Egypt!

May. 22nd, 2010 10:02 pm
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The Pyramids and Sphinx were fantastic, and now the photos are online. The museum was great too. We got to see King Tut, but sadly weren't allowed our camera for that part.

From Cairo


Pyramids and Sphinx
Coptic Quarter
Antiquities Museum (No photos, but we enjoyed our time with King Tut.)

http://middendorfrtw.blogspot.com
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We're back from behind the Great Firewall of China. Actually, we have been for a while, but now the blog finally has all the China posts. China was great. We are looking forward to going back someday.




From Great Wall


Highlights include:
The Great Wall
Mount Hua Shan
Tomb of Emperor Jingdi
Chengdu

Coming soon: Egypt, which was also awesome.

Currently we are in Italy, where I seem to be suffering from an olive tree allergy, but am otherwise having a good time. :-( We cooked our own dinner for the first time in like 4 months last night. It was amazing. Wish you could buy gnocchi that good in the USA! Guess we'll have to learn to make it ourselves.
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Sometimes in Laos, you are expected to get out and push. If this isn't adventure travel, I don't know what is.

http://middendorfrtw.blogspot.com

Post from mobile portal m.livejournal.com
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Yesterday was my second anniversary at Epic. Tomorrow is my last day at Epic. A week from Saturday we are loading the truck (anyone wanting to come help with that is, of course, welcome to do so). If the weather holds, we'll spend the next 3-4 days after that driving to my parents' house. Then visit my folks for a bit, then visit my sister for a bit, then visit Josh's sister for a bit. Then on February 2nd we will hop a flight for Delhi, to begin our 5 month adventure.

It's really happening. It's really here. I cannot quite believe it. I'm still waiting for Josh to back out on me, but I'm pretty sure if he was going to do that, he would have done it already. I go back and forth between being really excited, and feeling like he called my bluff. Not that I was bluffing, but I didn't really think it would happen either. So it is high time for a little freaking out and being scared shitless.

But that's not what I was going to write about. I was going to try to give a quick recap of Epic. But now, I don't know. This journal has been about practically nothing else for the past 2 years, so maybe I shouldn't try to do a summary. I enjoyed taking lunch everyday with Josh. We made some good friends who I will definitely miss. Some of the friendships fell totally flat for reasons that are totally beyond me, making me wonder if I am not likable, or just reading too much into things. Probably reading too much into things, and I'm sorry I wont have the opportunity to "fluff up" those friendships because I like the people. As you all know, the work part of work has really sucked. I had 3 bosses in the two years, each worse than the first. I bit off way more than I could chew with my projects, because I was so excited to do so much. And I got burned by that in a variety of ways. It's made me realize how fortunate I've been through the entire rest of my working life to have such excellent managers. I've also learned that I don't especially like writing code, so I guess I can be pretty glad that's not actually what my degree is in. The design work at Northrop Grumman, where I defined every last detail of the algorithm and did simulations, and calculations, etc, and someone else did the grunt work of actually coding it to specifications was much more fun. And I think I was a good deal better at it too (the two probably going hand-in-hand). I also don't like being salaried. I don't know really what else to say that I haven't said already. I think I am ready to start looking forward instead of back. Tomorrow is Friday, and after that I'm taking a 6 month weekend (at least). But that post is for another day, when the night owl of the house isn't bugging me to come to bed.
sillygoosegirl: (Default)
They smell bad and make you cry.

Also, they have layered security.

Q: What additional security measures is TSA taking domestically?
A: TSA has a layered approach to security ...

Mint.com

Dec. 13th, 2009 12:15 am
sillygoosegirl: (Default)
I want to put in a brief plug for Mint.com. It's an online bank account tracking and budgeting tool. I signed up for it so that we would have a way to monitor our accounts on our trip without needing to worry about someone stealing our passwords to our bank accounts. We could also just have it send us email alerts for stuff we think is important, or a weekly or monthly summary... though not sure if we will go that route or just sign in periodically.

However, in addition to our task at hand, it seems to be a really great tool. Unlike the default Quicken graphs, the default Mint graphs actually make sense to me... as in, they are category centric instead of account centric, which is how I like to think about our money. Also, the graphs and drill down are very shiny and very informative. The budgeting tools seem slick and easy. And it also tracks our retirement funds and loans. Sadly, the graphs require Flash 10, which my Nokia doesn't support, so we wont get to make use of the graphs when we are overseas, but I'm pretty sure we'll be using Mint when we get home. It also doesn't track cash spending very well (you can categorize your ATM withdrawals and split them, but not enter your own transactions). On the other hand, I've already pretty much come to terms with the fact that we're too lazy to track cash purchases at this point anyway.

Big Trip

Oct. 30th, 2009 07:39 pm
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I'm doing research for when I talk Josh into quitting with me and we go on a big trip all around the world. We're looking at probably doing a northern hemisphere only trip, leaving South America and Australia for another trip, probably 2 other trips. (South America is just in a different direction, as for Australia, it makes sense to include either Australia or China/Japan, but not both. We are leaning toward China for now, but I go back and forth day by day.) Today's topic: ticket prices, as you might have guessed.

preliminary looks at prices )
sillygoosegirl: (Default)
One way ticket from Rome to Reykjavik: $900+
One way ticket from Rome to London: $65
One way ticket from London to Reykjavik: $223

Does not compute. Josh suggested that perhaps this was because the layover time is super long making it not feasible. But come on, it's London. So maybe you have to spend a night or two and go see a show... I think I can manage that with my $600 savings, thank you very much.

(All hypothetically speaking at this point...)
sillygoosegirl: (Default)
The Wisconsin Tourism Federation has changed it's name to the Tourism Federation of Wisconsin so as to have an acronym that isn't quite so... funny.
sillygoosegirl: (Default)
Got back last night from our Sea Kayaking trip in the Apostle Islands up in Lake Superior. Our route in Google Maps.

It was quite an intense trip. I had really no idea what I was getting us into when I signed us up for it. I didn't realize what big islands they were, or how far apart they were. If I'd known that we were going to be making a 5 mile crossing between islands in a pea soup fog, there's no possible way I would have made the trip. Also, I didn't really think about what a totally different set of muscles it would be than I use for other things, like hiking and biking.

However, it's good that I didn't think about or know those things, because it was also really awesome. Rundown of trip, now with photos! )

Travel

Jul. 10th, 2009 03:04 pm
sillygoosegirl: (Default)
I want to take the following trips this summer:

Canoing in Kickapoo
Kayaking in the Apostle Islands (probably with a guided tour)
Backpacking in Shanandoah
Backpacking in Colorado

Plus, this winter I hope to be home for a "family" reunion with some old family friends before New Years. (This will be a high priority if it actually happens.)

Realistically speaking, there is probably not enough vacation time for all 5 trips, but we'll see.

Also will be going to Squirrel Moon, but that doesn't involve vacation time. (We will be camping this year.)

I don't think there are any of these that we'd object to having others tag along on... except the reunion, that would be weird.

Notes to self that probably no one else cares about )
sillygoosegirl: (Default)
I want to try to see the Northern Lights this Spring.  I was excited to learn recently that, it just so happens that for it's latitude, Madison has about the best Aurora viewing in the world.  I believe this is due to being very close to magnetic north longitudinally.  It seems that one can get a forecast.  Activity ranges from 0-9.  On a 9, you can see the Northern Lights in Florida.  I don't know if this has ever happened since people have been keeping records.  They also have long term forecasts, which looks useful for making some weekend plans to drive north and look at it.  Activity may get up to a 4 on February 22-28, March 3-4, and March 21-31.  I will of course want to keep track of the updated forecast as it gets closer, but I'm excited.  On a 4 you can theoretically see it from as far south as Madison (just on the horizon, of course), provided you have little enough light pollution and other obstacles.  But we'd like to drive up to Canada and try for better viewing. 
sillygoosegirl: (Default)
So we were taking apart the laptop screens today, with the project of combining Daffodowndilly with Becca's old laptop... we thought we were all done before, only to open up the new Daffodowndilly II and discover that Becca's screen had a half dozen dead pixels we hadn't noticed. Anyway, this project involved actually taking the screen bit out of the screen bit casing because one of the hinges attached to my screen was broken.

On the back side of the screen there is this big giant sticker that says, "Sensitive Area - Don't touch white tape." Of course, you can't see that until you lift the screen out. And me, I lifted it out by the white tape. Doh. I guess the sticker was for the people assembling it in the first place.

Fortunately it seems the sticker was exaggerating. Everything is fine and nothing is ruined.

In other news, Josh and I were looking at tickets to Cincinnati for Christmas this morning. Only to get a call this afternoon from Josh's parents saying that, yes, they are definitely moving back to Atlanta... and before Christmas too. In fact, they've just put in an offer on a house. Fortunately we hadn't actually bought said tickets.

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