Saturday, April 30, 2011

Book Release Feels Like Graduation, Wedding, BIG DAY

Hi friends,
I am surprised at how excited I feel about Monday, May 2, release day for Breaking Through the Spiral Ceiling.  Since graduation at my college is right around the corner, and we just saw the royal wedding on TV, I feel it compares to those occasions for me, way back when.  It's funny how little I recall of my graduation day.  I cannot recall the speaker.  I know we wore black gowns and it was very hot.  I recall sitting down with my family and my senior thesis mentor, Ann Lacy, to chat after it was over.  Did I shake hands with President Otto Kraushaar?  Probably.  But I have no memory of that.   For my first wedding, I recall having cold feet right before the ceremony and having my dad calm me down.  I recall that the priest brought Marge Champion, a movie star, as his guest to the wedding.  I remember after the classical music on the tape, it switched to rock n roll via Roll Over Beethoven.  But that's all I remember.  What we said, what the priest said, that is all gone.  For my second wedding, I remember being worried that my nose would still need a cast, but it didn't.  I remember more about the ceremony because Mike and I wrote a lot of it.  I remember singing the Wedding Song and Morning Has Broken with Mike.  I remember a taped talk by Sister Julian Betts, Mike's education teacher from Bowie State.  I remember Katie hitting everyone in the nose with a very long-stemmed rose.  I remember Erin sleeping along the wall, and Jean pregnant with Susan.  I remember Lyle, spiffy in a suit.  And at the reception, I remember people watching the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament while we opened presents, and that Lyle got more presents than we did!  More for that one.  Maybe because it was more recent, although still many years ago.  But the Book Release has in common with all these the feeling of anticipation, the feeling of being on the edge of something that will change my life.  Here's hoping it changes for the better, for the better for women considering a career in science but unsure if it's compatible with a family.  Yes it is!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Birds on the Move


It seems like every day now, I hear different birds calls from the fruit trees and berry bushes in the yard before I get up.  I can often spot a new bird or two as I leave for work.  The draft of northward migration is moving and the birds migrate through Southern California, stopping to snatch a few good mouthfuls as they pass through the neighborhood.  My sister Jean gave me a bird book with bird calls embedded in it, so if I have time, I can page through and try to figure out who I listened to at early morning call.  The calls are often particularly from males and stimulated by a spring burst of testosterone, but that general picture gets a lot more complicated when biologists study individual types of birds.  My old friend Luis Baptista, sadly now deceased, used to say birds sing such beautiful songs because their balls hurt them due to excessive testosterone in spring.  I can't really believe the songs are produced out of pain, though.  They seem to be joie de vivre in some cases, look-at-me calls in others.  The idea of King Solomon's Ring, which was supposed to make the birds and animals' vocalizations meaningful to the ring's wearer, has always attracted me.  I would love to be "in" on the meanings of these sounds.  But for today, just seeing a poised indigo bunting in the yard, sporting feathers of intense turquoise blue, was enough.