Rocket Science

My violin, no case

Last weekend, three of my unrelated blog topics–violin, geocaching, and science–came together. It started when Nan, an online friend who administers a violin Facebook group I am in, sent me a request for a sticker for her violin case.

Continue reading Rocket Science


The Empty Map

This is a map of the geocaches around my house. (For a quick introduction to geocaching, see this page). The green-on-white boxes are the locations of caches yet to be found. The smileys represent the caches I’ve found already. The blue question marks represent puzzle caches, in which you have to solve a puzzle to get the exact coordinates, more my husband’s thing than mine.

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The geocaches around our house. I can bike to these.

I’m getting familiar with this map because since the beginning of 2016 I’ve been on a geocaching streak. My husband is an old hand at streaks too: a few years ago he did a 100 days in a row, and he has found a cache on every day of the calendar year, although not sequentially, since 2008 when we started.

I have neither of these milestones under my belt, but as this is a leap year, and I’ve found caches every day so far plus Dec 31, I’m interested in seeing how far this can go. There are still quite a few caches within walking or biking distance, that I can find when I’m out and about during the day. Continue reading The Empty Map

Fitbit Fit

Several Christmases ago I bought myself a pedometer, a Geopalz “Global Footprint,” toglobalfootprint
keep up with my kids, who got other Geopalz as gifts.

Four years later and I’m the only one who still cares. That Global Footprint has been lost and found too many times to count: in my Belmont backyard after mowing the lawn, in a store dressing room, in the garage, in my classroom at work in Newton, in the weight room on a cruise ship, and on the way back from a waterfall in Hawaii. (In that case, it was my son who fished it out of the water.) It survived a spin in the washing machine after not being removed from my pants pocket. My teenage daughter’s iPhone-in-the-toilet story may top all of these, but just barely.

geopalzAfter its final farewell, somewhere unknown at the school in Massachusetts where I taught (and where I was trying to see if I could increase the amount I walked around the classroom while I was lecturing), I got fed up.

Continue reading Fitbit Fit

New State, New Year, New Blog

A group of us on a violin Facebook group where I am a member have decided to start a new music blog for adult learners, called Soundpost. This blog will emphasize personal journeys and stories and will be a support for adults learning to play stringed instruments, especially those who started or re-started as adults.

I made my first post to the group today:

But, here I am facing possibly my biggest motivation challenge since I re-started in 2006. Last July I moved from the Boston area where I lived for 18 years, to the San Francisco Bay area in California. This move was motivated by my husband’s job at Google. I was able to transfer my teaching job at an educational non-profit to the California office, but I left my violin/viola teacher, my orchestra, and my chamber music buddies behind, and I miss them dearly.  I feel like I have to re-start all over again. Yet again. But by now I should be a pro at that. Right?

–> Read more on Soundpost.

Learning to love choral music

I have been participating in a weekly blog series called the Monday Music Medicine Show, hosted by Fimnora Westcaw, the Quantum Hermit. As a violinist whose tastes tend toward the traditional and classical, and as a non-Beatles-lover, I wasn’t sure at first whether this was going to work out for me, or where I would fit in. The bands and solo artists I liked growing up tended to be ones other people made fun of, or that they called “guilty pleasures.” But I am finding the blog to be an interesting and even broadening experience. It turns out there are people outside of the orchestra with whom I can talk about music.

Then came this week’s questionWhat choral songs fill you with the exquisite allure of voices beautifully blending together, and wrap you in their embrace? Continue reading Learning to love choral music

One Lovely Blog Award #2

I got the “One Lovely Blog” award once before, soon after I started blogging, which was a very nice thing to have happen at the beginning of this blogging journey.

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Since then I’ve taken a Word Press blogging class, participated in a blogfest, and discovered “award-free” blogs.  I understand the appeal of having an award-free blog, especially the comment that accompanies the announcement: “your comments are enough.” I feel that way too: comments are more than enough. It still boggles my mind (in a good way) that people I’ve never met before are reading this. Continue reading One Lovely Blog Award #2

Chromosomal Ride

I realized when I was doing the Blogging 201 class last month that my blog’s tag line, “The Brain–is wider than the Sky,” is not well explained.

Aside from the fact that the tagline is taken from an Emily Dickinson poem and is therefore supposed to be–ahem–literary, my original idea for using that tag line was to write as a neuroscientist, a person who studies the brain.

I earned a PhD in Neuroscience in 1993 from Stanford University. Since then I have taken a circuitous ride through different jobs in science, including a postdoc at Caltech, a stint in the biotechnology industry, another role in academic project management, and am currently employed in science education and outreach. I teach with an educational non-profit called Science from Scientists, which was founded in the Boston area where I used to live, but has recently opened an office in the SF Bay area.

Giving a presentation to a group of 7th grade students.

I discovered an interest in teaching when I had children and taught them in Sunday School and in Girl Scouts.  I feel like hands-on science education is more play than work. It brings me back to why I wanted to become a scientist in the first place.

Up until now, though, that interest hasn’t been reflected very much in my blog. So I’m going to try to remedy that with an occasional series of posts on scientific or science education topics that I’ve taught recently, or just topics that interest me. Continue reading Chromosomal Ride

Hello 2016!

The Hello 2016 souvenir

I don’t make resolutions, but it is a goal of mine to blog more frequently in 2016 and keep to my schedule of writing 4 days a week. This schedule has been impossible to maintain over the holidays, but I’ve decided not to stress about it, and just pick up where I left off.

This morning my husband and I went geocaching, to another CITO event. We were supposed to pick up trash near the lake, in Shoreline Park. I found one new cache near the trail head and we set off with our little plastic bags from Chinese take-out. The trails were pristine. Continue reading Hello 2016!