I have decided to start trying to blog here more, but every time I open up the browser window to write something I get a mental block and I end up not blogging. So here I go, I'm a blogging foo! As I've mentioned in my previous scattered posts, things have been bleak over here. I've been struggling. But finally, a major change in my life happened recently, the end of a relationship that has been a bit of a struggle for some time. There's love, and wonderful things, but also challenges that we need to set aside the "us" and each move in life on separate paths now. I am trying to get my footing again, and actually it's been a sort of slow process because I have spent the last two months on and off trying to get back to the gym more, trying to get together with friends more. My creativity feels like it's suffered. and the overwhelm feeling is often there because of sooooo much to do, deadlines, projects, house stuff, life...
One positive thing, I have absolutely enjoyed doing the Animal Planet Animals in the News blog - it's such a joy to write! I think I love it because it's so concise, short, and with a quick turnaround between writing and publication. The story ideas are easy to come by because they're based on stories already out there 'in the news' so I just research, talk to scientists or others, write it up, fact check, put it online, add links, add photo, and before long, wha-la there's my article, published!
I am really enjoying keeping up with all the animal news around the world on a more regular basis too. I love being able to pick what I write about. I love science-based stories. I love positive stories in which conservationists are recovering a species, or there's some good news but boy there's a lot of bad news out there too. I try to write about invertebrates at least once a week because they don't get enough media play compared to the cute cuddlies or the big scaries. And speaking of big scaries, next week is Shark Week!! (Not that I think sharks are scary!) I have all shark stories in the hopper. It reminds me of when I dove with the sharkies in the Coral Sea last April... man that was a truly mind-blowing profound experience!! I have been talking with Sean a bit about maybe doing that documentary in the Solomon Islands, or seeing whether we can get some funding! That would be sooo cool. Oh and hey, the 2-hour documentary Mysteries of the Shark Coast - in which I appear with a yellow bathing suit and braids walking through the background a few time, and acting as the "shark nurse" handing Richard Fitzpatrick tools for the shark surgery - may air again next week so check it out! Here;s a cool descrip of the show, but it's on the Discovery UK site. And just for fun, here's a link to a game I helped write shark questions for: Sharkrunners!
So there you have it. Slow but steady wins the race. I went to my Thursday morning coffee this morn with my girlfriends, a group that has sort of withered away over the past months and I really, really miss it! A woman from the group who had moved across the pond was back in town and I'd never met her but truly enjoyed sharing a wonderful conversation with her about New Zealand, Australia, whale watching, dolphins, sharks and the like!
I'm heading to Dallas tomorrow morning with my kiddos to visit my mom and stepdad and my adorable niece Kira who is in town from Cali (she flew into Houston, actually, so I got to take her to the museum and hang out with her for a while here too - hadn't seen her in 2 years before then!). I haven't been to see my mom/stepdad in quite a while though they've come down here recently. And we didn't kill one another! We actually got along quite lovely this time. So life progresses and unfolds in always weird and wonderful and mysterious ways, doesn't it?
Here are a couple of my latest publications:
Lone Parents: Virgin Birth in Sharks. BioScience Magazine (Am Inst of Biological Sciences) July/Aug 2009.
The discovery that sharks can reproduce asexually means that mammals are the only jawed vertebrate lineage incapable of parthenogenesis. But can this surprising capacity make any difference to shark survival as their populations decline?
Blue-Green Mystery - Texas Parks & Wildlife mag July 2009.
"It may be one of science’s most impressive pieces of detective work. Biologists at the Institute for Ethnomedicine, led by Director Paul Alan Cox, believe they’ve found the culprit for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and other “tangle diseases” including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and supranuclear palsy. The tiny neurotoxic molecule BMAA (β-N-methylamino-L-alanine) is produced by blue-green algae (also called cyanobacteria) found worldwide. The good news? The discovery could lead to a cure. The bad news? BMAA in drinking water could be a health risk even at low levels, but no one’s testing for it in water supplies yet."
My beautiful niece Kira! The photo as taken by and edited by my daughter Savi! This was at the Museum of Natural Sciences. Kira doesn't like her picture taken! She's incredibly smart, and fun and sweet!
Me, in pigtails... I took this one, a self-portrait
My gorgeous son Sam at the beach. Taken by Savi!