Hugh Robertson's Personal Page

Our earliest electronic photo from October 1998 when Erica was six months old, in the lab.

Here are pictures of my Mom, Gert, and Dad, Rob, taken by Jack and Liz Hailman on their 1998 visit to Cape Town, where my parents retired.

My sister Pamela is a science and math teacher at Mphophomeni High School in KwaZulu/Natal in South Africa (here is site they established on Reconciliation and AIDS/HIV issues and a shot of their Environmental Club outing at Howick Falls), and my brother Ian is an associate professor in civil engineering at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu.

Here are two 1999 shots of Erica, taken by Bill Engels (on the left in this 2000 lab picture) on her first birthday on Henry Mall outside the Genetics lab at UW Madison, with me and with Christina.

Two photos from early 2000, when my stepson Gabriel was thirteen and Erica was barely two years old (photo thanks to Lee Solter).

In summer 2001 we visited my folks in Cape Town, so here are pictures of us all (Gabriel, Mom, Christina, Erica, me, and Pam), with two dassies or rock hyraxes, on top of Table Mountain near the cablecar station (view down the Apostles to Cape Point); having lunch after a walk down to the SW corner of Table Mountain, with a view down to False Bay; Christina with Dad at the road around Chapmans Peak; Dad with Erica overlooking Muisenberg Beach at False Bay; and Erica with jackass penguins at Boulder Beach on False Bay.

And now for Fall 2001: Christina playing the piano at home. Gabriel doing homework at his desk in the basement. Erica riding her tricycle in the living room. Walking with neighbor David Owen at the Forest Glenn prairie, and deep in the tall grass prairie, where Jackie sometimes needs carrying; later we walked down to the river where Erica insisted on going au-naturale. We also visited Christinaıs Aunt Katyıs farm near Oconomowoc in Wisconsin (holding Jackie) along with cousin Mary, husband David, and little Bobby; where Gabriel climbed the silo; and both of them climbed a tree at sunset; of which Gabriel insisted on taking a photo over my objections! And finally a pose with Ken Moyer windsurfing at Springfield Lake because Clinton Lake is closed for security.

More Fall 2001 pictures: Erica at the farm in Wisconsin; the Northwest corner of our home resided; while the back waits for this Spring; everyone ready for Halloween; visiting Jack and Liz Hailman in Florida for Thanksgiving and playing at the little beach at Jupiter Inlet; and finally the Christmas tree at home with Erica wrapped as a present. (No thanks to Kodak for changing the format of their website photos to small-only.)

Winter 2002 brought some great ice in early January for some ice-boarding on Clinton Lake with our friend Ken Moyer. Erica, Gabriel, and Christina all had fun. The rest of the Spring has been too warm to skate and no snow so we spent it indoors, making new bookshelves in Ericas room, where she does her homework when not playing with her friend Paige, while Christina cooks. (Even less thanks to Kodak for making it impossible to download pictures without a silly frame.)

Since we had no snow we went out West to Colorado to visit my old climbing friends from South Africa, Kevin and Michelle Smith, Kevin took these shots of us cross-country skiing above Boulder. After an easy start we worked our way up to the top for a lunch break, after which Erica fell asleep in her backpack. Later we went over to Copper Mountain for some downhill skiing, which Christina and Gabriel enjoyed, while I rested my wrenched knee and checked out the area with Erica. Back home we finally did get a snowstorm that required a local excursion in snow-covered woods. Later we had a great dinner with our family friends the Solters (Lee, Phil, and Ravi). When not watching TV with her dolls Erica fools around with Gabriel and paints her face.

To end Spring 2002 Christinas Mom Lee visited in late April and helped get the front garden in shape while Erica helped. Later our family friends Walter Robinson and Susan Fahrbach visited with their sons Nate and Abe. Nate and Erica are superheroes. Another visitor was our neighbor David Owen. Erica continued her face painting, when not playing with friends like Zoe and taking pictures of me

Jumping over our Alaska trip in Summer 2002, and a winter trip to Sante Fe, here are a couple from Spring 2003, taken with Robinson postdoc Charlie Whitfields new Nikon camera. We went out to Forest Glenn near the Indiana border where Erica did some maniacal swinging, Charlie Whitfield and Christina posed in front of a redbud, as did Erica and I. Erica turns 5 on May 1, and this is her birthday card picture, titled Ericas Meadow.

Here are some shots taken by Ellen Dotson at a meeting at Asilomar near Monterey in California in Spring 2003. Ellenand me on the Monterey seawall, huge anemones and seastars, a sealionnursing her calf, and an acron woodpecker larder tree.

In summer 2003 we travelled to Australia for the International Genetics Congress in Melbourne and the Great Barrier Reef Drosophila Conference in Cairns. We flew into Sydney, rented a car, and drove to Canberra for dinner with my honey bee collaborator, Richard Maleska and friends. The next day we drove to Melbourne via the south coast, including such sights as tin cows and a eucalyptus forest. The south coast beaches were spectacular and we collected many different sponges in just ten minutes. On the way across to Melbourne we passed some synchronized swimming pelicans with their black-and-white colouration so common in Australian birds. Melbourne is a spectacular city and the conference location along the river allowed access to lots of restuarants and galleries. We took an excursion to Phillip Island with Peter Mombaerts where the sea view is refreshingly different from central Illinois, to see the fairy penguins (no photography allowed) come up on the beach at night. Earlier we visited a koala sanctuary and met some sleepy koalas. At the end of the conference we travelled along the coast to the west, to see the Apostle seastacks and spectacular sandstone arches. From Melbourne we flew to Cairns, a lovely tropical city with an amazing ocean-front pool. On a walk in the hills nearby we encountered one of the ubiquitous brush turkeys, and from ontop had a good view of the city of Cairns. The downtown is pretty touristy, but Erica and Gabriel added to the colour (note Gabriels hair!). After the conference, We rented a car for a trip up to Cape Tribulation, with stops along the way for a rainforest walk with a local aboriginal guide which included seeing rock paintings of such local fauna as a cassowary, a skate, a turtle, and two visiting sailing ships! On the way back we circled inland over the mountains to the dryer interior with huge termite mounds. Coming back over the mountains we stopped for lunch at the well-recommended Kamlas Curry Kitchen plus car tire crocodile. A view back down to the Cairn coast revealed the local windsurfing beach, but alas it was out last afternoon so all I could do was watch. From there we flew to Brisbane to visit with my PhD advisor, Hugh Paterson, now retired there, and my ex-postdoc Scott ONeill, who is now head of the Department of Entomology and Zoology there (we visited a nearby mountainous National Park to see the friendly parrots, numerous satin birds, and a few wallabies. In Brisbane at another zoo the crew were able to get up close and personal with a kangaroo, cassowary, and an awake koala (yes, Erica still sucks her thumb at age 5!). We rented a car in Brisbane and drove down to Sydney, spending each morning on a beach, some of which were spectacular, while others were political. Each town was interesting in its own way, for example, one had an amazing tile mosaic for a busstop in which Erica got tubed while avoiding the octopus, while throughout were wonderful old hotels. Each afternoon we swung inland to see the interior, including lovely eucalyptus trees at sunset, a very high waterfall, Monkey Puzzle trees, and some quaint little wineries. Each evening we blasted back down to the coast by 6PM to watch the Tour-de-France on TV and a seafood dinner. In Sydney we stayed at the Palisade Hotel on the Rocks, visited a great reptile park, heard a performance on the digeridoo, visited with Ben Oldroyd and Christian Peters at the University of Sydney, and had a long Sunday afternoon and dinner with my graduate student pal Marc Centner and his family. Finally, to cap the trip off, we stopped in Fiji on the way home and travelled on the 40ft yellow Awesome Adventures catamaran out to an island next to the famous Blue Lagoon, staying at the idyllic Davids Place in a grass bure hut. Fiji was everything we expected, including awesome snorkelling with sea snakes and finding Nemo and his anemone-dwelling family of clown fish, so we were sad to leave by boat and plane. We will have to return to both Australia and Fiji, hopefully in 2006. By now you can tell we have bought a digital camera, but be glad these are just 50 out of >500 shots.

On the occasion of Christinas 50th birthday party, Lee Solter again took some excellent pictures of Gabriel and Erica. And my Mom recently sent this picture of her with her two brothers, Gordon and Alistair Laing.

Fall 2003 and we got a head start on ice skating at the UIUC Ice Arena, where Erica progressed to a complete lap of the rink on her own. It took forever for Clinton Lake for freeze in January, but we eventually got out skating with colleague Sydney Cameron and her student Heather Hines.

In February 2004 we drove overnight through a massive ice- and snow-storm in Kansas to Colorado for skiing at our favorite ski area, Wolf Creek, where Erica continued her work on the bunny slopes. From there we travelled to Taos in New Mexico for a Keystone meeting on genetic modification of insects. On the way we stopped in the Chama Valley at the lovely small New Mexico town of Los Ojos near Chaca to visit the Tierra Wools weaving cooperative that specializes in the unusual churro sheep strain using hand spinning, dyeing, and hand looms. The results are spectacular but we could only afford a small rug, while Erica scored some yarn balls. The road from there to Taos crosses some lovely small hills and the snow was quite deep on the top of the pass, good enough for a snowball fight. This road crosses the spectacular Rio Grande canyon on the way into Taos. In addition to the conference, we had some good skiing at Taos, with Erica advancing to blue runs (but still on a tether to Dad), but the only picture I took was of Erica adventuring along a small stream east of town while our minivan front wheel bearing was being replaced. On our way home we stopped at the Lawrence Ranch where Georgia OKeeffe painted the Lawrence pine tree. We also stopped on the pass after Red River for some cross country skiing, which Erica took too immediately, through lovely forest with deep soft snow perfect for a snow angel. We broke up the trip home by visiting Susan Brown at her spectacular home overlooking the Konza Prairie near Manhattan, Kansas.

Lest you think we are always travelling and never take pictures at home, here is my 14-year-old calico cat Phoebe and our favorite caribou antler from Alaska. Erica shows off her doll house which was her 2002 Christmas present, but took a year to get completely assembled by Christina and Lee. All too often Erica prefers to play with her Barbie Pet Store. She also has a large stuff animal collection including a sitaka lemur better known from the PBS show as Zaboomafoo. Christina practises hard on her piano pieces, especially when a recital is coming up as this past weekend (5/30/04). Gabriel has grown his hair long now in prepartion for spending his senior year of high school as an exchange student in Tokyo. And here is Erica and my attempt at a Goldsworthy stone sculpture.

For Spring Break 2004 we did a busy trip out East, first visiting ex-postdoc David Lampe and family in Pittsburg for a talk at Duquesne University, then on to New Jersey to Christinas Mom Lees home for a family gathering (from left are Christinas aunt Katie Eynon, me, Christinas cousin Elizabeth Eynon-Kokrda, Christina, Erica, Gabriel, Christinas cousin Katy Castanos, her uncle Alex Nordholm, mother Lee, and brother Greg) and memorial service for her Dad Eric who died in January in Urbana, having lived the past many years in Everett, Washington. We then travelled down to the Chesapeake Bay for a boat trip to spread Erics ashes (from left are Christinas aunt Sonya, best friend Martine Bisagni, Erica, sister-in-law Diane Wright, the boat captain, Gabriel, uncle Alex, cousin Katy, Christina, and brother Greg). Then I drove down to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for some very cold windsurfing with a few other diehards at Canadian Hole on the Pamlico Sound, which yielded a spectacular sunset where for the first time I saw the infamous green flash. The Annual Drosophila Conference at Washington DC completed the trip.

Christinas Mom Lee visited as usual in April, so we took a daytrip to Forest Glenn, the Vermilion County Forest Preserve on the border with Indiana where Erica collected some deer bones. Then at the end of the month we undertook our usual family trip to Florida for the AChemS meeting, but first visited Jack and Liz Hailman at Jupiter on the East Coast for Earth Day activities, including as many hotdogs as Erica could eat. From there we drove via Highlands Hammock State Park to Sarasota where we stayed as usual at the Holiday Inn on Lido Beach. One afternoon trip during the conference took us to nearby Myakka River State Park (from left alligator, Gene-Robinson-postdoc Adrienne Lauter, Christina, graduate student Lauren Kent, Gene-Robinson-postdoc Christina Grozinger, and UIUC colleague Huey Hing) where there were tons of large aligators and birds. We had some close encounters with the former while canoing on the lake and river.

Ericas 6th birthday party May 1 was held at the local Orpheum Childrens Museum where Christina is on the board and volunteers a lot. She baked an amazing Africa animal birthday cake and as usual Erica received way too many presents. Later she had tea with colleague Susan Fahrbachs son Nate using a tiny tea set that was a previous birthday present from Susans late mother.

And to end off the Spring of 2004 on a high note, having spent it teaching a new course for upper level undergraduates entitled Comparative Eukaryotic Genomics, and having spent an inordinate amount of time over the past year working on the honey bee genome project, I treated myself to the Biology of Genomes meeting at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Cold Spring Harbor on Long Island in New York. I spent two miserable noisy nights in the Eagle Cabin before managing to talk myself into the new Dolan Hall where the acgt clock tower startled me out of bed at 8AM. The whole CSHL campus was in splendid spring form with warm weather suiting the azaleas and the traditional wine and cheese. The campus is dotted with interesting sculptures, including the famous helix and others by the bay, buildings, lawns and the Carnegie library. This conferences allows only for brief breaks and UIUC colleague Harris Lewin and I visited a local beach before the traditional lobster dinner followed by Ewan Bierney of Ensembl fame leading a drinking game.

Finally, we had a lab party (see top of personnel page for names) to celebrate the end of the academic year and the departure of undergraduates Colin Sauer to UIUC medical school, Colin Stoetzner to U. Michigan Graduate School, and Kim Ly to U. Virginia Graduate School, while graduate student Harland Patch and postdoc Christina Grozinger will move to North Carolina State in the Fall. Mike and Spencer Walden joined us, and Spencer and Erica had fun making their own desert on the kitchen floor.

Last updated 5/30/04

Return to Robertson Lab Page