Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Recently I traveled to Arizona with family to visit Larry's Dad. I'm not going to lie (mostly because I think that Larry already knew...) I was dreading the heat. I had never been to the American southwest, and I did not know how the heat would affect me. All of this worry and I had forgotten that I had been to Texas a few times, and I had also been in the Sahara desert...the mother of all deserts. I actually enjoyed the heat (after one initial day of misery). The key for me was to stay hydrated - and by hydrated I mean that I was drinking about a half to full gallon of water each day.
We took the Grand Canyon Railway train to see the Grand canyon, visited Sedona, Jerome, and Tubac; saw the San Xavier del Bac mission and did a little hiking in Sabino Canyon. Take a look at my shutterfly site, or facebook page for more photos.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Philadelphia PA: Day 4

I gave my second talk this morning. I am relieved that both talks are over...I decided today that I would do something really outside of my comfort zone. My normal activities on a trip like this are to visit museums and churches. Today, I did visit a church: I saw the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul. I was not able to pack my tripod so I was not going to get good quality photos - but also I was worried that the sound of my camera making an exposure was annoying to the few parishioners who were praying - so I did not take as many photos as I normally would. The other thing I did today was to visit a prison: The Eastern State Penitentiary. I saw this in my travel book and I thought that it was one of the sites visited by the Ghost Adventures Crew (a show that I like to watch when it is daytime and I am not alone...). I debated about it, because it was a 2 mile walk from the conference and I did not even know if I could get in. Turns out - this is a spectacular historical place to visit. A bonus was that there were not many people there, so I think I may have gotten some amazing photos. As for ghosts, I don't think I saw any - but the feeling there is really strange...I can not explain it - just really eerie.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Philadelphia PA: Day 3

Today I decided to take a day off from the conference. I checked the book and there were not too many seminars or talks that are relevant to my interests, so I spent the day in historic "Old Town" Philadelphia. I saw the Independence Hall, Liberty Bell, US Mint, and Congress Hall. I also went to the National Constitution Center.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Philadelphia, PA: Day 2

Today I attended a couple of seminars in the morning. In the afternoon I went to the Reading Terminal Market. It was pretty busy and there was tons of food to see! Without a refrigerator in the room it is not a good idea to bring a lot back to the hotel, but I was able to get some fresh pastries - which is pretty much the greatest thing ever. I also went to The Barnes Foundation this afternoon. I was a bit apprehensive about going to this museum. The collection is the subject of some controversy. The collection was compiled by Albert C. Barnes starting at the turn of the 20th century. Barnes' taste in art was ahead of the taste of the time, and his collection was underappreciated and derided. Frankly, this pissed him off and he never wanted the elitist gentry of Philadelphia to get their hands on it. Well, after many years that seems to be exactly what happened. I think that it is OK - they have displayed the collection the way that Barnes had it displayed - but I think that if he knew that they were chargind $18 a head he would be incredibly annoyed. I am sure that some of the money is being spent to maintain and display the collection, but I think that Barnes would have liked for the price of admission to be free. Perhaps if the museum went to a donation system it would be more in line with the ideas of the original Barnes Foundation.  

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Philadelphia PA: Day 1

I am in Philadelphia for PittCon, the largest conference for my field (Analytical Chemistry). I am here to give two talks - one today and one on Wednesday. The talk today went OK I think, it was definitely a lot of fun. Unfortunately, the only day that the weather will be better than rain and snow was today. As you can see in the photos - it still was not that great. As I found my way from the conference back to the hotel I stumbled upon a parade in Chinatown - which was really a pleasent surprise. I also had a famous Philly-cheese steak sandwich!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Vienna, Austria: Day 2

The problem with Vienna is that people actually live here...Well - that is not really a problem; just when I am trying to take photographs. There are cars, bikes, and people everywhere. The other problem is that the streets are really narrow. All of this together made it more challenging to get good pictures here.
Today Larry and I toured the former imperial palace where Emperor Franz Joseph, and his wife Elisabeth (Sisi) lived. Most of the rooms have the original furnishings in the layout that matches how the family lived. It was amazing. We also had lunch on the palace grounds.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Vienna, Austria: Day 1

Today was amazing. We went to Mozart's house. He changed residences in Vienna 11 times but the apartment that we were in today was where he lived from 1784 to 1787. These years are considered his most productive where he was writing about six pages of manuscripts daily. It was in this apartment that he completed the opera "The Marriage of Figaro". We stopped in a tiny Viennese restaurant and had Weiner Schnitzel with Apple Strudel for desert. Lastly we decided to go to a concert. We saw an amazing performance of pieces by Mozart (including some that were written just steps away) and Strauss.
We are starting to get really tired after all of this excitement...