Alli thinks I should blog about all of the things I did after she left me all alone in the US--one of the few times since we've been married that I've spent time alone with my family.  There's not actually *that* much to talk about, but I should at least share a few photos.  

First up, I need to share as I believe I did last time, the beauty that is the beer scene in the USA.  This shot was snapped at a co-op in Carrboro, NC.  It is a beautiful wall of fantastic beer.  And it is ridiculously cheap when compared to SG prices.  So, I had a few of those.  While Alli was still there, and again after she left.

Another highlight of a trip back to the US is of course eating the foods you've missed.  We made sure to hit Wendy's, Chipotle, Chik-Fil-A, In-N-Out Burger, Zaxby's, and more Mexican food- oh and the peach shake at Hardee's, don't miss it.  Yes, there's a reason Americans tend to be a bit overweight.  Yum.  We all went out to Fatz for dinner one night and I had a Southern specialty, shown below-- shrimp and grits.  This one comes with lots of bacon and cheese and goodness.

Other than that, for the remnant of my time in Aiken, I spent a lot more time with family and good friends, several who made significant drives to come see me.  I got to grill steaks, and was lucky to be there while USC was winning the College World Series- a nice backdrop to catching up with friends.

Then it was off to LA for my first time, for the Wnt 2011 conference.  You saw me talk about this kind of meeting before, so go there to read what that means if you don't know.  This time I was there to present a poster covering some of my data.  Here's a shot sufficiently blurry that nobody is likely to learn anything from it.
The meeting was a very involved affair.  I managed to get into LA just early enough that our great friends Jack and Yula (yes Alli just saw them by herself a couple weeks earlier and reported back) could come pick me up from the airport, shuttle me to my hotel and out for some dinner, where little Jonah woke up just long enough to briefly say hi:
And that's the only picture I took in my time with them. Thanks again guys, for fitting into what little free time I had.
As I was saying, meeting was involved, starting on most mornings at 8 a.m. and running to 10 p.m. That doesn't leave time for sightseeing, and I didn't do any. No Santa Monica Pier, no Hollywood, etc. Next time...

For its part, I was impressed with the LA weather. Hot in the sun, cool in the shade. Long sleeves almost a requirement in the evenings. And generally just beautiful. Wish I'd taken more pictures of that- but maybe the blue skies and green vegetation shown here will give you a clue:
Well, maybe just hardly.  This is the back porch off of the meeting conference lecture hall.  As you can see, they are setting up a buffet dinner to go with poster presentations.  Anyway it was pretty.

Finally, the last thing I did without Alli was get on another plane to come back home to her.  Luckily, companies in Singapore support their national carrier, which just happens to be kinda the best in the world.  So on this occasion, I decided to just take a picture like the rest of the Singaporeans on the plane were doing (they take a ridiculous number of pictures of themselves in the airport, getting on the plane, in the plane, of the plane...)
Collectively, I think I watched about 12 movies on my two international flights.  I hate to say it, but that journey isn't even all that painful anymore, at least when flying SQ.

I arrived back in Singapore Tuesday at 3 a.m., hurried home, and was able to spend a solid hour with Alli before she caught her 4:45 cab to the airport, destination China.  Luckily, that's all over now, and we are enjoying our time together with no immediate plans to go anywhere solo again.