Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone has a great evening tonight and a very happy New Year! I'm off to a party at the Directors house, a wonderful way to start a new position. As for what 2011 holds....i'm not sure....but at the moment i'm in pure bliss as the realization sets in that I actually get to live here.....

The grounds of the Darling Marine Center

The grounds of the Darling Marine Center

The POD, partially unpacked, but a ways to go! 

My new office, complete with ocean view! My lab is not ready yet, so everything will be stacked in here for a couple of weeks until it is. 

The pier at the center. 

Looking back on the buildings - i'm in the upper level of the one on the right

The grounds of the Darling Marine Center

I screeched my car to a halt when I saw this - an Ice Fishing hut!!! People in Canada told me they do this, you tow a little hut out on the ice, cut a hole and fish (and drink beer) all day on it! This is in town, Damariscotta! 

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Off to Maine!

Doing the big drive today, and luckily it's decided not to snow today - yay! I think i'm ready, collected some boxes from WHOI, did some shopping yesterday for some essentials and have a packed lunch, all should be well. I'm back down here in a few weeks to load for the Antarctic cruise, and potentially to pick my dog, so it won't be long before I see everyone again (and catch those I missed).

Yes, I did say dog. It didn't take long, in fact I adopted one before I even left Hawaii. One of Jenny and Doug's pups (Barkley) is coming to Maine! With a second kiddo on the way, a house needing repair and a yard in a state, 2 dogs is getting too much, so rather than be pound bound, Barkley is coming over to check out the snow. She's a sweet 10yr old just looking for the quiet life, so Maine will hopefully suit her well, and i'm really looking forward to the company. Probably one of my best Christmas presents yet! So I have a few weeks to get settled, potentially find somewhere to live (though i'm thinking that might be a stretch) and then Doug is delivering Barkley whilst on his way to a conference. The details aren't yet squared away, but I can't wait!

Okay, need to get up and get going, Maine is calling!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas on the Cape

Well, i'm on Cape Cod - I hope everyone had a great Christmas! I arrived on Wednesday afternoon to this....

Snow! And lots of it! And of course, my little car, safe and sound (and with new, beefier, Maine resistant battery......apparently Hawaiian batteries just don't cut it for 20F....).

It's been a wonderful few days. As soon as I arrived at Kathy and Rods we had a few visitors to say hello and goodbye, in particular my friend Laura left for the UK the day after I arrived. Sad i've missed her, but we get to be stuck on a boat in the middle of the Drake Passage in May for 40 days, so we'll get to catch up!

Thursday and friday I did some wandering around, finishing up Christmas shopping and catching up with folks, was super nice. I love Cape Cod, I had a great time here and miss so many people. I'm so happy to be closer to my Cape family.

Falmouth Beach, with just a little snow left on friday.

Then of course there was Christmas at the Catanachs. Was wonderful, such awesome friends.

The tree! It was a few feet taller when it started, but Rod made it fit! First Christmas tree in a few years, was super nice!

Christmas morning breakfast - french toast, buns, juice, coffee - yum! This was after i'd skyped with the whole family back in the UK.

Tammy giving the presents a poke.....just to check they weren't alive.....

Kathy and I compare our presents from Rod....socks! After all the opening of presents we headed off cape to Kathy's brother's house, where I was treated to a Scanlon family Christmas - a wonderful affair that didn't end until close to midnight.

And today we have a snowstorm coming through! I headed into WHOI for a while to pack boxes for the Antarctic cruise (the cruise isn't until May, but we have to send boxes by the end of January, and much of my "stuff" arrived here at WHOI ready to ship. 

The view from Kathy and Rod's back deck - snow!

Their dog Nikko enjoys the snow!

Okay, I haven't seen much snow recently okay, and I LOVE snow! So far we've had about 4 inches, it's still snowing, and much of the cape now has a power out, so we're waiting, and i'm typing fast!

The pond behind the house with their pontoon. There was a lot of ice on the pond too, apparently for the first time this year. It's definitely cold! The worst of the storm is supposed to hit tonight, and relative to other parts of the Northeast, we're getting off lightly, or so we hope!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pre Christmas Christmas Dinner!

I'm sat in Chicago and still have another hour before boarding so thought i'd update. On the weekend I had a lovely pre-christmas christmas dinner with the family i've been living with this past 7 weeks, and my British friend Laura. We treated the Americans to some British traditions - mince pies, a good roast complete with Yorkshire puddings, Christmas Crackers and even some Christmas pudding to finish. It was glorious!
The meal - roast chicken for us, roast Tofurkey for Laura!

Dinner complete with Christmas crackers!

The lighting of the pudding - Hannah was captivated!

For all of those interested too, I feel completely recovered from the marathon, my legs and feet are great this year! My only niggle is my shoulder from packing the container over a month ago, I really must have pulled something! Thanks again to all who sponsored me, I made it over my target amount which was awesome!

Leaving Hawaii was a little sad this morning, i'll miss my friends here, particularly the family i've been staying with. Little Hannah is so adorable, as I don't get to see my own niece too often (who is the same age and lives in the UK) i've adopted Hannah as my substitute niece. She has adopted me as her Mimi, and was quite happily pointing out all my possessions as I packed them this morning, as well as unloading a few in the process (i'm a little scared as to what she might have added to my bags too......I found a jar from the fridge in my duffel just before closing it...). I go back in April so it's not too long before I visit, but kids change so fast. I showed them all skype before I left, so i'm hoping we can get that set up.

Well, I'm off to add another layer, and hopefully get on a plane in an hour. Just a few hours away from Cape Cod, they got ten inches of snow yesterday, so i'm hoping it's held off so the roads are clear!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

To hell with all my worries
They are negligible at best
I leave for Maine tomorrow
Where my soul can take a rest

George H. Lewis
In The Maine Woods

Saturday, December 18, 2010

It's starting to feel a lot like Christmas....

Friday night saw a little Risotto and champagne with the ladies, yum!

Saturday night saw a little gathering to watch the boat parade!

Some christmas lights in Hawaii Kai as the scene is set for some boat lighting madness!

Photos in the dark of lighted objects moving on water never come out well, but this gives you a little taste of what went on (30 boats in competition to win the best light display, some of them apparently spend thousands!).

No, this is not a stuffed animal. I would say only in Hawaii, but i'm betting there are probably more out there......

Some of the boats heading home after the festival.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

How do you feel after running a marathon?

A combo of this......

...and this.....!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Three Things Thursday!

1. In many ways I cannot wait to get to the University of Maine. I don't have the space on the blog nor the energy tonight to explain just how crap the University of Hawaii is, but needless to say, I don't think anyone should come here unknowing. I've enjoyed Hawaii, I have not enjoyed the University of Hawaii. In short I found out today I am being diddled out of having my vacation payout when I leave (we accrue vacation, if unused when you leave, you get cash), which is to the tune of a few thousand dollars. I'm not going to go into it, but I am livid, and it's a complete f-up on their end, but it looks unresolvable. Fun.

2. An early xmas present of a large grant not being funded. Once again being told i'm too ambitious in my proposal. Despite talking through scaled down options and being told they wouldn't be ambitious enough. Can't win. Because of this I only have a job until next August, any proposal I write now will only be heard about in August. It's not going to be a fun year.

3. I thought 32 was supposed to be my year? As far as I can tell it sucks. It's looking like I made a really bad decision to move to Maine, as at least here in the (crap) UH system I would still have teaching to pay some of my salary each year, in Maine I have nothing, am completely on my own, and now only have salary through August. Moving always costs a fortune (even if the company pays, there are always personal costs on both sides), so I am broke beyond belief, with the reality of not coming even close to getting out of that next year, let alone buy a house and do the other things I want to to move on with my life and feel like I am moving forward rather than stationary.

It's been a crappy few days, but seriously, anyone else want to kick me while i'm down? This last week was supposed to be fun - dinners out, dinners in, fun xmas stuff, but instead i'm just done in, and though a few fun things are happening, it's tainted.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

5hr 23mins 55secs

A full 30 minutes faster than last years, my personal marathon record!

The EARLY start - 4am! I decided to tape (and yes, I now have a very funky tan line!)

The medal, the shell lei and the two beautiful flower leis Laura, Daniela and Cordelia greeted me with at the end of the run!

The afternoon, whiled away napping and reading. More later when I get some mid-run photos!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

See how I run!

Hannah helps me with marathon prep! I love these Injinji toe socks! They're great for preventing blisters (I have literally had none since I started wearing these for running), and though I was worried about their longevity as running socks (all those extra seams), these are the same pair I ran my first marathon in last year!

Number on okay - check!

Shoes ready - check!

Okay, here are the details -

Go to - - click on "live results tracking"

Enter either my last name (Waller) or my number (6861) and it should let you know where I am when! If you're on Facebook with me my status should be updating automatically as I cross each of the timing mats too.

Last year it took 15 minutes to cross the line at the start, and i'm thinking of starting in around the same spot, should be accounted for in the timing somewhere (it's all chips) I think there were five mats - 10K, 1/2 marathon, 30K and 40K, 26.2 miles! So you'll be able to see how i'm doing!

We start at 5am (7am West Coast; 10am East Coast; 3pm UK time)!

My goals for this year, very similar to last year - finish, finish in 6hrs, run the last mile and most of all HAVE FUN!

There's still time to sponsor me too! Thanks to some AMAZING people (yes that's you!) I am now over the total I wanted to raise by $60 - woo hoo! How much further over can we go??

And - good luck to Kim running the Holiday Half Marathon in Oregon tomorrow too!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Picked up the Packet!

Went and picked up my race number and packet this afternoon - the expo wasn't too crowded which was super nice! I actually took Hannah with me too, good for Jenny as she got a couple of hours "off", good for me as I had a cutie pie everyone doted over as we went around the stalls! Hannah loved it too, she helped me pick out a t-shirt and hat.

The Honolulu expo, as far as I can tell as I haven't actually run a marathon anywhere else, is somewhat small, unassuming, and primarily in Japanese. I remember being pretty disappointed last year, at least this year I knew what to expect! I did get my shins taped by the nice people at KT tape though - well, I got one shin taped (the right one) and then went on my 3 mile run. I've been having problems with shin splints this year (erm....lack of training perhaps?), and I have to say, I think i'm a believer. The right shin was great on the run, the left had it's usual pain. So I got home and taped my other shin to see if it would help with the pain overnight (they last ~3 days they said), I hope so! It gives me practice before M-Day regardless as i'll need to redo it before then anyway, and this way I can decide if I really want to run with multi-coloured tape all over my legs.....could make for an interesting tan!

I also got to try on a skirt from Running Skirts - the lady there was super nice! They only had wild colours at the store, so I think i'm going to order one online sometime, they gave me a voucher for 20% off, not to be sniffed at and these skirts have the perfect length shorts underneath for my chunky thighs!

Am I ready? I don't think so.....but then I seem to remember not thinking so last year either! I have my number and I just double checked my time for last year 5hrs 53 minutes. If I can come close to that again i'll be happy. It'll be interesting to see - less training and fitness vs experience on the course - which will win out!

Three Things Thursday!

1. My colleagues from Alaska are at this very moment diving back in Tracy Arm, on the second sampling "season" for our year long project. They'll be diving between the two red arrows right now, only it probably doesn't look quite like that right now, it's probably somewhat whiter, and colder! I had some good news this week - I managed to get funding from National Geographic to go back to Alaska on the March sampling season! I'm so excited about this, so i'm scrabbling to get diving things organized - tomorrow I do my diving medical (thought i'd better do that before the marathon!) which, being an asthmatic, i'm totally terrified about. It's $700 down the tube if I fail....and I don't get to dive in March either.....

2. Yowsers, is it really 3 days until 26.2 miles??? I got my number card in the post yesterday (my post is all screwy because of moving) and today i'll go and pick up my packet from the expo. I'm 6861 - i'll post details on how to follow me online etc. on Saturday. I say it again, Yowsers! This week it's been 4,3 and today 2 miles. Totally taper. It's probably not too good a sign that I found the 4 hard on tuesday....

3. Another Yowsers! I fly out of here in less than 2 weeks! I still have a bunch of crap to send, my frozen samples are somewhere in the ether right now (arrive in Maine today....they better!), and i'm starting to feel sad about things. I haven't been in the best mood this week, combo of just a TON of work, leaving, medicals...oh, and a really long day on Sunday!

Monday, December 6, 2010


Well the weekend started with a bang - saturday morning a group of my favorite girls headed to the Kahala hotel for their awesome breakfast buffet - yum! Let the pre-marathon carbo-loading begin in style! And guess who we saw there??? guessed it. Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka) from the series Heroes! He was having breakfast right behind us (well spotted Tara!). I don't watch much in the way of TV, but i've been into this series lately and have been watching it here and there on Netflix. Always awesome to have a famous person sighting! 

Next up I had little Hannah for the weekend while Jenny and Doug had a night at the Kahala hotel, their first night away from little Hannah since she was born! They had a relaxing time and Hannah and I had an awesome time, she was such a star, no fuss at all.

We checked out the marathon preparations......gulp! Have I mentioned it's this sunday! Yikes! I'm definitely in need of that cheer group I had last year, this year could be super painful! Going to pick up my packet probably wednesday, so i'll let everyone know my number so you can follow my progress online!

And the best way to keep a 20 month old entertained? Dress up. Everytime!

Hope you all had a good weekend. Just one more lecture to give - Wednesday sees the end of teaching, just the exam to go - woo hoo! Time most certainly flies....still need to finish up a bunch of xmas presents - yikes!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

One week till M Day!

Just one week until Marathon Day! Amazing how time has flown, that means it's just 2.5 weeks until I leave the Island - gulp! Three weekends to go!

This weekend is going to be fun, I have little Hannah for the weekend, while Jenny and Doug go and stay in a fancy hotel for the night right down on the beach and get some much needed downtime. We're going to have so much fun (in other news someone went potty for the first time yesterday, we were all so proud, i'd literally just ordered her a potty for xmas (don't I give the best xmas presents..:0) and it arrived the day before, so she got the hang of it pretty quickly!).

Next weekend is Marathon Day on sunday. I'm scared and excited. The 20 miles last weekend went well, totally wasn't in the mood to begin with, but warmed up to it. Didn't press myself and with my time it would get me in right on track with last years timing (5hrs 55minutes), so at least I haven't got slower! I am worried about that, my late stage training has been somewhat erratic, and I don't have the fitness base I had last year from running the June half marathon and all the little 5K and 10Ks I did. I'm not sure why i'm worried, it is what it is, I'm still pretty confident i'll finish! Don't forget to sponsor me here and pass around to all your friends - i'm just $60 away from my target - woo hoo!

The weekend after I think is going to HAVE to involve the beach. I need a tan, and I need one now, before I hit the snow of Maine! And we're going to have a pre-christmas christmas dinner with Laura, which is going to be fun. Don't tell anyone but i've even managed to get hold of pudding and crackers for the event - woo hoo!

So for now, it's off to the Kahala for a carbo loaded feast!

Monday, November 29, 2010

North Shore Sunday

I took a visitor up to the North Shore on sunday, my last visit up that direction (just 3 weeks to go!). Some photos from the day....

Maybe I should get one of these for those Alaskan Sleeper Sharks....

Haleiwa Honu, they never get old....:0)

Sharks Cove

Kouloa Ranch in the mist...

Pacific Cardinal, hoping for some handouts...