Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It's killing me to take Motrin with every meal. I've heard excessive Motrin is linked to acid reflux disease. Thus in my mind I see this connection:
smoking : lung cancer :: Motrin : acid reflux (notice the "excessive" has been removed).
I'm happy to report that after 3 days of using crutches (at home only), I'm finally starting to walk close to normal again. Hallelujah! I also avoided a shot which the doctor admitted, "it hurts."

Now that walking is not so pained, I can head into the cellar to review my extensive supply of program materials today. The presentation has got to be the best it can be. Nothing less. But I'm seriously thinking of scrapping my second presentation idea. After spending a day digging deeper into the research, I'm not finding a whole lot I can work with.

I'm eagerly awaiting publication of three articles, one in December(ChemMatters) and two in January(both in Fun for Kidz).

Monday, September 28, 2009

I'm still hobbling on ballet toes, hardly graceful. Thankfully the rain washed away my plans to go hiking yesterday. Sunshine breeds disappointment on a hurting foot. The doctor is finally back in his office. Thoughts of a shot piercing a tender heel are not sitting well.

Despite the foot problem, the programs I'm developing are moving forward. I have some concerns about the first one, namely will I have too much stuff to handle. For the second program, I'll need to do more research to add content. The challenge is making it entertaining. I'm pretty confident I can, but it will take some thought.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I'm alright, I'm alright
It only hurts when I breathe
(Lyrics from Breathe by Melissa Etheridge)

And when I walk. And when I sleep. I had a wretched night of sleep with a foot that gave me a constant stream of pain. My husband, who received his doctorate from TrailRunner magazine (April 2009, issue 58, p37) thinks I have Plantar Fasciitis which I have taken to calling plantar facetious because it's easier to say. It's also called heel spurs. I think he's right. I've never heard of this, but was amazed at how many people I met that either had it (including my own brother) or knew of it. None have great memories.

I was told one way to cure the problem is a shot of cortisone in my heel. The thought of a needle piercing my hard crusty heel brings back flashbacks of a little girl playing in the snow. Danger lurked beneath a thick layer of fluffy ice crystals. Wearing snow boots, the child stepped on a nail she could not have seen. There are more memories of a puncture wound, a tender foot and being carried to Sunday school class by a kind man.

The brochure is done, but the thought of standing to present it is not pleasant right now. I'm thinking ahead, to future published articles, and how I can turn those into exciting programs. Hm. There's a big challenge there.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The bottom of my left foot is in absolute trauma right now. It feels like there's a thorn in there and when I put my foot down it hurts all over. I think I sprained an arch muscle running yesterday. It isn't the first time. Instead of looking forward to the two separate birthday parties tomorrow, now I'm apprehensive it's going to hurt if I stand too long.

While the foot was icing (which did not help), I was rewording the second page of the brochure. The whole thing is much stronger--the presentation and my bio. I also changed the color scheme. I'm not a pill taker, but it's going to be a Motrin and melatonin night. Ow!
Today, I'm planning to revise and update the tri-fold school visits brochure I did a while back. I'm enthusiastic about this new program I'm developing, but the big question is how to get it out there. It's going to be affordable because I believe in its value. I've been online looking for material that I'm not sure even exists. I did find a homemade recipe that I'll have to test out (no it's not food). Good luck to me!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Yesterday, I sunk into a pit of despair as the shortcomings of the publishing industry rose to the surface in a hard boil. I had no patience for the snail's pace on this crammed highway of writers, no patience for being corrected, no patience. But patience is the first thing to go when I'm tired. I stewed in the quicksand making FB friends, cooking dinner (stew), and surfing online for jobs. Essentially, I accomplished nothing.

But at night my subconscious mind was a stardust fairy leaving gifts behind. Two nights ago when I was still in this rut, I had a phenomenal dream. I opened the front door of the house and walked outside. Wildlife was right there at my doorstep. It was wildlife I'd love to see in their natural habitat. It was totally amazing, one of the best dreams I can remember.

Last night at 4AM, I hatched a plan for a top notch school program. It was staring me right in the face, but I didn't see it. When I worked as a computer programmer, sometimes I'd struggle all day trying to understand why a program was misbehaving. But at night the answer would come. The stardust fairy sprinkles magic when you need it most.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The English language has some odd little quirks that cause writers to stumble and stub their toes--the same toes they need to get their foot in the door--so I thought I'd write in a different language today.


Maybe it's better stated this way....

मॅँ एक असाधारण स्वप्न ने पिछली रात के लिए खोल दिया है कि मेरे सामने द्वार थीं और पूरे पैंगुइन्स के स्थान पर!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A second ago I had a major panic attack thinking I'd sent out an article that had already been accepted for publication elsewhere. Thankfully, I was incorrect. Phew.

It was a slow process to get here, but it all seems like a blur. Sometimes I'm so wrapped up in writing that it leaves me gasping for air, struggling to break free. Lately, I've come to understand the thought process of an indecisive squirrel in the middle of the road. Which way?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I found an article in Scientific American about a new vision for teaching science.

"We face a real crisis in science education in America. Representative Bart Gordon of Tennessee, chair of the House Committee on Science and Technology, has warned that countries such as China and India will trample the U.S. economy in the near future without major improvements in teaching."

"The most effective teaching expands both the knowledge and the skills needed to engage with science authentically—that is, in a manner akin to how scientists work."

I'm happy to report that I will be running another 3 hour class on wolf research as part of Manchester Community College's Excursions in Learning program. It will be held on a Saturday in February. Last year, we went outside and backtracked wolf prints just like real scientists do. I think we all enjoyed this part of the class the most.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Well, it made my day to find my article mentioned as a "cover story" on the anticancer website. I'm thrilled.
Trying to get up that great big hill of hope
For a destination.........

And I scream from the top of my lungs,
What's goin' on

(lyrics from 4 Non Blondes)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Yesterday, after making it off Charles Island with the tide quickly rising, we traveled to the Connecticut Audubon Society Coastal Center in Milford. It's located on an 840 acre salt marsh at the base of the Housatonic River. Inside, among the tanks of little creatures, we found turtles like this jazzy diamondback terrapin, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, and a bearded dragon. A spiral staircase led to the tower. What a peaceful place. With an ocean breeze, a great view of the salt marsh, and relaxing rockers, I could have spent all day there with my binoculars. Across the street was a beach with this long-necked great egret canvassing the waters for dinner.

Tomorrow, I'm making some small revisions and hopefully I'll get moving on a new outline.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Charles Island, Milford

Today, Robinson Crusoe and I ventured out to Charles Island in Milford CT. We were impatient for low tide, sloshing through the water wearing old sneakers (a good choice). Now I have the recipe for foot fungus.   We discovered the altar, a remnant from a religious retreat in the 1930's. We knew it was time to head back when two boys warned us that the tide was coming in.

Charles Island is a haven for migrating shorebirds, so the interior of the island is closed during the summer. It is one of the three largest migrating shorebird habitats in CT. At low tide a tombolo connects the island to Silver Sands Beach, making it possible to walk there. If you don't return in time, the tide can reach five to six feet and it's entirely possible to get stuck on the island. The island has a lot of history connected to it.  Legend has it that Captain Kidd's treasure is buried there.

Lately, I've been increasing my social network, but I wonder about that sometimes. Facebook is a broad quilt tied together with common thread, but it's hardly thick enough to keep a person warm. Tomorrow, we meet and I should have time to get started on another outline.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Ragweed is rearing its ugly yellow head. Every now and then I let out a loud sneeze that makes the cats jump. Today, I was happy to finish an 8.8 mile run, longer than anything I've done in a while. While on the trail I was mulling over what to work on next. I am hoping I can put the package together quickly now that I'm familiar with the story. Tomorrow, we're off to do a very interesting short hike--but if we don't return quick enough we could get trapped. More on that later.....

Friday, September 11, 2009

I just reread portions of a package of stuff I submitted earlier in the year. I have every bit of confidence in what I wrote. It's a good story. Unfortunately, if nothing materializes, I don't know what to fix. Usually I can figure out what's wrong. Haven't I made every mistake there is to make? But this time, I don't see it. I fear the chess board may flip on this one.
I found this very unusual, but attractive dragonfruit at the grocery store so yesterday, it turned into a breakfast of exploration. How does one eat this thing? I could have cheated and gone on the internet and looked it up like I do everything else, but it was more fun to figure it out. First I tried peeling it, but that didn't work. Then I sliced into it and ended up with two speckled eggs with fuschia shells. The shells easily peeled off. Despite its flare, the fruit was rather bland, like a kiwi soaked in water. You have to admit, that is one neat looking fruit with a cool name.

On the writing front, we're finally narrowing down a crit date, hopefully next week. I've signed up to help with the Connecticut Children's Book Fair held at Uconn November 14-15 from 8:30-5PM. Currently, I'm reading some interesting recently published nonfiction written as a story.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I smell something sour. Bracing for the fall......I cranked up the music to drown out my thoughts. The mop is out and soon the floor will shine. I've got to believe that it won't go unnoticed.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Several things are hinged together. A breath of sour air could easily topple the dominoes.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bolton Notch, Bolton - part 2

I posted more photographs of yesterday's hike at Bolton Notch, CT. This flag was visible from the highway below. Today, I tried to snap a photograph of the flag rock from the highway. Hah, easier said than done. For safety's sake, I ditched the idea. The rock had more paint on it than any other rock I can remember seeing. The trail to the cave at the notch started right before this tunnel on the left.

When I was training for a half marathon last year, I ran through that eerie tunnel. Water trickled down the side of the damp, dark walls.

My article is again "with editor." What's next? Unknown.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Bolton Notch, Bolton - part 1

We found some very interesting things while exploring today. This cave has a legend about an Indian Princess that the Hartford Courant wrote about in more detail. Veins of marble are layered in the cliffs. While searching for a big open rock with an American Flag painted on it, we came across some interesting dwellings. The first lean-to skeleton I thought might have been the remnants of a scouting sleep-over. But upon finding the second "dwelling" I wondered if it was a homeless shelter. The last picture is what it looks like behind all those sticks--empty can of soup--kind of sad and creepy at the same time.

Eight-five words left to pick away at with tweezers. Ugh.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Soapstone Mountain, Somers

Today was another perfect day with great visibility. Walt and I ventured up to the tower on Soapstone Mountain in Somers, CT. It should have been named Soapstone Hill because it was a cakewalk, flip-flop hike of about 6/10 of a mile uphill on pavement. The initials "NF" carved in the tower made me think of nonfiction. There was a cornucopia of visitors today. We saw four people on horseback. We also encountered four Harley motorcyclists. None were wearing helmets, so I would have to conclude they liked the loud noise coming from their spitting, sputtering engines. We also talked with a lady from Holland.

I now have 121 words left to cut out of the article I've been working on and I've been doing my best to avoid the impossible.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Today, on this gorgeous day, I enjoyed the Connecticut River on the Quinnetukut II Riverboat at the Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center in MA. The speaker on the boat mentioned that Quinnetukut is another way of spelling Connecticut. I've posted some pictures of the landing area and the covered boat.

Around one bend in the river, the depth meter at the front of the boat soared from 25
to over 100 feet. In that one area of the river there is a deep hole that plunges into darkness where blood worms, sponges, and large fish live. The speaker passed around a dinosaur fossil that was found on the western bank of the river (my niece is holding the thing). I believe she said the first fossils found in this location were found around 1835 making them some of the earliest fossils ever found in the United States. These fossils were initially thought to be bird prints. Identification came years later. We also passed a solar device on a tiny island that was used to run the eagle cam. Since the eagle's nest was blown away by the wind and they relocated, it's no longer operational.

Across the street at the rec. and environmental center there are over 25 miles of hiking trails which will have to wait for another day. They also run moonlight snowshoe hikes which sounded like a lot of fun. Kayak and canoe rentals were nearby. The area is an outdoor playground.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Now I'm working slowly and painfully chiseling away at words to decrease the word count. This after spending quite a bit of time to increase it. Sigh. I think I need to get away from this for a while and breathe a breath of fresh air. This whole scene makes me feel like I'm stuck in a traffic jam.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I spent some time today thinking about and writing up a little blurb on potential markets for the work I just finished. The subject is challenging, but I think the market is huge and the need is there. Cryptic, I know. I need to move on to something new, but every time I step between projects, I fall into a writing rut. I'm trying to dig out and get moving again. Meanwhile this work awaits a crit.

On today's news I heard about the wolf slaughter in Idaho now that wolves are off the endangered species list. One guy that was interviewed said the wolves have decimated the elk population. Not according to the scientific research I've read. It's more like the wolves keep the elk population in balance. Without wolves, the elk population grows out of control and chews through aspen and willow trees. Songbirds and beavers use these trees so their populations decline. Check out the July 2008 issue of Highlights for more info.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The lake was tranquil at day's end. I had great fun tooling around in a whitewater kayak last night with my friend Emily. She was kind enough to model the George Jetsen inspired spray skirt which is absolutely hysterical when viewed from the back (think rhumba ruffles). The other lovely things we had to wear were noseplugs which were a big hit (cough). The three bottom photographs were taken as Emily did her first successful wet exit. Yeah! I learned something called a T-rescue. It's sort of a half of an eskimo roll. At one point I rolled over a bit too far and I was under the upside down kayak. I did not recall instructions on how to get back up so I bailed out with a wet exit. It was a little unnerving. I noticed this particular instructor ditched me after bringing my flooded kayak to shore so I guess I flunked that one. Oops.

The past few days I've been beefing up my Facebook account, but when I stop to think about it, I wonder why am I doing this.

I had great fun tooling around in whitewater kayaks last night with my friend Emily. She was kind enough to model the George Jetsen inspired spray skirt which is absolutely hysterical when viewed from the back (think rhumba ruffles). The other lovely thing we had to wear was noseplugs which were a big hit (cough). The three bottom photographs were taken as Emily did her first successful wet exit. I learned something called a T-rescue. It's sort of a half of an eskimo roll. At one point I rolled over a bit too far and I was under the kayak.