Thursday, September 29, 2011

When I first started writing nonfiction, it was all about research and writing. Now I find myself doing a whole host of tasks that I never realized were in the job description:

1. I will be speaking at the Appalachian Mountain Club Annual Dinner in November.
2. I am once again volunteering at the CT Children's Book Fair. This time, I may be in costume. Think Clifford.
3. I filled out course proposals for two 3-hour hands-on science classes that I've taught before (subject to approval). Before I completed the paperwork, I reviewed my supplies in the cellar just to make sure they were all there. Wow, did I ever prepare a LOT of stuff for those K-2 students.
4. I am contemplating going to the National Science Teachers Association conference in Hartford.

Moments ago, while Walt counted turkeys, I hid behind the Honda and tried to get pictures of them parading through the backyard, single file. It was an eleven turkey evening.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mount Higby, Middlefield

I will be speaking on November 12th in Cromwell, Connecticut, at the Appalachian Mountain Club's Annual Gathering. Click on workshops and schedule on the left side of their web page. The presentation evolved from an article I wrote for ChemMatters.

This week, I continued revising my latest chemistry article.  It was quick work when I finally realized what the editor had been looking for all along. He told me it would be published in February 2012.

These shots were taken last Sunday on a hike to Mount Higby. Mount Higby is in the background in the bottom photograph of my brother and I. With a wake the following day, it was hard to smile for that photograph. We parked at Guida's at the intersection of Route 66 and Route 147 in Middlefield.  It was a relatively easy hike along a traprock ridge with excellent vistas. I'd love to go back in a month or so and soak up the colors of autumn.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

It's been a tough week. I'm dedicating this blog post to the memory of my mother.

She was an avid blog reader, but she only read one blog. Mine. After the early loss of my father, she raised 4 kids under the age of 6. Growing up, we heard over and over that we should take every opportunity because it won't happen again. That was the way she lived her life. She loved adventure, travel and her garden of flowers. I see myself in those words. Before she passed, I told her about an opportunity I had. She turned to look at me and her eyes widened with excitement. She will be missed!

I particularly like these photographs because, as my friend said, they show her living life.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Monday was a day where I sat out front instead of out back and it did me a world of good. It sure helped to be on a dead end where there weren't many distractions. Was it the change in scenery, the backyard activity that was out of sight, the decision not to disrupt my thoughts with a visit to a nursing home (I went the following day) or was I just at that point in the process where the words came easier? I don't know, but I have learned that I write best when I'm relaxed, well rested, and not worried. Easier said than done sometimes.

That one day, I finished the article I was working on and fact-checked probably 85% of it! Woot!(added to the Oxford Dictionary this year). This morning, the Big Kahuna went out the door, but not without giving me plenty of grief beforehand. I made FIVE piddly-buns changes before shipping it out. I read a book once about people that died hiking Mount Washington. It was called Not Without Peril. Why does the title Not Without Grief come to mind?

This, BTW, is a Rose of Sharon.

Friday, September 2, 2011

This whole week, pulling words out of me was like yanking a knotted skein of yarn. When I was pregnant with twins, knitting was about the only activity I could do during three months of bed rest. I would get up from my three hours of mandatory bed rest and go rake leaves.

Today, it took me all day to come up with 3.5 paragraphs at the start of the article, but they were 3.5 exceptionally good paragraphs. For some reason, I was working backward through the changes this time doing those that came last first. I finished a big chunk of these revisions already. The beginning was saved for the end because it needed a rewrite and I didn't have a clue. Not one clue.

I found this spider's web in the back yard. I was amazed at the spider who traveled from one rhododendron bush to another in a nearly horizontal line (bottom photograph). When I measured the distance, the spider silk stretched over nine feet across! There must have been a strong wind that day. That spider had a long walk home.