sunsetsnow.jpgI started this blog in April of 2015, just after Boston’s snowpocalypse snowmageddon long winter, on the occasion of finding my 1000th geocache. My husband is the more serious cacher in the family, and I accompanied him on this trip for him to find his 10,000th cache. You can read more about it here, in “My First Thousand Finds.”

I don’t intend to write only about geocaching, though, but rather to use geocaching as a metaphor for finding interesting things in unexpected places.

AfterMozartianaMy own main avocation is music. I started learning to play the violin in elementary school, but I quit playing twice for long periods to pursue other interests (once in graduate school, once when my kids were babies and toddlers). When I re-started again for what I hope will be the last time, I also started a blog on violinist.com, in which I wrote about my musical adventures and mis-adventures. While I’ve had ups and downs in playing and especially practicing frequency, I’ve been at it now for almost 12 years.

Music and the Brain.jpg

I am trained as a Neuroscientist, but made a lateral career move out of academic research to concentrate on science education. I have taught part-time with several STEM-related educational organizations, including the UMass Boston Urban Scholars Program, the Innovation Institute, and currently I am with the California office of Science from Scientists. (Read a Q & A about my work as an SfS instructor here.)


I also started to explore my lifelong interest in writing science fiction. These new endeavors were daunting at first, and I thought back to when I started playing the violin again, another big scary project. What had helped the most?

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the answer was “the blog.” When I was freaking out about something or other violinny, I found that writing about it often put the problem into perspective, helped me break it down into manageable steps in my mind, and connect with other people who might feel the same way. I was most clear about that process in this blog: Karen and Julie.

I feel more at peace when I leave the lesson, like I know what I have to do.  And, I plan to go home and blog about it.  I think about Julie Powell again as I’m walking back to the T.  And this time what I think about is how she didn’t let Julia Child’s dismissal get her down or crush her.  How she might indeed be kind of trivial and annoying the way the movie critics say, but that, in the end, her very ordinariness is why I cared about her at all and read her book.  We can’t all be Julia [Child], or Sarah [Chang], or Jasha [Heifetz], but we can all find our own way, and connect with each other.

Here’s to big scary projects, and to connecting!



26 thoughts on “About”

  1. Greetings,
    I’m excited to find your blog via Thursday Doors.I have my own fascination with neuroscience. When I was 26, I was diagnosed with hydrocephalus which believe was caused by a difficult birth but which was largely dormant but suddenly took over and I went from being a marketing professional to struggling to walk, forgetting things at work and walked like someone staggering on a boat. I also developed sensory processing issues and couldn’t listen to music at all for many. many years both before and after my diagnosis and getting the shunt. Six years ago, my daughter took up the violin and her teacher suggested I sit in on her lessons. It was pretty clear she needed my help and I like you had learned a bit of Suzuki method as a child. Given my coordination difficulties, I had no expectations of being able to play the violin and it all took me by surprise. I am now on Suzuki Book 3 and learning 3rd position. It does my head in and I swear I’ve got lost a few times. I am trying to get into regular practice which would probably relieve much of my violin angst.I see writing about playing the violin as my strength, rather than my playing. BTW a few years ago I sat for my Preliminary exam and got an A. My neurologist is amazed.
    I have understood myself a lot better since reading Norman Doidge’s: The Brain which Changes itself” and “The Brain’s Way of Healing”.
    Great to find you.
    Best wishes,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Rowena, That is such a wonderful, inspirational story! I also got back into playing the violin as an adult when my daughter started taking lessons. I played the violin as a child, but I didn’t do Suzuki. I started in a public school program.

      In graduate school I had a TA who had hydrocephalus. He was in his 20s and a medical student at Stanford. Since we were all neuroscience students he thought we would be interested in hearing his story. He also showed us where you could see his shunt under his skin. He had an occasional stutter but otherwise it didn’t seem to affect his ability to teach or study.

      Thanks for stopping by and best wishes on your violin journey! Have you tried any online violin communities such as violinist.com, or the Facebook groups “Adult Starters violin/fiddle,” “the Violin Guild”? Since you like to write about the violin, I think you’d enjoy posting there!


  2. Hello, Just found your blog via the Facebook Artist/photo blogger site. It’s nice to find a fellow scientist /creative. I find it ironic that the giants of science among them Darwin, Humbolt, & Audubon were all artists. It was common then. I am a retired middle school science teacher now dedicating myself to whatever creative past time that catches my fancy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Alanna, it’s great to meet you. I do some part-time middle school science teaching myself, with a group called Science from Scientists. I am thinking about getting into it full-time but I don’t have a teaching credential. What grade level(s) did you teach?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Big scary projects – I wonder if that has to do with already having finished a doctorate! I started playing the violin when I was 10 or 12, but I leave that one alone, because it’s too long ago, and instead took back up painting, and since a few months the guitar. I have noticed in my own life – now all I do after my doc in Psy. are big scary projects:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Marina, I’ve been to Athens once, in 2009. We were traveling and taking a cruise on the Mediterranean. We had just started geocaching the year before, and we found several nice ones while we were in Greece. There are geocaches at the major sites like the Acropolis, but there are also some hidden out of the way that take you to interesting historical places. For example, there was a cache near the place where Socrates was a prisoner and died (or at least that’s what the story said!) I should post some of those pictures too!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “I found that writing about it often put the problem into perspective, helped me break it down into manageable steps in my mind, and connect with other people who might feel the same way.” I think this is the best summary I’ve read in a long time of why bloggers blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Totally feel the same way about writing! Also, while I’ve never participated in geocaching, I think someone should gear one specifically toward environmental issues. The two seem to fit perfectly. Looking forward to reading more on your blog. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi, My name is Sharukh Bamboat, one of the hosts of the Cherished Blogfest that you signed up for. I am glad that you decided to participate in it and write about the objects that you cherish in 500 words. I would request you to please put up the ‘Cherished’ blogfest badge on your blog sidebar to help your audience know that you’re participating. If you’ve already done that, kindly ignore it and I thank you for supporting the blogfest. You can also schedule the blog in advance, so that you can visit the other blogs during those three days of the fest. You can interact and make friends with other bloggers through the blogs available on the linky list. Also, please provide me with your email ID, that will help me to communicate with you efficiently about the upcoming blogfest. You can either reply this comment, or email me at – pathbreakingwriter@gmail.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Sharukh, yes, the timing of this blogfest is good for me because I’m moving across the country right around the time of the blogfest and so I’m looking at possessions and deciding which I cherish and am going to keep and which I am going to donate, sell, freecycle, or otherwise leave behind. And there are some things I cherish that I am going to have to leave behind in any case, like my house!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Jack, thanks for stopping by! That’s cool that you have played Irish tunes in pubs. I visited Ireland several years ago and while I was there I picked up a book of Irish fiddle tunes to learn. I’ve played a couple of them busking at the local farmers’ market. Overall I’ve done mostly classical violin but I would like to do more fiddling.


  8. Wow, we have many of the same interests. I used to play the violin, but it has been many years since I picked it up. I had a couple of cats that had some kind of audio sensitivity, so I gave them a break. I have many fond memories of playing Irish tunes in pubs. I also would love to know how the brain works and have been learning neuroanatomy for the past decade or so. Geocaching is new to me but sounds fascinating.
    Thanks for the blog visit. I look forward to reading more of yours.
    Best regards,

    Liked by 1 person

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The Brain—is wider than the Sky

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