Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Often, I write about wildlife. Today, I'm writing about my own wildlife - my cat. When she wants to go outside, she rings the chimes hanging off the back door or she'll ring the grizzly bear bell hanging off the front door. She's technology literate (see photo). And now I know she reads the calendar. She had a vet appointment today at 3:40PM. She pulled an all-nighter and was gone all day too. At 2:40PM, I called animal control to make sure they hadn't found her in the road. Then I canceled the appointment since I had no cat to bring. At 4:40PM she shows up at the back door.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sometimes I feel like I'm in a strange city without a map. There are so many different routes to take, it is often difficult to pick the best one. This past weekend I was working on something that made me think of my own past and how I got where I am. Aside from school, some of the first research and writing I did was to fend off development at planning and zoning meetings. I spoke out in support of my distraught mother and the "behemoth" that was destined to be built across the street from her house. There was a lot of satisfaction knowing that my research and my words made a difference. Throughout my years of writing I've sided with those that I felt were unfairly treated or unable to speak on their own behalf - namely endangered species. This doesn't help me settle on a route, but it does make me aware that I stand behind my writing and fight for what I believe in. Yeah!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Found this video today. Three cheers for Dr. Chalfie! (for the Nobel Prize)

Monday, October 13, 2008

I couldn't resist adding another comment about proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act. I never addressed the impact of global warming on wildlife. Since the comment period ends tomorrow, I had to put my 2 cents worth in. I'll be watching to assure that the comment has been added to the system.

The distractions are finally easing up. The 13 miler is done and my mother moved back to her home after staying here for a week. The effects of Ramsay Hunt Syndrome (a painful triple punch to the optical, auditory, and balance systems) still linger from earlier in the year.

Friday, I got the green light on 2 class proposals for elementary age kids. The classes will be held at a local college. One class will be about wolves, the other about jellyfish.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Before the race, I was amused at the song playing that applied to both writing and running "And even when your hope is gone, move along move along just to make it through."

In ideal conditions, I finished my first half-marathon in 2:17. Given the 2.5 months of prep time, I don't think I could have run it any faster. During the last three tough miles I learned some things that also apply to writing .
1) Don't make assumptions. It is very disheartening to think you only have 2 miles left when you really have 3.
2) Run your own race. This I did.
3) Get the facts. I'd hear "only 1 mile left." Then I'd run a little further and the water station would shout out "1.5 miles left." Then there was the man at the corner shouting "only a 1/4 of a mile." I'd run a bit further and the water station would yell "just a 1/4 of a mile."
4) Do your best
5) Believe you can do it. I made a tyvek sign and posted it on my back. It read "You can do it!" it was as much for me as it was for those behind me and I was hoping there was at least 1 person!
5) Don't drink gatoraid WHILE you are running. Cough Cough sputter (just want to see if you're paying attention).

Along the way I passed a young guy with one leg doing the race on crutches. He was sweating profusely. "You are incredible," was all I had to say.

I doubt I will do another one. In the future, I'm saving my joints for the mountains I love and spending my time on those things that matter most.

Friday, October 10, 2008

I found this article that exactly describes what I am thinking the day before the half marathon in Hartford. Bulls eye.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I was ABSOLUTELY THRILLED to read about the recipients of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry! It was given to a well deserving group of scientists whose research spanned many years and is now giving hope to so many people. I couldn't be happier for them. EXCELLENT JOB! What an honor.
In a sick kind of way, I'm excited about the half marathon this Saturday. I had three good runs this week - one long, one hilly, and one fast (for me). I was chased by a large dog running at top speed. I ran like a frisbee.

Today, on the trail, I thought about perseverance. It's necessary in running and necessary in writing. Did running track in high school teach me perseverance or was I born that way? I couldn't come up with any good example of perseverance before my running days so I tend to believe that distance running fostered my perseverance. I still remember the first 2 mile race I was in. My elbows swung out too far and according to those watching, I was tripped. I got up dazed, with blood dripping down my knee. I was dismayed to see all the other runners halfway around the track. I made a fast decision, got moving and finished the race. I did the best I could do given the circumstances. And so it goes with writing.

I know I've worked my "tenacity" off to get here. At the end of the race you can find me either on a stretcher or in the bear garden (no, that's not black bear).

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Found this on www.factcheck.org. It's about a study I wrote about in the December 2006 issue of Highlights. I contacted Katherine Kendall in order to write the article. It does not mention that it's a great opportunity to teach kids about DNA!

Paternity Tests for Bears

The ad goes on to criticize an earmark that provided “$3 million to study the DNA of bears in Montana.” This is not the first time McCain has poked fun at the bear project. He first mentioned it on the Senate floor, while discussing the 2003 Omnibus Appropriations Bill that included funding for the project:
McCain (Senate floor, Feb. 13, 2003): Because these appropriations are never discussed with nonmembers of the Appropriations Committee, one can only imagine and conjure up an idea as to how this might be used. Approach a bear: That bear cub over there claims you are his father, and we need to take your DNA. Approach another bear: Two hikers had their food stolen by a bear, and we think it is you. We have to get the DNA. The DNA doesn't fit, you got to acquit, if I might.
Good laugh lines, maybe, but the United States Geological Service’s Northern Divide Grizzly Bear Project didn’t study DNA for paternity tests or forensics. Rather, it explored a means of estimating Montana’s grizzly bear population by analyzing bear fur snagged on barbed wire. The project was funded partly by federal appropriations – about $1 million per year in add-ons to USGS in 2003 through 2005, $400,000 in 2006 and $300,000 in 2007, plus a $1.1 million earmark through the Forest Service in 2004, according to the study’s principal researcher, Katherine C. Kendall. Part of that funding was doled out as part of the omnibus appropriations bill McCain discussed in February 2003.

Despite the fun McCain had ridiculing the bear project on the Senate floor, he didn’t actually try to remove it from the bill. He did introduce several amendments, including three to reduce funding for projects he considered wasteful or harmful, but none removing the grizzly bear project appropriations. And despite his criticisms, he voted in favor of the final bill.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Due to an 11 mile run yesterday, I called in sick today. I've got a bad case of the potato virus. I'm sure this doesn't make sense to anyone, but it certainly amuses me plenty.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Here's an email I received today from Senator Dodd:

October 2, 2008

Dear Ms. Zajac:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the Bush Administration's proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

I strongly support the Animal Welfare Act and similar measures that strengthen regulations relating to the care, handling, and treatment of animals. I believe that animals should not be forced to experience needless pain and suffering and have worked to advance legislation to protect animals throughout my career in public service. I have also long supported efforts to protect some of the world's most vulnerable species from extinction.

Like you, I am very concerned about the proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act recently announced by Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne. These draft regulations would seriously undermine the protections of the ESA by eliminating the independent scientific reviews currently required to determine whether federal construction and energy exploration projects are harmful to endangered species. The proposed changes are inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the law and are contradicted by judicial precedent. On August 25, 2008, I joined with several of my colleagues in writing to Secretary Kempthorne requesting that he either rescind this proposal or increase the comment period on these regulatory changes from thirty days to six months. While Secretary Kempthorne recently announced that he would extend the comment period on these regulations to sixty days, I believe this is an insufficient length of time to fully review the scope of the proposed regulations and I remain concerned about the possible impacts they could have on our nation's wildlife. Please be assured that I will continue to support policies that protect all living creatures.

Thank you again for contacting me. If you would like to stay in touch with me on this and other issues of importance, please visit my website at http://dodd.senate.gov and subscribe to receive my regular e-mail issue alerts. Please do not hesitate to contact me again if I can be of assistance to you in any way.



United States Senator

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Today, Youtube has made more changes to refine the "embedded player" origin of view counts to let me know that 84% of views came from Live search. So I wondered what you have to enter to get the video to come up. Here it is! (4th one down on the rightmost column)

Now it's back to work.