Sunday, October 30, 2011

I'm still here...procrastinating

Hey all!

To my few readers I post an update. I'm still here, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. I'm staring at a pile of crap to write and it's FREAKING me out. I think I finally have the data analysis from my summer project figured out...I think. We'll see how much excel helps me. Otherwise, you'll be reading a post soon how about how much I hate math and worrying myself into circles.I have 2 grants to write for the 2012 summer season and proposals for two new separate projects on  Wood Thrush and Eurasian Tree Sparrow to research and write up. 

But have I started any of this? HELL NO.

I've been researching German Christmas Traditions, recipes, photos and decorations for a German Christmas event we're going to have at the Historic Society. This is MUCH easier to deal with than creating a good scientific study complete with figures and hypothesis.

I've also been working like a maniac in the backyard, hacking down honeysuckle bushes with trunks as thick as my thighs (there's going to be a post about that soon). I've managed to clear a sizable chunk of the yard and replaced honeysuckle with butterfly bush.

Still on Weight Watchers. I've lost 12 pounds now. Still aiming to lose more weight. Hit a bit of a plateau (haven't lost weight in 2 weeks) but I think if I start walking on the treadmill or return to the jungle in the backyard I'll start losing weight again.

I'm still here. New entries soon. I promise.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The randomness of 3 and 4 year olds

The Ecology Center has taken to doing classes for the under 5 crowd this school year. There have been infrequent preschool visitors over the years, but I have seen a definite increase in the number of toddlers the last few months. In fact last week there was a class of 2 -3 year old toddlers. These little tots were still in diapers!

We had a class of 3 - 4 year olds. A pre-preschool if you will. This was the class's first visit and the topic the teacher wanted us to cover was plants. Supposedly the kids knew the parts of a plant; the leaves, stem, seeds and roots. My group consisted of 3 girls, 1 boy and a teacher's assistant.  I kept it simple and tried to take cues from the kids as to what they knew and what they were interested in. I started out with the kids collecting leaves. Leaves of different sizes, shapes and then colors. Find me a yellow leaf, find me a red leaf etc.

"This leaf looks like a duck!" Re exclaimed, twirling a paw paw leaf. "And this one looks like a duck wing!"

We spent a moment marveling over the leaves that looked like a duck before moving on.

"I have a pink belt on. See?" Hy shouted, lifting her shirt enough to show off her bright pink belt.

"Oh I like it. It's pretty!" I said.

She lifted my shirt to look at my pants.Well this was a first.

"No, I don't have a belt." I said.

When the subject of leaves was exhausted, I moved on to seeds and pointed out seeds of various sizes and shapes, allowing the kids to pull certain seeds. We came across beggar's lice (aka Tick Trefoil).  The seeds are like velcro and will stick to any part of your body and can be difficult to remove. The kids loved the seeds and started sticking them all over their clothes and talked about what kind of plant they were going to grow into. The subject changed to favorite colors with pink being the favorite color of all the girls. Among the talking, giggling and seed pulling, the only boy in the group started placing the trefoil seeds on me. He didn't say a word but with great concentration on his face, he methodically placed one seed after another on my arms, back and the bag I was carrying.

Hy, the one with the pink belt, was very much the city girl and it was evident she was not enjoying her outdoor field trip. She often asked when it was time to return to school and let us know how bored she was with this whole ordeal. I think I pushed her over  the edge when I lifted a bug board and picked up a millipede for the kids to touch.

"Put that down! I hate worms!"

I went on to explain that the millipede was no a worm, it had an exoskeleton (it's like bones on the outside of it's body!) and it was an animal that ate plants. Every one touched the millipede except Hy, who stomped on the board when I finally put the millipede down and returned the board to the ground.

I tried to distract her growing unhappiness and boredom by leading the group to a patch of Cup Plants and that in turn prompted a discussion of who would drink water from a Cup Plant. Birds, Dragonflies and Butterflies were among the candidates who would sip water from this plant.

We all took a deep breath of the fall air and I asked them what they smelled. Leaves, dirt, my shirt were the answers I received. I had a little bird girl in the group and I was so proud. She often stopped when a wren was singing or a sparrow was chipping and asked "What's that noise?"  She also spotted a blue jay and marveled over its large size.

We made a trip to the creek, peeled the bark off a sycamore tree, looked under a few more bug boards and went potty before our time was up.

I like the under 5 crowd. They say and do whatever comes to their minds, even if it is completely random. Makes for an interesting field trip.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Inside the mind of an insomniac

I've been going through a rough stretch of sleeplessness, at least 2 weeks. Fourteen days may not seem like a lot, but the last two weeks have seemed like 2 years. I don't know how parents with small children function on next to no sleep because I'm in a haze most of the day. Driving makes me nervous in this state, concentration is impossible, my blog has gone to the wayside, and the house is in shambles because I have no mental or physical energy.

I've had problems with sleeplessness in the past and I've followed the suggestions provided by the medical professionals; go to bed and wake up at the same times, stop the caffeine intake in the afternoon, don't read or watch TV in bed, don't take afternoon naps etc etc.  The suggestions helped some, especially going to bed at the same time every night and no naps. But it seemed like time resolved the insomnia, or rather, whatever issue I was puzzling over was resolved.

It takes me forever to fall sleep and I wake frequently. While I go to bed at the same time every night, I sleep in and take naps when I can to catch up. I know these are cardinal sins for the recovering insomniac but I still have trouble sleeping whether or not I take a nap or sleep in late.

So what does one do while waiting for sleep? For one, reading makes me sleepy.  I may read a book, my nook or pick a boring topic and google it on my android. I've read the names and dates of World War 2 battles, looked at the weather in various cities on, played Words with Friends, read various topics mentioned on talk shows (I've recently read about polygamy, the drug wars in Mexico, Arab Spring to name a few) and recently, I looked up the large hadron collider (LHC) because it was a main character of sorts on a Big Bang Theory rerun. Well THAT backfired because it turned out to be more interesting than I thought and after reading the wikipedia article, I went to LHC's main website and then a website of one of the collider's projects and before I knew it, 1am had come and gone.

So blog world, I'm still here but fatigue has made me foggy and clouded my creativity.

Keep your fingers crossed that consistent, uninterrupted sleep comes my way soon. I miss writing.