Friday, August 31, 2007

From Head to Toes

I went to a salon today and got my hair cut and styled.

And while I was there, I got a pedicure, too.
It's very luxurious.
You soak your feet in a whirlpool bath and they use various masks and wraps with peppermint oil that leave your feet tingly for hours.
And their toenail painting is much neater than mine.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Short Trip to Goblin Valley

On Tuesday Aug 28, there was a full moon scheduled.
I have been longing to try some full moon night pictures, so I decided to go down to Goblin Valley.
I invited Jesse and Susannah Staples to come with me.
They were great company!
We got there in time for great evening light, which made me very happy, as I have wanted to do that for years, too.
I have tons of great goblin pictures. Below are just a few.

This was Susannah's first visit to Goblin Valley (in fact, to southern Utah.)

The sky was full of clouds and the strong golden sunlight was sometimes softened, or even blocked, by them.
But they added beautiful texture to the sky.

We walked out to the Grand Council circle (above) and photographed until the light faded.
Then we headed back to camp and made dinner, and when the moon had risen and it was well up we went out again. It was magically beautiful, walking among the goblins in the moonlight. All the pictures I took were long exposures and I took them with conventional black and white film. Hopefully they will turn out well. If they do, I will scan some and post them on my blog later.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Mortimer Again

Mortimer decided that hanging off a chair edge was a comfortable place to take a nap!

Scary Hairy Monster

Pancake Experiments

I stayed overnight at Joe and Kathleen's house, so that they could have a short anniversary getaway, this weekend.
Saturday morning, I tried to make pancakes by adapting a white-flour, sugar recipe to the whole wheat, no baking powder supplies available in Kathleen's ultra-healthy kitchen.
After some web research by Caleb and experimenting on my part, Benjamin helped me cook up the batter, and the boys gamely ate the results.

Fortunately, there was lots of apple sauce and maple syrup.
No peanut butter... but Hyrum, resourceful, found a way around that too, if you look carefully.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Picnic at Monte Cristo

On my way back home from Bear Lake, I drove caravan style with Mom and Dad over the Monte Cristo summit, from Woodruff to Ogden canyon.
We stopped for a picnic at the Cache National Forest campground near the summit.

We had a marvelous Green River watermelon and fresh tomato sandwiches!

The drive over Monte Cristo isn't as pretty as Logan canyon, but it has a few bursts of long-distance view that are quite lovely.

Good Eats at Bear Lake

Dad and Mom and I tried out a new recipe for chicken.
We used a "40 cloves of garlic" recipe.
Mom peeled the garlic.
Dad lit the dutch oven fire and placed the coals.
I browned the chicken and seasoned the dish.

Then, we all enjoyed it on the back porch!

Mom also made potato salad and cooked fresh beets and made homemade French bread to spread the softened roasted garlic cloves on.

Mortimer Mirrored

Mortimer loves to climb.
So when I'm cleaning his cage, I often let him climb around the bathroom vanity.
There's a gap between the mirror and the wall that he uses to lever himself up.
And he's quite amazingly strong for his body size-- he can push himself nearly vertical, all balancing on the end of his tail.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Ah, Utah!

Monday morning, very early, we hiked Timpooneke Trail.
It was gorgeous to watch the light come up on the mountains.

Our group stopped at the Shelf (2 miles up) to take a breather and decide who was going on, who was staying.
Left to right: Joe, Hyrum (standing) with Edward in backpack, Ethan, Benjamin, Caleb, Charles in front, Kathleen, Thomas, Jesse, Julie (Jesse's friend) and Alison (Julie's sister.)

I elected not to try to make the summit this year, and to stay with Kathleen and our Junior Hikers.
I especially love this photo of the kids:

One last view of the Shelf.
I think Mt. Timpanogos is the most beautiful mountain anywhere!

Home Again!

I never feel I'm truly home until I've got all my bags out of the car and unpacked... at least, things out of the bags.
In this case, the sorting repository was the dining room table.

I had a LOT of post-Europe mail to open.
(Ethan helped me wield my dagger-shaped letter openers with glee, collecting all the plastic fake credit cards from the many unwanted offers I recieved.)

Here's my post-Europe Chocolate Lineup!!

Last Days in London

As if to make up for the rotten weather in June, my last days in London were lovely.
I spent a gorgeous Wednesday afternoon strolling from the Houses of Parliament down to the National Gallery.

Nelson's column in front of the National Gallery:

Thursday, my last day, I went to Hampton Court Palace with friends.
I really had a lot of fun.

The costumed character guides (including Queen Katherine of Aragon, to the far left) were very knowledgeable and entertaining.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

New Horizons in Culinary Adventures

Tuesday, my last full day in Strasbourg, I went out for lunch with Sabine.
We went to the Maison Kammerzell (the terracotta half timber house in the photo below.)
It is a gorgeous restored 16th century Alsatian house.

The dining room interior is really nice; a great atmosphere.

I had the house specialty: fish choucroutte.

I have tried choucroutte before (it is the Alsatian variety of sauerkraut, a bit more mild.) I did not like my earlier experience with it: it was full of whole cloves, which I kept biting down on (yuck). This, however, was really scrumptious. It was served with 3 types of fish: salmon, a white fish and a heavily salted fish that I did not like so well (and alas, made me horribly thirsty all afternoon at the archives.) But it was a delicious meal!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Augsburg City Center

The facade of the Rathaus (city hall):

The Goldener Saal (Golden Hall) of the Rathaus:

The Barfusserkirche next to the Rathaus.

Augsburg Market

Augsburg has a great Stadtmarket.
There are multiple booths with all sorts of fresh produce, everything from flowers to fish to feta cheese.
Below: Sabine and Simon at one of the booths.

There are covered halls, too, with hot wurst stands and refrigerated butcher stands.

Here is the butcher stand.
We bought organic steaks to cook for Sunday lunch.

Vegetable stand: yum!

The Scariest Place in Strasbourg

This is the scariest place in Strasbourg.

It is the crypt of the church of St. Pierre le Jeune.
It's claustrophobic, dark, and, well, scary.
It is an absolutely EXCELLENT place to inspire a vampire novel.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Original Art

So, I went to Augsburg over the weekend at the invitation of my friend Sabine Bengel, and her boyfriend Simon (more pictures of Augsburg later.)
Simon's parents also live in Augsburg, and his father, Max Kaminski, is a well known contemporary artist.
I had met the Kaminskis a few years ago when I was visiting Sabine, and they had been very nice to me.
This visit, we all went out to dinner together at a traditional Bavarian beer garden (sorry, no pictures) and they were of course intrigued/ appalled by the fact that I don't drink. They bought me apfelschoerle instead (apple juice mixed with fizzy water.)
Mr. Kaminski asked me if I would like a copy of one of his exhibition catalogues, and I said yes, I would be delighted to have one.
So he brought it over the next day, and this is what he put inside it:

It's an original painting-- autographed for me!
I am very honored; it's a real treasure to have.
Below is Mr. Kaminski on the balcony, with a glass of white wine (I am drinking apfelschoerle.)
He looks rather somber in this photo, but he's more animated in person.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Power of a Good Business Card

Today I went to the Bibliotheque Nationale et Universitaire.
It is a good place to photocopy articles from 1900 on.
But it is not my favorite place to spend long stretches of time. It is not air conditioned, nor is there any place to eat or drink, and the bathrooms are the second scariest place in Strasbourg. (I have a lot of negative nostalgia associated with those bathrooms.)
Unfortunately, one of the main manuscripts I came here to see is in their collection, and they are the ONLY archive that will not allow me to take photographs.
(They do offer a photography service, but it is quite expensive per page, and when you have 150 pages, it adds up quickly.)
Well, I got there bright and early when the doors opened, and headed up to spend the day with MS 752. The librarian retrieved it for me, and then a potential crisis loomed:
I had forgotten my ID card.
Now, I had my library reader's card (you have to have it to get in and out of the library, because the bar code on the card lets you past the automated turnstiles.) And, knowing that I would not get anything to eat except the Clif bar I brought with me (my last one!) I did not bother to bring my wallet.
At first, it seemed that without my ID as collateral, they would not let me have the manuscript (even though I couldn't have taken it out of the rare books room where the librarians constantly have all readers under surveillance.)
But they agreed to accept my business card in lieu of photo ID. (!!!)
I guess it helps that I am listed as 'assistant professor'; that seemed to make an impression!