Sunday, May 27, 2012

Talcottville Gorge, Vernon

Some day I'll make it to Book Expo America which is taking place June 4th - June 7th at the Javits Center in New York City..  

I had a wonderful time at Chautauqua last year and can't say enough good things about that writing workshop.  This year, they're moving the writing conference to the Barn at Honesdale PA and splitting it up into three week long writing workshops:
Writing from the Heart
Fiction Writing for Children and Young Adults
Nonfiction Writing for Children and Young Adults.

I've been busy working on a short manuscript and two magazine articles.  During editing of a chemistry article, an editor trimmed off portions of my article that included quotes from an expert.  At 4:30 am, in a moment of brilliance, I decided to take those scraps and make them a stand-alone article.

I went back to Talcottville Gorge and spotted a bullfrog swelling out its belly, a great blue heron in flight, and a northern water snake slithering across the pond.  It was a great morning for wildlife viewing!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Last Wednesday, I joined a vanful of folks from the CT Climate Education Communication Committee for an informative and interesting day at Harkness Memorial State Park in Waterford CT.  The group consisted of science experts in ecology, geology and coastal science and they came from local colleges and the Department of Environmental and Energy Protection.

We passed coyote scat while hiking out to the beach.  I think the coyote must have polished off a yeti!

The park ranger discussed her efforts to protect the threatened nesting piping plovers.  Some neighbors think the beach will be open if they get rid of the plovers.  One woman even threw the eggs onto the grass in hopes of being able to use this portion of the beach. 

In 1888, the shoreline of this park was about 100 feet farther out than it is today.  We learned that seawalls interrupt the natural flow of sand and current, but attempts to regulate them have been met by strong opposition from wealthy landowners.  For convenience people have relocated streams that flow out into the ocean.  Hurricanes have moved these outlets back where nature intended them to be.  The dirt in the foreground of the beach photo was peat covering topsoil.  As the dunes pushed back due to erosion, Hurricane Irene exposed where the plow layer used to be.

We also toured the mansion and carriage house and helped the ranger get a barn swallow out of one of the buildings.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

This past weekend we were in New York for Melanie's graduation.  Aaron Sorkin, delivered an eloquent, powerful, and inspiring commencement speech.  When he spoke of failure, he talked about his personal battle with addiction.  That story, like books written as stories, will linger long in my memory because there is emotion tied to the struggle.  When he spoke of taking risks and seeking opportunities, I thought of my mother who used to always say "take opportunities because they don't happen again."  She knew how fleeting life was because she lost her husband at a young age.  Apparently, I must echo those same words because I heard them again in my own daughter's writing.  At an awards dinner on Friday evening, we listened to stories the student's submitted.  Melanie wrote of taking every opportunity the college had to offer.  My mother was surely smiling down.

I took these photographs on a recent visit to Mystic Aquarium.  In 2008, when I wrote an article for ChemMatters, I wanted to visit an aquarium with crystal jellyfish.  I searched online, but you simply can not find every animal every zoo or aquarium stocks.  At the time, Mystic did not have these jellyfish.  Boy was I ever excited to see them on my trip there two weeks ago.  Studies of these tiny creatures led to the Nobel Prize winning discovery of Green Fluorescent Protein, a revolutionary tool in medical research!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

? and rhododendron

This week, I put a new front end on an article per the editor's request.  Now it matches the tail end which had been revised during the editing process.  The whole thing is like a hearty sandwich with the meat between two matching slabs of bread.  The publication date got pushed back to October 2012.  Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches in this business.

There is excitement in the air!  Graduation season is upon us and boy, oh girl, oh girl, do we have graduates!    

I don't know what this white flower is, sorry to say, but I do like the way it looks in front of a brilliant blue sky.  The pink flower is a rhododendron. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Rose Farm, Bolton

This week, I literally cut up my picture book manuscript.  The exercise was suggested at a recent conference.  Scene cuts were cake.  After that, things got dicey.  I ended up with about thirty pieces or pages, but I neglected to incorporate full-page spreads (oops!).  This made me wonder how an editor chooses what goes on a full-page spread versus a half page?  I read on a blog that full-page spreads cost less because there is less art.  I wound up making a huge mess of the thing with some pages having one sentence and others having a hundred.  The exercise was helpful because I trimmed text-heavy pages by turning a paragraph into a sidebar.  After that exercise and another critique session, I dropped the revised manuscript in the mailbox.  Today, I mailed out a different package, putting more irons in the fire!  Yeehah!

Outdoor gear blog

I found a really great blog if you're looking for outdoor gear.  Matt Heid  blogs about tents, backpacks, sleeping bags, and all kinds of outdoor stuff.   He mentioned his blog in his article about tents in the May/June 2012 issue of the Appalachian Mountain Club magazine, AMC Outdoors.

A few weeks ago, we explored the pastoral setting at Rose Farm.  The meadow, surrounded by ancient stone walls and trees, would be a beautiful place to have a picnic.  A trail in the woods led to the Rail Trail near Steele's Crossing in Bolton.   In 1781, General Rochambeau and his men camped here before joining George Washington.  For more history click here. (4th post down).