Friday, August 31, 2012


The nearly full moon from Wednesday night.  It was just so beautiful with the clouds that I rushed out in my pajamas to take pictures of the moon.  
If you are wondering why the "circle" looks a little off...I didn't have my tripod (it is in storage).  So with my shaky hand and a lot of snaps, I got a nearly perfect circle of the nearly full moon.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Look at that Tongue!!  
That is some yummy rotten banana.

These pictures were taken at the Butterfly Pavilion.  
A great place to visit if you like butterflies and other critters without spines.  The spider collection is very cool.  You get to hold a tarantula.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Late Night Radio

Last night I took a break from reading and listened to a Diane Rehm Show episode on climate change before I went to sleep.  Big mistake!  I kept turning the light back on to write down my thoughts from the show.  These are my late night notes.

Listening to the news, it seems that people do not care too much about climate change because the environment is not as important as the economy.  But as the probabilities of extreme weather events goes up so does the economic costs of dealing with these extreme events.  (Think increasing gas prices because of Hurricane Isaac; increasing food prices because of the Midwest drought.)  The problem we have in this country is that we do not understand our interconnectedness; people in New Hampshire do not think what happens in Colorado affects them and vise-versa, but it does.  We are all interconnected, and not just to other Americans, but globally and with nature and economics too.  If we are able to convey this interconnectedness to the common man, the “Joes and Janes,” people will realize that climate change is the top priority. 

Last fall I was planning a lesson for ninth graders on food webs and I asked one of my mentors, an environmental educator, for advice on how to make the lesson different from middle school.  She told me to focus on the interconnectedness of species, that interconnectedness is the hardest concept for students to grasp.  After the role playing activity, in which most of the “students” died from the Texas drought, I had students write an ORQ on their place within the food web.  One student’s response went something like this; “Well, if disaster struck and I couldn’t hunt for my food, I could just go to McDonald’s to eat.”  I agree with my mentor, global interconnectedness is a hard concept for us to get.  I believe that this is the most important concept that we need to demonstrate to our children; we will learn by being involved, by being connected.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Out of the Corner...

...of my eye I spotted a praying mantis.  I was so excited because the praying mantis is such a cool insect, but I had never seen one in the wild before.  Luckily, it was just "hanging out" on a nice afternoon and I was able to run back inside to get my camera. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012


When I was very little, in San Diego, my dad would take me to the playground at the school up the hill from us.  I was too small for the big kid playground, but that was okay with me because the little kid playground had this awesome cheese house.  I would climb up it and through it (I fit through most of the holes).  My dad and I played cat and mouse; I was the mouse hiding and climbing away from the cat who snarled and growled at me.  It was so much fun.  I have described this playground to others in my adult life and received looks like I belonged in an asylum. I've never met anyone else who had played in a cheese house; I thought that my cheese house was the only one.  Then at a rest stop along I-80 in Nebraska I saw a cheese house playground.  I was so excited; I had to take a picture to show my dad the cat.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Tales from I-80

The rolling green hills of SW Wisconsin and NE Iowa are beautiful; a perfect way to start the trip from Wisconsin to Colorado.

It is easy to forget how long the Mississippi River is when you do not live near it.  I crossed it many times in the South, but crossing the Mississippi in Northern Iowa took me by surprise.

The green hills eventually subsided to green corn fields which progressed to brown corn fields; signs of the very hot and dry summer.

Driving I-5 in California, I pass a lot of trucks hauling onions, but in Iowa I passed trucks hauling parts of wind turbines.  Looking up from the highway at wind farms, the turbines seem huge, but only when you pass by a blade riding along the interstate do you realize how truly enormous theses engineering masterpieces are.  It was daunting and breathtaking to feel so small.  One of the Iowa rest stops has a blade bolted to the ground so you can stand next to it and look upwards into eternity straining to see the tip.

Nebraska is a long, flat drive, but just like Texas there is also big sky; bright blue sky that goes on forever.  To the west were clouds that looked like a long mountain range -- a Nebraska mirage.  While it is easy to get lost in Nebraska's big sky, nothing beats the big sky of Texas at sunset.

(Sorry there are no pictures, but I was driving at the time and thought it might be dangerous to take my hands off the wheel to snap pictures at 70 mph.)