Today I went on a field trip to see a school being built in northern Kentucky, a school that is going to be net-zero energy with its solar panels, wind turbine, solar tubes for lighting, and highly efficient with water- a gray water system, an underground storage tank for rain water, rain gardens, etc. I took pictures and will upload them later. I'll be writing two grants with folks from this school system to design environmental engineering curriculum for the teachers and students.


Back to the grind. I worked on my to-do list today and in the end didn't feel very accomplished. Late in the afternoon, after the rain, I did get the chance to go outside and photograph my new additions to the garden. What have we here? Primrose, tulips, daffodils, vinca, grape hyacinth, and some mystery plants. Lower left??? Lower middle??? Upper middle???
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We stayed in town until mid afternoon to celebrate Dan's brother's birthday. The Vienna Torte was divine. Headed home through Chicago, Gary, then south toward Indianapolis. In northern Indiana I got the chance to take some cool photos of a wind farm. See, the collage represents how the source of all energy is the sun. The sun creates the changes in temperature which affect the atmosphere and cause the wind. No sun, no wind.

Frisbee and I were huddled down in the back seat together while Squirt and Dan played music up front. Crossing the Ohio River felt like coming home.


The wedding. We had lunch at Kopps (again!) then got ready for the big event, the wedding of Dan's cousin's daughter. It was a great time- we had a blast. As you can see from the pitchers of beer on the tables, this was a wedding in Milwaukee! The reception hall was decorated so beautifully with rose petals, candles, chocolate roses, a chocolate fountain, and even beta fish swimming in vases with more roses. As you can see, my husband wore his hair piece to the event and Squirt tapped into his Milwaukee roots (lower left, if you know what I mean...) Uncle Rooster was the star of the show... you can't kill the Rooster. Gotta love the Rooster.

After the wedding we hung out a while at Dan's brother's house. Here is a photo of the four siblings in their 40s. What a good-looking set of kids, hu? Too bad Dan took off his hair piece.


So today is Friday and the family has arrived in Milwaukee, including Frisbee. Dan and the Squirt arrived last night. My sisters-in-law are here too. Tonight we had dinner at my brother-in-law's house, shrimp creole that actually contained cloves. Cloves. It was so good, I'd never had anything like it. We watched basketball and did some game thing where you bet on three-point shots. It was the first time I paid any attention to a sports game.


Today in Milwaukee, I finally met my long-term pen-pal, her husband, and their little girl. We have been chatting online and such for 5 years or so. First it started with the goal-setting website 43Things, then it morphed into Facebook, blogging, and chatting by email. We had a great time spending real-time together, I felt so connected to her little girl, and it was so cool to finally meet an old friend. We had a wonderful lunch at Kopps with chocolate custard for dessert! Mmmm!


Having fun in Philadelphia at NARST with Igor and Lala!


Packed, worked some, got in a good walk then headed off for
Philadelphia. Made my connection in Charlotte, arrived in Philly at
10pm and took a taxi to the hotel where they bumped me up to an
"executive suite" which is very sweet and makes up for a long trip.


The garden is speaking in a language I barely understand. One word I do comprehend, however, is onion grass. Dan and I spent a couple hours digging and pulling onion grass everywhere today. I even got a huge blister on my hand to show for it. The plant at the bottom- is that trillium? I'm anxious to see it flower.

OK, here's the secret. Everything looks really copacetic here on Chrissy's Photo-a Day. But I'm actually in a pretty bad funk right now. I'm not sure what it is- I've tried dissecting it, but am coming up with just a bunch of spilled guts. Hopefully my trip this week will help me with some things. Tomorrow I leave for Philadelphia for a conference then it's onto Milwaukee for a wedding and family get together. I get to see Igor,Mooniebutt and Babybutt, my old advisor, and lots of in-laws. Still have to pack for this adventure, but hopefully I will have the energy to do so before my Monday afternoon departure.


First day of spring. Dan and I took Frisbee on a hike up a very high "hill" to an old Indian Fort. This was about 40 minutes southeast from Lexington near Berea. The land is actually owned by Berea College. This hike reminded me of why I love Kentucky- the people. Every single person we passed on the hike was friendly- not only saying "hello" but chatting with us. It was just so strikingly different from what a hike up the Monticello trail would have been. Anyway, it was beautiful and hard work and really invigorating. Welcome spring!


We had our supper group over for dinner tonight- and set the tables for 12. We had a really nice time- the living room was crowded when everyone was in there, but dining worked out great. We had chicken and sausage gumbo over rice, salad with feta, tomato and pepitos, and homemade bread. Dessert was vanilla ice cream with toasted almonds and pecans and homemade fudge sauce. Mmmmm... leftovers!


We set this up today- moved it from the den where it was doing no good. If you knew me in my life back in Virginia, you will know that this lamp is a familiar welcome for me as I enter my house.

I tell you, setting up this table and lamp in the foyer, keeping the light on 24/7, makes this place so much more like "home" (wherever that is.) A state of mind, I guess. All starting with a lamp in a foyer... and a welcoming chicken.
"Feels like home to me
Feels like home to me
Feels like I'm on the way back
Where I come from.
Feels like home to me
Feels like home to me
Feels like I'm on the way back
Where I belong." ~Randy Newman


It's supposed to be my spring break but it's been no fun at all. My to-do list is overwhelming and that sets me back in itself. I've been working hard getting student teacher observations done since I'm going away next week, and they are really time consuming. I'm just not in a great frame of mind right now. Two good things today- Dan made some beautiful bread, and we have plans to go out to dinner with some friends. But I'm dragging.


Worked in the yard all morning and wore myself out. Worked at the computer all afternoon trying to organized my to-do list and accomplish things. Wore myself out. Dan took me out to dinner, I went grocery shopping while he walked home for exercise, picked up a movie from the Red Box, and got home worn out. We watched Precious, emotionally wearing. Tired. Got ready for bed. Looked in the mirror and noticed for the first time how very very wrinkly my face is getting. I'm losing weight and I guess that brings out the wrinkles.
I think I like the wrinkles. I really think I do. Two self portraits with a macro lens.
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Pi day. I got out all my papers from off the top of James and organized them into three piles: trash, take-to-work, and keep-at-home. It felt good, but I still feel disorganized like there's pieces of me just all over the place and I can't pin them down. Can't put my finger on them. Can't just be in one place.


We went antiquing today to try and find a piece of furniture for our foyer. We must have seen every piece of old furniture in Kentucky. I took pictures, we came home, I roughly photoshopped them into the foyer and, well, we still don't have a light colored, shaker-style, Thorn-style, cherry piece for our stained glass lamp to rest upon. Perhaps the right thing will just jump out at us one day.


Seems as if spring is here. The crocuses are finally blooming in the yard.
Today I did an observation at a school.
For dinner, Dan and I went to Good Foods and had yummy sandwiches and picked up some groceries while my tire was in the shop being fixed. Fixed tire!

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I have an observation this afternoon so I pulled into the high school parking lot and ran over a soda can in the parking space. No big deal. It went "crunch."
Came back to the car after the observation and guess what? My tire was flat. Called Dan and he said, "You always pride yourself on doing masculine things. You can take care of this, it's not that hard." So I dragged out the spare tire and the tools and jacked up the car, had to jump on the lug wrench to get the lug nuts to budge, and successfully put on the little spare.
OK, now I have a little spare on my car and I need to be at another school at 8:30 tomorrow morning. Do I take Squirt's car and make him take the bus? I think so. It's just not safe driving around without a spare, with this little puny tire on. Meanwhile, we examined the flat tire when I got home and we found a nail and a staple and a piece of metal (not aluminum) stuck in the tire. So perhaps it was a slow leak brought to my attention because I was concerned about that soda can. Better to change a tire in a parking lot during the daytime than by the side of the road at night!


Aza and I spent a lovely day together. First we went shopping for "teacher clothes" at Ann Taylor Loft. Then we had lunch at Panera Bread. We ran some mundane errands THEN we went and had pedicures and manicures! Can you tell which foot is Aza's and which is mine?
I spent the evening grading papers while Aza and Squirt played cards with their Dad. Oh, good times. Good times.


A productive day for Chrissy's Kids. Here is Squirt living up to his name- one he received at the age of two from antics with a hose- washing the car on this warm almost-spring day.
Aza was productive inside painting the kitchen. She is simply amazing. Pictures of the completed kitchen and dining room to follow.
Dan was productive cheering on the Kentucky Wildcats to a win. Meanwhile, I was less than productive. Spent the first half of the day in bed with a headache and very achy belly. Spent the afternoon grading papers. Tonight we will watch the Oscars, I'm sure. I hope Avatar wins all sorts of awards!


Aza arrived yesterday. How wonderful to have her here! Last night we watched The Fellowship of the Ring on DVD, all four of us snuggled up on the couch under blankets together. Today while I was grading papers, Aza painted the dining room. Yep- she's that good. It looks beautiful. Dan and I went out to dinner tonight with Miss March and her husband Mr. March, and a good time was had by all. Tomorrow I hope Aza paints the kitchen while I grade papers again and Dan goes to the basketball game with Mr. March.


For lack of a photo today I give you a screenshot of my latest
addiction- playing scrabble on my iPhone with my friend DrFisher who,
for once, is losing. We shall see how the game goes. She usually
whoops my butt in the end.

Today I joined a gym. Nothing else is working.


Airports all day. I have a love/hate relationship with Detroit. I love
the water fountain and wish I had my Nikon with me to capture some
cool shots of it. However, I HATE the psychedelic tunnel. Got home
with plenty of time to rest up before Lost.


We left Steamboat this morning for Denver. Jes drove. We went shopping
downtown then went to see Avatar in 3D at an Imax theatre. It was
definitely as amazing as everyone alluded. Dinner at a BBQ restaurant
then a nite in hotel. Tomorrow Dan and I fly home while Jes returns
to Steamboat.


Last day of February. Dan and I spent the afternoon walking around downtown, then after lunch Jes drove in the snow to Strawberry Hot Springs.
We soaked for a couple hours as the snow was coming down and the steam from the hot water was rising up. It was SO relaxing, and surprisingly easy to get out into 30 degree air with a wet swimsuit and towel dry.
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