Archive for the ‘photos’ Category

Last Galapagos Post: lizards and iguanas

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

The tan iguanas are land iguanas; the red and black ones are marine iguanas (or in one case an ex-marina iguana). There’s also a photo of a hybrid between the two, using its marine parent’s climbing abilities to climb up a cactus-tree and eat the fruit – there are only 18 of these known. There’s also a little lava lizard, an iguana skull and a whale skeleton, plus a couple images of a fairly young lava flow (about 100 years old) just for texture. As always, click on any photo to see it bigger.

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Galapagos 4: bird photos

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

During the trip, we saw the Galapagos mockingbird, lava gulls, albatrosses (freaky!), blue-footed boobies, red-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, various finches, short-eared owls, frigatebirds, red-billed tropic birds, brown pelicans, great blue herons, cattle egrets, yellow-crowned night herons, penguins swimming by very fast, and even flamingoes (at quite a distance). We don’t have photos of all of those, but…

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Galapagos 3: Photos (tortoises and sea lions)

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

OK, time for what I know everyone wants to see – the photos. I want to include too many to do it all in one entry; I’ve debated about whether to split them by day, location, or what, but I’ll be mixing together two sets of photos, mine on the iPhone and Ted’s with the DSLR and zoom lenses, and it’s not always obvious which island what photo is from. Also, all the tortoises would have been on the first day anyway, since the only ones we saw were in the high-altitude rainy area in the middle of Santa Cruz island, as we were driven from Baltra airport to Puerto Ayora where we met the ship on our first day. So instead, I will divide them up by subject – tortoise and sea lion photos the first day plus crabs and scenery shots, then birds, then iguanas and lizards. (We also saw sting rays, lots of tropical fish and a couple of penguins, but those were all in the water and we didn’t have a waterproof camera.) You can click on any of the thumbnails to make them bigger.

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I took the first one below, then turned around 180 degrees and took the second:
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Also, bonus sea turtle! This photo wasn’t taken by us, but by another person on our trip who was smart enough to bring a waterproof camera. (Posted here with permission.)
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just a quick update

Monday, January 6th, 2014

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Definitely not in the Netherlands now! We’re just beginning our second year in Oregon, and still liking it here a lot. I’m starting a new project at work that’s pretty much all the stuff I wrote about in my book, so that’s exciting. Speaking of the book, the big news is that it’s now listed on Amazon – not to mention B&N, Powell’s and Chapters, but the Amazon listing shows the cover design. It’s only available for pre-order now, and will be released April 23 (Shakespeare’s birthday!).

Still, even though work is going well, it was nice to have time out of the office over the holidays – we spent most of the time down at Rowell, the lake house. Ted’s parents and one grandfather joined us for Christmas, then we had a quiet New Year’s there, aside from a few fireworks in the neighborhood. We did both do some work from there, but somehow it’s still a lot more relaxing than being actually at work. Otherwise, there was lots of cooking, lots of wine, lots of sleeping in, some rowing, and a hike on New Year’s Day – that photo above is from along Fall Creek, only half an hour or so from our place.

good party, bad photos

Monday, September 30th, 2013

I’ve been busy since coming back from our trip to Philadelphia, having work begin to heat up, a business trip to Toledo, and then (the day after I returned) playing pit crew at two regattas for Ted But here finally are some photos from my parents’ 50th anniversary party. I have to say that I’m not too pleased how these came out; I don’t know if the camera was having a bad day or if it’s just that we aren’t as good at photographing people as we are at landscapes, but I didn’t get as many good shots as I hoped for. Of course there’s the usual problem with getting a snapshot of someone just as they were talking, but also, a disappointing number of the images were blurry. Here are a few of the (somewhat) better ones (I do really like that one profile shot of Dad, at least). Click on any photo to see it larger.

(If you were there and don’t see as many photos of yourself as you’d like, trust me, it’s for the best. You’re way better looking than that photo came out, I promise.)

And for extras, here’s a photo we took later in the week, of Boathouse Row from behind the Art Museum.

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Choosing the Official Author Photo

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

I’ve turned my book in to the publisher, so now it’s all done but the copy-editing and the author questionnaire (information they need for marketing, etc). That one is hard! I’d like to be able to say “Oh, yes, everyone involved in quality and process improvement reads the same magazine; it’s called Quality Today, and you can send them a copy to review.” Unfortunately that just isn’t true; discussions of this stuff happen all over the place and there aren’t a lot of good central media sites (some that do exist, like the American Society of Quality, seem most interested in pushing their own publications; others, like the relevant groups on Linked In, are open discussions that aren’t run by a central organization).

 

But the most difficult thing for that questionnaire is choosing a photo for them to use.

That’s hard! It’s made a bit easier because Ted has all our photos organized in iPhoto so that I can just sort for the ones with my face, but still it’s a tough decision. First, of course, there’s ruling out all the photos of myself that I hate. (I’m not very photogenic; any photo of me that you’ve seen is one I can tolerate, selected from among many more that I hated.) Then there’s ruling out the ones I actually like, but that are just not right for this purpose for one reason or another. Here are the also-rans:

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A very old photo, hiking in Big Bend, Texas. Braids are the best for keeping your hair controlled on a backpacking trip, but they just don’t say “professional”!

godzilla
Paula as Godzilla, about to stomp the city. (It’s Madurodam, which contains all the significant buildings in the Netherlands, in miniature.)

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Me at the Ice Hotel. That’s all vodka in the red sequined bottles!

snoozing
Me having a rest on the Oregon beach. Again, probably not the alert and businesslike impression I want to portray.

queen
Me crowned as Queen. (The crown is part of a planter in front of Copenhagen City Hall.)

cheesecake
Classic cheesecake pose.

everystroke
OK until you look close – it’s a rowing t-shirt, and the caption says “Every stroke counts!” No double entendres allowed on my business book cover.

tarokojewish
I was considering this one, taken at Taroko Gorge in Taiwan, until I looked closer; I’m wearing a Jewish star necklace (actually, a rowing necklace in which the star is made of tiny oars) and I think including a statement of my religion is more sharing than I want to do.

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Me with my nephew, when he was two months old. I love the photo, but it’s also definitely *not* the image I’m going for here. (Sorry, Mom, but no. Not gonna use this one even if you do think he’s the Cutest Baby Ever.)

fuzzy
I’d actually planned to use this one, until I realized it’s too blurry – they asked for “high resolution”.

And here are the four I’m considering: respectively, at my brother’s wedding; on a tower in Lisbon, on the Oregon coast (same as the “cheesecake photo above, but zoomed in closer), and at a library in Helsinki. I put them up on FB and so far have at least one vote for each of the four.
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meet the new family members

Saturday, March 16th, 2013

Oolong and Macchiato:

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Macchiato

Macchiato is the more outgoing; we put them in our bedroom to start with, and as you can see she’s been exploring a bit. She seems to like water (she was rolling around with my water bottle earlier, too). Oolong just comes out now and then to eat or use the litterbox, though she has let me pet her and purred at me. She’d made it clear she’s not terrified or anything; she simply prefers staying under the bed for the moment.

I’ve ended up being prompted into research by both of them already, in one case into coffee and the other into cats. The names Oolong and Macchiato are because we wanted names to reference Taiwan and the Netherlands, as well as fitting the cats. The Dutch do drink a lot of coffee, but typically use the Italian names fo specific drinks. Apparently this cat is a latte macchiato (steamed milk with a shot of espresso, which is a layered drink with a dark spot on top) rather than a caffe macchiato (espresso with a shot of steamed milk, leaving a white spot on top). We were going to call her Mach for short, but that doesn’t seem to fit (too abrupt for her, and she isn’t actually all that fast) so I think it will be Macca or Maka for daily use.

Someone didn’t filter out the tea leaves for Oolong, leaving her stripy. Apparently that makes her a caliby – a calico because she’s got three colors, and a tabby because of the stripes. I’ve been seeing some dire hints about caliby cattitudes, but nothing definite. So far, they both actually seem pretty mellow compared to our previous cats, who were both male. I wouldn’t be surprised if I have to eat those words in a week’s time, though.

Incidentally, on the house front, all the damage from the leak is now fixed, as of today – drywall replaced, subfloor dried, new flooring in place. Now we have a problem with a totally different toilet. It flushes fine, but ten minutes later all the water has drained out of the bowl. The plumber says the trap is cracked and he needs to replace the toilet bowl – he was supposed to do that today, but didn’t feel well, so he’s shooting for tomorrow. Thank goodness the house is under warranty! I think this toilet company had a batch issue.

Lisbon

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

Before I discuss last weekend, I need to day that today, Ted in a quad with his partner Erik-Jan and a couple of junior rowers came in third in the Men’s quad in the Club division of the Head of the River regatta in Amsterdam – this is the biggest and most prestigious regatta in the Netherlands, so that’ a huge accomplishemnt. (Unfortunately the Dutch only award medals to first-place winners. Coming in third in a field of 18 boats deserves a medal!)

Last weekend, we spent my birthday in Lisbon, where we managed to have a nice relaxing long weekend by resigning ourselves to not seeing all there was to see – I think you’d need a week or more just to see all of the major museums, monuments, palaces, beaches and so on. Also, we did so much walking we found ourselves needing to rest before dinner!

The weather cooperated beautifully, with blue, blue skies and temperatures that ranged from sweater-and-jeans in the morning to jeans-and-Tshirt just barely not being too hot in the afternoon. Going in March was great, because not only were the temperatures comfortable but the tourist crowds were much sparser than it looked like they’d be in summer. Ted booked rooms at the International Design Hotel right at the foot of the Rossio square in the Baixa district; I thought the graffiti design on our floor was a bit silly, but the hotel was very comfortable, the staff were helpful and able to give us lots of advice on getting around, and the location was perfect. The Baixa did show signs of recent economic troubles, with a bunch of closed stores, but was still interesting to walk around and full of restaurants.

If we missed a few things, we still saw lots. We also ate some really tasty seafood, drank wine, and enjoyed just being in the sun in a city at the water’s edge. I had salmon one night, shrimp (of course) another, and golden bass the third – I didn’t realize that last was going to be an entire fish complete with head and tail, but then the waiter deboned it for me which made eating it easier (he also took away the head, so it wasn’t staring back at me). Tasty.

On the down side, the public transportation system doesn’t seem too robust; on the way back from the Maritime Museum, for reasons we still don’t understand, our tram and another just ahead stopped and made everybody get off. No other trams or buses seemed to be coming so we started to walk back, a bit over 5km. Finally we saw a few trams/buses go by, but they were so packed they weren’t even stopping. We eventually ended up catching a tram for the last bit, about 1.5 km.

Onour first day, we headed out to Belem, where we daw the Monument to Discoveries and the Belem tower itself, which was built in 1515 as part of the defenses of Lisbon. (You can click on any image in this post to see a larger image).

Near Belem is also the spectacular (and obviously very rich) Monastery of the Jeronimos. Out there is also the Palacio de Belem, the current residence of Portugal’s President, whose former riding school has now been turned into the Museo des Coches, which houses some spectacular royal carriages.

Late that afternoon we ad salmon (me) and an omelet (Ted) at an outdoor restaurant near our hotel, then went out later in the evening for wine and snacks.

On our second day, we started with the Museum of Tiles (Museo do Azulejos). Tiles are a big thing in Lisbon; many houses are completely fronted with elaborate painted tiles, so it was interesting to see how they were made and how they developed. The Museum is set in a forme convent, which has a spectacular chapel that is also on display. Incidentally, most of the tiles are flat and painted, but the Museum had an ingenious adaptation for blind visitors; in several places there were displays set up with Braille explanations and 3-D renderings of the tile patterns to be felt by people who couldn’t see the displays.

After that we headed back to the Belem distric to visit the Maritime Museum, which has sections for military ships, fishing boats, and pleasure boating. Of course, our favorites were the enormous rowing boats – the one in the picture below was last used during England’s Queen Elizabeth’s 1957 visit to Portugal.

The evening before we’d seen a tempting menu for the hotel on top of a hotel nearby, so we tried that this evening, and had a tasty dinner with a spectacular view up the Avendia de Liberdades. The food was excellent (I had shrimp with asparagus) but the evening was most memorable for the long discussion with the Belgian woman at the next table who didn’t quite seem to be able to grasp that I don’t speak French. (In her defense, after she’d repeated “puree de pomme de terres” about five times at the waiter, who spoke Portuguese, English and some French but apparently not that particular phrase, I did turn around nad say “I think she wants mashed potatoes!”)

On our last full day in Lisbon, we headed up the hill to the Castelo de Sao Jorge – this is a very obvious site for defense, so ruins there go back to the 6th century BC, though the main castle does back to the 14th century. The castle has spectacular views over the city. One relatively recent addition was fascinating, though we didn’t take any pictures of it; the Ulysses Tower boasts a camera oscura which provides a 360-degree view of Lisbon. There was a royal palace adjoining the castle which is gone now, but the peacocks still remain to lend majesty. After seeing the castle, we walked down toward the water to check out the Se (Lisbon’s Cathedral) whose oldest facade dates to the 12th century.

From the Se, we walked back to our hotel, but it was still fairly eary, so we decided to pay a visit to the Oceanarium, which occupies a building in the Parc das Nocoes that was part of Lisbon’s ’98 exposition, held to mark the 500ths anniversary of Vasco de Gama’s voyages. This trip didn’t imporove our opinion of Lisbon’s public transit; the bus was packed full, tended to stopp unexpectedly for long periods, and took most of an hour to get out there. (We took a taxi back, which took about 15 minutes.) The aquarium itself was nice, though – they say it’s the world’s second-largest.

We had dinner that night in the heart of the tourist second of Baixa at a seafood restaurant, where I had the aforementioend golden bass, while Ted tried the cod (historically very important to Portuguese maritime history!)

On our final day, our flight out was early – it was painful to wake up before 5AM to catch our 5:30 taxi to the airport. However, in all the times we’ve left hotels early to get to regattas or airports, this was probably the best take-away breakfast we’ve ever been given: a bag with two cups of coffee, two orange juices, four small sandwiches (cheese and ham-and-cheese) and a whole plastic container of small cakes and cookies.

an entry in three parts, with pictures

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

I. Meeting E.
Last weekend, we had a quiet Sunday planned, just rowing and then cooking jambalaya. Good thing we didn’t have hard-to-change plans, because Saturday evening we got a text message from one of Ted’s cousins; she was in Amsterdam for a few days and did we want to come visit? Well, of course we did; we used to baby sit her nad her sister when we lived in Houston, but we’ve only seen them a handful of times since then. We met her at her hotel on Sunday morning, only a she hours after she arrived, and she valiantly fought off jet lag as we visited the Royal Palace in Dam Square and the Amstelkring museum. The latter is a hidden church – a Catholic church hidden within a canal house dating from when Catholics were tacitly but not openly allowed to practice their religion. Ted and I thought it was wonderful when we visited on our first trip to Amsterdam in 1996, but this time it was undergoing construction and wasn’t too spectacular. After that we just hung out in a cafe and swapped family stories, until it became clear that the cousin really needed a nap. It was a good day, and a lot of fun for us to get to know her as an adult. And we even got home in time to make the jambalaya!


II. Laten we gaan schaatsen, schat.
We’ve now crossed off one more item on the list of Things To De Before Leaving the Netherlands: on Sunday we went ice skating. I think it’s just coincidental that the Dutch for “skating” is so similar to a common endearment (the title of this section means “Let’s go skating, dear”) but it is true that they take their skating seriously around these parts. Unfortunately we weren’t able to go skating on the canals while they were frozen, due to my trip to Japan, Ted’s trip to Taiwan, and the fact that we had no idea where to rent skates. But this week, some other expats invited us to go skating at the local ice rink before it closes for the year in a week or two.

You know what, it’s been a loooooooong time since we were on skates. I used to go now and then as a kid before the Ice Palace became a roller disco (remember those?) and Ted didn’t get to go too often, because his nearest rink was in Portland. But we let go of the walls after only a few minutes, and after a couple of hours we were achieving some speed, though no grace.

III. News from Home
Our dock is up! There are still a few finishing touches, the already-existing bulkhead needs to be shored up, and the dock needs to be inspected and approved by the Army Corps of Engineers. But after two years work with our architect and struggle with the ACE, we have a dock!

(The two years weren’t all spent on this; we were also forced to remove stairs to our upper deck and parts of the lower patio due to infringement on Army Corp land and a cracked gas pipe to the fire pit that was there, and we’ve also put in some landscaping. Still, a really surprising amount of the time was spent on designing and ordering a dock that would both work for rowers and meet the Army Corp’s rules.)

home again

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

We arrived back home yesterday afternoon. After all the restaurant food, what I feel like now is cooking. Tonight I’m making hutspot, a Dutch dish with meat and (usually) mashed potatoes, though his particular recipe is more like a beef stew, with beef, chunks of potatoes, parsnips, carrots and Brussel sprout. Tomorrow I will be making red beans and rice – apologies to any reader from the US South, but I’m not making black-eyed peas on New Years Day. Actually, it will be brown beans and rice, that being what the supermarket had. I hope they taste the same.

We tried to eat local dishes as much as possible on our travels – gratin, tartine and lamb stew in Normandy (and now I want a recipe for gratin Normand!); tagine in Gibraltar, which is only 14 miles from Morocco; paella in Madrid; Spanish cheeses and Iberian ham in Sevilla; grilled sole by the Mediterranean; wines from Bordeaux and Ribera del Duero, Rioja and Provence, Valencia and Catalunya. We brought about 8 bottles home, too, including champagne for tonight.

We stayed in hotels ranging from luxurious to adequate – and here they are. In order:
Our airy and charming first hotel in Bayeux and its equally charming door; our less charming but comfortable second Bayeux hotel; our tiny but comfortable room in Mont-St-Michel and a hotel door (actually I think that’s a different hotel, but it gives you an idea of the streets there); our big but less nice room in Bordeaux; the stylish “design hotel” room luxe bath in Bilbao; the equally stylish hotel in Madrid that was yet somehow reminiscent of a Subway sandwich shop and its equally stylish bathroom (Subway’s aren’t like that!); the hotel in Seville with stealth parking but nice rooms (seriously, we were ten feet from the parking entrance and didn’t spot it until I’d walked by it twice); the extremely English hotel in Gibraltar; the slightly-neglected-feeling hotel in Almu├▒├ęcar that is clearly much livelier in season; the nicer but even more deserted hotel in Mar Menor where we were the only guests under the age of 70; the very modern hotel in Valencia, echoeing all that geometry outside; three pictures of the posh suite in Barcelona where we had two rooms, and two-section balcony, and a ridiculously complicated spa shower; the French version of a Motel 6 at Brive-la-Gaillard; and the cozy dormer room in Chartres. (If you’re actually planning to visit any of these and want to know exactly where we stayed, email me.)

And now, off to peel parsnips!