Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Little Bit of This and That

1. Spring is fighting its way here. Things are beginning to bloom and my backyard is gorgeous but it is still no fun to be out there pulling weeds or planting. I don't like to get cold.

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Taken this morning.

2. My family is outdoing Matt Lauer. I don't know where in the world they all are. Dave has been in Brussels, Belgium mystified about why he was invited to an ultra-exclusive scientific meeting. He sent me this e-mail following a banquet:

Sometimes there are interesting perks to this job. There are 14 invited participants at this meeting. One has a Nobel Prize in Medicine (actually, quite a famous one-- the guy who discovered that bacteria cause both ulcers and stomach cancer-- he was laughed at for years because of his ridiculous theory, until he proved it right). The guy I spent the evening talking to at dinner was Knighted by the Queen of England 20 years ago -- really a nice guy -- we had a lot of fun. The Editor in Chief of Nature (the most prestigious scientific journal in the world) was sitting on the other side of me, and others included the (recently retired) Chair of Chemistry at Oxford (largest Department of Chemistry in the World). Most of the others have equally impressive credentials (except me and Jay). The neat thing is, most of them don't know squat about Toxicology so they all refer to me and Jay.

I get such a kick out of his humility. He has no idea of his "fame" in the scientific world.

3. My son is leaving today to go to the end of the earth--literally. His destination is Tierra del Fuego at the bottom end of South America. He is travelling by himself, I guess. It will be cold and I am not sure he even has a warm coat. Lucas has always had the earth as a giant map in his brain and he will not rest until he has visited every dot on this map. After all, he has been on the Arctic Circle in Barrow, Alaska and straddled the Greenwich Meridian in London so how could he pass up a chance to go to the tip of South America?

4. My daughter has finished a piano recital and is preparing for final exams. But even in the midst of all of this, she drove the 4-5 hour drive to Portland for the weekend. She made it back and forth just fine. It is just that I am a more comfortable human being if my family stays in one place and I like that place to be with me--right here in Mukilteo. I married a man with Gypsy blood and gave birth to babies who seem to have nothing but Roma blood in their veins.

5. Finally, as I drink my strong Seattle coffee and read my three newspapers this morning, I am delighted about the front page headlines. The Wild Sky Wilderness bill finally passed and will be sent to Bush to sign. This has been years and years in the making and I credit my senator, Patty Murray, for being relentless in her efforts to get it through. It was derailed twice by a republican from California and a republican from Oklahoma--two guys who know nothing about wilderness and who know nothing about our state, obviously. The plan was put together in a bipartisan way with tons of support by a majority here. And I guess it finally passed with a good margin in DC. Now 106,000 acres will be protected and added to our wilderness system and the edge of it is only about 40 minutes from my front door. Yes!!

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(map from Seatttle PI, 2005, but now it is OFF the table and onto Bush's desk!)