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APRIL 2008

April Fool's Day dawns. The lawsuit against the LHC, CERN, and Fermilab seems to be a joke, but it isn't. :) T & E join MomM at her completion event on Tuesday evening at LMK.
T chats with a former colleague in Washington, D.C., a physicist now working in politics. In addition to choosing to run for state senate, Engeldon is looking for work beyond the APS. T advises him to find good consulting work and/or somethingn that brings him closer to the Executive Branch agencies. T comes home from work early to talk a walk around the neighbourhood with MomM. Its a great evening!
MomM heads back to Chi-town and we welcome Cousin Nayr and gf Assanav to stay with us. We
The day starts early. We get up early to finish packing and then T drives E and friend Neit to YVR airport at 5:30am. They're off to Los Angelese for an LMK weekend class. T heads to work afterward and makes progress.
Nayr's birthday! Well, not to celebrate too much, but T and Nary decide to get in some downhill skiing while the snow is still in the mountains and the slopes are still open. We gear up with synthetic underlayers, cotton layers, and waterproof ski pants and shell jackets and head out to Cypress for some serious downhilling. Nary is a pro and has served on ski patrol for a half-dozen years. T has only been skiing about three times before in his life! We ascend into the clouds and some rain and then some snowfall. The air is warmer than a few weeks ago, but there is still plenty of snow on the mountainside. We find parking without trouble and on account of the late time in the season, it isn't too crowded. Nary convinces T (me) to buy some ski goggles, which perclude my eye glasses, but greatly enhance visibility and protect my eyes. We rent skis, boots, and poles, and then get lift tickets. And we're off! The first big challenge is to ascend the small rise at the base of the chair lift. I give up and remove my skis and walk up, and then bind back in. We tackle the green Panorama trail that is simply amazing...the visibility is poor and it is snowing and icy for most of the afternoon, but this is just awesome! Nayr gives me some good advice on how to steer (use your big toe!) and we cycle through the run about 6 times before we stop for some food and water. Then we're back again and this time we take a Blue detour to get back down. The slopes are steeper and longer and I master about half of it. I can tell I'm getting tired and anxious as I keep falling down simply because I lose my nerve. Its damn good fun, though, and Nayr is very patient. We make the last run shortly before 4pm as the clouds disperse and we can see from the edge of the mountain out to the ocean. WOW.
The Board of Management at T's office has a dinner meeting before the full-day session on Friday. T is the evening entertainment and the session goes pretty well.
E assists at the LMK Forum for Teens this weekend in spite of being tired and a bit ill. She has a blast.
And so begins a splentabulous weekend! The day is absolutely amazing. T sets out on a walking adventure. First, to the bike shop to drop off the Trek bicycle that had the front-brake post shorn off in the move. Then to the landlord's bank to deposit the rent check. Then another 2 miles (3 km?) further to withdraw $CAN, and then back another 3 miles to exchange the $CAN for $US in the form of a paper check. It's so warm that T is in short sleeves and shorts by the afternoon and a seasonal haircut is in order to make way for the new season of sun. Yahoo! // On his adventures, T comes across an unusual incident. Delissio Pizza, as part of a sales promotion, has occupied several of the urban street cornets and is handing out FREE $9 frozen pizzas! T gets two in his meanderings tells E that he has "dinner all figured out, and its not from our freezer!" *blush*
Another glorious Vancouver day. This one is a bit cooler, but T heads out for a morning jog and falls into step with a massive Team-in-Training crew for about 10 minutes. The network of hills, streets, and beaches is perfect for a day-opening run. During the rest of the Sunday, T contributes written material to his office and enjoys an Okanagan pear cider.
T and E head out to Amsterdam for T's meeting at NIKHEF. E takes an afternoon flight from YVR via Minneapolis-St.Paul. T has a meeting with UBC leadership and has his experience in Canada of "getting rolled." Then its a meeting with BC Innovation Council and T's off to YVR for his own non-stop flight. Goodbye Canada, hello Amsterdam!

For the best photos, please see our Picassa album

T and E arrive in Amsterdam. Although T left later, his non-stop nearly catches up with E and we are joyously reunited at T's arrival gate. Wow, everyone speaks Dutch here! What a great airport. We withdraw some Euros from the Canadian ATM and then head out into the brave new world. We take a taxi for 50 Euros and find our way to the NH Tropen hotel, a great building in central city next to the Tropen (Tropics) Museum. E successfully negotiates for a non-smoking hotel room and we slip into a spacious (by European standards) hotel room on the 9th floor with great views (see photos).

The next day, T meets up with two colleagues and we make our way via electric rail/tram and a bus to NIKHEF for the first day of the meeting. What a beautiful, sleepy city! Its quiet, peaceful, and everybody rides bicycles with high handle-bars. The local team hosts us for a boat trip on the canals and we have dinner near the garden district. Here you can see E boarding the boat at the far-right wearing a bright green jacket.
After the day's meeting, we return to the hotel. E and T join KY and EC and we head out to the Museum District to visit the Van Gogh Museum. It's AMAZING. Downstairs is a cafe with 1950s retro music, with lounge drinks, tables, and all kinds of people admiring art and hanging out. SWEET.

The left-hand photo shows the front side of the building, clearly decorated with VG's prints. The right-hand photo shows the view out over the museum square from the cool stairwell at sunset.
We go on a walking tour of Amsterdam with the hostess's sister. AWESOME.
We decipher Amsterdam transportation and use tram, train, bus, and foot to get to the Keukenhof Gardens...a massive Dutch tulip farm with more than 4.5 million hand-planted tulips and another 2.5 million bulbs. WOW. Its a beautiful day and we simply melt in the elegance and grandeur.

We make the long trip home from Amsterdam. But first, we step outside into a brilliant sunny Holland morning and find our way to Cafe Milo for a tasty brunch. The coffee is superb, the fried-egg sandwich perfect, and the host brilliant. He gives us advice on how to make killer cappucino: you need to start with very cold milk and you need to swirl the milk around the steam spout in order to make the stiffest possible foam that is not too airy. Cool!
A beautiful Vancouver-special sunet.
We go on a walk with friends Nyar and Assenav. We meet them at the White House and then stroll out the back of their apartment building into Stanley Park. We walk for about an hour, making it halfway around the park. It is beautiful, a grey and clear day with spats of rain. Afterward, we have a great little brunch at the X Spot Cafe. These photos don't do full justice. But here goes.

We pass by a set of trees where are dozens of heron nests! The heron rookery is eerily silhouetted against the sky with huge birds sitting on the branches. // We walked around Beaver Lake and then emerged on the north side of the Park near Lion's Gate Bridge. These huge piles of yello sulphur almost glowed yellow in the grey sky. Weird!

Along the seawall, we pass by the local Vancouver pasttime--making cairns out of stacked rocks, as funky and as many as possible. Holy smack! We crawled down off the seawall to the tidepools at low tide and snapped some photos...even looking back at the skyscrapers of downtown.

T attends a workshop at the office that brings together Canadians and Germans thinking about partnerships for the future of rare-isotope physics. T plays photographer and snaps a photo of the group.


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