27 August 2010

Happy Birthday, Jakob!

My little brother is quickly growing up. Today he turns TWELVE. I can't believe it. He is one of my favorite people in the world. Not only did he save me from being an only child (I HATED being an only child), but he has taught me so many things about life. One of the first things he taught me was to change baby boys' diapers very quickly. I didn't know what a backhoe was until he became crazed about trucks and construction vehicles when he was a little tyke. Now he constantly talks about things that I've never even heard of in the science world and excitedly explains them to me. He's not my child, but I watched him grow and remember every bit of it. I'm thankful that I know how difficult and rewarding it can be to be a parent as I watch him grow up.

To my super smart, hilariously devious, and all-around awesome little brother: Happy 12th Birthday!!! I love you so much!!!

24 August 2010

Train in Concert

This year for my birthday my parents gave me a gift certificate to Wolf Trap, a great outdoor music venue. We checked the lineup for the summer and decided to go see Train since we both enjoy their music.

While I'm admittedly pretty tired of hearing "Hey, Soul Sister" on the radio and have not heard their new album, I like their older albums. I also like their newest single "If It's Love" - it's a really sweet song. The lead singer, Pat Monahan, took this picture during the song. If you hear the song on the radio you'll know exactly when he took the picture. We are somewhere in that sea of cell phones!

Of course "Meet Virginia" was a huge crowd pleaser, but I was happiest when he sang, "Drops of Jupiter" at the encore. It's such a beautiful song - definitely my favorite of theirs.

We had a great night out. The weather was beautiful, the music was great, and the radio was even playing a Train marathon on our way home! Perfect night.

16 August 2010

Puerto Rico

We didn't mean for it to happen like this but very shortly after our trip to the Vineyard we took another vacation - to Puerto Rico!

We had four full days there (two of travel). It was fabulous.

First great thing: we got a helluva deal on the trip AND the total came out to our lucky numbers (we have 3 between us) down to the cents.

I have to admit, we had a downer week prior to leaving due to a death in the family and we were both a little too preoccupied and upset to get excited about the trip. We were trying to psych ourselves into excitement but it just wasn't working. We were happy to be there once we got there though!

Check out our hotel view. The hotel was on a cliff and we got a free ocean view upgrade on the top floor. See that little island on top of my head? That's the hotel's private beach. Swanky.

More views of the hotel from our window

view from hotel

We got quite a few rainstorms (mostly at night - the rain never got in our way, thankfully) and with them came some really cool clouds. This is from our hotel window.

from hotel window

This was a few floors below our room.

part of the hotel

We spent a day at the beach...


...but we're not ones to laze around on vacation - we like to see things! We went for a hike in the rainforest. Here is the Yokahu observation tower in the El Yonque rainforest and the view from it.


Usually when we ask people to take pictures they don't come out very well. Partially this is because I hand them an SLR they don't know how to use. I stuck with the little point and shoot this time. Our tour guide took this one and took his time framing it. He said, "It has to look like it came out of National Geographic!" I approve. Nothin' like a tour guide with photography skills!


La Mina Falls


A little friend! And 'nanners. I really wanted one.


This is Arecibo Observatory. It's the world's largest radio telescope. It was incredible... and it's a good thing because it took us four hours to drive there. Well worth the trip! I wish I could describe how HUGE it is. The half-dome thing is six stories high. Those posts are 365 feet high. I said it's like something out of a movie. And what do ya know? It's in Contact and Golden Eye 007.


It rained our whole drive out there and sprinkled while we were there too. But check out that fog. Totally worth the rain for the eerie feeling it gave off. So cool.


For those of you that don't know, I'm fascinated by space. I love, love, love, love it. Contact was one of my favorite movies in middle school. I love staring at the stars when I'm out of the city. I went to Space Academy (same thing as Space Camp but for slightly older kids) and loved it. So this was really cool for me to see. I could do a whole blog post about it but I won't. I took a zillion pictures though.


After the visit to Arecibo, we drove to Old San Juan. The town has two forts in it and a big wall around most of the town. We LOVED the town and wished we had made it before the sun disappeared so we could see it in the daylight but it was our last night. Better luck next time.

old san juan

There were cobblestone roads and old buildings all over. It was a beautiful quaint town.

old san juan

old san juan

old san juan

While in Old San Juan we decided to have an authentic Puerto Rican dinner. We dined at a restaurant called Mojitos where we went all out with Puerto Rican appetizers (fried beef, potato, and corn goodness), dinners (I got a delicious shrimp cassava mofongo while Jason got a creole chicken dish), and dessert (tres leches). Oh, and drinks of course! Delicious lime and rum drinks. It was the perfect way to end our great vacation. Here is my mofongo (after I had taken a few bites).


We also went on two kayaking trips which we left our camera behind for.  The first was a snorkel trip in some of the Puerto Rican reef. We're supposed to get some pictures from that trip so I'll post them when we get 'em.

The other trip was to the Bio Bay. No pictures from that one because it doesn't show up on cameras. It was SO cool though. Our tour started at 8:30 pm. It was pitch black and we were kayaking through narrow mangrove tunnels with no light other than the occasional light flashed by our guides. It was crazy - people were crashing into the mangroves left and right. After a bit of a paddle we got to the bay. Incredible! If you stuck your hand in the water and splashed it, the water sparkled. Paddles made it glow too, and even the movement of the boat left a sparkly trail. You could see fish swimming underneath because they were glowing. The bay we saw was the brightest of any in the world (there are apparently only five bays total, two of which are in PR) with 1 million micro-organisms per gallon (other bays have about 100K/gallon). The micro-organisms glow to protect themselves. Krill eat the micro-organisms, so whenever the water is disturbed they glow so that the fish can see and eat the krill.

It was a great trip for sure. If you want to see more pictures, here they are!

Next stop: Brussels? Alaska? Seattle?

04 August 2010

Misadventures of me in the kitchen

I want and need to learn to cook... and actually be good at it. Jason went to the grocery store to get ingredients for a salmon dish with breadcrumbs and a side of horseradish mashed potatoes. We decided I should cook it. I had to shoo Jason out of the kitchen quite a few times because I decided I wanted to do this one without help. He heard me cuss and yelp but I never told him what was going on until we finished eating. Once the meal was done, I shared my tweeted chronicles with him while he laughed. Laugh all you want, people. It was a delicious dinner. I'm proud of it and am ready for more misadventures in the kitchen!

Here are my tweets over the course of an hour in the kitchen:

Cooking a relatively difficult salmon dish J picked out. Let's track the misadventures of this.

Didn't print recipe out. Have to track up and down on blackberry between ingredients and directions.

Dropped potato on floor.

Dropped wet lemon into bread crumbs.

Forgot to start timer on potatoes.

Forgot to spread dijon on fish before putting bread crumbs on it. Good thing J doesn't like dijon. Too bad I do... Sad.

Put oven on 50 degrees too high. Realized it very shortly after fish went in, thankfully. I don't make this stuff up, guys.

Cooked a potato too long... It broke apart in the pot when I tried to take it out...

Burned some of the green beans in the microwave.

And done! Not too shabby!

salmon dinner

That was actually a really good dinner!

02 August 2010

It might be time to re-read this.

“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”

-Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar