Saturday, November 27, 2010

Valley Falls Park, Vernon

During the waning days of fall foliage, I wandered around Valley Falls Park in Vernon, CT.. In one spot I noticed plywood high on a tree and initially thought it was put there to mark the location of picnic spot B (which had all of one picnic table).  It was odd that the marker was placed so high. Later, I realized it was a bat box. I was amazed that bats could squash in those tiny holes and they actually liked it in those cramped cracks.

The main computer is now up and running. Bookmarks have been restored (that's huge)!!!!  Before the end of the year, I'd like to finish reading a nonfiction adult resource, fact-check a chunk of writing and finalize this presentation. I'm a little annoyed I forgot to "size" the costume when my ten-year-old niece was here this past Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

We had more excitement than I'd ever want this morning when the CPU crashed. What a harrowing day. All the documents were immediately saved, but it took all day to get the emails back. I've been working from a laptop, but my bookmarks have been hosed. I hope I can recover them because it was an extensive list. Anther thing that is really annoying is trying to remember all those archived passwords for FB, discussion boards.... They used to automatically pop up, but now they don't.

Despite the interruption, I finished reviewing the ChemMatters article yesterday and today I finished reviewing the second article I was working on. The ChemMatters article will be published in February of 2011. I also purchased two adult costumes for my presentation, thinking that I would trim off some from the length and make a head piece. After taking one out of the package, I'm now rethinking this. The costume is sheerer than I expected. Should I make one, sew 2 together to double the thickness, or come up some other plan? Hm.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

After touring behind the scenes at the Peabody Museum in New Haven, a group of us science writers started walking to the Leitner Observatory at Yale. The bus eventually showed up and drove us there, where wine and cheese were waiting. Although the rain had stopped, there were too many clouds to enjoy a starry sight. Drat. Despite that disappointment, I was so glad I trucked down there for the tours. The planetarium and observatory are open on Tuesday nights for public viewing.

I've suddenly become quite busy editing two articles, creating a presentation, and trying to find time to verify this latest piece of writing. Yesterday, I met with my writing friends and they both agreed this new version is much better.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Here are some more photographs I took behind the scenes at the Peabody Museum in New Haven CT. In the back rooms, there was an entire library of jars with pickled creatures. Gosh, if they let me loose, I could have spent a long time exploring in there. All those jars reminded me of my grandparents cellar that contained a small pantry-sized room filled with canned garden goodies. In the top photograph, I was particularly impressed with how pretty those candy apple green beetles were. They looked glittery. I couldn't help but think (probably to the horror of the bug guy that was taking us around) how festive they would look threaded with cranberries and put on a Christmas tree. Lol.

I mailed off three queries today, but, oops, I think I forgot an SASE. Stellar. Queries are new toys I've been playing with so that's my excuse. I'm also getting charged up about a presentation I'd like to do for elementary aged kids. I need to make a couple of costumes and figure out one detail.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

As promised here are some photographs from behind the scenes at the Peabody Museum. I asked permission to take the photographs. The woman said yes, but only if they are not for commercial purposes. They okayed them for a blog so I am posting them, but I added an unsightly total pain-in-the-butt watermark to prevent their commercial use by anyone else.

In the back room they have these special filing cabinets filled to the brim with stuffed birds, feathers, and even extinct birds like the Ivory-billed woodpecker in the top photograph. It made the news not long ago when someone thought they spotted it--alive. That sent a bunch of researchers hunting for the bird and recording its call. Sadly, it turned out to be a sneaky pileated woodpecker. The Senior Collections Manager opened a jar and uncoiled an octopus' arm. I really wanted to touch it to feel how gushy it was, but I was so busy trying to take the picture that by the time I was all set the arm was getting coiled back in the jar of liquid and it was too late. Artists sometimes come in and use these birds as models for accurate scientific drawings.

Today, I volunteered at the CT Children's Book Fair. I had a fun social task of asking everyone how they heard about the book fair. The majority said "we come every year." One Italian lady totally cracked me up. When she saw Clifford, the big red dog, she squealed with delight. I couldn't help but say, "now who is more excited here?" It reminded me of something I might of done when my kids were little. I also ran into a couple of people from town and I spoke with a woman from the New England Independent Book Association who happened to have positioned herself by the door where I was standing. I was heartened to see an entire table of nonfiction books.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I have some more photographs from the Connecticut Envirothon that I'm posting. The bottom photograph is of a seaweed called "Dead Man's Fingers." The top photograph is Irish Moss. Carrageenan from this seaweed is used to make toothpaste, yogurt, and other products.

This past weekend and Monday I shuttled back and forth to New Haven for the National Association of Science Writers Conference. It was my first time attending and I got a lot out of it. It was nice to run into an editor I haven't seen in a long time. It made me miss working with him.

At the social I was surrounded by science writers and dinosaur skeletons. How cool is that? The presentations were really helpful and I'm still trying to catch up on what I missed via lengthy online videos. There were lots of interesting intelligent people there. Most that I met worked for Universities. If I go again, this commuting stuff is out. A two hour snow delay on Monday loused up my schedule and left me quite stressed and short of time, but I'll be darned if I'm missing anything. I high-tailed it down there and got there right as the behind the scenes tour was starting. More on that next time.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Today's photographs came from the Connecticut Envirothon on October 2nd at the UConn Avery Point Campus in Groton Connecticut. It was a beautiful day for the fresh and saltwater estuaries workshop. A few kids got to take part in seine fishing. Then the students carefully scooped up the little fishes that were bouncing around and put them in trays of water. One of the interesting little ocean finds was a soft green crab that had shed its skin. At this vulnerable stage, other green crabs could cannibalize the poor dear. I think it was safer in the tray than back in the sea!

I'm back at work on my big project, humming along on chapter 3 making revisions that were identified in a critique group a couple of weeks ago. The ending needs more polish, but it's in really good shape. This chapter is a little lighter with elements of humor.