Tuesday, March 04, 2008

snow and ringtails

Yesterday I booked three flights to Colorado Springs, CO for spring break for myself and the kiddos. I figured if I'm going to disappear to Australia for a few weeks I should bring the kids somewhere cool (darn that mommy guilt). Sam told me last year that every time he wishes on his birthday candles or a star or whatnot, he always wished it would snow. Fat chance of that happening in Texas, so I told him within the year I'd get him to see snow since neither he nor Savie have seen it - except in Alaska when they were too young to remember. And except for the snowpack outside of Yosemite National Park last summer, where they did get to make the coolest snowperson ever, and sled down on their behinds, and have a snowball fight (I have pics on my blog of that back in June 07!). At that time, I told them that I did my job, they got to see snow, but Sam said "Nuh uh! No fair!" Are they never satisfied?!

So the plan is to kill three birds with one stone. The real purpose of this trip is that I'm writing an article on ringtails (Bassariscus astutus). Sometimes people call them ringtail cats, but they're really related to raccoons. Graduate student Naima Montacer is researching and trapping them in Palo Duro Canyon State Park (photo above right is from the park - copyright PDCSP) which is near Amarillo in the panhandle of Texas. It looks like a beautiful area from what I can tell. I love my job!! And it's so cool to be able to share this with the kids. We will camp in the park, which the kids may not be thrilled about especially Savie, but tough beans - it builds character! heh heh heh, evil mommee grin....

Flights to Amarillo were about the same price as flights to Colorado, and well Colorado is snowy and awesome and one of my favorite states... so I'll just rent a car and drive the 6.5 hours which really is nothing for me. And bless my mom's heart, she bought the kids a cool DVD player for a car for their Christmas gift so you can be sure it's gonna make it into the luggage! (photo above left is a ringtail, copyright Naima Montacer)

While in Colorado, I will also interview some people for my book Losing My Religion: A Christian Struggles to Reconcile Evolution and Faith. One was involved in the Epperson vs. Arkansas 1968 court case and another is a theologian with the Presbyterian Church which is one mainstream denomination that accepts evolution, as is Episcopal/Anglican, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and others. Next summer I plan to get to Seattle to interview some people from the Discovery Institute who promote intelligent design. Which I don't agree with at all. But the book is about discovering all the things Christians believe about science and particularly creation and what it means for your average everyday person trying to figure out their faith - or whether what their kids are being taught in school is fact or heresy?

1 comment:

Brian Shmaefsky said...

Cool!

I hope the trip with the kiddos is enjoyable and your writing time is productive.