hot date with a paintbrush

TGIF!!!! Wooooo!!!
Happy hour special- glass of Big House Pink & a can of Ralph Lauren
suede finish.



I'm in the market for a new helmet for moped-ing, and ohhhhh do I wish I had $200 to spend on one of these. (see more here)



Today's amazon.com order.
An attempt to find balance this fall.
Or, perhaps, total delusion that I will ever have free time.



Sand, stain, varnish. Repeat.


back in the Lou

& the weather is perfect.
It's good to be home.


misty morning

Perfect kayaking conditions.
Loon, snapping turtle, kingfisher.
Cedar swamp, Joe-pye weed, ericaceous shrubs.
Dad, coffee.


beach weather

brief season

Up north, the leaves are beginning to change already.


good for what ails you

Maybe I'm too old to play around in the water for 20 mins by myself?
Or maybe not.


it's going to look awesome when we're done...

I've been too jetlagged to study, so I might as well make myself
useful doing something productive.


jet laaaag

It seems to be getting worse every day.

I had to physically restrain myself from eating leftover Mexican food at 3:30 am when I was wide awake--the meatballs I consumed at 5:30 am yesterday morning were, in hindsight, not the best start to my early day.

It is now early afternoon and I feel like I am looking at the world from the bottom of a pool. I need to finish data entry but I am pretty sure I'll screw it up if I try to do it in this state.
And, given that bit of reflection, it is therefore also probably not a good idea for me to operate a belt sander?
(we're mid-way through sanding the stairs! I was going to finish that this afternoon!)

Perhaps a nap is in order...


welcome home present!

If this were China, I could fit a family of four on this thing!




still reflecting on inspiration

My mind was wandering as I sorted samples this morning and I suddenly, randomly, remembered a wet, grey Saturday when we lived in the Hudson Valley. We were bored and restless so we drove down to Beacon to go to the art museum. We timed our departure wrong and got stuck in traffic on our way out of town. I had the low blood sugar crazies and was not acting my age.

As we waited in the line of cars at a light I saw the back of a small, hunched man standing near the intersection, holding a sandwich board, in panhandler stance. But instead of the usual weathered, worn clothes, this man had a bright red rain jacket with the hood up. We inched closer but he faced the oncoming traffic and it wasn't until we turned the corner that I caught a short, blurry glimpse of his face.

Pete Seeger, well into his eighties at that point. Standing alone in the drizzle on the side of Route 9. Holding a sign that read PEACE.

green the ghetto

... on a recent driving tour back from another field site I began to feel overwhelmed by the scale of the environmental degradation here in China. The land and water are caught between industries scrambling increase production and everyday people just trying to make it to next year...and just SO MANY people. Poor people don't have the luxury of planning for the long term and industries just don't care. It is just not sustainable and it is depressing.

Whenever I am beginning to feel a little overwhelmed by how to scale up my work to the big picture, or just generally like I am suffering from academic myopia, I go back and watch this video of Majora Carter at TED. I had the great opportunity to work with her organization Sustainable South Bronx for a few years when I was at the NYC Parks Dept. and served on a committee or two with her. She is fantastic and dynamic and makes me want to be a better, more active, broader thinking person. The beginning of this is touching, the middle is a little pitch-y, but the end, when she calls out Al Gore for selling her short, is priceless. What would our world be like if we had more Majoras? How can we best take her message and apply it to the developing world?

cherry baby

Having no end of trouble finding a song to go behind my "Farewell & thanks for everything!" slideshow... every song ever written sounds silly behind pictures of me doing fieldwork in the desert in China.

Needing the magical music-selection powers of my other half. I'm running out of time and i'm going to end up w/ a Neil Diamond song in there and everyone is going to be confused.



My time in China is coming to an end; I have one week left. This is both exciting and terrifying.

Exciting because I'll be going home! I can tell that I am beginning the mental transition out of here because I have started reading the backlog of recipes in my blogroll. Ok, yes, this is partly a case of severe procrastination (see below re: data entry!) but also means I am thinking about being home.

Terrifying because it means this is it. I leave the field station in 2.5 days and head back to Beijing for final meetings and final reports. So, no more data collection. The next two days will be tying up loose ends and packing everything up for transport to the various places that samples are going, and entering all of my data onto the computer and backing it up fifty times on the off chance that my field notebook spontaneously combusts, or i accidentally drop it down the loo hole on the train, or a pickpocket takes my laptop, or any of the other totally plausible scenarios running around in my brain.

Did I "finish my work?" Everyone keeps asking me this question. The short answer is yes, but the longer answer is that I finished the short list. My sampling is barely adequate, but it will have to do. I am learning that this is how things work here. Given one day to do three days worth of sampling? Work fast and get as much as you can and scrap the less important stuff. I am trying to let go of regret, because there is nothing I can do about it now. It is what it is.

Although, if you judge productivity by scrapes and bruises, then I have had productive summer indeed.

Exhibit A: A wicked case of Fieldwork Forearm (the elbow to hand tan) matched up with feet the pale white color of frozen cod fillets from being stuffed in boots every day. And I will spare you a glimpse of what they look like underneath, but it is not pretty.

Exhibit B: You can't see all the little bruises and scrapes on my leg very well in this pic, but as of yesterday it also sports three large gashes from where I ran into a barbed wire fence. (I dodged the puncture wounds though, so I think I'm good on the tetanus, right?)

Exhibit C: a lovely layer of small lacerations from sharp-leaved grasses overlaid on a heat rash.
There is also something odd happening with my toenails but I am trying not to think about that because it scares me.


for good luck