Tuesday, August 30, 2011

That Visit to Meteor Crater

A few years ago we "accidentally" visited Meteor Crater while driving along I40 in Arizona.  I say accidentally, because my dear husband did the road trip planning, and it's not the kind of place he would notice.  Hoover Dam?  Yes.  Impact crater?  No.  But when I saw the sign, I knew we had to stop.  And it was so much fun that T and I decided it was worth revisiting with L as we headed out to California.

Last time we visited, it was 15 minutes before closing.  There were no tours left, and we pretty much had the crater viewing area all to ourselves.  While a bit rushed, it was amazing to see the sun set over the rim!

This time, we planned to get there in the afternoon and have lunch at Subway (in the visitors' center) before we set off for the final leg of our journey.  The day was glorious, and the crater was just as we remembered it.  For L, it was her first look at the big hole in the ground.  We watched the brief film and caught a tour with Edwardo, who gave us an overview of the history and geology.  He was terrific.

We took a few photos:

Sign of a Crater

The Crater looms ahead

Pay to enter


Crater...see the hawk?  Dead center?  Click to zoom!


bottom of crater

T preparing to take a photo

L preparing to take a photo

L and T compare impressions

The three intrepid travelers!

The near rim of the crater

The far rim of the crater

Above the visitor center

Struggling up the stairs...blah.

Looking down on the lower viewing station

By the time I was done climbing back up the stairs, I was craving the margarita that Edwardo offered in jest.  Some things you just oughtn't joke about, Edwardo.  ;)

BTW, when Google maps says it's 10 hours from Meteor Crater to TAC, they are right on the money.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tie a Yellow Police Line 'Round the Old Oak Tree

Or, you really need to walk around the neighborhood to find what the storm really did.  

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The Forgotten Pages: India

Well, sort of.  I compiled a set of recommended books for a study of India a few years ago, but thought that it had disappeared from my MacBeth's Opinion when I decided to go back to the free (and ad-laden) basic website.  Instead, I discovered a browser issue:  The page just doesn't load for Chrome.  So, I am transferring this list of my favorite books on India and Indian culture to the blog, right here!  I hope it is useful to someone, and my apologies to the friend who was looking for books on India one day, and I dropped the ball.

My interest in India I get from my father, who studied eastern philosophy with Sahakian in college.  My father never traveled to India, but told me of a friend and classmate who did; the poor fellow got off the plane, looked around, and got right back on and returned to the US.  (I am not sure if this classmate changed his major, and the only other thing I remember about him is that he had a cat with horrid scars from going through the dryer accidentally.)

My first teacher was an Indian woman (a Buddhist married to a Brit) who ran an excellent pre-school in Boston.  I was but three years old, but remember the school vividly; it was wonderful.  Thank you, Mrs. Renfrew!

In addition to the books here, I recommend rounding out a study of India with a visit to an Indian restaurant or grocer.  We do, often...Remember this post about Paul's discovery of Sweet Paan?  That was a fun thing to try (once).

Picture books:

A Curly Tale

Magic Vessels

Hiss Don't Bite

Eyes on the Peacock's Tail

One Grain Of Rice

Folktales from India

The Ninth Jewel of the Mughal Crown ...




Siddhartha (high school)


Disclosure:  As usual, these books are available in most library systems.  The Amazon links are provided for convenience, and I do make an absurdly small profit from your purchase (which in turn is spent on books for my own homeschool...)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Alcohol and Hurricane Preparedness Round-up

"We're going to ride this out with granola bars and Jameson," vowed a visitor to NYC.  I can't imagine that combination, but if I were desperate for processed grain snacks, I guess those would be good choices.

Or perhaps the whiskey is for medicinal purposes.  

U.S. News reminds us, "Time's running out for east coasters to grab their beer and bread and brace themselves for Hurricane Irene..."  So, I'm baking a loaf right now.  Wouldn't want to be caught unprepared.

Here's a suggested "hurricane kit" including milk, cookies and wine.   Makes sense.  Makes more sense than buzzing down to the beach to surf.

For those of you in Boston, the Back Bay Patch has this tip (and others):  Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale is now on shelves.  Yep.  Priorities, folks.  I'm glad to see the BB Patch is on top of the real needs of its readers, just like our local version.  And I see the locals in my old neighborhood are going to party out the storm.  “It’s not like people will think ‘Oh no, I can’t go out,’” said a beer manager at a store in Allston.

In New Jersey?  No different.  They can't find batteries anywhere, but this resident found all she needed:  “Alcohol, soda and water. Ice, bread and junk food,” she said. “Got peanut butter, making sure we have flashlights.”

But I have been noticing that many of my friends are putting wine on their lists of "must have" items for hurricane preparedness.  I'll get some tomorrow.  I wonder if Hurricane Ridge Cab will be available?

So, what are you getting at the store?  ;)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

On Lewis and Librarians

As a child, I spent a good deal of time in the Brighton Branch of the Boston Public Library.  It was (and still is) a "modern" building, built in 1969 to replace a venerable old brownstone.  The link above includes a slideshow of the old facility and its patrons, as well as still photos of the new facility, with a teen cafe-style lounge, and reading nook (and I note that the old interior photos always seem to include folks reading books, whereas the new photos show no patrons...odd).  I can't help but think the older building had a charm and warmth that I never felt in the newer one.  Still, the children's librarian was cheery, and I soon discovered that she had a special place in her heart for C. S. Lewis.  

I had discovered Lewis in 2nd grade, under the influence of a young teacher who came in as a maternity replacement halfway through the school year.  My school was a public school, so she never mentioned any Christian themes in the Chronicles of Narnia as she read them aloud to the class.  After that introduction, I read them and reread them over again, always thinking there was some message just out of reach.  A few years later, while sitting in the library's children's reading room, I overheard some of the 6th graders from the local parochial school asking the librarian for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  Somehow in the conversation I overheard  her say the name "Jesus" and the whole message dawned on me.  How could I have been so dense?  

Imagine my delight, then, when visiting the library at Thomas Aquinas College last week, and seeing a well-stocked Lewis section.

L immediately reached for the books she so loves.  We looked at the covers of older editions of his works, and tried to find which were the oldest copies.  It's a book thing, I guess.  T, meanwhile, was reading through his first assignment, which was Lewis' essay, "Learning in Wartime."

As we left, we passed the checkout desk to pay for a book (they were having a discard sale) that L picked up on Danish literature.  We were delighted to find this admonition:

A bit later in the day we were back in the library for a tour with the librarian, the very amazing and enthusiastic Viltus Jatulis.  L whispered to me (it was a library, after all) that it would be worth going to TAC just to enjoy her company in the library.  High praise.  I wish I had taken a video of her presentation and tour of the rare book collection; her tour should be on the TAC website so students get an idea of the kind of place this really is--a place where learning is cherished.  I could spend years in that room alone, perusing the medieval manuscripts!  

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Biggest Thing I Hit This Time

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Signs Along the Way

Shovel ready!

Could that be his real name?

A tempting stop.

That creature offering me coffee is a bit of a nightmare.


Caves are cool!

Lots of Indians selling things.


Caves are good hideouts.

That's innovation.

Do they Bar-B-Q Hicks?

Looking for him all my life.

Biggest bra billboard I have ever seen.  Only bra billboard, too.

Running bourbon?

Must be...

Unitarian Universalists must exit.

I bet this place sucks.

This sign should be more widely displayed.

CANDY!!!  (Yes, we stopped!)