I just bought tickets to Israel!

I’ve got a lot of travel coming up. Most of it is for work, but I’m able to extend each trip with added vacation days. My next trip is to Baltimore for two meetings related to SHARAD and MRO.

The next trip is to Switzerland. I’ll be there to provide radar observations and interpretations over several regions of Mars. Having been to Switzerland several times, and wanting to branch out, I thought it would be nice to visit somewhere new, so I bought tickets to Israel. It’s going to be a short trip, just 3 days and 4 nights, but I get to see somewhere new and explore more of the world. This is going to be great.

If that weren’t enough, as soon as I get back I head off to Idaho for another meeting. Yep! Lots of meetings. I’ll be taking the motorcycle that time, so there will be an added road trip after the meeting. Looking forward to that too.

Lunar Eclipse

There was a lunar eclipse on Saturday morning. I gave my students an opportunity to earn extra credit if they woke up and took a picture for me. I figured it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t do the same. Here are a couple of the eclipse just before totality. It set behind the Flatirons about 5 minutes before being fully engulfed in Earth’s shadow.

Click to enlarge

Things are really good

It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this way. For the last year I’ve had lots of things set me back. Finally, in the last month, I’ve put my life together the way I like. My new apartment is great, I love my jobs, and I’m financially ahead of the game.

For too long was I struggling with a comfortable place to live and managing all of the stuff coming at me. It seems like I can finally breath, finally enjoy myself. Like my mom taught me, hard work pays off. Put your head down and get through it, the other side is rewarding. I’m finally to the point where I can see the rewards.

Professor!

I got my faculty ID this week. Now I’m a faculty member (adjunct) at Regis University teaching Astronomy. It’s a great feeling. :)  I do love astronomy, so it’s awesome to share this with students who are eager to learn.

Independence Pass and Aspen

This weekend I took the motorcycle out to Aspen to look at the fall colors. I was recommended Independence Pass as one of the premier places in Colorado and was not disappointed.

The ride out there was fairly quick, and after Fresno, there was a lot of new territory to cover. This took me through Lakes County and then over the pass, which is still open but not for long.

The trees along the way were nice, but nothing compared to turning west from Leadville near Mt. Elbert and riding past Twin Lakes. It only got better from there. Unfortunately, many of the campgrounds at that elevation are already closed for the year, but it was easy enough to find a good spot away from the road.  It was a great spot, actually, and I’ll consider gong back to camp another time.

Friday evening was wet, and I arrived late, but Saturday morning was spectacular. It was warm, the sky was clear, and the trees were out in force. I took too many pictures to post, but here are a few of my favorites.

Click on the photos to see bigger pictures.

It was a spectacular weekend.  I’m already planning to go back in a year.

Again, the rest of the photos are here.

14er!

We hiked/climbed Ellingwood Peak this weekend. It was not easy. Of the 7 that went, it was a first only for me. Several others had done more than 20, and one Glen, our leader, has climbed more than 30. All agreed that this was an especially hard climb.

I was invited by Than, my coworker and boss. We met his family at Zapata Falls campground just outside of the Great Sand Dunes National Park. I love camping and have done a decent amount alone since moving to Boulder. This was the first time I went with a group, and it was a lot of fun. I hope they invite me to join them again. I’ll learn some new jokes if so.

Some photos:

Slightly inaccurate cell phone GPS.

 

Left to right: Andrea, Don, Albert (sitting), Glen, Donnie, Than, Isaac

The way up: Yes, that is a very steep slope!

View from the top:


We almost went to the second peak. I would have gone, but it ended up best. I was completely exhausted by the time we got back.

The rest of the photos can be seen here.

 

 

Things

I seem to ignore this blog when things are good, when they are bad, and when nothing is gong on – basically days that end in ‘y’.

Lots has happened since I moved to Boulder. The new job is great, and I love living near the mountains. My commute home can involve 1 hour of mountain riding if I am willing to extend it by 1 hour. Simply put, it takes me no time to get to the mountains, where motorcycle riding is therapeutic.

I’m living in a big house with two other guys. What I thought would happen, with the one bedroom apartment and a relationship didn’t work out. I think things will be better in the long run, but I’ll never understand what makes some people tick.

There is a lot to look forward to. My financial situation is looking much better after the changes; I’m basically spending one paycheck less per month. That money will be used for some fun hobbies instead of rent!

Peace for now.

Athens Part 2

I took over 500 photos on my first day in Athens, so here is another set from the second half of that day. The evening pictures were spectacular, with a rainbow and sunset, then the Parthenon lit up.

Enjoy them all here.


[URL=http://odysseus.culture.gr/h/3/eh351.jsp?obj_id=2485]View of the Acropolis from Ancient Agora[/URL]


View of Acropolis from Temple of Zeus


[URL=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Lycabettus]View of city from Mount Lybettus[/URL]


Rainbow looking east


At night

Again, enjoy them all here.

Boulder

I made it!

Last summer I went through the difficult decision to turn down or postpone my employment in Boulder as Southwest Research Institute and accept a Fulbright grant in Paris. At the time I thought this would mean forgoing the job in Boulder that I really wanted and gave a list of several reasons it made sense. Those reasons included continuing my research on the spiral troughs, bettering my French, more international experience, and of course the prestige of the Fulbright.

All of those things came true, especially on the research and French language side. I really did make some advancements on those fronts, and they are coming to fruition as I prepare papers and proposals based on the research. The language is more personal, but I feel a deep sense of accomplishment to have learned as much French as I did.

After all of that, including ~8 months in Paris (after the 3.5 from 2012) I was truly ready to return to the States, especially Boulder. Thankfully this opportunity came up again, and I was chosen for the job. There is a lot of work to do, and much of it along side my own goals, so I will definitely be busy here. This is good for my career and keeping me sane.

Some of the advantages of living in Boulder are already taking shape, even after less than a week of being here. Yesterday I saw a baseball game with my coworkers, and today I rode my bike to work.  The ride is easy, as it is downhill (this afternoon will be slower going), and it is quite beautiful to see the mountains at my side. I’m really going to like it here.

Paris had much to offer. Besides the things already mentioned I have developed an appreciation for museums and art, thanks to my friend Akili, and I was surrounded by good scientists, like Aymeric, with whom I hope to have a lifelong working partnership. I was also able to travel some, both in France in in Europe. I visited more of the south and west than I had before, and after my stay I was able to visit Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, and Athens.  I’ll always have those memories and photos to keep me going.

All in all, there have been some big changes, but I’m finally where I want to be. Let’s make the most of it!