Thursday, March 31, 2011

Minneapolis for work and fun!

Last week I had the pleasure of attending a professional conference in a city full of wonderful friends! The conference was excellent and it was great to reconnect with colleagues from all over the country as well as my favorite Minneapolitans! The conference kept me busy. I acted as a session moderator, co-chaired a committee meeting and am member of a national implementation team, not to mention all of the other great programs I got to attend. It was wonderful to reconnect with colleagues from Harvard and to meet new folks along the way. But this conference going can be exhausting!

Paul and Trinity scooped me up from the conference hotel and took me out to brunch/lunch at a great little place called The Sample Room. It was delicious food, and more importantly, was a great chance to catch up with them. Jerri and Mark introduced me to these two many years ago, and then when I moved to Boston they were pretty much the only people I knew in town at first. We both left Boston around the same time and now I get to see them when I make it out to Minneapolis. It was a perfect little escape toward the end of the conference.

I stayed in the conference hotel with my good friend Allison for two nights and then stayed at Jerri and Mark's house for the other nights I was in town. This worked out well and gave me a chance to be NBB (as Jerri would say, stands for Nothing But Business) while I was deep in "conference mode". And then at the end of my stay I was able to enjoy some fabulous home-cooked meals and get in some quality kiddo time with Zoe. It's so fun to see how much she's grown since the last time I was in town!

Jerri and Mark invited our friend Joey over for dinner on Sunday night and we had a great time catching up. Jerri and Joey are both coupon clippers (coupons are HUGE in Minneapolis) and they enjoyed going through the coupon book that I got with my conference materials. Here they are laying claim to different offers:

Something cool about Jerri and Mark's neighborhood is that there is a little diner around the corner that does Pie Happy Hour. Pretty much all evening, every slice of pie is only $1! Joey and I went over while Zoe had her bedtime and picked up cherry, blueberry and pumpkin pie slices, and a few cookies as a post-dinner sweet treat.

I didn't have to go back to the conference on Monday morning, so I had a chance to sleep in and got to have some more fun time with Zoe that morning. Her room gets really great sunlight in the morning and I took some photos of her brushing her hair and playing with her toys.

She's really into dinosaurs. And I loved this great green carpet that she has in her room:

Here's a video of her dancing with her dino:

After we all got cleaned up and dressed, we headed out to brunch at Cafe Barbette. It was, again, really delicious food. It was fun to see Zoe's good manners at the restaurant, and good to catch up more with Jerri, too. After brunch we did a little driving tour of a cool neighborhood and then I had to get to the airport for my flight home. The visit was too short, as always, but it's nice to know that I'll be seeing Jerri, Mark and Zoe again over the summer when our good friend Christa gets married in Massachusetts.

You can see Jerri's blog post about my visit - with a picture of Mark - here. And Trinity's post about our lunch out, here.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Nephews in Princeton!

Last Sunday, my brother John and his kiddos came out to Princeton to spend the afternoon with me! Jill was off to a conference and this was a good chance to give John an extra hand with these three boys.

We got take-out lunch at the Italian Market and ate in my apartment, then we walked around Princeton, stopping at Labyrinth books, Starbucks, The University Store and Twist. Nathaniel and Emerson picked out some great books at Labyrinth and Sebastian picked out a little stuffed tiger at the University Store. He promptly named it "Whiskey"! You can see him holding Whiskey in the photo above. John got his afternoon coffee at Starbucks and the kiddos and I got frozen yogurt and fun toppings at Twist - and all of this within two blocks of my house! It's fun living downtown.

After our walk about town, we drove over to a great playground that's around the corner from my old house. These guys are old pros at this playground and had a great time on the roller slide and the tire swing!

It was a nice day, maybe a little chilly, but they didn't seem to mind. It's always a fun change of pace to host these guys for an afternoon.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Longbeard Contest and Mustache Day

Every year, the A&B hosts the Longbeard Contest. On Feb. 1st, you show up clean-shaven to register:

And on St. Patty's day, you show up with the longest beard you can grow:

Mac and his labmates have been doing this for a few years now, and as you can see, it's always a good time. This year Mac won "Ugliest Beard" (I have to disagree with the judges here)!

This was a great way to spend St. Patty's Day, and it's all for a good cause. Every year the A&B picks a charity that receives all of the donations.

And to top it all off, Mac's department has Mustache Day the day after St. Patty's Day, where you can shave down your beard to something more interesting. The entries are all by photo, and this year Mac went with a Samurai theme. Shockingly he didn't win (probably because he won last year and they like to spread the love).

Never a dull moment here in sleepy little Princeton. :)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Michael Jackson themed Ice Skating

Last night Mac and I and some of his friends from the lab decided to go to the Free Skate at the ice hockey rink here on campus. The University hosts these every once in a while and they always have a theme. Well, last night's theme was Michael Jackson. They hired an MJ impersonator to perform in the middle of the rink:

With crotch-grab and all:

They also handed out sparkly gloves when you turned in your skates. It would have been cool to see tons of people skating around with sparkly gloves, but they realized that the sequins were falling off pretty easily, and that's not so good for an ice rink. Here's Mac and I enjoying the fun:

And here's our skates. Mac has his own hockey skates and I had to rent the oldest, most uncomfortable skates in the world. But it was still a ton of fun.