Friday, May 25, 2012

whew! busy as a bee

Love... makes the world go round! Copyright (c) 2012 Wendee Holtcamp

Absence diminishes mediocre passions and increases great ones, as the wind extinguishes candles and fans fires.
- Francois de La Rochefoucauld

I have a post brewing on motherhood, mothers, and forgiveness - I hope it to be a meaningful, deep, and moving post (at least, I can say, the experience I'll be writing about is all those things) but I haven't had time! I wanted to give a brief update since I haven't posted in a while!

Whew, it has been a busy month. The kids will be out of school in a week. It's finals week coming up. It has been a whirlwind lately - child support issues, teenager issues, and deadlines! I am super excited, though, because I found this really cool program that my son applied to and got accepted into! And we will be leaving in a few weeks!!! It's a camp counselor position in Portland, Oregon! Sam loves the outdoors, but there isn't a lot of outdoor stuff right near where I live. Houston does have a lot of outdoor activities believe it or not, but the really good stuff (coastal fishing, hiking in the national forests, camping, etc) is at least an hour away. So he will go to a week-long overnight camp where he trains to be a counselor, followed by 3 weeks of volunteering at a day camp program in Portland. It's called TrackersPDX and it just seems so awesome (and no one paid me to say that!)! It even got amazing reviews on Yelp. :) I am trying to help Sam boost his leadership skills and they even say they will provide a reference letter for college apps. Sam is a lot more quiet and shy than his outgoing sis, so can easily fly under the radar at school. I'm really hoping this brings him out of his shell some, and that he can meet some cool Oregon kids, and just gain some good experience - and have fun! I will be staying in Portland with him and during the weekends we will visit my dad at ye ol' Crackerbox Palace, go to revisit some of the amaaaaaazing places I saw last year on the Central Oregon coast, and who knows what else. I definitely want to take Sam to visit Reed College (a fantastic school!) and possibly University of Oregon in Eugene (where I grew up from age 2-8!), and we may end up at the wild n crazy Oregon Country Fair on my birthday or the day after. I have always wanted to go and never been in Oregon at the time. My brother will be there, my niece, and some others.

Life is pretty good lately - just busy. I just kicked off my once-annual Advanced Writing Workshop and it is quite a full session! I really love this one because it's longer and more involved and the people who sign up really dig in and get some writing and work done. That means more work for me though! I have another basic writing green (science, nature, environment, and outdoor travel) class starting up June 2nd, and another July 21 too - if you are interested let me know! I have started running again, and sorta semi-randomly getting to the gym. And I have to check myself into Kale Overeaters Anonymous... I am totally obsessed! Every day it's kale chips, green juice, and kale-avocado salad. I am over-the-top obsessed and eat like 3 bunches of kale a day. I know, right?! :D I have tons of recipes I've been wanting to share but I haven't had time. And speaking of time, I have a deadline in just over a week and I have to get on it!

Finally... I have several articles out that I haven't mentioned previously on the blog! Check em out and let me know what you think.

  • Nuclear Renaissance in Space Pacific Standard Magazine online (formerly Miller-McCune). As the U.S. prepares to relaunch domestic production of plutonium-238, the space community wishes to assure the public of its safety. Are they right? Published April 6th. It was sort of out of my typical reporting area, but I attended part of the Nuclear and Emerging Technology in Space conference in The Woodlands (near Houston) so there ya go. I broke the news that the US is going to relaunch domestic production of plutonium-238, an isotope used pretty much exclusively for space travel and space "stuff" and it stores are almost depleted. Once the DOE submits the Environmental Impact Statement, I am sure it will get a lot more news coverage.
  • Suspect Sweetener: Arsenic Detected in Organic Brown Rice Syrup Brown Rice Syrup. This is a news summary ("Science Selection") covering a scientific article in Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP), May 2012.
  • Shark Fin Consumption May Expose People to Neurotoxic BMAA. May 2012 Environmental Health Perspectives. This one is an actual news story (ie including interviews and quotes from various sources) about a scientific research paper in another journal. It relates to research done by the same team of researchers I wrote about for the feature I did on cyanobacteria and brain disease for both Environmental Health Perspectives (The Emerging Science of BMAA) and also in Miller-McCune/Pacific Standard (Did Tap Water Kill Lou Gehrig?).
  • Brain Tax: Estimating the Population-Level Impact of Environmental Chemicals on IQ Scores. Another Science Selection news summary for EHP. April 2012.
  • Gut Check: Do Interactions between Environmental Chemicals and Intestinal Microbiota Affect Obesity and Diabetes? A Science Selection for EHP, March 2012

And more are coming very soon! I have a feature article in next month's Environmental Health Perspectives on "dual use research" ie science that can be used for good or evil. Interesting stuff! I'm trying to sell a story on the biggest dam removal in U.S. history - the Elwha dams in Olympic National Park. I visited pre-removal a couple years back - pics and blog here. As I've said before, Olympic National Park is my all-time favorite national park. It's amazing! If you liked the scenery in the Twilight movies... that is all from this area. Forks, in fact, is right on the Olympic peninsula. Course, if you remember, I visited Forks and blogged it (winter wonderland)! I am also intrigued by the idea of writing a story about human trafficking. Apparently Houston is a major hub for it, and it is terrible. A song called 27 million opened my eyes to this. Check out the video...

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