Boston

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I’ve really been enjoying my time in Boston.

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It’s been a good conference. It makes such a difference to have the kids grown. I’ve still been on call for M (“what sort of thing should I use to melt the butter for my artichoke?”), but it is so much easier to focus on work now, and to be able to be prepared enough to not feel constantly one step behind.

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It also helps that I am now one of the old people here. I realized that other people now see me as an experienced old person, the way I used to see all the people who have now retired. Odd.

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I didn’t stay in the conference hotel because I was trying to save money. I go back and forth about this. It’s nice to be able to roll out of bed and take the elevator to the meetings. But it’s also nice to have an excuse to walk through the city, often at odd hours.

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This time I have really enjoyed that. The weather has been perfect. We’re close to a lively shopping street, and I walk home through crowds of people in their summer dresses and shorts strolling the streets. Crowds of people — college kids, families with little kids, people speaking French — it’s wonderful. That is a thing I miss about a warm summer — that lovely languid feeling of being outside late at night in the warm night.

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Anyway, I’m packing up to go now, even though I’m here through the evening.

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I’ve had a good time.

Today

  • Too hurried this morning to eat breakfast at home, so I am eating oatmeal from the cafe. It’s delicious, if you remember to order it without raisins. It has lots of seeds in it and maybe cardamom. Yum.
  • I have a blister the size of Wyoming on the back of my heel. My feet are my Achilles heel, if you will. And because I have a blister on my heel, I have to wear backless shoes to work which are not great for walking in. I hobble along, hoping I won’t twist an ankle or break my neck. It’s going to heal soon, right?
  • It has been great having the nephew and his friend here. They’re a lot of fun, even though they do insist on calling the city near me “San Fran” (do not call it that, ever) and they worry about going to the other city near me for fear it is dangerous. I think they ran into a retired cop somewhere who scared them. After a few days of finding SF dirty, foggy, cold and full of homeless people (all true, and yet also heartbreakingly beautiful), they managed to speak to a youth somewhere who gave them a secret list of bars to go to. They headed off last night after dinner, consulting a paper napkin. I hope they had fun.  In their defense, it has been cold and foggy, and they’d been traveling for two weeks when they got here, so I think they just needed to recuperate.
  • While it has been wonderful having them here, I am an old person and can’t keep up. I really need to go to bed at 9 some nights. Also, I am fretting about laundry and meals for K and M and backpacking equipment. So I’m slightly relieved that they’re heading out for points south today. I can only say this because I know they will never read it. Really, they are lovely.  And yes, K and M can feed themselves —  I just need to worry about it before a while before I come to that conclusion. And put a meatloaf and some spaghetti sauce in the freezer and buy a couple gallons of milk.

In training

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Went for an amazing hike yesterday, starting in Muir woods, climbing a hill, descending a hill and emerging at the beach.

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I’m in training.

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We walked five miles, and it was actually easy. Sadly, we were under the impression that it was 7.5 miles, and the ease of the hike was a lot more impressive when we thought it was 7.5.

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Still — it was great to be out again.

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Feeling not completely unready for the AT.

(ha)

Higgs

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Phew.

Went at lunch to see a discussion of the new particle. The room was much too small — they had to chase as many people out as were sitting there, which was really sad. It’s not every day you have people breaking down the doors to hear about physics.

It was interesting, too. There was a discussion by a theoretical physicist about how they had figured out that such a particle must exist, and then a discussion by the experimental physicist who had actually designed the experiment that found it. Really cool.

Two things of note: Of the eight physicists at the front of the room, four were women and four were men. The experimental physicist is a woman. And there was a discussion of the Superconducting Super Collider that was never built in Texas. Remember that? One of the physicists mentioned that not only did the US did not want to pay to build the SCC, but then we were also reluctant to contribute money to a collider built elsewhere that the US would not own. Hmm.

Anyway — busy weekend coming up. I have to find something formal-ish to wear to an event tomorrow. Uh oh.