Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Who Moved My Cheese?

It's a busy week for me. I have a lot of work to get done in preparation for a shuttle flight which is launching in just a few weeks. In addition, I won't be at work on Friday because I will be at a very special wedding. I can't wait!

But before I go I wanted to share something special with you. Growing up we were all taught to chase down our goals, no matter what it took. These people took that literally. They are chasing their cheese. (you can see it bouncing there in the middle)

This is a picture from the annual Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling. People chase a wheel of cheese down an incredibly steep hill and risk extreme injury in hopes of winning the prize. What is that prize you ask? Why, it's the wheel of cheese! I really enjoyed these incredible pictures of the event. I think it would be fun to watch but as much as I love cheese, I think I'll just buy mine at the store!

Monday, May 25, 2009

They grow so fast!

When we got Max about 5 months ago, he weighed 10 pounds and he looked like this.

Last week we took him to his 6 month appointment at the vet. He weighed 42.5 pounds! And now he looks like this...

He's still just as cute!

Follow Up: Highways

Here are the answers to the highway pictures I posted last week!

The first photo was the intersection of I-10 and 610 on the west side of Houston. The second was routes 76 and 202 outside of Philadelphia. Thanks for guessing!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Public Works of Art

When I'm stuck in traffic at rush hour, watching everyone frantically changing lanes so they can get on a different highway, it's hard to get excited thinking about who designed the highway. But after I read this article about different types of highway interchanges as viewed from above I was intrigued. I went on Google Maps and looked up some of the highways I have driven on and they are actually good looking! Here are two places I have driven quite a few times...try to guess what they are! I'll tell you the answers in a future post.

Hint: This one is in the Houston area.

Hint: This one is in the Philadelphia area.

Good luck!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Scrub A Dub Dub

A few weeks ago during the height of the world-ending-everyone-killing-massive-terror swine flu pandemic, someone posted a flyer in the bathroom at work reminding everyone to wash their hands. It even had helpful diagrams for those of us who haven’t yet figured out how to turn the water on (for the record it’s lefty-loosey righty-tighty). The flyer is still there and I have spent a long time trying to understand the mind of the person who posted it. First of all, from what I have seen the women in my work area consistently wash their hands already. Way to go ladies! Second of all, those stubborn outliers who do not wash their hands are making that choice despite years of training beginning in preschool, so do you really think your flyer is going to change their mind? This is not to say that I am anti-hand washing; I support 100% of bathroom users washing their hands (that’s going to be the platform for my first political campaign). I just don’t think a flyer in the work bathroom is the way to change people’s minds.

Within 48 hours of the flyer being posted, a second anonymous person added their own helpful tip at the bottom. “Or use sanitizer.” I have some issues with this. I do use hand sanitizer and have some at my desk. When you are somewhere that you can’t wash your hands (like the portopotties at the folk festival) hand sanitizer is an excellent backup. However, hand sanitizer is not called “hand washer” for a reason. It kills bacteria. It does not wash your hands. You still need to wash your hands to remove the sweat/pen ink/crumbs from lunch/cocaine residue (well there goes my political platform). So now I have two people’s minds to ponder: restroom flyer lady and restroom flyer writer lady. Given that the flyer is next to a row of sinks, why did she feel the need to point out hand sanitizer as an alternative? Are you really that busy at work that you don’t have time to actually wash your hands? If so I really doubt you work on my floor. After all, I have time to not only wash my hands but sit around and think about other people’s hand washing habits. Maybe later things will get really exciting and I’ll venture into the contentious waters of the tissue vs handkerchief debate (for the record, I’m pro-tissue). In the mean time, hand washers of the world unite!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Canada, Stonehenge, and Hill Country

What do Canada, Stonehenge, and the Texas Hill Country have in common? This week, it's me!

On Thursday I got this adorable package from Bridget. It made its way all the way from the cold weather in Halifax to hot Houston!

On Friday the Dude, his mom and I headed out to Hill Country for a wedding. The wedding was outside of Kerrville and was further west in Texas than I have been before. It's a really beautiful area that reminded me of Pennsylvania in some ways: the rolling hills, abundant greenery, and cows. However the cows had long horns and the hills had flat layers instead of the broken and slanted layers typical in PA.

The wedding was held at a ranch turned camp and there was lots of fun stuff to do! We swam in the river and the pool, went canoeing, and I went off this huge slide. You haul a wooden sled up to the top (an effort in itself) then slide down and watch your life flash before your eyes. It was fun but once was enough.

(notice how small the people are next to the slide)

(the view from the top)

On the way home today we stopped at Stonehenge. No, not the one you're thinking of...Stonehenge II! I had heard of this place before and some of you may have seen it on Friday Night Lights*. Imagine my surprise when we went around a bend in the road and there it was. The whole thing shows how crazy Texans are. Two guys found a big piece of limestone, decided it reminded them of Stonehenge and set out to replicate the whole monument at 75% size. It was pretty impressive!

After we left Stonehenge we stopped at the Riverwalk in San Antonio for lunch. There were lots of people out with their mothers for Mother's Day. I hope all the moms (and moms-to-be) reading this had a great day!

All in all, it was a busy couple of days but next weekend I should be able to relax somewhat. I'll be looking forward to it!

*If you are not already watching Friday Night Lights, start immediately. It's one of the best shows on tv.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Love of My Life

Based on the title of this post you probably expect it to be about the Dude. Or reading. Or eating. But it's not, so maybe I should have titled it "One of the top 10 loves of my life" but that just doesn't sound catchy.

So today's post is about one of the top ten loves of my life: sloths! I first learned about sloths in one of my favorite movies, Ice Age. One of the stars of Ice Age is Sid the Sloth!

Handsome fella, isn't he! For my birthday Erin and Heather got me my very own Sid the Sloth! He accompanied Erin and I to the premiere of his second movie, Ice Age 2. Sid (or "Shid" as it is more properly pronounced) is quite a guy. He's funny, good looking (see above picture), likes babies, and enjoys eating salad just like me!

This year for my birthday the Dude and and I went to the zoo and one of the requirements was to look for a sloth. We found one! In true sloth style he napped the whole time we were there. Sloths aren't exactly known for their work ethic but that's ok; who doesn't like an afternoon nap? Here's a picture of the sloth from the zoo. He's the furry lump in the middle.

Today I read an article about a baby sloth that was born in Costa Rica. He's adorable! Sadly from what I can tell sloths are not good pets but if I ever end up living in the Costa Rican jungle I will definitely have a sloth as a sidekick. He'll keep me from working too hard and we can take afternoon naps together. I can't wait!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Local Wildlife

There's a pond in the center of our neighborhood where we walk Max. We've been impressed by the variety of wildlife we've seen. Unfortunately I can't manage Max and the camera at the same time so I haven't gotten pictures, but every morning I see multiple white egrets (the record is eleven at one time!). There are a few turtles who usually stay in the water but occasionally venture out. The most unusual animals we've seen are a pair of roseate spoonbills. These pink birds are really striking and there's a pair of them which comes around. Last week we were out in the backyard and they came to a tree behind our house. I tried to get a picture but it wasn't great. Can you see them?

Max himself helped us discover this visitor last week...a Texas brown snake right next to the patio. We were relieved that the snake let Max sniff around and just stayed still!

This weekend we went camping at Stephen F. Austin State Park. We've been there once before and had been impressed by how much wildlife we saw, including one very persistent raccoon. Unfortunately this weekend the most abundant wildlife was mosquitos! Max dealt with this by spilling all his water to make a mud pit to roll around in. It was cool to see how his instincts kicked in!

Happily we did see lots of other non-blood sucking animals. The highlights were seeing a pair of male cardinals which flitted around the campsite all weekend, an unidentified yellow breasted bird, and most amazing of all an owl! We saw it as dusk was beginning...he must have just woken up! I wonder what we'll see the next time we go camping...