May. 15th, 2013 10:52 am
clevermynnie: (smile)
I ended up having a really packed trip to Wales, but it was a lot of fun!

The precipitating event was the Ultra Brecon 40, which was a mixed bag. But what was great was that [ profile] erindubitably and [ profile] marrog came down from Scotland, to drive around with me and Ben and to do a lot of relaxing in various B&Bs, cottages, and pubs. Pretty much everywhere we went was gorgeous, but also we had a lot of fun just playing board games and listening to music and chatting.

We also visited some distant relatives of mine, second and third cousins on my paternal grandmother's side. They were really nice, especially my second cousin who is older now and told me about going around the US by Greyhound after World War II, moving to New Zealand because it was cheap and sounded fun, and generally how one should travel when one was able. They showed me my great great great grandfather's grave, and took us out to a family-owned house near Llanidloes. The house was very old and very interesting, with a lot of bedrooms that are apparently filled with distant relatives come summer. And we walked around to see the grotto, the pond, the forest with stone age burial mounds, and of course a lot of sheep and views of sheep. I'd love to go back and stay awhile sometime.
clevermynnie: (see us waving)
I am in the airport, and had to leave so early to get here, and am shifting so many time zones over, that it seemed to make sense to just not sleep until I am on a plane. At least, several hours ago that made sense.

I'm going to San Francisco to give a talk at a conference, and that is exciting. I did a practice talk for my boss which went pretty well, and while there are some nerves because this is the first time I've presented research from this group, it's a nice feeling that overall I know how to put together a good research talk. Also, obviously I know some people in the Bay Area still, and will be doing what visiting I have time for, so that is good. I haven't been back in four years, and loved the Bay Area but who knows how it will feel now.

After that I'm going to San Antonio to visit friends and run a race, and after that I should really have a vacation where I do nothing at all. Just sit under a tree and fall asleep, that would be great.

My uncle Ted, who was terminally ill a month ago when I visited, has now passed on. It's sad, and my uncle was great and I will miss him. It makes me miss family, but also family is complicated.


Jan. 29th, 2013 03:29 pm
clevermynnie: (al fresco)
The last week has been busy but mostly good. We had friends over to brew, saw live jazz at KC Peaches where I should just live from now on, played games with friends, oh and my improv class continues to be the best thing ever.

I'm back in the swing of running more regularly, after a bit of a break last November and December. It feels really good even though the weather at the moment includes things like strong winds whipping half-frozen rain into your face. But last week something bizarre happened, where I went on a nice group run, got home and sat down for 20 minutes to eat dinner and watch Parks and Rec, and got up to find I had intense and localized pain in my lower back, on one side of my spine. I hoped it would go away overnight but got worse the following day, which was alarming since I wasn't even sure what I'd done exactly to cause it. I kept flashing back to the last few weeks of high school swimming, where I suddenly got some sort of back injury while at dance team, which didn't get better for weeks, all while I was trying to qualify for state competitions in backstroke. Finally some "alignment" from an off-hours chiropractor my coach knew seemed to instigate my back getting better, but the whole thing was confusing and frustrating, and having sudden inexplicable back pain just took me back to that time! Fortunately it seems to be getting better, having improved a fair bit after two days of no workouts but plenty of ibuprofen and ice, with only a slight relapse when I did my weekend long run.

Also, pre-live-jazz I walked around Tradfest with some friends, this festival with a bunch of traditional Irish music on various stages. It was pretty cool, at least in places, and prompted me to look up more about uilleann pipes, the bodhrán, and the history of harps in Ireland. But also they had some dancers for some of the reels, and I just had such strong flashbacks to the last times I saw my grandmom, and the Riverdance DVDs she was always watching. I wish I could have talked to her about coming here.


Sep. 19th, 2012 05:26 pm
clevermynnie: (and then?)
I finally got over the terrible cold I had, and was able to come back to work this week. I'm still coughing, but that's dropping off exponentially, which is good because I had to go to a lot of talks earlier this week and coughing fits are not great in a talk.

Ben is out of town at the moment, at an AI conference, but before he left he did something really cool. His anniversary present for me back in July was a cookbook and the promise to make three full meals from it for me, and we had the first one this weekend (our August was very hectic so there was not time then!). He made corn pancakes of roasted pepper, red onion, and goats' cheese; aubergine gamelastra; and berry-almond tartlets. It was such a nice dinner! And he actually expended effort on plating things nicely, and bought special drinks, extra efforts I thought were really sweet. Plus he left some very delicious leftovers for me to eat while he's been gone.

Now Winnie and Jim, some of my parents-in-law, are here to visit. We sent them down to chill out in Bray for their first couple of days here, and it should be really fun to go around with them this weekend. They are such sweet people and I get on with them very well. I love when people visit us here!


Sep. 19th, 2012 05:26 pm
clevermynnie: (and then?)
I finally got over the terrible cold I had, and was able to come back to work this week. I'm still coughing, but that's dropping off exponentially, which is good because I had to go to a lot of talks earlier this week and coughing fits are not great in a talk.

Ben is out of town at the moment, at an AI conference, but before he left he did something really cool. His anniversary present for me back in July was a cookbook and the promise to make three full meals from it for me, and we had the first one this weekend (our August was very hectic so there was not time then!). He made corn pancakes of roasted pepper, red onion, and goats' cheese; aubergine gamelastra; and berry-almond tartlets. It was such a nice dinner! And he actually expended effort on plating things nicely, and bought special drinks, extra efforts I thought were really sweet. Plus he left some very delicious leftovers for me to eat while he's been gone.

Now Winnie and Jim, some of my parents-in-law, are here to visit. We sent them down to chill out in Bray for their first couple of days here, and it should be really fun to go around with them this weekend. They are such sweet people and I get on with them very well. I love when people visit us here!


Aug. 22nd, 2011 06:45 pm
clevermynnie: (Default)
I drove up to Maine on Thursday with Ben, my dad, and my uncle.


We saw my cousin and his wife there, and also my great aunt; everyone was a lot of fun, and we ate too much lobster, made a lot of bad jokes, and generally enjoyed each other's company. The drive was long but not too bad, especially since my uncle is as into music as I am, so we were playing interesting artists and songs for each other in the car.

The reason we were actually able to get so much family in one place at one time was to scatter the ashes of my other uncle, who died earlier this year. I have to say, scattering ashes is in many ways inherently comical, so it's good that my uncle had a sense of humor. We went out to Land's End, at the rocky end of Bailey Island, to commit my uncle's physical remains to the sea without getting too much of him on our pants. I'll miss him.

clevermynnie: (Default)
The last few days have been a whirlwind. On Friday we got up at 4am to make it to Los Angeles before noon for a wedding rehearsal. Friday afternoon and evening, lots of socializing with old friends and many people I had heard about but never met. Saturday, wedding day at UCLA, miscellaneous socializing and seeing Ben look amazing in a tuxedo and lots of dancing, beautiful wedding and well wishes all around. Sunday, long brunch with people Ben knew in high school who I didn't know, long drive to San Diego, fun hanging out but punctuated by a call from my mom that there's a fire and they are getting their evacuation stuff together just in case. Panic, echoes of Cerro Grande (the fire that burned part of the town when I was in high school). Trying to keep my mind off things. Monday, more socializing and errands, swimming at the beach, dinner with Ben's family, news that a mandatory evacuation is in place. Today I flew to Albuquerque, staying with my dad at my cousin's house. Looking out of the plane to the north, smoke everywhere but no plume. The town seems to be not burning so far, but many of the beautiful places nearby that didn't burn eleven years ago are likely to burn now.

Yesterday, knowing that my hometown was tinder dry and might soon be on fire, me floating in the ocean watching the waves, sense of deep surrealness about my life. Hard not to make comparisons with what life was like then, when this was the only place that was home. Now, married, in-laws by the ocean, grad school nearly over, moving abroad. It feels unreal but my old life of isolation is what I'm actually removed from.

Hopefully everyone will stay safe.
clevermynnie: (i carry your heart)
I think that I have written, several times, about how much I like to give gifts. I have talked some about reciprocity in gift-giving, which I largely do not like because I think that constraints tend to give a gift less value than if it is freely given. But I have also talked about getting a lot of joy from giving gifts that people really cherish, whether it's because the gift is very useful, because the gift creates a great memory, or because the gift has a lot of symbolic meaning. Obviously I like when people give me good gifts too, but if I feel I've given someone a really good gift I realize that I kind of dwell on it for awhile, because it gives me a sort of buzz from making someone I care for very happy. (See: repairing Ben's watch.)

Recently, the Christmas gift-giving season came and went; I gave some awesome gifts and some alright gifts. But I think I figured out a deeper reason why I enjoy giving gifts. Gift-giving as an act is an expression of feeling and appreciation, but the core power of gift-giving really comes from empathy. If I want to give you a good gift, I have to put myself in your place and imagine the things that matter to you. What things do you want that are out of reach, what experiences would you enjoy, what items do you not realize you would like? Giving a really good gift is expressing to someone, "I understand you", in addition to "I appreciate you". I think this is the place where cash and gift cards get a bad rap as gifts, because you could argue that the giver doesn't know the receiver well enough to actually choose something. This is so situational, though. Many people like gift cards as a way to treat themselves to something at a place they wouldn't shop on their own, and as someone who is nearing ten years of being in the educational system away from home, cash is definitely welcome sometimes. I mean, for our wedding Ben and I asked people to help out with our honeymoon instead of buying us stuff, which was effectively a cash gift, but being able to have a nice honeymoon is what we wanted. You can also argue that wishlists dilute the empathy involved in gift-giving, although I think they can be helpful at the very least in terms of providing clues. For example, Ben loves to cook, but this means he's received a lot of cookbooks that he didn't really want as gifts; this is something that can be gleaned from the dearth of cookbooks on his wishlist. My wishlist at amazon always has a lot of running stuff, and I receive a lot of running-related presents from people (both items from my wishlist and other things). You could call this an easy act of empathy, from a certain point of view, but my perspective is that running is fundamentally cheap but has a lot of expensive, nice accessories; people who care about me are helping me enjoy running more by giving me running gifts. That shows a lot of consideration of who I am and what I care about.

And of course, today is Valentine's Day, the day when we are encouraged to turn empathy toward our partner. I love Ben and love to make him happy, so this is not a particularly unusual occurrence, but it's a good thing to focus on nonetheless. We are celebrating by having a beer tasting at home this evening, which I am looking forward to, and by finally getting a wedding album with our tax refund this year (we didn't do it immediately after the wedding because we were so financially drained). I suppose Ben is one of the easiest people to understand, for me, so being empathetic toward him is not that difficult. But most of the people that I have chosen to surround myself with are interesting enough that I want to understand them, and have empathy for them. It's inherently rewarding for me, and I think that's the root of why I like to give good gifts.
clevermynnie: (smile)
Since coming back to Philadelphia, I have been seeing a lot of people that I don't often see, and eating a lot of amazing food.

First, I have to record my ongoing obsession with a new food truck that has been near my lab on weekdays, called Tyson Bees. They do Korean-Mexican fusion, and their banh mi, pork buns, and taco special (Vietnamese short rib, Thai basil chicken, and edamame) are all amazing. Plus they are pretty cheap. Hands down the best food truck I have ever eaten at, and very reminiscent of Berkeley in terms of the food quality, price, and creativity. I keep telling people about this cart because I want it to always be there for me... ideally it would follow me around.

I spent a day in NYC recently, walking around the lower East side with [ profile] vivnsect and eating green tea ice cream, pizza, and almond rice pudding (from a store that sells only rice pudding, in a gelato-type atmosphere). It was a lot of fun, lots of cool stores and places, and someday I have to actually go into the tenement museum and do the tour and such. In the evening Ben came up and we went with some friends to do the fried chicken dinner at Momofuku, which is an entire southern-style fried chicken and an entire Korean-style fried chicken, plus vegetables, sauces, pork buns, and an amazing drink which consisted of yuzu juice, black tea, and shoju.

[ profile] hans_meinigel, who I see all too seldom, came to Philadelphia for a bit and stayed with us, which was also great. We made him some fondue and Indian food, and at some point I went for a walk with him which culminated in gelato (dark chocolate, rosemary honey with goat milk, lemon ginger and rum, and orange cardamom).

This weekend we took the train up to Lancaster to stay with my in-laws there, which was so relaxing... we spent a lot of the weekend reading, playing ping pong, watching movies, playing guitar, that sort of thing. I went on a couple of great runs in my fivefingers in the snow, and went to spin class with my stepmother-in-law. And there was cake. :D
clevermynnie: (Default)
When we were in Los Alamos, we made a stained glass window with my mom and stepdad, to give to Ben's mom as a Christmas present. The process consisted of choosing a pattern, making a window design from that pattern, choosing glass, cutting out glass pieces, lining each piece with copper foil, tacking the pieces together with solder, connecting everything with solder, adding more solder to look nice, soldering on a metal frame, staining and cutting a wood frame, attaching the wood frame, and attaching hangers. It was a lot of work but pretty interesting, and I took pictures!

the process )

making a stained glass window 7
clevermynnie: (Default)
My sister-in-law Aimee was visiting this weekend, and she arrived just before it snowed 26 inches which means we spent most of her visit inside, cooking and talking. We went out once on Saturday, for hot chocolate from Betty's Speakeasy a block away, and twice today, once to give our neighbor who shoveled for us cookies and once to take Aimee to the train station. So mostly we just relaxed inside; we made a Shaker Lemon Pie, spiced molasses oatmeal cookies, sourdough bread, crepes stuffed with pumpkin cheesecake, beignets, maple candy in snow, and dan dan noodles. We made her try our homebrewed cider and whitbeer, and opened a bottle of mead that we started in September (it was interesting but too young, so the other one will wait awhile longer before we drink it).

I have a couple of pictures from the snow this weekend and a couple of pictures from the last time we brewed that I wanted to share... and I have a weird picture of a "snowman" we made. The snow was piling up on our barbeque which we still have not taken inside, so Ben made a snow head on it using cherries and a carrot... when it got dark out the snow head became kind of alarming, leering in at us in the kitchen. And when I say alarming, I also mean, hilarious.

Read more... )

yards, originally uploaded by clevermynnie.

clevermynnie: (see us waving)
We went to Ben's Levittown grandparents' house for Thanksgiving, and then on Friday we drove off for a short road trip. The main point of the road trip was to make it up to Bailey Island, which is in southern Maine, and which is where my great aunt Pat lives. I have been writing to her and receiving cards from her since I was very little, and I still write to her now. She's my paternal grandmother's youngest sister, and at this point she's my oldest living relative, all my grandparents having passed on and my paternal grandparents having done so before my parents married. I hadn't seen her since my uncle Ted got married, when I was in the sixth grade. Maine is a bit of a drive from here, but I wanted to see her and have her meet Ben. We were also able to break up the drive some by visiting other people along the way, so we drove to Connecticut Friday and stayed the night with Ben's uncle and aunt there, went to Maine Saturday and spent the afternoon there, drove to Rhode Island Saturday night to stay over and eat waffles with my Los Alamos friends Steph and Scott, then came back to Philadelphia through the heavy holiday traffic Sunday. I took some photos while we were there, which are below. The first one is a picture of a picture of my great grandfather, who looks a lot like my dad and was also a chemist.

great grandfather, originally uploaded by clevermynnie.

Read more... )


Jul. 25th, 2009 10:33 pm
clevermynnie: (Default)
By the time we moved over to my dad's in Los Alamos, I had had enough of being in the town itself. There are a lot of things about it that I miss, like the mountains, the food, the altitude, the dryness, and of course the people, but if I am there for very long I get kind of angsty and irritable. So it was very good that we (me, Ben, and my dad) piled into a car to spend the rest of our time in New Mexico camping... somewhere else.

First we went to Navajo Lake, which was about 4 hours of driving from Los Alamos. We swam there, hiked a little, and relaxed at our campsite. The next day we headed up to Durango and hiked, then ate a late lunch and drove to our campsite in Cortez the long way, along the San Juan Skyway which goes up through Silverton and Ouray. The views were amazing; I forgot how deeply I love the mountain greenery in Colorado. We camped out at Cortez and spent our last day at Mesa Verde National Park, which has amazing cliff dwellings (much more elaborate than Bandelier) and some awesome views of the Montezuma valley. I loved spending the time with my dad outside Los Alamos, and visiting some places I'd never been before... oh, and I took pictures!

flowers and mountains, originally uploaded by clevermynnie.

Read more... )
clevermynnie: (see us waving)
We are still shuttling from place to place. About a week left of that!

Christmas Day with Ben's family was pretty nice. There were tons of people coming in and out of the house all day, many of which I knew but some that I had never met before. It was fun but also a little overwhelming, in terms of socializing with people I wasn't totally comfortable with. I wanted to cling to Ben and the parts of his family that I knew better and thus found it easier to talk to, but I couldn't exactly do that the whole time.

The day after Christmas, I did another beach and cliffs run and then we went to the Wild Animal Park with Ben's mom (they had free passes to use up, similar to last year when we went to the San Diego Zoo with them). That was pretty enjoyable, and the first time I had been there after dark, but I have to say I think it's kind of lame that they replaced the tram that used to take you out into the enclosures with a different thing that you have to pay extra for. It is nice to see the animals at dusk, though, because lots of them are very active.

After that, and after a lot of Mexican food, we drove up to Ojai to see more of Ben's family. It's pretty relaxing to be here usually, with lots of reading and exercise (Ben's stepmom likes to take me to her gym for spin classes or out on hikes, and I am happy to oblige), and this time was no exception. We went to see a play that I very much enjoyed, called Inspecting Carol, which was a humorous take on theater and also the tradition of the Christmas show. Ben's dad and little sister are very involved with the theater community here, and were disappointed that we couldn't visit and see them in a show. And we did the final things for our car... cleaning it out, getting it washed, removing the tires and putting it up on cinder blocks (this prevents the tires from being ruined as it sits with the weight exactly the same way for a couple years), and putting a cover over it. It's a great little car, which is why we're hanging on to it rather than selling it, but it is just not needed for the next couple of years.

I also went on my first longer run since the marathon... I have been doing just short runs, getting back into the swing of things, but this week I'm aiming for five workouts and three runs, and hopefully I can keep ratcheting up the distance of my long run until I get back above 15 miles, then I'll hang out there and work on improving my pacing.

Right now, [ profile] juhi is making her way through Los Angeles to pick me up here, and by the end of the day we should be in Berkeley together. We'll be staying with my friend Daria, bidding goodbye to our friends Joao and Gersende, who are moving back to Switzerland on the 1st, and meeting with our beloved old advisor from LBL. It should be a great time, other than the driving which I am beginning to tire of. But hey, that is how you get places nowadays, while the gas is cheap.


Dec. 24th, 2008 05:23 pm
clevermynnie: (Default)
Yesterday, we drove south as planned, through Hatch to Deming, and then went west for a long time until finally getting to San Diego at about 1 in the morning. Upon our arrival, we found the room we are staying in with Godiva chocolates on the bed, and a bottle of wine with two glasses on the nightstand. Ben's mom is so incredibly sweet! This will be my first Christmas not in New Mexico since I was four, but it'll be with very kind people.

Today marked the first Christmas Eve ever where I went running on the beach. It was cloudy and cool, but very lovely. One nice thing about running is that if you incorporate it into your travelling, you see more of the places you visit, and it's rather nice running in snowy mountains and then on the beach in the span of a few days. And of course, this trip continues to be characterized by consumption of large amounts of Mexican food (which is more ok, thanks to the running, then it has been in past years).

And finally, hope everyone is having a nice day tomorrow with people you love. My gift to you is... )
clevermynnie: (I see beauty)
I had my informal piano recital yesterday, with some of my friends from Los Alamos and my parents. It went pretty well; I was worried that I wasn't ready to play the pieces for people, with my stage fright and all, but I did pretty well given my level of preparation. My two main goals were to work around my stage fright, which I did, and to have the motivation to finish a few pieces so I can move forward in my playing. This was my program:

Debussy - Arabesque No. 1
Chopin - Waltz for piano in E minor
Debussy - Snow is Dancing
Mozart - Sonata k.something, Allegro
Debussy - Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum

To be fair, the Debussy was all repertoire stuff that I've played before, and the other two pieces were stuff I've learned recently. But I think it came off pretty nice. I also made these tangerine almond cakes for everyone, from a Gail Gand cookbook that my mom had. We picked those to make because she had a ton of leftover almond paste from making my wedding cake. :)

I also learned form for squats and deadlift yesterday, from three people who were all more experienced with non-machine weightlifting than I am. (One of them described the teaching process as "too many chiefs, not enough Indians".) It was interesting and useful, and I'll be shifting my weightlifting more towards that when I get back to Philadelphia.

Last night during my recital, it started to snow a lot. Overnight there were 6" or so of snow accumulated, and Ben and I are driving to San Diego today. Ha. We'll probably go south to Las Cruces and then west, so hopefully we'll only have snow issues between here and Albuquerque. It's not snowing right now but it's very windy and I can see the snow blowing off our house into the canyon.

I think what I am most looking forward to about the drive is the massive amount of leftover turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce that my mom is letting us take in the car. Yum.
clevermynnie: (I see beauty)
Still in Los Alamos. Focusing on the positive.

My mother's cats (which is to say, the cats I grew up with) are so sweet, though so geriatric at this point. Their meows sound so old and crochety! Maybe I am only noticing this now because now we have young cats in Philadelphia. The cats here are still very sweet though, if somewhat needy.

We're making a bunch of food to have Christmas dinner today, which is nice. My mom makes wonderful Christmas dinners, traditional but exquisite because she is such an excellent cook. It makes it hard for me to have other people's turkey/stuffing/etc. dinners, because my mom's are so good and make me so happy. But I digress. Christmas at my house is very different from Christmas at Ben's house, where we will be for actual Christmas. At my house, I always spent Christmas Eve with one parent, Christmas Day with the other, which is effectively two Christmases. And both were family affairs, just me and my parent and sometimes step-parents, having a nice dinner, exchanging gifts, hanging out. Very low-key. Ben has Christmas at his mom's, with a bevy of siblings, a massive immediate and extended family present, and any friends or whoever happens to be around. It sounds hectic, and will be my first Christmas not in Los Alamos since my family moved here in 1989. How weird.

It occurs to me that I maybe should be making trips back to Los Alamos in the summer, rather than the dead of winter, when I could go hiking or backpacking or just be outside more. I went for a four-mile run this morning, but was very chilly. Neither Ben nor I really wants to do the four-parent-tour again next year, because it's quite a lot of visiting. We'll sort something out, though.

I have an informal piano recital tomorrow, to (a) motivate me to finish pieces, (b) get me to be better at playing for people, and (c) share my piano playing more with people who don't hear it much, like my parents and friends from here. Of course, this means I am very nervous about it. I should go practice.
clevermynnie: (wealthy young woman-about-town)
Things are picking up. That is a good thing!

For Thanksgiving, Ben and I drove up to Hackettstown, New Jersey, where my dad's younger brother lives with his wife. We stayed and had Thanksgiving dinner with them and my aunt's sister and her husband, which was really nice. My dad's family is so easy to get along with, full of interesting people with the same sense of humor as my dad. They have this beautiful house on a hillside in the woods, a little Fallingwater-esque in the sprawlingness of it and the way it's incorporated into the land, with a small pond and sweet older dog. On Friday morning we drove to the Delaware Water Gap, where I've been canoeing a couple of times, and walked around a bit to some half-frozen waterfalls surrounded by ferns and rocks that were very lovely (I forgot my camera! bad me). And then Ben and I drove home, via the only Trader Joe's in New Jersey that sells wine... the draconian Pennsylvania liquor laws and our enjoyment of inexpensive, nice wine engender some weird trips.

The rest of the weekend Ben had to work, and I cooked a lot. Maybe it was because I didn't cook for Thanksgiving, other than contributing a ginger ice cream and a cardamom ice cream that I made. But then I made some apples stuffed with sausage and vegetables, whole wheat crepes with a sage butternut squash filling, a cheese souffle, and some tiny cherry pies with the last of our frozen Montmorency cherries from the U-Pick we went to in August. I also made Earl Grey ice cream! The Earl Grey we have is a little too bergamot-y for my tastes, but it works great in an ice cream.

We had tickets to go to the symphony on Saturday but skipped it in favor of the Tuesday performance. The program was:

Andrey Boreyko Conductor
Garrick Ohlsson Piano

Wagner, Prelude and “Liebestod,” from Tristan and Isolde
Beethoven, Piano Concerto No. 4
Brahms/orch. Schoenberg, Piano Quartet No. 1

I guess my pre-existing impression of Wagner was that he was very dramatic and wrote some extraordinarily long operas. I didn't really know much of his music, so I'm glad I had the chance to get acquainted with it, because I enjoyed it a lot! I should get into Wagner more; he has a style I mesh with easily. The Brahms quartet was quite nice, although I mostly just liked the final movement which was gypsy-style (gypsy violin is so easy to like). And the piano concerto... *swoon* Firstly, Ohlsson (who I had never heard of) was a superlative Beethoven interpreter, with a massive technical facility but also perfect musicality and expression. I have spent some time with Beethoven piano works, I know how I want them to sound, and he got it right. But on top of that, it had been awhile since I saw a pianist in concert. It's mesmerizing, somehow more deeply satisfying for me than orchestral music. The same goes for violin solos, I suppose, but I had seen those more recently. The piano is such an amazing instrument, and seeing someone do something incredible with it is very enjoyable.

By the way, I am still preparing some pieces for a concert in Los Alamos (very informal, just to get me an experience of playing for people again and motivate me to finish some pieces). But I wish I had more time to devote to it.

Of course, I do have more time now than I did before the marathon, because you really have to observe the one month recovery period or risk injuring yourself. I was planning to take the first week afterwards off, then slowly introduce some easy workouts and not do anything too hard or long until a month had passed, but try to keep running/swimming/etc. so as not to lose too much fitness, while giving my body some time to repair itself. The beginning of last week, right after the marathon, was a parade of transient aches, soreness, and overall gimpiness. But on Wednesday, my left foot started hurting in the middle top area. cut for some boring medical stuff )

Long story short, my foot will probably be fine by the time my recovery period ends. I am really itching to run again but maybe it's good to have some break. And I can do other stuff, so I don't lose too much overall fitness.
clevermynnie: (see us waving)
This weekend was really hectic but fun, a lot of things happening to be scheduled at once.

On Saturday I went on this pair of hikes with a couple people from the physics department. We sent e-mails to all the women in the department, trying to make it an official thing, and I have to say that if I heard about a hike where transportation was arranged and I just had to show up, I would jump on it. But people on the east coast aren't like that! So strange. We went to Ralph Stover State Park and walked up to the High Rocks, which has some nice vistas but since there's so many trees you aren't really looking at much. From there we drove to Lake Nockamixon, which was much prettier, and hiked around there some. My only complaint with Lake Nockamixon is that you can't swim in most of the lake because they want it for boating. They actually have a swimming pool there. What a waste of a lake. The hiking is really lovely, though, and I took pictures!

trees, originally uploaded by clevermynnie.

a few more )

We also got lost a lot in rural Bucks county, which is a confusing place. But after driving by a zillion farm stands I finally stopped at one to get some dirt cheap tomatoes, zucchini, and peaches. Yum.

Sunday morning we went to the art museum for a champagne brunch with live jazz. This sounds really hoity-toity but the grad student center on campus was selling tickets for less than half the normal price, and it sounded fun and different so Ben and I snagged almost the last tickets. They had delicious food (amaaaazing bacon) and a jazz duo, and we met some interesting people, and then wandered around the museum a bit. We realized we hadn't been to the Perelman building before, which is separate from the main museum, so we went over there to see modern furniture design (cool), jewelry made by Alexander Calder (cool), and quilts (not as cool). There was also a photography gallery which I got excited about but it was closed to install a new exhibit. Aww.

We went home for about an hour, in which I took a nap and recovered from walking in humid heat in the wrong pants, and then drove up to Levittown to visit some relatives and take a ride on their boat! They had a pretty big, nice boat and took us down the Delaware river, actually back to Philadelphia. We went under the Betsy Ross and Ben Franklin bridges, saw some big event at Penn's Landing, saw the New Jersey (the ship, not the state) and a navy ship and the Moshulu from the water, and overall had a really nice ride around. I would love having a boat but I would really just use it to get to cool places to swim. I should have brought my camera but I had no idea if it was the kind of boat ride where you might get wet or not, so I erred on the side of caution. Afterwards we went to their place for barbeque, then came back to Philadelphia and squeezed in our grocery shopping for the week since we had so little food. I had a lot of fun this weekend.


May. 19th, 2008 01:44 pm
clevermynnie: (Default)
On Saturday Ben and I pushed our way through throngs of graduates and their parents on the Penn campus to go the gym before its closure this week. Then on Sunday, we went to Massachusetts to see his little sister graduate from Smith. It was sort of a lot of driving, and Smith is in the middle of nowhere so we couldn't figure out how to combine it with another trip somewhere without adding a lot of driving and inconvenience. But we got to hang out with a lot of Ben's family, listen to an endless list of names, and hear a very good commencement speech about teaching given by Margaret Edson. It's hard to give a good commencement speech, but hers was very funny, well-written, and touching.

I remember liking my Berkeley commencement speech, which was given by David Gross, because it had a good discussion about what being a scientist means and why we do it. I liked that we had a graduation just for physics, since his advice to us was more specific, rather than 'you are going to do great things!'. It also meant that we only had something like 100 names to sit through, rather than the 900 we sat through at Smith (which is a small college!). A full graduation at Berkeley would have been crazy though.

I have to say though, that academic regalia can be really cool. It is impressive to see professors in various colorful robes, with some sleeves down to the floor and those jaunty octagonal hats. To me a big perk of being a professor would be dressing up in such a ridiculous way as a sign of accomplishment one day a year. I think that at Penn, in physics, I could wear a red and blue gown with a hood and bars in yellow (for science). The whole ceremony of being hooded by your advisor is really cool, too.

PS. LAHS people, do you recall who our commencement speaker was? I was trying to remember but I can't; I just have the guess that it was one of our congressional representatives, Domenici maybe.


clevermynnie: (Default)

January 2017



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