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!