Monday, May 30, 2011

Canoeing fun

On the Sunday of Reunions Weekend some friends from Philly came up to go canoeing. Mike was still in town (on the left) and Tyler joined us, too (at the bottom). It was the first time we'd been out this season, and it was a lot of fun. And after that we all met up with even more people and went to Winberie's for a fun dinner. It was a great way to finish a long and fun weekend.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Princeton Reunions!

Ah yes, it's that time of year again, when all the orange clothes get pulled out of Princeton Alum's closets and they all converge at the University for a weekend of drinking and donating money.

The recent grads of Mac's program don't quite fall into the category. They prefer to come back and play softball with those who haven't graduated yet. On May 28th a bunch of current grad students and recent grads got together for the first MAE Reunions Softball Game. You can see the Motley Crew gathered above.

Below is Mac's old roommate and recently former grad student, Mike, AKA Dino-Mike, in his standard slugger stance. The team lost a great hitter (and heckler) when he became Dr. Mike and moved to Chicago. It was fun to have him back on the team for a day.

And of course, there had to be a way to pick which team would choose first and get home-field advantage, so that was determined by the winner of a dizzy bat race. If you've been to a minor league baseball game, you've seen a dizzy bat race, but not one that included shotgunning a beer after running to and from third base. It was reunions after all...

After the game, Mac and I headed into main campus to catch the end of the P-Rade. We caught the end of it and also some of the aftermath!

The amazing part is that the grounds crew was right behind the parade cleaning everything up. It's amazing how they've got this whole weekend down to a T.

And that evening we had a picnic dinner with friends and watched the best fireworks I've ever seen. This is a million dollar fireworks show! It even comes with a program so that you can pay attention to certain fireworks that are used that are particularly interesting or rare. Did you know that orange fireworks are hard to come by?

And of course there was dancing. Lots of dancing into the wee hours of the morning. Reunions is fun, but I'm glad it only happens once a year. It's a lot to keep up with.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Nathaniel on the Drums

On May 24th, I took the day off work and drove up to Montclair to see Nathaniel in his school's choir and drum corps concert. On the way, my muffler nearly fell off on the NJ Turnpike, but a very nice guy at a gas station put it back on for only $10 and I was on my way. I didn't get to have lunch with Jill, as planned, but we did get to see the concert! As you can see from the photo above, Nathaniel played a bass drum way in the back row, but he loved it!

Below is a photo of most of Hillside's Junior Drum Corps. Nathaniel is soon auditioning for Drums of Thunder, the famous Hillside Drum Corps that performs in places like Madison Square Garden and the White House. (update: Nathaniel was accepted into Drums of Thunder! The next two years should be exciting!)

After the concert I got to take Nathaniel home and he and Sebastian enjoyed showing off their biking skills in the cul-de-sac near their house.

They are such cute brothers.

Wait, did I say "cute"?

Sebastian was very proud to be able to ride with one hand.

And Nathaniel practiced popping wheelies.

Emerson was at a friend's house for a play date, but Nathaniel, Sebastian and I had tons of fun. And when it was time for me to go, Nathaniel and Sebastian wanted me to stay. Here's Nathaniel posing like me.

I stayed long enough to see John and Emerson, but I did leave in time to beat the rush hour traffic home. It was a great use of a vacation day!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Dmitry and Mel's Wedding!

Last Sunday Mac and I and some friends from his lab headed up to Rutgers Garden to celebrate the wedding of Dmitry and Mel. Dmitry is Mac's friend from his lab. A fun time was had by all!

Mac found bubbles in his jacket pocket from the wedding we went to last July, and they came in handy throughout the afternoon. Some of the kids in attendance really got a kick out them, along with Dmitry and Mel:

Here's the folks from Princeton who were there:

And Mac and I were having a blast on the dance floor. Only a few other folks were dancing, but we definitely had a great time. These were taken at the end of the day when we really were the only people out there:

We had a great time and we're so happy for Dmitry and Mel!

Already looking forward to dancing the night away at Christa and Kyle's wedding coming up in July! This was just a warm-up for that!

Thursday, May 12, 2011


It's so great to have an excuse to go into NYC. This past Sunday I was invited to my friend, Mike's housewarming party and I figured I'd kill two birds with one stone and stop by to see my cousin while I was in Brooklyn. My cousin Aaron and his girlfriend Becky moved from San Francisco into this sunny one-bedroom less than a week before I visited them. For only having a few days to get settled, the place looked great!

It used to be the owner's apartment, so there are some fancy details, like the stainless appliances and granite counters. For city living, this is quite the sweet set-up. We have another cousin, Laura who is studying at Columbia (Barnard, actually) and she made the trek out from Manhattan to join us for a home-cooked brunch. The food was wonderful and the company was even better. It was great to catch up with these guys and it's nice to have them on the East coast.

After brunch we took a nice walk through the neighborhood to a nearby park. It was a beautiful spring day and people were out enjoying the weather in full force.

After saying good-bye to my cousins, I drove just a few minutes down the BQE and caught up with Mike, his partner Ty and some of their friends to celebrate their new digs. It was fun to catch up with so many different people in one day. After leaving Mike's I took advantage of the nice day and strolled through his part of Brooklyn, too. I do enjoy a lovely day in the city!

Startin' the Garden

So the garden got off to an early start this year. Last year the plots weren't turned over and marked until almost the end of May, but this year I got in to plant on May 7th. Mom and Dad came to help out and we had quite a productive afternoon. We planted tomatoes, cucumbers, Brussels sprouts, basil, and pepper plants and arugula seeds.

The plots were nicely marked and even had our names on them, even if they were misspelled! I feel like the Community Garden is a little more well organized this year. We even got piles of compost to add to our plots.

It was a great way to spend an afternoon with my parents, and the help was much appreciated. And since it was the day before Mother's Day, I also got to give my mom her card and gift in person.

Since that first day, I've gone back to water and plant some green bean plants that I had sprouting in my apartment. When I was doing this, a little girl, Hillary, and her mom came through to look at their plot and Hillary was very eager to help me out with my green beans. The mom thought that her daughter was intruding, but I showed her what to do and she did a great job. That's one of the joys of community gardens. It's rare that a stranger walks into your backyard garden and offers to help.

Here's hoping for a good, productive growing season!

Sunrise climb

The top of the tower at the old Graduate College is one of the highest points in Princeton. Every year there is a traditional sunrise climb to the top of the tower, with mimosas to follow. Mac and I signed up to partake in this tradition with about 30 other folks. It's 200 very small, narrow concrete steps to the top, but we made it.

It was a bit of a cloudy morning, but the view was still nice. Here's Mac looking off into the distance:

In this photo, you can see Nassau Hall on the right and Richardson Auditorium toward the middle on the left. It's amazing how big all of the trees are on campus.

The requisite shot of Mac and I. It was crazy early, but worth it.

Here's the view over the rest of the Grad College. Yes, graduate students still live here.

And this is my attempt at making it look like Mac was wearing a funny hat. That's one of the spires at the top of the tower. You can see that my humor didn't go over very well that early in the morning.

The bagels and mimosas were much appreciated. Mac went home to go back to bed, but I had to go to work. It was a fun way to start the day.

I'm a winner!

So you might remember that a few weeks ago Mac and I went to a lovely place called Terrain. Well, when we got home, I "liked" them on Facebook and then saw that they were having a drawing for this beautiful set of mini hydrangeas. I went ahead and entered and lo and behold, I won! It was such a treat to get this little set of spring goodness in the mail and to set it up in my house.

It's a little smaller than it looks, but it was still very nice. I ended up giving it to my parents because the plants could be transplanted into the ground. So now my parents have three mini hydrangeas around their shed, and I get the empty pots to grow herbs on my windowsill! Win! Win! Win!

I also recently won another drawing for 5 cookbooks! Now if I can only win that Trader Joe's drawing for bringing my own bag...

Friday, May 6, 2011

May Day Weekend with Sylvie and Miriam

At the very end of April/beginning of May I headed to DC to visit with Sylvie and Miriam and see their new house. It was a beautiful weekend! I drove down Saturday morning and we had intended to go to a museum, but it was too nice out, so we decided to spend some time outside instead. We had brunch in Takoma Park and did a little shopping and then headed to Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens.

We enjoyed being outside, taking the paths between the different ponds and walking along the boardwalk through the marsh. It was so fun to get to catch up with Sylvie and Miriam!

There were lots of cool things in the park, like these seed pods:

And these beautiful yellow irises:

The lily-pads were not in bloom, but I image that would be beautiful to see.

More irises, not quite in bloom:

And a nice little family of geese. This protective momma gave us quite a look when she thought we were getting too close:

The park was very close to Sylvie's school. We stopped by and got to go inside and see the library where Sylvie works. It was great to see the school that I've heard so much about.

When we got home I took a few family photos of Sylvie, Miriam, and their dog Kugel in front of their cute house:

We decided to stay in for dinner and had wonderful grilled food! This is such a treat because I don't have a grill at my apartment. We had potatoes and veggies and veggie burgers with toasted buns. It was a perfect meal, and the company was even better than the food! We all stayed up late chatting and playing Bananagrams and Yahtzee, which we did a lot when we all lived in Cambridge. It was just like old times.

On Sunday we made a wonderful breakfast of egg, zucchini and dill fritatta and peanut butter and banana smoothies. We didn't have a plan for the day, but ended up doing a little exploring in nearby neighborhoods and hitting some garage sales. Before I headed home we grabbed lunch at a local pupusaria. It was the perfect way to end my quick trip.

It's always so fun to hang out with good friends. I love when you show up and it feels like you just saw each other yesterday. I have the funny feeling it will always be like that with Sylvie and Miriam.