Monday, March 26, 2012

Made the paper

Dave came over and showed me some of the video too - pretty cool! A longer update soon, it's been a wild few weeks of immigration hell.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

In the garden

This weekend saw temperatures in the high 60's and even 70's for sunday, so I spent much of it in the garden attempting to rake the multiple years worth of leaves from the grass. Spent quite a while on it, yet even in the main areas there is still a layer, and I didn't finish behind the house. At least this way the grass can dry off a little and it will mean I can cut it easier, and the temperatures seem to be staying warm, so I can probably finish that off this week. It felt good to be outside and getting some exercise, i'm still stuck in this rut of the house not being mine yet, so feeling unable to motivate to fully unpack. But being outside doing yard work didn't feel futile, so i'm hoping it's the beginning.  

An awesome find - an eagle/osprey nest right in my back yard (right by the house!). I so hope it's active and can't wait to see who lives there! 

Barkley at the back of the house, and right above her is the nest.

Barkley, sporting her "bear cub" look. Now the dilema - do I shave her this summer or not? I love her long and fuzzy, but think she'll probably get hot. Not to mention the tick issue......hmmmm. 

Monday, March 12, 2012


Back from Hawaii, and a wonderful time was had. Many of the stresses melted away and I do feel much happier with life than when I left. Not all the stress goes away, and there are still some big decisions to make here soon, but this was just what I needed to get my brain into a better place to make those decisions and move forward with work and life. Thank you to Jenny, Doug, Hannah and Sammy for hosting and entertaining me, I miss you guys so much, this was a wonderful visit, but I was a little sad to say goodbye yesterday. 

The visit involved a lot of play time, which was awesome, both with the kiddos and with Jenny and Doug too. The weather was somewhat wild - hail, tornadoes, lots of rain, wind and cooler temperatures than Maine on a couple of days. Just crazy! But considering the cost breakdown of the whole visit (Plane Ticket - $10; Car Parking - $20; Bus Ticket to Boston - $40) I can't complain too much - but did feel sorry for the tourists who had saved up for that Hawaii vacation! 

One of the first stops - the Kahala Hotel for breakfast. First time ever they'd closed off  the outside seating because of the wild rain and wind. Luckily it didn't change the quality of the brunch food....:0)

I love orchids. I should really start to try and grow them. 

In front of the orchid wall at the Kahala Hotel. 

Saturday morning was clear enough to get to the beach - yeah! There was a funeral going on for  one of the original sailors of the Holkulea canoe. I've seen a few Hawaiian funerals in this spot (party like atmosphere, everyone paddles out to a spot to spread ashes in the water, with flowers and leaves to spread too), but this was huge. 

Beautiful Koa wood canoe carrying the ashes out to the Hokulea (sailing boat out in the background). 

Sammy, enjoying some Mountain Dew! 

Hannah and sammy enjoying the sand. Jenny & Doug sure make cute little people! 

Proof that Jenny, Hannah and I did get wet once! It wasn't too bad once in, but was feeling on the edge of being close to the Polar Plunge.....

Ice-cream break with the kiddos! Thanks so much to you four for having me! 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Ice Diving - Day 2!

It's official - I am an ice-diver! This weekend was really so much fun, it reminded me how much I love learning new things and new diving techniques. Next stop - technical diving using decompression stops! 

Actually, i'm lying, next stop is 5 days in Hawaii hanging out with friends and doing NO WORK! 

Loading up the sleds to head out to the dive site. Today's objective was the 2 final dives of the course - 1 look-see dive and 1 dive to learn lost diver techniques. 

Luckily the hole had not frozen shut over night, just some thin brash ice to go through. 

First divers getting in the water. 

On the first dive the instructor let me take my camera, which I was so thrilled about. Here's Phoebe playing with her air bubbles under the ice sheet.
Air trapped in the ice sheet, but as seen from underneath rather than above. 

That's me! The ice above us is about 2 ft. 

If you added air to your suit just right, you could kneel or even stand upside down under the ice.  This is me playing with my bubbles crawling under the ice. 

Still playing with my bubbles, it was pretty hypnotic. 

The dark shape above me is one of our sleds full of gear on top of the ice. 

Phoebe standing upside down under the ice! 

Our air bubbles, trapped under the ice. 

Self portrait.....:0)

At the end of the day, and course, we pushed the ice blocks back into the hole so it would solidify. Then we marked it with tree branches and tape to stop people walking over it until it is nice and solid again. 

And a nice treat on the drive home - a bald eagle hanging out on a snowy lake. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Ice diving day 1

This was so much fun today. Especially since we woke up to a snow storm! I wasn't too sure what to expect, but I have to say, this was one of my most fun dives to date - and tomorrow we get to go again twice and for longer! Exhausted and it's another long day tomorrow, so headed to the hot tub and bed....

Getting the gear out onto the ice using sleds and an ATV with ice tyres! 

Cutting a triangular hole in the ice with chainsaws. 

Phoebe next to some of the blocks we cut out of the ice. We stand them on end as tomorrow we have to get them back into the hole to freeze back up after we're done. 

Getting ready to get in! It was overcast today, but tomorrow it's supposed to be better. We had lots of snow this morning, but luckily by the time we were supposed to get in, it had cleared and was pretty warm. 

Getting tethered and ready to go. 

The tethers were a pain in the butt to deal with, but essential. Tomorrow we'll move mine around a little to see if there's a better spot for it - it was in the way of my inflator - not a major issue, just not a great spot. 

Coming up after an awesome dive playing with bubbles under the ice and exploring the 40ft below. 

The rather ungraceful exit from the hole in the ice.....

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Snowed in!

Snowed in today - 4 inches so far, and it's supposed to snow through to tomorrow morning. Puts a big smile on my face, I really do love the snow, makes everything look serene, pure, new....I don't know, I just love it. So today has been great, catching up with some house things, few work things and a bit of playtime in the snow with Barkley, which she loves. 

Tomorrow she's off to the kennel, which I feel bad about, but I know she likes it there and she's been doing really well, so it'll be okay. Tomorrow I head up to central Maine to take part in an ice-diving course. Yes, ice-diving. As in cut a hole in the ice with a chainsaw and jump through in SCUBA gear. I'm kinda excited about it....:0)

Then for contrast on Tuesday i'm off to Hawaii for 5 days of R&R with the Engel-Holdts. I managed to get a cheap (as in $10) ticket using my miles, and just need to get away. Away from work, away from boxes and unpacking and clear my mind so I can come back and throw myself into proposals and work in the way that I need to right now, but can't muster up the strength. It's been too long since I had a break of any kind. I didn't get one over xmas as I was still writing proposals and preparing lectures. I had a few days with Laura G. in October - I think that actually might be the last time I had a real day off. I'm feeling burnt out and run down, and I have to say as soon as I booked that ticket, life started to look better. I can't wait.

From the deck off the kitchen. This was taken this morning at about 10am. Yay! 

Barkley trying her best Polar Bear impression. 

Whaaaaatttt mamma??

I love that she loves the snow. Mostly to dig in and find gross stuff underneath. But never-the-less, she leaps and plays, and it's a joy to watch. 

This was taken about 5pm - about 4 inches or so. 

Even Mr Gnome is happy to see all the snow! 

The house, from the end of the driveway - which luckily is plowed as part of my road association fee!