Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Inspired by writer Jennifer Willis' Wordle on her blog (or, just procrastinating...) here is the Wordle from my Bohemian Adventures blog! It is, apparently, Wordle Day in the Wordcount Blogathon 2012; however I am not participating so I have no good excuse for my procrastination. So there ya go!

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...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Hamlet's soliloquy

Schoolchildren in Diamante, Peru. "We don't need no education!" :) Copyright (c) 2007 Wendee Holtcamp

I am listening to a CD of Wayne Dyer and Deepak Chopra, and Wayne mentions the line after the most famous "to be or not to be" which is "Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune, Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles, And by opposing end them."

That in itself blew my mind... but when I read the full soliloquy even more so. Wow. It shows how much we are creatures of habit, and how we fear facing our fears and taking steps to end our suffering. It reminds me of the Eagles song, Already Gone, where it says "So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains And we never even know we have the key." I have always loved that song, and always felt strongly about making steps towards making my life the best it can be. I have stayed in bad relationships far longer than I should have, and I am learning how to not blame another person for my own reactions. It will be a lifelong journey of self-discovery, but I am on the path. Anyway I share this with you all in case it resonates! Enjoy! I'm off to Starbuck's to work on my next article.

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
The heart-ache, and the thousand Natural shocks
That Flesh is heir to? 'Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die to sleep,
To sleep, perchance to Dream; Ay, there's the rub,
For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There's the respect
That makes Calamity of so long life:
For who would bear the Whips and Scorns of time,
The Oppressor's wrong, the proud man's Contumely,
The pangs of despised Love, the Law’s delay,
The insolence of Office, and the Spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his Quietus make
With a bare Bodkin? Who would Fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered Country, from whose bourn
No Traveller returns, Puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than fly to others that we know not of.
Thus Conscience does make Cowards of us all,
And thus the Native hue of Resolution
Is sicklied o'er, with the pale cast of Thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment,
With this regard their Currents turn awry,
And lose the name of Action. Soft you now,
The fair Ophelia? Nymph, in thy Orisons
Be all my sins remembered.

-- William Shakespeare, Hamlet

Monday, May 14, 2012

Token Creek Eco-Inn near Madison

During my recent visit to Madison, Wisconsin, my friend Theresa and I stayed at this really neat eco-friendly Bed & Breakfast that someone recommended to me, the Token Creek Eco-Inn B&B. Being all ecofriendly and environmentally conscious myself, it appealed to my senses, naturally! We arrived in the evening after wandering around Madison and eating at Graze (see pics from Madison here) and proceeded to consume unnatural amounts of cheese with a little bit of crackers and let us not forget the wine!

We stayed in the largest room, the Capitol Room Suite. It has a king bed and a whirlpool tub! We were the only ones in the B&B that night.

Jean Schneider, the owner (along with her husband Jason, who we didn't meet), has been teaching workshops for a couple of years and finally opened the B&B part last year. In fact they are about to celebrate their one-year anniversary as a B&B! The workshops sound really interesting too - everything from cheese-making and soap making to gardening with dry stack stone beds. In the morning she made a delicious breakfast. She is a big foodie, like me!

Apparently a breakfast salad is a "thing" in Madison. It sounded kinda weird, but it was actually very refreshing and delicious!

And of course it went along with something sweet: Blueberry streusel french toast with warm maple rum sauce - yummmmm!!

After breakfast, and before Theresa took me to the airport Jean showed us around outside. This is a hoop house (like a greenhouse) outside.

Theresa and Jean walking around. It was drizzling and raining all morning so we put on some of Jean's boots to explore!

A shot showing the garden and a side of the house/B&B.

She raises chickens too and uses the eggs in the breakfast.

Me being silly and taking a self-portrait with Jean in the background! I look like a dork! :)

This is a fire pit she built as part of her workshop, I believe.

Never mind the white mushroom on my head! Ha ha! I swear that hat, the way it's situated on my head, looks like I am all Mario Bros or something... At any rate it was so great to reconnect with my friend Theresa - it amazes me how God puts people in our lives when we are children that we still are connected to on a deep level as adults. It's like even as young people we really do form deep and real connections with particular people, and it is not random. Is there someone from your childhood you want to reconnect with? Go for it!