Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Today, I moved slowly on the trail fighting a wall of wind, maybe it was the weight of Xmas or fleece. The wind threw parched leaves across the trail and one paused over my eye. For a moment, I was a pirate. About 100 yards in front of me a branch came crashing down. What if I had been in that spot? One moment you are here. One moment you are not. I learned that heartbreaking lesson when I was 5. I heard it over and over - enjoy life because you never know. So I take opportunities when I find them, seek out adventure, and work hard to pursue those things that matter. Here's to 2009, I'm raring to go!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Today I was up at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum (RISD) in Providence R.I. for the first time. They had a David Macaulay exhibit that I found very interesting. His architectural artwork was meticulous. Every brick was detailed. I could have spent more time pouring over those drawings. On the wall were pages from Black and White. I remember taking that out at the library when my kids were smaller. It was so unique, a book with four stories going at one time. That book made an impression on me because it was so different from the many other books I used to read my kids.

Outside the museum, a number of blocks away, I noticed the crosswalks didn't look like your average crosswalk instead they were fancy (Providence?) reminding me of the artwork I had just viewed. It was a good use of a dreary rainy day.

Friday, December 26, 2008

I was hesitant to crack the spine of a book I'm reading for adults. I was afraid that the outline I would find inside would be better then the one I came up with. Oh why didn't I think of that, kind of thing. I finally opened it and found tons of chapters - way more then I could ever use. The titles in the table of contents didn't really give me any great clues about the organization. Initially, I was going to do a first-person story like this book, but I dismissed that idea weeks ago. What's good enough for this author isn't good enough for me. I'm happy with my outline and I'm doing it my way.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Last night, when I should have been cleaning (maybe if I dim the lights....), I listened to a webcast. This morning, it occurred to me that I'm not done with the outline. I really need to add another category with more information about what I saw in the webcast. Meanwhile, I've GOT to focus on Xmas Eve.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Boy, when I get going, I'm consumed by my work. I was again up at 3AM with the light up pen. It seems to be a great time to come up with titles and outline sub headers. Yesterday, my mother asked me what was on the menu for Xmas Eve. Really, I haven't a clue. At her house, she sets the table 3 weeks before a dinner. So I spent 1/6 of an hour (i.e all of about 10 minutes) browsing for recipes and thinking about it and the rest of the day was spent on my outline. So it's a GOOD thing the outline is done! But I do want to read two more books before I sign off on it........

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I was mighty pleased to read that Obama appointed heads for science and technology and that there will be a new respect for scientific research. Hallelujah!

Once again I was up at 3AM working. What the heck is wrong with me, can't I keep normal hours? Anyhow, at this ungodly hour I marched downstairs and fired up the computer. My outline was becoming cluttered with details. I created another copy and stripped off those details to expose the skeleton. I think I nailed it! It was like brushing away the sand to find a gemstone. When it's passed to an editor, that's when I hear the ripping sounds and realize that maybe I didn't exactly nail it.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Writing this outline is like trying to find the best way to hop across the rocks in a stream. Sometimes you can't make it from one rock to another because they're too far apart. It's also not wise to take a long roundabout route. Two nights ago, at 3AM, I got out my light up pen and started working on the outline. Wow, was I ever productive when I should have been sleeping. I came up with a new beginning that packs some power. I like that.

I've been hunting for that book I wanted. It's not in any library in my home state so I called 2 bookstores. Rather then shuttle down and order it, I ordered it from home. I'm sure I picked the "mailman can walk it here" option of shipping. It came the next day! I also mailed a request for an important pamphlet. So far, it's been a productive December. Only a fraction of the Xmas ornaments are on the tree and no one seems to mind (so why bother putting up the rest?).

Monday, December 15, 2008

I finally finished the book I was reading that was written by a scientist. Now, I'm pondering an outline. How to pack an overnight bag when you have 3 closets worth of clothes. Knowin' what to throw away knowin' what to keep. Today, in one hours time, I found some more recent material - a book so new I may have a hard time obtaining it AND a freshly written research paper. Yes!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Yesterday, I received my catalog of Excursions in Learning children's classes (K-8) at Manchester Community College. If I were a kid, I'd have a hard time choosing. It looks like a great line up of exciting classes!

On Saturday, February 14th, I'm teaching "The Wolves are Back! (pg 5) " for K-2. The following Saturday (2/21), I'll be teaching "Jellyfish Aglow Glow(pg 7)" for grades 1-3.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Last night I was at a Xmas party for the Air Management Systems of UTC (think A/C in aircraft). Anyhow, I was introduced to about 10 people out of about 250. After one woman inquired about what I do, I mentioned my tidbits about my latest article. Then she told me something even more amazing, a remarkable coincidence. A few weeks ago she went to her high school class reunion in NJ (the party was in CT) and talked to her old high school chemistry partner, none other then the Nobel Prize winning chemist, Dr. Roger Tsien. She told me she emailed him recently. We were both pretty astounded to hear each others stories. She called him brilliant and said you'd never know he won such a prestigious honor. He was very low-key.

Then I was introduced to another woman who was a writer too. She has her own column (can't believe I found this!) in a newspaper where she interviews people with a story to tell. Some were very sad, but she wrote about them to let readers know how these unfortunate folks had overcome obstacles. She talked about her DVR. She uses one for in-person interviews. My interviews are email/phone, so our needs are different, but I've been mulling it over for a few weeks now.

Who knew that in a roomful of A/C folks I'd find such a connection? And to top it all off we went home with a raffled soup basket.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Now this is cool! I found my first science article in Highlights featured as the story of the week. It was published in December 2006.


I just knew these changes to the Endangered Species Act would get rammed down everyone's throat whether they liked it or not.

"The Department of Interior is ignoring the vast majority of the over 200,000 comments they got on this rule change-by moving forward. They are basically saying public be damned," said Andrew Wetzler, Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's Endangered Species program.

The NRDC maintains that "absent court action, undoing this ruling could take months ... despite today's feel-good statements, we remain convinced that these changes are illegal."

The National Wildlife Federation, also voicing strong opposition, said that "in the eleventh hour of his presidency, President Bush has rammed through a sweeping overhaul of the Endangered Species Act. This action eviscerates key protections that have helped safeguard and recover endangered fish, wildlife and plants for the past 35 years.'

WHY ASK FOR COMMENTS IF NO ONE READS THEM? I wouldn't call this a democracy.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Last night I had every intention of reading further into that academic book I've been reading. I got sidetracked looking at websites on BEA, AASL, NELA, IRA, ALA, and CLA when I should have been looking up ADD. After that I listened to 3 Nobel lectures (about 1.5 hours worth). There were 4 things that pleased me:
1) Dr. Shimomura mentioned the work of Dr. Douglas Prasher. This I didn't expect since his work came before Prashers.
2) Dr. Chalfie gave credit to Dr. Prasher and mentioned that science is a sequential thing.
3) Dr. Tsien gave more credit to Dr. Prasher and singled him out of the audience.
4) Somehow Dr. Prasher got a well-deserved seat in that room!
I thought it was very cool when they dimmed the lights and Shimomura brought out his glowing tube.

Monday, December 8, 2008

I'm now well into reading a chunky book written by a scientist. It's not exactly action packed reading. The book is derived from 30 years of research. Its pages are full of collected data, charts, and analysis of this data. What amazes me most is that even one person could dispute the work of a scientist who has painstakingly recorded all this information. How could anyone even think of eliminating the input of scientists that work with endangered species under the ESA. These guys (and women) are out there in the field and know more about these creatures then anyone sitting at a desk. It's pretty obvious that the non-believers in science don't read these kinds of books. Hm. Wonder why.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Due to the holidays and the colder weather in December, I'm restructuring my day. I'm taking my two hours of research/writing time right off the top, bright and early in the morning (that means 7:30). If I'm headed to the trail, I'll do that later when the temp is warmer.

Day 1 of my new plan: It's 7:35AM. The phone rings after I've read all of ONE paragraph of this academic book written by a scientist. I decide not to answer it. Then the voice of my friend comes over the line. EEEK. She called yesterday and I forgot to call her back, I HAVE to pick it up. Anyhow, those 2 hours now start at 8, so I'm off this computer RIGHT NOW!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

If you've got some time on your hands and you're looking for helpful websites about writing for children, I just added 11 websites to the "LINKS - science and writing" section of this website. Happy reading!
I've had it with this treadmill. I need to move forward. Time for plan B1, B2, and J. Charge!

I just noticed that NESCBWI redesigned their website. It looks great! I think the credit goes to Greg Fishbone, but I'm not positive about that.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The road race was great fun! It was my second fastest run in about 10 years of running that race. It wasn't easy given the record number of runners - over 11,500. Many of these runners line up in the 35-40 minute area and are walking after 1 mile (not that that bothers me at all having to go around them). I regret that I didn't start further up in the pack.

What does this have to do with writing? Maybe the record crowds. It's VERY difficult to lead the pack when there are so many people in the game. And everyone is a writer. In high school, when running was the most important thing to me, I was a decent runner. But like writing, I have had to work very hard to get where I am. And there are still miles to go......

A few quick tips:
To avoid getting your picture taken - pin your number to your back (te he)
Get revenge on the sneaks that give you blisters by donating them for playground equipment.