Sunday, June 29, 2008

kiss me kate

Despite a few somewhat vocal objections, I took my family to see the local Shakespeare Festival's production of "The Taming of the Shrew" this afternoon. I even insisted we all dress up (no flip flops or jeans). I did have to backtrack and allow Q to wear jeans, though, as his dress pants are now halfway up his shins. The jeans were at least clean. We had tickets on the second row, and spent the 30 minutes before the production reading the program and trying to untangle the twist of masquerades from the brief writeup. I had two very surprised children afterwards, who were still smiling after 3 straight hours of laughter. "I'm sorry I made you see such a yucky play," I told E, who smiled and punched me.

I asked her later what she thought about the message of wifely obedience. "It's FINE" she told me (She was playing GameBoy and didn't want me to disturb her). But I persisted because I figured it was my motherly and feminist duty to at least have her think about the premise.
"Do you think Kate decided to obey Petruchio because she wanted to?"
"Probably," E said, essentially brushing me off with a wave of her hand. I dropped it. I'm not worried about her deciding to devote her life to one of blind obedience.

Whatever your take on it, I can't deny the satisfaction of seeing the two characters start to fall in love and the way he whisks her out of the banquet at the end for a visit to the wedding bed. The director of this production went the route of explaining Petruchio's apparent cruelty with humor, and had Kate laughing uncontrollably over calling the sun the moon and a gentleman traveler a young virgin. Petruchio was consumed with laughter and good humor, too, and for the rest of their time on stage, they shared smiles and chuckles and quiet laughter. I was satisfied with that. I have no idea what Shakespeare really intended, and I don't know that it matters that much. What does matter is that today, I taught my children (and husband) how much fun a live play can be, and that Shakespeare ROCKS.

Friday, June 27, 2008

again with the 100s

For part of this incredibly hot hot hot scorcher of a day, I was smart. During this part, I took the kids to see "Wall-E." Other than my silently bursting into tears at the movie's depiction of the fate of the earth and at the way this gift of the earth was presented as an awesome and precious thing to be cultivated...other than that, it was a nice and good (and cool) time. (If you are wondering, I hid my tears by making the kids stay and watch the credits. They didn't care. It gave them more time to finish off their SECOND tub of popcorn. That was today's lunch. My summer mom-persona is a tad more relaxed about these sorts of things than my normal mom-persona is.)

The other part of the day, however, I wasn't so smart. Daughter E wanted us to take Roxy out to "fossil beach" (a stretch of beach along the river out at the state park). I told her in my most patient mother voice: "Well, dear, it's probably too hot for that." But like a wuss, I allowed her to talk me into it, basically because she's been all about "mommy connection" lately, and I'm trying to soak it up as much as possible. (Q stayed home in our new papasan chair watching TV in the air conditioning, clever boy).

Anyway, here are some photos from today. While they may look happy and cheery, in reality, E and I were snarking at each other most of the time, and Roxy was about to collapse from the heat. We carted in plenty of water (and a dog dish) but honestly, 100 degrees is way too hot for hiking. I knew that already, but proved it once again. (I had fun trying out the new camera).

Requisite wildlife close-up: (this was one I took up by the Visitor's Center where I had to make an emergency run to fetch paper towels because E let Roxy poop at the main path, despite my warning her to PLEASE watch out for that. I was still pissed so was wasting time, making E wait a little longer. I am a very mature mother.


I liked the birds in this photo, but wasn't able to snap on my zoom lens quickly enough to get them. I love this whole beach, with the grasses and fallen trees.

I love, love, love this little cove. It is straight out of my kid-daydreams. This is the place I would make my camp when I was thrust cruelly and suddenly into the world to survive on my own. There would be a bubbly spring back out in the woods withe cool and fresh water to drink. Crabs and sand fleas did not exist. It was never 100 degrees there, either.

Easily the most amazing, beautiful and awesome thing on the beach today.

This is what the bluffs look like all along the way. It frightens me.

My girl and her dog.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Well now. This is something I actually know something about.

If you're not so inclined, that link leads to a post on which comments on a recent scientific paper in the journal Nature that looks at boundary layer ozone loss due to halogens and how chemistry-transport models could be overpredicting ozone (a greenhouse gas) in these sorts of regions if they don't include these reactions in their simulations. This sort of issue is something that we looked extensively at during our recent foray into the Arctic. Satellite measurements have suggested that in the Arctic, regions impacted by halogen-driven ozone loss could be significant. It wasn't quite so clear based on the in-situ data, but whatever, we'll see. If you're really interested in this sort of subject, keep an eye on papers from ARCTAS. I tend to think that in the Arctic, this is a localized (regional) phenomenon. This current paper is looking at different regions of the globe - and it's interesting that they find an impact there. In any case - the point here is that this is an interesting subject for me in my daily research but I never would have guessed that it would have made "news." It is ultimately of unknown/insignificant consequence speaking in the broad climatological, increasing temperature context, I suspect. Yet, if you click on the link and read, you'll see what the media is reporting and the spin being put on so-called "deficiencies" of climate models as a result of this, which is most certainly not what the authors intended to be pulled from their paper, I suspect.

Atmospheric and Climate scientists are ill-prepared for the magnifying-glass nit-picking of our normal day-to-day business that global warming has thrust upon us.


Another favorite subject of mine:

(good lord. I swear I'm trying not to be biased, but can you GET any more photogenic than this sweet girl is?)

And trying out the zoom lens:

I'm going to be studying J's photos and asking advice (and seester L too). I think this is quite a good camera and now I want to learn to record the beauty around me. Maybe I'll go to the York River beach tomorrow and see what I can find.

my husband loves me

Here is my anniversary/birthday present

I feel a bit like a two-year old being asked to drive a BMW.

I've already screwed up by deleting about half of the first pictures I took (computer-user error, rather than camera-user error). Luckily, none were super fantastic, but I did get some cute sequence shots of the boys going off the high-dive at Q's end-of-season baseball party. You'll have to just take my word for it now.

Here's a cute one of Q, such a 12 year old boy face, all acne and scratches from a dog and slight sunburn and dirt on the upper lip (I am not prepared to admit that is anything other than dirt at this point, do not pressure me).

I'm thinking about driving around town today and just experimenting. I haven't taken it off "auto-pilot" yet.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


I felt the need to detox today after too much greasy fried chicken and macaroni and cheese and too much wine yesterday. So here's my/our lunch after trekking up to the Farmer's Market this morning.

Yes, dear neighbor M, that is a plastic bag. I took all my cloth ones with me. To buy the beans, they had to weigh them, and all that they had available to hold them in for that purpose were plastic bags. Next time, I'll bring some smallish paper bags with me. That's the ONLY plastic bag I used, despite the gentleman there insisting I needed other ones for the potatoes, the radishes and the cucumbers. (!!)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

work and play

I head up to Cold Lake, Canada in a few weeks for the second phase of ARCTAS. Generally speaking, government funding for our proposals has been shrinking in duration over the last decade. Used to be that you'd be awarded funding to cover 3 years of work. The norm now is 2, and oftentimes it's only for 1. This is bad, bad, bad. It means that the average researcher has to spend an increasing amount of time writing new proposals (this is a significant amount of time). It has also resulted in our having participated in what is verging on one airborne campaign per year for the last 3 or 4 years. Ultimately, this means that time spent actually looking at and analyzing the data from past campaigns is disappearing. Frustrating. My group should have a break after this one though, for at least a few years. I think our funding is in good shape for the next 2 or 3 years so maybe we can lie low and do some real thinking work for a bit.

On the other side of my life-coin:
Yesterday was the last day of the school year for my kids. E came home with red, watery eyes from crying the whole way home on the bus. I gave her lots of hugs and understood. She had an awesome teacher this year. Only later when we were snuggled on the couch watching TV together did she tell me she was really crying because she hadn't told a certain boy that she loved him and now wouldn't see him until the fall. Great. Here I was getting all mushy over remembering being young enough to love your teacher until it hurt.

We celebrated by going to a Girl Scout bridging ceremony where the highlight was a little girl tossing her cookies during the middle of it (BLEAH!) and then watching a 2nd round playoff baseball game. Q hit ANOTHER triple. That's something like 4 (or 5?) games in a row. It could have been an in-the-park homerun but Q had to slow down so he wouldn't pass the kid running in front of him. I'm not a proud mom or anything. Just sayin'.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

I fart in your general direction.

Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!

It's just a flesh wound.

I *warned* you, but did you listen to me? Oh, no, you *knew*, didn't you? Oh, it's just a harmless little *bunny*, isn't it?

I have accomplished one of my parental duties. I have introduced Q to Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail.

Come and see the violence inherent in the system. Help! Help! I'm being repressed!

what to do when it's 100 degrees outside

Idea 1: play a baseball game to secure runner-up status in the league and then hold a ceremony:

Hey, if it can get a smile out of MY shy son then it couldn't have been all that bad of an idea.

It was hot hot hot hot hot. We had many water time outs for the boys. They moved a bit slower than usual - but it was a good game. (Q hit another triple!)

Forecast for today is 103 and tomorrow is 104.
And hey!! Guess whose van has an air conditioner that just died!!!!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

weird things

Yesterday was lime green shirt day. I decided to wear mine. I noticed two people at the bus stop were wearing the same color. My officemate was wearing it. Some guy walking down the hall was too. At this point, I commented to him that he was the 5th person I'd noticed wearing that color. He replied that oddly enough he'd noticed two people that morning at Starbucks who were wearing it. Went in to talk to our branch secretary about something. Yep, her too. I started laughing when I saw her, which probably bothered her a little bit, but I couldn't help it. Very odd.

Daily high temperature forecast for where I live over the next few days is as follows:

Friday: 95 (this is the good day)
Saturday: 99
Sunday: 100
Monday: 100
Tuesday: 99
Wednesday: 97 which point it cools off to highs in only the mid 90s.

What the h*ll?

UPDATED to reflect more recent weather forecasts.
Now tomorrow looks better (92) but starting Saturday,
it's 101, 100, 100, 99, 97.
Do I hear a 102? Anyone?

UPDATE 2 for more recent weather forecasts.
YES!!!! Not one, but TWO days with 102 temps predicted now.
Today (Friday) predicted at 94. Then starting Saturday,
(BTW, Q has a baseball game tomorrow at 1:00. Ugh ugh ugh)

Monday, June 02, 2008

Le c'est finir



It was nice. It was a lovefest, as the last meeting of the year often is. I presented our principals with 8 new Shel Silverstein books for the library, from the PTA board. The principal gave me flowers and chocolate, and the incoming president gave me lavender bath oil and chocolate. I gave each old and new officer an herb I picked out especially for them, based on the symbolism of the herb. Sage (wisdom) went to an ex-president who helped me mightily this year; Lemon Balm (socialability) to our secretary, whom I am very fond of; Thyme to our incoming secretary for courage (she ran our first ever silent auction this year); Dill to one of our new VPs for survival (she's an under-the-radar type who was a little nervous about being on the board); AllSpice for dear neighbor M (compassion)...which was perfect except I couldn't find an allspice plant so I got her a jar of dried allspice and a rosemary plant instead which can mean loyalty and friendship; Fennel for staying-on treasurer for longevity; and lavender for incoming president for devotion.

If the day and night are such that you greet them with joy and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet scented herbs that is your success. All nature is your congratulations.
(Henry David Thoreau)

Yes, I'm glad I did it. We had a very successful year...we tried a lot of new things and a lot of them worked very well. We're set with a good board for next year. There. (big sigh). All done.

Now I just need to get through tomorrow's talk for our external peer review panel at work. My slides are ready, but I need to rehearse getting through it in 20 minutes. Should be doing that right now but my brain and body are on strike. One of these days, I'm hoping I'll feel normal again. I've not read a book or knitted for about 1 1/2 years (could be due to too much time spent on the internet as well as being overly think?). In any case, I'm ready not to be responsible. I looked, but can't find an herb that symbolizes irresponsibility or laziness. If I had, I'd have bought it for myself in a heartbeat. Deadbeat. My new identity.