Posts Tagged ‘animals’

Feline road trip

laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , , ,
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Happy New Year! One of the last things we did as a family last year was take a road trip with the cats. This was the first time we took both cats in the car and it was quite an adventure.

At the hotel, Smokey quickly found a place to hide in the blanket. She never goes in there!

Soon the cats discovered the top of the curtain.

Smokey’s sweaty little paws left some marks on the dash.

Missy somehow thought the litter box would be a good bed.

Smokey moved around a lot and eventually settled on my bag.

Missy was cold, so I wrapped her up in a towel and she slept.

Almost home!

They got so excited when we got in the garage. Freedom!

Adobe Analytics Challenge 2016

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This weekend, I participated in the 15th Adobe Analytics Challenge. My team, DataInsights, was one of six finalists chosen to be flown out to Lehi, Utah (Adobe’s headquarters) and it was quite a ride! USC Marshall had two teams going and we all decided to extend our stay to enjoy Utah after the competition.

adobe analytics challenge XV homepage with six finalist teams

Check it out, we’re on the homepage!

This was my first case competition, so I have nothing to compare it to, but I must say that it would be hard to top. I mean, $50,000 worth of cash prizes, free trips to Utah, a fancy meal, all that swag, and a chance to check out Adobe’s headquarters? It was fabulous and I’m glad I was part of it. I hope to come back next year to support more Marshall teams that make it to the finals!!

view of snow covering salt lake city from airplane landing

I passed out during the plane ride and woke up to find snow covering the town.

view outside plane window when landing at salt lake city airport

Funny enough, as we got close to the airport, the snow was gone.

first glimpse at beautiful snowy mountains in utah

On our way to the hotel, we marveled at the mountains.

springhill suites lehi living room area

They got us suites, which was perfect for meeting in.

springhill suites lehi bedroom area

In the afternoon, we rested and cleaned up before dinner.

entrance to foundry grill at sundance

A shuttle bus drove us up to the Foundry Grill at Sundance.

meat and cheese appetizer at foundry grill sundance

When we arrived, Adobe staff and some appetizers awaited.

mac and cheese appetizer at foundry grill sundance

As we settled in, we chowed down on the appetizers before ordering.

adobe dinner menu at foundry grill

The menu for the night!

foundry grill squash soup

It seems most people got the squash soup.

foundry grill greens & grains

I opted for the salad.

foundry grill filet mignon

Filet mignon was probably very popular too.

foundry grill chicken breast

I wanted carrots, so I got the chicken.

foundry grill maple pecan bread pudding

One of the desserts was bread pudding.

foundry grill chocolate cake

The other option was chocolate cake with cherry flavors.

foundry grill wall art of metal tools

The decor in the place was very rustic.

walking to adobe headquarters building

The next day, we got to Adobe around 8 am.

moon over adobe headquarters building

The moon was still up!

adobe headquarters entrance with event signs

In the entrance, they had signs for the event.

adobe headquarters cafe eating area

Their open cafeteria area is so spacious and bright.

adobe analytics challenge setting up

As we got breakfast, they set up the stage, complete with mics and down screens.

free swag for finalists at adobe analytics challenge

What a wonderful surprise to find at our seats!! I love the swag.

prizes for audience attendees of adobe analytics challenge

The audience got to win all sorts of cool things!

adobe hallway view

This is where we paced doing last-minute practicing for our lines.

view of street from adobe headquarters

Looking out the hallway, there was still an awesome view.

teams of finalists in the holding area practicing

We were the second to last team to go, so most of these folks went before us.

adobe analytics challenge finalists on screen

After all the presentations, the judges had time to deliberate and then we got ready for the announcement.

view from stage of adobe analytics challenge

All teams got on stage for the prize announcements and this was our view. My team came in 4th.

gorgeous view of mountains from adobe headquarters

After the event, we got to have lunch at the cafe and check out this amazing view.

adobe headquarters indoor fire pit

Following lunch was a tour of random things like the indoor fire pit!

music room at adobe headquarters

They’ve got a music room and signed guitars from artists who have played there.

interactive art in stairwell at adobe headquarters

As you go up the stairs, you can grab a ball that you can drop down a tube at the top.

funky top chair in adobe headquarters game room

In the game room, you’ll find these fun spin top chairs! You can fall backwards to roll completely around.

adobe headquarters nunchuck chair and gong

Ah, the nunchuck chair… you should ask about that story if you visit.

pretending to sit in nunchuck chair at adobe headquarters

I didn’t want to sit on it but I wanted to pretend!

closeup of nunchuck design

The nunchucks had some cool dragon designs on them.

adobe headquarters spray paint art on wall

They commissioned a famous graffiti artist to do this. There’s a timelapse of it somewhere…

posing by entry of adobe headquarters

Before heading out, a final pose with Adobe!

neck pillow as coaster for pot

That night, we drove down to Moab and immediately had dinner. This was funny way of holding a pot.

homemade steak and asparagus dinner

One of the guys made us steak, asparagus, shrimp, and zucchini!

men of the household cooking

I love that the men took over the kitchen as the women hung out at the dining table. Thanks guys!

rustic western feel to bedroom

I got a sweet bedroom all to myself.

fancy shower with lights and steam room function

The master bathroom had this insane shower with tons of showerheads, color-changing lighting, and a steam room function. Not to mention a sauna next to it and a hot tub outside. We used them all!!

view from moab trails retreat cabin

The next morning, we saw our surroundings for the first time.

selfie with the truck from the movie cars

First order of business was lunch at a local cafe. Look what we found!

pond at eklecticafe in moab

The outdoor seating area included this pond.

hungry bird eating salad off plate

As we were leaving, the birds came to have some fun with the food.

line to get in to arches national park

Then it was off to Arches National Park!

beautiful red rocks in arches national park

Our first stop provided wonderful views.

snowy mountains against red rocks

Check out the snowy mountains in the background!

red rock formations at arches national park

Sometimes I feels like we’re in Arizona and other times the snow on the mountains feels like Colorado.

standing with arms outstretched with delicate arch in the background

When we find Delicate Arch, I put on my fancy dress.

standing with arms overhead with delicate arch in the background

Who did it best? Me?

standing with arms outstretched overhead with delicate arch in the background

Or him? 😉

jumping with delicate arch in background

I had to do a jumping shot too. Always.

making a manmade arch as person runs underneath

This human arch was great for running under.

planking across boulders to create manmade arch

Try planking it!

view of one of many arches

Every pit stop had something to look at.

crow staring waiting for food

Look at the glow from the canyon on its back as it eagerly awaited food.

crow sitting on dead tree branch

crow flying at arches national park

What an amazing place!

arches national park rocks against blue sky

The sun was setting as we reached our final destination – Devils Garden.

walking on trails at arches national park

It was quite chilly without the sunlight.

doing bridge pose with arch in background

With a change of wardrobe, I decided to imitate the arch for this one!

twirling in front of arch

I was instructed to twirl, so I did as best I could with no shoes on.

twirling with skirt poufing out and arch in background

It was a lot of fun as I got dizzy.

back view of dress at arches national park

My photographers were getting into their own and starting to instruct me on what to do for this final one.

tips of snowy mountains peeking between red rocks

Wow, check out the mountains behind the red rocks.

brown bunny eating grass at arches national park

Just before exiting, we saw this adorable bunny.

brown bunny posing for camera

It even posed for us for a bit before hopping off.

t-bone steak with mushrooms and onions

That night, the ladies enjoyed the hot tub and came in to find dinner ready.

eagle decoration carved in stone tile of bathroom

I just loved this random detail in the hall bath.

adobe headquarters in lehi utah

Our last day, I woke up ill and pretty much slept most of the day away. I caught a picture of Adobe as we passed by on the way to the airport.

free swag for adobe analytics challenge finalists

And finally, here’s a look at what came in the bag! I looove the custom branded S’Well bottle and wall charger.

Oh, deer!

laelene Posted in video blog,Tags: , , , , , , , ,
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Last year, Panda and I took advantage of National Park Week’s fee free days to get into Shenandoah National Park for free. We spent the whole day driving along Skyline Drive from south to north and enjoyed various views as well as some wildlife. We got a chance to get super close to some deer while up there!

deer running to woods from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

deer eating on hill from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

deer eating by road from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

deer walking up hill from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

Pet store finds

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Check out these adorable little guys!

hoppy hamster from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

spazzy hamster from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

rabbit speed chewing from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

Frying Pan Farm animals

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses,Tags: , , , , ,
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Panda and I were going to do a trip to Nashville last weekend, but due to the weather we thought better of it and ended up staying more local. One of the things he found nearby is a fun little farm! I’d driven past it on the way to work before (and wondered about it), but I had no idea it’s part of a park and free to the public. Nor did I know there were so many cool animals waiting to be visited.

We went on a freezing cold day. I totally underdressed, so I was quite cold and we didn’t stay long. However, we still managed to see horses, cows, sheep, pigs, and rabbits! Next time we’ll have to go when it’s a little less brisk so we can stroll around more and check out the general store too.

three pigs in stall with hay and heat lamp for winter cold

The pigs kept pushing each other out from under the heat lamp. The right one has a black head with pink body!

brown cow staring from inside stall in barn

She just looks like she should be a Bessie, don’t you think? Her eyes and nose are HUGE.

sheep mama with baby lambs in stall inside barn

This mama has three little lambs! Two boys and a girl.

baby lamb sticking head out to be pet

One of the boys was super friendly and wanted to be pet. 🙂

lamb and cow sniffing each other

One of the lambs and the cow would sniff each other.

sheep staring through wooden fence

Getting the stare down from the mama.

cow mom and baby calf in stall of barn

Cow mom and baby calf in their stall.

white rabbit with black accents in cage with frozen bowl of water

Rabbit with a mustache. 😛

frozen bowl of drinking water for rabbit

It was so cold most of the water bowls were frozen over!

pretending to kiss cow sticking its tongue out

Would you kiss a cow? I pretended to. Those tongues are weird!

How to train a crab

laelene Posted in how to guides, lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
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I’ve been playing with a variety of crabs of late and it’s fascinating. They’re rather smart creatures and I can almost swear they understand me. I’ve definitely stared into the eyes of some and felt like they could communicate with me. Maybe that’s just how their eyes look, but if you’ve ever tried to stare down a crab you might know what I mean. Sometimes their cunning is shocking. I’ve had them figure out how to climb up and out of cups, planning their escape. I’ve had them (somewhat) calmly crawl on me and learn that I’ll keep picking them up every time they try to leave. I’ve even had them working in teams to try to reach higher out of their temporary home in my cup.

tower of hermit crabs climbing on top of each other

The leaning tower of crabs. Smaller ones love to hitch a ride on larger ones!

clump of hermit crabs crawling on each other climbing up side of paper cup

Hitching a ride or using teamwork to escape?

line of hermit crabs crawling up side of paper cup

One by one, they learn from each other and crawl out.

It all started with some hermit crabs. It was the first day I got to go to the beach by the hotel (Turtle Bay Resort). I went wandering and eventually found a way to get to the beach I’d seen from the breakfast table. At first it was just tons and tons of snails on the rocks. I picked a bunch and was just enjoying the day playing around in the water with them when I noticed much faster movement. It was a hermit crab scuttling by! Once I knew what to look for, it was game over. I spotted so many that I had caught at least 30-something and there was no room in my cup. So I started to take pictures and release them. After all, what I really want are some close-up images of these cool creatures.

hermit crab staring at person holding it in fingers

If you just hold them, they’ll come out and look at you.

The next day, I went to the other side of the resort to check out what else I could find. It turned out to be a gold mine for other crabs. The land ones move far too fast to ever be caught, but the water ones have a tendency to hide and blend with the rocks. Since these rock formations have plenty of pools, it provided an easy microcosm to focus on. I was determined to get a “normal” crab (the kind that walks side to side). I succeeded with that eventually and got a crab that was almost too big for my cup! Now my goal is to get one of those burrowing crabs, which are a lot harder since they’ve got plenty of open beach to run across and even more sand they can dig below to escape.

crab hiding against rock and blending in

The crabs blend in quite well with the rocks!

crab hiding against rock and person pointing finger near it

I see yoooou.

ghost crab in hawaii sitting at entrance of tunnel in sand

My next challenge awaits.

So, how to train a crab:

1. Figure out where they hang out and go sit/squat nearby.

2. Stay still and watch for a bit. Look for an area they’re hiding where it’s enclosed enough for you to chase it.

3. Choose one that isn’t too large (no bigger than your pinky is probably best) and use a clear cup to get close to it. If we’re talking hermit crabs then just pick them up.

4. It takes a bit of back and forth to trick them into running into the cup area or falling into it as they scurry around. Just be careful and use one hand to guide them towards the cup.

5. Once caught, make sure you provide a decently comfortable environment, whether it’s just having enough sea water and not making it too warm or you need some rocks so the crab can sit out of the water too.

6. Keep it in the cup for awhile. Let it calm down and get used to this strange new environment.

7. After the crab is no longer desperately attempting to crawl out of the cup, you can stick your hand in and see if it’ll let you brush it. Move your finger around to guide it where you want to (that’s how I taught a crab that it actually could climb up the cup – of course then it wouldn’t stop climbing up the wall after that).

8. Before you know it, the crab will be totally fine with you touching it and might even crawl around on you! Beware, it’s definitely trying to escape though. If you’re good you’ll get some moments of peace where you can actually stare into its eyes, make that eye contact, and ponder its thoughts.

baby crab sitting on hand with ocean in background

Spending some quality time with my baby pet.

holding crab on hand smiling at it

Another one of my trainees, just chillin’ on my hand.

Adventures with a new neighbor

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses,Tags: , , , ,
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This morning, I received a picture from Panda after he had left for work. It seemed like we had a snail chillin’ on our front door. I figured it was probably out after the rain last night, but then I found out what it really was… take a look for yourself here:

small wasp nest on door frame of front door

Could be a snail, right?

Well, turns out it was a wasp nest. This black, red, and yellow wasp was happily working away at its nest, not even caring that I was sticking a camera in its face. I didn’t have time to deal with it before going to work, so we just left it.

black and red wasp on wasp nest in doorway

Nasty fellow.

In the evening, Panda and I decided to take down the nest before that wasp got too comfortable and produced offspring or attracted other pests. I got a bag to capture it in and set to work. We tried spraying it a bit to scare it off, but that just seemed to get its wings wet and make it stay in place. We tried sticking a yard stick through the door cracked slightly open to shoo it off, but it just climbed on the yard stick! I then got gloves and put a plastic bag around it. The first attempt was awful and I did not capture it. Luckily, it wasn’t upset with me and just went back to its home. I had Panda bring me a chair to give me better leverage. This time we got it stuck in the plastic baggie and I managed to tear off the nest. I zipped it all up and cleaned off the residue on our door frame. I then took the wasp to the porch and opened the bag partway so it could find its way out. At first it flew to our railing and took a break, but eventually it moved on. I hope it doesn’t return! We’ll have to keep a close eye on our doors now.

catching wasp from Mary Qin on Vimeo.


The donkey farm

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It was one of Panda’s coworker’s send-offs today, so we got a chance to go out to the farm of another coworker. Panda refers to it as the donkey farm, probably because the donkey is their unofficial mascot. Everyone had heard about momma donkey (Morning Glory) having baby donkey (Melvin), so Melvin became their mascot of sorts. They hadn’t actually met him yet, and I ended up being the first one to interact with him on the farm! I never knew that these mini donkeys made good companions for horses; that was the whole reason they are kept on the farm, in fact.

face of white miniature donkey at farm

Hey there Ms. Morning Glory.

brown horse sticking head out towards person

Romeo really loved attention.

brown horse sticking head out towards person trying to lick her

Apparently Romeo saw all people as delicious.

brown horse and white and brown miniature donkey eating hay together

Delilah and Melvin shared a nice meal in each other’s company.

miniature donkey nuzzling person's foot

Melvin seemed to enjoy nuzzling my foot. #majorbonding

selfie with miniature donkey poking head through fence

Selfie with Melvin the miniature donkey (and mascot)!

tractor scoop being used as icebox for cold drinks

Put some ice in it, throw the drinks in, and have a party. #farmlife

Little girl

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Now that Smokey’s been with us for over two weeks, she’s really settling into things and taking over the home in her adorable way. I’ve taken to calling her “little girl” when Smokey or Smokey Bear doesn’t feel right. Take a look at her all around the house…

20140419-222832.jpgShe poses authoritatively.

20140419-222911.jpgShe gets mischievous.

20140419-223040.jpgShe claims the couch.

20140419-223119.jpgShe claims my spot on the bed.

20140419-223232.jpgShe takes over my desk.

20140419-223247.jpgShe had her own getaway.

20140419-223348.jpgShe splays all over the place.

20140419-223341.jpgShe explores the bath.

20140419-223326.jpgShe stretches out.

Ah, what a good life! When she first arrived she couldn’t seem to truly let go and rest, but now she sleeps so soundly. 🙂 It’s great having some liveliness around here!

Bird calls

laelene Posted in video blog,Tags: , , , , , , ,
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Whenever spring rolls around, I always look out for the emergence of birds. Last year they were everywhere! I’m finally starting to hear them again as the weather warms up. It’s supposed to get over 80 tomorrow!

birds swarming tree from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

symphony of birds from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

birds galore from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

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