Made it to California just fine.
The weather was good about half the flight over, which was cool because I love watching the land change below when I fly cross country. I find the regular grids imposed upon organic terrain to be strangely fascinating. The patchwork quilt of the Midwest is beautiful that way. I love the rugged, untamed beauty of the Rocky Mountains. I changed planes in Phoenix, and observed the difference in vegetation in the Southwest versus the Midwest. There were these odd rectangular patches that stood out from the rest of the terrain because they were bright green, almost teal, in contrast to the brown land around them. Also, they were extremely uniform in texture, but maybe that was just the effect of my vantage point. I had to wonder, what are they growing out there in the desert, and where are the getting the water from?
It's cooler than I expected it to be here in SoCal. I had to wear my jacket to the reception+dinner that was held on an outdoor terrace. So much for my sun.
I'm putting my game face on and getting ready to pretend to be an extrovert for the next three days. As meh as I'm feeling about having to travel for this conference, I have high hopes. The VP of the NAS said a few words and dinner tonight, and one of her comments was that previous meeting reminded her why she got into science in the first place: it's so much fun! So here's hoping for some inspiration.