Sunday, May 18, 2008

We're still trying to catch up on all the missed blogging ~ so, even though it happened months ago I wanted to post some pictures of my mom's visit to Ecuador back in February.

She came during our Carnival vacation and since that's typically a time when people throw water balloons and spray foam at people we decided to head out of town.

We went to the town of Otavalo which has the largest indigenous market in Ecuador. Here's a picture from a balcony of all the stalls.

We spent our time shopping in the town but stayed at a mountaintop lodge just outside of the town and it was beautiful.

We had a house to our selves and a guy who came around and stoked the fire periodically. We spent a lot of time drinking wind and reading books in the living room by the warm fire.

We ate our meals in the main lodge (which is right behind mom in this picture) and they served pretty decent vegetarian fare.

The place was really gorgeous ~ flowers everywhere (notice all the dahlias?) and we took a long hike around the ridge of the mountain ~ I was impressed with mom's endurance especially since she had only been in town for 2 days and was hiking at over 10,000 feet! We saw some beautiful views and at one point the trail ended in a very nice couples' garden ~ oops! They didn't seem to mind and pointed us in the right direction.

Here's one of the llamas that were hanging around the lodge ~ I think they're so cute. There was also an adorable cat and a tiny puppy.

After this trip I had to return to work so mom came by and visited Chris and I at school.
Here's a picture she took from outside my classroom...

She visit my classroom and got to meet some of my very cute students.

She also spent a day on a tour of the old town Quito visiting all the beautiful churches and squares and learning some of the history of the place.
Her tour also went to mitad del mundo ~ the middle of the world where they have a big monument and museum on the equator (Chris and I still haven't made it there)

We managed to get a few nights of bridge in with our friends who used to play when they were in the peace corps in Nepal.

And for a last hurrah we headed for one night to the cloud forest. We stayed at the eco lodge where Chris and I have been a few times (the pictures might look familiar). We love the owners and they make the most delicious vegetarian food and the place is so relaxing.

As mom and I were hanging out waiting for the communal dinner we ran into a couple who were staying there and we eventually figured out that I had met the guy 15 years ago when I was living in New York City and he was a friend of a friend and had actually stayed for a few nights in my apartment with his girlfriend at the time! Imagine running into each other in a tiny town in Ecuador ~ small world....
We took a wet and muddy hike to see all the flora and some fauna of the area ~ here's mom and our guide ~ it's a big place for bird watching.

We went across the way to the butterfly farm...

If you remember the pictures from a previous trip you have to cross the river mindo to get to the lodge via a home made cable car type thing.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Science marches on...

It seems like they've finally done it. I actually thought I might not see this in my lifetime. They've created a genetically modified human embryo. This means they have inserted a gene into the human genome of a growing embryo.

I didn't think it wouldn't happen - not because I didn't think they could do it - it's actually really easy to do. I just didn't think anyone would cross that line. Basically, this means they can insert genes and change genes at will. Want you kids to be taller? smarter? - have you ever seen the movie GATACA? Anyway, check it out.

Vegetarians will now face a new dilema - can they eat meat if it doesn't come from an animal? That's right - they can now grow meat "In Vitro." Meat without animals - YUM! Check out the wikibooks entry for the basics and the NY Times Blog article for the social and ecological implications.

The future is now...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Check out the "Stem Cell Primer" i posted under bio links - it's incredibly well done (with a beautiful example of art and science uniting) and will teach you most of what you need to know to be an informed citizen (and voter)

check out the MEATRIX, too ~ a fantastic tale of what's wrong with today's corporations and why we need to return to the family farm of yesteryear (and an amazing parallel to the movie :)

~ peace and love

Thursday, May 01, 2008

CONGRATULATIONS TO MARY AND DAVID! - we are so unbelievably happy for you and excited about the wonderful edition to our clan - all we can talk about is when we might get to see Daniel!

and in much less exciting news .... hello everyone

sorry it's been so long - no good excuses - we've been busy with work and the minutia of everyday life, but hasn't everyone

on a first note, i had a wonderful trip home over spring break and my family (as always) was so wonderful and gererous and welcoming and i had such a great time with dad fishing (sooooo good and peaceful) - thanks, dad!

here are our beautiful kitties, getting bigger and staying very healthy - our 'come to our home' vet is going to take care of them at her house while we're gone and we're so happy about that - although we're not sure how we'll live without them for five weeks - and we're really hoping they don't forget us :(

and now that my hip is feeling mostly better we're going to try to summit...and we're quite scared but optimistic - we'll post some pictures whether we make it or not

this is Iliniza Norte
5,126m / 16,817ft

and jon has been sooooo kind as to send down a tripod and a remote, without which i couldn't have taken these photos (thanks, my friend - it has opened up new avenues of photoness) - double click to make BIGGER

I've also found some time among the chaos to get some painting done - as sharon said, "wow, you've really gone in different directions" - as always, it makes me happy (sorry 'bout the shadows)

sharon is doing wonderfully and has come very close to getting her second masters degree, this time in education - how many people have done that!
we're happy and can't wait to get home and see everyone - we'll be here in quito again next year and then we'll see where the world takes us - at this point we're thinking southeast asia, but we know how things change and we know we'll end up where we're supposed to be...
on a tangential note, i just want to thank uncle bob for his wonderful words of encouragement and support last time i was home - as always, he was terse and meaningful
we love you all and send peace and joy
chris and sharon