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Archive for December, 2013

Thanksgiving may be a distant memory now, but that didn’t stop the Taylors from preparing a Thanksgiving-style feast for our friends on Friday evening.
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Today I have a buffet of topics that are cooking at the Taylors’ house this week (and they all, ironically, happen to be food related), so grab a fork and spoon and let’s dive in.
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I confess that I’m not 100% into the Christmas spirit yet. This is probably due to being gone over Thanksgiving, then traveling to a conference, and now having the house a bit disheveled from a somewhat messy DIY project. However, we’re two weeks away from the big day, and I’ve slowly been ramping up with my holiday traditions to get in the mood.

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Today is the 183rd birthday of the US Naval Observatory. Founded in 1830, it’s original mission was the repair of navigational instruments, which included chronographs and early time standards. Today, the observatory’s principle mission remains the same: providing precise time, earth orientation, and astrometry services for the nation.

At the USNO, we like any excuse to celebrate and eat cake in our famed library (shown above in the blog header, in case you ever wondered what that was). So today we’ll be having birthday cake in honor of this illustrious anniversary.

You can read more about the observatory and it’s founding here and here.

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After a long weekend out of town over Thanksgiving, I made a quick turn around at home, then boarded a plane this morning to cross the entire country, from one coast to the other. I’ll be attending a conference for a few days in the Seattle area; I’m giving a talk and also serving as a session chair, something I’ve never done before. It should be a good experience.

You may recall that Bart and I are tracking the states we’ve been in together since we’ve been married. I also have a running tally of states I’ve been to myself. Before today, I had never been to Washington, so I’m also excited to check this off my list. I still have three to go before I’ve hit all 50 states. Oddly enough, they never have conferences in North Dakota, so it might be a while before I catch them all.

I’ve already seen the Space Needle from the airplane and possibly Mount Rainier in the distance. And forget Jingle Bells–I heard Alice in Chains playing in the airport. I’ve seen plenty of Starbucks. I have, however, seen neither a sparkly vampire nor rain (maybe those two are correlated?), but I did only just get here today.

I won’t get much of an opportunity to sightsee since I’ll be mostly conference bound, but I had most of the day today to explore a little around the hotel. My initial impression of Seattle is “Colorado with water.” Lots of evergreens, snow capped mountains, people with North Face jackets. There’s also the outdoor vibe I’m used to that Washington DC totally lacks. But while Colorado is clearly landlocked, Seattle has the Puget Sound, Lake Washington, and the Pacific for an extra dose of scenery.

I already foresee the time difference between the two extreme coasts of the US being quite challenging. I woke up at 5:00 am this morning, spent six hours on a flight, and I was still greeted with a “good morning” at the hotel. I’m going to wake up somewhere around 3 am and fall asleep in my dinner. But hey, maybe this will be the first conference ever where I will be awake enough to not doze off during the talks. I mean, I would never do that… I will pay the piper when I get home Thursday, though. But even with the time difference, I’m thankful for the opportunity to see some new places while doing one of the most interesting parts of my job.

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