Thursday, December 30, 2010

Not a Good Year for Roses

Now you see them...
And now you don't! These two unruly climbing roses were removed and systematically disassembled for disposal. Back before Christmas a friend from work with extensive gardening knowledge and skill generously offered his time to help remove and relocate some plants in the backyard. I hope this gives me a reason to weed and attend to other areas of the yard. Stay tuned for the "after" pictures or come to visit.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Turducken 5

Cousin Eddie made an appearance, along with this handsome gentleman in his festive apparel.
Grandpa Pate's punch bowl held a custom batch of egg nog, complete with freshly grated nutmeg.

Another year, another nagging doubt that I should punt on Turducken without Jeff and Erin, but clearer heads prevailed. It came together with the help of Ryan and Liz preparing the stuffings. The turkey fought back when one of the bones broke and stabbed me in the finger. In the end, we won the battle, many familiar faces appeared and lots of good food was consumed. Merry Christmas, Vicksburg!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Flashback: Thursday Night Football

It was cold, they lost by two, but played decently in the 2nd half. Here's hoping CJ and the boys see a lot of endzone today. GO TITANS!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Deck the House

Didn't manage a Christmas card this year, but the tree is up, and some holly was scavenged from the backyard. Planning to hit the after Christmas sales for decorations.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

All Play and No Work

Unless you count my "work-cations" I never really post much about work. Yesterday they actually let me play in the lab a little and I thought I would share. Lots of partners in crime here, from left to right, Jay, Shelby, me then Nick. Photo credit goes to Al. Wish the experiment was as successful as this photo shoot.

More fun in Middle Tennessee

From breakfast at Noshville, we made a stop at the Army Navy Surplus store, to consider the purchase of gas masks and insulated coveralls, but mostly to kill a little time before we picked up Jenny at Vanderbilt. Griff, ever vigilant, tried on some flak jackets to wear around Hinds County. After picking up the smartly dressed hospital administrator and headed to a "trailer" for lunch, while enjoying a tribute to Dr. Ned Mitchell and the time he spent here while living in Nashville. Greg even showed up toward the end, but was not available for a blog appearance.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Playing Tourist in the Music City

Armed with advice from Nashville experts, may sights were seen over a 24 hr period. Breakfast at Noshville Delicatessen, mine involved an omelet, bagel, bloody mary and pickles! These house special pickles were spectacular, so good that I even brought a quart home with me.

Thursday Night Football and Beyond

Back in October, Griff convinced my brother, Rod, to give up his Colts-Titans tickets. Not sure how he did it, since he had known him all of 5 minutes. Grudgingly, he decided to let me tag along. It was cold, as you would expect for a December game, and despite the loss, we had fun. Met up with the Birkofers before the game, and I was sorry to hear I had missed the next installment of shenanigans up in Section 317. Titans lost, despite a resurgence in the second half.

Friday, December 3, 2010

It Comes around Every year

Life is good no matter the age. What an amazing year it has been, looking forward to another fun-filled 12 months! Thanks for checking in on me to see what's happening.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Congratulations to my BFF

The news we have all been waiting for, Griff finally did it--he and Ginny are engaged! I didn't want to do it because they were at a Memphis game, but it is the only picture where he is smiling (that I could steal off her Facebook page).

Stay tuned for a Mississippi engagement party annoucement.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fall Blooms

One of the neat things about this house is watching to see what blooms. When I got home, the first of many had opened up. Hot pink! Looks like many of the others will be blooming soon, and they look like they might have white flowers. A friend from work is coming over for lunch on Friday for a walk around the yard to identify some of the plants I do not know.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Another Whirlwind Trip

5-7 November: Drive to Athens to meet friends for the Idaho State-UGA game. Game was exciting for a few minutes, but Bulldogs win 55-7. Pretty soon we got tired of standing for each score. More enjoyable were the restaurants we ate at each night, Farm 255 on Friday and the National on Saturday. Though I am not a vegetarian, I couldn't resist the harvest plate full of vegetables at each. Both were exceptional, but different in presentation. Just another reason to love the South.

7-10 Nov: Rise early on 7 November to catch a flight to Portland, OR for SETAC North America. It was "fall back" for clocks, but 0400 came early anyway. There was ice on my windshield, and it was becoming clear I was unprepared for true fall weather. It rained some, but all in all, a great meeting and excellent reunion with some of my favorite scientists. As fate would have it, Kelly and I stumbled into a karaoke bar that we had enjoyed in 2004, when SETAC was there for the World Congress. The Galaxy was eerily familiar, and a still recipe for good times. Until I realized I had only 1.5 hrs of sleep before having to catch another early flight.

10-13 Nov: Fly into Atlanta, drive through beautiful northern GA to get home for a few days. Celebrate Veteran's Day with my dad, as it was his 60th birthday. We take him to a decoy dinner, so that on Friday he doesn't suspect the surprise we had planned for him. Somewhere in the middle here, I delivered an invited seminar to my alma mater, MTSU Biology Dept. Lots of family in the audience and the Friday afternoon time slot made for a non-combative reception. Happy hour was needed post seminar, pre-surprise party, so my sister and I enjoyed the patio at Camino Real before heading to Manchester.

Saturday was for family visiting and the road trip home. Made record time, with only one stop at Sam's in Meridian, MS for gas, dinner, and groceries.

So. Good. To. Be. Home.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Girl who Played with Fire

These antique heaters in the bathroom run on gas, and I am not sure the previous owners ever used them. Growing up electric, I fear most gas-powered appliances. At dinner on Thursday, Paulette was telling me how good they were, the ceramic tiles heat up quickly and heat the whole bathroom. This weekend, my trusty handiman, Arch, showed me how to operate them, and convinced me they were safe. Success!!
The experiments with the fireplace were less successful. Sure, I made fire in the box, but the smoke was not properly directed out the chimney. Some was, but the kitties and I are victims of mild smoke inhalation. Anyone know a good chimney sweep?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Despite a rough start, a great week it was!

A week in DC seemed like a bad idea on Sunday when I found myself packing, again. However, I was motivated by cooler weather, a tour of the Library of Congress and a mini-reunion with a few of my EXECS, Guy Earle (pictured above), John and a wonderful dinner cooked by John's wife Langston.

I persevered the rough flights (hate US Airways) and arrived to watch the second half of a Titans victory over a division rival. Then I got more than I bargained for including a new pair of shoes, a hip new bar - 18th St Lounge, a dive bar with flat beer but great people watching - the Lucky Bar, and a visit from one of my favorite TN friends, Kim. I am ready for home, but already looking forward to the next visit.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Kentucky Rain

We saw a little of that on Wednesday night as we ran from the hotel to Fourth St. It was a quick visit, so initial impressions are good. A copy of Bourbon Review was provided in my hotel room, and I guess it shouldn't be such a shock to see an entire magazine focused on the state spirit. As a group dinner activity (twenty scientists and engineers), we went bowling. Pictures not provided, to protect my job and future funding from this program.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Big Ball in Cowtown

Months in the making, a group of us met in Dallas for a football showdown between the Tennessee Titans and the Dallas Cowboys. Cowboys Stadium was, um, amazing. It was Mad Max Thunderdome cool. I recommend it for all ages.
My brother, Rod, came to town, so I wouldn't have to be the only Titans fan in the group.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fall Festival and Football Sidekick

Supermom Katie had to work this weekend, so Desmond Grady spent the day with me. We met up with Cynthia, Olivia and Lauchlin for division of labor while out and about at the Fall Festival. He wowed strangers with his gooey smile and huge dimples. When we got to the house he decided to kick back and hitch up his pants to watch some SEC football.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Signs of Home

This was in the London Underground station nearest our hotel. It made me a little homesick, but also very proud. If Londoners have to associate something with the state of TN, better Jack Daniels than a neon orange football team.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ooh La la!
France is better than expected. Okay, I didn't give it much credit, since I had just spent 2 weeks with the English bashing it for various reasons. Plus I was exhausted, had two overpacked suitcases, and had to switch back into work mode. But last night we had dinner in this tiny little village called Honfleur. It was beautiful. Apparently this is where Samuel Champlain disembarked from in the early 1600s as he set sail and eventually landed in what is now Quebec.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

And So it Ends

Pulling myself up out of a medium sized, reconnaisence tank, that of the class commanded by Iceman.
Scary with the RPG launcher...
And happy as can be in a Cobra helicopter, last piloted by COL Sandy Weand. Coincidence? I think not. It's official, I have been exchanged. Two weeks in the US, two weeks in the UK. I will miss all the people, but have to hope the connections we made endure. Lots of laughs were had. More to come.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Whirlwind Tour and Medieval Times

Back in London after 2 days in Reading, 2 days in Sevenoaks. It was cool to visit towns with brick streets and quaint downtown areas, however it was not so cool (literally) to be in a hotel that is so old it has no elevator, air conditioning, hair dryer or room service. Yea, I am the whiny American in this story. Best meal so far was a steak and stilton pie at Sweeney & Todd in Reading.Sweeney Todd

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Walking Tour at Night

As we sought out our first plate of fish and chips or bangers and mash, we walked from our hotel past some landmarks worth sharing. First Big Ben by night. camera would not cooperate, so the blackberry had to work. At the same location, you can see the side of the Parliament buildings facing the Thames River, with the architecture spotlighted. up, is Trafalgar Square. was amazed by the folks that were congregated here like teenagers would in a mall or movie theater would on a weekend. The building in the background is the British Museum. We walked through here, but the lighting was bad for getting pictures of the monuments. We had dinner at the historic Red Lion and proper pints at a few other pubs in and around the Square.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Wander this World

My travels continue, this time I have landed in jolly old England. My hotel is just behind the London Eye. Peer pressure will likely win out over fear of heights and I will get on. This is the continuation of my US/UK exchange for early career engineers and scientists. Can't wait to see everyone! Now for some sleep and a shower...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Another One Bites the Dust

I have joined the Mac cult. I fought it for a long time. I gave up.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Airing it out

Nope, no pictures of babies without diapers. Sorry to disappoint.
Cooler weather of late has meant that I can open the windows for a couple of hours in the morning and turn off the AC. The kitties enjoy the bird and squirrel watching, I enjoy the thought of the $0.12 I must have saved.