Sun, sea and science!

/ Monday 18 July 2011 /
I have been laying low for the past week because I was out of the country at a conference.  And because I took my husband and daughter with me, there was no one keeping watch over the old homestead.  So as much as I wanted to share photos and updates as things unfolded, I thought it was best not to advertise that our house was empty.  We were here:
Don CeSar
I attend the Society for the Scientific Study of REading every year, and this year we met at the Don CeSar Hotel in St. Pete Beach, Florida.  When I first learned the location, I thought it was mad to have a meeting in Florida in July.  But I'm telling you, it was bliss.
6:30 am
fancy beach homes
beachy feet
We went down a few days before the meeting so that we could have some time together - a little family time before our daughter goes off to university.  My husband deeply needed some resting time to restore his soul after the loss of his mother in April.  We closed out her apartment just two days before we left for the beach.  As we are early risers normally, he and I enjoyed a 6:30 am walk on the beach every morning. We saw dolphins and crabs and picked up some pretty shells.  The water was as warm as a bathtub!
6am beach walk
Our daughter was glad to have the opportunity to work on her tan, and she managed herself very well, with ample sunscreen, and avoided getting burned.
taking a break from the sun
We had great plans to do lots of things in the vicinity, but once we got there, we couldn't seem to drag ourselves away from the hotel, aside from a lunch or two off-premises.

Shortest main street in America

But mostly it was all we could do to manage the 20 metre trek from the pool to the beach and back again several times a day.

midnight at the oasis
sunset on the beach

The conference is one that I have attended since 1994 and it always features the best and most current reading science.  I look forward to seeing my good friends from other universities, and catching up.  The sessions were all very good, and my session was well-attended, but it was hard to concentrate, as the view from every window was so compelling!
From the 5th floor of the Don
It was a week filled with luxury, far beyond our normal level of indulgence, you can be sure!  As nice as it was, though, we were glad to come home to see our two dogs, who spent the week at summer camp (aka boarding kennel).  Alas, while in Florida, we came to rely on air conditioning to mitigate the heat and humidity, and we have no AC here at home.  Our house was a sauna upon our return yesterday!
Don CeSar

Sprucing up and catching up

/ Thursday 7 July 2011 /
Unless you are reading from Reader or some other blog feed, you will notice a new blog header here.  And a new profile photo (the old one was my daughter's hand holding a rock).  I should just let you think that I decided it was time for a change and a blog spruce-up, but the truth is that I am a clumsy so-and-so and managed to delete these photos, along with about 30 others from the early days of my blog.  I finagled my way into Google +, and in the process I deleted a raft of photos from Picasa.  Picasa is an application I never use, except that somehow it is linked to Blogger.  In the days before I figured out how to use Flickr to mount photos, I would upload them from my computer directly to the blog.  I haven't yet done an audit to see what photos are missing, but I did see one early post where they are all gone - argh!  REplacing them is definitely a job for another day!  I have been procrastinating by looking around Google + a bit - I do like the fact that privacy is better protected than on FAcebook, and the social "circles" seem to be more intuitively like the way we relate in real life than having everyone in one big pile of friends.  Anybody else on Google+?
This week I have been to Montreal twice.  Yesterday I went with my daughter to McGill to sort out some course registration stuff (I stayed in the library while she saw to all the business herself - starting as I mean to go on, although it is hard!).  Monday, my husband and I met the movers at my late MIL's apartment to load up the furniture that we are bringing back to Kingston.  It was very sad to hand the keys to the apartment over to the doorman and say goodbye to the place she had lived for nearly forty years.
On our way out of town, we stopped at Dunn's for a smoked meat sandwich.  Smoked meat is a famous Montreal delicacy made from brisket, similar to pastrami, but so much better.
You pretty much have to head straight to the hospital for angioplasty afterwards, but never mind - once a year one can indulge in the ultimate comfort food.
Advice cookie
(Why is it that fortune cookies so rarely tell your fortune these days?  Have you noticed?  They seem to be mainly advice cookies, like this one.  Are fortune cookie makers worried that I will sue them if my fortune doesn't come true?)
On the sewing front, I am happy to report that I finished all my curved seams for the in-progress ogee quilt.  It's going to look pretty slick done up all in solids!

Momentous week

/ Friday 1 July 2011 /
Newsflash:  I'm featured today over at Amy's Creative Side!  Go have a look!

This was a very busy week - my daughter graduated from high school and had her grad formal.  As parents of a single child, we are very careful to take full measure of each significant event of our daughter's life.  The ending of her high school years marks a bittersweet milestone.
Pinning on the boutonniere
She really only had one date (the boy to her left) despite what this photo implies:
Eve and her date, et al.
We are very proud of our daughter, an Ontario scholar, off to McGill in August to study Arts.

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