Thursday, August 12, 2010

Well, that's it.

I can post this here, because I know that not many people will see it!  Steve has finally and definitively vetoed getting a dog.  It's over.   I'll never have a dog again, and I have to admit I am very, very sad about that.  I always dreamed of wandering in the woods with a dog again; having a dog makes everything outdoors more exciting and more fun.  A dog is such a companion; it's a relationship unlike anything else in the world. I miss Sophie now more than ever........

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Scenes from the Family Nature Summit at Lake Tahoe 2010

Family Nature Summit in Tahoe

The Family Nature Summit this year was again absolutely amazing.  Imagine a week with 300 of the most wonderful, interesting people you can imagine, in a spectacularly beautiful location, exploring nature and the out-of-doors in a myriad of ways. I plan to blog about each of the amazing activities that I enjoyed during the week and explain how magical a Family Nature Summit can be.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Summer is Here!

Already it is flying by.  What did Peter say during faculty days?  June is like Friday night, July is like Saturday and August is like Sunday night.  It is so true.  Well, at least I am working on my goal of a summer of getting back to nature and focusing on organizing my life......  And what better way to start my summer but with a bunch of beautiful moths.  I can't believe that, when I was a child, I was so afraid of these gentle and magnificent creatures.  Now it seems I can't learn enough about them.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Approach of Summer

I have to admit, the approach of summer has made me think about my goals even more (especially the fact that I haven't accomplished much towards them).  One thing that I did was to sign up for a week long course at Omega Institute ! Here's what the course is all about: "Omega Wellness Week gives you the chance to do what you have been promising yourself for years: to take a break and dedicate time to your health, relaxation, and rejuvenation".  Doesn't that sound perfect?  And, I get to stay in a tent!  Yes, I am one of those weird people who really enjoys staying in tents (I am a member of the Facebook group "Sleeping in Tents").  This tent has walls and windows, so it is marginally a tent by definition.  But still a tent nonetheless!  But what can I do before then to further my goals???

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Nature Watercolors with Kids

A few weeks ago, Sam, Felix (colleagues) and I took the 3rd grade out to the stream at school on an extraordinarily beautiful spring day. What could be better that introducing kids to such a wonderful activity that taps their creative spirits and allows them to connect with nature in a way that children rarely do anymore?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Nature in Napa

It seems odd to think about a trip to Napa as a trip about communing with nature, but ironically, it was truly about becoming closer to the natural world. We were there for the remarkable "budburst" which is the awakening of the grape vines from their long winter's dormancy. The gnarled old vines seemed to posses the knowledge of their many decades. The flowers were also bursting open more and more each massing day. And the magic of seeing grapefruits, lemons and oranges ripe on the trees in March was amazing.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


What a magical vacation! Vacations like this last one to Napa make me realize why I fell in love with Steve when we met in law school. We do share a unique blend of adventure and caution that makes our time together fun and exciting, yet comfortable and relaxing. So, did I get to throw myself into wildlife and nature? No, but the way we did Napa really brought us as close to nature as you can get in such a popular tourist area. First of all, we took a tour with Holmegrown Tours (which I highly recommend if you are ever in Napa) that took us to tiny, sustainable wineries all by ourselves. We were there for the incredible "budburst" when the tiny leaves just start to show on the vines. You could almost feel them waking up and reaching for the sunlight. We got to walk through a vineyard with light raindrops falling through the sunlight, and a rainbow as the backdrop. I'll never forget this trip. (Pictures will be coming)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Introducing a Child to Nature

Some of my favorite memories from my childhood were interactions with insects and other animals. I remember gathering dozens of tent caterpillars and making houses and mazes for them to follow. I remember filling my mom's sinks in the basement with dozens of toads. Who knew that they would be able to hop out and I would spend the better part of a weekend retrieving them from various places in our house?

I always try to incorporate animals into my work with children. Some children, as you can well imagine, are not always as eager to handle animals, especially insects. So, last week, when we began our PreK study of mealworms, there were a few students who were reluctant to touch them. I have this every year, sometimes students aren't used to animals and can be fearful at first. When this happens, I always let students move at their own pace in becoming gradually accustomed to the experience. One student in particular this year was extremely fearful and chose to sit at a different table so she could be as far away as possible from the insects. This week, with gentle positive encouragement, she came to the table and handled the mealworm many times! The look of joy and wonder on her face was extraordinary and validates everything I have felt about the benefits of children interacting with nature. It's also what makes my job so wonderful; just being able to witness such a transformation is truly a gift.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Flower Show

Well, the Flower Show was amazing, as usual. Actually, more amazing than usual. Everything was so lush and spectacular. From the hot air balloon covered with thousands of flowers, to individual flowers that seemed impossibly perfect. My very favorite was the hanging water globes with flowers representing a progression from ocean to mountain. It was truly an artist's vision. It was definitely a much-needed respite from the dreary, cold winter we've been having......

Friday, February 26, 2010

Never thought....

.....that I would have to embark on this adventure without my trusted companion, Sophie. She was 14 years old, and simply the best cocker spaniel that ever lived. OK, maybe that's an exaggeration and I am biased, but that just how it is. I really loved having her at the cabin; she was a good excuse to get out and wander through the woods and her exuberance for fish was a sight to behold.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Snow. again.

I have to be honest, I am not thrilled about the impending snowstorm. Even the thought of a four day weekend doesn't do it for me. For me, a worrier, the snowstorm only gives me the opportunity to worry about so much more; power outages, leaky roofs, car accidents; you get the picture. I wish I could go back to how I felt about snowstorms as a child; sheer joy and boundless energy to careen down hills and trudge back up again over and over and over.... I think I may try that approach tomorrow and see how it feels. Will I be able to recapture the magic I felt years ago?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Family Nature Summits

If you are interested in an incredible nature filled family adventure, check out Family Nature Summits. It's a great way to vacation with a family; the kids have an action-packed program with their peers, while adults get to choose from a variety of amazing nature and adventure programs. If you'd like more information feel free to contact me; I've been on 9 of these programs around the country!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Pleasures of Girl Scout Camp

When I was growing up, in my dingy, depressing little coal mining town, I didn't have a lot of opportunities for truly being in the woods and in nature. Unless, of course, you count playing on the humongous piles of coal known as culm banks. I don't think they count. Then I went to Girl Scout Camp. What a difference! I learned how to fly from a rope swing into the river, cook almost anything over a fire (including wonderful bread and pizza, I might add), sleep in front of a crackling fire all night long, and tie random pieces of rope into thousands of useful knots. But the BEST was the singing around the campfire. We must have learned hundreds of songs, some silly of course, but most reflecting how we all felt about nature and it's beauties. I'll add some of these songs occasionally into this blog so you can get a sense of how wonderful they are.


OK. So I am 51. And I love being in nature and having adventures but I don't seem to do it near enough. I'm going to chronicle my efforts to bring nature back into my life, and become the "nature girl" I was years ago. I always thought I'd be living in a cabin somewhere, chopping wood, whitewater canoeing, cooking meals over a fire. Well, instead, I am a suburban mom, science teacher, recovering attorney, who gets out into nature on occasion. That's simply not acceptable. So here goes......