
Colour as desired

- Check all lye quantities on a LYE CALCULATOR - especially if you reduce the quantities, halving the oil doesn't always mean halving the lye!

- Both of these recipes are 5% superfatted - this makes them nice and moisturizing!

- Fragrances and colour are all optional. If you add fragrance, i've found that (with essential oils anyway) you want the soap to smell really strong when you're making it, as the smell does diminish as the soap dries. Always add fragrance and colour last.


- This is my favorite site for learning and recipes - Millers Homemade Soap Page - I would strongly recommend reading through this site before starting any soap making.

- What all the oils do in soap - Sabrina's Soapmakers Resources
- Good resources and recipes - Teach
- Some nice recipes - Snowdrift Farm - I particularly like the shampoo bar!


The worst part is done - starting! I swear the run up is way worse than the actual in teaching, you just spend so much time getting ready - each powerpoint took a day or more to complete, and yet in just two hours you're done. It did go well, no major issues (one minor inability to sync my computer with the projector, but resolved quickly) and seem to go down well, especially the Jacques Cousteau clip I decided to show at the end of the lecture. It's interesting to do undergrads, there are just so many of them! After the first lecture I had a guy come down and say he was late into the lecture and missed the iClicker quiz (which he would get points for attendance with) and whether he could still have the points. Considering I stared 5 minutes late, and the quiz was ten minutes in, I said no. As he was walking off huffed he actually said, "where there was little point in me coming to that wasn't there". Oh yeah, because lord knows you might actually learn something!

I had many good comments though, one girl came down after the second session and asked where I was from. She also then said that she thought I presented the theories on the origin of life (which include Divine Creation) very respectfully, and also mentioned she thought the geologist (who had taught earlier in the semester) wasn't so much. So that made me feel good, i'd been nervous about presenting that. It's a hot topic here in the US, in some states you can't even teach Evolution, so I wanted to present the different theories without offending anyone, but still making clear which were "Science" and which were "Philosophies", and which are the most respected and proved. I didn't think I did that great a job, so it was good to hear. It's a topic that I "needed" to cover, so i'm looking forward to getting on to the fun side of Marine Biology!

So this weekend I just need to get ready for my next one on Monday. My entire friday was eaten up with teaching, still dealing with the Hazmat clean-up of the lab and TONS of paperwork, and then a TA meeting I had to attend. Then, rather nicely, I went to Jenny and Doug's for pizza and G&T after Hannah's bedtime - Doug's mom is here, it was so nice to see her. It was a really fun evening!

And with that, I am so glad this week is over. Here are some pictures of the "pool trials" of our little ROV. Went well, though a few things to seal up.

It's little, but surprisingly powerful. We were actually amazed at how fast this thing goes - of course in the pool, so the next test is out in open water. I am hoping to take this little ROV to Alaska to look for corals in Glacier Bay National Park next year.

Two divers in the water to keep an eye on it - this is it's first test and there is a small crack in the dome that hasn't been replaced yet. The dome did leak a little, but not enough to abort the test.
The test went well, there is a short with the lights that needs sealing up, but otherwise a really good pool test. The next step is to seal up the dome and the lights and take it out on the boat.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The gauntlet has been passed.....

This is it, tomorrow it all starts. On Wednesday I oversaw their midterm exam, so they all now know my face, tomorrow it's me and 400 undergrads. There are actually so many it's split into two sections - so from 10.30-11.30am I have 200 of them, and then repeat the same lecture 12.30-1.30pm. I can already see tomorrow is going to be exhausting. But it'll be good to start, I think the run up is worse than the actual, getting the lectures ready etc.

If anyone has any interest, the course is here, and my lectures are here (scroll down to the 6th Nov). I don't post my whole powerpoint (as I figure they have to be awake for something), but the gist is certainly there.

Today has been an interesting one too. My lab assistant (who I still adore) was in all day and had a few accidents. I got a phone call in my office, she'd knocked the control on the oven, it went up to 100C, burnt up some plastics, filled the lab with smoke and somehow didn't manage to set off the firealarms (I'm not sure whether to be thankful or worried about that....). No major damage done. I get back to my office and literally half an hour later I get another phone call, a bottle of xylene broke while she was using it (a big bottle) and it spilled all under the hood and over the floor. I don't have a hood in my lab, so we use a colleagues lab to do the nasty chemical stuff. Luckily his lab assistant Iris was right there and sprang into action with the vermiculite. So it was spill control central up here, it's actual good to have a minor spill now and then to remind people what to do and why we're careful with these things. She was wearing a lab coat, gloves and closed toe shoes - and most of all, she's totally fine if a little shaken up. Xylene is nasty stuff, so i'm so thankful it didn't go all over her.

So, despite my best efforts, I have not practiced my first lecture today. Maybe tonight....

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Younger days

I'd asked my parents to look through some old photos of me back in the UK, looking for some photos of me looking like a marine biologist as a kid I could throw into my undergrad lectures. Unfortunately I didn't get quite what I was looking for, but I thought I would share some of the ones my Dad sent me that I love. I enjoy looking through old photos, trying to remember times and places and what we did as kids. I don't have many (any?) from when I was little and lived in Saudi Arabia or the adventures we had, but I would like go through a digitize some when i'm next in the UK. The world of digital media has really changed how we look at photos, though I know there are purists, I love that we can share photos so much easier than in the past.

Me and my older brother Grant at Western Super Mare in the UK. I don't know how old I was or when this was, but our house in the UK from before and when we lived in Saudi Arabia wasn't far from this beach. This is definitely after we moved to Saudi, as we moved when I was 2 and i'm pretty sure i'm older than that in this photo. My main memories of Western Super Mare were the donkeys that would give rides on the beach. I don't remember them pulling carriages, but as there is one over my shoulder in this picture they must have!

This one if from a holiday to Bali. I "think" I was around 12 when we went. From top - Grant, Me, Adam, Dad & Sophie. I loved this holiday and still remember pieces of it. The biggest thing I remember is the long and shallow coral reefs. That and cutting my knee on some coral I got a little too close too (and I still have the scar!).

This picture is where my memory goes awry. My dad tells me it's from Florida. I've always had in my head it was from a trip from New York to Buffalo, but I being somewhat young defer to my dad's memory (and what we would be doing in a swimming pool in New York I have no idea). It might have been from that trip though - we went from New York to Buffalo and saw Niagra Falls, then memory fades, but somehow we ended up in Florida and I had my tenth birthday in Disney Land, in the Princess castle (considering how un-princess I am now it's rather ironic) and we ate cake for breakfast (which is not all that ironic now).

This one is from Saudi. I remember that the green bike in the back is my older brothers, and I had a red one just like it. I can't remember which compound this was but know it wasn't Airport Villa's where we spent the most time. All the compounds there had a central swimming pool, where we spent a lot of time being water babies. I'm probably around 5 or 6 in this photo.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Great White bitten in half by another Great White

I'm sorry for those with delicate tendencies, but I just had to post this, this is not a photoshop photo. A friend posted the story on Facebook this morning and i've been in awe all day about it. May even add this photo into my "Vertebrates" lecture.....

The above is a ten foot Great White, caught in a a "Drum Line" in Australia - this is a baited line which is designed to attract larger sharks away from swimming beaches and at this beach is used in conjunction with nets (these drum lines are designed to have less impact than nets as they only catch sharks rather than anything that swims into it - baby whales in this case - and so are starting to be used on their own without nets). The photo is of it being brought in on the drum line, and it was apparently still alive at this time, suggesting it had only just been chomped on (and the fact the rest of it is still there suggests that too). They estimate the shark that took the bite is probably around 20ft and another Great White. Carnivore eat Carnivore. Yikes!

For the full story, click the title.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A super sunday!

A super sunday indeed! This morning Laura, Jenny, baby Hannah and I went for brunch at the Kahala Hotel. A very fancy hotel outside Honolulu on the other side of Diamondhead. Not far away, but seemed a world away. The brunch was wonderful, the company wonderful and the setting wonderful and relaxing, just what the doctor ordered before a week with a whole lot of crazy happening.

I then headed into work, did a few work things then unpacked more of my office, put up some posters. It's looking better, less like a mess. I mostly figured out plugging in all my hard drives. Mostly. Way too many wires.

And then this evening I went for a 3 mile run. Nice and slow. And in yet another pair of new shoes. I went and got another pair yesterday (I still hope to return my others, just haven't managed to get to that store), I couldn't find the same ones i had before, so was convinced into some Nike Structure Triax. They had me run on the treadmill in my old shoes, my new ouchy shoes, and these Nikes. They really feel like my old ones, just more squishy. I went slow on this run (my shins and hips are still sore) and they were wonderful - my knees didn't hurt at all, and though my shins are sore, they didn't cripple me and are on the mend, this run in these newer shoes didn't make them any worse - and WAY better than the Asics. Phew!

This is the beachfront at the Kahala Hotel. The breakfast brunch is right on the beach. Not the cheapest breakfast, but about the same as a dinner out and I love brunch. It was so relaxing and wonderful to catch up with both Laura and Jenny (and Hannah of course!).

After breakfast we found shady spot on the grass and sat to digest and watch Hannah show us her latest trick - crawling! Yup, just about seven months to the day and she's a crawler. FAST too! Watch out Barkley and Goofey!

Jenny says she's also figured out how to fling things too. Here she demonstrates with her's so much fun to watch mom and dad go fetch.....:0)


My older brother just sent me these cute! My little Niece Lucy......she's going to huge by the next time I see her!