Thursday, December 27, 2007

Wonderful Christmas

We hope everyone had as wonderful of a Christmas as we did. Ours was a several day event that started with gift exchanges between me and Ross the Thursday before Christmas. This has become our tradition so we don't have to haul our gifts to Shreveport and back.

The first family gathering was at my Mamaw and Papaw's house on the 23rd. We had fun eating and visiting with everyone. My cousin David is engaged and getting married the same day Baby Taylor is due, which means a couple of things...we won't get to go to his wedding, and things will certainly be different next year!

On Christmas Eve, we started the day by visiting Ross' Grandfather who is in a rehab hospital. Our church made a prayer quilt for both him and Grandmother. After everyone in Ross' family had a chance to pray over it, we gave it to him. It's a beautiful quilt with a large red cross and black and white music notes covering the quilt, which is very appropriate considering Grandfather's love of singing.

We have a long standing tradition of spending Christmas Eve evening at my Grandmother and Granddaddy's house. We start the evening by attending their church's candle light ceremony before coming back for one of the most amazing dinners you've ever had! It was extra special this year because the entire family was there! I can't remember the last time everyone was there for Christmas, which is why there are so many pictures in the Napper Christmas album. To top that off we found out that we aren't the only ones expecting a new baby to be here for Christmas next year. My cousins Stephanie and Jason are expecting twins!

Despite it being late when we got back to my parent's house on Christmas Eve, we still found the energy to open a few more presents...

Christmas day was spent with the Taylors. Their tradition is to have people over for brunch on Christmas morning, so we started with our stockings, ate some more delicious food, and then finished off the presents. After which, we made our way back to the hospital to visit with Ross' Grandfather again. That evening we went to his Uncle Ronnie and Aunt Laura's house for dinner to visit with everyone and see what everyone got for Christmas.

Now we're back in Houston trying to find places for everything and still smiling about the memories that were created this year.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Can your dog do this...

...much damage to a door frame in an hour?

Apparently ours can! I went to lunch with a friend yesterday and came home to this, a half eaten loaf of bread, and poop all over the living room. My best guess is that she decided she wanted the bread, so she somehow got it off the kitchen counter. Then after eating half of it, she felt sick and really needed to go outside. Since no one was here, and she knows it's wrong to go inside, she started attacking the door frame trying to get out...the door is metal, so she wouldn't have made much progress on it. Needless to say, I was upset and she was miserable for the rest of the day. Her stomach was bigger than her head! I guess we'll be getting a new door and frame in the near future...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Rock Climbing Pics

Here are a couple of the pictures that I took of Ross after he was done with his rock climbing experience. I couldn't take any while he was really climbing because I was his belay person...

Ross after climbingRoss ClimbingRoss after climbingRoss Climbing

♪ Happy Birthday to Me! ♪

Yesterday was birthday number 29. It was a pretty good day. After work, E took me to an indoor rock gym to try my hand at climbing. It was fun, challenging, and a good workout. I'm not sure I'm built to be a climber, but I did pretty well and will probably do it again. After a shower, we met some friends at Pappadeaux and then had some birthday cake. Overall, a nice birthday celebration. Thanks to all that called or emailed to wish me a happy birthday. It's always nice to hear from friends and family.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

WinDirStat

The December issue of Popular Science includes a reference to a cool, free application called WinDirStat that analyzes your disk space and graphically shows you the results with color coded, appropriately sized rectangles. Given my recent disk space issues, I thought it was pretty appropriate and timely for me to see this now. Below is a screen shot taken from their website (I'm sure they won't mind).

WinDirStat

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ever been Limed?

Last night we were driving home from dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, and shortly after we turned into our neighborhood, something bounced hard off the top of Ross' new car...not good. We got home and after inspecting the car, took Bailey for a walk near the area his car got hit. As we approached, there was a truck stopped at the corner (much like we did after getting hit) that had also been hit. There were a bunch of citrus fruits splattered all over the street. We actually found the lime that hit his car. We were pretty sure someone was throwing these since there were no trees over the street in that area. Sure enough, we found a kid sitting in the ditch with a pile of fruits...

Ross let the kid know what he did was not ok and that he's fortunate no damage was done to his car. I think he at least scared him a little, and he made him get rid of rest of the fruit. Who ever would have thought we'd get limed! Kids...is this what we have to look forward to? ;-)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Desk Improvements

After using the desk I built for nearly a year now, I finally got tired of some little issues and fixed them today. From day 1, we had trouble with wire routing. This is mainly because I forgot to leave room for wires when making the sliding shelves. At the time, I rigged a solution by cutting slots for the wires in the shelves but they didn't leave much room for error so we were constantly wiggling wires to make the shelves close fully. Today, I finally fixed the problem. I simply cut a larger notch (1.5" x 5") in the back of each shelf to leave room for the wires. This was done with a simple template I made and a flush trim bit on my router. The first picture below shows an old notch and the template and the second picture shows the results. I can already tell I'm going to be much happier.

desk sliding shelf templatedesk sliding shelf update

Life Group Christmas Party 2007

The Fullilove's hosted a wonderful Christmas party for our life group last night. There was a ton of delicious food and lots of fun for all. While the girls sat around talking about typical girl things, the guys started a fire (in a fire pit) outside...doing the manly thing. The kids ran around, played with dolls, and made cotton ball snowmen...doesn't get much better than that. The adults had their fun too. We did crackers, which are one of Emma's family traditions...they are British. If you've never done them before, they are rolled up packages that you "crack" open (really more like popping). Inside you find a paper crown, a toy, and a joke...explains the crowns you'll see if you check out the album. Here's a picture of all of the girls from later in the night.

Life Group Girls

Monday, December 03, 2007

Baby Taylor

We had another doctor's appointment today. They did the nuchal translucency test, which involved a sonogram and a blood test. So far everything looks good. They have to do another blood test in a month before we get the final results. During the sonogram we got to hear the heartbeat, which was 141 beats per minute. I'd also lost a pound since the last visit, which is funny to me since I ate like a horse at Thanksgiving and my clothes are smaller than ever. Nothing to worry about at this point though.

Here are a couple of the pictures from the sonogram today. It looks like Baby Taylor is already sucking it's thumb...

Baby TaylorBaby Taylor

Due Date Update!

Today, we went to the doctor for our first detailed sonogram which served several purposes (details and pictures coming soon). One result is that the due date has been moved forward almost a week to 06/07/08. The baby ticker on the main blog page has been updated.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Neptec Christmas Party

Last night was Neptec's Christmas Party at Cafe Annie. We have a pretty big social budget but the only thing we ever do is the Christmas party so it is always at some fancy restaurant and we get dressed up and have a good time. Last night was no different. We had a private room which happened to be the wine room. We shared many appetizers including sea scallops with grilled applewood bacon, 'chicken fried' gulf shrimp with lobster cabbage slaw, tostada of gulf crab meat with avocado relish, wood grilled quail with white cheddar ancho chile relleno, and salad of seared rare tuna with roasted beets and frisee. Wow! This stuff was incredible!

For our dinners, E had wood grilled lamb chops with smoked almond and cocoa recado and I had wood grilled salmon with BBQ quajillo chile sauce. Mine was a perfectly cooked piece of fish (which I ordered medium) and E's was the best lamb I've ever had (also medium). We finished off with pound cake and chocolate cobbler for dessert. Talk about a great meal. Throw in some great service, great company, great wine, and a great atmosphere and you can't ask for much more.

Cafe AnnieR&E at Neptec Xmas Party

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Busy Thanksgiving, continued

In the previous post, I neglected to mention a couple of other noteworthy events of our Thanksgiving week. While we skipped shopping on Friday, we were not idle. In fact, we helped to move my mom's parents into a new place, so we helped pack, transfer stuff, and unpack. It's a little smaller place than where they were, so we had to be creative with the furniture but the staff seem really nice and I think it will be good for them, particularly once my grandmother gets used to the change.

Friday night, we celebrated my birthday with my parents. We had some great (as always) seafood gumbo and a nice time to visit. My birthday isn't until December 19 so we were a little suspicious when they said they wanted to celebrate early so they could give me my gift. I figured they were excited about what they were giving me and E and I are excited about it as well. I got a Nikon D40 Digital SLR camera. E carries her Canon SD800 IS with her all the time for those spontaneous moments, but we've been wanting a really nice camera for events, scenery, and, of course, the baby.

Lastly, during this whole time, I've been dealing with tree issues in our back yard. We had a limb fall into a neighbors yard, fortunately not doing any real damage but it led us to decide to get the trees trimmed including another branch that stuck into our neighbors' yard. In addition, we had our Magnolia removed which we've been planning to do anyway to put in a smaller tree.

backyard

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Busy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving weekend was pretty busy for E and me. Wednesday, before we left for Shreveport, I finalized the sale of my Trans Am. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of interest that it got and I was able to sell it in just over a week and got my full asking price. Also, I really like the guy that bought it and his family and think he will take good care of it. He is actually in the Air Force in Oklahoma but his mom, dad, and brother came by to see the car and make the deal.

Thursday, we spent the day preparing and eating, of course. My parents had 20 people for lunch and we had more than enough food. It was fun to see family and friends and of course to stuff ourselves. We skipped out on the Friday shopping (I can't stand crowds) but did a little bit on Saturday at some more obscure, small shops in Shreveport.

We drove back Sunday through nasty weather though it never rained as hard as it did on the trip to Shreveport. Yesterday, we got a tree and decorated the house and today we decorated a tree at the church with some friends. I'm not sure it's going to slow down at all until after the new year with all of the parties and the upcoming Shuttle flight. Oh well...better to be busy than bored, right?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

2nd Doctor's Appointment

We went to our 2nd doctor's appointment today. They did another ultrasound, and it was so neat! The baby is now 41mm long, and we got to see it moving! Sorry there's no picture today. It wasn't very clear. We'll be going back in a couple of weeks for the Nuchal Sonogram, so maybe we'll get a better picture then.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Windows Desktop Search killing my disk space

I've been dealing with the "low disk space" warning on my home computer (XP) for a week or two and trying to use the Windows tools to free space with limited success. I had finally decided I just needed to get a bigger drive (although I felt like 80GB should be big enough) but in a last ditch effort to free up space, I started going through the folders on my machine to hunt down the culprit. I finally found that the Windows Desktop Search utility, which I never intended to use but which was automatically installed and configured on my machine, was eating up 25GB of space!

I can't believe that I am the only one to ever see this problem but I couldn't find anything online. I disabled it by telling it to not index anything, manual shut it down with the command prompt command: "net stop wsearch" and then deleted the application data folder. No problems so far but that was a serious pain for something I never wanted to begin with.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

New Car! / Trans Am for Sale

I bought a new car yesterday. It's a slate blue 2008 Infiniti G35 sedan. So far, I have loved it. It's fast, fun to drive, and has some cool features. Maybe, I'll talk about it some more later, but the real purpose for this post is to advertise my old car for sale.

Most people that read this will know my car, but for those that want more information, I've listed it on AutoTrader and craiglist. If you or someone you know is interested, email me. I'm asking $8000 which is really a great deal on this car. I've loved driving it for the last 9 years (almost). Just for fun, here's an old picture of the car. You can see new pictures at the links above.

Ross' TransAm

Monday, October 22, 2007

Baby Taylor's first picture!

Baby Taylor (6 weeks)

That's right! Elizabeth is 6 weeks pregnant and this afternoon we got to see the baby and even the heartbeat! We've actually known for 3 weeks now and we got to tell our parents in person last weekend when we were in town for the LA Tech homecoming and our advisory board meetings. My mom was pretty funny when we gave her a pin that said something about grandma. Her response was: "It's very pretty, but it's for grandmas." Of course, she realized as soon as the words came out of her mouth.

Being engineering nerds, E and I have already begun researching everything we need for a new baby and E is anxious to find out the sex so she can complete the planning. Anyway, I'm sure E will have more to share but I'll wrap up by saying the the baby is currently 5mm long (it is amazing how early you can see them and how fast they grow) and the expected due date is Friday, June 13, 2008 (good thing we aren't superstitious). There is a new album page devoted to the new baby and we'll be frequently updating this site with the progress. We couldn't be more excited as we prepare for this new addition to our family!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Wedding Weekend in NY/PA

One of my friends from work, Mary Good, got married last weekend to a great guy, Andrew Lawrence. They are both from Pennsylvania, and you know people like them because there were a significant number of people who travelled from Houston to celebrate with them. We had a great time and made the most of our trip.

We started the weekend early by flying to Buffalo, NY on Thursday. We drove from there to Niagara Falls, NY where we spent the night. We made our way to the Canadian side of the falls that night and met up with some more friends through work, Eric and Jennifer, for dinner. We were able to see the falls from the Canadian side during the day and at night. We even rode up the Skylon Tower for a beautiful view of the falls that night.

Friday morning we walked to Goat Island, which is the American side of the falls, and got to experience the power of the falls at The Cave of Winds. Ross and I debated which side we would recommend someone go to if they could only do one side, but it's a tough decision. The Canadian side is definitely what you picture when you think of Niagara Falls, but neither of us would have wanted to miss the American side either because you get a better appreciation for the amount of water flowing over the falls...not to mention all of the rainbows that we could see, which was a highlight for me (I love the meaning behind rainbows...God keeps His promises).

The wedding was Friday afternoon, so we left Niagara Falls and headed to Peek N Peek resort in NY where we shared a condo with more friends from work; Eric & Jennifer, Colin, and Jason & Pam. The wedding was in a beautiful Catholic church in North East, PA. It was a beautiful ceremony. Mary looked gorgeous, of course! As did all of her bridesmaids. The reception was back at the resort and was different than most of the weddings we've been to. The bride and groom stayed until the end of the reception and then even went to a pub with a group of folks afterward. Most weddings we've been to have you throw things at the bride and groom as they leave...never happened at this one, but it was so much fun...the bride and groom really got to enjoy every moment!

The next day Mary and Andrew hosted another party where friends and family got to "send them off to Texas". Our ride to the party was a hay ride! It was a BBQ, and everyone was encouraged to dress accordingly. There were lots of games, which were enjoyed by all, and best of all, we got to visit with the newlyweds a little longer.

Sunday, we made our way to Pittsburgh where we got an incredible view of the city from Mount Washington. At Mount Washington you could ride a steep incline from the river to the top of the mount. We didn't actually ride the incline since we drove to the top, but it looked like a fun ride.

I was planning to incorporate pics into this entry, but it's gotten pretty long as is, so be sure to check out the album to see what I've been talking about!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Lupe Tortilla!

Sunday we had dinner with our friends Rhea and Andrew and their three adorable kids at our favorite restaurant, Lupe Tortilla. It's our favorite for a few reasons...they have great margaritas, fajitas, and of course, tortillas. Plus it's just fun to say the name! The real reason for this post is that I thought the pictures from that night were too cute not to share....

Elena and Ross
Nathan

Sunday, September 23, 2007

New Look at Taylored Truth

If you've been here before, you should notice a design change. This is an original Elizabeth Taylor design instead of the previous designs which were highly modified Blogger templates. If you prefer one of the old designs, you can access them via the new Archive section of the Links page. The old blogs that are no longer being updated are available there as well. Right now, the album updates are still in work but I hope to finish them tonight. I hope you like the new design.

Links to Projects Labels

I've been using the Blogger labels for a while now but since I'm moving my projects posts to this blog, I wanted to provide links to the labels on previous posts. That way, if you are looking for posts on a specific topic, you can click on the links below for the older posts.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Congratulations Neptec!

Tonight, we went to a STS-118 Post-Flight Debrief where Neptec received a Flight Crew and Flight Director Team Award for our work analyzing the damage on STS-118. Andrew Montpool, the Neptec LCS Operations Team Lead, accepted the award from JSC Center Director Mike Coats and STS-118 Mission Commander Scott Kelly. After the team and individual awards, the astronauts and lead flight directors received medals for their work and then we watched a video of the mission while the astronauts narrated. It was fun to see the recap and hear the astronauts' take on things. The night was wrapped up with a question and answer period. Below, is Andrew, myself, Vic, and Cheryl Kokosz.

Andrew, Ross, Vic, Cheryl

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

E's New Gig!

For those that haven't heard, Elizabeth has been accepted as the new Technical Assistant for Management Integration for the Expedition Vehicle Division of NASA. I really think this job is going to be right up her alley. She'll get to show off her organizational skills and apply some of her Industrial Engineering training. I can't say much else about the job (because it's still a little vague to me) but maybe she'll post an update at some point. Also, for now, she'll still have to support the ODIN group and finish out some of her commitments. Hopefully she won't get overloaded. Anyway, I hope you will join me in giving her congratulations!

You rock, babe!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Life Group Bowling

Friday night was life group night but E and I have missed the last two so we were having trouble even remembering where we were in the study. So, we decided to go bowling and start fresh next time. E took some pictures but said she didn't really like any of them enough to put them on the website. She also took a video of me bowling and I thought it was funny so it is below. Of course, it was a strike! Also, notice the Tigeresque fist pump. And everyone knows Tiger is the greatest bowler alive! :-)

video

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The End of the Projects Blog

Since I've been having trouble consistently posting to the Projects Blog, I've decided to stop altogether. Actually, I'll still post updates on my projects on this blog. I'll use the (relatively) new labels feature with Blogger so if you are only interested in blog entries about my projects, you will be able to find the new ones at http://www.tayloredtruth.com/life/labels/projects.html. Also, I've updated the project's feed so if you are following the blog with a feed reader, you'll also see the new posts. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post them. Oh, and the older posts are still available.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Stone Family Reunion

Labor day weekend included the Stone Family Reunion in Shreveport. For those of you that aren't familiar, Stone is my mother's maiden name and the Stone family is huge. The weekend included a little over 50 people and four generations. I knew most of the people but got to meet a few of my mom's cousins as well.

Saturday night we went to my Aunt Dottie's for Buffalo hot dogs (uncle Jim is from Buffalo, NY). Sunday morning, we had brunch at my parent's with breakfast casserole, pastries, and Bloody Mary's. Finally, Sunday evening and night was at my Uncle Ronnie's. There was soccer, swimming, fajitas, margaritas, and karaoke. It really was a fun night and E and I sang until our throats hurt. Hard to believe, I know, but a couple margaritas and a friendly crowd really help to loosen you up. :-) There are a bunch of pictures (mostly from Ronnie's) in the album.

Paige Cathey sleeping on Cowboys blanketWilliam Wallingford singingJessie, E, and Julia singingGrandmother and Grandfather Stone

There are so many good pictures, it was hard to pick a few to put here, but I tried my best. First, Uncle Jim's (from Buffalo) granddaughter, Paige, wrapped in a Cowboys blanket! Next, my cousin Jeff's son William who, not surprisingly, is a great singer. He sang the entire Beach Boys' song "Fun, Fun, Fun." Third, a few cute girls (Ronnie's daughter Jessie, E, and my Uncle James' daughter Julia) and last, but not least, Grandmother and Grandfather Stone.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Celebrating 80 years of life & 10 years of...freedom?

I wish we had pictures to share from this weekend, but we never thought to pull out our camera. Friday, we celebrated my Granddaddy's 80th birthday! It's not actually until the 2nd of September, but that doesn't really matter. My Aunt Barbara flew in from California. My Uncle Steve & Aunt Cissy were there, and Ross and I were able to join in the festivities along with my parents. We had a wonderful dinner, birthday cake, played a game, and enjoyed each other's company. The highlight of the night was watching a video that my cousin, Meg, put together with the help of the family. They gathered pictures from throughout my Granddaddy's life and put it all together with a poem my mom wrote and appropriate music for each of the different stages of his life. It was great!

The next night we went to Ross' 10 year high school reunion. We had a great time. As we were walking in, we got to catch up with a friend of both of ours from engineering at LA Tech. There were a lot of people that Ross was interested in seeing and catching up with, and I think most of those people were at the reunion. It was fun for me too because I knew a few of the people there from elementary school and middle school. I even knew some of them well enough back then that we had slumber parties and were in girl scouts together. I also had fun meeting some of Ross' high school friends that I've heard so much about over the years. They were all great people, and everyone seems to be doing well.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

AUVSI Show

So this post is a little late considering that E already posted something about the shuttle mission but it has, after all, been a busy couple of weeks. Anyway, right after we got back from St. Lucia (that same weekend), I left for another business trip to Washington, DC. This time I was attending the 2007 Association for Unmanned Systems International Annual Conference and Exhibit. It was a pretty cool show with all kinds of unmanned vehicles.

To be clear, 'unmanned' does not necessarily mean automated but some of them actually do have a fairly high level of automation. The first day of the show was an all day outdoor demonstration of the systems so I got to see quite a few in action. I'd post videos but they are really pretty boring but you can see a few of the more interesting looking vehicles in the album. There were big trucks, tiny helicopters, weaponized bots, fast planes, retrofit vehicles, and several futurist looking vehicles among others.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

What did you do?

That's right...it's Ross' company that did the 3-D imagery of the damage to the tiles on the belly of the orbiter, Endeavour. Check out the video! Now we're just waiting to find out about the repair plans...

And you got it...the computer that you may have briefly heard about failing is the main computer on the station, which my group is responsible for monitoring. Fortunately the station was designed with backup computers for this very reason, so even though it failed while the crew was performing a space walk, another computer took over without much ado. It gave me and my team plenty to do though.

Here's a picture of me and our team lead for the flight, Al, during our shift handover. The second pic is of a new member of our group and a fellow LA Tech bulldog, Stephen. He did a little on-the-job training during my shift.

E and Al during HandoverE and Stephen at ODIN Console

Sunday, August 12, 2007

St. Lucia - Day 7

We both had to pinch ourselves as we awoke the last morning to the breeze blowing in and opening our eyes to the beautiful Pitons without having to get out of bed. We ordered breakfast in the room and enjoyed the infinity pool and sun deck as long as we could before leaving. The pictures below give you an idea of what the rest of the Jade Mountain part of the resort looks like. It's actually still having the finishing touches put on it. We both feel like we were completely spoiled on this trip. There was beauty everywhere we looked in the landscape, as well as the people. We certainly hope to go back some day. The last picture is our last glance at the Pitons from our amazing room before heading to the airport and home to a "welcome treat".

E on bridge to Jade Mt. RestaurantJade Mountain BridgesRoss on Jade Mt. Observation DeckRoss on Jade Mt. Observation DeckAnse Chastenet from Jade Mt.Jade Mt. Restaurant Infinity Pool from Observation DeckJade Mt. fountain under constructionE & R taking on last look

When we arrived home a little after midnight, we quickly discovered that our air conditioning was not working...welcome home! As we looked around a little more, we also discovered that our stereo receiver, Nintendo Wii, cable box, cable modem, router, and doorbell were also not working. A storm a few days earlier apparently took out a lot (but not all) of our electronics. It was strange because some things on the same surge protectors were fried while others weren't.

We were actually able to recover a couple of things like the cable box by "rebooting" our house. We literally turned off every breaker to the house and watched the meter stop spinning. Unfortunately, it didn't fix the air conditioner, so we pulled out the box fan and opened most of the windows in our house. We slept really well that night since we were used to no air conditioning in St. Lucia, but we were glad to get it fixed the next day.

Since then we have either ordered or replaced everything else. We came in just under our deductible, so insurance didn't cover anything, which I guess is good. Even our "welcome home treat", couldn't dampen our spirits after such a wonderful experience though. It's been hard to go back to work and adjust to our normal lives again, but we must! There's now a shuttle docked to the ISS, and our co-workers would appreciate our help. ;-)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

St. Lucia - Day 6

Day 6 we had an early breakfast and met another honeymooning couple for a 45 minute ride to the Enbas Saut Rainforest. This was by far our "hardest" hike, and we only hiked about 2 miles. The part that made it hard was that we had to go down ~1200 steps on our way into the rainforest and up ~1300 steps on our way back out. It was awesome! A family from another resort joined us for the hike. Here's a pic of our group getting started.

Enbas Saut Rainforest Hike

The trees by themselves were incredible. The fig trees like to literally suck the life out of other trees. You can see the one below wrapped its roots around another tree and lived off of it until the original tree died. Then there are trees with flying-buttress type roots that help them stand. None of the trees have deep roots, so this is their way of surviving.

Fig TreeFlying Buttress Roots

The highlight of the hike was the Enbas Saut Falls. There were 2 falls with a pool at the base of each. The water from the first, smaller fall ran into a pool and created the next fall. Both pools were big enough to swim in, but we opted to watch the others and climb around a little.

Waterfall SignUpper Enbas Saut Fall
Lower Enbas Saut Fall

On the way back up there was a bench marking every 1/4 mile. One of the little girls in our group had to be carried by our guide for a while because it was so steep and strenuous. Of course, we loved every minute of it. There were all kinds of beautiful (and some unusual) flowers and fruits on the way back up. We even saw a cinnamon tree, which was a new thing for us!

1/4 mile benchUnusual Flower

If you ever go to St. Lucia and do this hike, which we recommend, be prepared to sweat and take some water and bug spray with you...there were a lot of mosquitos!

When we got back to Anse Chastanet, we were greeted by one of the managers who had apparently been looking for us all morning. To our delight he invited us to spend our last night at Jade Mountain (the resort within Anse Chastanet). We were very excited because we had heard wonderful things about Jade Mountain, so we quickly packed our bags and were moved to our new room; although, I don't really think it qualifies as a "room".

When you walk in the door, you are immediately looking out at the Caribbean Sea and the Pitons because there are only 3 walls in the room! The next thing that catches your eye aside from the size of the room is the infinity pool at the edge of the room reflecting the view of the Pitons like a piece of glass. There were two sitting areas, a 4-poster, king sized bed, a large open bathroom with a "tub for 2" and a shower without walls, a full dining table that would easily seat 6-8 people, a mini fridge, and a sun deck with 2 chaise loungers.

Jade Mountain RoomJade Mountain RoomJade Mountain RoomJade Mountain Bathroom

The only thing that's missing is a kitchen. However, you can order room service for no extra charge, so really there's no reason to leave your room! As a matter of fact, the only reason we did was for dinner that night because we had already made reservations at the Indian/Caribbean Restaurant, Apsara. We both like Indian food, but it was even better fused with a Caribbean touch! We couldn't have asked for a better ending to an incredible day!

E in Infinity PoolJade Mountain Room Sun DeckRoss by Infinity PoolE& R in Jade Mountain Room before Dinner

Friday, August 10, 2007

St. Lucia - Day 5

We met our guide, Meno, at the Beach Bar the morning of our 5th day, which also happened to be St. Lucia's Emancipation Day. From there we hopped in a boat and made our way to another local beach where our hike to the Malgretoute Waterfall began. We walked past several homes, restaurants, etc. as we made our way from the beach and up the mountain to get to the waterfall. There were a lot of local people out and about because it was a holiday, but we were especially pleased to find locals at the waterfall too. It made us feel like we weren't just at a tourist destination.

The Malgretoute Waterfall is a warm waterfall. Water from natural mountain springs joins water from the volcano springs to produce a beautiful warm waterfall. Pools have been built at the base of the falls for people to relax in. There is also a hot waterfall at the same location, which comes directly from the volcanic spring. Unfortunately, there was sulfur blocking the flow the day we were there, so we didn't get to experience it. The warm waterfall was good enough for us though! Standing directly under it, you get a nice, warm massage.

E under the Malgretuoute WaterfallThe Malgretoute Waterfall

We noticed that the plants in this area of the island were much larger than those near the shore and produced more crops and flowers. Here's a picture of a banana tree and some of the flowers we saw on our hike.

Banana Tree BloomFlower on Malgretoute Hike
Bird of Paradise Flower

While waiting for the boat to pick us up at the beach, we watched the locals enjoying their holiday. It just so happened that one of the hotel staff members was roasting hand picked cashews from her property on the beach that day. I didn't know that cashews had to be roasted. Apparently, the oil in the pod will make your lips and tongue swell if it is not burned away. She was very sweet and let us each have one. It was delicious, and probably a once in a life time experience for us!

Roasting Cashews

A Rastafarian approached us with a lobster for sale not long after having our fresh roasted cashew. Of course, there was nothing we could do with it, but it ended up being cooked over the fire with the cashews, and I'm sure made a wonderful dinner for someone.

Lobster

On our way back to Anse Chastanet, Meno took us by a bat "disco" as he liked to call it. It was raining by this point, so we didn't get a good picture. There were a lot of bats in the crack of a cliff flying around. Meno likes to call it a disco because he figures there's no way they're sleeping in there.

The rest of the day was spent on the beach reading books and eating good food...