Mikayla is my best friend’s little sister. She is 12 years old. She is also my (non-legally) adopted sister*, as I live with her and her amazing family every time I go to Boulder. (One time, we made penguins. They were awesome). Continue reading
Paperblog made me their Blogger of the Day!
Since you may be wondering “What is Paperblog?!?!”, I pulled this from their website for your edification (and edited it a little).
What is Paperblog?
Paperblog helps you find quality articles from the blogosphere, providing a participatory media site where talented experts and enthusiasts can share their knowledge and experience.
The best and most relevant articles are not easy to find amongst all the blogs online. Paperblog identified the need to find the best blogs around, offering quality articles to a growing readership.
In the first trimester of 2011, Paperblog International received 10 million regular visitors from throughout the world.
How do we do this?
We call on the skills and collaboration of internet users [like the fabulous Lauren Smith], whose efforts are supported by our editorial team. Using certain criteria, we select great articles and organise them by theme. Through navigation and actions (votes, ranking, key-words) Paperblog users then help us with initial selections and classifications.
The Paperblog editorial team then moderates and carries out a further classification in order to showcase certain articles and select Editor’s Picks. Certain Paperbloggers can also request moderator status and participate more actively in selections. We also establish partnerships with Press Groups and other publishers in order to publish the largest possible amount of articles and achieve our objective of providing quality articles to an increasing audience.
In the future, we even hope to produce this content in print!
In the meantime, we hope to offer the best service possible, and will endeavour to make Paperblog your indispensable source of the best articles from around the web!
Oh, and you can read Paperblog in Brazilian, French, German, Italian, Russian, and Spanish. Which is cool.
If you ever want to check out Paperblog but don’t remember how, there is a button on the bottom of every page on my blog. It’s the one with blue lettering, that says Paperblog, and looks like this:
Check it out! Happy reading!
A Few Things That Make Me Happy
A List In No Particular Order
savoring a cup of tea while wrapped in a blanket in front of the woodstove.
waking, realizing there is no real reason to be up yet, and staying in bed, eyes closed, half awake/half asleep, dreaming.
the smell of walking through a pine forest in the cool just after dawn.
the sound of woodpeckers tapping and hammering on branches.
getting sucked into a good book for hours, and only coming up for air when you desperately have to pee. Or eat.
having progressively logically ridiculous conversations, that are in turns creative, silly, and in a strange way logical.
Like planning our post-apocalyptic commune, or our skunk ape/NASA/unicorn conspiracy theory, or pretty much any time Meghan, Patrick, and I opened our mouths.
the smell of a rock wall, on the 2nd or 3rd pitch of a multi-pitch route.
singing along as loud as I please to a good song on the radio.
snuggling with my dog in my tiny bed
riding my mountain bike down Game Creek trail, where I discovered one of the meanings of the world “exultation.”
And here’s a video of what is probably a Ruffed Grouse on Game Creek. It’s a good thing I ride slow, otherwise I might have run it over. These birds could definitely use some street-smarts.
Look both ways before you cross RUGR!
a few reasons why I hate hiking with boys
I have quite a number of close friends who are male, and, for the most part, I really enjoy hiking with them. This list isn’t pointing fingers at any one person (okay, maybe it is a little bit– or a lot a bit. I’m sure some of you can probably figure out who I’m talking about here…). But I’m not naming any names.
I know some girls who are guilty of a number of these as well.
You are also annoying to hike with.
They walk too fast.
They have longer legs and therefore a slightly bigger stride, which is annoying. I’m a tall gal, and I still can’t keep up. Maybe I need to find some shorter hiking companions. Or just more people like me who like to shift into first gear and stay there. What’s the rush anyway?
Some of us prefer to walk downhill, not Buzz Lightyear it, aka ‘falling, with style:’ a combination of running/controlled falling down the trail. I hurt myself when I go that fast. Slow down!
They wait, but not really.
You know that thing where they get way ahead of you on the trail, eventually stop and wait until you catch up, and then as soon as you reach them they take off again?
I’d punch you if I had the breath, and if you stopped long enough for me to catch you. Just because it took me more time to get to where you are doesn’t mean it was less effort. Maybe I’d like a break too. And if I stop to take a breather while you keep going there will still be a gap between us on the trail. That gap will not go away the more you do this, either. But let’s keep trying it, shall we?
Peeing. It’s just so easy for you.
Some males don’t understand that for women, peeing involves more than just standing to the side of the trail for two seconds. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come up on my hiking partner, about to ask what he was looking at, and then realised he was peeing. For girls, it’s a process: taking your pack off, searching out a discreet place, positioning so you don’t pee on your shoes/pants.
So hearing “you take forever” is not helpful. I can’t just whip it out, so take a chill pill.
Also, I’m amazed at how small their bladders can be. Maybe I’m just really good at holding it, but still. Five times in two hours– you might want to get that checked out.
They really know how to enhance any spectacular vista.
“Wow, look at that view of the Himalayas. It’s breathtaking. I can’t believe we’re actually standing up here at Annapurna Base Camp.”
“Nice. You’re really enhancing my experience here. Wait. Oh God. Was that you? Dude, my nose hairs are burning. You really need to take some Beano or something, your farts are potent. Holy crap, I think I’m gonna pass out. Man, I think your farts are 10 times worse at altitude.”
In general, they smell funky.
Sometimes it’s a semi-pleasing funky, other times not so much. There is something to be said for pheromones, but there comes a point where the B.O. is overpowering.
There are two parts to this.
1. They don’t sweat at all, which makes you feel way out of shape, and like a nasty, disgusting slob of goop. Whoever said “Girls don’t sweat, they glisten” has obviously never hiked to Annapurna Base Camp. Or done field work in South Carolina in the summer.
2. They sweat too much, and then you feel weird for not being as gross as they are. As I generally seem to only go hiking with boys who are in much better shape than I am, I get distrustful when they’re sweatier than I am. Why is this not as strenuous for me?
Also, the sweat increases the funk smell. Like dogs, most boys tend to smell worse when wet. Deodorant is not a bad thing, just sayin. If you’re worried about the aluminum, get some Tom’s of Maine. They make super-fancy natural aluminum-free stuff. USE IT.
No, I don’t want to look at your poop.
I don’t want to see your poo when we’re indoors, what makes you think that I’d be interested now that we’re outside?
And heck no am I ever ever EVER doing this with you, so stop asking:
And there are more: check out this link–> Here are the best positions for pooping in the woods
Not only is it gross, but I don’t think there is anyone on this planet I trust enough to link arms with while I poop in the woods. There are just too many things that could go wrong with that picture. Especially if one person doesn’t have the greatest balance…
I enjoy my privacy and alone time, thank you very much.
Blowing snot rockets is disgusting.
I don’t care that we’re outside, it’s still gross. Especially because you’re so far ahead of me that I get to walk past all of them. Nasty.
And now, to leave you with a joke:
From the website The Trailmaster—
How to Cross a River
One day three men were hiking along and came upon a wide, raging river. They needed to get to the other side, but it looked impossible to ford, and they had no idea how to do it.
The first man prayed: “Please God, give me the strength to cross this river.”
Poof! God gave him big strong arms and legs and he was able to swim across the river, though it took him two hours to do it.
Seeing this, the second man prayed: “Please God, give me the strength and ability to cross this river.”
Poof! God gave him a rowboat and he was able to row across the river, though it took him three hours to do it.
The third man had observed how this had worked out for his two hiking buddies, so he also prayed, saying, “Please God, give me the strength, ability and intelligence to cross this river.”
Poof! God turned him into a woman. He looked at the trail map, and in a minute walked across the bridge.
In honor of the Super Bowl today, I’ve decided to rename some of the ice cream flavors at Glacier Ice Cream.
(I have to leave for work in 15 minutes, so this is the best I could come up with on such short notice. I’m sure I’ll have more to add later)
- Cookies and Cream the Seahawks
- Death by Chocolate Broncos
- Sea Salt Seattle Caramel
- Pistachio Peyton Manning Gelato
- Russell Wilson Raspberry Chocolate Melt
- Bronco Birthday Cake
or, you could order a Super Bowl Sundae (I might try to get crafty with broken ice cream cones and try to put a Bronco on a sundae. I’m not convinced of my artistic abilities, so you might have to use your imagination a bit).
While I don’t particularly care one way or the other who wins, I am wearing Broncos colors. I thought it might be wise, since I am in Colorado. And, I don’t know what the Seahawks colors are. I had to Google them to see who their quarterback is. I mean, I might be more inclined to cheer them on, since I do like birds better than horses, but I live with a bunch of Broncos fans and in order to maintain harmony I’ll go Broncos.
You would think, as I’ve been going to football games since before I was born (my mom is a marching band director, and apparently I would kick along to the bass drums while in the womb), and I spent four years of high school in marching band and a year in pep band in college, I would have some idea of how this whole football thing works. All I know is that you want to get the ball to the endzone (something called a touchdown) and then you want to kick it through the big tuning-fork thingies (goal posts, I believe they’re called). And everything takes forever,because they keep stopping the clock for no apparent reason.
As my dad used to say, everyone really only goes for the halftime show, but it’s nice that they have those guys run around and entertain people before and after.
If you’re in the area, come visit me at Glacier on Baseline. I’m working from 2pm until close, which is 9pm. There might be field goals made of milkshake straws for some paper football. The Glacier Bowl, I’m calling it. Should be a good time.
*I can pretend I read each of these in their entirety, but that wouldn’t be true. Some of them I finished, others I just read a few chapters. Though it may not appear so, I do in fact have other responsibilities, and wasn’t able to just spend the entire weekend on the couch. I had to like, get up and eat a few times. And attend to the well-being of three little dogs and one little sister (none of which are technically mine, I’ve just unofficially adopted them all).
As you might be able to tell from this list, I tend to read a variety of subject matters. It’s important to be a well-rounded reader. Makes life much more interesting that way, don’t you think?
Books I Read This Weekend:
- Travels In Siberia, by Ian Frazier
- Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
- The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures, by Anne Fadiman
- The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern
The first two I finished, the second two I continued/officially started. Almost done with The Night Circus. It’s excellent: a darkly colored tale of magic and romance and striped circus tents. I’ll probably finish that one in the next day or so, it’s hard to put down. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down is also a good one, though slightly different subject matter (as you could probably tell by the full title). I had seen it in various bookstores when I was traveling in Vietnam, but didn’t want to spend the money and then have to haul it around during my travels. Found it at Goodwill once I got home, so I snapped it up for 50 cents. Very, very interesting. Also recommended, if you’re looking for a non-fiction read about the medical field.
Lots of cups of tea, lots of books, lots of reading.
It was a very good weekend.
Recently, a friend of mine asked me what I say when people ask where I’m from.
Ohio, I promptly replied. That’s easy.
It’s where I was born and raised, and where my car is licensed, and where my family lives. I still consider it home base, even though I haven’t lived there in a few years. That keeps the answer simple, since I’ve been moving around so much and have lived in something like eight different states and a Canadian province in the past five years. The longest I’ve ever stayed in one place since finishing my undergraduate degree was six months.
Which makes the upcoming prospect of grad school, and being stuck in the same place for two years, somewhat daunting. I try not to think about it that much.
I’m also trying to work on my vocabulary, and to use works like “have the privilege of living in ___ place” instead of “stuck.”
It’s all about the vocab.
And speaking of vocab…
For the past few weeks I’ve been reading my way through Siberia, via Travels in Siberia by Ian Frazier. It’s a great read, the only reason it’s been taking me so long to finish is that I keep getting distracted by other things, like Christmas (just one more page Mom, then I’ll come down and open presents!), New Years, family, driving back to Colorado from Ohio, starting a new job at an ice cream store here in Boulder… I know, I know, excuses, excuses. (But if you’re in Boulder you should come visit me at Glacier Ice Cream, I work at the Baseline store).
I’d read some of Frazier’s other writing in various magazines (most recently in Outside Magazine’s 25th anniversary book, which came out in 2002- since I get my books at used bookstores and Goodwill, they’re not usually recent releases. But good writing is timeless, so who cares?), and so when I saw this book at Goodwill, I snatched it up.
And yes, the guy on the front cover is in fact missing a few clothing items from the waist down. Which I imagine would be a bit chilly, given that he’s hiking in snow-covered mountains. Good thing he has boots on. And no, I didn’t pick the book based on the cover photo. I didn’t even notice until I got home, actually.
Now, you’d think a book called Travels in Siberia wouldn’t mention Ohio all that often (or maybe never), but you’d be wrong. Frazier grew up in Ohio, and mentions it a number of times throughout the book, including comparing the smell of Russia to that of Akron, Ohio in the 50’s. He also mentions Hinckley, which was part of my school district, and Buzzard Day:
Then one day I remembered a notable fact about the small rural town of Hinckley, Ohio. Every year in March, on or near the same day, flocks of buzzards [turkey vultures, for those who need to be scientifically accurate] arrive in Hinckley. Tourists gather annually to watch this event, and over the years it has given the town some small fame. People in Hinckley say that this convocation of buzzards began back in the nineteenth century, when Hinckley was a frontier town. The local farmers, wanting to tame the still-wild neighborhood, staged a big encirclement and drove all the predators to the center, where they killed them in heaps. Soon news of this bonanza reached buzzards all over, and they came to Hinckley and feasted. They’ve been coming back in March ever since, just in case.”
Ian Frazier, Travels in Siberia
Frazier also remarks on the frequency of Ohioans who ended up in Siberia and wrote books about it:
In these early railroad years, when the Trans-Siberian was being built and just after, a lot of people from the American Midwest traveled in and wrote books about Siberia. As a Midwesterner myself, I pause to take note of this phenomenon. Adventurous sorts from Illinois and Indiana made trips by land, river, and rail, mostly for business but some for pleasure. The number of travelers from the state of Ohio alone is statistically off the charts… [lists Ohioans who have traveled to Siberia and written books about it, which I’m not going to bother typing out as it’s about half a page]…
That’s five people from Ohio visiting and writing about Siberia in the space of fifteen years, or an average of one Ohioan every three years. How can this oddity be explained?…
…perhaps something unknown in the flat, open landscape of the middle of America produces in a few of its citizens a strange affinity for the vastness of Russia.”
Ian Frazier, Travels in Siberia
Or, perhaps there’s another explanation.
Remember the picture going around the internet about the number of astronauts from Ohio?
Before the moon was an option, there was Siberia…
Now I love Ohio, I really do, but I am writing this from Colorado. It’s not Siberia, or the moon, but it’s not exactly next door, either.
Don’t be offended Ohio, but you don’t have any real mountains, so I can’t stay. Sorry.The mountains are calling, and I must go. Or stay, rather, as I’m already here and can see the Flatirons out the kitchen window from where I sit here at the counter.
And to leave you with a song that always makes me think of home:
Ohio, by Over the Rhine
Hello Ohio, the backroads,
I know Ohio, like the back of my hand
Alone Ohio, where the river bends
And it’s strange to see your story end
My new favorite website! Science comics by field naturalist Rosemary Mosco, who seems like a really awesome person and has made some really awesome nature comics. Hard to pick a favorite, since they’re all so great. I’ve spent the last few hours reading them all and then sending them to all of my friends. I love the combination of nature and art.
One of the biggest problems, to me, is that many people expect scientists to do all the public outreach for their research subjects. Some scientists are great at outreach, but we can’t expect them all to be interested in public relations, or to have the time for it! I think there should be more go-betweens — people called “science communicators” — who can help both sides. And art can play a part in making science clear to laypeople.”
– from an interview with Rosemary Mosco on The Birdist
This is exactly what I want to do (and what I’m currently applying to graduate school to do), only with words instead of art. Like with some of my animal poems. Yay for science communication!
One of my friends posted one of Rosemary’s comics on Facebook (bird sound mnemonics), which is how I have just now discovered this site. It’s fantastic! Check it out:
And in honor of the upcoming holiday season, here is a handy-dandy field guide you should probably print out and keep in your pocket for easy reference.
What messages do you try to focus on in your comics?
1. Nature is infinitely complicated.
2. But that doesn’t mean that it can’t also be funny and heartwarming.
3. So we should take care of it.
another excerpt from an interview with Speaking of Science.
As you might have known from my previous post Max Seigal Photography, I’m good friends (I’d even go as far as to say best friends) with Max Seigal, who takes epic pictures. Seriously, they’re epic– check them out.
If you’d like:
1) the chance to honor Max’s mom Alice, a veterinarian in Boulder, Colorado and all-around amazing woman, who passed away in October,
2) to support the Rocky Mountain Cocker Rescue, and specifically a dog named Coco Puff who needs cataract surgery, and
3) the chance to win one of Max’s pictures (makes the perfect Christmas present!), then check out this Facebook link:
To purchase tickets, write a check payable to:
RMCR, c/o Shannon Matthews, 2138 Doris Court, Loveland CO 80537.
You will be sent a receipt with your ticket(s).The winner will be announced Sunday, December 8th via email, and also posted on the RMCR Facebook page and RMCR website. Said lucky winner will receive a promo code to use on Max’s site for the 20×30 print of their choice, on either paper or metal (go for the metal– they look fantastic, don’t need to be framed, are much lighter than a traditionally framed picture of that size– no glass!, and are quite durable and easy to clean).
If you need any help selecting your photo, I’d be happy to make recommendations. My first recommendation is this: buy a couple tickets, and then go over to his site and buy a few pictures. One Max Seigal photograph is pretty sweet, but two (or more!) is even better.
Here is the world.
Beautiful and terrible things will happen.
Don’t be afraid.
— Frederick Buechner
1. Not everything in life has to be hard.
Sometimes the easy path is the one you’re supposed to go down. Sometimes it’s the universe showing you where you’re supposed to go.
2. If you throw the candy wrappers away in the trash, Mom will never find them.
If you stuff them in the couch she will find them and you will get in trouble.
As in, the microwave/car/laptop/whathaveyou that is malfunctioning will probably start working properly again if you let it alone for a spell. Granted, this doesn’t always work, but sometimes it does. I have in fact “fixed” a microwave and a few car problems this way.
4. A sense of humor will take you far in the world.
I honestly don’t know how you’d get by without one. Life is ridiculous, there’s no getting around that. So just enjoy it. Laugh and be merry.
5. Go camping.
If you want to get to know someone really well, go camping with them. Hopefully you realize that they’re awesome, ‘cause if not it’s going to be a looong weekend.
Traveling is imperative for any well-rounded individual. Even if you can’t physically travel to far-off lands, mental travel can be enough. Read a book, or watch a documentary/movie that transports you somewhere else and teaches you something about other people and the world around you. The world is a large place, but not as big as it seems. The people living on the other side of it are just like us. It is not as scary as you think out there. GO!
7. A good book is always worth its weight in your checked bag.
These are your reserve books for the travels home, because of course you will have finished the books in your carry-on bag. You should have a book to read on your person at all times.
8. It’s better not to tell Mom what you did until after you make it back safely.
Or ever. This includes skydiving, almost getting arrested in Washington DC for sleeping in your car, and picking up hitchhikers in foreign countries. Especially that last one.
9. If you make cookies, they will be eaten.
Especially if you live in a bunkhouse with other field biologists. And especially if they are male.
10. If you simply expect things to work out, they probably will.
The world does not have it against you. It might not happen exactly how you planned, but it will work out in some fashion.
11. Going for a walk is an excellent way to generate thoughts.
12. There are many people in this world who do not know how to put toilet paper on the holder.
Perhaps they purposely didn’t change out the empty roll because they wanted you to have the joy of doing so.
13. Not speaking does not mean not caring.
Or not being intelligent. Sometimes we just can’t speak, or don’t know what to say.
14. Just because that’s how it’s been for a long time doesn’t mean that’s how it’s supposed to be forever.
15. My family will always be odder than yours.
Therefore, there is very little you can do to weird me out.
16. It is very hard for me to be happy if I can’t go outside every day.
Sunshine, trees, fresh air, blue skies, and some mountains would be preferable. That’s all I need. And some birds.
17. Sometimes you just want to do nothing.
And that’s okay. You don’t have to be working on something all the time. It’s okay to take a break every once in awhile and just breathe.
18. Though sometimes you might think otherwise, it’s probably better that you didn’t actually say what was on your mind.
Stupid can’t be taken back, and neither can unkind words (no matter how deserved they are).
Darn it, if only my parents hadn’t raised me to be such a polite and respectful person…
19. Climbing up a mountain on your own steam is a powerful feeling.
The view is always better when you work for it.
20. Be excited about something every day.
I learned this one from my dog, who, for all of his 14 years, was excited to the point of backflips for his food. I’m not sure I’ve ever been that excited about food, and, thinking about it, I’m not sure why not. Food is exciting stuff. Life is exciting stuff. So get excited about it, and don’t bother with what other people think.
21. You can’t outrun your past. Or a charging moose.
And of the two, I can personally attest that the charging moose is much more terrifying.
22. Birds are cool.
Like really cool. For instance, migration. Ruby-throated hummingbirds fly non-stop across the Gulf of Mexico. RTHUs weigh 2-6 grams (0.1-0.2 oz) and are 7-9 cm (2.8-3.5 inches) long. At elevations of 2,000 to 5,000 feet, in 11-18 hours, the tiny birds fly 600 miles over the Gulf. Woah.
23. Send postcards.
Everyone loves to get mail. I mean really, is anyone going to say “Don’t send me any more mail, I don’t like getting a little personalized note that lets me know you’re thinking about me”? No.
24. People leave their brains at home when they go on vacation.
On that note, the middle of the road on a blind curve is not a good place to stop to take a picture when there is traffic coming from both directions.
Also, when the sign on the visitor center says “Hours 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.” that doesn’t mean we employees want to sit here another half hour while you use the bathroom, ask detailed questions about the refuge, and browse the gift shop. But by all means, go right ahead. I get the equivalent of 87 cents an hour for this internship, and no, I have absolutely nothing better to do with my time right now. I really don’t want to go home and eat dinner or anything like that.
25. Make music.
Sing. Play an instrument. Music is the language of the soul. And it just feels good.
Especially when it involves boomwackers and Call Me Maybe.
26. Love like sunshine.
Love should warm you, brighten up your day, help you to see things you didn’t before. It should be everywhere, illuminating everything.
Also, I wanted to mention that I have learned a great deal of other things in my 26 years, this is only a sampling. Just wanted to clarify.