Great Barrier Reef

The latest trip took us halfway around the world, to Bali and Australia. We scuba dived along the Great Barrier Reef and spotted clown fish, a lion fish, turtles, and cuttlefish, among thousands of underwater creatures. On land, we saw koalas and kangaroos and one reclusive wombat. In Bali, we had a bit of a motorbike accident, but we're okay and were able to visit several temples and see much of a beautiful, if crowded, island. Check out the pictures!

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Sorry I haven't posted in so long. Things have been busy. I have a new job and fewer vacation days for travel adventures. I have, however, been exploring more of DC and need to get some of the photos off my phone to share here. Still missing Loki, but my parents have gotten a new puppy who is a bundle of energy. The garden didn't work well this year; the trees have grown so there isn't enough light. I'm going to look into community gardens nearby for next year. Frisbee season is upon us again, but I'm not quite as in shape as I was hoping to be. Even more than frisbee, I'm already looking forward to the next gourmet club, although I'm not sure yet when that will be. What else? I joined a book club. It's a great group and has got me reading a lot of new things that I've enjoyed. Oh, and we volunteered here near home on an archeological dig. We found shards of pottery and nails and an arrowhead. It was an experiment because we're thinking a future vacation may be volunteering on a dig somewhere.


Missing Her Already

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Smart, stubborn and so very sweet. She loved every person she met but rarely any dog. Patient with children, wary of cardboard boxes and eager to go fishing. A more loyal, loving dog would be hard to find.

Going home tonight and not seeing her wagging tail to greet me will be one of the hardest parts of losing her.


Greece

I love Greece. I love Greek food. If I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life, I could happily choose the Greek salad. We spent two weeks out on the islands, seeing Rhodes, Santorini and Crete. It was nice to get off the beaten path and see a little more of this amazing country. Check out the pictures! Santorini was touristy but even more beautiful than the pictures make it look. Rhodes is a tiny island packed with lots of history. And Crete is a fascinating world in its own right. The highlight was a cooking class on Crete in a tiny village that showed us how to make some of the delicious food I love. :)

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Miracles of Public Transport

After all the times Chris had to go, I'd never been to Geneva. So this time I tagged along. We got a rail pass that took us on trains, cog wheels, cable cars and ferries. We got to tour CERN. We stayed in a little village in the alps that has no cars and you can only get to by a series of cable car trips up the mountain slopes. We didn't exactly see any alps due to the weather, but it was a beautiful place nonetheless. Pictures are here.

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Yosemite

We headed out to California for one of the most spectacular weddings I've attended and on the way stopped in Yosemite for a few days. The waterfalls were spectacular in the spring, after a good amount of snow over the winter. I'd never been before, but I can see why it was the first national park. What an amazing bit of land. I want to do more exploring of the wonders across the US. Pictures from our recent trip are here.

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Olympics

Obligatory back from vacation post! We went to Rio to the Olympics, then on to Peru to spend time in the rainforest and hike part of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. A trip of a lifetime that crossed several things off the bucket list.

We went out to the olympic village and watched badminton and diving. We also traded a few pins. For diving, a storm was coming in and the wind was causing the divers to do belly flops. It was pretty crazy. Things were blowing in the pool, coaches were arguing with judges. At least the pool was no longer green at that point.

The next day we went to watch track and field, then the women's soccer semi-finals. Track and field was amazing, with several events going on at once. We saw women's pole vaulting and hurdles, men's triple jump, and the men's 200. Unfortunately, we had to leave before Bolt ran to make it to the soccer game. They changed the times after we bought the tickets to make them overlapping. When we got to the game, there was such a crazy long security line that we missed the first half. But I'm glad we got in because it was phenomenal to be there at Maracana, the temple of soccer, with Brazil playing. The crowd was intense.

Then, on to Cusco to acclimate to the altitude, which was harder than anticipated. My fingers turned blue and I couldn't think straight when we first arrived. By the next day, we were ready to go out and explore. Machu Picchu was everything from all the pictures and more. But all the other ruins were impressive, too.

The rainforest wasn't quite what I was expecting. Lots and lots of birds, but not nearly as many monkeys and sloths as I hoped. Apparently, something like 80% of the vegetation is not really edible, so animals often have to travel a ways for food and are often up in the canopy and hard to spot. Many bugs, but we didn't see a single snake. I guess I just expected the Amazon to be overflowing with wildlife. We definitely saw quite a bit, but different from what I was expecting. Leaf cutter ants are fascinating.

Glad to be home again. Pictures can be found here.

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Should I still have a blog?

My birthday is tomorrow and I've only posted once since my last birthday. Maybe I just need a photo site and not a blog.

What's new with me? Last year I did the Tough Mudder for my birthday; this year I tried an Escape Room. We made the leader board with one of the fastest solving times. We also had our end of season tourney day 2, several weeks late due to rain, and made it to the Finals. Today we'll spend in the garden, staking tomatoes, weeding, and warding off vine borers. I'll take pictures of garden and post; it's looking really nice. The peas have been eaten by deer, but everything else is doing nicely. We should start getting green beans soon. Tomorrow we're headed to Virginia for a picnic dinner and Flight of the Conchords concert. And then I go back to work, another year older.


Suddenly Spring

In a matter of a few days we went from the biggest snowfall of the year to 60 degrees and sunny. Sitting in the greenhouse on one of the first nice days of the year makes all the frustration of installing it worth it. The lemon and lime trees are flowering. The bay tree has just about doubled in size. The olive tree has buds.  And my banana plant now has 11 leaves. My tomato and pepper seedlings will have to be patient for the soil to warm up before they can go out to the garden in another month or two.

What else is going on? Loki has enjoyed the snow, as have I. I've been working on creating this Hobbes doll.  We went to New York to see Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, #JeffWeCan. We're looking forward to the ultimate frisbee season starting up again soon. And Loki is looking forward to fishing in the Bay again.

I'm also working on planning our next trip, which will be a driving tour of Scotland and Northern England. We'll stay in a castle in Scotland, take falconry lessons, stay at an 18th century pub in York, walk along a Roman Road in the Moors, hike part of Hadrian's Wall, explore ruined abbeys, and have all sorts of adventures tooling around the countryside in a Fiat 500. If anyone has ideas on what we should see, we're open to suggestions! Apart from a few days in Edinburgh, I've never been up that way before.


Life Goes On

It's been a long time since I last posted.  The garden grew and then died back with the frost.  The carrots, onions, garlic, and spinach are under cold frames now and the little space heater is back in the greenhouse. The end of season frisbee tournament was last weekend.  And then I think the next gourmet club theme will be fondue or food cooked with squash.  I realize I never posted the link to my summer vacation pictures on here.  Sorry about that.  Here they are.  And now it's time for the end game to 2015.  2014 has been a bit bumpy.  I'm looking forward to starting anew.

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Everything's Coming Up Peas

Peas are better than roses, right?  Roses are pretty, but they don't taste that good and they're thorny.  Strawberries are also way better and will be here in just a few short weeks.  Everything is behind schedule this year.  We just put the garden in.  Here's hoping for a good season!