Sunday, November 20, 2011

I finally conquered the supply lists for my hands-on science classes in February. That took more time than I anticipated. It didn't help that I had some very specific brands in mind. When I couldn't find one product, it took me a while to find a suitable substitute. I know there is a big emphasis on teaching hands-on inquiry based science, but it's time consuming to put hands-on activities together. In addition to thinking up the activities you have to prepare and purchase materials. The time invested in preparation pays off because the classes are way more fun for kids than sitting through a straight lecture. Retention of the material is higher too.

After nearly a year, I finally received some positive feedback on some magazine work! There are so many things I want to write I've got to pick one and get moving.

Every fall, the crimson leaves of my Japanese Maple glow in the sunshine, but Storm Alfred forced them to do backbends. Note: the truck in the top photo is delivering my new fridge!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Yesterday at the Connecticut Appalachian Club Annual Gathering, I spoke about climate change. The audience was engaged, answering my questions and at the same time asking plenty of their own. They were astounded during the hands-on science portion of the presentation. It was the same reaction I got when I demoed this presentation in front of a group of Toastmasters. Overall, it went well although I plan to tweak a few things next time.

At the Gathering, I enjoyed speaking with Russ from the Conservation Committee. He built a great display of energy saving devices that many people aren't aware of. It seems the biggest hurdle for AMC, the Climate Change Education Communication Group (formerly the CT Climate Change Education Committee) and myself is finding the proper channel to get information out to as many people as possible.

Today, I volunteered at the CT Children's Book Fair at the University of Connecticut. There was quite a crowd. I peeked in as Mo Willems was giving a dynamic presentation to a crowded room of kids. They had a great lineup of authors, Jane Yolen, Tomie DePaola, and David MacAulay to name a few.

Since I didn't take any photographs at either event this weekend, I will post more more on Storm Alfred. The October snowstorm sent trees limbs crashing down all over my neighbor's lawn. I was in the street when I took the third photo--and so was the tree. The storm left so many fallen limbs that now four foot high brush piles line the streets like fences. Despite the destruction some good came out of the storm. I love love love my new energy star refrigerator and we also picked up an LED camping light!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Last Saturday, a freak October snowstorm dumped heavy wet snow on gold and orange foliage. Tree limbs ripped. Power lines snapped. By the time the storm was over, one half of Connecticut (sliced diagonally) had lost power.

We got pummeled with thirteen inches of snow. On a street 2/5 of a mile long, the storm severed enough tree limbs to damage eight power lines. On Saturday at 9:15PM our power went out and we've been "camping" ever since.

Despite the challenges, I am forging ahead on three separate projects. Nightly, I read and write via booklight. Wifi at the jam-packed library is slow and often reaches capacity. Yesterday, I was in absolute heaven in a sunny cubicle at a less crowded university library.

I miss a hot shower and the freedom to do research at all hours. I like candle time and viewing the pock-marked moon and the stripes and moons of Jupiter through a telescope without any light pollution at all.

The downed wires in these photographs are all within walking distance. The second photograph is of the line connecting our house and the neighbors to the street. One extremely dangerous oak limb (bottom photograph) is hanging precariously over the spot we normally park one car. If that falls, it could kill someone.