nlbarber: (Default)
We started the day on the south side of the river at the Pitti Palace, a de Medici palace, though the bought it from Luca Pitti and added on. It's at the other end of the walkway that goes to the Uffizi over the Ponte Vecchio, and now houses a number of museums and the Bóboli Gardens. You have to pick between two sets of museums when buying your ticket, and my preferred combination of the Galleria Palatina (with the major paintings) and the gardens wasn't an option. We went with the paintings, it being a chilly morning, near freezing, and we were all cold from our walk. Garden viewing wasn't on.

The Galleria Palatina was the experience I'd have liked in the Uffizi. Smaller crowds, and each room had a card available in Italian or English with the layout of each wall and blurbs for each painting, table/vase/whatever, and the ceiling frescoes. Better yet for my limited art knowledge, the really major works in each room were highlighted in red, for a quick way to be sure you didn't miss, say, the most significant Raphael in the room. After the rooms of paintings came the state apartments, also interesting. I think my favorite room,vas well as my nephew's, was the room of Hercules (supposedly the protector of the Medici family). B. put his mythology to the test trying to ID the setting of the various ceiling components and the paintings, while I verified by way of the card/cheat sheet.

That took up the morning, and rather exceeded the art quota for the younger generation. We walked back across the Arno, found a sandwich shop on Via dei Tavolini and got what turned out to be small sandwiches to share, and ate those in the street before heading first to the Nuovo Mercato street market, then back to the one at San Lorenzo for better prices. Brian wasn't interested in shopping and headed towards the hotel, the kids took off together, and Robbie, Myra, and I stuck together. The two shopper groups coalesced after a while to look for a leather coat L. was buying for her gym teacher, and a purse for herself, promised as a gift from Robbie. We found the coat first, and at the same shop I found one (hip length black with brown cuffs and collar) for myself, then the (excellent) salesman got A.L. to try on one that we all said was a great look on her. She couldn't afford it, and ended up getting a special gift from her grandma. :).

Shopping finished up with successful finding of a purse for L. and assorted smaller items as gifts for various people. I bought myself two scarves, one for dress-up and one for warmth (labelled as "Firenze-Italia" but made in China when you find the inner tag, alas). We walked back to the hotel by Via Genori, with a stop at Le Botteghe I'd Leonardo gelato shop (no GMO! No preservatives! No artificial colors or favors!), and arrived at the hotel in time to get coffee or tea from the afternoon tray.

Dinner was L.'s birthday celebration, and we had a recommendation for Paoli's from our first-day guide. Very nice, small, with arched and painted ceilings.
Close to kitchen and could watch--our waiter turned to ask if the steak I wanted was still available (yes), and called out in the other direction to order L.'s salad of rocket, zucchini, Parmesan, and truffles. I had filet with cream and green peppercorn sauce, after starting with a salad, then ended with creme caramel.

We gathered in a room off the hotel lobby to give L. her presents--she's now rather well supplied with scarves, I can report.
nlbarber: (Fish-Fred)
Breakfast about the same as yesterday, though we discovered that if you can manage to catch one of the staff, you can ask for espresso, capuccino, or cocoa. Which was a good thing, because today the big pot of coffee out on the table was tepid. The capuccino, while bitter, was hot. 

We had 10 o'clock reservations for the Uffizzi, which after negotiating the ticket pickup line, the security screening line, and the entrance line, got us in about 10:20 or so. We agreed to meet in the gift shop at 12:30...which seemed short even then, and after only a little while into the galleries proved ridiculous. There's so much in there, and the crowds also make it hard. Plus my limited art history background....

After that, we sort of started for food, but diverted to do Santa Croce. Robbie's knee gave under her on the way and she fell, so she, her mom, and B. found a place to sit in the piazza and waited while Brian and I and the girls went in. Again, there just wasn't enough time to explore the nooks and crannies and we didn't have a good guide to what was there, only the little free brochure. Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Galileo, and more are buried there, and the art work....again, my background just was inadequate. 

Lunch: what was supposed to be a great place for sandwiches had no seating (I Fratelli), and another that looked great had a tiny seating area that was full (Cantinetta del Verrazzano), so we ended up at yet another pizza place that I've lost the name of. I got a focaccia with prosciutto crudo and rugula, which turned out to be a crisp thin focaccia with the toppings piled on. Good, but unexpected. 

We then just happened to pass a chocolate shop our guide of the day before had pointed out, Arte del Cioccolato, with a lovely selection of truffles and other chocolates. I got a caramel truffle (caramel center, chocolate coated, dusted in powdered sugar, and treated each of the kids to their choice of truffle. 

Split up time: the girls decided it was time and joined the line to climb the Duomo., Robbie, Myra, and B. went to the leather market, and Brian and I went to Piazza della Repubblica to a department store with a rooftop terrace. Alas, the store was very crowded including the terrace and the view was disappointing anyway (mostly roofs) so we retreated without waiting for a table. Walking back we spotted [ profile] coalboy's recommended Il Pirata, plus another promising gelato shop. We made it to thevhotel for tea at 4:30 or so. 

Dinner was a hotel-recommended restaurant. Ugh, another pizzeria, Il Giardano di Barbano, but it's nearby. Not bad, actually--I had a pork chop that was reasonably well done, and others' pizzas seemed good. 
nlbarber: (Fish-Fred)
Hotel breakfast was adequate, but again a step or two down from previous hotels. No hot items, smaller selection of cold meats, cereals, and pastries, and a self-serve pot of coffee and milk instead of someone to prepare it as you order. 

We had decided to have a half-day tour to get oriented, and our guide Allessandra met us at the hotel. She was very good, giving a lot of Florentine history and art discussions as we walked and doing pretty well at engaging the kids, especially B.  
First stop was the basilica of San Lorenzo, large (large and well decorated were themes, as much of the core of Florence was built in a sort of conspicuous consumption arms race with other Italian cities), but looking rough as it never received the marble skin it was built to have. The market for leather and other goods fills a few streets around the church,  and is a row of tent booths, oftentimes set up in front of the owner's storefront, which they are anxious to get you to enter to view more stock. We weren't shopping at that point. 
Next up was the Duomo, the heart of the city.  Visible from lots of places, so you can't stay lost for long--you can always get back to the Duomo. The dome is a major feature as the English cognate shows, an early success in building a very large and octagonal dome, and it's actually 2 domes with a space in between. Steps in that space let you can climb to the top of the dome. The exterior of the Duomo is clad in a rather dramatic white, green,and pink marble facade, a 19th century addition. We didn't have time to wait in the line to go in, but did admire the Baptistry doors by Ghiberti--copies, with the originals in the Bargello museum since the 1966 flood damaged them. 
We walked on to the Piazza della Repubblica, with a big arch and a very useful 3D map of the core of the old city in bronze that our guide used to talk about the bridges and the river.
From there it was a walkthrough of the Palazzo Strozzi, for a discussion on how the rich lived in the Renaissance. Big palaces, lower floors fortified and with barred windows, used for food storage, stables, and soldiers. Upper floors were for the family, but the fewer stairs needed the more prestigious, so the children and servants got the highest levels. Kitchens were at the top, to keep the smoke and cooking odors away and to minimize damage from fires. 
We walked by the Ferragamo house/offices, a building much in this style, but with a store on the street level. The modern Medicis, says our guide. 
We walked across the Ponte Santa Trinita, looking at the Arno and the part of city destroyed in World War II.  That included the buildings on either side of, but not the shop-lined Ponte Vecchio. It was spared by the Germans not for its history or beauty (sort of), but because the bridge couldn't have been used for tank crossings anyway. All other bridges in Florence were destroyed, but have mostly been rebuilt in their old styles. 
Walked close to the Pitti Palace, later home of the Medicis, but not to it.
Recrossed the Arno on the Ponte Vecchio, historic home of gold and silversmiths and now mostly jewelry shops. The bust of Benvenuto Cellini on the bridge made me think of The Spirit Ring.  An upper walk crosses the bridge and connected the Pitti Palace and the Palazzo Vecchio for the Medici in a private walkway. 
Walked by the Uffizi and were shown where to pick up our tickets the next say, then it was on to the  Palazzo Vecchio (the town hall) and the Piazza Della Signoria with a cluster of original and copies of famous statuary, most recognizable being the copy of Michelangelo's David
On to the Galleria dell'Accademia, and the real David, and our guide gave us a nice introduction to it before leaving us there. We had lunch at at Ristorante  nearby--mine was a fairly ordinary pici with ragú, others thought they had their best meal of the trip there. 
Headed for gelato, stopped and went into Duomo as the line had almost evaporated and looked at the interior. The girls wanted to climb the dome via the staircase between the two layers, but the line was too long.  
Next up was gelato. L's gelato-expert friend's  "best in Florence" was closed until New Years, so we went to Grom, part of a chain.  I got chocolate and stratiacella--chain or no, it was good. 
We then split up, and Robbie, Myra, and I wandered through part of San Lorenzo market but made only minor purchases. Back to hotel, and I took a nap. 
At about 6, Robbie and Myra volunteered to do laundry, process that eventually stretched past 9 pm as they waited on machines. They got sandwiches at the bar next to the hotel, later Brian and L. went there and got sandwiches/salad and brought back sandwiches for other kids.  I skipped, as I had nibbled pannetone with tea at hotel's afternoon serve-yourself tea and the cold was depressing my appetite. 
nlbarber: (Default)
Let's see if I can do better with my Disney blogging this year than last, when I hit some snag about day 3, didn't get that day posted immediately, then piled up the remaining posts behind it. Those posts are still sitting on my laptop--maybe I can post 'em after this year's trip. The formatting may be a little rough, too, as I'm traveling without the laptop, and am experimenting with tools to let me download photos to the iPad, move them to Flickr, then integrate photos with a blog post. Photos may get jettisoned early on....

Back to this year's Disney trip. The timing has turned out to be bad, sandwiched in between 2 work trips, but I don't care--I need the break. It's the third year in a row I've met my friend and co-worker Krissi at Disney World--last year we were joined by Krissi's mom, and this year by Laurie, a friend of K's from childhood.

Settling in, dinner at Le Cellier in Epcot, pin trading )

Tomorrow we're going to start out at Hollywood Studios first thing, then will probably wander back to Epcot for lunch (HS is rather devoid of good eating choices, to our thinking). We have later dinner reservations at La Hacienda de San Angel, a new Epcot spot in the Mexico area that has windows on the lagoon where the spectacular Epcot fireworks show is held, so we hope to snag a waterfront window table and stay there for the show.

Our Disney trips tend to be structured around meal planning, itself structured around what reservations we (or K's mom) could snag. Blog entries tend to be rather food-focused, especially as the pin trading, another significant and continuing activity, is pretty boring to, well, most anyone who doesn't trade themselves. Food at least is more generally interesting, witness both the Bujold list and piffle.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
nlbarber: (Default)
Three States (geographical States, let's not count the sometimes states of confusion, enlightenment, etc.) today: Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia. Not many if you're trying to cover territory, but pretty good for a work day.

The excursion started yesterday, when I went to the office and collected a vehicle and drove to Chattanooga, TN, about 2 hours from Atlanta. visiting TVA, Chattanooga, and a thermoelectric power plant, all behind the cut )
nlbarber: (Default)
I meant to blog something on the San Diego trip (week before last) before heading out again, but it didn't happen. Maybe those notes will get written up sometime, just as a personal memory entry.

Anyway, this week I'm in Albuquerque for a meeting Tuesday-Thursday, the annual get-together for the user group for the USGS groundwater database. San Diego was the meeting for the water-use user group--I'm crazy enough to try to sit on both groups. I'd first thought to come to ABQ on Saturday and have a couple of days for sightseeing, but the amount of travel I've got right now made that less attractive and I changed my flight reservation.

I flew in last night around dinner time, and met up with others from the user group at the airport (after returning my personal rental car) this afternoon at 3. Not much time in the middle, but it was lovely. With very little lead time I emailed [ profile] idiotgrrl to see if she might be available for a MiniLoisCon of sorts, or failing that, just offer some recommendations for half-day sightseeing that wouldn't stress my bum ankle. Indeed, she was available, and in the end chauffeured me around all morning.

We started out with breakfast (huevos rancheros) at the Frontier Restaurant, right across from one of the main entrances to UNM. We made a quick swing by [ profile] idiotgrrl's house for me to meet the cats, but only Spot and Shadow were At Home--I'd so wanted to meet Dufus Claudius, too. However, both Pat and I were amazed that Shadow let me actually enter the doorway of the room he was in before deciding to leave by the cat window.

We then headed off to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, which turned out to be a nice little museum with two primary exhibits--one on life through geologic time with emphasis on New Mexico's geologic history (and lots of dinosaurs), and a smaller exhibit on space exploration, again making the NM connections. They had a really great exhibit/art piece/don't know what to call it in the main lobby, a backlit piece that was a desert scene. What made it unique was the collection of polarized filters in a little holder for you to grab, then view the piece through a filter while rotating it. The scene went through several shifts as the light changed: the mountain lion in the foreground appeared, then showed in fossil form. An eagle flying over with a rattlesnake in its talons appeared and disappeared. Just a really neat idea, well executed.

We didn't do the planetarium show or the nearby exploratorium, but wandered through the gift shop and then sat and chatted in the little snack bar. It was nice that the museum let us both in for free on my Fernbank Museum membership card, too. After that, Pat ran me back to my hotel by the scenic route, giving me a little more orientation to Albuquerque on the way.

After saying goodbye to Pat, I made a quick grocery store run before returning my car, then met up with 2 of the other user group members at the airport to get a ride back to the hotel. Another 3 members appeared while we chatted in the hotel lobby, and the group decided (surprise!) on Mexican/New Mexican cuisine for dinner, at Monroe's. I had a bowl of Cream of Green Chile Chicken soup with a house-made flour tortilla--good, though the flour tortilla at the Frontier had Monroe's beat by a mile.

Meeting starts tomorrow, so any additional sight-seeing will have to be in the evening after work...
nlbarber: (Default)
In the usual fashion, I don't have time to make this shorter. An unfocused and un-edited ramble follows...

Washington meetings, Moultrie furniture moving )

After that, it was a pretty relaxing day. The folks next door called from Cancun to wish me a happy birthday, and the kids bemoaned the weather Tropical Storm Alex was causing. I took a short nap, went to Home Depot for some garden stuff and to the grocery store, baked cake-of-the-week (not one I'd choose for my birthday cake), grilled a steak for dinner, and went to Brusters for a kids' hot fudge sundae for my real birthday treat.

Now, what I really need is a weekend. How come tomorrow's Monday?

Prep day

Jun. 23rd, 2010 08:25 pm
nlbarber: (Default)
Today was not very productive, as most of the afternoon was spent wrestling with two different printers trying to produce sufficient copies of various handouts for tomorrow's three meetings. We didn't get all that we intended, but hopefully we have enough. We went straight from the office to dinner (at Amphora, a Greek diner), then to our hotels.

6:30--meet in lobby where Eric, who heads up this overall project, will pick us up. (He's at a different hotel.) Go to USGS HQ and grab breakfast in the cafeteria.

7:30 Catch the Interior shuttle downtown to the main Interior Bldg. Drop our suitcases and laptops with someone who will watch them for the day--apparently you don't want to try to carry electronics into the Department of Energy bldg at least, as it greatly complicates an already arduous security process. Catch a taxi to an EPA bldg.

9:00 meeting at EPA--4 of us from USGS, 5 or so from EPA. We're just planning to introduce who we are and what work we're doing on thermoelectric power plant water use. The EPA contact would like a more substantive discussion. Susan thinks we can limit this meeting to 30 minutes. I...doubt this. OTOH we probably need to be out of be building by 9:45 to make the next meeting.

Catch a taxi to the Forrestal Bldg.

10:30 Meeting with a policy group at Dept of Energy coming late to the thermo water use party, who we made contact with when they sent an email requesting some data. We put them in contact with the other DOE group we're working with, but this will be another 'who are we and what are we doing' meeting. After this meeting, find the DOE cafeteria and eat lunch.

1:00 Purpose of trip--meeting with a group of mostly DOE EIA (Energy Information Agency) people. The agenda has 4 items on it, we expect to get through 2 of them. Need to leave in time to catch a taxi back to Main Interior for Eric to catch the last shuttle to USGS at 4:30. He'll pick up his car and drive home to New Jersey.

ca. 4:30 Susan, Tim, and I walk 5-6 blocks to a Metro station ( unless there's an afternoon thunderstorm in progress, in which case a taxi will be employed). Susan goes to Union Station to take a train to Baltimore for a weekend with her sister before flying home to Memphis, Tim and I go to National Airport to fly to Nashville and Atlanta, respectively. My flight's at 8--if we are way early, I'll try to get on the 6 pm. Or the 7 pm. It's a shuttle flight leaving on the hour, but the 6-7-8 pm flights look pretty full.

Posted via Journaler.

nlbarber: (Default)
Lots of storms in Atlanta this morning, with flash-flood warnings out (though not as bad as far). I started this post at the airport waiting on my delayed flight to Columbus, OH, which was held up on its inbound leg. We finally took off, and arrived at 1:30 or so, not quite 2 hours late.

When I got to the local USGS office, though, I found I had it easy. This trip is for three of us working on a project to get together and look at the analysis to date. K., obviously, is based in Columbus. S. is based in Memphis, and was driving with her husband....via Nashville. They left Sunday morning expecting to get to Ohio that afternoon. Apparently they've spent a lot of time sitting in traffic going nowhere. When K. and I left for the day at 5, S. was still on the road but was clear of the flooding problem area.

Hopefully person 3 has arrived now, and we'll be able to work together tomorrow and Wednesday.
nlbarber: (Default)
This is an unusual complaint: AirTran was apparently too efficient with the baggage handling for my flight last night. Granted, my flight came in at the far end of D concourse, meaning I had a long hike to the center, then the train ride to Baggage Claim. I had the advantage of a seat toward the front of the plane, though, and didn't make a pit when I didn't see my flight listed on the board I assumed the bags hadn't made it yet. And I waited, and waited, was joined by a friend who'd been on the same flight, and we waited. The friend recounted waiting an hour for bags on a Delta flight last week, so we waited some more.

At 45 minutes after the flight landed, we gave up and went to AirTran's baggage service office. There were our bags--the AirTran employee said they'd been removed from the belts for security after we didn't pick them up. Could the bags have gotten to the terminal, spun on the carousel until considered abandoned, been removed and the flight info taken off the board, all in the 15 or so minutes before I got there? Or perhaps the flight just never got posted on the baggage status board. The real mystery to me is where the other bags from my flight were. Did I miss hearing an announcement of the carousel number (if so, my friend did too)? Do so few people check bags now with the fee$?

In any case, I waited an unnecessary 30 minutes or so after a long week of travel. Next time, I'll head straight to the baggage office if my flight isn't on the board.
nlbarber: (Default)
I got home last evening after a full week in Denver, the first of the usual 2 trips there for database testing. I added to the trip this time by going out on Friday, meeting up with friend and co-worker Krissi (same friend as on the recent Disney excursions), and spending the weekend we arrived....working. There was far advance testing prep needed in than we could do (or than the test manager could do), but we did get through a tricky task each and also got our heads in the right place for the coming week of testing.

Sunday afternoon we drove back out to the airport to turn in our personal rental car (the database program manager having refused to pay for our weekend expenses--his budget is *extremely* tight), met up with the programmer for the water-use part of the database at the rental car place where he got a car at the gov't rate, picked up a contract programmer at the airport proper, then drove back to our hotel in Lakewood. Krissi headed in for an early night, but I went with the other two on a drive to Idaho Springs, Central City, then looping back to Golden and Lakewood. It was nice to see something other than Denver, Lakewood, and the Federal Center for a change...we are out here so often, there's a tendency to not do any sight-seeing during the week. The drive was also a chance to get to know Tong (the contract programmer)--I had had no contact with him before, and Todd (the water-use programmer) had been communicating with him by phone and email for a few months but had never met him face-to-face.

Beyond that, it was a full week on the database. We're making radical changes to the aggregate data database (the one that supports The Report) and are 18 months from release, so that testing was in the very early stages. I did a little on that, but spent most of my week in the main NWIS testing the groundwater database, which is adding access to some tables formerly used only by water use.

Today I seem to still be on Mountain Time--I got up late, went to Pastries A Go Go for breakfast as it seemed too much trouble to make coffee at home, went to the library, then home. Lunch was late again at Panera, then I went to the grocery store and home. Final excursion was to the Post Office with a Bookmooch book, then a swing by Whole Foods for creme fraiche, and home again. In between all these trips, picture me either with a book in hand or in front of the computer, but always with a cat in the lap, on the shoulders, or on the desk beside me.
nlbarber: (Default)
My flight home was uneventful--I drowsed most of it while listening to Komarr on audiobook, a book I know so well it doesn't matter if I actually sleep through some parts. The interesting incident was before the flight when I was pulled out of the boarding line for extra screening by 3 TSA employees. I haven't even seen extra screening going on in several years. They searched my large over-the-shoulder bag, had me remove the cap from my water bottle (carried empty through x-ray, filled at a concourse water fountain) so they could wave a test strip over it, then thanked me and let me board. The rolling laptop case was ignored. I feel so much safer for this experience...

Anyway, sister-in-law graciously picked me up at the airport and whisked me home. I greeted the affection-starved cats, then went and bought milk before dosing myself with cold medicine and going early to bed. This morning, when I reached for that milk to add to my coffee cup, I found the fridge was at 70 degrees (F). Freezer was at 7. The settings are for 0 and 37. I tried playing with the controls, pushed the doors firmly closed, that sort of thing, then moved the frozen ice cream maker insert to the fridge to try to help keep some cool. Of course I could locate the owner's manual for every appliance replaced in the 2006 kitchen renovation except the fridge. It was time for my hair appointment, so I left.

On return, the fridge was at about 54, but the freezer was 12. I began calling repair places: Sears can come next Wednesday. The Appliance Doctor doesn't even answer the phone on weekends. GE Appliance Service can come Monday--I made that appointment, then kept calling. Finally got what appears to be a one-man operation who will try to get here today ("or tomorrow for sure!"). Meanwhile, the fridge is now almost at the setting of 37. The freezer is at 11. I guess I need to have a repair person look at it no matter what, even if the freezer should start getting to an acceptable temp.
nlbarber: (Default)
The Groundwater Users Group meeting started Tuesday and went through today, meeting at the local USGS office on the campus of Portland State University. The meeting was pretty productive, but I was less so than usual as Tuesday I came down with a cold. As colds go it's not too severe, but I'm coughing, sniffing, and wheezing, and my voice is threatening to go. Made it rather hard today when I was presenting a topic and the discussion went long--I ended up taking a coughing fit out in the hall towards the end. But I survived, and I hope I managed to keep my germs to myself.

I skipped dinner on Tuesday for an early evening, and skipped the excursion to Multnomah Falls yesterday to spare everyone else my germs in the 15-passenger van. As they left at about 3:30 for that trip, I took the streetcar to a Safeway for cold medicines, then on to Pioneer Square to a Moonstruck Chocolates store for truffles. This evening everyone went separate ways, so I found a good hamburger at a local chain called Stanfords--there was one three blocks from my hotel.

Tomorrow I catch a van to the airport at 9, and am armed with *real* Pseudophed for the flight courtesy of Dorrie. I discovered to my horror that Pseudophed requires a prescription in Oregon, instead of just being a 'behind the counter' medication as it is in Georgia. Funny thing about colds--everyone wants to give you their remedy for it. I took the Emergen-C (vitamin C plus some other stuff) from Eve, declined Greg's Zicam, and as I said fell on the offer of Pseudophed from Dorrie. Hopefully the ears will stay unblocked so the flight won't be to unpleasant. I'll be trying hard to keep my cold germs away from my fellow passengers.
nlbarber: (Default)
I've been in Portland, Oregon all week for the annual groundwater users group (GWUG) meeting, plus a little mini-vacation. "Mini" as in "flew out Sunday instead of Monday to allow for a day of sightseeing". It worked out wonderfully well, thanks to a friend and his wife.

the details of the sightseeing... )

From there we went further south to a beach near Salishan (a high-end development), and had a long beach walk just enjoying the pounding of the surf and the cool air. Then it was time to start back, but we did go on south to Newport to pick up US 20 to head west. Then it was over to Corvallis, where they gave me a glimpse of Oregon State (where their younger daughter is in school), and then north to Portland. A very long day, but lots of fun...
nlbarber: (Default)
Between two trips, that is. And two committee meetings, the purpose of the trips. Chicago was the water-use user group (database users, that is), and I'm en route to Portland, OR for the groundwater user group. I'm on both of these because the two disciplines share a lot of issues and a lot of database functionailty.

Odd training, and other stuff )

So I'm on the way to Portland--I used a chunk of the 5 hour flight time for working on my part of the upcoming meeting, but of course found I need an Internet connection to do it all. Tonight and tomorrow I'll be getting together with a friend who retired last year and his wife. Dinner tonight, and tomorrow they offered to take me on an excursion to the Oregon coast. Tuesday the groundwater user group meeting starts, and Tuesday night I'll have a mini-Pifflefest with Kay/oregon_katy. Wednesday evening the GW group will compress our work day and take off in mid-afternoon to drive to Multnomah Falls on the Columbia River gorge. Thursday evening is open--I will probably try to include a visit to Moonstruck Chocolates as part of my evening. Should be a nice combination of work and fun.
nlbarber: (Default)
One day to see some sights....

List of the day's activities behind the cut )

Elapsed time: about 12 hours...maybe 11-1/2. Now I'm taking one of my Lush bath bombs and headed for a nice soak in a hot bath....and someone else will clean the tub for me tomorrow. <g>


Jul. 19th, 2009 11:18 pm
nlbarber: (Default)
I'm in Chicago for the week. OK, Bensenville, which is suburban Chicago, SW of O'Hare. It's the annual water-use database users group meeting, and our new chairman picked Chicago for the location then found this hotel. I still haven't figured out why he was so set on Chicago, but I'm trying to not interfere--I limited myself, during the planning, to a couple of mentions of why meeting at a USGS office (even one that's not a committee member's base) had logistical and financial advantages. Hotel shortcomings will be ranted on later.

lunch with friends )

In light of my short night of sleep (up too late doing chores and packing), I elected to nap away my afternoon instead of tackling the Chicago public transit system to go downtown. I'll do that tomorrow (meeting starts Tuesday)--headed to the Field Museum first, then maybe Millennium Park or other wandering in the Loop area, the water tower (I am here for a water use meeting, after all...), and whatever else catches my fancy. It's my first trip to Chicago proper, so I'm just exploring.
nlbarber: (Default)
The radio alarm clock greeted me with "Winter Storm Advisory--3 to 5 inches of snow accumulation today, more toward the foothills". Which is where I am, with the Federal Center in Lakewood and the hotel on the fringe of Golden. It is supposed to stop by 1-2 AM tomorrow, which I hope means no problem when a friend drives me to the airport at 5 AM.

On the good news side, the database testing is going well, for the water-use team at least. And I haven't heard loud grumblings from any of the other rooms (groundwater, water quality, surface water) either. I've about finished one of my two assignments, and the other should be easily completed today.
nlbarber: (Default)
I'm in Denver for the first of the two annual database tests. I arrived on Sunday to a beautiful clear day, with temps that let me not quite abandon the jacket, but at least leave it open. Flying in there had been some snow cover left over from their blizzard last week, but pavements were mostly clear and grassy areas were getting that way.

When my carpool group emerged from the hotel yesterday, it was into cold and gray (OK, the sun wasn't up yet, but anyway), with some sort of freezing precip blowing into our faces and a couple of inches accumulated on the cars and grass. Looked like pelletized snow, in sleet-sized particles. Uncomfortable, whatever it's called. That cleared up in time for me to make a chilly hike at lunch to Subway (food + some exercise). By the evening lots of the grass was clear of snow again, aided by the drying effect of the brisk wind.

Today is supposed to be clear, high of 45 F. Tomorrow, more snow in the afternoon, maybe another couple of inches. Thursday, clear again (and I fly out that morning, so I'd like that snow cleared in time for the trip to the airport, and clear conditions to fly please....).
nlbarber: (Default)
I fly to Denver tomorrow for the first of the two annual database tests. This trip is complicated by my needing to come home early for my father's surgery, which should actually be over by the time I land Thursday midday. Afterwards, he'll be recuperating at my place for a while. (My brothers and SIL-next-door will be coping with everything while I'm in Denver.)

And the travel arrangements were complicated by GovTrip, the travel system we use to do all our travel paperwork these days, getting hacked about the time I wanted to make my reservations. Once I was able to get into GovTrip, I found the federal gov't contract carrier for Atlanta-Denver flights has changed again, from AirTran to United. My flights on United have been few and far between (they don't compete much in the Atlanta market), so it's basically a new system for me to figure out. The combination of late reservations and time restrictions on when I wanted to return has me on a United Express flight on a small Embraer plane for the 3-1/2 hour flight, and getting there a good 6 hours before I really wanted to. The return, on the other hand, will be on a Delta flight--because there was no United flight that was anywhere close to my travel time window. Takes extra paperwork to not use the contract carrier, but my supervisor approved it in this case.

Today's effort was online check-in. I got through most of it, put in my credit card info to pay for the checked bag, and the system blipped back to the beginning leaving me wondering if the payment went through. After ten minutes on hold I talk to Customer Service in India (apparently) to find out it did not, and I must start again. Grrrr.....


nlbarber: (Default)

November 2016

67891011 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 212223242526


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags