Sunday, June 30, 2013

Great Falls

The weather today was overcast so we assumed it would be a good day to go out and do some light hiking.  We live very close to a place called Great Falls.  You can see the falls from both the Virginia side and the Maryland side. It was such a beautiful sight to see.  Lots of rocks and small waterfalls here and there.  We read that on average there are seven deaths a year due to drownings.  The swift water is definitely deceiving and very dangerous. 





Flooding happened many many years ago and the park had a post with the heights of the water over time.  It was crazy to think how high the water levels got!



We totally underestimated the weather.  It was super humid.  It was so moist in the air and it was almost hard to breathe.    We perused a few of the viewpoints along the pathway and watched a couple kayakers playing near the falls below.  Once the information center opened up, we read a little about the area, got our cancellation stamp for our book and got out of there.  Too too muggy!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

National Zoo

This trip to DC is not all about getting stamps in our Passport book, it is also about what we can do to entertain Lucy.  About seven years ago, Nick and I went to the National Zoo and thought it would be fun for Lucy to go and see what new animals and exhibits they have.  We took her to the Woodland Park zoo a few months ago for her birthday and she loved it.  So off we went on the metro to the zoo.

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We walked through an entire bird sanctuary.  Lots of beautiful cranes and flamingos.  The flamingos had laid eggs and some newborn babies too.

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The zoo also had panda bears that were indoors because of the heat.  We also saw a couple lions and tigers.  They were mostly up in the shaded area but we could see them from afar.  There were some neat armadillos all curled up tight into a ball.


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I think for the three of us, our favorite animals were the elephants and orangutans. One of the orangutans climbed from one zone to another on these ropes that crisscrossed above our heads at the zoo. It was amazing. They’re so flexible and have super long arms!




Of course we couldn’t leave the zoo without letting Lucy ride the pretty carousel.  Every time I saw them go by I was getting nauseas so I admired them from the sidelines.



The heat has been a real killer for all of us. So to keep cool, Nick has been taking Lucy to the pool to give her pseudo swim lessons and so that she isn’t afraid of the water.  She is definitely getting more and more comfortable jumping from the ladder. 

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Friday, June 28, 2013

Field Directed Work Week 1

We are living in Falls Church, Virginia which is directly west of Arlington where I will be working.  On Friday, June 21st, we took Lucy to her school in Vienna to get her acclimated to her new teachers and environment.  Right when we got there she ran outside to play and participated in the classroom activities so we knew she'd have a great time.  After taking her by her new daycare, we decided to practice getting me to work.  We parked the car at the Vienna Metro which is on the orange line (closest to Lucy's daycare) where Nick will be dropping me off in the morning, got our metro passes, and took it only four stops down!  It was fast.We got out at the Ballston stop, got our bearings, and walked to Virginia Tech which was only about a 5-10 minute walk. As we walked by we saw a ton of great food trucks and restaurants which will be perfect at lunch time and the walk was really nicely shaded and had pretty fountains to enjoy along the way.

I ride from the furthest west stop (Vienna) four stops to Ballston on the orange line

Waiting for the metro to arrive

Lucy playing peek-a-boo

Lucy had to be like her dad and hold on to the rail while the metro was moving

So I am still working for Pacific Northwest National Laboraty, but will be working in downtown Arlington inside the new Cyber Research Lab at Virginia Tech's branch doing a totally different line of work than I'm normally used to working on in Richland, Washington.

My office is on the fifth floor that looks out onto the city.


This first week was about getting to know the research that is currently being done here and meeting and getting to know my mentors.  Throughout this quarter I will be posting weekly updates with references to Mentor F and A to protect the identity of their names and positions they have at the lab.  I will also be referring to the visual analytic tools as Tool A, B, and C since they are not be publicized too.  We discussed my goals for the work done this summer to fill out the learning outcomes agreement, installing missing tools from my computer, and doing some background reading on the research on the tools they want me to become familiar with.  There are about four or five visual analytic tools they want me to use this summer.   Ultimately the goals of the summer will be:

1. Download and provide datasets from technical and government databases
2. Determine what format the datasets need to be in for the visual analytics tools
3. Massage the data so it conforms to the correct format
4. Write a road map with the step-by-step instructions on putting the data into the visual analytics tools

Saturday, June 22, 2013

George Washington’s Birthplace, Spotsylvania, and Fredericksburg

Ever since our road trip to Utah last year, we (I’ve) been obsessed with getting cancellation stamps in our National Parks Passport Book.
You can get cancellation stamps at national parks, historic sites, battlefields, historic trails, preserves, and monuments all over the United States.  They have the name of the site and the date in which you visited.  It’s like a treasure hunt or going geocaching (minus the fancy GPS equipment).   The book costs about $8-$10.  Our goal on our trip to Virginia is to get cancellation stamps each weekend at some interesting or historic site.

This weekend we decided to go to George Washington’s Birthplace located in Colonial Beach which is in the northern neck of Virginia.  It was about a two hour drive from Falls Church which was a little longer than we expected, but it was definitely a great day trip. 
On the way home we stopped at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military-Battlefield.  We didn’t realize how expansive it was so we only did about half of the sightseeing there and drove home since the heat was definitely getting the better of us.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Moving to Virginia for the Summer

The Cramer family has been on a blogging hiatus for a long time, but I'm sort of forced into doing this for the summer for school, work and family reasons so this is a good excuse to pick it up again.  We loved doing it, but it just got too chaotic with a newborn, house chores (yuck), travelling, school and work.  But we are going to make a concerted effort to keep up with it for a while.  So the big news is, we are moving to Virginia.  Nick is going on assignment and he was not going to do it unless Lucy and I came.  It took a lot of planning and organizing, but we're doing it!  We'll be gone from June 20th through August 29th. 

Nick took off on June 9th, which left me and Lucy to fend for ourselves.  We were so thankful for all the help, meals, and babysitting.  I was in the middle of finals, packing my office, packing our stuff, and was exhausted from being in the first trimester of our second pregnancy.  Yup, I'm pregnant with our second one on the way and moving to the land of humidity.  Wheeee......

Here's our last day saying good-bye to the house and hopping on the airplane to Virginia.

Lucy's a seasoned traveller on airplanes, but this was her first time having her own seat and my second time flying with her alone.  All I have to say, flying with a two year old is much different than flying with a 10 week old.  She's more mobile, more chatty, and more curious.

We're leaving Pasco on one of the small planes to Seattle

Saying Good-bye to Seattle and heading to Dulles