Monday, March 30, 2009

another trip to the midwest

We got back yesterday from a quick trip to Indiana for yet another, but surely the last for now, interview. Indiana Univ.-Purdue Univ. Fort Wayne (IPFW for short) was the place for a lovely 9 1/2 hour chat.

I attended gigantic universities for my degrees, so I have learned much from my two campus interviews at small universities. First, they seem to value teaching more than the big schools, so professors tend to do more teaching (3 vs 1 class per semester). They also like to point out that freshman and sophomore classes are small, with maybe 25 students max per class. At Berkeley, there were about 1500 students in chemistry 1A. Second, though they value teaching, tenure decisions are primarily judged on research activities. This is strange if you ask me.

Fort Wayne is about 45 minutes from Warsaw, home of Jill's parents, so we spent our free time with them. They also drove us to the airport at 5:30 am on Sunday. Big thanks for that!

Jill's best friend from high school, Julie, and her husband Stan are back in IN for now. We're in similar uncertain job situations, but that's not making us frown.
Finally, our toaster lever will not stay down as of today. Maybe it doesn't want to leave NM?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

day trip to LA

Yesterday we took a trip to Los Alamos to talk to bankers and real estate agents in addition to visiting friends. We forgot the camera, argh.

The first thing of interest is the mini-baby boom in LA. We saw our neighbors' 2 weeks old son and Moscaline's baby. And there are several more that we didn't see.

The other item of note was the Tuesday night potluck that's now held at our townhouse. The tradition has been carried on past our time in LA, when we had about 10 people on average at Jessie's house. The format is unchanged; one person or couple cooks the main dish and everyone else brings a side dish or dessert.

Yesterday being St Patrick's day, the main dish was corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes cooked by fellow alumni of UIUC that we hadn't met before. Somehow, about 25 people fit into the townhouse and ate as much as they wanted. We knew 6 of them. Here's what we think we know about the people: all but Jill and I are single, all but 5ish are under 30 years old, maybe 7 are women.

So, if you're a single woman that might be interested in engineer-type guys, Tues night in LA might be the place for you. Keep in mind, as Jessie used to say regarding dating for women in LA, 'The odds are good, but the goods are odd.'

Sunday, March 15, 2009

mini projects

It's tough to follow our last post, so here some fun crafty things we did this week.

First, Jill found a way to make chips at home.
A. preheat oven to 400F.
1. Cut up corn tortillas with a pizza cutter. We've only tried this once but would like to try thinner tortillas.

2. Mix up your guacamole (or salsa). This is a bit of a hybrid since we were low on avacodoes.

3. Spray chips with water, sprinkle with salt. Cook in oven for 3ish minutes. Take out, turn over and repeat.

4. Eat with gusto.

Second, Chad altered his army surplus panniers. The panniers are connected by a strap that goes over the rack. Because they were designed for a motorbike, the strap was too long so that the bags were too low. So I folded the strap and riveted it together. Also, I sewed velcro straps to the bottom of the bags that loop around the rack to better secure the bags. They worked great for our recent shopping trip.

Monday, March 9, 2009

bigger news

We are pregnant! It's a little hard to see 'Little Yimmy' in the images below, but trust us, he/she is hanging out in there. Expected arrival is early September.We are very excited about this, Lord willing, new addition to our family. The timing of it strikes me as amusing -- we had strongly considered working at a boys' home, we had gone through the training for foster parenting, we found a good amount of joy in our lives-as-they-were. But we're always up for new adventure.
In other local news, it rained for the first time in '09 today, okay, drizzled is more accurate.

Friday, March 6, 2009

the greener side

Inspired by the nice ride with the neighborhood kids, I ventured farther afield on my bike on Wed to the east mountains.

Abq is located on the west side of the Sandia mountains, which happens to be the side with not so much vegetation, giving the mountains a quite brown look year round, especially in a dry year such as this one. The east side of the range has a greenish appearance due to the numerous pinon and juniper trees. So the question is, why did the good people who settled this area choose the uglier side of the mountains? [yes, there is a correct answer].

I rode up the canyon to Tijeras. Near the Subway, I was filmed by an KOAT Action 7 news camera man. Pitifully, we watched a good chunk of the 10 o'clock news in hopes of seeing a famous version of myself to no avail. Perhaps it was for the best: you can see the silly shoes I would have been seen in below.

I turned south on 14 towards Oak Flat. While eating Saltines in a parking lot, I talked to a mountain biker about the trails he was about to ride. He was a little worried that I would ride the big boy blue bike on the trails, but I assured him that I would try them on my cross bike, perhaps next week.

I rode the reverse direction of the Oak Flat road race course. This brought back fond memories of my first and only race victory (sure, it was only the C race, but I heartily celebrate small victories). My victory celebration was doused by a dust blanket caused by a street sweeper near the finish. Question: why sweep this street as (1) nearly no one drives on it and (2) it's just dust?
Total ride time 3 1/2 hours. Distance: maybe 50 miles, with lots of climbing and lots of wind.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

the 4 pop pops

The neighborhood kids were out of school early today because of parent-teacher conferences. Since it was such a nice day, us nonparents joined them for a bike riding adventure to Pop Pops for some water ice, which is like a slurpee except that (1) there are about 10 flavors available and (2) it's good.
Above, just before the trip.

Below, riding back home through some residential areas. The young guy kicks back and relaxes on a slight downhill.

The stylish ladies rode elegantly as expected.

With some meandering, we probably rode about 3 miles. Pretty fun!