Tuesday, November 9

Finger painting for grown ups

Well I'm back. There are a bunch of things I want to post about but I've been slack since posting requires photos and I've been too tired/busy since I got back from the US to pop them on the lappy let alone get a post out.

However, since I'm at work waiting for a 6gb file to transfer across the planet I thought I'd let you in on what has been getting me through the work days, or at least the meeting component of those days. I have always been a fan of sketching while listening. Somehow drawing helps me focus on what people are saying in a way that watching them just doesn't. Now that I have the 'new trinket' aka the ipad, I can do this in full colour while looking like I'm taking notes! Awesomesauce no?

I haven't spent a lot of time fooling around with the shiny thing yet but I can tall you that the Sketchbook Pro app is totally worth whatever measly price tag it has. It it intuitive, stable and lets you layer and stuff. The following pic is only my second attempt at using the program (Josie say's the first attempt was too dark - probably something to do with how I was feeling about the meeting I was in!) This little guy is far from perfect but he was fun to create and took maybe a couple of hours all up. And yeah, it's all done with my fingers, I don't have a stylus and I don't really think I want one now.

Anyhow, just thought I'd share to get the blog rolling again!

Friday, October 22

Howdy y'all

Not only am I posting this from the lounge room of one of my best friends, in Texas, I'm also posting it from my new trinket, the iPad! Fun stuff all round.

I arrived in the US on Tuesday after an epic but smooth set of flights from Tassie, through Melbourne and LA and then on to Boston! Definitely the most epic all in one trip I've done so far. Had basically a whole row free on the flight to LA so I got some really good sleep, which always helps!

I was in Boston, well Cambridge actually, for the Genetics Analysis Workshop 17, which is an intense semi conference semi workshop that runs for 4 days and covers enough stats to make your brain melt. It is designed to test and extend the methods we use for analysis of genetic data by getting everyone to work on the same dataset based on whatever is cutting edge in the field at the time. I got lucky this time and attended as a data provider, which took the pressure off me on the workshop side but somehow left me just as exhausted as I bounced around a bunch of the workshops. The focus was mostly rare variants and exome seq so for the few genetics folk who read this I learned that collapsing signal with noise gives you noise (der), families are beter than individuals (again, nothing new there) and that no matter how thorough the simulation, the data providers will always be blamed for something. I am now even more skeptical about association but it was still a great meeting and gave me a bunch of ideas about what (not) to do. The thing I had forgotten about GAW is that there's never time to leave the hotel and see the city!

On Saturday arvo I hopped a flight back to my other home, good old San Antonio. Being here has been awesome. It feels very weird, almost like I've just been away at a conference and I'm back now - except that I don't have my family here with me! The main reason I'm not staying until Halloween is I can't bear to be away from them for much longer.

I won't bore you with too many details and others I'll post later once I get pics off my camera. Mostly I've been split between working hard (weird but normal to be back in my old workplace) and playing hard, mostly trying to hit all my fave restaurant and catch up with people before I go! I've also been trying to fit a bunch of shopping in there, especially with the dollar :) Joanne was kind enough to take vacation yesterday and we hit the San Marcos outlets. The weather has been gorgeous, sunny but not hideously hot. I spent most of Sunday with out dear friend Lizzy (sadly Anna was out of town for the entire time I'm here!) and made it to Spirit of Peace to catch up with our church friends - another kind of coming home.

Anyhow, since most of the other news I have relates to food I'll save it for another post. Tonight I made chili (I didn't really expect to get away with not making some this trip) and an extra pot of vegan chili which is surprisingly tasty. Might post the recipes when I'm at a real keyboard. Somehow being here and making chili, watching trashy reality tv and drinking wine just felt so danged normal that it really kicked the homesickness in. Bah, being split between two places is bloody hard!

The main thing is that I'm making the absolute most of being here and having an awesome time catching up with friends and family here. I only wish Marty and the beloved could be here too - next time!

Wednesday, October 6

The year of two Springs

I could probably focus on the fact that we have weathered two Winters this year, but since it has been in the 20s (70s) the last few days and everything is green and luscious, I'm going to focus on the good instead.

When we left San Antonio, Spring was just breaking and it was looking like an awesome one for wildflowers. San Antonio may only have a few different kinds of trees (mainly live oak and mountain cedar both of which I am, of course, allergic to) but it sure does have the most insane collection of wildflowers. Below are a few of the pics we took in our last few days.

These bluebonnets (a kind of tiny lupin) are the State flower of Texas (and another *%$# allergy risk) but when you see the whole side of the highway covered in them they are truly amazing. Mind you, that also means you see families with their kids dressed up in their Easter finery posing for pics next to six lanes of traffic roaring past at 70 miles/hour!

Hard to believe this little boy was only 9 months old and not racing around like a blue bottomed fly in a pickle bottle!

Well, that's a little snapshot of San Antonio in April. Now we're smack in the middle of another stunning Spring, half a world away. The flowers are less wild, since most of them are in our garden, but they are just as gorgeous. It may not be as warm as the Texas Spring but there's also a heck of a lot less pollen in the air! Those of you who haven't experienced live oaks in all their yellow glory are surely thinking that I'm a drama queen but the rest of you know better.

These pics are all from our garden, which is filled with about 15 different kinds of camellias, more bulbs that you can poke a stick at as well of all sorts of other lovely things that just keep popping up and surprising us.

Many layered daffs that get so heavy they fall over!

Part of the front garden - bulb central and there's more coming.

And yep, we even have orchids...

Two kinds!

Then of course there is that little boy, now nearly 15 months (although still wearing some of the clothes from his first Spring...) He's walking confidently, has a mouth full of teeth and the absolute inability to keep his pants up! I'm hoping he grows out of that last one...

It's a hat with a small boy attached to it!

Shown here clapping his hands after finally having ditched the hat...

Or so he thought!

Thursday, September 9

Walking footage!

In a shameless attempt to placate you all for the fact that I haven't posted in ages!

First here's the baby-cakes walking at 12 months. At this point (a few days after his birthday) he'd been walking for a few weeks and cruising round taking steps here and there for much longer.

Now here's some footage from a few days ago (14 months) with 'crawdad' his fabulous wooden crayfish that Papa Bear found him in the US. Much sturdier on his pegs!

I kind of miss when you could pop him down on his lambie or his play-mat and leave him there! Mind you, even then he could usually manage to roll himself off to somewhere he shouldn't have been.

Thursday, August 12

Tuesday, August 3

Birthday aftermath

Can you believe the Roo-ster is one already?

July is birthday season in our house with Marty and I less than 2 weeks apart. This year we managed to spread the celebrating over several weeks, culminating with a joint celebration (which I predict I'll have to get used to in the future). We also decided that since we'd be opening our house to the ravaging hordes we might as well make it a house-warming as well!

We tried to explain about blowing out the candles but he tried to wave goodbye to this one instead.

Marty has sped past a number of major milestones in the past few weeks. He's walking now, he's pointing, he's responding to a wide range of words (a lot of them either food or cat related) but the biggie has to be his voracious present opening skills! This boy has mad unwrapping skills. He strips tape and shreds paper like a pro. We had to keep my presents out of his reach!

First present was from us. Yes, it is a vacuum cleaner. Yes it talks ("Is that a rabbit? No, it's a dust bunny! Mwahaha") and no it is never switched on to 'talky mode'.

Please don't judge! The boy is vacuum cleaner obsessed ok. Who needs a baby sitter, we could just leave him in a room with someone's vac and he'd be happy for hours.

Not only does he unwrap, he does it in colour coordinated style!

Purry are you in there?

Master technique - shake the booty out!

Our dear friends sure kept the postie busy! Thank you to everyone who sent packages and cards and good wishes (and we will do our best to reply soon!!)

Occasionally there was some confusion about just which bits were exiting to whom. Prime example - Hamish and I are busy constructing the toy. Marty and Clare on the other hand are much more interested in the sample box of medicine!

Some of Marty's other toys are also fun for adults. Of course the first thing I made with these block was a giant robot and of course the first thing Marty did was pull it down on his head!

I know I've talked a lot about Marty's birthday but that's because turning 1 is way more impressive than turning 33, and because he looks better in pics than his Poggie. I had a wonderful birthday lead-up and party. I got some brilliant presents (my beloved gave me superpowers...or at least the next best thing in the form of gorgeous bird-watching binoculars) and one really sucky one (4 days of gastro) that landed me in bed on the actual birthday day. Thanks goodness only Jose and I got sick, Marty seemed to escape. Maybe it was that magic birthday cupcake we let him eat at the end of his party...

I can't tell if the sombre look is exhaustion or fear that we might remove the delectable sweet and sticky thing from his little death gripped paw at any given moment. We didn't of course and he loved it!

Tuesday, July 13

Family pics of the Birthday Boy

I can't really believe that tomorrow is Marty's first birthday. Somehow it all seems to have gone by so quickly, even the bits that went really slowly (like the long nights of crying - his and mine).

I thought I'd post a whole bunch of recent 'family life' type pics as a precursor to what will probably be a week or two of birthday related blog posts.

Marty at the shack supervising Jamie in the garden

Marty and cousin CW playing with the playhouse. This is right before Marty decided to give CW a big old sloppy kiss right on the noggin, drenching his poor head in drool!

Brush your teeth, round and round...

He has five teeth now!

New trick, climb into the toybox to play!

Love drawing on those frosty morning windows

Mama reading to tired boy before bed

The poor cauliflower never saw it coming!

Saturday, July 10

The NW Coast of Tassie (and a Marty fest)

My outlaws, the fabulous Traveling Bears, have a house at Boat Harbour on the North-West coast of Tassie and it is one of my favourite places on earth. Granted the water is cold but it is crystal clear with white sandy beaches, gorgeous rock formations, birds, dolphins and fish! We were lucky enough to make it up there for a few days about a month ago and while it was too cold and splashy for fishing it still managed to show off plenty of winter charm.

This post will be pretty light on text but I've been wanting to get these photos up for ages so here goes! (remember you can click on any of the pics to see a bigger version)

First off some scenic shots to set the mood. These are either from Boat Harbour proper or nearby Sisters Beach.

And now that we've established that it truly is one of the most beautiful places on earth, it is time for the Marty Fest! We went out for a long beach walk and Marty was all bundled up in his womblesuit but he desperately wanted to get down and hoon around so we finally caved. He didn't eat too much sand...

That's all for now folks!