February 1, 2015

Back in Time: The Channel Islands

I just finally posted some pics from a short trip to the Channel Islands that I've been meaning to get up for... we'll just say a while now. I back-posted them to show up when I actually went. Check 'em out:

Channel Islands!

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January 25, 2015


So far so good on goals, in terms of reaching them *technically*, but I'd like to do better. For example, here it is Saturday night at 11:40 pm and I need to have a blog post up within the next 20 minutes. What's more, I don't know that my batteries will last that long, and I conveniently left the power cord at work.

But I did make a big pot of chicken curry today, so I'm on track for cooking. And I spent 20 minutes on the bike at the gym reading Switch.

Who has read "Switch"?

It's a book about change, and change-making. On a personal level, on an organizational level, on a societal level. One of the premises: Change is hard. Or, it can be. One of the reasons change is hard: Making decisions takes energy. (Studies show!) If we don't know *how* to change, if we don't know what to do, it's hard to get there. Because before we can even do it, we need to figure out what it is.

Man, does this ring true. If we give ourselves a clear path, and a why, we're much better able to reach those goals. I want to make an impact on this world. But what does that mean? It's so very vague. It takes energy to figure out what that is. I have this feeling that once I figure it out, I can do it. It's the figuring out that feels like the hard part.

They also (two authors) talk about analysis paralysis. Not that I'd have any experience with that. But what they said, had I ever had that experience, makes sense. It takes energy to make decisions. If we give ourselves fewer decisions or, and this one's huge for me, we give ourselves *guidelines* on how to make those decisions, we facilitate the whole process. We keep things moving forward.

That last part really struck a chord for me. I've lamented to myself for years that I just don't have a clear framework anymore for much of my life. I don't have a financial framework (when I had less money, my framework was clearer), I don't have a values framework (easier when I went by religious teachings, and then everything was somewhat up in the air for a while), and I don't have a general life framework (having a full-time job with externally determined goals helps with that, and I struggled with lack of structure when I didn't). How do I prioritize my time? What matters? Is it okay to spend money to change a plane ticket? How much is okay to spend? There are no clear guidelines for these choices, and once guidelines are in place these decisions are easier to make. Boundaries. And those boundaries can absolutely be determined by the individual. So, I think it's time to be thinking about some rules for myself. As I said, I've thought about this quite a bit in the past--or lamented, rather, as I put it--but reading about this in the book affirmed my idea that it's easier to live within a framework. And not necessarily easy in a bad way. So, new goal: Build a personal framework.

I'll get out my hammer and nails tomorrow.

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January 18, 2015

Some Weekend Thoughts on Chick Science Lit (Sort of)

My goodness. I have a lot that I want to write about. But time is short right now, and I'm afraid it's going to keep getting shorter. I've had this nice, quiet lead in for the new year, where the office was quiet and I was actually laying some groundwork for projects rather than just responding to things coming up and was leaving work at a reasonable hour and having the evenings for what I wanted my evenings for and was feeling somewhat organized. At least, like I was moving toward being more organized. And that's not all changed, but I do have the feeling that things are starting to pick up at work. The more things I have to do, the more scattered I feel, and the less time I feel I have to spend on any one thing, and the less engaged or accomplished I feel. I'm sure this is a *completely* unusual work complaint. I'm pretty sure I've never heard it before.

I also kept forgetting until yesterday that this is a three-day weekend. So, there's still time for organizing, writing, and doing. I have a few back-entries on the burner I'd like to get up: One on the Channel Islands, one on Washington, D.C., and one on Mount St. Helens. Plus, there's a book I'd like to write.

This is what I decided last week about writing a book:
I'd like to write the book I'd like to write.
Duh, right? But...
I spend a lot of time thinking about the book(s) I *should* write. I should strategize, so that I use the content as effectively as possible. Do I write a book about volcanoes and tectonics and adventures of the Philippines, and a separate one about GPS field stories in general, and a separate one about... whatever? Do I write a book about the history of GPS as it's been used in Earth science, which I started in on interviews for before I took this job?

And then I thought, why don't I just start writing. Because *a* book would be better than *no* book, even if after the fact I realize I could have saved some of the content for a different book. And I just can't get excited about the GPS history book. Besides, someone else is writing one that's kind of similar. I'm just not that into the technology. And I like to speak from experience. So, I think I'll just write my own book. About volcanoes and hot weather and cold weather and good food and bad food and stray animals and serenading MCs and bruises and cuts and snowmobiles and helicopters and bogs and women and men and enormous frogs and tiny scorpions and what the journey's been like from my perspective. I know other people who have traveled more or more recently, have had crazier adventures, know the science better, know the engineering better, have more letters after their names. are more connected or older or younger or whatever. But, I may as well do it. I may as well write my version.

Around that same time, I was thinking, what if it's a chick book? What if it's a chick science book? Because I'm, you know, female, and it's all from my perspective, and I could sanitize it and take out all the bits that distinguish me as a woman--the romance-y bits, or the I'm-conflicted-about-my-role-in-this-situation-based-on-gender bits--but then it would have to be less personal, and that's just not as fun--but also just not as real. So what if it ends up being a chick science book? Would it be that gender-heavy? I don't know. I think my 19-year-old self would definitely not approve, if it was. But I think I was still more concerned with proving that women were (and especially that I was) worth taking seriously. Which meant taking gender out and having it--whatever it was--be either masculine or gender free. I'm not 19 anymore. Maybe it's okay to write a book from not only a person's perspective, but the perspective of a person who is a communicator with some science background who likes a lot of different stuff who is also female. And it's okay if all of these things matter. And it's okay to get started on whatever it is and see what works and what doesn't. What it is and what it isn't. I realized it's okay to not know right off, and see how the writing unfolds.

For what it's worth, I think Tom Horn (is he still out there?) would like it.

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January 7, 2015

New Year 2015

Happy New Year!

I know, it's already almost a week in. But I'm saying it now. Happy New Year.

This year, I'm focused on goals. Hopefully not obsessively, but in a healthy "Wow, I'd really like to get my poop together" sort of way. I have a long list of goals and food for thought, but the ones I want to share here have to do with nuggets I stored up over the holidays. I probably won't do them justice because I've already switched back to work mode, I'm caffeinated, and I only have a half an hour until I head out to go climbing (part of one of my goals), but I'll try anyway.

First, one of my goals is to post a blog entry each week through February 13. Thanks go to my friend Jane for organizing a beginning-of-the-year challenge. We get to pick our goals, put $100 into a pot, and either get it back or surrender it depending on whether we stick to our plan. My plan: post one blog entry a week (already stated), cook one real meal a week (the type that has lots of leftovers), and move my body for at least 20 minutes at least four times a week, with at least two of those times being yoga. It may all sound simple, but I'm going from zero to something, so I'm feeling pretty good about it. A bonus is sitting for five minutes a day in meditation five days a week. So far, starting on Sunday: One yoga, made coconut shrimp, three sits, and I'm going climbing tonight. And this.

There's so much really that I want to write about. (And thank you for emphasizing that, caffeine.) (I considered giving up caffeine but decided against. I did give up solitaire on my phone, which is hard enough.) But this is what I've been wanting to write about for the past couple weeks.

I went home for the holidays. It's not unusual. But this time, I was particularly fixated on goals, on mantras, on perspectives on life. On reflecting on the past and on looking toward the future. I was rewarded with some great insights from the people I spent time with. Thanks, everyone.

[Nothing like listening to that silly Christmas album your cousin sent your mom as a joke about 20 years ago. Steve Berens, look familiar?]

A special thanks right now to Elizabeth Shier. Her advice for her friends these days: Do what you can, with what you've got, right now. (I think I'm getting that right.) AND, in conjunction with that, No excuses. This blog entry is dedicated to her.

[Happy belated birthday, Elizabeth!]

Other nuggets:
Be appreciative. From Julie Grundberg, who is working for Doctors Without Borders and described her experience working and living across the street from a refugee camp in South Sudan. I love being able to eat, drink, sleep comfortably, and have access to health care facilities, let alone everything else I get to do and be from there. Basic needs = met. The group of us who got together on a houseboat in Portland over a weekend were able to talk philosophy, life directions, choices and art and other things we get to worry about since we have what we need. I wasn't the one to point this out, but I can certainly appreciate it.

Learn to live with less. From Rebecca Ricards, who shared that one of the beautiful things she's learned over the past several years, as she's purged and consolidated to spend stints overseas also working with Doctors Without Borders (MSF), is that she can live with few possessions. And that it's liberating. She said she'd heard or read (I can't remember the source) that everything we have takes time and energy. If that's how we want to spend our time and energy, great, so long as we're aware of that. I have so much stuff. And it takes me time and energy, at the very least every time I move. On a more constant basis, the extra shampoo and conditioner bottles in my shower serve as just that much more of a barrier to me motivating to clean it. So, one of my goals is to organize, and purge. I'm going to use up the extra products, for example, so I can keep it simple. Sounds silly, but it's just an example.

Don't make plans around others. From Aaron Bartel, my brother. I stress about being in the right place at the right time and about doing right by the people around me. He empowered me to make some plans of my own rather than waiting for things to fall into place around me. Thanks, bro.

[My brother and his dog, Roxxie. She's ridiculous. Apparently even her vet said so.]

[See? Ridiculous.]

[But seriously. She's a silly dog.]

Find the orchids in the onions. From Todd Peterson. One night on the houseboat we took turns sharing a high spot and a low spot from our lives in the past seven years (the amount of time it had been since a lot of us had seen each other). Our orchids and our onions. Todd shared about breaking his back, and his response to that. Which seemed like an onion. Until he said it was his orchid. Because that experience made him realize how fragile we are, how close he came to paralysis, how much of what we have in life we take for granted. This gets back to the be appreciative bit, but also was a great lesson in making the best of things, and not only that but really finding the gift in hardship. I could learn a lot from Todd. (I'll work on it. Maybe I'll sit with that tomorrow....)

Be a giver. From Elizabeth Shier and others, by example. Elizabeth was cleaning while I was cozied into the couch enjoying conversation. It was okay that I was cozied into the couch enjoying conversation, but I also want to be a contributor, in life in general but also on the small scale of sharing a houseboat for a weekend. I'm not always good at that--at being the one who works to take care of a camp or a home--and I'd like to be better. I'd like to be the type of person people want around at events like that because I help make the wheels turn.

[A plate of delicious and nicely presented food is a wonderful way to contribute to a group. I think Sal put this one together.]

Work to help others. From Julie Grundberg, by example. She's working for Doctors Without Borders, for goodness sake. She's found her niche, and I'm terribly happy for her. She's working logistics to get aid to the people who most need it.

Be confident. From multiple friends, by example. I love to see confidence. It inspires me. Not overconfidence, not false confidence, but lack of self-consciousness. The feeling of accepting self. It's a powerful and beautiful thing.

[Part of the crew I spent two nights with over the holidays. Friends from Antarctica. For context... the last time I went down was ten seasons ago. (Yikes!) And it's nice to know I still have good friends from it. This is an amazing and fun group of people. Or maybe just an amazingly fun group of people.]

Hope your year came in gently and happily and that this is a good one for you.

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November 24, 2014

The Shirt

Okay, I'm going to weigh in on this #shirtstorm thing. I've been fortunate enough to miss much of the coverage and complaints, but wanted to put in my two cents on a few things that I haven't seen directly commented on yet.

1) Extremists.
No, the shirt-wearer shouldn't get fired, and no, people who spoke out about the shirt shouldn't die over it. Extremist views in this case are, as with most things, just that—extreme. And they probably only represent a small (vocal) minority of the population. I think we should mainly be concerned with the broad grey area between the extremes. In this area lies people who think maybe this shirt isn't a big deal, and don't understand the big fuss, but maybe only because they haven't seen the subtleties in this case and will probably be open to them when presented with a different perspective. So, here's mine.

2) It's just a shirt.
I've seen a few good pieces talking about how this didn't happen in a vacuum, so I don't need to go into the "right, maybe it's just a shirt, but it does send a message and these things add up." Check out Phil Plait's Slate piece about Casual Sexism.

But there are still few points I wanted to make here:
- If you're a man, you may not be able to imagine how this imagery would affect you in the workplace as a woman. Ask a few female friends how they feel about it. Have a conversation. Make sure you and they see the shirt up close enough to see what's actually on it.
- Try picturing the shirt as being worn by a woman, or a shirt of sexualized, scantily clad men being worn by a woman, or by this same man, and see if you feel differently about it. Try picturing the man wearing a shirt patterned with dogs humping. Professional? Why not? In the workplace, would it make you uncomfortable? What if your daughter was working with him (or whomever)?
- I really think this kind of imagery and message affects us subconsciously, so even if you think it's no big deal, it may be sending messages that you're unaware of. Not that it's hocus-pocus, but it sends messages that you just may not be aware that you or other people seeing the imagery are processing. So on the surface, even if the shirt (or similar imagery in the workplace or, for that matter, in public) seems benign, it may be affecting us in ways we're not measuring. And yes, this stuff does add up.

3) Equal does not mean the same.
We're all different. I mentioned a few posts back when talking about the *lack* of imagery of women in science that I was particularly attracted to geology because it was male dominated. There are a few reasons for this. Ego has something to do with it, but, tied to that, so does breaking stereotypes. I saw myself as kind of a stereotype superhero, chinking away at these societally held beliefs that women weren't strong or capable or rugged—bam! bam! bam! But.... not everyone is like me. And that's not to glorify myself, it's to say that if we want to get women of all types into STEM fields, and into leadership positions across the workplace world, we can't just assume that these jabs are going to make women more adamant about taking this guy's job, as a friend of mine suggested. Some, they will. But we'll also lose some to this stuff. Maybe even most.

4) It's not about the shirt.
#shirtstorm is not really about whether this guy in this one circumstance was appropriate in doing so. It's not about whether he should be fired or not, or whether ESA is a bad place to work, or overshadowing the fact that they landed on a comet (there's still plenty of press about that and still plenty of reasons to be excited. In my view, these are two different stories). This is about this kind of imagery in general and the effect it has on the people it portrays (or doesn't). It's about how we view this as a society. Do we think this *type* of thing is okay? What bothers me is not that this guy wore this shirt, but that we can't across the board recognize that it was inappropriate, and why. But hopefully this is spurring conversations within that grey area—the segment of our population, like myself, not at the extremes. Hopefully we can get to the point where we start to teach and learn that we need to do better, for everyone's sake.

* * *

I've mostly read moderate, well thought out pieces about #shirtstorm/#shirtgate. Here are some of my favorite excerpts.

From Infactorium, a word on losing "freedoms":
"When people (near-universally young men) start complaining about these losses of freedom I have to sigh and shake my head. We all give up things to make society better. We give up our right to take things by force. We give up our right to drive on the wrong side of the road."

Right, and ultimately these trade-offs make for a better living environment.

From the American Astronomical Society's statement on this whole thing:
"The AAS has a clear anti-harassment policy, which prohibits “verbal comments or physical actions of a sexual nature” and “a display of sexually suggestive objects or pictures.” Had the offending images appeared and comments been made under the auspices of the AAS, they would be in clear violation of our policy."

Why? (Me asking.) Because:

"As a professional society, the AAS must provide an environment that encourages the free expression and exchange of scientific ideas. In pursuit of that environment, the AAS is committed to the philosophy of equality of opportunity and treatment for all members, regardless of [list here...] or any other reason not related to scientific merit." [My emphasis.]

I love that last part. I mean, of course! So don't wear a shirt or use imagery that disrespectfully targets part of the population. On the flip side, *do* be proactive in utilizing positive and relevant imagery of a diverse population. Show role models. Be a role model. This issue isn't limited to women, it's about workplace dynamics and diversity in general. What shirt would you wear?

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October 12, 2014

Mini Book Review: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

Since I wrote a mini book review for "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," I figured I should write one for "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe" too. In the first book review, I revealed my fear of the Great Unknown. The universe, infinity. What I LOVED about "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe" is that it acknowledges exactly that issue. My favorite part was the bit about the Total Perspective Vortex, which reveals the complete scope of the universe and completely ruins a man.

So there's my gripe by the end of the book, which I've already harped on in another entry today to another end. "Ruins a man." Maybe Douglas Adams didn't have many women in his life? Because while the one female main character is super smart and more "evolved" than the male human, she's still along because she was picked up by Zaphod Beeblebrox. Other than that... there are a few women in non-speaking roles and a few women who are in peripheral roles mainly having to do with being annoying or being potential sexual partners, but no women in any sort of leadership positions. Captains, rulers of the universe, psychologists, executives, etc. All dudes.


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Science is for White Men

Apparently, women don't do science. Apparently, minorities don't either. At least according to a couple things that have prickled my annoyed-bone lately.

Here's one: an article from the BBC about why English has become the language of science. Which is very interesting. It has to do with World War I and did you even know that German was outlawed in 23 states in the U.S.?? I had no idea. So I read this article thinking wow, interesting. (You know, me and communication...) But then I got to the end of the article thinking, really? Not one photo of a non-white-male scientist? I give it to them that the archival photos they were looking for would have mostly if not all white men. But that last photo got me. They could have chosen any stock photo, and they chose one with three white dudes.

Nobel Prize: How English beat German as language of science

Also, no mention of non-Western scientists, and how the rest of the world played into the scientific landscape at the time and since. Event to say that the Western world dominated scientific discourse, and why. (Maybe I'm being a tad harsh on this one—the title of the article I read, on my phone, was just How English became language of science.)

To note, the article is spurred by the winning of the Nobel Prize by May-Britt and Edvard Moser (May-Britt is a woman and, also to note, was mentioned first). Clearly not all science is done by white men. But images are important...

The other thing that got me was a poster is a kit for Earth Science Week, which starts today. When I first pulled it out, I thought, GREAT POSTER! They don't try to cram too much into one space, it's cartoony and colorful and fun, and I thought, I'm totally hanging this up in my office!

[SO cool! So.... male, and white.]

My excitement waned when I looked at the back of the poster, and then the front again. Four people depicted on the poster, and all were clearly men. Again, white men. One of them is going bald, which I thought was funny and realistic, but still.

And you could make a "well, it's mostly men in science, so these images are just being true to the demographic" argument, but 1) half of geology students at the university level are women (true that the workforce is not even close to that, but there are a lot of women in geoscience), and 2) some people are encouraged to do things by seeing someone that looks more like them doing those things. Role models. (I say some because I was allured into going into a male-dominated field because it was male dominated, but that's a whole other entry and can of worms.)

Also, full disclosure, I am completely guilty of this same thing. I made a poster for an event in May that has only white dudes on it. I am completely embarrassed by that. I picked the best pictures, wanting it to look visually sharp and professional, and I just wasn't wowed by any of the pics that I could find of women working. And it seemed contrived. But sometimes we need to be contrived. As instant karma, or something, one of the pictures I chose was too low res for print, and subsequently looks like crap. Serves me right.

Posted by beth at 4:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 31, 2014

Mini Book Review: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Started out thinking it was brilliant, then it kind of lost steam for me, and all in all I liked it but it wasn't as fast or breezy or even fun a read as I thought it would be partly because of the use of words--lots of comma splices that threw me off--and partly because I wanted to get my mind at least a little bit around the concepts (playful though they may be) and I'm not much of a time-and-space gal. I remembered while reading it why I never liked science fiction: It terrifies me. I have to think about the things that make me most uncomfortable, which in a nutshell is only one thing--infinity--and more specifically are time, space, death, and things I don't understand. (Which I guess may trump infinity as the most basic thing, and why I'm uncomfortable with infinity. Any level of contemplation will not get me closer to understanding any of these things, whereas I *can* understand many things on this planet that I don't, yet.) And I know any scifi friends reading this will feel completely smug and self-righteous, thinking yes, that's the whole point. Well, bully for you. I'd love to discuss it... but not with you. (Unless you're *not* smug about it. In which case, we can talk.)

Holy cow, I can't comprehend this universe, let alone another one...

It was interesting to find how many things I remembered from high school, like the Babel fish, which I want. And I love how outdated the actual guide is. "It's a sort of electronic book..." It still has buttons on it! How quaint. And a small screen.

The future is now, people.


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July 14, 2014

Glendo 2014

Ahhhh, camping. My friend Nancy organizes an annual trip to Glendo State Park, a recreation area around a big ol' reservoir in the middle of Wyoming just about three hours north of here. I feel like I should dig into the geology of the region, but I also feel that I'm dehydrated and underfed and sunned and road-tripped and tired. So some pictures of grasses, instead.

I kept feeling like I should stop on the side of the road to take pictures of the grasses, gentle hills, and more grasses on the way up. I'm wondering if that Microsoft background is from Wyoming. There were some GREAT rock formations, but I couldn't be bothered to stop for them. I finally bothered here, for some hills and grasses.

[This is how I roll. Cracked windshield, tarantula mascot (thanks, Mom). (For the tarantula, not the cracked windshield.)]

[This is how a bunch of other people roll.]


[Grasses, sky, clouds. That's about probably 60 percent of Wyoming. 75?]

Like I said, the drive should take just a hair over three hours.

I was going to leave on Friday but my weeks are often (always?) hectic and I didn't have time to pack on Thursday night and the person who was going to ride up with me bailed besides. And on Friday afternoon burnt out from the week I didn't feel like being in a hurry so I had a beer after work with coworkers. And then I needed to pack and then it was 9 p.m. and then I realized / was convinced by a friend that it would be a pain to get up to Glendo that late, because it's a state park and I'd be that person driving around shining lights into tents at 1 a.m. trying to figure out where to set up, which would have likely resulted in sleeping in my car. (Not the first time.)

So I went to sleep early, so I could get up early and on the road. But then when I woke up, not exactly early, I realized there was really no pressing reason for me to rush up there. I went back to sleep, woke back up, made myself breakfast, grabbed my stuff, and went for an oil change. Oh, right, and my dashboard lights weren't working, which was another reason to not drive up at night. The main guy helping me at Grease Monkey came into the tiny waiting area with his fists on his hips. I have to come in in a Superman stance, he said, because I got your dash lights working. Turns out there's a dimmer switch. So he fixed the problem by, yes, turning the knob.

Got gas. Got out of town.

On the way, a few signs tempted me. There's an old west museum in Cheyenne, and that sounded like it could be cool. But I passed it up. (Maybe I'm in a hurry? Maybe I'm not? Do I feel like a museum? Not really...) Then another set of signs for exit 92. Historical this, historical that, and a site where you can see wagon wheel tracks from the Oregon Trail.

What?? Now *that* sounds cool, and it sounds like a site a friend who had done a massive road trip last year had told me about. (Thanks Seth.) So I exited. 15 miles. That's not a big deal, right? Okay, half and hour out of my way, at least, just for driving, but whatever. I'm here, and so are those tracks.

[The groove right by the interpretive trail.]

[People were here...]

[Another view.]

[How many wagons?]

[This rugged terrain is nothing compared to what was to come for these folks.]

[The people traveling the Oregon Trail had to navigate this land in wagons. Now, highways and golf courses. Oh, and look—geology.]

[Grasses. And more grasses.]

[Wyoming's not just about the Tetons.]

Somehow, I didn't arrive at our campground at Glendo until about 4 p.m. I'd left Boulder at 10:47 a.m. So much for three hours. What took me so long? Well, there was that stop alongside the road to take pictures, there was a stop for tonic (I had some limes hanging out at my place so the only logical thing to do was to buy a huge bottle of gin to go with them), there was the detour to the tracks, and there was a stop at the gas station right before the state park for ice and a hot dog. And an ice cream. Yes, you heard me. Ice cream and a gas-station hot dog.

I guess it all adds up.

[To the lake.]

And then.... Glendo. I've always been skeptical of Glendo. Somehow it seemed far away and not very much fun. But, I mean, look at it. A campground in the shade of trees on a big body of water to play in.

And as far as I can tell, this is mainly what happens at Glendo:

[Relaxation Station.]

That, and some reading, and eating. Drinking. Paddle boarding. Relaxing. Playing. More eating. (I was very excited about the Saturday-night potluck.) Dog-petting. Hanging out around a fire. Storytelling. Hammocking. Sleeping.

[Lumin's sunwear.]

There were three babies in the camp, and no one got a picture of them. I felt like I should have. I felt a little guilty. But I didn't feel like getting up to get my camera. I'm trying to get better with this phrase: Not my job. So, getting a picture of the babies wasn't my job, but there's little Lumin's hat, above, to represent the baby contingent.

[Tent envy? Patrick's setup on the left, mine on the right. Mine was waaaaaaay faster to take down. So there.]

I kind of wish there was another Glendo next weekend.

[Heading back out of the park.]

Sign me up for next year.

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July 7, 2014

Colorado's Yosemite

I'm writing from the future! Sort of. I went through the trouble of uploading all these photos a while back and never actually wrote up an entry about them. It's long enough ago that I don't feel like I have much to say—lucky you—so here are some pics for you of a beautiful spot in Colorado that friends Marianne, Jane, and I stumbled upon because all the tiny river-side designated camp spots were taken along the South Platte river. We ended up driving up Deckers Road toward Little Scraggy Peak, I think, which is where we found this gem. Thank you, public lands.

[Marianne enjoying the view from camp. Tough life.]

I think I put off writing this entry because I was going to try to give some actual value added by talking about the geology of the area. Which I really know nothing about. I can tell that these are granite, which is why I called the area Colorado's Yosemite. But beyond that, I can't tell you much.

[Marianne and Jane working on dinner.]

From what I remember, we had a very nice and relaxing evening and talked a lot about apologies and how women in particular (in general) are prone to say sorry for things that they don't really need to apologize for. My view: I defended the value of an apology, or the use of "sorry," regardless of gender, even if whatever happened is not really my fault. As in, I said something that offended you because I meant it one way and you interpreted another, regardless of who's to blame for the mix-up. I say, Oh! Sorry! I meant blah blah blah (*not* "I'm sorry you interpreted it that way, but..."). Of course, I could also just say, "Oh! No! That's not what I meant!" in that circumstance, but throwing a sorry in doesn't hurt. I am, however, adamant about not apologizing for something that someone else thinks I'm at fault for where I see no wrongdoing.

We tried not to apologize to each other for things after that and it was hard.

Anyway. Camping conversations.

In the morning, thanks to Sonora, I was the first one up (not counting Sonora). We went for a lovely walk before things heated up.

According to an entry on summitpost.org, the granite in this area is part of the Pikes Peak batholith, which is the youngest granite in all of the Rockies. For what that's worth.

From what I can tell, the rocks are about 1 billion years old. Everything in Colorado is, yes, older, but looks like the granite in Yosemite is only 210 to 80 million years old.

The Pikes Peak batholith is a large magmatic intrusion that cooled deep within the Earth and then was exposed by years (like, maybe a billion) of erosion. It covers 1,300 square miles. The next biggest in Colorado, responsible for all the beautiful granite outcrops in Rocky Mountain National Park and around Estes Park, covers a mere 600 square miles. (To be characterized as a batholith, it has to be at least 40 square miles, so yes, still pretty darn big.) This from the great—though very basic—book "Messages in Stone: Colorado's Colorful Geology" by the Colorado Geological Survey.

What I *want* to know is what was going on tectonically at the time to cause this to happen. Maybe nobody knows.

After a leisurely breakfast, we all went for the same walk.

[My new chair. Throne, rather.]

[The area was ravaged by the Buffalo Creek Fire of 1996, which destroyed forest but yielded wonderfully open views.]

We turned back sooner than we would have because of one little black-furred problem. An overheated dog. It wasn't super hot out there, but apparently it was hot enough by that time. Back at the car, we got rolling quickly to get some air conditioning on but Sonora would not stop panting and trying to get up to the front seat to get closer to the air (it just wasn't making it back to us). So we detoured to the Cheeseman Reservoir. Dogs and people aren't supposed to take dips, but it seemed like a desperate enough situation. Except that Sonora refused to go in. So Marianne and I took the water to her, holding her in the shade and dumping Nalgenes of lake water over her.

It worked.

[Posted Nov. 23, 2014]

Posted by beth at 5:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)