Monday, November 28


It has been FREEZING here lately! As evidenced by our dock, which was an interesting combination of a layer of ice covered by a layer of frost (wheeeeee........):

And you know it's cold when you can make an abstract art sculpture from your frozen lines:

What I want to know is why it wasn't cold like this last winter, when we had season passes to Stevens Pass? But no, the year we decide to skip the season passes and instead spend our money on a trip to the tropics (more on that later) is the year that all the resorts open before Thanksgiving. Stupid Murphy.


Tuesday, November 15

But I Regress

I've gotten a little ahead of myself by writing about the engagement before I posted about the cruise, even though they actually happened in reverse order. Can you blame me? But the cruise was pretty cool, so I wanted to be sure and give a quick synopsis:

On October 16 we set sail from Seattle in the Thompson (really, how many times can I link that ship?) The plan was to cruise down the west coast to San Diego, conducting habitat, bathymetry, fish and invertebrate surveys at different sites along the way. It was my first time on a boat that big, and I was pretty damn impressed. Lots of room for research and even a little recreation: the ship has a ping pong table, movie room, and library.

More impressive than the ship were the scientists aboard. Lots of brilliant people from UW, MIT, Oregon State, and NOAA. And not only were they great scientists, but they were also a lot of fun. Everyone was friendly and upbeat - even when we hit the inevitable bumps in the road that come with field work.

The science crew

I'll try not to go into too much boring detail, but we used some very cool technology to conduct surveys. And everything had an acronym. It's just not official unless it's all caps. Right?

Here's the CTD, which stands for Conductivity, Temperature, and Depth. It's a tool that measures, well... conductivity, temperature, and depth.


Here's the AUV, which stands for Autonomous Underwater Vehicle. It's basically a robot that can be programmed with "missions." For instance, you can program it to swim ashore and grab some fresh veggies and meat that's not made of ham. OK, not really, but wouldn't that be nice? What it does do is descend to the bottom and take pictures of the seafloor and any marine life that happens to be around.

Deploying the AUV.

The beauty of the AUV is that once it's deployed, it is not attached to the ship by any cables. So you drop it overboard and then it does it's thing while you go do important scientific stuff, like playing Monopoly or watch the sunset.

Hard at work

While I was on the cruise I missed Tom terribly and it's awfully good to be back home, but it was a huge learning opportunity for me, and I'm glad I could go.

One final picture to leave you with - the directions for donning a survival suit:

I don't know about you, but I find that telling someone to just relax usually has the opposite effect...


Monday, November 7

Otherwise Engaged

Sorry I haven't posted in awhile. As you know from Tom's posts, I was away on a research cruise for the last two weeks of October. But on October 30, the Thompson finally pulled into shore. I was standing at the rail, eager to get on dry land after 2 weeks at sea, and guess who I saw:

It was Tom! He had surprised me by flying into LA to meet the ship as we pulled into port. Just as the ship pulled up to the dock he rolled up in a convertible (behind the white truck in the picture above) with a huge smile on his face. I was so excited to see him and I ran off the ship to give him a hug and a smooch and say hi.

But he had much more to say than hi. After hugging me, he got down on one knee and proposed! Right there on the dock, with his knee in bird poop and all the scientists and crew watching. Right where the red X is in the picture above. It was terribly romantic. Of course I said yes, and then proceeded to fan my face with my hand (Who DOES that? Me, apparently, when I'm very excited) and tell him I thought I was going to pass out. Unfortunately we don't have any pictures of the proposal because, well, we were just too happy to think about anything as practical as pictures.

After the proposal, we got into the convertible and drove off down the Pacific Coast Highway. It was a beautiful sunny day, I was with my fiance! and life couldn't have been better. We stopped for lunch on the beach in Malibu:

And then continued south, catching the sunset in Venice:

And then we spent the night at the Four Seasons in San Diego, where our main job was to relax and get pampered . It was an amazingly perfect 24 hours.

Tom put so much thought into planning the proposal and making sure everything was perfect. (And this was in addition to all the hard work he did on the bathroom while I was gone - wait til we put up the After pictures!)

Honey, thank you for everything. For working hard to make our home gorgeous, for deciding you want to put up with me for the rest of your life and then planning an absolutely incredible proposal, and most of all for being you: thoughtful and generous and smart and funny and caring and I would go on, but I bet most of our readers are already getting sick in the corner. :)