Archive for February, 2006

Vacation is over :(

Tuesday, February 21st, 2006

We had an absolutely fantastic time in St. Croix. The weather was warm (~80F), and the water clear and blue. What more could you ask for! (Pictures Here)

We arrived Monday afternoon, and go to the Buccaneer Resort about 5pm. Got our selves checked in, and they upgraded us from a mountain view room to an ocean view room (Yay!), but they somehow missed that we had gotten the honeymoon package (every trip like this one should be a honeymoon), so we didn’t get our welcome bottle of champagne or the tickets for the activities that we supposed to be included. We corrected that, and we got everything but the bottle of champagne the next morning. After checking out the room and our ocean view (and trying to convince Chris that we were on the north side of the island) , we decided to walk around the resort and see where everything was, and the sun was setting, so Chris wanted to take some pictures. We checked out the two main beaches, and after it got too dark to see, we went up to the main dining room for a nice dinner. By then we were pretty much walking zombies having been up since 3:00am EST. We slept like logs that night.

Tuesday we spent on the beach. Chris did some sea kayaking (which he really enjoyed), and I just soaked up the sun. We had lunch at the open air restaurant down on the beach. All the buildings were kinds that way…You couldn’t tell where the outside stopped and the inside began. I guess you can do that when the weather is almost always nice. The food was good, and you can’t beat the feeling of eating a nice meal right out on the beach. That night we couldn’t get dinner reservations anywhere because it was valentines day, and everything was booked the week before, so we relaxed and read in the room and ordered room service.

Wednesday morning we finally got around to making our plans for the rest of the week. Scheduled the sunset sail for that night, with dinner reservations at a restaurant on the boardwalk in Christiansted. We spend the day on the beach again (this was a very lo-key trip for the two of us), occasionally dodging the rain. It was mostly nice, and sunny, but then the wind would pick up, the clouds would quickly roll in, and it would rain for about 5-10 minutes. Then as fast as it rolled in, it would roll out again, and be sunny for an hour and a half before doing it all over again. As late afternoon approached, the clouds started staying longer and longer, so they cancelled the sunset sail, and it was rescheduled for Thursday evening. When the concierge called to inform us of this, we asked her to make sure that our dinner reservation and taxi were moved too, and to make us reservations someplace else for that evening. We had dinner at a restaurant called Savant, which specializes in Mexican and Thai food. That was an interesting menu, but the food was excellent!

Thursday we got up early so we could get breakfast before our 4 hr. island tour at 9 am. We were on the tour with 3 other couples from the resort. The tour basically consisted of a taxi-van driving us around the island at top speed with the driver pointing out “Look! We have KFC just like the mainland! And there’s a Pizza Hut! Soon we’ll be getting a Home Depot!” Occasionally he would stop in the middle of traffic to point out a large house. He drove like a maniac, and I wish I had taken Dramamine. We had stops at the Cruzan Rum factory (the only good part about that was we got free rum drinks at the end of the tour), the St. George Botanical Garden, which had an interesting mix of tropical vegetation and desert succulents, and The Domino Club, home of the beer drinking pigs, which we didn’t bother to pay and see. I think everyone on the tour agreed it was a complete waste of time. After we got back, we had some lunch, went out in a double sea kayak and then headed out for our sunset sail. The concierge didn’t get us a taxi like she said she would, so we almost didn’t make it on time. Luckily JP (the captain) is a very laid back guy and waited around for us. It was fabulous! A definite must do for anyone who visits the island. Dinner afterwards was at RumRunners. Remember how the concierge didn’t book us a taxi? She didn’t move our reservation for dinner either. They weren’t too busy, so they were able to get us a table anyway.

Friday we took a snorkeling trip to Buck Island. Chris had a great time, and used up all the pictures on the disposable underwater camera we’d taken with us.. I didn’t much care for it. I felt like I couldn’t breathe, and kept panicking. I was in the water long enough to get the guided tour along the trail, but that was enough for me. Maybe I’d have more fun if I had more experience using a snorkel. We met a nice couple on the trip and had lunch with them when we got back to Christansted. Talked about what we thought of the island, and they told us how it compared to other Caribbean islands they’ve been to. Did a little souvenir shopping, and then headed back to the resort. Got massages in the afternoon, which was wonderfully relaxing! Had another nice dinner in the hotel restaurant too.

Saturday we had a relaxing morning on the beach, before heading to the airport to catch our 5pm flight out. Ended the vacation arriving back in Syracuse in a snow storm. That wasn’t really what we wanted to come back too. Didn’t get back to our house until 1:15 am Sunday morning.

Overall we had a great trip. We were a little disappointed that most of the buildings down town were very run down and abandoned. The service was poor almost everywhere we went. They sounded like they wanted to help you, but then (like the concierge), didn’t follow thru on anything. We had to ask several times to get our water glasses refilled at the restaurants, and we quickly learned that we should expect lunch to take atleast an hour, and dinner an hour and a half or more. This wasn’t a problem since we didn’t have anywhere to be, until our lunch on Saturday, which we started at 12:30, and it didn’t end until 2:00, when we insisted that we needed the bill immediately, since our taxi to the airport was coming at 2:15, and we needed to shower and change before leaving. Like everything else, the taxi was late, so it didn’t end up being a problem, but it was still annoying. Everyone else we talked to seemed to have the same impression, and said it was not the same on the rest of the USVI.

So that was our trip. Hope I didn’t bore you with all the details 🙂

Apollo Chronicles

Thursday, February 9th, 2006

I’ve always been fascinated with the moon and the space program, especially Apollo. NASA has a set of articles on their website called Apollo Chronicles, revisiting some of the best Apollo tales which have faded with time from peoples memories. I have found them all really interesting, because I have not read about them in any of the books I have on the space program or the moon.

Dark Shadows talks about why the shadows on the moon are not like the shadows on Earth. Because the shadows are much darker than they are on Earth, it caused some problems for the astronauts. I never realized that we used shadows on earth as visual perception clues. Change the shadow, and it changes the way we perceive the object.

Jack Skis the Moon talks about how lunar dust reminded all the astronauts of snow, except that its far more abrasive than snow.

The Mysterious Smell of Moondust talks about how the moondust smelled to the astronauts like bunt gun powder, and why that might be (they don’t have an explanation for it yet). One astronaut thinks it might be like why the desert, which doesn’t really have a particular smell of its own, smells sweet and peaty after it rains. Having lived in the desert, I have to take exception to this description. The desert does not smell sweet after it rains. It smells like urine, and is really unpleasant. However, I know many people who would disagree with me.

All in all, I found the articles a very interesting read.

Random things about me

Tuesday, February 7th, 2006

Got this from a good friend in my email this morning. Instead of keeping the email chain going, I decided I’d post the answers here on my blog. So now everyone will know some really random facts about me. Hope you enjoy!

Welcome to the 2006 edition of Getting to Know Your Friends. Copy this to your blog, change the answers and leave me a comment with the link so that I can get to know you too!

  1. What time did you get up this morning?7:10
  2. Diamonds or pearls?Diamonds
  3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?I think it was The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. We don’t go to the movies very often
  4. What is your favorite TV show?Currently Gilmore Girls, House, and CSI. Overall I’m not very impressed with current TV, which is a bummer, cause I love TV.
  5. What did you have for breakfast?An apple and a cup of tea, which is an apple more than most days.
  6. What is your middle name?Elizabeth
  7. What is your favorite cuisine?Meat & Potatoes
  8. What food do you dislike?Fish and Seafood
  9. Your favorite Potato chip?Plain Lays
  10. What is your favorite CD at the moment?Green Day American Idiot
  11. What kind of car do you drive?Honda Accord
  12. What characteristics do you despise?close-mindedness
  13. Favorite item of clothing?my best fitting pair of jeans
  14. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go?Well, that would currently be the Caribbean, which we happen to be going to next week. After that is Hawaii.
  15. What color is your bathroom?The master bath is navy blue and an ugly shade of tan. Not my choice! The bathroom needs a major renovation which we can’t afford so I haven’t bothered to paint it.
  16. Favorite brand of clothing?If I had to pick one, I’d say it’s the Gap
  17. Where would you retire?Probably to where my children and grandchildren are, if we ever have any.
  18. Favorite time of day?7pm when I’m done with everything and can just sit and relax for a while.
  19. Where were you born?Portland, Maine
  20. Favorite sport to watch?Hmm…I’m glued to the TV every Sunday watching NASCAR, but one could debate that it’s not really a sport, so other than that probably Hockey or baseball, both of which I prefer seeing in person rather than on TV.
  21. What laundry detergent do you use?Tide
  22. Coke or Pepsi?Coke (caffeine free)
  23. Are you a morning person or night owl?definitely a morning person. After 9pm I become nearly impossible to communicate with.
  24. What size shoe do you wear?7
  25. Do you have pets?2 cats
  26. Any new and exciting news you’d like to share with your friends?We’re going to St. Croix next week!
  27. What (who) did you want to be when you were little?I wanted to fly fighter jets or design them.
  28. Favorite Candy Bar?Snickers
  29. What is your best childhood memory?Anytime that we were up at camp, particularly rides in the orange boat.
  30. What are the different jobs you have had in your life?Ice Cream scooper, bank teller, manufacturing engineer, product development engineer
  31. What color underwear are you wearing?blue
  32. Nicknames?Keekee, given to me by my brother before he could say Kristin, and it stuck. It later got shortened to Keek.
  33. Piercing:2 always infected holes in each ear.
  34. Ever been to Asia?nope
  35. Ever been toilet papering?nope
  36. Greatest fear?not doing anything meaningful with my life
  37. Love someone so much it made you cry?yes
  38. Been in a car accident?yes
  39. Croutons or bacon bits?Croutons
  40. Favorite day of the week?Saturday
  41. Favorite restaurant?Great Northern Pizza Kitchen
  42. Favorite flower?Gladiola
  43. Favorite ice cream?hmmm…anything chocolately. The ice cream shop I used to work at made awesome GrapeNut ice cream and Peanut butter Ice cream.
  44. Disney or Warner Brothers?Warner Brothers (and the Warner Sister Dot)
  45. Favorite fast food restaurant?McDonald’s
  46. What color is your bedroom carpet?Grey
  47. How many times did you fail your driver’s test?none! thanks to my dad that worked for hours and hours with me to teach me to parallel park.
  48. Before this one, from whom did you get your last e-mail?Spam Blocker! saying that this email was stuck in the spam filter.
  49. What do you do most often when you are reading?Curl up in a blanket on the couch, listening to some light classical music.
  50. Greatest achievement:Having a scrapbook page published in the Becky Higgins Sketch Book 2
  51. Bedtime:~10pm
  52. Last person you went to dinner with:Chris
  53. Ford or Chevy?Well, I would buy a ford if I had to choose between the two, but as a NASCAR fan Chevy rules!
  54. What are you listening to right now?Green Day Boulevard of Broken Dreams
  55. What is your favorite color?Blue
  56. Lake, Ocean or River?Growing up on the coast of Maine, I have to say the ocean.
  57. How many tattoos do you have?none
  58. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?Chicken
  59. Favorite Cocktail?I don’t drink much, and when I do it’s wine with dinner.
  60. Red or White?white
  61. Where would you go for a girls weekend get-a-way?someplace on a warm beach.
  62. What would you do if you had to select another career?Musician
  63. Favorite Family Vacation?Disney World, the year we went with Grammie and Grampa, and we convinced them to ride space mountain.
  64. All Time Favorite Concert?Billy Joel and Elton John
  65. Words or phrase you overuse:I don’t know (I’m not saying that I don’t know the answer to this question, I’m saying I overuse the phrase “I don’t know”)

Caribbean Here We Come!

Monday, February 6th, 2006

I’m sitting here watching it snow kinda heavily, and I can’t help but start to get excited about our trip to St. Croix next week. We’re staying for 5 days at The Buccaneer Hotel with private white sand beaches and several swimming pools. We’ll be going on a sunset sail, and take a snorkeling trip to Buck Island Reef! I can’t wait, it’s going to be so warm! I think I’m looking forward to sitting on the beach, relaxing, and reading a book most of all. I’ll definately be getting a facial and a pedicure at the spa too! So exciting! It’s been 4 years since we last took a real vacation. I’m glad that we’re going someplace warm though, not that I didn’t have fun at the winter olympics in Salt Lake. When we did that, we were living in Arizona, so we could look forward to a week of cold and snow. But going from Cold to Cold is not my idea of a vacation at all! With the snow falling here, I’m definately looking forward to a week of fun in the sun!!

The Old Wallpaper

Monday, February 6th, 2006

Ok, I had the wallpaper piece scanned in like a week ago, but I haven’t had time to get it up here. This is what it looked like. The block of color at the top right was the original paint color. The wallpaper was on the top half of the wall, with the paint below. Very confining for a small bathroom!