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So, Toni and I came home today from a week at a cabin in the Catskills.  It was about 4 hours from here, barely over the NY state line from PA, near where those two states and New Jersey all come together.  It was the first time she and I have had a chance for a real vacation for just the two of us since before I went back to school in 2006.  And because I tended to burn her out and drive her crazy with always going places to see and/or do things, I felt I owed her a vacation where we did what she wanted – a place to get away from home and just hole up and be together and do as little as possible.  A new thing for me, I wanted to try that, too.  So, we found and picked a place – a little cabin/cottage converted from two barns.  We made sure it had an outdoor hot tub (and a very secluded one at that), and we used said hot tub almost every day.  It was very nice to get out of State College for a week, even though we still spent time on our laptops and didn’t completely disconnect from the world.  Did some reading, had some good food, and just *were* for a few days.

The place was very pretty and definitely captured the rustic look.  Here is the front, coming up the drive from the owner’s home:

Pics & More Here )

 

 

Originally published at Abnormality Locality. You can comment here or there.

quasigeostrophy: (medical)
Toni and I got back from vacation in Massachusetts over a week ago. It was nice. Hung out with B and M and their kids. B and I ran around a couple of days - to Gloucester and Rockport, down to Cambridge. Otherwise, didn't do much. Decided after driving out there in one day, especially considering we stop a lot more these days, we're getting too old to make that drive in one day, so we left for home a day early and stopped overnight in Buffalo, NY.

Last Thursday, the first morning we were home, I awoke with a sore throat, serious PND, and very stuffy sinuses and nasal passages. Worked both Thursday and Friday mornings in the lab (and was annoyed that meetings I had scheduled were postponed by the other attendees - I could have stayed home and rested). By Saturday afternoon I had a very persistent and productive cough. I'd had an allergist follow-up in Indy on Friday and the nurse practitioner thought it may have been a severe allergy attack, a "Welcome home to Indiana". Monday afternoon, our new local doc decided it could have been that in part, but was definitely also an infectious strain of bronchitis, so he put me on a carpet bomber antibiotic. I went in on Tuesday for my rescheduled meetings with other students. Wednesday I stayed home and planned to rest, and took Toni to the doctor because she had caught it from me and gone from nothing to bronchitis in less than 48 hours. Met with my advisor yesterday morning (who told me her husband caught something similar in between trips out to the Great Plains for work on VORTEX2), but I'm not planning on going back in until I feel better. Not before Monday, anyway. I've made an appointment with a local allergist as well. Not that I don't like the one I have in Indy, but if I like this local guy, it means I won't have to drive all the way down there anymore, and even if I don't switch to him, I'm frustrated to the point where I want another brain working on WTF is up with my allergies, sinuses, and in particular, my Eustachian tubes.

I have to do some calculations and literature review for work by next Thursday, but otherwise I just need to get a draft of my AMS journal article to my advisor before I leave for WRF training in mid-July. I've made all those travel arrangements. My office mate C and I are arriving late in the afternoon on Saturday, July 11. Free day on Sunday the 12th, during which I think I may head down to the Colorado Irish Festival, at least late in the afternoon to see Eileen Ivers. The WRF class at NCAR is Monday through Friday, and then I have another free day Saturday the 18th before flying home the next morning. I'll be away for Toni's and my 17th wedding anniversary on Friday, July 17, so we'll celebrate sometime ASAP after I get home. We've already talked about it, and we move holidays all the time. The specific date is not a huge deal for us.

It looks like I may take one class in the fall, along with my TA and research duties. There is a proposal writing class on Monday afternoons, and since my advisor is having a hard time fitting my project into her current proposal, she thinks whether or not I end up being covered by her proposal, submitting one of my own will be a good experience. I agree with this comment.
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I thought I'd share a bit about Toni's and my recent trip to Minnesota, including photos.

Sunday we drove up to Stillwater, MN, taking the long way through Wisconsin so we could hit Mars Cheese Castle and the Jelly Belly factory gift shop just a little over the border from Illinois. The former was okay, but I think I've been in better cheese shops. At the latter we were hoping to replace my very old Jelly Belly t-shirt, but alas, nothing was in stock that was appealing. We did get some cheese at Mars and some jelly beans at Jelly Belly, though, along with lots of stuff from nearby Pepperidge Farm and Tupperware outlet shops.

We stayed right in Stillwater at the Water Street Inn, since one of the reasons we made the trip was to see Paul & Lorraine (I'd link them, but their domain seems to be offline - they're a quasi-Celtic duo. Lorraine plays fiddle, Paul plays acoustic guitar, and they both sing) play for 9 hours on St. Patrick's Day in Charlie's Pub downstairs and in the Inn ballroom.

Monday, we drove over to south Minneapolis and hit Uncle Hugo's Science Fiction Bookstore. I'd been there back in the early '90s when visiting a friend who lived and worked in Rochester, MN at the time, and it was pretty much how I remembered: disorganized, dusty, but what an awesome selection. We spent too much money, of course. Afterward, we hit a Borders so I could get an updated map/atlas of the area (my previous ones dated from the last time I was there), and had lunch at Big Bowl, a great Singapore Thai/Chinese fusion place that makes their own awesome ginger ale. And I had salmon pad thai. Then we headed back to Stillwater, hit Valley Bookseller in town, and I took some photos around the (frozen but cracking thanks to 60-degree temps) river's edge. For dinner we went to Freight House, which was yummy.

Tuesday we headed back over to south Minneapolis, this time to hit DreamHaven Books, Neil Gaiman's favorite local bookstore. They didn't open until Noon, so we took our time, also looking for a sign we saw Monday along the way. A tool renter's shop was advertising (that they) "Dump Bodies". I'm tempted to submit that to Fail Blog. :-) Next, we stopped at Uncle Hugo's again and got more stuff there (of course). Then we went to DreamHaven. They had a different variety than Uncle Hugo's, were a lot cleaner, and seemed to venture more into the comics market. They had the obligatory Gaiman shrine rack in the middle of the store, where I picked up a few things we didn't have, and it was difficult not to get signed copies. After shopping trip number two, we went back to the Inn in Stillwater where Toni napped for a little while, and then we headed downstairs to the concert at Charlie's Pub. Paul & Lorraine played there from 3:00pm until 5:30pm, then relocated to the Inn ballroom where they continued from 6:00pm to Midnight.

The concert was a lot of fun. We met several folks Toni had been getting to know online through Lorraine's blog ("Fiends"). She and Paul are great musicians and know how to entertain a crowd. And IMHO, Lorraine could give Eileen Ivers a run for her money on the fiddle. Toni and I stayed until Midnight CDT, which was way past my usual bedtime. :-) Drove home brain dead yesterday, around Chicago at rush hour (blech), getting back about 7:30pm.

Photos are here.

Traditional logic (and likely my advisor) says I shouldn't have gone since I'm working on my M.S. thesis for hopeful defense in late April, but Toni convinced me, and I'm very glad. I needed a break, and I don't think I'm all that behind in my school work because of it, and Toni and I hadn't been anywhere together on a longer trip since I think before I went back to school.
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Anyone want to see me for a long weekend this summer?

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