Friday, April 28, 2017

Going to Glen Rose

It’s not lions and tigers and bears, but reptiles and water and mud, Oh My! One of my
Old tree and blue sky
memories from the 1950s is traveling to the Paluxy River to see the dinosaur tracks. I thought that the tracks were made the day before and was rather disappointed when I was told that they were trace fossils; I wouldn’t see any actual dinosaurs lurking in the woods. We clambered down the side of the river and stared into the muddy water to see holes in rocks. My other disappointment was that there had been lots of rain and the water was too deep for me to sit in the tracks. I was underwhelmed. I’m fairly sure that I hadn’t been back to Glen Rose until this last visit. This time, although there had been rain, the water was clear and the tracks were visible, plus it was a warm day with a bright, blue, Texas sky – it was worth the drive!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Out in Oakland and Reviews

Across the Bay Bridge is the municipality of Oakland. As complex as San Francisco, it has a
Getting on the Bay Bridge
completely different flair. There are neighborhoods rather than Districts and the downtown has a much more industrial feel to it. With the same background as the other cities (Huchiun Indians then Spanish settlers, then part of Mexico, and finally claimed by the US) Oakland was originally called encinal, Spanish for ‘oak grove’, because of the extensive oak forest that covered the area. The Oakland Long Wharf at Oakland Point and the major terminus for the Central Pacific Railroad proved the wisdom of Horace Carpentier, Edson Adams, and Andrew Moon in establishing the city in the mid-1800s. Other entrepreneurs, such as Francis "Borax" Smith developed a streetcar company; other such innovations as electric service and telephones connected Oakland and Berkeley, making both cities desirable places to live and work. By 1920, Oakland boasted many manufacturing industries, including metals, canneries, bakeries, internal combustion engines, automobiles, and shipbuilding. A short nine years later, Chrysler added another automobile manufacturing plant, making Oakland the ‘Detroit of the West’. Thankfully, it has not suffered the same fate as Detroit. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Berkeley Byways

When Teri was a young child living in Texas she told her parents she wanted to go live in
View of San Francisco Bay from Lawrence Hall of Science
Berkeley. Twenty years ago she made this dream come true. She and John live in a pretty house that is often visited by opossums and skunks raiding the cat food dish on the back deck. And the wild turkeys still get the right-of-way on the hilly streets. Whatever I expected the Berkeley area to be, a home to wild animals wasn’t in the picture. Looking up into the hills you see houses surrounded by lush vegetation, while in the other direction there is a wonderful view of the bay. Perched nearly at the top of a hill is an iconic institute: Lawrence Hall of Science. Out of this organization come the underpinnings of innovative science education programs that have been adopted around the country. Before I left academia I was privileged to participate in the distribution of one of these programs, FOSS. I still believe that the best method for teaching science and for getting students intellectually involved is through experimentation; FOSS develops both intellectual involvement and curiosity to support life-long learning. Teri has one of the best jobs on the planet; she writes and tests the curriculum for the FOSS modules.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Open Your Golden Gate!

Swarovski crystals and gift bags
Again this year I traveled to the City by the Bay (see Sashaying around San Francisco) to do some Beading by the Bay. Our wonderful instructors were Maggie Meister, Sherry Serafini and Liisa Turunen. I’m sorry to say that I have yet to complete even one of the projects the delightful women taught, but I am working on them! Like many large cities, San Francisco includes a bunch of ‘districts’ that give it even more color and texture. And thanks to good friends Teri and John, I was able to sample more of the area than just around the hotel. We had some wonderful adventures and ate some outstanding food!

Friday, March 31, 2017

If the Creek Don’t Rise

Village Creek
My first memory of this tiny place involves the actual rising of the mighty waterway, Village Creek. It had rained for days and this small tributary of the Trinity River not only overflowed its banks, but took out a bridge or two. My parents drove around the area looking at how far up the roads the water had progressed. To my young eyes, this was a forecast for a flood of Biblical proportions; I stared out the window of the car looking earnestly for Noah. What I didn’t know at that time was that Village Creek was not only a waterway, but a rural community.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Sashaying through Savannah

Azaleas and a gazebo in one of the many squares
Savannah, Georgia is a wonderfully historic city, and three of us were delighted to find that the QuiltCon East was to be there. We joined just a few of the 21,000,000 US quilters to enjoy this extravaganza. Only one of us, Barb, is an experienced quilter but that didn’t mean that Linnea and I weren’t enthusiastic fabric collectors. Someday we’ll get a quilt completed! In any case, Savannah is a wonderful city to explore, the weather was perfect, and the food was great!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Rounding on Retta

Eons ago, when I was very young, my parents needed something for me to do during the
Retta Baptist Church with original bell
summer. In many southern towns the main activity to keep out-of-school children busy was Bible School. And that was how I was introduced that that far off and exotic place called Retta, a whopping two miles from home. I think I went to three or four of these entertaining and instructional week-long events, but what I remember most from my sojourn to Retta was that we were outside most of the time to do crafts and sing songs since none of the buildings of the Retta Baptist Church was air conditioned.