Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Family Update - Birth Announcement!!

Our newest family  member was born on November 22nd, 2009 at 2:13 PM, weighing only 5 lbs., 14 oz., despite being 13 days past his due date. We brought him home from the hospital on Nov. 24, and he and I are both doing well (other than some sleep deprivation...).

Welcome to the family precious little boy!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Year (to date) of Facebook Posts

Between work, pregnancy and home concerns, I haven't been taking the time to journal that I'd like to (I have started working on Rowan's scrapbook again, which is something...). Lately, it's been easier to keep my updates going on Facebook, so I compiled (most of) my postings from 2009 to look back at the year:
  • is icing a sore back and cursing being a clutz! (Jan. 18)
  • is listening to R's breathing through the monitor (Jan. 19)
  • is trying to psych up her 4-year-old for the Super Bowl (it's not working) (Feb. 1)
  • tried a neti pot for the first time today... (Feb. 6)
  • has just seen 'pictures' of the new baby... 9 weeks 2 days, 1 inch long, and beautiful little heartbeat... bliss. (April 8)
  • is psyched once again for the [Contra Banditos] CD recording... less than 3 weeks to go! (May 5)
  • loves hearing the crickets outside the open kitchen door (ahh, spring!) (May 19)

  • felt the baby moving for the first time last night!! (May 30)
  • spent a lovely day celebrating father's day, our anniversary and the solstice at DeCordova Museum; now off to make twice baked potatoes... (June 21)
  • is having a baby boy!!! 12 oz. as of this evening, and quite the little gymnast! (June 30)
  • is tired of the nausea and constant fatigue. (July 18)
  • went canoeing today with the guys. Yea! (July 25)
  • enjoyed celebrating Lammas yesterday. (Aug. 2)
  • now has a broken toe.... grrr. (Aug. 11)
  • off to the Catskills - hope everyone has a fabulous holiday weekend! (Sept. 4)
  • is on her own with R for the weekend. Man, the house is quiet after bedtime... (Oct. 9)
  • smells like a campfire (yum). Thanks Brenda! (Oct. 10)
  • is officially in the last month of her pregnancy. (Oct. 13)
  • is glad R. had a great time at his party - thanks to everyone who came and helped make it successful!! (Oct. 26)
  • Had her last day of work yesterday, and will be at home preparing for baby. (Oct. 29)
  • Happy Halloween, blessed Samhain, and happy 5th birthday to my beloved son! (Oct. 31)
  • is still pregnant, but only has 4 more days until her due date. Does housecleaning really bring on labor??? At least my house will be clean.... (Nov. 5)
  • due today, but no progress to report. Raspberry leaf tea, housecleaning and walking are all being tried... any other recommendations?? (Nov. 9)
  • ...still incubating. Have an ultrasound on Monday and doctor's appointment Tuesday to schedule an inducement. Oh well.... (Nov. 15)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Letterboxing as a Means to Exploration

We took one of our many trips out to the Catskills this past weekend (probably the last before the baby comes), and since my mobility is more limited these days (9 weeks to go!) I went to the North American Letterboxing website to look up area boxes we could search for without too much hiking. The result is that we discovered some new places, one of which turned out to be the most beautiful walk I've ever taken on the east coast... and I'm pretty sure we never would have discovered this incredible mountain meadow if we hadn't been in search of a letterbox. When we started letterboxing this past winter, I hadn't considered this aspect of it - all the new places it would take you, or new features of places you already knew, but hadn't discovered.

If you're not at all familiar with letterboxing, it's much like geocaching, but without the GPS. See the Letterboxing website for a full description (www.letterboxing.org), but the basic idea is finding clues (usually online, and there are many, many websites devoted to letterboxing) and searching out the box(es). The boxes contain a log book of some sort, and a rubber stamp (with or without ink pad) usually hand-carved and unique to the box. Carry around your own stamp (pre-made or hand-made), ink pad and journal/log book for recording the boxes you find. That's pretty much it!

As I might have mentioned (once or twice) I love creating lists, so tallying up our box finds is always satisfying. But the real rewards are the intangibles... spending time outside with my family, and finding new places to treasure and re-visit.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I'm Not Dead Yet - Updates and More

Ugh - has it really been over 5 months since I've posted? Doesn't matter I suppose, that I've had loads of great post ideas along the way (what the heck were they, anyway?). Well, I'll blame my pregnancy (6 months along!) and resulting fatigue for much of it. Not to mention that spring and summer just get crazy-busy with outdoor ed and camp.

So if you don't live in New England, this may be news to you, but we haven't had much of a summer here, weather-wise. Only 6 days in the month of June with no rain, and several days of severe storms in July along with unseasonably cool temps (too many rainy days that didn't get out of the 60's to even think about) have made this a nearly forgettable summer. Nearly, that is, if you can overlook the two days in a row of tornado watches, flooding rain, and a microburst in town that brought a foot of water running down main street, along with quarter-sized hail. We were fortunate (!!) at camp not to get quite the severity of the storm that hit town, but frighteningly close cloud-to-ground lightening right during dismissal time was more than enough for us. Whew. I have no desire to go though that ever again.

Given how tired I've been (weekends are usually spent in recovery mode), I haven't gotten a chance to get out and play (when not at work, anyway) much this summer, which made our trip this weekend even better. We took the canoe out for the first time this season with the initial idea of paddling the Nashua River up in NH. What on earth we were thinking, I have no idea. Did I mention the flooding rains we've gotten around here? And never mind that we drive past a good stretch of the Nashua to and from work, and just Friday were amazed at how high the water level was. So we get all the way up to Nashua, just to have Obo's father read us an article in the newspaper about accidents on the river and warning people to stay away. Great.

Ok, so we drove back down to MA and paddled at Paradise Pond in Leominster State Forest. One of the things I love about Paradise Pond is how secluded it feels (even though it's right off rt. 31). With the surrounding hills and over 4,000 acres of forest, you feel like you're in the middle of nowhere. They don't allow motorboats, which goes a long way towards the solitude paddlers can experience. R. had a great time - so much so that when we stopped for a picnic (and it was the picnic I used to persuade him to go paddling in the first place) he was all about getting back on the water as soon as we were done eating.

Not much else to report, I don't think (or at least nothing that's coming to my tired little brain). We're looking forward to attending the Lammas Fair at the work (it's an outdoor ed center & camp; camp) hosted by the Society of Elder Faiths. With the busier season, we haven't been keeping up with their events as much as we'd like, so I'm sure this will be quite enjoyable. Off to bed... I'm hoping to keep the blog more active going forward, but rest first!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Boskone 46 Update, Day 2

Withywindle Books is selling at Boskone 46 this year; I'm including my posts for the Withywindle Blog here, to continue on with my daily blog posting attempts - even though I've missed a few days this month already.

Cross-posted at Withywindle Blog

Boskone has been underway since yesterday at 5 PM (for dealers, anyway), and I'm glad to see that today seems busier (in terms of numbers, if not sales) then yesterday. I don't know if it's the new location of the Huckster's Room, or if the space is actually larger, but it feel much more spread out and the number of people in attendance yesterday felt quite small. It doesn't help that we're in the back of the room (last year we were right up front, which was lovely) so it takes people longer to get around to our section. But even walking around, the crowd seemed smaller. I haven't done much walking around this morning but overall it's busier – much more like previous years.

I'm hoping to get out later on – I've got to at least head up to the lobby and check email; Greg Bear is signing today and I'm looking forward to meeting him. More later!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I Miss Father Ted

This was such a great show - what a shame it only went for 3 seasons; even sadder that we've lost Dermot Morgan (the day after season 3 ended, no less). I was introduced to Father Ted by one of our British staff (when I was at Wildwood) who gave Obo and me season 3 on DVD (he didn't have room to pack it on the way back - too much good 'American' stuff to bring home).

Monday, February 9, 2009

LARPing Camp

Cross-posted at Withywindle Blog.
Well, it's official - there really is a camp for any interest. At the camp fair I was working at on Sunday, there were representatives from a camp called Wizards and Warriors - day and residential camps where kids can learn swordsmanship and armor making, and participate in LARPing (live action role playing), by making their own characters and living in a medieval village!

This is so cool... I don't think I would have wanted to do this as a kid (I was way too horse-crazy), but as a camp professional (and fantasy freak), I think it's fabulous!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Random Update

So, this is the first post this month where I feel like I have nothing in particular to say, but need to write anyway. Let's see...

The camp fair was fun, and relatively successful. Saw a few (but not many) folks I knew.

My headaches have been awful this weekend due to the coughing (despite being zoned out on cough suppressant for the past 48 hours).

I'm still using the neti pot.

Yep, that's it. Goin' to bed.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Neti Pot is Working... Sort Of

So, the neti pot worked in terms of getting rid of the congestion - and pain! - in my head last night. Unfortunately, the end result is that it all went into my chest, and now I have the most awful cough. Even worse, the cough is one of those deep, chest rattling coughs that makes your head ache, which lead into a migraine that just wouldn't quit today. Ugh. Loads of meds later, most of the pain is gone, but I'm a bit fuzzy headed...

Off to a camp fair tomorrow!! (I love camp fairs!)

Friday, February 6, 2009

It Takes Longer to Pass 8 Ounces of Water Through Your Sinus Cavity Than You'd Think

Yes it does. I would imagine that once you have the technique down, it goes a little quicker, but for my first effort with a neti pot, I was surprised at how long it took. If you're not familiar with the neti pot concept, you use a pot of some kind with a spout to pass warm salinated (is that a word?) water through one nostril, into your sinuses and back out the other nostril. Sounds appealing, eh?

I have a wicked head cold, and a friend and colleague recommended it to me. This wasn't the first time I'd heard of it, but the thought made me squeamish until today, when I was ready to try any non-chemical method of reducing the sinus pressure in my head. Did it work? Verdict is still out... I'll report back in a few days.

Randomly, as the saline was passing through my nose for the first time (and even for the second time), I was instantly transported to the beaches of St. Petersburg, Fl., where I spent time visiting my mother as a kid.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Hmmm.... Day 4

I know some days are going to be harder than others for posting... I'm hoping that it doesn't get difficult early on - like, on day four.

R. came to work with me today; I wish I could bring him to the preschool here everyday, but A: that's expensive, and B: my schedule is too erratic to be good for him. He gets to spend quality time with Daddy in the afternoons (who can pick him up by 3:30 or 4 every day), and I don't drop him off until 8 or 9, so it's not a terribly long day at daycare, which I like.

But he's so darn cute, and I love being able to surreptitiously watch him be his own little person when he's here...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Astrophysics, Not Astronomy

Cross-posted at Withywindle Blog.

I've picked my book for the 2009 Science Book Challenge - Hyperspace, by Michio Kaku. In my post on the Withywindle Blog about the Science Book Challenge, I had mentioned wanting to read something on astronomy, as I had been thinking about it recently. However I've since realized that astrophysics would be the more correct subject, I just couldn't think of it at that moment.

It's weird to say, but I really have been thinking about astrophysics lately (who hasn't??). I had recently started a fascinating article in a magazine, (possibly Popular Science, but I don't quite recall) about the universe and how many facets of it seems uniquely designed to create life, rather than life being a happenstance. Or something to that effect - I never got a chance to get very far into the article, as I was in a doctor's office and had to leave it behind.

Thinking even farther back, this past summer I spent a few hours by myself in a van with no radio, and I got to thinking about the creation of the universe (isn't that what happens to everyone when they're alone in a van with no radio??), and what might exist outside our universe, and so on, and so on, and eventually thought, "I need to read a book on this!". So I'm going to.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Day 2 - I Need a Tape Recorder

A few months ago friend of mine suggested using a tape recorder to record R's voice and our conversations. I don't have one (naturally), but was really wishing for one this morning. I'm running about, trying to get myself ready for work and there's my little munchkin, standing in the kitchen singing "I've Been Working on the Railroad" from his Wee Sing book - so unbelievably cute. The cutest thing, of course is that he wasn't really singing from the book (as he can't read yet), but would thumb to the correct page and start singing. Then he'd go to another page and sing what was on there. When he ran out pages he recognized he started asking me to sing, and then he'd join in.

I'd love to record our morning routine (when it goes well, that is; no one would want to hear us when it doesn't): the things he does and doesn't want to do for himself (this morning it was his socks - "I can put them on all by myself!"; and he did), all the cute little questions from him, and my "mommy" answers... I was so acutely aware this morning particularly, how fleeting this all will seem in a few years.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

NaBloPoMo - First Day!!

OK, so I've decided to give National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) a go for the month of February. I honestly didn't choose February because it has the fewest days, but because it was the first full month following my discovery of NaBloPoMo (but 28 instead of 30 or 31 does make a slightly more appealing goal, I suppose...).

I liked the idea of doing this, as I really want to be more consistent in my journaling efforts, and this was a great kick-start. We'll see how it goes; this month's topic is 'want'. They say topics are optional, but a focus helps... I want to succeed at blogging/journaling every day this month... here goes!!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Passionately Curious

While looking for a long-lost poem that I had heard on the Writer's Almanac in 1999, I stumbled across a second grade teacher's blog called Passionately Curious (where she had, much to my delight, reprinted the poem - see below). I was so charmed by this view into her classroom, it made me long to be a second-grade teacher. The title of her blog was what caused me to click over to it in the first place; passionately curious is an apt description for so many of the naturalists and educators I know. I also discovered (in her bio) the source of the blog's title:

I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious. - Albert Einstein

Here's the poem I was searching for:

Something Told the Wild Geese

Something told the wild geese
It was time to go.
Though the fields lay golden
Something whispered - "Snow."
Leaves were green and stirring,
Berries, luster-glossed,
But beneath warm feathers
Something cautioned - "Frost."
All the sagging orchards
Steamed with amber spice,
But each wild breast stiffened
At remembered ice.
Something told the wild geese
It was time to fly -
Summer sun was on their wings,
Winter in their cry.

Rachel Field

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Richard Louv's Blog on Children and Nature

One of my MEES colleagues sent around an article from Richard Louv's blog: "Field Notes from the Future" - something I probably should have been aware of before now, but wasn't. Richard Louv is the author of the powerful book Last Child in the Woods, which (among other things) deals with an issue he termed "nature deficency disorder"; an topic environmental educators all over the world have have since taken on. All the blog articles all well worth reading (and there aren't that many, so get started!), but there's an article on there that really struck me called Singing for Bears. Read it.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

25 Random Things (About Me)

A few friends of mine sent me this note on Facebook recently: “25 random things about me” (or something like that). I loved the idea because it really got me thinking... what don't most of my friends know about me? And of that (mostly useless) information, what's worth telling them? I also loved getting this from them and learning some trivial, and not-so trivial things about them. Here's what I came up with:

1. If I could only use two words to describe myself I would use fiery and passionate

2. I performed in Carnegie Hall when I was sixteen (not by myself... with a regional youth symphony orchestra)

3. I spent most of my childhood wishing I were almost any animal other than human (preferably a furry one)

4. I have two tattoos and plan to get more; each one is, or will be, a piece of my soul inscribed on my skin.

5. Until I met my husband, I was dead certain that I would never have children

6. I was born on a Friday the 13th (April) and my son was born on Halloween (at 13:13).

7. I LOVE to sing!!!

8. I am amazed (and pleased) at how much being a mother now defines me; my son has helped me find parts of my soul I never knew existed

9. I don't make friends very easily, and so I cherish the ones I have; they mean more to me than they will ever know (even though I'm lousy at keeping in touch)

10. Halloween is my very favorite holiday (and was prior to the birth of my son).

11. I haven't done nearly enough world traveling

12. Making a difference in the world is the main force that drives me every day.

13… is my favorite number.

14. I keep thinking about what I’m going to do when I win the lottery, but I don’t play it.

15. I discovered I had claustrophobia when attempting to enter one of the pyramids of Egypt during Ramadan in 1997.

16. If I could live anywhere in the States, it would be in the Monadnock region of NH – I went to camp there as a child and worked and went to school there as an adult. Someday (someday) I plan to return.

17. My Sicilian grandfather has a rather...interesting...heritage

18. I love, love, love, to swim, but not in ponds with squishy bottoms (which is most of them)

19. If I could be doing anything at (almost) any moment, it would be riding a horse

20. After 12 days with no power in our house last month, I discovered that there are few more satisfying things than sitting down to a meal cooked in your own house with your family (with all the lights on...)

21. My favorite author is Stephen King; I'd love to sit down and talk with him

22. I could probably identify 90% of the plants and animals in your backyard (stole this one from Kate - thanks!!)

23. I collect coins (I'm such a geek)

24. I never told the person who inspired me to become an educator that he did so (I will though, I swear!)

25. I love my name.

Monday, January 19, 2009

New Beginnings

We have a new president... and I am so thrilled. I watched the inaguration today at work with the kids with an intensity I've never given to presidental politics (around interruptions for things like heating up lunch, and coaxing a 5-year old to eat her chicken). I truely hope that the change that will come, will find us at home as well.

After the challenges of the ice storm, losing the baby and our wonderful Pandora - not to mention the health issues Obo and I have faced lately - we could use some change. The good news is that things feel like they're moving back to normal for our household (despite my back injury after slipping on ice Sunday, grrr.). Smiles and laughter were far more present than they have been for quite some time.

I have hope.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Predators and an Overabundance of Whitetail Deer in MA

I'm giving a talk on predators tonight at the Y; in preparation I was thumbing through an old issue of Massachusetts Wildlife (Nov. 2006), as I had seen mentioned on the cover an article about whitetail deer over-population. After reading the article, I have to say I'm even more fired up for my talk. It did a good job discussing the history of whitetails in New England, their human-caused decline and re-growth, and talked about the challenges we face living with a large, abundant mammal so close to our civilization. Hunting, however was the only method mentioned as a means of restricting the deer population (discounting natural causes which would result in ecosystem destruction and disease and starvation for thousands of animals). The article discussed the pros and cons people feel about hunting (while mentioning that the author - Tovar Cerulli - is a hunter himself) and proposed it as the best viable solution to the deer problem.

I happen to think that hunting is an excellent form of population control for our out-of-control deer population (and agree with the author that it's our best solution right now). And I also happen to think that a healthy predator population (i.e. - wolves) is also a potential solution. Reintroduction of wolves is a very controversial topic - no doubt about it. But much to my frustration, the author didn't even MENTION the role predators naturally play in keeping ungulate populations healthy and stable, and that fact that our top level predators are missing here in New England - and that's a big problem. Regardless of how you feel about an issue like predator re-introduction, to not even mention it as an ecological issue drives me crazy. People can continue on their way with their misconceptions about predators big and small, ignorant of how imbalanced our forests are without the biggest ones present. I'm SO glad I'm running my program this evening. **Stepping off my soapbox**

As an aside, I will be leading a tracking program in the central MA region this Saturday, January 16th from 10 - 12:30. If you're interested in attending, send me an email and I'll get you the details.