Finalyl competed my drive back up north this past thursday. Was able to pick up my car in the early afternoon, more than 5 hours ahead of schedule and $250 under their estimate for the repair costs. Even though it was still a sizeable bill, I was totally psyched to have it done with and be on my way out of allentown. Drive took about 5.5 hours to get back as I was caught in some major afternoon traffic in NY city. Stopped by worcester on the way to drop off my samples and say my goodbyes to Elif. For those of you who don't know Elif, she is a post-doc in the lab I work in and has been there much longer than me. She is a great scientist and a great friend and she will be sorely missed as she goes off to bigger things on the west coast (i'm a bit jealous of her san diego locale). Got home about 6:30 and had dinner with my mother and then elsa came over for a bit. Next morning got up real early to head up to vermont to go camping. Had a generally good time and got a little bit of a workout backpacking. Ended up hiking on some ski trails which was brutal because there was no shade and they tend to go straight up. I felt like death for a good portion of the trip, but I suppose that just makes it memorable because in the end...I didn't die. On the way back from vermont, stopped by a BJ's store and got a case of long trail ale for $20!!! I wish our BJ's sold beer...guess I will just have to drive up to new hampshire. Also saw Gregg's ski house in vermont and he offered to rent it to me a weekend if I wanted. This place is great, it sleeps 12 people has a huge kitched, a deck, BBQ, a hot tub, a fantastic view, stereo system, etc etc. Even has a refrigerated keg hook-up with CO2 and the works (only for ski season though). I think I might be taking him up on his offer at some point. Should be going out to dinner this evening courtesy of a gift certificate from last x-mas that has been lying around. Always feels good to find a gift like that to have x-mas in july (or august in this case). After that it is back to the daily grind for my first full day back in worcester. Patrick OUT!