After working 8am-8pm days for most of last week, we headed out for a weekend to Montreal. The original plan was to see Simon and Garfunkel. The concert was postponed due to Garfunkel being old, but pricelined rooms dictated that we still travel.

Left Friday afternoon, and made it to Burlington in plenty of time for wandering, yarn fondling at Kaleidoscope Yarns, beer sipping at the brewery downtown (I had a sour raspberry beer that I deemed a very reasonable beer product for someone who doesn't like beer). We dined at A Single Pebble, which is officially the best chinese food I've had. I don't know what authentic Chinese food is - everything I've had is an Americanized version - but I'm guessing Single Pebble gets close to it. Happily, it was restaurant week, so we got to try lots of things: mock prawn, mock buddha beef, green beans with seitan, sweet and pungent walnuts, mock eel, and at least a couple of other things that I'm forgetting. The overwhelming umami in some of the dishes makes the food feel amazingly luxurious. The walnuts are incredibly rich and flavorful, and carnivores will not miss the lack of meat (there are plenty of meaty dishes available -- we did veg tasting menu). Take a big group if you ever go since it's family style eating, and be amazed by the food and satisfied with attentive, friendly service. Yum.Read more... )


Nov. 18th, 2008 08:28 am
We spent a fabulous 24 hours with [ profile] lunatopaz and [ profile] cislocative this weekend, squeezing in more stuff than we'd normally do in a whole weekend, including: bowling, fondue, going to/through three states (ME, NH, VT), local beers, blokus, Scrabble, espresso beverages, popovers and bacon, knitting, frites and general good company. Also stopped at the puzzle store on the way there and traded in three and bought one.

Part of the fun was the random inspiration to do stuff. Stopped by a local store and saw a fun idea for more crafty fair goodness (bottlecap magnets with pictures in the bottom, covered with clear resin - simple and fun. At the coffeeshop, they had round tables with collages, covered by glass to protect them. I'd love to make a similar table and be able to swap out the collage work every few months. I also figured out part of my idea for xmas gifts while I was there.

Worked til 630 yesterday, which means I'll leave around 230 today. Hope to get a lot of dyeing done this afternoon.
Part I: seeing [ profile] sharkycharming - I stayed at her house, and she graciously drove me all over creation. We had fantastic sushi at Matsuri (warning: annoying website) - I had a sweet potato tempura maki, my standby unagi/cucumber maki, tamago and inari. The rolls were huge compared to what I've grown used to here, and the tamago was perfectly sweet. Saturday, we got one game of Scrabble in, and I got to play DOVEKIE. Sunday, we drove a long, long time into DC but didn't get a chance to really hang out there. All of this was punctuated by Starbucks visits. Spending time with her was a nice counterpoint to the stress of Scrabble.

Part II: doubling my career Scrabble earnings in thirteen easy steps - okay, maybe not that easy, but still a pretty quick turnover for winning such big cash. I went 10-3 at my Scrabble tournament, with one bye (my opponent dropped out at the last minute), which was good enough for second place and $1k. I plan to buy some pants, replace all the semi-matching, old tupperware in my house with new stuff, get a tattoo, and then use the rest to play more Scrabble!

Part III: Crafty Bastards - I joined [ profile] woolarina at the fair for a very short time (thanks to the Balt-DC drive taking twice as long as I anticipated). Our yarns and goods went over well, and it was nice to just see all that energy around crafting. I miss it here. I'm not inspired to craft here like I was in Maryland.

In all that excitement, I didn't have time to eat between 9am and 7:30pm on Sunday, save for a bag of almonds I'd picked up at Starbucks, and a few bites of chocolate. By the time I made it to my terminal in the airport, I was pretty light-headed, starving and cranky. The McDonald's I had there was the best I'd had in ages, plus I didn't have to feel guilty for the calories with the lack of food intake over the course of the day. Flight home was uneventful and short, and I slogged through work okay yesterday. It's the slowest time of my academic year (especially since Spring will also bring Tim's job search, and hopefully putting the house on the market and prepping to move), so it's a good time to feed my Scrabble and craft needs.


Sep. 22nd, 2007 12:03 am
It has been a nice visit so far. The med school is definitely a friendly, accessible place, which is counter-intuitive to me, since it's one of the most high-powered schools out there, especially in terms of research. I think in part it's the joy of knowing you're one of the best, and then being able to be somewhat modest about it. That said, though, the people really do seem genuinely nice. I think it has something to do with the culture of the midwest in general, with a little bit of a southern hospitality mixed in.Read more... )
today, i had set my alarm, so i'm showered, wearing matching socks, etc.  i did manage to leave the house without my glasses, so i had to backtrack and grab them.  i was also too lazy to pack a lunch, so i'll walk home and eat.  in part, this is a good strategy to get a little extra exercise in, and also to enjoy the beautiful weather we're having these days.

Today's top ten list courtesy of [ profile] hubertwee is to name the ten places I'd most like to visit.  I've been thinking about this for awhile, and decided that it'd be most interesting to include fictional places, which I'd rather visit than most real places.  Most of my travel is focused around food or a sense of magic, which I associate with my visits to Ireland, Macchu Picchu, the Japanese gardens in Portland (Ore)... I think it has to do with lushness, not being too populated with tourists, and vagaries of the day like my mood and the weather.

So, five real:
1. Morocco.  I'm in love with the cuisine, but otherwise I'm not sure what draws me to it.  Most places that I want to visit are green, and Morocco is mostly desert.  I think I daydream about the markets.  I loved the street markets in Peru, so maybe I correlate the two.
2. Iceland.  It just sits there in the middle of nowhere.  There's only one native land mammal (the arctic fox, according to wikipedia), and very few insects.  Its language maintains the use of a runic letter.  I don't know. It's just mysterious and cool. We might go there next summer.
3. Nova Scotia.  The pictures I've seen are really pretty.  Again the surrounded by water places intrigue me.
4. Wales and Scotland.  There's a lot of mysticism that I associate with these two. I also have childhood fantasies of riding poines across the moors. And I like the accents.
5. Japan.  I wouldn't mind seeing the homeland one day :)

Less real:
6. Lyra's Oxford, from the Philip Pullman books.
7. Diagon Alley.  Of all of the HP sites, I think this would be my favorite. I would buy a wand and go to the bookstore and drink butterbeer.
8. Avalon, from the Mists of Avalon books.  Again with the magic and the pretty.  Narnia would also fit in this category, but I don't remember the books well enough to know whether I'd really want to go there.
9. Chicago, in 1893.  I'd love to see what my hometown looked like back in the day, and the World's Fair seems like a good thing to take in while there.
10. It's a toss up between Oz (book version, not movie version) and Faerie, from Stardust.  Probably the former -- the latter will fade as my memory of the movie does.  Or maybe it's Paris at the time of Moulin Rouge (the movie). So many choices...  
Left for NYC around 4:30pm on Friday with [ profile] crosstables, played with GPS, did flashcards, stopped for dinner at a Greek diner.  Arrived around 10, and joined up with [ profile] lunatopaz's birthday festivities, which involved a Harry Potter party for grown ups and an independent bookstore.  It was crazy-packed, but our little group carved out a space, and sat and chatted til midnight.  One of the people there is the daughter of a faculty member who has probably taught my sister [ profile] u4ic in classes at Columbia. Nifty.  After Rochelle secured her book, we stopped for rice pudding at Rice to Riches, and headed back to her apartment.  It was a good night for roaming the streets.

Saturday, didn't wake up til almost noon, which I never, ever do.  Went out right away for coffee to stave off any headaches, and played a game of Scrabble.  Met up with a friend from Grinnell who I didn't even know lived in NYC, which was a pleasant surprise, and then headed north for the Scrabble tourney.  On a day when I wasn't hauling my Scrabble board, I would've walked up to 45th, but I bused it instead.  Played some games, watched some afterhours games, went back, again asleep around 2.

Sunday, up late, out to Farmer's Market, back for tasty noontime breakfast of chicken sausage, eggs, bread, cheese.  Showering, and then back into the world for more Scrabble, some snacks, and then back home.  Got in around 10, read until the morning.

Took the day off yesterday to recover from the weekend.  And now I'm back at work. I think the tired was as much from so much with-people time and not enough by-myself time as it was staying up all night.  My body craves alone time as much as it does sleep.
write at least 4 premed letters
win at least 11 games of Scrabble
play with the Wii
play with the family
play with Scrabble friends
start clearing out the back bedroom in grandma's house
buy some shirts
drink some caribou
walk a lot to offset caloric intake
enjoy spring weather
go to art institute
stare at pretty boys (and girls) at intelligentsia
take sister to movie (pirates maybe?)
keep up with work email
read under trees
write in moleskine or similar journal
catch up on millions of magazines that will likely be in parents' house

before i leave:
finish updating iPod
copy premed files to bring with
decide which bags to take home
refill prescriptions
Did more touring stuff. we learned about the counseling services, clinical skills stuff students learn, and then lots about the vet school. Vet school seems good. Got to watch kids dissect goat leg, got to pet lots of animals, and got to talk to more students, who all say go to a US school, but if you can't, then go to St George's, which sounds about right from what I've seen.

We were supposed to be done pretty early, but nothing works on time here, so we weren't, but still got some time in for swimming and rum punch with freshly grated nutmeg. I did some reading, then avoided sun poisoning by going inside and watching Golden Girls. TV is weird. Some channels are in English, some are in Spanish. Some are sometimes in English, and then you flip back a few hours later and they're in Spanish. News is all local NYC stations, so I knew all about bridge traffic and snow. I watched Jerry Maguire in Spanish for awhile.

But then, more importantly, was dinner. We ate at the University Club, which is a fancy, faculty-only establishment. All open-air dining -- I don't think any restarants in Grenada actually have windows. First was a cosmo, then curried cream of parsnip soup, then dinner. I had very tasty fillet with tasty fries, and a decent amount of georges dubouef cotes du rhone, which was perfectly reasonable after having finished a fairly potent cosmo (I'm sometimes not a fan of reds). For dessert, my new friends and I split a bunch of things, but the coconut-laced crème brulee was the best thing, plus some baileys and coffee, which was just a little more alcohol than I probably should have had.

Back at the hotel, I probably stayed up for one more drink on the beach, but who can say... the late evenings are a bit of a blur.
Day one was mostly travelling. Left home at 7ish in the morning, arrived in Grenada around 8:30pm, after a stop in Puerto Rico, where chorizo was a Domino's pizza topping option (I went with the pepperoni - I fear what chorizo might do to my belly, and it was a two hour flight from San Juan to Grenada). The plane for the second leg was loud, but I could barely tell with my fancy headphones on. I sat next to a nice faculty member who was on his way to St. George's. He's mostly retired, but they bring him in to teach two weeks on his specialty area, twice a year. So, expenses-paid trip to a Caribbean island, where they put you up, feed you, and pay you to do lectures. I could be a teaching faculty member if I had such perks.

The hotel room was fine -- balcony that looked out on the grounds of the resort (which included private beach space, a nice open-air restaurant, and two pools). It was 9:50 by the time I was settled into my room, and had the a/c fixed, so I ran down for food (dining closed at 10), ate with some other advisors, and then headed up and promptly fell asleep. I'd been in Grenada for three hours of awake time and got no swimming in. I'd fix that soon enough.
I hope to get around to backdating some entries for the past few days at some point, but it's easier to just start from today, at least.

Been at the parents' house since the 24th in the early afternoon.  Recognized serious allergies occur in this house.  I thought I was getting sick, but the Claritin dose made me 80% better, so I'll happily chalk it up to allergies rather than actual illness.  

We spent the morning at Intelligentsia, where the scones were sadly not delivered this morning.  They're my favorite scones in Chicago.  Drank mocha, did some Scrabble flashcards, bemoaned my stuffed up state, bought coffee beans for relatives' holiday gifts.  Stopped at CVS and bought miracle drugs and lotion-laden Kleenex, then did the rounds at the local bookstores, picking up the calendars for the year, and some holiday cards.  Yay sales.  A stop at Char Dog (Weiner's Circle) for the second time this trip, and then back here.  I hope to spend the day lounging, reading magazines, doing laundry, and then out to a fancy mostly-vegetarian meal at Green Zebra.

Thank goodness for vacation.
We fly to CA this weekend for Tim's grandfather's wedding. My carry-on bag is knitting, sudoku, Scrabble flash cards, Scrabble lists, and The Man Who Ate Everything. My Scrabble board will be a second carry-on, and will hopefully keep me entertained in the waiting area. Maybe I'll hustle some unknowing fellow passengers. It's like Washington Square Park, except in the airport.

I haven't eaten lunch. I'm waiting until I get to Cambridge, as I'll have time to kill there. I'm starving in the interim, however. When I get to CA, I will have In n Out Burger.
Sunday was spent in multiple locations, each of them helping to improve my satisfaction with the weekend. farm animals, bubble tea, bookstores )
I still haven't managed to write up my NYC weekend from two weekends ago, but at least I have that one on paper.  So, I'll write this weekend up, since it's only in my head and I don't want to forget.

Yesterday we headed out to the Columbia River Gorge for some taking in of the gorgeous scenery of this area. I forgot my camera cord, so no images yet, but it was quite pretty with the trees and the waterfalls. On the way out, we stopped at a little winery, a couple of waterfalls, and a cider producer. It was a bit warm, but still enjoyable. We crossed a scary bridge into Washington, and stayed in White Salmon, WA, overnight. There was a perfect little restaurant where we had homemade mozzarella, and I had a nice, light salmon with wasabi ponzu glaze while Tim enjoyed the fresh gazpacho, a cheese plate, and salad. This morning, the Inn where we stayed served up a ridiculous spread of pastries, fresh berries, egg dishes, and supergood coffee, which we watched after some soccer. We ventured back across the bridge into Hood RIver, had more coffee (iced mochas whose ice cubes were made of coffee! So smart!), did a bit of shopping, and otherwise lazed about. We stopped at a dam and a fish hatchery on the way back toward Portland. We're all about the geeky educational touristry. Tonight is an Indigo Girls concert - whee!
I've posted a bunch of backdated rambling about my arrival in fair Portland, so read if you're bored and have run out of current things to read about.  I'm not adjusted to the time zone yet, but that's fine, since the breakfast dealie starts at 7, and I have no internet in my room so I have to come down here to the business center (grr), which doesn't have enough usb ports to plug in both my flash drive and the keyboard simultaneously.  

In any case, the visit is nice so far - there are two starbuckses within a block, but coffee people is further away (in fact, i'm not sure where it is - I passed by on my wanderings around the area, but can't retrace my steps to find it...) and there are some local shops I'd like to try, but conference will keep me running around.  I wonder if the hotel will provide good coffee.  Seems like it should, being in Portland and all.  Temps went up to 101 yesterday, supposed to be more of the same today, and then come back down to reasonable.  Fine -- better to make it stupid hot when I'm in work mode rather than vacation mode, which I will be as of Thursday!  Yay!  I think we're heading out to the Gorge for a day, and sitting around watching soccer.  I've circled restaurants that I want to try in a magazine.  One supposedly has the best steak frites in the area, the other is tapas.  Mmmm.

615.  I guess I could go and get ready for the conference.  Or try to nap.  Or get an espresso beverage.
I made it through the opening of the conference. The speaker talked. I watched people fall asleep. It didn’t do much for me. I had had a mocha frap to keep myself alert, though, so at least I didn’t play the head bobbing game that other people were playing. I worked on my budget for work, which I’m supposed to turn in by next week. I looked around for familiar faces and saw very few. I noted a lot of pastel colors. The rest of my day was far more interesting than the conference part.
Read more... )The conference will keep me busy – sessions start with a 7-8am breakfast, and receptions close each day from 9-11pm, with breaks and meals between sessions and sessions in between. I can’t believe we have sessions til 9pm – you wouldn’t get away with that at a student affairs conference – there’s way too much socializing (partying) to be done at one of those to have the educational stuff go that late. I doubt that I’ll make much of an appearance at most of the receptions – at least one night I have to go and play Scrabble (have to!) – but one is a dessert reception, so I’ll probably at least skirt the edges of that one. I really do have to get some writing done, so I will choose my sessions accordingly.


Jun. 25th, 2006 10:00 am
I woke up at 5, 530 and 6, and finally decided that I might as well get out of bed. I took my bag with camera, map, water, and shawl, plus my iPod, and walked down to the river. There’s a nice path along the river, the heat hadn’t gotten bad yet (it’s supposed to hit 101 today!), and there were some runners for company (most everyone else I saw out at 645 am were homeless people). I walked for about 45 minutes, north to Burnside bridge, west to Chinatown, then back south to my hotel, for about 2.5 miles. I watched the city wake up this morning – there really wasn’t much going on until I was most of the way back, and then I started to see a couple of people, some street cleaners, etc. I stopped at Starbucks on the way back for a mocha and scone, which I took back to my room and enjoyed while watching soccer (yay England). I still don’t think my body has adjusted to the time zone yet, but I’m trying to force it to do so. I can’t believe it’s only 10am – I feel like half the day should be over by now.


Jun. 24th, 2006 09:07 pm
I wandered for about a mile between buying my movie ticket and the start time of the movie. I didn’t mean to go quite that far, but I got disoriented on the way back. I did get to my intended destination, which was Nordstrom Rack. I’ve had gift cards for Nordstrom since Christmas, and it’s one of the few places where I can actually shop for shoes. So, I found a pair of brown Clarks sandals that bring my total pairs of shoes for this trip to five (gym shoes, chuck taylors, birks, black sandals, brown sandals). Five pairs of shoes for nine days is probably more than I need. 
The movie (Wordplay) was so fun. It was especially fun that the audience was giggling at the same geeky things that I was. I wonder if any of them are Scrabble clubbers out here. Just like I see in the Scrabble world, the movie reflected the changing age demographic in crossword competitions (even though it wasn’t a main point). It made me want to buy a book of puzzles, so maybe I’ll stop by the Borders tomorrow. I wonder if there’s a NY Times Wednesday/Thursday puzzle book – I think they’re favorite days, although I’ve never done the puzzles with the regularity to know. Monday is always too easy, Tuesday generally is, and I can barely ever finish a Friday. Many of the celebs they showed in Wordplay were left handed. These are the things I notice. Glad to see that they do the puzzle in pen, and don’t cross out the clues. That’s the way to do puzzles, in my opinions. My dad does the puzzle in the paper every day before work, which got me started on them. In college, I’d grab the paper before my first class, get in to the room as everyone was filing in, and race myself to finish before the lecture began. I almost always finished. I wouldn’t be able to do that with the Times, but it was still rewarding to be able to do them that quickly (while also sipping my iced mocha). 
I left home at 430 this morning, feeling completely out of sorts from the disrupted schedule. I’m definitely not as resilient as I used to be for travel. A bunch of flights had been canceled last night due to the rainstorms, so the airport was unusually busy for 5am. I caught my flight (after they changed the gate and required a second trip through security), slept from take off to landing, swapped plans, sat cramped in the back row for 5 ½ hours, got my 50 pound bag, hopped the light rail, and arrived here around 2pm pacific time, over 12 hours from the time I left home. In that time, I ate half of an egg mcmuffin (now completely unpalatable to me. Stupid tastes), a blueberry scone, and a small bag of pretzels. The iced mocha I grabbed at the airport didn’t sit well with the lack of real nutrients in my body. I managed to check in, wandered a couple of blocks to an Indonesian/thai/some other asian variety restaurant nearby, had satay, rice and peanut sauce, got lost on the way back, found my room, took a bath, and now feel almost like a human being. My computer tells me it’s 741. I think I’ll have to change its clock just so I’m not constantly confused.
I’m still a little disoriented, and not quite comprehending that I’m all the way across the country. I honestly have no idea when my conference actually starts or ends (I did find out that registration starts tomorrow morning, so I’ll probably grab my materials before I head out to Saturday market, which happens both Saturday and Sunday). I’m not comprehending that I actually get a few days’ vacation after that, and that Tim and I are celebrating our fifth anniversary today. Summers aren’t supposed to be such whirlwinds, but this one has felt pretty nonstop. I hope to slow myself down a bit while out here in the pacific northwest. I think I’ll try napping for a bit, and then head across the street, where Wordplay is showing at the theater. Nordstrom is also beckoning from a couple blocks down – I can see it from my room. Nordstrom Rack isn’t far, either. Mmm shopping.



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