Cambridge Science Festival

Posted under: family, science, technology, travel.
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The girls had spring break from school this past week. I planned my vacation from work the same week as the girls’ school break so we could spend that time together, and perhaps take a short trip.

Brent had sent me an email several weeks ago with information about the Cambridge Science Festival, a celebration showcasing the leading edge in science, technology, engineering and math. The weeklong festival occurs every spring, with the purpose of making science accessible, interactive and fun. Brent suggested I take the girls down to attend this. I thought it was a great idea. After looking at the calendar of events, I decided that Wednesday the 23rd of April had the most activities that we would be particularly interested in. The majority of events were held on the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) campus in Cambridge.

My awesome daughters and me on the Downeaster ride home to Maine.

My awesome daughters and me on the Downeaster ride home to Maine.

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Comments (0) Apr 26 2014


A Freeport Getaway

Posted under: family, travel.
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I like to take the opportunity when I can to get out and away from home with the family. It’s nice to get out of the house (even if it’s only a short 15 miles away), to have someone else clean up after us and prepare our meals, and to swim in a pool and soak in a hot tub.

The girls, especially Jenna, were pleased about having a couch in the hotel room.

The girls, especially Jenna, were pleased about having a couch in the hotel room.

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Comments (3) Mar 22 2014


Redneck Festival

Posted under: entertainment, travel.
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I have never been attracted to the “redneck” lifestyle, but when my friend Nancy invited me to attend the Redneck “Blank” Pig Roast and Music Festival with her, I thought, why not? YOLO. It looked like fun. Three days of redneck events in the remote town of Hebron, Maine. It was previously known as the “Redneck Olympics,” but the U.S. Olympic committee challenged Brooks, the organizer, on the use of the name.

Courtesy of Redneck Maine

Courtesy of Redneck Maine

We had the pleasure of meeting Harold Brooks, a very nice laid-back man. This redneck event was covered by “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” last year, and this year the History Channel filmed the event.

Nancy and I planned on camping out for the weekend. However, our amazing and generous friend offered to pay for a motel room instead. She didn’t think it was good for me to be camping with my medical conditions. What a sweetheart!

We arrived early on Friday, but there was really nothing on the itinerary. People were there to get settled camping and drive their four-wheelers around. A beer tent and concession tent were set up, as well as various other tents selling redneck souvenirs. We had a good laugh at some of the treasures we could have purchased. Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (3) Aug 05 2013


Book Review: Packing For Mars

Posted under: book review, education, science, travel.
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Packing For MarsOK, so I didn’t read this book thoroughly cover-to-cover. I read Roach’s first book Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, which I really enjoyed. So I figured this book would also be pretty good; and since Brent was going to the NASA Tweetup to watch the final shuttle launch, I wanted to learn more about space flight and behind-the-scenes astronaut life. Although I skimmed over parts of the book (Brent read it too, and he caught me when he tried discussing certain parts of which I wasn’t familiar), I did learn a lot of interesting things and enjoyed Roach’s writing style. She gets actively involved in her research and incorporates humor in clever and unexpected ways. I like how she explains gravity:

Gravity is the prime reason there’s life on Earth. You need water for life, and without gravity, water wouldn’t hang around. Nor would air. It is Earth’s gravity that holds the gas molecules of our atmosphere–which we need not only to breathe but to be protected from solar radiation–in place around the planet. The term “zero gravity” is misleading when applied to most rocket flights. Astronauts orbiting Earth remain well within the pull of the planet’s gravitational field. Spacecraft like the International Space Station orbit at an altitude of around 250 miles, where the Earth’s gravitational pull is only 10 percent weaker than it is on the planet’s surface. Here’s why they’re floating: When you launch something into orbit, you have launched it so powerfully fast and high and far that when gravity’s pull finally slows the object’s forward progress enough that it starts to fall back down, it misses the Earth. It keeps on falling around the Earth rathe than to it. As it falls, the Earth’s gravity keeps its tug, so it’s both constantly falling and constantly being pulled earthward. (p. 86)

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Comments (0) Aug 06 2011


Watch Out For That “Low Fuel” Warning

Posted under: travel.
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Gas PumpAll vehicles come conveniently equipped with a “low fuel” warning light and alarm, giving the driver several miles in which to find a petrol station and fill up. That being said, I never had much sympathy for people who run out of gasoline (Brent included). My low fuel light came on the day before yesterday, and I continued to drive several miles after that. Yesterday the girls wanted to play on the playground at Skye’s school and I thought “I’ll just fill up the tank after that.” I would be driving around locally, and I felt pretty safe and invincible.

I had to stop by Renys, a Maine department store. It was on the way to the gas station, so naturally it made sense to stop there first. Just after I pulled into the parking lot the Jetta’s engine sputtered and died–right in the aisle. I left the girls in the car and ran into Renys, hoping they sold gas cans. Skye called me from her phone to ask if she could take the girls over to the grocery store to get a drink of water. I told her I would be out soon and to stay in the car.

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Comments (2) May 31 2009


Is My GPS An Enabler?

Posted under: travel.
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Pink GarminI grew up in Illinois, and Brent and I lived in Kansas for many years. The Midwest is set up like a grid–plus it’s flat–which makes it pretty easy to get around. I have lived out West as well, where all the streets are numbered. Again, it’s hard to get lost or disoriented there. It’s not so simple getting around in New England. I love living here, and I’d much rather be here than anywhere else. However, I did have to get used to the many winding and one-way roads, and the streets with three or four different names. When we first moved to Maine I actually got lost while I was out running. I had to stop a fellow runner and ask her for directions so I could find my way back home. She was very understanding and helpful. It would have been nice to have a GPS then.

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Comments (3) Feb 14 2009