Year 2013 First Trimester Review: Travel Resolution

The government agency for which I work holds its employees responsible for at least two performance reviews per year:  one is the “real” review, which forms the basis of promotions and awards. The other is a 6-month check up to see if the employee is on-track for meeting the performance goals that were established between the employee and his/her management in the previous year.  While I really detest/dread these performance reviews — they take up an inordinate amount of preparation time  —  I have to admit that they do serve a useful purpose: they hold us measurably accountable for the things we promised we’d deliver.  In that same spirit, I’ve now had 4 months to dig into my 2013 New Year Resolutions:  What’s my score so far? Continue reading

A Not-Quite Ohio Spring

Spring arrived at my California home no later than the third week of January, but apparently the season has been playing hide-and-seek with a large swath of the mid-West.  I visited family in the Cincinnati, OH area over Easter weekend, and was greeted with colder air than I’ve gotten accustomed to!  Despite the fact that snow was falling on April 1st (some kind of cruel April Fool’s joke being played by Mother Nature?), the last days of March were truly lovely, and made for perfect hiking weather. Continue reading

A Short Week In Long Beach

I’ve spent the last couple of days catching my breath following a wonderful mini vacation + science conference that my significant other (“StarMan”) and I attended last week.  We really made the most of the trip, in a way that I wished we lived our life, every day.  For example, we opted to drive to Long Beach rather than just fly, and we took a route down the awesome, vertigo-inducing Pacific Coast Highway, passing through Big Sur.  On the day we arrived in Los Angeles, we went to the La Brea tar pits, a place that I’ve wanted to see since I read about them as a 10-year-old paleontologist wanna-be!

We finally checked into our hotel in Long Beach and spent Monday through Thursday attending the American Astronomical Society conference, which is a kind of astronomers’ Super Bowl. Continue reading