yea, science!

A big day for physics, CERN made it's first 7 TEV collisions. (You'll have to ask Derek if you want more information as that's about the best I can offer). I do know that it has been a long time coming- its taken careers worth of planning and fixing, the world's largest collaborative efforts, lots of hard work, waiting, and tons and tons of coffee. And no, no giant black hole swallowed the earth as far as I can tell. Congratulations to all those physicists out there! Now when are you getting up to 14 TEV?

CERN offered a live web cast of the days events- a slight delay in the AM that was quickly resolved and interviews from the control rooms. I have to admit, I got sucked in and spent the better part of the day glued to the webcast. Here are some screen capture shots I made from the broadcast of the first collisions:

If you'd like to read more, here is the official  CERN press release, a good place to start.

Left: Atlas control center at first collisions. Right: CMS detector (the one Derek works on).

Above: First collisions recorded by CMS detector.  Photograph: Marzena Lapka, Date: 30 Mar 2010


end of the season

We officially survived our first ski season without major injuries! Today was (presumably) our last ski outing until next winter. Despite the 60 degree warm sunshiny weather we've enjoyed last week, we got to end on 6 inches of fresh, ungroomed powder. Derek and I joined friends from home and here for a trip to Ovrannaz in Switzerland to repeat the ski/soak experience. Nothing beats relaxing in the natural spring water after a day on the slopes. 

Okay, it's been fun skis, but I'm ready to trade you in for some hiking boots.


a crêpe-y day

My tummy is sooooo happy right now. This vegan crêpe recipe is amazing. I made them this morning with black and red currants. There would have been enough for tomorrow, but I ate the rest for second breakfast. They were that good. I put a bit of a vegan cocoa spread in the later batch and also ate one plain and they are just perfect plain too! Okay, so make these right now, or sometime you have 5 minutes to mix up the batter, but then refridgerate it overnight so that they are easier to flip- your tummy will thank you even if you're not a vegan.

Scrumdillyumptious Vegan Crêpes:

- 1/2 cup soy milk (vanilla flavor is good)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup melted soy margarine
- 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt

1. In a mixing bowl, blend soy milk, water, 1/4 cup melted margarine, sugar, syrup, flour, and salt. Cover and chill the mixture for 2 hours (or better- overnight so you don't have to wait 2 hours for your crepes in the morning).
2. Lightly grease a skillet with some soy margarine. Heat the skillet until hot. Pour enough batter into the skillet to thinly cover skillet's bottom. Cook until golden, flip and cook on opposite side. 
3. Add some berries, chocolate, whatever and roll or fold.

Thank you recipe from allrecipes.com.

Bon Ap!

Today was the first really pleasant-be-outside-and-not-be-cold day. Bright sunshine, buds, birds, and everyone coming out of hibernation. I  also got to pull some weeds, get my hands in the dirt, and dream about green things growing. Can I declare an end to winter? I'm hopeful, but we'll see...


encore une fois

The week went too quickly. I'm just getting pretty comfortable on just about any of the slopes, and having lots of fun. But today was our last full day of skiing before we return to Thoiry tomorrow. Luckily the sun was shining, but it was still really cold. In the morning, we skied over to France for a bit past WWI lookout fortresses, and then back in Italy to finish the afternoon.

Bye to La Thuile and thanks to our new ski companions for a great week!

If you want to see more photos of us wearing goggles in the Alps, Derek added an album on facebook which you can view here.


pista tre

We took yesterday off from skiing due to high winds, snow, and white-out conditions. Today, we were back at it, and the goal- surviving the infamous #3 piste with a 73% maximum slope (one of Italy's toughest). Before (left) after (right). Notice all arms and legs are in-tact. Really wasn't so bad after all besides a few icy spots near the beginning. I never would have done it if Divonne hadn't talked me into it.


alpine anniversaire

Today I'll have to start the count-down to leaving my 20s, yikes. But Derek and I celebrated my 29th birthday under a clear blue ski, with lots of sun and perfect snow. My skis even cooperated by staying mostly parallel, as seen above.

 Mt. Blanc kept us company during our runs on quiet, uncrowded slopes.

The town below.

Getting close to the end of a full day of skiing. Time for espresso and chocolates.


half-day ski

After breakfast, (early) Derek attended the morning conference session. This session conveniently ends each morning around 11:30- plenty of time to change and hit the slopes with the half-day lift pass. I went wandering around the town for the morning and enjoyed the sunshine. Then up the highest lift, a few runs, lunch, and as many more runs as we could squeeze in until the chairs stopped- we caught the very last lift and made the long run all the way back down, ending at our hotel- also convenient. A few more physics talks, cocktails, and then multi-courses of food.