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2009-03-14 - 5:03 p.m.

...little ow, RIBBIT, a trip to study debris...

Happy pi day, everyone.

Another long week. I managed to get through another short workout this morning, and as far as I can tell, I'm still going to be able to move tomorrow morning - enough so to attack those stomach muscles again. I did 30 minutes of abdominal crunches on Wednesday - not surprisingly I've been a little bit stiff.. But I've recovered enough to go for it once more tomorrow. Yay.

I was also able to take little Susi swimming this morning. She so loves swimming. She plays in the water, smiles and kicks, gurgles - and is getting very comfortable with putting her face under water. Still doesn't like floating on her back, though. But then again - no one in the class seems to like it..

The child is so close to walking and talking now, it's painfully cute. She repeats "UT! UT! UT!" (up) as she climbs the stairs. She looks at our fancy schmancy coffee machine in the morning and says "OFFEE! MAMA!" (yes very good association skills). She points into the shower and says "BOPPA!" (Papa). And then spots a furrball scurrying through the kitchen and whispers 'teetee...' (kitty). Cuteness abounds.

Also amusing are the gestures she's picked up. We have a zoo book with a frog on one of the pages. I always say "RIBBIT RIBBIT RIBBIT!" and imitate a frog jumping all over her body. Now whenever she sees a frog (or a cartoon of a frog) or hears me say "RIBBIT!" she grins and makes the frog-jumping gesture. I love it.

A positive note this week was a trip out to Chilliwack with a student of mine, to identify the location of several debris flows. Her project involves quantifying the meteorological controls on these debris flows to help to set up a warning system for the communities in this area.

Chilliwack was very very beautiful, surrounded by snow-capped mountains with salmon-bearing streams in the valleys. We were escorted around by the regional director Ministry of Freeways for 4 1/2 hours - he showed us all the major hotspots for landslides and debris flows.

The excitement of the day, though, was the occurrence of a 3-car pile-up on the freeway we had just passed. A truck jumped the median and ran into a second truck and a passenger car, causing four deaths. This all happened 20 minutes after we had driven through this section of highway, and the director was telling us about the precautions they were taking to stop vehicles from jumping the median. We saw black billowing smoke from the highway, and my student and I sat in the truck quietly while the director orchestrated cleanup and detours from the driver's seat of the truck.

I thank my lucky stars that I do not have to drive. And such accidents still help to put the little annoyances in my life into crystal clear perspective.

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...they are just words, Suzi... - 2011-08-29
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