Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I'm kinda shocked that Vernon schools will be closed tomorrow and Friday because a staff member came down with the swine flu. It seemed so remote with most cases on the west coast. My daughter is terribly upset (yeah right).

Although there is still one section left and I may still tinker with one of those last lines, I started verifying each and every sentence of the article as it stands. I think this is the part I like least about writing, but it's absolutely essential if you don't want to look like a dodo.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

For what it's worth, I dropped another opportunity in the mailbox today. Since my article is hovering around 2,000 words (the max), I think I'd better do a little Spring cleaning to make room for quotes that I know I'll want to put in. It's amazing how many times one sentence can be rewritten if it's in the start or end of the article.

I'm exhausted thinking about my double header this evening. Actually, sitting in scorching 97 degree heat without water and suntan lotion sounds fun compared to the 2 wakes I'm going to. Oh joy. In happier news, I did drop off a nice surprise on a friend's doorstep this morning.

Monday, April 27, 2009

This was good news as was the FedEx envelope I found in the door after I smoked up the house. Oops. On Sunday I learned my next door neighbor passed away from terminal cancer. I can't help but think the science of battling disease would have been that much further advanced if not for all the restrictions put on research. Before she died she said if she had her life to live over again, she wouldn't change a thing. That was good to hear. Everyone should live a life with no regrets and seize opportunities when they arise.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

I think the recent purchase of Scientific American magazine by the journal Nature is a really intriguing combination and a smart move. Scientists publish the results of their work in journals, then science writers (like moi) read their research papers and write articles for newspapers and magazines. I'm thinking those embargoed stories will still be unavailable to everyone else except Scientific American. If that's the case, they'll have a huge advantage in releasing science stories quicker and new science discoveries will reach the public faster. This is good news for scientists that publish in Nature and for the general public and bad news for the staff at Scientific American.

Yesterday getting away from my article helped me rewrite the conclusion. It's getting there. I gave myself a deadline at the end of April. That's when I'll start checking it for accuracy. Once again I'm moving forward on another opportunity. It would be nice to get somewhere in this department......someday.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Beach Day!

Today we skipped off to Hammonassett Beach in Madison CT and had a splendid day. They have a nature center there at Meigs Point where I took this picture of a copperhead. That snake would not sit still for the photo shoot and the more it moved the more determined I was to get its mug. We also saw a number of great white heron's poking their beaks in the wetlands. And lastly, my youngest daughter also likes her trees. We heard there were harbor seals by the rock pier, but unfortunately, you snooze you lose. And I was asleep on the blanket at the time until a group of kids with megaphone voices walked by (not that I noticed).

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

This is not normally how I store my research.

While preoccupied at the computer, I heard the sound of papers crashing to the floor behind me. If knocking them off the table wasn't bad enough, my cat sharpened her claws on them then proceeded to sit on the research as I was putting it back in the folder. She goes to great lengths to sabotage my work and put herself in the limelight. Nerve.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Saturday, April 18, 2009

On the upside, I'm very satisfied with where I am with my latest project. There was an abundance of research papers on the topic. Although it seemed like a lot of writing to churn out under a deadline, it's in really good shape. Lengthwise, it's there. I am in the process of getting input from a couple of scientists so those sections and the conclusion will need refinement.

On the downside, I've spent the week with some members of the "Dis" family. They are not a very nice family.
1. Discourage - My mother's doctor said these 4 words. "Something didn't heal right." I've been walking with her for months and she spent 5 months at my house recouping last year. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
2. Disbelief - The pharmacists generously refilled her prescription - THREE times and in 3 doses. What if the med was morphine, barbituates, oxycontin? Let's have a pill party! I've been on the phone and emailing this popular pharmacy that this problem could be fatal if a customer doesn't notice and takes a lower or higher amount of meds then needed.
3. Disillusion - When he hangs out with D. Value, the combination can be lethal.

Thankfully Dismember didn't show up!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Today I had a very nice 2.5 hour lunch with a friend I met at a writing workshop in PA. We've both been writing for about the same amount of time. It is so nice to talk with people who have the same goals and truly understand what it takes to get there. We rolled from one subject to the next quite easily as though 4 years were yesterday. We even compared notes on article payment rates. I sure hope photographs explain everything. Hopefully, some time soon she'll have a success story to tell me.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Since I'm having a small family dinner here on Sunday, I posted a sheet of paper over my computer screen that reads:


It worked for a while until I decided to clean up my current project. Like a magnet, I found myself drawn to it. Soon I was on the couch reworking a paragraph. Now I'm online typing it in. So much for signs. Then the phone rang. I went to answer it, but it was gone. I hate that. You have to use your cell phone to find your cordless phone because someone didn't put it back and you've no idea where it is.

Monday, April 6, 2009

It's the little things in life that please me most (probably because the big things are so incredibly unattainable). Two days ago, I was delighted to find a red cylindrical tin that perfectly fit small pizzelles I made. This I added to an "Esther basket" for my Aunt Esther. Today, I was quite pleased to find a great website about ink and another good chemistry website. I've spent the morning both trimming and fattening the growing article and plumping it up with a bit of chemistry. I think it's about time I got out of my pajama's.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Last night I had a dream I was painting with white paint. It's not far from the truth in more ways than one. Yesterday I tested white paint under a black light and I also gave some thought as to how I go about writing science material . First, I read all the research papers, books, and internet material. Then I try and paint a picture on paper as I write, without being terribly concerned about accuracy. I refer back to my sources for details. If a writer is dwelling on accuracy as they write each line, the writing is stiff, scientific and factual. Boring. After the whole thing is revised a zillion times, I take a nit comb (ewww thankfully, I've never needed one!) and go through it line by line for accuracy.

But before I had this dream, Sherlock woke and thought of more questions about the ink:
If it's real - Can the ink be duplicated? Does the result fluoresce? Is there some source of paint/ink at the settlement site? Could ink components have come from the sea?
If it's fake - White paint + yellow + yellow ochre (gold) = whitish yellow paint, not brown. How long before that paint gets brown? Would a forger want to wait? Is there a way to accelerate the brown color via heat, sunshine....? What about a little shoe polish?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

This morning, Ms. S. Holmes rummaged in her cellar for a very specific white paint, black ink, and a black light. After a bit of difficulty removing the cap of the oil paint, she began her experiment. She spread a sample of each medium on plain white paper. Then she entered the dark bathroom with her blacklight. The white paint fluoresced pink (she thought it would be blue). Granted the ink was India, not carbon, and the fluorescence was pink not blue.

Conclusion: Colonel Holmes did it in the bathroom with a blacklight.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I think I'm falling into a sinkhole of research. Last night, I pulled two research papers and parts of a third at the University. Back at home, I found one more online. The whole idea of writing about a controversial subject is to get kids thinking. Its definitely got me thinking. Since I'm leery that deadlines will be in my face all too soon, I've started writing too. That first crummy blob of sentences is now on paper. It's a start.

Last Thursday, while at Beinecke, I saw the Gutenberg Bible. My friend Rosie mentioned yesterday that her sister-in-law in NYC is a book restorer/conservator. She worked to restore a Gutenberg Bible, but she didn't know which one. I asked if she used new glue or old glue. The answer was I don't know, but it came out more like how the heck should I know. Good point, but since I'd wondered about binding glue myself, it was fresh in my mind. Her sister-in-law also restored some John Lennon material. Interesting conversation.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Last night I saw the space station zipping across the sky. With my Olympus binoculars it looked like a ring of light (guess my eyes are going, what next?). Today, my friend will be in town. She'll be here any minute. I laughed when she told me she was bringing her microscope. I told her to bring her dustpan instead. Easter will be here. Later, I hope to make it to the university to get one more paper and sift through a couple others that might be of interest. I still have one inter library loan that is incoming. No shortage of material on this hotly debated topic.