Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Pasque Flower, Pulsatilla, Rocky Mountain National Park
West Side, June 1
Not all of my hairy plant photography was focused on leaves this summer.  I also photographed some pubescent* flowers-- both hairy and on the verge of sexual maturity.

Thimbleweed? Anemone, Yellowstone, June
Anemone, Banff or Jasper, June

Calochortus (Mariposa or Sego Lily),
 Rocky Mountain National Park Fall River Valley, July

Monday, August 24, 2015

Fuzzy Margins

Plant science is full of great words. This summer I expanded from fruit and flowers to photographically examine (and record for future classes) the surfaces of leaves.
Among my favorite words are the plant words for hairiness.  Plant surfaces can be hirsute, or pubescent or canescent.  They can be pilose, strigose, tomentose, or villous, or they velutinous when they are velvety.
How would you describe these?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

4 and 6: Growing and Glowing

Aster and Dianthus turned 4 and 6 recently.

They were lucky enough to celebrate with both sets of grandparents. Dianthus helped bake Aster's chocolate strawberry cake in Colorado, Aster helped with Dianthus's baked Alaska and then on Dianthus's birthday we drove to Kansas and ate more cake.   Here's some of the glowing and its aftermath.  Temperamentally, four is the new three, by the way.

That's a big baked Alaska.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Glowing Update

Glowing year hasn't quite sparked friends to action the way that other themes have.  Perhaps that is the nature of "glow".  I do, however, have some glowing things to report at this midpoint.

Glowing Creatures (resolution #2): The luminous jellyfish at the Vancouver Aquarium didn't transfix Dianthus quite the way the jellyfish at the National Aquarium in Baltimore had five years prior, but they were still pretty cool.

Rings of Saturn: We were camping in Rocky Mountain National Park (one of three visits planned during the park's centennial festivities) during the Night Sky Festival taking place the weekend of the new moon.  We tromped out into a field at the end of a dead-end road, watched the slowly fade, and impatiently waited for darkness to arrive.  While convincing the boys that it was too dark to work on their Junior Rangers Night Explorer patches but not yet dark enough to see stars, we looked through telescopes at Saturn.  Members of the Defenders of Darkness had all brought out their giant personal telescopes, several requiring step ladders, and during the late twilight, every one of them looked toward Saturn.  It was amazing.  It was the first time I'd seen the rings of  Saturn and they looked exactly like they were supposed to, except more glow-y.  It look like someone had a Saturn-shaped cut-out and shined a light through it, poking little holes for Titan and four other moons of Saturn.  Later we looked at several double stars and weird star systems, but Saturn was my favorite of the night.
Saturn looked just like this, (but smaller and with five moons).
(Image from Risa Horowitz's "Imaging Saturn" webpage.)

Books:  I've read a lot that I would like to write about.  Hopefully within the next week.

Women who glow (resolution #12): Flush with the excitement of watching the games and the US win at the Women's World Cup, my mother is starting to talk about excitedly about France 2019.  Join us?

Glow myself into shape (resolution #13): An utter failure so far.  I am re-prioritizing this, and did start out the day with a sweaty turn around the neighborhood this morning.

Glowing with beauty (resolution #6): I have had assistance in this realm.  My Brother and MSiL sent me "luminous lavender" products for my birthday.  If I haven't exfoliated enough cells to reveal my inner glow, then at least I smell great.
Two weeks ago (although it feels like much longer) I sought professional assistance (with my dear friend L) in the form of a consultation with the beauty stylist at Nordstrom's.  It was a pleasant and slightly surreal experience, as I pretended to be someone who might use multiple make-up brushes in the morning.  I purchased some new foundation and L is helping me to up my glow is the form of bronzer and concealer (I hope it is the "luminizer"), or would be if only I could convince myself to use them (I am not wearing Trish McEvoy products to do laundry and plan lessons!)

Blue Moon: Once in a blue moon, I go out for fancy drinks with my friend SalSis in Lawrence for our birthdays. Our birthdays are in March and May, but that didn't stop us from trying a (sadly disappointing) watermelon cilantro margarita during the blue moon last Friday.  It was a great way to recognize our lunar friend glowing big twice in July. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Whale of Seven Years

As of July 15, Mister Splashy Pants has been part of our family for seven years.  Seven years!  and I have rarely posted since her kittenhood.

We are far away and miss her right now, but she is certainly guarding the in our absence, and likely protecting us from unprotected upholstery*.

Happy joining our family day, Mister Splashy Pants.

*Protected upholstery has a nice layer of short white hairs upon it.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

3,652 Days Down: Bring on the Next 3,653**

As of today, The Mister and I have been married for ten years.

July 2005
To my knowledge, there are no household cleaning appliances coming my way, and he doesn't yet know about all of the fantastic canned seafood coming his way once we reach Colorado (Ten, is, after all, the "tin anniversary" and Zingerman's was sadly sold out of the tins of tinned fish I planned to buy him).

Any reader of this blog already knows I think we make great partners, so I am not going to over-sweeten you with tales of how great he is.  Ask, or check out the stories or our travels and images of him and his sons if you need to know.

I'm also not going to sentimentally recall our wedding (although it was pretty great, and ended successfully with the Mister and I married).

Instead, today I am going to post a list of things that I haven't done and places I haven't been with the Mister.

The Mister and the Setting Sun, Many Glacier, Montana
June 2015
This was prompted by 1) The Mister's immediate longing to return to Yellowstone (while we were still there) as it is one of his favorite places in the world and we hadn't been in eleven years, 2) my ache at being in Many Glacier in Glacier National Park for a night. A little piece of my heart is there so why haven't we been back in eleven years?  and 3) my accompanying realization that not only have I not been back to the South San Juans since 1995 (?), I have not been there with the Mister at all.  American Basin and Uncompahgre Peak hold a huge chunk of my heart (23 days without shower or toilet paper in a beautiful part of the world will do that to you) and I want the Mister to understand why.

Ten* Little Parts of My Heart I Have Not Yet Shared with the Mister

American Basin in the San Juan Mountains; Colorado
Threave Gardens and Inverewe Gardens; Scotland
A Grove of Coastal Redwoods; California
The Alps; Switzerland, France and Austria
Tea at The Isabelle Stuart Gardener Museum; Boston
The Rugged Pacific Coast of Northern California and Oregon
Raclette and Bagna Caulda
The Mountains Around Gothic, Colorado
"Flying" through powder on downhill skis
The Great Sand Dunes; Colorado
The Georgia O'Keefe Museum; Santa Fe

I'm looking forward to hitting them all, along with many places I've never been and places I haven't imagined going, with The Mister in the next 3,653 days.  Happy anniversary Mister!  I'm glad we're married to each other.

*11 included because the food items and downhill skiing only half count.  I think the Mister has eaten these items, and we did go skiing in West Virginia, but I don't think that they occasions fairly represented the emotional attachment.

**Yes, I am nerdy enough to work out that the first ten years of our marriage include two leap years and the next ten years will include three.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Learning what it means to be our family.

I've already mentioned that we travel to give our sons a better sense of what it means to be an American (even if being an American family in Western Canada means the privilege of collectively cheering for Cameroon, Ecuador, Italy, and Germany barely registers as odd). We also travel because it teaches the boys what it means to be a member of our family.*
Inquisitive learners with life size falcon and eagle wings.
The Peregrine Fund, Raptor Center, Boise
I'd like to think that it is in their genes to be inquisitive learners who love to eat, but there are somethings that must be learned.  It may be in their roots to appreciate mountains, growing things, and all forms of transportation, but why would we leave that to chance?  Better to let the boys ride "the mule" and the water taxis with grandparents, work in a garden at every stop, and view all kinds of mountains from all kinds of angles.
It took me years to learn that not everybody who travels travels the way we do. What if my sons expect vacationing to be lazing around on a beach for a week**?  Preventative measures were taking.  My sons are learning what it is to be one of us.

Water Taxi, Vancouver
VanDusen Botanical Garden
Apparently visiting botanical gardens on vacation is a norm for us.

Lake Louise Ski Area, Banff, right before we saw
the grizzles in the earlier post
Frozen treat and Glacier National Park
Eating in mountains is kind of what we do
Badlands.  Green.  I just can't get over that.
*Disclaimer: I should be clear; we mostly travel because the Mister and I enjoy it, and also because our town can be miserably stifling in the summer and because I will get asked to work (and not get paid for it) if I hang around too much in the summer.  
**As it was, we still got asked "are we going to do anything fun today?" after visiting Devil's Tower, eating pie and ice cream mid-afternoon, taking a cave tour, and discussing pizza for dinner.