Lost & Found

We had an old Dell desktop computer that pretty much bit the dust a year or so ago.  We’ve been meaning to take it to a computer place in town to have it fixed but just haven’t gotten around to it.  The thing that has bothered me the most about all of this was that I was afraid that some of our pictures were lost and gone forever, especially our pictures from our Alaska 2010 trip that I never uploaded to flickr, Facebook, or anywhere.

As it turns out, however, my mom bought us a ClickFree back-up hard drive.  And, I managed to back-up the computer before it was a lost cause.  However, I hadn’t transferred the files onto my new computer until this weekend.  To be honest, I wasn’t entirely certain I’d done the back-up in time to not have lost the Alaska pictures, but it turns out, I did!!

For those who don’t know, William and I go to Alaska every 2 years.  His Uncle Fred lives there and has for over 40 years.  He’s an amazing tour guide for us, and each time we go, we see something different.  We go to a few of the same places each time as well, but it’s never really the same. 2010 was the year that we saw a ton of wildlife – mainly because we visited Denali National Park.  The mountain even came out to great us a bit as we were leaving the park, which is actually a rare occurrence in the summer.  For being a mountain over 20,000 feet tall, Denali is rather elusive and shows itself more in the clear of the winter.  Its elusive nature is mainly because it makes its own weather/clouds (because it’s so tall).  So, we were quite lucky to catch a glimpse while there.

Lesson learned from all of this: Back-up photos on a regular basis to a separate hard drive!

Of course, there are a million stunning pictures, but here are some of my favorite not-actually-lost 2010 Alaska pics:

DSC_1147A bull moose staring us down. Naturally, because our cat is named Moose, we love moose!

DSC_0988This little fox ran right beside our bus

DSC_0700This ground squirrel gave us quite the show and just cracked us up

DSC_1076Dall sheep – a truly rare occasion to see them this close. Normally, they are just little white dots way up in the rocky parts of the mountains. That day, we could only surmise that there was a bear (or something) hunting them from high in the mountains.

DSC_1028And, of course, Denali

A Big Work Meeting in Cold Florida

Each year, my company has the National Sales Training Meeting for our sales representatives.  For the last few years, I’ve been very fortunate to be invited to attend.  Despite being an engineer, most of my job is spent helping our sales teams, which I love!  I have a couple of different roles: first, explaining the science behind our products to surgeons, and second, helping our sales force understand some of the most complex aspects of our products.  It’s certainly not a job everyone would enjoy, but for me, it’s quite rewarding.

This year’s meeting was held in Florida, where it was quite cold…almost as cold as home!  I should also mention that packing for this meeting should be considered an Olympic sport.  It’s only a 3-day meeting, but I had to wear 2 outfits per day, which meant 6 pairs of shoes…yes, nuts, I know.  This year had the added fun of preparing for colder weather (normally not needed because it’s in a warm climate).

photo3Hotel key cards personalized for the meeting

For the meeting itself, I had to give a talk on vitamin E infused polyethylene (the stuff you see in the middle of the key card pictured above) to our Canadian sales force.  Outside of that, the rest of the time was an opportunity for me to learn some new things about newer products outside of my area of expertise as well as network with the sales people I’ve worked with in the past and hope to work with in the future.

I love this meeting mainly because I get to see everyone again and hear of their successes….which part of it is also to celebrate those.  For example, one of the sales colleagues showed me his badge where he and his team were first place for sales of vitamin E liners. He told me it was all me, but I know that I had just a small role in it.  Either way, I was so proud to see this:

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Speaking of celebrations, we started off one day with a champagne toast at 8:00 a.m. (who does that?) 😉

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And, there was a big, fancy awards ceremony to really celebrate their successes.  I got to wear a fancy dress (my favorite part!!):

photo1Can we talk about how gorgeous my friends, Sarah and Nicole are??

And, the very last day, there’s always a motivational speaker.  This year, we had Vince Papale, an ex-pro football player and the inspiration behind the movie, Invincible.  Vince was, at age 30, the oldest rookie ever in the NFL without any college experience, and he was quite successful playing on Special Teams for the Philadelphia Eagles.  What’s awesome is that he is the recipient of one of our knee implants.  He was a great speaker and so appreciative of his new knee.  What’s even more awesome is that about 6 months ago, I spoke to his surgeon about vitamin E polyethylene at a dinner meeting, and he knew that’s what he wanted to use on Vince.  Vince even mentioned the polyethylene during his presentation 🙂

photo6With Vince Papale

Overall, it was a great meeting – tiring, but great.  I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity to go and be inspired!

Ice Bubbles + Snowmageddon

In case you haven’t heard, we had a huge winter storm and “Polar Vortex” across most of the United States this week.  In Indiana, we received 12-16 inches of snow, followed by two days of wind to drift the snow, along with bitter cold.  My husband and I were even snowed in at home for a day.  So, what happens when two engineers are snowed in? You guessed it, we decided to have some fun with the weather.

One such cold weather fun activity was going viral on Facebook:  it was the story of Angela Kelly, a photographer in Washington who decided to blow bubbles with her son in the frigid cold and then took these stunning images of the frozen bubbles.  Naturally, I wanted to recreate this myself!  Since we were snowed in, we couldn’t go out to get bubble solution.  So, we made it at home:  2 1/2 cups water, 1/4 cup corn starch, 1/2 cup Dawn dish soap.  We even made our own bubble wands out of wire.

It definitely worked!!  The bubbles froze in the air.  And, while my images aren’t quite as extraordinary as Angela Kelly’s, I still think I was able to get some pretty amazing shots:

DSC_0230A bubble hanging onto our wicker chair on the porch

DSC_0208A teeny, tiny bubble that was stuck to my homemade bubble wand

DSC_0236A large bubble hanging onto my homemade bubble wand that had just started to implode on itself.

And, I would be remiss to not include a few images of the snow as well:

DSC_0170Looking down the snow-filled street at sunrise.  There should be a side walk in about the middle of the picture between plant in the foreground and the small plant behind it about mid-picture.  Instead, a 3-foot snow drift.

DSC_0186My poor little car all covered in snow.  This pic shows the wind blowing the snow everywhere (causing huge drifts).

DSC_0193Snow dunes in our backyard.  You can’t tell in this pic, but those near the pine trees are between 4 and 5 feet tall.

Here’s hoping you and yours stayed safe and warm during the storm and were able to have a little fun too!

Handknit Gifts

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Each year, in late November or sometimes early December, I have this random freakout moment, where I think everyone I love needs a handknit gift.  2013 was no exception.  The only difference was that we aren’t celebrating Christmas with my family until this weekend…so I had a bit of extra time to work on some of the gifts 🙂

The other thing I decided to do this year was to make hats.  Hats are great projects because they are fast…I can make a simple hat in an evening.  I have said for awhile now that a perfect first project for a new knitter would be a hat.  Most people say scarves, but think about it – a scarf is actually rather large, and it’s quite the commitment for someone who doesn’t even know if they like a new craft.  Sure, with a hat, there’s the whole knitting in the round thing, but there are also several patterns where you can knit it flat and seam it later (case in point, the first hat I ever made).

Anyway, I digress….

Naturally, me being the overachiever I am, I couldn’t stop with just hats.  Clearly my mom and sister-in-law also needed matching cowls/eternity scarves for their hats.  That added a whole new layer of complexity and knitting time….oops.  The good news is that I did finish all of them, and the grand total was 6 hats and 2 cowls.  They are all pictured below, and the details of what they are from left to right and top to bottom can be found below the picture.  If you’d like to see larger images of each, you can visit my flickr page.

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  1. The only hat for someone who lives in a warmer climate – my father-in-law – who likes to go night fishing. Pattern is Ribbed Beanie by Woolly Wormhead. Yarn is my handspun; fiber is Spunky Eclectic Falklands wool in colorway Gone Fishin’.
  2. Eternity scarf for my mom. Pattern is Soliton Cowl by Laura Chau. Yarn is my handspun; fiber is Hello Yarn Falklands wool in Fragrant.
  3. Hat for my mom’s significant other. Pattern is Chunkeanie by Woolly Wormhead. Yarn is my handspun; fiber is Hello Yarn Shetland wool in Turkey Attack.
  4. Hat for my mom. Pattern is Thorpe by Kristen Kapur. Yarn is my handspun; fiber is Hello Yarn Falklands wool in Fragrant.
  5. Cowl for my sister-in-law. Pattern is Eternity Scarf by Michele Wang. Yarn is my handspun; fiber is Hello Yarn BFL/Silk in Night Gathers.
  6. Hat for my sister-in-law. Pattern is Hurricane Hat by Andrea Guldin. Yarn is my handspun; fiber is Hello Yarn BFL/Silk in Night Gathers.
  7. Hat for my brother. Pattern is Windschief by Stephen West.  Yarn is Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd’s Wool (I LOVE this yarn btw!).
  8. Hat for my niece.  Pattern is Minion Hats by Lauren Irving. Yarn is a mixture of leftovers from my stash.