29 January 2009

Goodbye Aunt Marie

My Aunt Marie died of cancer on Sunday, Jan. 25. I will not be attending her funeral, but I still want to honor her memory, and I have decided to do so here. She was my maternal grandmother's sister, so "Aunt" is probably not the correct title; however, that is how I have always known her. She was also our next-door neighbor for more than 20 years.

She had been diagnosed with cancer only a few days before she passed. It was a shock when Mom called to tell me that she was gone, but she did not suffer. She lived a long and full life, and she enjoyed it to the end. She was boisterous and generous, especially to her family, and faithfully attended Saturday afternoon mass.

She grew up in a farming family, and lived in a small part of Western Wisconsin for her entire life. Her roots are deep here, and so are the memories of her in and around town. I suspect the crowed at her funeral will be large and full of happy memories. In her retirement, she traveled to many parts of this nation, including the Grand Canyon. I suspect she has seen more of the US than I have!

She lost her husband Carol several years ago. I look forward to seeing them both in eternity.

It is ironic that she would be memorialized in a blog. She was old enough to remember the first time her mother switched on electric lights in their house, and she saw me fly halfway around the world to Australia and back. I suppose the appearance of her picture and name in a medium so foreign to her shows how far one person's smile, love, and generosity can truly extend.

My mother mentioned that even the director of the funeral home remarked on how much Aunt Marie would be missed. A wise man, possibly Mark Twain, once said, "Life your life in such a way that when you die, even the undertaker will be sad." She did.

28 January 2009

Start at Indiana University

With the help of a few very good friends and many fellow members of Continuum, I successfully moved from Columbus, OH to Bloomington, IN on Jan. 18, 2009.

I have been unpacking boxes and buying furniture since then. I also started my new job as a Postdoctoral Fellow on Jan. 20. This job will apparently involve much traveling since I am already been to Fermilab for a NO╬ŻA collaboration meeting. I will be going there twice more this month for training and taking shifts monitoring the MINOS experiment.

I will also be attending the next MINOS collaboration meeting, which will be at the University of Cambridge, England.

10 January 2009

Real Answer to Guess the Object.

Seventeen days ago, I asked my readers to identify this object. First, here is the full context of the photograph.
The mystery object was on a cookie sheet surrounded by frozen french fries. Indeed, it came in a bag full of french fries.
I called the toll free number on the back of the bag and spoke to a nice woman who works for Kroger. I explained the situation and my conclusion that the foreign object in the bag of garlic fries appeared to be an errant chicken wing. She gave me a $3.00 credit on my Kroger card, which I used the next time I went grocery shopping. She also asked several questions about the numbers on the bag so she could identify the plant that had produced it.

After baking the fries, I tried to eat the mystery object. I discovered that it was not a chicken; it seemed to be made of the same substance as the other fries. I therefore concluded that it was a badly misshapen (but still tasty) french fry.

06 January 2009

Happy New...Apartment!

My apartment search as ended early. I signed the lease (and many other pieces of paperwork) this evening. In case some of you are wondering why I did not call you to tell you the news, I shall let you know that I somehow neglected to pack my mobile phone charge and am almost out of battery life.

The apartment is in an excellent location in Bloomington, with plenty of space and includes a washer and dryer in the unit. It is a few feet from a bike path that leads to campus. It was an almost perfect fit; it even has a full sized stove! I will be moving on Jan. 18. If you would like to help, please let me know.