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Rated: GC · Book · Experience · #1004726
My American Notebooks
** Images For Use By Upgraded+ Only **

When Nathaniel Hawthorne was writing, he kept a series of journals, The American Notebooks. They were part daily journal, part diary, but mostly a place for him to jot down and try out bits of writing he hadn't a full venue for yet. He kept character sketches, odd bits of conversation, and observances he wanted to remember for future writings in his notebooks. This, then, is my place for odd bits I want to remember. When you read this, keep in mind, you are rummaging through my mental storehouse.

Check out:
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And don't forget to vote for your favorite blogger each month. *Smile*
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January 1, 2011 at 2:18am
January 1, 2011 at 2:18am
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I have a new blog. This one is too filled with old painful things. You can find me here:

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December 19, 2010 at 10:36pm
December 19, 2010 at 10:36pm
For Christmas, Hubby and I gave each other a trip to Kauai. We got here on the 15th and we go home Christmas Eve.

We are staying next door to Hubby's Great Uncle and Great Aunt where they live half the year. They live right on the beach. We've been sleeping with just the screen in the sliding door open in the bedroom. It's so soothing to sleep to the sound of the crashing waves. The beach is only about 100 feet from the patio. The place we are staying is where the main house in "Donovan's Reef" stood. They have since moved the house and built condos.

Monk seals come up on the beach here and there has been one off and on all week. The local volunteers rope off the beach where she comes up and let her hang out without people bugging her. She's been molting. The other days she's been behind the seawall of the keiki pool (children's tidal pool). Today she was on the beach side of the wall and I was able to take pics of her from behind the rope.

Kauai is a really small island, but is so beautiful. It's only about 25 miles square. We visited the north shore the second day we were here. There are gorgeous beaches, wet and dry sea caves and a lighthouse on the north shore.

Here is the lighthouse: http://www.kauai-hawaii.com/destinations.php?13
and the caves: http://www.kauai-hawaii.com/destinations.php?5

We picnicked at 'anini beach: http://www.kauai-hawaii.com/destinations.php?8

Off the north shore this time of year, you can see whales. Off in the distance, we thought we saw some, but it was hard to tell....they were pretty far out.

The next day we went down to the south. Kauai is the oldest island in the state. As such, it has had the most time to weather and erode. On the southwest side of the island, is Waimea Canyon, it's. considered the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. It's breathtaking.


You can see the volcanic layers that make up the island structure on the sides of the canyon. From one of the lookouts, you can see waterfalls plunging into the rainforest below.

Today we went to mass with Aunt and Uncle. The church was simple, but beautiful. It is built along the lines of all Catholic churches I've been in, but it evoked a Hawaiian feel with it's small touches. The large windows around the sanctuary opened to let in the breeze and damp smell of the rainy day. Before the service, they had all the visitors stand and then they came around and gave us delicate little shell leis.

After mass we went to a local cafe and had macadamia nut pancakes and I got spam with my eggs. Yup. It's an island thing. Hawaiians love spam apparently. I am with them on that. *Laugh* Instead of syrup on my pancakes I had pineapple-guava jam on them. I need to find it in the store and take home a gallon of it. The first morning we were here, Uncle came over and prepared us fresh papaya with lime squeezed on it. OMG It's so freaking good.

After brunch we went up and saw two of the island waterfalls. Wailua: http://www.kauai-hawaii.com/destinations.php?40 and Opaeka'a: http://www.kauai-hawaii.com/destinations.php?21

Tomorrow morning we are going to Oahu to spend the day at Pearl Harbor. Then we fly to Hilo (on the big island) tomorrow night to spend the night and then spend Tuesday touring Volcano National Park.

I'll post more later.

October 5, 2010 at 2:16pm
October 5, 2010 at 2:16pm
On Friday, I had another episode. Another hemiplegic migraine. That means at least another week of sitting in the house with my family waiting on me like a small child. I hate it. I hate being an invalid. I can't even shower without Hubby in the shower spotting me in case I go down. What a stupid helpless feeling this is. I hate it. Monilad is sick. At home with a sinus infection and instead of me caring for her, she is stuck making me breakfast and lunch. Watching me as I creep up the stairs. Spotting me just in case I can't make it. Escorting me to and from the bathroom like a toddler. I hate the role reversal of it all. Even typing this is frustrating because I am so slow. I normally type between 60 and 80 WPM. My left hand is having trouble keeping up, though.

While we are home, Monilad and I are watching shows she likes. We watched all the Firefly's yesterday and then Serenity. Then we started the first season of Xena. *Bigsmile* At least we are using our time wisely. When Monilad was little, she and I used to watch Xena and Hercules together. She loves them. I introduced her to Firefly, too. She loves Joss Whedon. Thinks he's a genius. I can't disagree.

Well, I'm tired now. Maybe I'll write more later.

September 29, 2010 at 2:16pm
September 29, 2010 at 2:16pm
You know how sometimes you just have those crappy years?

2010. It's one of those crappy years for us. We can't seem to catch a decent break.

On Tues the 14th, I woke up with a migraine...the usual kind, no big deal. It was a migraine, I've had hundreds. I'd cope. I couldn't see, so I wouldn't drive. No big. I only have a class and a lab that day. I texted a friend and she told me she'd cover notes for the class. Just the lab to deal with. No problem. I'd email the TA on Wed and get the assignment and turn it in the following week. Easy peasy. Now to just lie down and deal with the pain.

By noon, my migraine had vanished mysteriously. I mean totally vanished, like someone had flipped a switch. One minute I'm in blinding pain, the next BAM! I'm fine - like it had never hurt. Crazy, right? I didn't think anything but, Wah Hoo! No more pain! So, off to school I go to make my 1 o'clock lab. On the way, I notice I'm having funny dazzly vision. I don't think anything about it, just that it must be a remnant of the migraine. The main thing is my head doesn't hurt.

I get to the lab and realize I'm starting to feel funny. Like dizzy and sick to my stomach. Like I've been on the Tilt a Whirl. I shake it off as after effects of the migraine and soldier on, but wind up leaving halfway through the lab because I can't concentrate. No probelm, it's a self directed lab, I'll make it up later in the week. The room is open all the time for computer access.

A girlfriend called me and she and I met at Barnes and Noble for coffee. Cool. I feel ok for coffee. She and I sit there for a while and visit and I still feel funny. Finally about 4:45p I tell her I'm not feeling well and that I need to go home. She say sure and off I go. About a mile from home it happens. I'm driving down the road in my stick shift car and I lose the ability to hold my head up. I almost wrecked the car. Scared the bejeebies out of me! My neck just lolled over to the side and the muscles wouldn't hold it up, like I'd had a muscle relaxer. I propped it up on the head rest best I could and drove home slowly. By the time I got home, I realized what was happening and I prayed I could get in the house fast enough. I got upstairs (I live in a split-level) and told my husband who was just coming out the bathroom from washing his hands, "Honey, I'm having a bad migraine, I need your help." He rounded the corner of the bathroom in time to see me fall in the floor like a puppet with its strings cut.

My left side completely stopped working and according to Hubby, the left side of my face looked stroke like. He kept making me stick out my tongue. He kept saying, "I'm calling 911!" I kept telling him, "No, you know it's just a migraine." And it was. Only it was worse than the last one I had. I lost my whole left side. It wasn't just numb, like I'd been Novacained, it was gone. Just gone. Scared the hell out of both of us. But I passed the stroke test so we knew it was just a migraine. A bad, bad migraine.

By that Thursday, I still wasn't better, so I went to Student Health at MSU and the Dr. finally put a name to the kind of migraines I get. The stroke migraines with no pain in the head are called hemiplegic migraines. They are really rare I guess (it figures *Rolleyes*). He tested me out and the next day I had to go get an MRI. Just in case. Every time I get one of these I will always have to have an MRI, just in case it's a stroke. They will always have to rule out stroke. I guess it's good I don't get them except about once a year. *Laugh*

This one, though...this one has lasted over two weeks. An anomoly that no one, even the neurologist I had to go see can explain. I go back to see the neurologist in two more weeks. If I'm not better, I have to have something called an MRV. It's a specialized MRI. I didn't really understand the difference. In the meantime, they keep wanting to give me a cane to walk with. Right. I'm already the old lady in my classes, I don't want to be the old lady with the cane. *Rolleyes* How lame would that be?

I got to come back to classes on Monday. I am going to have to drop one class because I missed so much I can't possibly catch up. I was able to follow along in the others, though. Those profs are being super nice about everything and letting me catch up on the work I missed--even labs. My friend let me copy all her notes-she's in two of my classes (we have the same major). So, I'm bumping along. Numbly still, but I'm bumping along.

Poor Hubby is stressed to the max about everything. I'm tying to make him think I'm doing better than I am because I'm worried he's worried about me, but I don't think he's buying it. There's talk of physical therapy to help me recover strength just like a real stroke patient, but we'll see how I do.

But on the whole? I hate 2010. *Bigsmile*
August 24, 2010 at 12:50am
August 24, 2010 at 12:50am
Tonight Hubby, Monilad and I worked in the garden. Parts of it seem to be gangbusters--the corn and pumpkins--and parts....well, not so much--the tomatoes. We had nice weather to garden in, though. Sunny, warm, about 70 degrees, a beautiful early fall day. Yes. I did just say fall. I know it's only mid-August, but we didn't really have much of a summer here. It seems to have gone to fall already. Yesterday it snowed in the mountains (rain down here in the valley at my house). Our first of the season. Early, but fabulous. *Bigsmile* Tonight it's supposed to get down to 35. Excellent. I say, "Bring it!"


In anticipation of my favorite season and favorite holiday, I bought my treat for Holloween already. *Smile* Costco had what I wanted, the tiny packs of Playdoh. I say every year I'm going to get it, but by the time Halloween rolls around, all the packs are gone. Well, NOT THIS YEAR. *Laugh* Apparently, the key is to buy it in August. Done. Eighty tiny rainbow-colored containers of calorie and tooth-decay free happiness await my trick-or-treaters in my craft room. I told Hubby about it and he expressed excitement that we wouldn't have bags of chocolate and sugar in the house. But, I think part of him was sad he wouldn't have the excuse to indulge on leftover candy.


As I was cleaning my veggies from the garden--lettuce, carrots and onions, I was kind of doing the Zen thing of just being in the moment. Kitchen chores are often like that for me. I do alot of my best thinking while cooking. I was thinking about some of major political differences and I think I have a basic description of the difference between the two major political parties.

On the one hand are the liberals who believe in the Grasshopper and the Ant--Disney style. All summer the Ant works his ass off and the Grasshopper plays and in the end, the Ant winds up sharing his supply of food and goods with the Grasshopper. The end, everyone is happy. The Grasshopper is saved from himself and his bad choices or whatever and the Ant feels sanctimonious he got to help out the Grasshopper.

The conservatives are more The Little Red Hen. She wants bread so she does all the work and asks for help at every turn only to be shut down. So she and her family do everything. Then in the end, she asks who wants to eat the bread and suddenly everybody wants a piece of the action. She says, screw that, I did it, it's mine and my family's. Go get your own.

After being turned away at every junction for unemployment, scholarships, tuition help, etc., I'm starting to feel pretty Little Red Hen about life. People can just piss off. No one helps us, why should we help anyone else? Family helps family, but that's about it. I suppose that's a pissy attitude. But, that's what I've got.


One of the things I grew in my garden was cilantro and now I have tons of ripe cilantro to harvest and no way to keep it fresh and no practical way to dry it. But thanks to my mom, I know how best to keep it fresh when freezing it. Yea, Mom! You take it and pinch it into small pieces like you would for a recipe then put it in teaspoon or tablespoon increments into an icecube tray. Fill it with water, freeze it and Voila`. Next time I want to add fresh cilantro to a soup or stew, I just pop an ice cube or two into the recipe. You can freeze most fresh herbs like this. Just label the large ziplock bag you keep the cubes in with a Sharpie so you know which herb you are getting.
August 17, 2010 at 9:45pm
August 17, 2010 at 9:45pm
I just got back from a whirlwind trip to Texas. It was unplanned and unpleasant.

My grandmother died and I went down for her funeral. I hate funerals.

My family is large and boisterous and loud and rowdy.

I am not these things. Except when I am around them. Then I am loud out of self-defense. It's the only way to be heard.

I'm exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally. Just flat wrung out. My grandmother, or Mamaw as we called her, lived in the hind end of West Texas. Just getting to and from her house was a logistical nightmare. I left my house at 5:30am last Wednesday and didn't arrive at her house until 7:30pm Texas time. That included a 5 1/2 hour drive after I got to DFW. Not all of it was in actual travel time, some was in "hurry up and wait" time. Layovers, figure out the rental car, try to get some lunch, checking in the airport, getting through security, etc. All the little things about travel that make it super aggravating and exhausting. Sunday was just as bad coming home.

Friday was the actual funeral. I'm not sure what the brain trust of her three children were thinking, but we had her funeral on Friday at 2pm. It was a graveside service. That's right. A 2pm service in a damn treeless graveyard in Texas in August. What the fuck? It was a broiling 107 degrees out in the sun. Under the dinky little DARK GREEN tent they set up, it had to have been at least 112 degrees, but at least it was out of the sun. The service was only about twenty minutes long, but at about fifteen minutes I started getting lightheaded and thought I'd faint. As soon as the last prayer was said, my knees started buckling and I went and got in the rental car and turned on the A/C. I didn't even stop and say anything to anyone. I thought I was goind to faint or throw up or do something else. Later my mom said people asked if I'd even come. *Rolleyes*

I talked to Hubby and Monilad and they were sitting here in Montana huddled around heaters. It was barely 60 degrees that day here and pouring rain. ~sigh~ Nice if you can get it. I went from that to 107 degrees. It's a wonder I didn't parboil my brain.

I feel like I should be sadder about my Mamaw dying. I mean, I'm sad and I'll miss her, but she's basically been sitting in God's waiting room waiting for her turn at Saint Peter for the last 10 years. She's been flipping the bird to the rest of us saying she'd live anyway she wanted. That included buying new dishes instead of washing the dirty ones. Or wearing nothing but nightgowns for a week straight if she didn't feel like getting dressed. My mom and sister had both been to her house in the last year and literally had to wash every dish and utensil in the house including taking pots and pans out of the drawers that were put away dirty. The fire ants, sugar ants and roaches were about to carry the woman off. *Sick* It gave me the heebie-jeebies to go into her house.

I suppose when I'm 81 I can live anyway I want. But, Monilad says she won't let me live like that. I sincerly hope she won't let me. I hope she lets me live with her or I can find a roommate or something before I live like that. I don't want to be that bad.

Well, I'm off to play WoW. Maybe a little bit of bashing at things with a sharp pointy stick can help me feel better about my last week. Eh, at any rate it can't hurt.
July 21, 2010 at 1:31pm
July 21, 2010 at 1:31pm
Every Tuesday, I have a booth down at one of the local farmer's markets. (There is also a Saturday morning farmer's market.) I perform Reiki and read tarot for the throngs of folk who come for fresh produce and see the local artisan's wares. I've been doing this since June and the market runs through mid-September. I usually have alot of fun every week, whether I make money or not. (Business varies week to week.)

Last night was an excellent night. It was also the first night Hubby joined me. He's so cute. He just sat quietly and read a book and people watched. Not really talking, not really interacting. But for some reason, he brought the good mojo with him. Twenty minutes before market closed, I had a woman and her three grown daughters come and all ask for readings. At $10 each, that was an extra $40 for the night! Woot! My daughter says he brought his poker luck with him. I told him he has to come every week now if he's going to be such a good luck charm. *Laugh*

I have a friend that I met at the market who comes and sits and visits each week, he is funny. He is older and his girlfriend has a booth and he gets tired of sitting in her booth all the time or just walking about the market for three hours. So, he comes and sits and we people watch together. He's as good as a woman for people watching with. We discuss people's outfits and the suitability of couples. We both dislike seeing perfectly able small children (say 5 or 6 year olds) in strollers with pacifiers. It's ridiculous on the parts of parents. Let your children grow up for pity's sake.

In September, we go to Colorado for Hubby's sister's wedding. (She's the sister who works in Antarctica.) We like her fiance. He's super nice and very good to her.

I still don't have a job and I am having trouble finding anyone who wants to hire me considering my time constraints this coming fall. We will see.

I had trouble with my stupid iPod this morning and am having to reload my entire library. ~sigh~ That's such a pain in the ass. Most days I love technology. It makes my life easier. It makes me happy. Somedays, though, I hate it. *Laugh*
May 26, 2010 at 2:00pm
May 26, 2010 at 2:00pm
Or...no news is good news.

A basic breakdown on my life in May:

Finals got over. Yay! Did well in my classes. An A-, a B+ and a B-. Yay, me. *Laugh*

One week later classes started again. Boo, hiss. *Frown* Calculus--not my friend.

One month after losing my job, I'm still ironing out the kinks in Unemployment...have yet to see any money. Am ever hopeful. *Rolleyes* They at least have stopped trying to get me to quit school only to give me money so that I can attend school. *Laugh* Instead they are going to acknowledge that I am ALREADY attending school and pay me to do that. Yea. *Thumbsup* Still working on the details.

Have a job interview this PM. We'll see where that goes. If I don't make twice what I would make on Unemployment, I get to keep receiving both the Unemployment AND what I make on the job. So, I guess...yay? *Confused*

As I said...watch this space.

April 30, 2010 at 12:39am
April 30, 2010 at 12:39am
Last Friday evening about 7 o'clock I was home alone. I had just started dinner by kicking on the grill and getting the thawed steaks ready to put out on it, when I got a phone call on our home phone. We seldom answer the home phone because no one calls us but telemarketers, but for some reason I picked up. It was a State Trooper asking me if I'd heard from Monilad. My heart hit my feet. I almost fainted. Instead I calmly told him no and asked why. He must have made that kind of call before because he started by telling me she was fine, but that she'd rolled her car.

Then I really DID nearly faint. I stayed calm enough to find out where she was and head down there. When I got there she was kind of banged up and and a little cut up where she'd had to exit the car onto a barbed wire fence. Her little '89 S10 Blazer was totaled with most of the windows blown out. My heart nearly stopped when I saw it leaning dejectedly in the ditch. The EMT's were checking her out and staunching the worst of the bleeding from her cuts when I found her. When I pulled up, the volunteer firefigher told me, "Hey, you can't park here and you can't come past here!" But when I told him, "I'M HER MOTHER!!" And pointed at her car, he let me park wherever the hell I wanted to and just waved me over to the trooper. *Laugh*

The accident was just that...an accident. Rookie mistake. Freshly graded gravel road, grader lip on the right, caught her wheels, she tried to correct, overcorrected, wound up flipping it into the ditch. Cop didn't ticket her. Said it could have happened to any inexperienced driver.

She had a passenger and he was fine, but he wasn't supposed to be with her, so she's grounded for not being where she was supposed to be, with who she was supposed to be with.

Mostly we are glad she's ok. She made fun of me, though. In my rush to get to her, I left the steaks on the counter with the dogs in the house and I left the grill on. We discovered the steaks when we got home (they were fine). But we didn't discover the grill until we went to cook out the following Monday. She went out and came back in and said, "Um, why is the grill turned on and why can't I light it?" *Blush* Oh, that would be because I ran it out of propane during your wreck. *Laugh* We wound up having pizza that night. And like I said, she was fine.

Until today. She's been sick for a couple of weeks. She went to the doctor about two weeks ago, doctor diagnosed strep throat, gave her antibiotics. Yay, whatever. Over the weekend, she got REALLY sick. We thought it was stress from the wreck and would go away. Not so much. Took her BACK to the doctor this evening. They took one look at her and said, "Ah, ooops. We misdiagnosed. She has mono." *Rolleyes* REALLY?! Thanks, Doc. *Thumbsup*

So, now, on top of all the other crap.....Monilad has mono.

AND, I can't seem to collect unemployment unless I quit school and become available for work 40 hours a week. How stupid is that?! They keep asking me, "Are you willing to quit school and work full-time?" Umm, NO. "Why not?" How about...that's why I worked part time for the last year and a half in the first place? So I could graduate from some crappy $10 an hour job I HATE into a career I WANT?!? *Angry*

Life sucks right now. I'm glad April is over. I'm looking forward to a better May. *Bigsmile*
April 17, 2010 at 1:29pm
April 17, 2010 at 1:29pm
Yesterday while I was as school I got a phone call about 1 o'clock. It was the main manager from the hardware store where I work...worked. The bank foreclosed on it. They closed the doors permanently about noon yesterday. Nineteen more people are in the unemployment lines. Me included.

I'm sad and angry and resigned about the situation. I know that we did everything we could to keep it from happening. Cut everywhere we could, saved everywhere we could, budgeted, rebudgeted, scrimped, saved, shuffled, re-prioritized. In the end it just wasn't enough. I'm saddest for the owners. They worked their asses off to make it work out for all of us and were in tears at the thought of having to lay us off. They poured everything thing they had and every penny the company made back into it. In the end, the only thing they have left is a ten year old pick up and their house (because of Homesteader laws the bank couldn't take it, although they wanted to....bastards). The husband was paying himself less than $25,000 a year off the business and working 100 plus hour weeks. She was making less and working 70 hour weeks. (I saw their financials, so I know that as a fact.) We recycled EVERYTHING there, too, in an effort to save money. Boxes, paperclips, paper, ink cartridges, envelopes, you name it, we recycled it. I used to watch her recycle sticky notes. (She'd tear them into smaller pieces and use them a little at a time or turn them over and use the back side, too.) In the end, it wasn't enough to save the business.

We were just another victim of the economy. I think if one more person tells me how much the economy has recovered I'll punch them in the nose. It hasn't recovered. The only place it has is in the government. And that's because the ONLY jobs "created" by this bass-ackwards administration is in government jobs. That is the only job a government can "create." From within.

So the beast gets bigger and small, good hearted businesses get driven out of business because of the jacked up economy.

Thanks, Obama. *Thumbsup* This country got the fucking change it voted for. Too bad most of the change has been people looking for work or added to the government tit in the way of unemployment or social programs because your ass "changed" them right the fuck out of work.

April 16, 2010 at 3:28pm
April 16, 2010 at 3:28pm
Well, volcano...

As you may (or may not) know there is a volcano erupting in Iceland right now. When ash gets up in the atmosphere, it wrecks havoc on jet engines. Clogs them up, (worse than pigeons). As a result, most of Europe is kind of hung up right now flightwise.

Since the volcano errupted originally in March, I've been searching for a Volcano Cam like the others I posted here. But, here's the problem....I don't speak, or read, Icelandic. I finally found something though. *Bigsmile*

It's in Icelandic, so don't expect to understand any of it-unless one of you is hiding an ability to read and understand what I have been told is the hardest language in the World *Rolleyes*. It's also NOT a scientific site or a dedicated Volcano site (as far as I can tell). I believe it is some kind of technology company's site, but they had the ability and know how to rig the cameras after the eruption, so they did.

On the left, at the bottom of the list, there are three links. The link I'm putting here is the top one, click the second two to get different views of the volcano. I think what the links say is "volcano from site A," volcano from site B" and "volcano from site C." Only with the real site names.

Anyhoo, here's the link--


Give it a second to load, it's a real time cam and takes a bit to sync.

Enjoy! *Bigsmile*

April 11, 2010 at 6:29pm
April 11, 2010 at 6:29pm
So lately I am completely obsessed with "Stargate SG-1." You know, the original series.

Hulu has the entire series up until May 16th so I am working my way through them furiously. There were like 216 or so of them and I'm up (down?) to right around 100 or so left. (Almost through Season 5.) I'm watching an episode as I type this.

In fact, if my computer is on, pretty much I'm watching an episode. I'm getting in at least 3 a day right now.

Hubby recently discovered "NCIS." (Recently meaning around January.) USA runs 3 or 4 episodes a day so Hubby and I watch those every night, trying to catch up. Unfortunately they are out of order, so it's not the same as watching SG-1 all in order. (I like that better.)

So, I'm going to school full time, working part time AND watching around 6-8 hours of TV a day. Do I have a great life or WHAT?! *Laugh*

Ahhh....It's all about priorities.

Once I finish SG-1, I'm going to start on Atlantis. I can't get it on Hulu from start to finish like I can SG-1, but I can get it from NetFlix. *Thumbsup*

Yeah...I'm living the sweet life.

April 7, 2010 at 11:52pm
April 7, 2010 at 11:52pm
So I'm just geeky enough that in my Favorites on my computer, I have Volcano Cams. *Bigsmile*

Here are a couple of my favorites, they are from the Hawaiian observatories:





I love to look at the first one after dark. The lava shows up on the camera really well. During the day, the other ones show the steam escaping from the vents.

Mt. Redoubt in Alaska is experiencing tremors right now and may erupt soon, too. Here is a cam for it...it doesn't always work, though...you have to catch it on a good day:


Here is another cool site that shows recent earthquake activity:


I know my earth geek is hanging out here, but I just thought I'd let you guys know where I'd been. I'm off learning about this stuff *Up*. *Bigsmile*
March 19, 2010 at 10:15pm
March 19, 2010 at 10:15pm
This week was Spring Break.

We basically vegged all week. *Smile*

Today, though we field-tripped it. We headed down to West Yellowstone. (Or as the locals call it, just "West".) We always talk about seeing the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center and the IMAX. Today we went. It was pretty cool!

Here is the link for the Discovery Center--- http://www.grizzlydiscoveryctr.com/

It's pretty cool there. They rotate out the bears, so every 45 minutes or hour or so, they put out a different set of bears into the main viewing enclosure. Between changing out the bears, they hide food treats for each new set of bears. It's pretty cool. They come out and rummage around in the rocks and wood snags in a funny little Easter Egg hunt kind of way. *Laugh*

The wolves were neat, too. I have some really close pics of them. You can look right out over their enclosure. They are pretty much within touching distance (although they discourage that sort of thing *Laugh*). They have all sorts of museum displays and information, too. It's interesting to read about it all.

From there we went and had lunch at a little downtown cafe. It had a 50s theme and served excellent burgers, fries and malts. Yum!

Then it was time for the Yellowstone IMAX movie we wanted to watch. It was fairly short (about 45 minutes), but I love watching IMAX movies. We sat in the center of the top row for the full effect of the two story screen. (They weren't very busy. *Bigsmile*) It was a fun time.

We even bought some souveneirs. We got our must-have been-there-seen-that fridge magnet at the Discovery Center. (We get one everywhere like that we go. Yeah, it's kitschy, but I don't like spoons and thimbles. *Bigsmile*) I got a rock, we all got T-shirts and I got a postcard to send to my Aunt in TX. (She likes cool postcards from random places.)

Well, only two more days of Spring Break. Gotta go. Lego Indiana Jones 2 isn't gonna play itself tonight. *Smile*

And just to let you all know, I'm feeling somewhat better. Thanks for the well wishes. Life just gets to me sometimes. *Heart*

March 12, 2010 at 3:27pm
March 12, 2010 at 3:27pm
I draw a line in the sand.
I stand on one side of it glancing back over my shoulder at the hash marks and footprints behind me.
"This far and no further," I declare. Meaning it this time. Knowing I'll step across. Wondering how far down the slippery slope I've already come. Wondering if this is the step that will tip the scales so that me, the sand and the whole works will go sliding down the slope. If I am past the point of no return.

I'm glad it's Spring Break.
March 4, 2010 at 11:16pm
March 4, 2010 at 11:16pm
Thank you all for your well wishes. I'm feeling much better. I've got one more midterm exam (in Minerology) before we go to Spring Break. Hubby and I are headed to Chico Hot Springs this weekend. We are super excited to be taking a break. It's just for the night, but I really feel like I need it.

We are taking a couple of days off over Spring Break, too. So, I'm pretty stoked about some time off with Hubby. He and I don't get a lot of chances to just chill together. I'm hoping we can just hang and play video games and watch movies. He recently signed up for Netflix so we've been getting tons of movies lately. That's a pretty sweet deal.

It's been unseasonally warm here. All our snow is melting. In a way I'm glad because it means spring is on the way. In a way I'm sad because it means the trees and plants are confused and starting to bud and I think when we start getting heavy spring snows, it may damage them.

But....the earth turns and that's the way it is some seasons.

Just wanted to drop a quick blog and let y'all know I'm still kicking and thanks again for all the well wishes.
February 23, 2010 at 9:18pm
February 23, 2010 at 9:18pm
I am a happy person for the most part. I mean, if you ask me, "are you happy with your life?" I'm probably not even gonna consider. I'm just gonna answer, "Yes!" And smile at you. *Smile*

Not today though. And not for the last two weeks.

I've had a vague dissatisfaction with life for the last two weeks. It's not enough that I think I'm starting to spiral into a depression (a real concern with me this time of year) it's more like a small rock in my shoe kind of unhappiness.

I can't even pinpoint it. Everything is just making me feel sort of....hmmmm....ishy in general.

Take today. When I got up, Monilad had left the kitchen trash in the house, so the pets had scattered it all over my kitchen. (We usually take it out each morning to prevent that.) I parked at school but couldn't get a decent spot where I usually park so I had to park in an odd street spot instead of in a lot. It threw me off my stride. (I'm a creature of habit.) I had a test in Mineralogy. I could have done better on the test. I came home for lunch and realized I was almost out of gas AND I had the beginnings of a flat tire. (Diagnosis by Hubby later--nail in the tire. Probably from the street spot!) Work was ishy, too. I spent the afternoon finding images for our website. Tedious work at best. Mind numbingly boring at worst. I have days of it ahead of me. Tonight I have to study for another test tomorrow. Thursday I have to spend time filling out forms so that I can get financial aid for the next school year. Booooring. And tedious.

Not a BAD day, per se. But, the last two weeks have been like that. No one huge outlying, horriffic event. It's just sort of like being pecked to death by chickens. No one chicken peck is that painful, but they are starting to add up and get me down. *Frown*

I need something fun and exciting. Something unexpected. Something completely different. Perhaps something a little Monty Python. *Bigsmile* The suggestion box is open.
February 16, 2010 at 11:00pm
February 16, 2010 at 11:00pm
Ok, by request...why scientists believe the Earth is 4.56 billion years old.

First a little Wiki-background on our main player:

"Clair Cameron Patterson (June 2, 1922 – December 5, 1995) was a geochemist born in Mitchellville, Iowa, United States. He graduated from Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa.

Patterson developed the uranium-lead dating method into lead-lead dating, and by using lead isotopic data from the Canyon Diablo meteorite, he calculated an age for the Earth of 4.55 billion years; a figure far more accurate than those that existed at the time and one that has remained unchanged for over 50 years.

Patterson had first encountered lead contamination in the late 1940s as a graduate student at the University of Chicago. His work on this led to a total re-evaluation of the growth in lead concentrations in the atmosphere and the human body from industrial causes and his subsequent campaigning was seminal in the banning of lead additives to gasoline and lead solder in food cans."

What this little snippet doesn't tell you is that Patterson developed lead-uranium dating while still a grad student. Cool, no?

What he did basically is look at the world and sample bits of it and discover that much of the earth is contaminated by uranium in various degrees of decay. Uranium decays (REEAALLY slowly and with MANY intervening steps) into lead. But not JUST lead. It decays into a specific isotope of lead. Remember that chemistry class when they taught you things like Uranium-238 and Lead-206? Uranium-238 decays into lead-206.

So what he did was go to Diablo Canyon meteor crater in Arizona and find a sample of meteorite. He took a sample of the meteorite and extracted an iron/sufide compound called Troilite in which there is no uranium and measured its lead-206 vs lead-204 and lead-207 vs lead-204 concentrations. In this way he was getting a baseline for the lead decay rates. By using the troilite, he was able to use a compound that wasn't contaminated by uranium.

Once he had his baseline, he began measuring other samples against it. He measured other meteorites and compared them. And then he took what he called "bulk earth" samples and measured them. To get his "bulk earth" he wanted samples that would be an amalgamation of basically all kinds of earth mixed together so he went to where large rivers deposited earth from across the continent into the ocean and took samples from there. When he finally plotted his samples against one another, he discovered that it created a long linear curve that gave him the 4.56 billion year age.

Other scientists have duplicated his efforts since that time. Thus, using uranium-lead decay rates, we have the probable age of the earth. *Smile*

Patterson also went on to lead the fight against lead in gasoline because after working with it in his studies he saw nasty things it was doing to the planet, so that was a cool thing he did, too. And now when you win on Jeopardy because you knew who Claire Patterson was, remember to toss a little my way. *Laugh*
February 13, 2010 at 7:03pm
February 13, 2010 at 7:03pm
Move along, nothing to see here.

Except I've crashed and burned the first Calc test. (There's no going down in flames emoticon, so just imagine one here *Right* ) Calculus SUCKS. Hard core. But I struggle on. I have to get at least a C in this class and in Calc 2 that I take this summer. Then I'm DONE with math. Until I take Physics. Ugh.

Mineralogy is hard, but I'm doing ok in it. It's a fast paced, weed out class, but I'm holding my own for now. Wanna know the chemical compostion of jadite? How about quartz or nepheline? No? Ok, well let me know if you change your mind. *Bigsmile*

Historical Geology is a joke, I sleep some afternoons in there. Just little cat naps. *Wink* I'm learning, but my prof doesn't want to be there. It's a class he HAS to teach so he doesn't take it very seriously. We have fun in there at least. One good thing from Hist Geo is that I've finally been forced to learn the Geologic Time Scale. Ugh. It's just a picture of when the various eons and eras happened. There isn't really any good way to learn it but straight block memorization, but he told us to expect it as the first question on our test Wed. Things like-the Cambrian period was from 488-542 million years ago. (Stop yawning. *Laugh* That sort of thing fascinates geologists and paleontologists!) I also (finally) learned exactly why scientists believe the Earth is 4.56 billion years old. Ask me to explain it if you are interested. A grad student named Claire Patterson figured it out in the 1950s, even though he rarely receives credit for it, apparently. (Tell me, have YOU ever heard his name before I just told it to you? I'd never heard of him and this is my field!)

Anyway, gotta go study.

And did I mention? Calculus sucks. *Bigsmile*

February 4, 2010 at 2:17pm
February 4, 2010 at 2:17pm
Yesterday was Hubby's birthday.

Hybby is one of those people who doesn't like a fuss to be made about him. Ever. He's a quiet guy and just likes quiet. (And he's married to me...go figure. *Laugh*) To him, a birthday is just another day on the calendar. But Monilad and I get a kick out of making Hubby celebrate, if for no other reason than we get cake. *Bigsmile*

Every year, we get him the silliest cake we can find at the bakery. (No ordering ahead....it must be out of the case.) Over the years he has had a Winnie the Pooh cake, a Power Rangers cake, and a Spongebob and Patrick cake. This year was the coup de grace. The piece de resistance. The penultimate birthday cake. This year was a Hello Kitty cake with an actual tiny purse and mirrored compact with comb. (We told him once we opened it and discovered the comb that it was a lovely new pink beard comb for him. *Laugh*) Monilad had me get the bakery to write "Happy BIrthday Larry" on it in hot pink frosting. Hubby's name is NOT Larry. *Laugh*

Mostly we just love messing with him. I think deep down he enjoys seeing what we are going to come up with every year. He just shakes his head, rolls his eyes and grins. I guess he knows we love him.

Little pink beard comb and all. *Bigsmile*

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