AGU meeting

Last weekend was fun, although Friday night I was just dead-tired. I had driven to San Francisco this morning at 5.15 a.m. (!) to attend the AGU (American Geophysical Union) Meeting with Gerald and it took me 2 hours and 45 minutes to get there. Traffic to the Bay Area has been getting worse the last few months and it’s no fun anymore to drive there. It’s unfortunate.
When I got to the Marriott @ 8:00 a.m.- I tried to call Gerald on his cell phone, but couldn’t reach him. I didn’t even now if we were supposed to meet at the hotel or the convention center, but I thought I would try the hotel first. So I went to the reception desk to have someone call his room, when I saw him walking by. I ran over and he was obviously happy to see me – and rightly so. It turned out, he had lost his cell phone the night before and had absolutely no idea how to contact me, let alone find me at this meeting of about 10,000 people! So we were quite lucky, I guess.
The rest of the day was just great. We put up the posters for the poster sessions and set up the screen with my animations that I finished the night before and I must say, they were a real eye-catcher. Lots of people just stopped to see the animation and Gerald kept talking about our research for 5,5 hours straight. It was insane. In fact, he was supposed to present another poster, too, but he didn’t get around to that… but he was really pleased with the turn out and thanked me over and over again for coming.
We attended a short lecture on the Parkfield earthquake after that (because that’s what our poster and my animations were about as well!) and then I had time to explore the convention by myself, because Gerald had other duties.
I drove home around 4 pm and again it took me about 2,5 hours to get back to Sacramento. I was exhausted!
But we had no time to lose, because we were going to the bookclub Friday night and J joined me this time, because we weren’t sure if he was going to see Alicia again as Andi and she are flying out to Germany after Christmas.

The book club meeting was at Rachel’s and it was great. Alicia had made little photobooks for everyone with pics from our meetings and everyone was supposed to write a few lines for the others.
Everyone else also had small Christmas presents for everyone – Rachel got everyone a little stuffed animal, Robin brought chocolate, Silke had bookmarks and I had gotten little cookbooks for everyone. It was fun :)

Saturday I was so tired that I slept till 12:45 p.m. – over 12 hours straight. It was awesome! Then we got dressed and Jon and I went to Bakers Square to get a late lunch/early dinner and then we went for a walk in McKinley Park. It was kind of chilly outside, but it was great and we looked at a lot of really nicely decorated houses.
In the evening, we drove back to Davis again, because we were invited to Gerald’s Christmas party.
When we turned onto the street, there were a lot of houses that were decorated with lights and I kept thinking “Hopefully Gerald’s house is not one of these” – but sure enough, his car parked right in front of a house with white lights and illuminated, huge snow flakes. I was really relieved though, that he didn’t have these colored light strings or an over-sized Santa Claus in his front yard :)

Gerald opened the door and right away offered a tour of the house. I must admit, his home is beautiful and eclectically arranged. There were appetizers and drinks and about 18 people total.
His wife, Clare, is really nice, too, and we had a really nice conversation with a bunch of people. Later on, Clare’s brother Rob and her sister Margret sat down with her guitars and we sang Christmas carols. I felt like being in an American Christmas movie, but it was fun. It turned out that J and I were the last guests to leave the party at 1:30 a.m. in the morning, after J and Rob had started their own little musical performance. It was great. I really didn’t think that we would stay that long, but you never know.
One funny thing: There were a bunch of photos on the wall in the living room and of course, I had to take a look at them… some really cute pictures of their sons Zach and Benjamin and wedding pictures. And right there and then I could have peed in my pants… because Gerald was wearing a white tail-coat (I hope I am using the right word here) and he had what we call in German a “Vokuhila”-haircut (which simple means that the hair is short in the front, and long in the neck!). OMG! Wasn’t that like hip in the 80’s or something? But Gerald isn’t that old… only like 10 years older than I am. It was a good laugh though :)

Sunday was terrible. We wanted to meet with Alicia and the bookclub again for a last (late) lunch together at 2:00 pm – and since it was Sunday, I didn’t expect the traffic to be too bad, so we left around 1:30 pm. Usually it doesn’t take longer than 25 minutes to get to Davis. But this time it was insane! It took us 1 hour and 45 minutes to get there, so we were about 1,5 hours late. I couldn’t believe it. And there wasn’t even an accident or other obvious cause for that delay! I was so mad.
The rest of the day was pretty nice then. We had some Mexican food and then went over to Robin’s place and played “apples to apples”. I love that game! We stayed until the evening and then we took Alicia and Andi home. Andi and J hardly spoke any words with each other and I really felt bad about that – but Andi is really acting weird right now. I won’t even tell J what’s going on and that’s really not fair. I mean, what’s wrong with him? He could at least let us know why he doesn’t want to hang out with us anymore, but instead he just doesn’t say anything at all. I hate that. I like to sort things out.