Thursday 31 December 2009

2009 round-up

Here it is: my last post of 2009 and it's #100, to boot!

2009 has largely been the Year of Work for me. At the beginning of the year, I was brushing off my CV and had started looking for new places to work. In March, a visitor sent by our parent company helped steer me into a new career path, which ultimately led to two promotions and a very busy year. At one point in June I worked so many extra hours that I got an entire week's holiday as compensation. (Not that I have used it - I had to cancel my holiday this week so I'm carrying over 5 days into 2010 and I'm determined to use them.)

Needless to say, my social life has suffered a bit and I'm afraid I have not been a very good friend, at least in real life. Online, my Bryn Mawr chums sucked me into the Facebook vortex, where I happily reconnected with friends from JET, SOAS, CPS, various previous jobs, even Berkeley High. Armed with an iPhone, I can tweet and update my FB status on the go...


Despite my heavy work schedule, I still managed to use 2 passports on 3 continents.

Stockholm in April

California in May/June

Southern Spain in September

Tokyo in October

Vienna in November


2009 was also a Year for Family. In addition to visiting my parents and sister, I also reconnected with most of my cousins.

5 girls
photo from my aunt, circa 1986

at my sister's wedding in 2005

Sadly, my grandfather passed away in June, but his spirit lives on.


Finally, in the blog world, 2009 was a Year for Photos. I have enjoyed sharing my Pics of the Week with you. Here is one final Pic of the Week from our Jordan trip that made it into the desk calendar, but somehow didn't get a mention on the blog.


So with a laugh and a smile, I wish you all the best in 2010! Happy New Year!

Monday 28 December 2009

bedside table


In the spirit of saving the best (or at least, the biggest) for last, S gave me two more xmas presents last night when we got home from Ossett: a bento box and an iPhone dock/clock radio.

I must be a woman of simple tastes* because I lurve it. I can't believe it took me this long to discover the Absolute 80s radio station! I've got 3 new books to read: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, and Mr Darcy, Vampyre, as well as finishing S's copy of The God Delusion. You can also see my collection of iPods (video iPod and iPod shuffle), paperweights, and two of my favorite pictures of S long before I met him.

*stop laughing!

I could easily stay in bed forever with all this to entertain and sustain me.

By the way, if you have noticed how many blogs I have posted recently, there's a reason... I want to post 100 blog entries in 2009 - one more to go!

Pic of the Week: 28 Dec - 3 Jan

Rho Window

Rho, Milan, August 2006

I took this picture at my friend A's flat when we went to visit her a few years ago (wow - time flies!) I thought it was a nice photo to signify the end of one year and the beginning of another.

This week, you get a bonus photo. I have been having so much fun with the Pic of the Week and my Deluxe Desk Calendar at work that I decided to do another one for 2010. Next year's theme is ColorSplash. The photos were mostly low resolution so the printed calendar is not as perfect as I would like, but I think it will work fine online. I threw in some black-and-white photos as well.

Planet Earth Display, Natural History Museum, Vienna

Having said that, though, this photo is not the best example of ColorSplashing. We saw this display at the Natural History Museum in Vienna. Using digital satellite photography, they showed various states of the Earth in 24 hours - weather patterns, night/day, energy use, etc. It always makes me feel incredibly small, but also wonderfully connected, to think of being just one little person on a planet in a galaxy in a universe, going about my day. Makes me grateful for my family and friends, and reminds me of what is really important.

Plus, now that it is almost 2010, we'll all be getting hovercrafts and planning our trips to the Moon. Right?

Saturday 26 December 2009

o tannenbaum

o christmas tree, o christmas tree
how flashy are thy branches...

xmas day stroll







xmas crackers





ho ho ho!

Friday 25 December 2009

merry xmas!


enjoying our white xmas in ossett. wishing you happiness and chocolate... xo

Monday 21 December 2009

Pic of the Week: 21-27 Dec

Snow in Colliers Wood

Snow in Colliers Wood

This photo of the hedge outside our flat is from January 2007 but it could just as well have been from last week. We had our first snow a few days ago - not enough to prevent us from going to work or carrying on with life as usual, but enough to be a topic of conversation.

Although it is still too soon to tell, it would be nice to have a white xmas.

Happy Holidays!

Monday 14 December 2009

birthday cupcakes, take two


Back in February, S surprised me with some gorgeous birthday cupcakes. Over the weekend, I made him some gingerbread cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting. They are not nearly as photogenic as the ones he gave me, but I have been assured that they taste good and I get points for having baked them myself.

Happy birthday, S!

Pic of the Week: 14-20 Dec

Nikko, Japan

Nikko, Japan, Feb 2003

One of my earliest digital photos. After moving back to California from Japan, I treated myself to a short trip to visit friends for my 30th birthday. This photo was taken in Nikko. Believe it or not, I was happy to see the snow.

Click on the photo to see a larger version on flickr.

Monday 7 December 2009

Pic of the Week: 7-13 Dec

Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik, Iceland, December 2006

We spent our first xmas together in Iceland. Re-reading my blog entry just now filled me with lovely memories. The weather wasn't great and there was very little daylight but we found warmth and hospitality nonetheless. Shame about the Icelandic economy; it's a wonderful country and I wouldn't hesitate to go back someday.

Click on the photo to see a larger version on flickr.

Monday 30 November 2009

Pic of the Week: 30 Nov - 6 Dec

Moon over Ossett

Moon over Ossett

Picture from xmas 2006 with S's family in Ossett, West Yorkshire.

Click on the photo for a larger version on flickr.

Sunday 29 November 2009

November Abroad: Vienna

We spent a few days in Vienna for our annual go-abroad-in-November trip. The xmas markets were open all around town and we had a lovely time sampling the glühwein, punsch, wurst, kartoffelpuffers, and brezels.

Maria-Theresien-platz and the Kunsthistorisches Museum

Rathaus-platz, Vienna's largest xmas market





It was also my first real attempt to use my new Canon PowerShot G11 and overall I was very pleased with the results. It handled low light much better than I remember my old camera doing (and considering the shorter daylight hours, this was a good thing). For something different, I tried taking stealthy pictures of people.

Feeding ducks in the Stadtpark

Selling concert tickets to tourists in Stephansplatz

Chatting in the Hofburg

Mid-morning business meeting ... with Schnapps?

Horse carriage ride

Accordion player in Resselpark, Karlsplatz

Hungry (bored?) xmas market vendor

Awaiting others for a meeting in a smoky cafe

There were typical Viennese treats.





I can't help thinking that he looks like he has just been goosed...

We visited Karlskirche, which features a 'panorama-lift' to the dome. What looks like temporary scaffolding is actually a fairly permanent elevator. Being that high up allowed close-up views of details usually just seen from the ground.




To restore our sense of wonder at, and curiosity about, the amazing world/universe we live in, we also spent the better part of an afternoon exploring the Natural History Museum and exhibit on 'Darwin's rEvolution'.


Loved the elephant outside the Naturhistorisches Museum







As usual with these trips, it was over far too soon. Although we managed to see most of the inner city, it felt like we barely scratched the surface. Maybe we just needed more glühwein...