Thursday, October 7, 2010

Summer and Fall News PLUS a birthday party invitation

Summer and Fall news

In May, Don and I attended my only nephew's graduation from Bucknell in Pennsylvania. It was a nice weekend trip and may be one of the last times that all of my immediate family is in the same place at the same time. For a present, I put together a Shutterfly book of many of my travel photos. It was something of a laborious process, but I was fairly pleased with the result: 20 + pages and a hard cover. (click on the photo below to see the gallery of photos).

Don and I also planted a small garden again with peas, beans, zucchini, cucumbers, and only 5 tomato plants. However, those plants were HUGE!! and produced far more tomatoes than we could possibly consume, or even give away. Don did his part though and canned more than 2 dozen jars of tomatoes and a few more jars of beans.

We went to an airshow in Warren, VT that had an amazing stunt plane that did things I did not know a plane could do: hammerheads?? it falls end over end, or just tumbles from the sky. Also really cool flying by a couple gliders with smoke on the wings. We took a short trip to the North East Kingdom (NE Vermont) and saw probably the only remaining wooden water pipe. It has a few leaks, but it was pretty cool to see. The balloon was on 4 July I think and it was touching down on the White River, not far from my house.

My summer was taken up with work, at least during the week. I am the field/lab tech for an ecology professor at Dartmouth College--Kathy Cottingham. (Click on her name for her research website.) My main tasks were--once a week--going to Lake Sunapee, about 30 miles away, and taking limnology samples (water, water temp, surface tows...) and also swimming out to our cyanobacteria recruitment bottles (2-3 meters under the water) and bringing the samples to the dock and returning the now cleaned out bottles back to the traps (photo in the gallery might help). Some of the traps were deep enough that scuba gear was needed. So, I got to do a little bit of scuba diving every week as well.
The rest of the my time is spent analyzing the water samples for nutrients (N and P) by using a spectrophotometer, measuring the chlorophyll, and counting how many cyanobacteria (Gloeotrichia echinulata) and zooplankton were in the surface tows. There are always odds and ends of things to do in the lab to keep it neat and clean--washing glassware, getting rid of hazardous waste, ordering supplies and the like.
I did spend one day helping another lab collect estuary sediments that we then seived down to very fine to be used in their lab for culturing amphipods--little critters.

In July, I headed to San Diego to celebrate Larry and Diana's wedding. They had gotten married earlier in Scotland with a reception in London, but they threw a party in SD for those who could not make the London reception. I made a weekend of it with a visit to SeaWorld and a bit of biking around town and running on the beach. It was a great trip except for the minor bike crash a couple blocks from Larry's house. It really could have been much worse, but was quite embarrassing rolling into his yard bleeding profusely and having jammed the chain rather effectively.

In late August, my brothers and I spent a weekend in the home town of New Lebanon and did a few things together. It was fun to spend the time together--nearly as adults--and check out some of the old haunts. In September, Don and I did a little hike up Hunger Mt in Vermont--very pretty--so some photos to go with it. I also got my nose broken playing soccer--a couple very impressive black eyes to go with that. But it is fine now and you can't even tell it was broken.

Got to spend an overnight in Cook Park, Green, NY with my friend Laurel and her friend Bill. Laurel was hoping to catch some tree crickets for her research, but it was a rather chilly evening.

One of the most traumatic events was the near killing of my lovely kitty, Phoebe. She was grabbed by the back of the neck by a fisher--weasel-like predator--in Don's back yard. Fortunately for her, we heard her make a noise, and I saw her, so I was out the door like a flash and when I got to her, the fisher, fortunately, let go. They are very aggressive predators and luckily this one was probably young and inexperienced. Phoebe was totally in shock, unresponsive, but still managed to sink her fangs into my thumb joint. So, we took her to the vet not knowing if she was really hurt or would make it through the shock or what. In the meantime, my thumb had been bleeding profusely and had become infected, so I headed off to the ER--oh yeah, this was 8 am on a Sunday morning--to get my own antibiotics. We have all decided that Phoebe used one of her nine lives that morning as she is totally fine--no damage, no infection, 100% fine. My thumb is still a little bit sore, but also will be fine. One very lucky kitty!

The final adventure for this update was a trip to Wyoming with Don. He had gotten hunting permits for mule deer and antelope near where an old Vermont friend of his had moved to Wyoming. Since he needed his truck and ATV, we drove out together. It was a loooong drive, but I was so happy to be on a road trip again! We headed for Laramie, where Don dropped me off for a couple days of visiting my old friends, then I flew home. He headed off to hunt with his friend. While there, I drooled over a parcel of land that I would love to buy--we shall see-- and generally enjoyed being back in the wide open spaces. Don's hunt was successful as well and he just got back yesterday to Vermont with a freezer full of meat.

And now, for the party information!

I am planning a 50th birthday party for me, and if you received an email about this blog update, then you are invited--yes, all of you!! I want a really BIG party! I realize that some of you live very far away, but that is why I am inviting you now. The planned date is 2 April, a Saturday (my birthday is 28 March). It is still only "planned" as I can't make the reservation until 4 months before-- sometime in December at the earliest. I will send out a more formal invitation then, as well as an RSVP request because this will be a real party: venue big enough for 100 or more, catered food, live band, dancing, door prizes, and maybe even a couple get-to-know-your-new-acquaintance games. I plan to have a digital slide show of some of my photos playing on the wall, and if you have any "good", not too embarrassing, digital photos of me, or even better--you and me, I would love to add them to the slide show. Send them to my email address whenever it is convenient. Thanks!
The location will be Wilder, Vermont. Many of you will have never heard of Wilder, or perhaps even Vermont, but it is more convenient to get to than you realize. Two interstate highways cross literally 2 miles from Wilder--I-91 and I-89. There is a small regional airport in Lebanon, NH--roughly 5 miles away. The Amtrak station from NYC and Montreal is in White River Junction, VT--roughly 3.5 miles away. Dartmouth College has a charter bus that runs between Hanover, NH and Boston's South Station and Logan Airport. The bus runs from 7 am until 9 pm everyday, and Hanover is roughly 4 miles from Wilder. The charter bus also has a less frequent schedule from downtown NYC to Hanover. Even renting a car in Boston and driving the 2.5 hours is not too bad. Manchester, NH airport is only 1.5 hours away--but not good public transportation. In the opposite direction is the Burlington, VT airport--less than 2 hours away,--again not good public transportation. However, it is a very straightforward drive from either airport--get on the interstate(s) to Wilder is pretty much all you need to know.
Because of Dartmouth, various seasonal activities, the nearby Connecticut River, and the general charm of New England, there are numerous places to stay. There are B&B's scattered across the area--I can get you some recommendations if you wish--and hotels and motels at various price ranges. While my place is barely big enough for one, I have already recruited some spaces at various friends' home for those wishing to keep down costs or make new friends.
Unfortunately, early April is not one of the areas best seasons: it could still be winter or it could be spring by then. However, there is likely to still be some cross-country skiing with an awesome skating ski area not far away, and possibly some ice skating as well. There will surely be a few ski areas still open and Killington, SugarBush, Mad River Glen, and Stowe are all 1-1.5 hours away. There are others like Loon Mt in NH and Jay Peak in VT, as well as many others. The White Mountains of NH are just a couple hours away to the East and the Adirondacks a few hours to the West. Boston is 2.5 hours and Northampton about 2 hours. There are excellent white water rivers all over the place, and I could probably get you a boat to use if you wanted some white water adventure.
I could go on, but I think you get the picture: Wilder is not so far away from anything in the North East. Dartmouth College often has big name productions, and there are several smaller venues for live music and performance nearby. As the time gets closer, I can find out what is happening and let you know.
Well, I guess that's the scoop. I am throwing a big party and I would love it if you could come. There are places to stay and other things to do while here. Wilder is near some great places and then you can tell your friends you partied in Wilder--they will be envious, or maybe just confused, but either way-- I hope you can make it!

Click this photo to take you to the photos for this blog update!

Blog Archive