Saturday, February 14, 2015

Every time I think my job is cool, it gets cooler

I really do love my job.  It is science. I work with great people. And I get to go do things like this.


Measuring stream flow in a creek in Cache County. Note the brown boots. By the time I got out of the stream I was sloshing inside.  The boots had a leak.



Same activity but with my fashionista pink plaid boots from my closet taken on this trip because I had a stinking suspicion that the brown boots leaked.

These pictures are from a quick project last October-November that two of my coworkers took the lead on.  The project involved evaluating how much surface water flow was coming out of different parts of the geologic system. To do that we had to measure stream flow, the quality of the water, and document where the streams were flowing vs. where they were dry.  We were racing against the oncoming winter at a ski area on the county line between Cache County and Weber County to document base flow conditions (the hydrologic conditions that are creating the constant flow in streams, as opposed to run off events in the spring or after rain storms).

2014-10-29 15.15.26

Coworker Maddie






Beautiful country.


No water in the stream bed.



Measuring water quality field parameters.



Driving crazy roads.



Nature is unbelievable.



A spring



Sometimes you gotta get in there and measure that junk.



At the base of the carbonate rocks.



Taking field notes before measuring stream flow.  Damn those boots are hot.



Not the most secluded natural stream channel to measure flow, but man-made structures are convenient and repeatable.



Six of us worked long days in October to knock out the data collection. We hiked in some really interesting (hydrogeologically speaking) rugged terrain searching for places to measure water. My job is fun.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

January Vegas family trip, 2014

I was going through my pictures from the past year and found these that I meant to blog about. 

About this time last January (2014), Drew's parents came to visit us in Las Vegas. 

 I had a stunning view on my flight down.

As they had been on some insanely early flight, Drew and I left them at the condo to nap and have some down time while we pedaled out a quick ride. 

When in Vegas, hit the town!

Later that evening we feasted at a fine Italian restaurant, compliments of Drew's mom. Yummy.

Since Drew's parents had never seen a Cirque du Soleil show took them to "O", the water one.  
Waiting for the show.

Even though Drew and I had seen it before, it still awes me. After the show we wandered the casino for a bit to take in the glitz.

 Dale Chihuly glass art on the ceiling. Love that artist. 

Science Day

The next day, after such a rough night on the town, sleeping in was required.  For East Coasters, that meant about 8 am Pacific time. Oh boy.

This day was science-engineering learning day. We visited the Springs Preserve

 Playing with the Leonardo exhibits

  A bridge with no fasteners - intriguing for Engineer Mom. 

The Springs Preserve is an interpretive park on the site of the once-flowing Las Vegas Springs. Spanish explorers named the area "Las Vegas" (meaning "the meadows") because of the springs and the greenery surrounding the area.  The springs dried up decades ago due to over pumping.

The higher area to the left side of the picture was one of the spring heads before the water table was drawn down by over pumping. 

   This little hummingbird only sat still for a couple of seconds. 

  The depression in this photos used to be a big spring pool.  It is almost always dry now. 

After the morning at the Preserve, we drove out to see the new bridge at the Hoover Dam.  For some reason I don't have any pictures of this excursion; however, I do remember the parents being impressed.

That's about all we did besides visit and enjoy each other.  Anyway, these old pictures brought back some memories and I'm looking forward to seeing the folks again next month.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Holidays Together! Part III

New Years

Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas AND New Years together? No way. Way.  Drew had New Years Eve and New Years Day off.  We had plans to xc ski and watch the torch parade at Alta ski resort, but the temperature was between 0 and 20 degrees F up in the mountains, so we bagged that idea and rallied some friends for a drink at the new bar/restaurant at 9th and 9th and then dinner at Mazza restaurant.

 It was New Year's Eve, after all.

 Yummy cauliflower something.

A good meal/time.

Drew and I stopped by our neighbor's house after we got home.  Good thing we were within walking distance so I could stumble home later! We were asleep before midnight.

Extended Holiday

January 2 is close enough to the New Year to call a holiday so we took a joint day off to get up to Park City to snowshoe around some cool areas.

Not an actual holiday, but we'll count it

Our friend Andy was celebrating his 40th birthday on Jan 4 so he and wife Rhonda stayed at the condo in Vegas to enjoy some slightly warmer weather.  Drew and I joined them for a day to help celebrate with mtbs on dirt and, later, all-you-can-eat sushi.

 My Christmas present from Drew - Giro winter riding boots. So toasty.

So Good We Go Back for More

Back to Salt Lake for me and all over the place for Drew for a few days of work.  The air quality was deteriorating rapidly so when the loads on the planes looked light I bombed back to Vegas for about 24 hours for some more dirt, this time for short-sleeve riding out at Bootleg canyon.

Snow's Still Good so Live It Up

So here we are in mid January with a pretty nasty streak of poor air quality in the Salt Lake Valley but crystal clear skies in Park City and the mountains. We've been getting out either solo,

Me xc skiing at White Pine Nordic Center

with old Navy buddies...

 Drew in Lambs Canyon with Murph

  Artsy iPhone pic by Drew

The snuggle-y blanket of "fog" in the valley below is our nasty smog layer

or together snowshoeing up Mineral Fork of Big Cottonwood Canyon.

 Snow on structure!

 Water crossing. You can't do this here in April.

Another artsy iPhone pic by Drew

So now we both go back to work in earnest and end our happy holiday run.  It was sublime to be able to spend so many special days with Drew over the past month or more.  I'll try to remember that when he is traveling for work and bike racing in the next few weeks.  At least I'll have time to get more blog posts done.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Holidays Together! Part II (Christmas)

This would be our first Christmas with just the two of us together at home ever in the 10 year history of us.  When I was growing up the youngest of seven kids, Christmastime was, of course, huge.  It wasn't all about lots of presents, although we had our fair share, it was about family time together eating, playing games, playing cards, going to church.  Drew's family, although smaller, also put an emphasis on family time.

Drew is an airline pilot. He flies a lot. He likes to chose when he flies for pleasure.  He tries to chose the easiest and cheapest time for us to fly to see family. That time is not Christmas!  This year, although he had a few days off around Christmas, we chose to focus on our immediate local family - that is, us, the cats, and the bikes.

Christmas Prep

Because we were going to be home, we decorated the house in a big way for the first time in 8 years.

Our tree wasn't tall enough to use Drew's full height advantage for the #1 task.

All done. I love our little tree!

Looks pretty at night too.

So the house was decorated, but there were the usual holiday hassles,

The post office was a zoo!

And holiday baking

 All to get ready to have a quiet Christmas at home.

Christmas Eve

We rode our mountain bikes on Thanksgiving, so why not on Christmas Eve!  Utah had not seen appreciable snow since November so we bundled up and rode from our house on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail.  We were not the only friends out there.

 Ran into Sally and Karl doing the same thing.

As you can see in the previous photo, the weather had been moderately warm for Dec 24, but not sunny.  All that cloud cover paid off when the sun sunk to the horizon. We were treated with the most amazing sunset imaginable.

 Note the Christmas lights on the house in the center of the photo. So special.

 The short days of winter drove us home to a very quiet dinner.  I think we may have had some sort of veggie patties again, which might be becoming a tradition.

White Christmas Day

Those clouds from Christmas Eve held snow. Lots of snow.  After a cozy Christmas morning opening gifts from family and friends far and wide while sipping espressos by the fire,

we ventured out into a couple of feet of NEW FRESH POWDER!  During our first couple of years together, before home additions and winter bike races starting hogging our time, we snowshoe'd a lot.  With the beautiful fresh new snow, we decided to relive those early days and headed up the mountain to Lamb's Canyon. 

At the lower end of the trail, someone had broken trail in the fresh powder.  About a mile in, we ran into that solo man with no snow shoes.  Crazy! After that, Drew had his work cut out for him breaking trail in ever deeper snow.

 12"-18" of deep powder- that's hard work!

It was a true winter wonderland.

And not flat.

Breaking trail is slow going.  We tried to make it to the ridge line between Lambs and Millcreek Canyons, but we were running out of daylight, and gas, so we turned around about a half mile from the ridge.  It got pretty dark on us, but we were prepared.

We ended the evening with a some sort of tasty vegetarian crock pot concoction. 

Post Christmas

Drew had a few more days off after the 25th so we continued with the quiet home evenings/outdoor theme.  We enjoyed a hike on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, where three days earlier we had been riding.

Mid-hike phone calls give Lucy a chance to take goofy pictures.

There were movies in the newly completed basement media room with the family,

and tormenting the family with Drew's Christmas present to himself.


Fresh air, cozy times, and entertaining cats together with Drew are three reasons this was the best Christmas I can remember!!