Monday, November 30, 2009

I found evidence that the December 2009 issue of ChemMatters is out! I am eagerly awaiting my contributor copies. This particular article was laparoscopically edited, or at least it seems that way.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Since I'm looking to get rid of a leaky old energy-wasting refrigerator, the Cash for Clunkers Appliance program was of interest to me. It looks like it is getting rolling later than anticipated and funds will be available after 11/30/09.

I was dismayed to read this article about how Siberian tigers are in decline. I did some research on Siberian tigers for an article that was published in the September 2007 issue of Highlights. You kind of hope things improve after the word gets out, but unfortunately, that is not the case.

Very soon, I'll be leaving for the 73rd running of the Manchester Road Race. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A dire need to clear off the dining room table for a Thanksgiving feast forced me to finish sewing the other side of the velcro on my vinyl costumes. Now the sewing machine and the costumes are packed away. Hallelujah! Since we don't plan to eat off a two inch tall stack of research, there is still more to clear off that table. Ugh.

As usual, there will be a party in the streets of Manchester on Thanksgiving Day for the 73rd running of the annual road race. Good luck to all my trail buddies, especially Ray in the 70+ division. I'm rooting for you!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

People's Forest, Barkhamsted Connecticut

I've been reading, revising and refining something that I thought I finished. It didn't get very far when I entered it in a contest so I know I can improve it. I'm really happy with it now. The muddled ending has been replaced with a more enticing ending and some rough edges have been sanded away.

I was hoping to post some photographs of a hike in People's Forest, but the "Indian caves" were more like overhangs and not worthy of a shot. I regret not taking the Jessie Gerard trail. The Hartford Courant listed it as one of the top 10 foliage hikes in CT (even if the foliage is done). At one point, my brother hit the brakes quickly as a little chicken scurried across the road. It was quite funny.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Today, on this glorious day, two deer tried to sneak by me while I wasn't looking. But I turned around at the three mile mark and there they were crossing the path right in front of me. I watched as they scaled a steep hillside, disappearing into the barren woods.

I'm happy to report that I've modified the first paragraph of my biography (about me).

I found a couple of things online that I thought were quite interesting. First of all, I noticed and read a 1996 ChemMatters article on the same topic as my soon to be published article. It amazes me how different two articles on the same topic can be.

I also found this new study on grizzly bears. They are using the same technology that was used in the Montana study that I wrote about a number of years ago.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Today I spent four hours volunteering at the Connecticut Children's Book Fair at UConn. It was somewhat dismal to hear that the number of people attending had dropped significantly from last year despite what looked like a lot of people in the ballroom. I met a writer who lives in the adjacent town and also an illustrator who lives across the river. Unfortunately, I didn't give myself much time to pour over the offerings. I picked up an autographed "aggressive read" for my niece for Christmas. Hope she is not reading this!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Through Facebook, I was invited to join a social networking site that high school students from Silver Creek High School in Indiana are part of. I'm not quite sure what this means, but it sounded like a really good way for students and writers to converge in cyberspace. I was glad to help. What a great idea!

Aside from that I have got to get looking through online supply catalogs for weird things like plaster, magnet sheets, and an ink pad or two.

I am itching to get back into research and writing which I've put aside for a while. I've also been contemplating whether I should delve into the work-for-hire stuff that everyone else does. But, I am not someone who does thing just because everyone else does.

Tomorrow, I'm volunteering again at the Connecticut Children's Book Fair up at UConn.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The headpieces are done. I need to sew on the other side of the velcro and I should be all set with the props for this school program.

Every now and then I come up with a quotation I like so I've added those to the "About me" section. Here's todays quote that I posted on Facebook.

"If we accept the facts as facts then we lose the ability to uncover inaccuracies" ~ Linda Zajac

I will be rewriting that "bio" at some point, hopefully sooner versus later.

I received an email about the wolf class I teach at Manchester Community College Excursions in Learning Program. The class will be held from 9 to 12 on Saturday, February 6th 2010. Last year the class was sold out!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Today I posted a video of a green iguana on St. John. Every time I've seen an iguana in a zoo or museum, the thing has been motionless, stuffed in a tiny cage. Up high in a tree, this video shows how the iguana moves in the wild. I watched wondering what would happen when it got to the end of a branch. Finally, with amazing agility, it moved to the next tree. I spiced up the video with some Caribbean music which I thought was kind of amusing. But Windows Movie Maker was much more frustrating then I remember. Often it would error out with a "Windows Movie Maker needs to close right now."

Today I plan to visit the hardware store and get some colored wire to fashion headpieces.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I'm still working on these costumes. Sunday I trimmed armholes because I'm afraid they are going to rip if little arms are pushing in and out of them. I sewed up one side so now they look like long painted vinyl muscle shirts. Lovely indeed. Since there was no velcro in my basement, today I ventured to the fabric store for 2- inch sew on velcro.

There was a bit of excitement there. The key broke in a door in the back and the alarm was screaming for help. I wanted to hit it with a hammer. Then I spotted the clearance stuff (75% off!). As I pulled out a wig, a misplaced Christmas tree ornament fell to the ground and smashed. OOPS! I got the sales lady to help with clean up. Christmas stuff did not belong in that bin.

Anyhow, I was looking for something to fashion the headpieces out of and saw those wigs. Perfect. The thought of putting the pig-tailed ribbon-tied "Dorothy" wig on a male volunteer totally amused me.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

At home, I can hear a bird sing or a squirrel chatter, but nothing like night on St. John. From the deck, the lights on St. Thomas were a galaxy of stars in the sea.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Today. I was pleasantly surprised to find this online post by Gwendolyn Hooks that mentions why websites are a good idea for writers. My website is mentioned.

I've been trimming armholes and I just finished sewing shoulder seams using six rows of stitching across each. They should be pretty strong. What started out as a tube costume that closed in the back is now an over-the-head costume that closes on the sides. Hey, it works for me! Next, I need to put velcro on the sides and I'm toying with adhesive (which we have in the cellar) or sew-on velcro. Adhesive is much faster, but will it come loose? For a science and technology program, there is a lot of art in the homemade costumes, painted and sewn. While making alterations, I tried the costume on a number of times. At one point I was kneeling, trying to gauge how it would look on someone much smaller--much better!

I've also started playing with Windows Media player in hopes of posting some St. John videos of animals. I'm quite rusty with that.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Today I'm posting photographs of two unusual trees I spotted on the way to snorkeling off the beach at Cinnamon Bay Campground on St. John. After unsuccessfully trying to identify them, I asked the naturalist at Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History for help. He identified the first picture as Indian Mulberry. The dimpled fruit has medicinal uses. The second photograph of green tassels is still an enigma. Palm flowers perhaps?

I think I've finally settled on how I'm strengthening my vinyl costumes--a redesign. I'm hoping my sewing machine can pierce through two layers of vinyl to produce some quick strong seams across the shoulders. I'll be testing this out soon. After putting it aside for several weeks, I read and slightly modified my brochure. I'm really happy with the information I included. It makes a strong case for this program.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I just finished painting the fourth piece of vinyl--my final vinyl. Each3x5 foot sheet took about two hours to paint except for the last one which took roughly 1 1/2 hours. I started with the widest brush applying a base layer of color. I followed up with a smaller brush and some strokes of texture. Lastly, I used the smallest brush for details and little dabs of moss green for color. Yesterday afternoon, my almost 9 year- old niece was over so I used her as a model and started to cut (eek, one mistake and I could wreck a sheet of vinyl). Now I have a new concern. I cut slices for armholes and realized that I've created a weak spot right at the top of the slice where the weight of a sheet of vinyl rests. The area has to be reinforced somehow? Hm. It was quite entertaining to see her dressed up. Basically these four sheets of vinyl are four costumes that cover the worst case scenario. Whole lot of work for worst case scenario, but necessary.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Where I live in Connecticut, I don't find plump millipedes like this one. It appeared on our door mat at Maho Bay and at night they congregate on the railings. There are no streetlamps at this ecoresort. Flashlights are essential when naviagating the boardwalks and stairs at night. (we attached LED's to our visors). The thought of accidentally putting your palm on one of these babies is quite disgusting. When disturbed they can squirt out a fluid.

I spent more time looking at standards. In Connecticut, I'm happy to report that I can run this program for K-5. Connecticut standard makers rock! But I noticed that the "standards" are not at all standard in different states.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

One day on the way to Waterlemon Cay, a great snorkeling place on St John, we stopped to explore the ruins of Annaberg Sugar Plantation. But it wasn't the ruins that I found most interesting, it was the plants in the area. Thankfully, many had markers. The reddish peeling bark of the turpentine tree is real easy to distinguish. A man we were talking to offered me a genip that he pulled from the genip tree. The fruit is like a large leathery green grape, mushy and golden inside with a pit that reminded me of an unshelled almond.

Yesterday I painted 2 of 4 3x5 feet pieces of vinyl and I'm real happy with the way they are turning out. Ideas need freedom to roam and flourish, but "curriculum" is the leash that restrains them. Grumble. Today, I reviewed the standards and decided this should be a grades 3-5 presentation, but I know that younger kids would enjoy it too!