Friday, June 30, 2006

Where is summer going???

I guess it's already half over... no way! We haven't been backpacking yet, nor have we tubed the creek or done any of the fun fun things I was dreaming about during those last days of school. We have, however, spent many hours in our apartment, playing with a baby, watching movies and playing on the internet. I really feel like I ought to have accomplished more, but I've enjoyed taking a nap almost everyday (when the baby naps, and those are only taken when Peter's awake, I'm not THAT bad a babysitter!), doing puzzles, and catching up on movies. Plus, the baby is fricking cute (when he's not screaming) and he's fun to play with.

This morning, ashamed at my lack of doing-nothingness, I convinced Peter (who runs at least three times a week) to come with me on a hike up to Chautauqua. We did the same hike up to the arch that I did with Aous and Jena a few weeks ago, but it was much less crowded because it was a weekday morning. Peter's in much better shape than me (see the previous comment on running), so he was strolling up the mountain while I was laboring--huffing and puffing up the inclines.

The view was so worth it, and we eve had the arch to ourselves for a few moments! A family came in after us with two very small kids (a 4-year-old and a 1-year-old in a carrier). We overheard them saying, "We should have brought the camera," as they were looking at the incredible views and I just felt so bad for them! To have walked well over a mile, maybe 2, up a mountain with two young children and not have any record of it (says the woman who took 140 pictures on that same hike). So I offered to email them a picture if they gave me an address. A scramble for a pen and paper ensued, when the dad remembered a business card. Problem solved! A few pictures later and we headed back down. I love the downhill part :-)

Will was over as well and had a perfectly lovely day to make up for the days of screaming he's been having with the teeth coming in. He slept for an hour or two (and I joined him for part of it), then when he was awake, he cooed and babbled and smiled and worked very hard on his crawling and sitting. He managed to sit up by himself for the longest time I've seen him (granted, half the time he was leaning forward, propped up by his hands, but the balance was still there!), and the biggest miracle of all--he went to sleep for his nap without a single gut-wrenching scream. It was heaven!

Here's to making the most of the time we have!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Daily Photo

Daily Photo

I'm making a new "feature," modeled after the daily photo at dooce. I'll add a photo every day, even if I don't blog, and hopefully that will help you all to see how exciting our day was that day. Maybe it'll be... laundry! Or... the baby! You just never know.

Since it's early today and I haven't taken any pictures, pretend this is yesterday and enjoy.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Jenny had a birthday!

Yesterday was our friend Jenny's birthday, so the usual suspects gathered at Alison's house... though Alison was out of town at her sister's triathalon! She was nice enough to let us use her place, though we were good guests (I hope!).

Peter and I were tired when we first got there; Peter because his 3 hour training for a new student turned into more like 5 and me because I watched Will on one of my days off so his parents could look for a new place (I really love him, so it wasn't work, it was just unexpected time taken). We also had a fair number of errands to run, which are always tiring. Luckily, there's nothing like good food and great company to re-energize, so by the end of the evening,
I wasn't even tired.

Happy birthday, Jenny!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Father's Day

We're back! Peter and I flew to Las Vegas last Thursday to meet my mom and dad, who drove in from California, and my brother, who flew in from Reno. Peter's family is also in Las Vegas, so it was so nice to have all the family together. My dad had several free rooms at three different casinos for different nights, so it was fun to visit them, swim in the pools and do the touristy things we don't normally do in Vegas.

We took this picture at (duh) Paris the afternoon we flew in. I kept looking through the many versions we have of this picture (with various eye closures in each), frantically trying to find the one with PJ, my brother, in it too. Stupid me, I forgot he came in at midnight that night, so of course he was missing! The nice German (?) old man took this and its 20 bretheren for us, since we took pictures for him and for every other tourist at the pool who managed to miss the little platform with stairs and a sign that said "Eiffel Tour Photo Spot" or something like that. Photo ops like these don't just happen, people!

While we were inching down the Strip (you mean, you actually want to get someplace?), we were lucky enough to be right in front of the Bellagio for the fountain show. I'm not overly impressed by most of Vegas' offerings, since I've come of age in Nevada and I've been to Vegas too often for work and family, but the fountains are one thing I will try to see if I'm in the area, and they are at their most impressive at night.

Equally impressive was the Bellagio conservatory, which changes quite frequently and is always lovely. I don't exactly know why, but they pulled out all the stops on this one. I can't explain it, but it's like a fairytale-esque miniature train set with American landmarks. Sound confusing? Somehow, it works. Peter's favorite part was the arching fountains that were so crystal clear they looked like Plexiglass. We're still not sure how they did it.
Here's the mini-Bellagio, complete with little fountains. You can see one of the many train trestles in the upper right. Each one was different and had a little sign explaining what kind it was. They had many different model trains running on tracks through the conservatory--overhead, through mini-villages, over the river and through the woods.

I couldn't get a good picture of it, but they also had an enormous banyan tree (I think) that was extremely old and had to be cut down in Florida due to poor health. So of course, they shipped the tree to the Bellagio! It wasn't whole like when it was a live, but you could still get a pretty good idea of its size from the huge trunks and limbs they had arranged (with trains running throughout, natch).

The rest of the weekend we mostly spent with family, swimming in pools (Paris, Red Rock and Green Valley, though Peter's family pool was the most fun with 5 people and 4 dogs in it at once), eating and watching movies. We never go to the movies, but we went to see Cars and An Inconvenient Truth. Both were quite good, but in different ways, obviously. It was so nice to be with family again, especially since this was the first time since the wedding that both of our families have been together.

Hope everyone had a happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

How social we are!

Last Saturday, after the hike, Peter and I went to a barbecue for the woodworkers guild Peter belongs to. There were a few others who were our age, but most of the members are older than we are. It was fun to meet new people and see the amazing shop you can afford when you are retired from nuclear physiscs (or something). Peter was like a kid in a candy store looking at all this shop (though admittedly, most of the other guys there were too). Some of the woodworkers brought stuff they made to show off, which was fun to see. These are pictures of one of the pieces made by one of the men we were talking with. The detail is just incredible!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Not-Funny News

The same night as all the wildfires were on the news, there actually was some quite sad news as well. A young man drowned while tubing in Boulder Creek, which runs right by our apartment. I guess something like this usually happens each summer, but it's still sad. Helps to remind me how powerful all that beautiful and cool water really is.


Last Saturday, I went on a hike with Aous and Jena in Chautaqua Park (I never really know where to put all the "u's,"I just guess). We hiked up to the Royal Arch or the Royal Gorge Arch, I'm not sure which.

It was a pretty strenuous hike, and it was Jena's first real hike, so she was a trooper. Aous is afflicted with the same syndrome as me, namely, Mountain Goat Legs. This sounds like it should be good, but it's really not. What it means is that you feel compelled to scramble up steep hillsides at a quick, strenuous pace, which is usually not in keeping with the fitness or either heart nor lungs. The result is that if unchecked, we could end up at the top of a mountain, dripping with sweat, breathing heavily and so exhausted we can hardly make it back down the mountain on our shaking quads (this may or may not be true for Aous, but is certainly true for me!)

The hike itself was actually quite beautiful. More treed than Nevada hikes in the foothills, but more varied flora than the hikes in the Sierras. The only thing that I wasn't in love with were the crowds, but that was because we went on a Saturday when the weather was excellent, so the entire city was at the park. When we actually got to the arch, there was already a crowd at the top, which turned out to be OK with me, since heights aren't really my thing, so I had a buffer between me and Boulder Vallley. The views were pretty amazing, but I'd love to come back on a less crowded day, so I'm not forced to get lots of nice strangers in my pictures (she provides perspective?).

Today, Will was a little cranky, so I took him down to the creek for a little cool air, change or scenery, and of course, a nice, soothing stroller ride across lots of bumps and things (the child loves movement. I was playing around with the black and white mode on my camera and got some nice shots, with which I will leave you. I dare you not to want to kiss those cheeks!

And because teething hurts:

Finally, Will's mom (Jessie) chose a shirt that perfectly describes him (it says "heart breaker" if you can't read it):


Peter and I had to laugh watching the local news last night. One of the big stories was that "many" fires had broken out all over Colorado as the result of lightning strikes, several in Boulder County. Air support had been called in and firefighters were making headway on them. The largest fire in Boulder County was... 4 acres.

4 acres??? I don't think a fire that size in Nevada would even have been reported on the news. My favorite was that one of the reporters had personally found a fire the fire department hadn't been aware of. How big was this dangerous inferno? "About 75 feet by 75 feet." Wow. Granted, Colorado is much more densely populated than Nevada ever will be, especially in this area, and there are more trees and things that could burn hotter than the cheat grass and sagebrush in Nevada, but really! I remember in one bad fire season, the entire state of Nevada was practically on fire. There was a map that showed all the fires, including one in the center of Nevada that was something like 85,000 acres that I hadn't even heard of until then! 4 acres...

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The baby!

So here he is, my adorable summer job. I've taken way, way too many pictures of him, but he's just too cute! He looks a little sad here because we had taken him on his first outing with us, downtown to the Jewish Festival. I think he was a little overwhelmed at first, which is whe I took this picture, plus, he got his first tooth in yesterday, which has to be painful and traumatic.

We met Jenny and Chris at the festival, and they hadn't seen him since May, so it was fun to see how much he had grown. It was amazing how many babies and kids there were! Peter decided that to fit in in Boulder, you just need to borrow someone's baby and stroller :-) My favorite was the little girl who had been playing in the fountains and was running round with only a shirt on when we saw her. Why are naked little kid butts running down the street so darn cute?

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Catching up on stuff

I forgot to post about the dinner we had with our friends, Carrie and Jonathan, who are leaving to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro (among other travels) tomorrow!

They had a going-away party on Sunday that we had to miss, since Will-sitting conflicted with it, so they kindly offered to take some of their precious time before they left to meet us for dinner in Denver. We decided on Buca di Beppo's, which none of us had eaten at before (that seems like utterly terrible grammar, but I can't think of a good fix right now). It was quite fun, and parts of it were rather unexpected. For one, they take you through the kitchen if it's your first time (I'm sure Buca fans are totally mocking my naivete right now), the meals are served family style (as in, one small order of whatever will feed two, a large will feed three), and the decor is... eclectic. I have to say, the only place that trumps the tacky/kitschy facto of Buca di Beppo's is the Madonna Inn (just click on any of the rooms here to get a small idea). We visited it once when I was much younger, and the only thing I remember with any clarity (besides the generally-overwhelming tackiness) is the men's restroom. The urinal was a waterfall, a huge, fill-up-the-wall waterfall, and it was so impressive (and famous) that an employee gave us a tour when all the men had cleared out. If I remember correctly, the waterfall didn't run all the time, only when you "flushed" it (this could be a result of my over-active memory-imagination, which allows me to remember with crystal clarity events for which I was not actually present). Edit: OK, so apparently I did remember correctly! It's not as pretty as I remembered, but here's a great site if you are dying to learn more about this, and urinals in general.

Sorry, getting back to the real story. So the walls of the restaurant were pretty much entirely covered with framed old-fashioned pictures of fat babies, naked people, old people, and various other photos what would only be considered "art" if someone famous and important told you they were. It looked like somebody's crazy Italian great-aunt just went nuts with the decor, which is probably exactly what they were aiming for.

While Carrie and I caught up on the things since school let out (she and I are in the program together), Jonathan had a great time with my new camera. He took some fairly random pictures of the walls, and some fun action shots of the rest of us :-) He even started talking to the waitress about my little camera's amay-may 10x optical zoom! It was awesome.

The food was quite delicious, especially the chicken Marasala. Overall, it seemed like a pretty good deal and it was great splitting the check, since we all ate everything, so it went right down the middle (well, apparently our bill had a penny more on it, so Carrie and Jonathan paid a penny more tip, haha!). We declined the desserts there, since there was a Cheesecake Factory a few blocks away, and that sounded better than the unexciting dessert options at Buca di Beppo.

Since we were so stuffed, we got a slice of two different kinds of cheesecake, which the nice waitress then cut in half for us, then we cut the halves into half, letting each of us have both cheesecakes and only eating half a slice! It was great-- delicious and not stomach-bloatingly filling, and again, an easy bill to split!

We have so much fun with Carrie and Jonathan, it's just hard because they live about an hour's drive from us (with no traffic), so we can't see them as often as we like. PLUS. They are going to Africa. For a month and a half. Or so. Jealous! They have a blog on their website, plus a place to post pictures, but sadly, I think we'll have to wait until they get back to the US in early July for their Africa pictures.

Best wishes and happy journey, you two!

My Favorite Little Devil

So yesterday was, obviously, 6-6-06, and it also happened to be the birthday of two of my friends, so of course we had to celebrate! The birthday boys were:
, the self-described antithesis of "President" Bush, and Luis, a Spaniard who was having his 22nd birthday for the second time. Aous and a few of us went on a short hike in Chatauqua Park, which quickly devolved into a photo hunt for Jena and me. There were just too many pretty flowers and plants to take pictures of! Here are some of the shots from our fun hike:

And here's a picture or two I took with Jena while we were falling dreadfully behind the others:

After the hike, we went over to Casa Alvarez and met up with Luis and several others. We had a great time. I hadn't seen almost anyone (except Aous) since school had let out, so it was good to catch up on various travels and the little life events that can happen in three weeks. Here's Aous tormenting Luis with suggestive camera fondling, and Luis' reaction:

Someone (we're still not sure who) told the restaurant about the birthday boys, so they brought out desserts with candles on them. Aous really didn't want to make a big deal about it, and so he wasn't too happy (sorry, it's your birthday! Could have been a lot worse!). I don't think Luis minded, since he got a free dessert :-) Aous really showed the true colors of his birth date (and his displeasure) in the picture below. I think Jena got an even better one, but I was further down the table:
Eek! But thankfully, no one was hurt and he forgave us (I think).

After dinner, some of us went to The Reef, a piano bar downtown. It was fun, but since it was early and
school was out, it was rather empty and one of the pianists was pretty rude about song selections and tips. Luckily, the next two pianists who played were absolutely amazing and played all of our silly suggestions with nary a complaint about the choice, AND did them very well! One of them was incredible. He rapped and played "Ice, Ice Baby" (with no lyrics, who can remember all those words anymore?), did an amazing beatbox Beastie Boys song, and the two of them did the coolest "Bohemian Rhapsody" (aside from the original), with only their voices and two pianos. I always have fun when I go to The Reef, but the early guys almost ruined it for me. Good thing the other two are professionals who can be funny without being bitter and rude!

You may be wondering how the babysitting is going. I'll write a post about that later, but as a result of him, I have considerably less time to write and otherwise putz around on the internet, so keep that in mind if you get impatient! (he's freaking adorable and we love him to bits is the short answer).

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Baby's a-comin!

Scared you, didn't I?

I'm going to be watching a baby this summer for one of the other women in the department and our first day together is today! He's an absolutely adorable child, and I watched him for much shorter periods of time last semester and had so much fun with him. I'm really excited now, but I'm sure at 7 PM tonight, when his mommy comes to get him, I'll be too tired to be really excited.

If nothing else, this is good exposure to see what life is like with a baby (he's about 5 months old now, I think, almost six). I love kids and Peter and I want them, but not yet, since we both have a bit of schooling left to finish before we can get settled in our careers. Plus, it kind of helps to have a real job before you have a child!

If it's ok with his mom, I'll probably be posting pictures of him as well. He really is an incredibly cute baby and well-tempered as far as babies go, and I'm not his mom, so I have no bias :-) Yay for babies!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Picture Post

Some pictures from our run yesterday:

How to kill a fledgling marriage

Take one wife not known for doing laundry. Add one new washer and a heaping cup of good intentions and actual initiative. Stir in one load of husband's t-shirts (white, preferably),
then add one pair red shorts and one red shirt. Remove red shirt before beginning load, but forget red shorts. Allow wash cycle to come fully to a close, savoring the washing machine's sweet little song, and open lid of washer.

Stare in horror as realization dawns that every white shirt is now pink, and a lovely deep pink at that.

Thankfully, Peter has the patience of a saint, and only got slightly distressed when he saw the shirts included one of his favorites. Luckily, the Internet is amazing and I was able to Google a solution. RIT, a company that makes dye, also has a fabulous dye remover, which I was able to get at the JoAnn's across the street for $1.99. It worked practically instantaneously and Peter has resumed talking to me!

PS I'm only joking, Peter never stopped talking to me; he actually handled it better than I did.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Yesterday's Pictures

Nothing tremendously exciting happened yesterday, which is pretty normal, I suppose. This is a picture I took on the drive back from the dermatologist's. Tough commute, huh? Luckily, I'm just mole-y and all my moles looked normal, but I'll be going back in 4 months just to make sure nothing has changed.

It's spring, which means that all the animals are having babies or at least trying to (I'll post pictures of the baby prairie dogs later, so cute!). We have this little finch who loves to perch on our no-pigeon-net, which covers our little porch thing outside. He sits there and sings beautiful songs, which seem to be working, since I've seen him once or twice recently flying up with a female carrying twigs in her beak.

I like this picture because it seems to turn convention on its head. We're the ones inside the cage and he's happily on the outside!

Now that have a washer of our very own in our apartment, one of our joys is to do laundry. We don't even pay for utilities here, so it's wonderful! The only hitch is that we can't have a dryer (no venting), so we've figured out some drying options. As you can see here, Peter strung a line on the porch, which turned out to be rather easy, since previous tenants left the nails in at the perfect spots! We also have some fun drying things I bought at IKEA while I was in Reno, so altogether, we're pretty well set.

The other nice thing about drying laundry on our porch is that we face the sun most of the day, which is great for drying clothes, but gets really hot with a big window and poor insulation. So the clothes make a kind of curtain, plus we sort of get the cooling effect of evaporation! (Not really, but I like to think that). I'm getting used to stiff jeans much more easily than I had expected. Compared to spending dollars and dollars worth of quarters every other week or so, not to mention hauling the clothes up and down 3-4 flights of stairs (which Peter usually did, the lovely man), stiff jeans is a small price to pay. Yay washer!!!


K, so I had a post for yesterday and everything, but stuid Firefox crashed and took my lovingly crafted entry with it. Well, it wasn't really that good, but there were some pictures that were fun and I was going to post, so I suppose I'll just do that.

But that will have to happen later, as Peter and I are about to go on a run and he's just put on his shoes and is looking at me expectantly. Hasta luego!