Monday, January 28, 2008

Charisma of a Small Mammal

Cover story in the Tacoma newspaper today (saw it in the airport); and lots of other news stories. (1)(2)(3) Charming photos of kids from the Stevens Middle School helping to release fishers up on the Elwha River. The first eleven fishers to be reintroduced were trapped near Williams Lake, BC, and are the first of a planned total of 100 to be released in the Elwha, Sol Duc, Hoh, Bogacheil, Queets and Quinault basins.

"Some of the fishers released Sunday were backpacked into the wilderness..." These are elusive, secretive critters. They streak across the release photos, and are gone; it's not likely we'll ever see one. But they'll be there, again, as they once were.

Photo borrowed from the Olympic National Park website:

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Flatirons, Boulder, Morning

Click for larger image.

Seminar over, storm moving in. Fly home tomorrow. Had good connections with various people. Waved my map of Washington State around a lot. Hardly anyone seems to know where the Olympic Peninsula is, or for that matter where Seattle is, or Victoria, or or or...

Arapahoe Avenue scene, Boulder, Colorado

Friday, January 25, 2008

Thomas Jefferson's Reading News

Thanks to lunatic users of Librarything, we can see Thomas Jefferson's Library. Read about the Jefferson project, and about other I See Dead People['s Books] projects.

You don't have to be either dead or a great statesman, though, for people to find your reading habits interesting. S. sent me a link to Art Garfunkel's 40-year reading history.

As for me, the walls of the Community House are lined with a motley and mostly elderly collection of books, and a 1986 teen novel by Bernice Selden stuck to my hand this afternoon during a seminar break. She emailed me years and years ago from New York to ask some questions about the setting for a mystery she was working on; I took the camera out that weekend and shot a roll of film for her on the highway from Kozart's Store and Tres Piedras to Tierra Amarilla. Her story was based based on the death of Navajo environmental activist Leroy Jackson, who was found dead in his vehicle somewhere along that road in 1993. Guess I better read her teen story tonight and sneak it back into the Community House in the morning...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Heading for Boulder

Heading out at 0-dark-30 tomorrow for a weekend seminar in Boulder with Baker-roshi. Staying with G.H., hanging out with the sangha, listening to Roshi for three days. Then back again on Monday. Talk about really cold — looks like it will go down into single digits. But unless the forecast changes, no blizzard to trap me there, or keep me from flying out of Denver on Monday.

The Boulder seminars take place in the Community House at the Colorado Chautauqua, right next to the open hills leading to the Flatirons. Very very Boulder, and absolutely beautiful when I went to seminar there one April. Which this is not. I hope they have good heat...

Yeah, a lot of flying this month. Don't have to do it again until Tucson in March.

Along the Shore

Went walking along the downtown shore with M. yesterday evening, the second perfect blue-sky day in a row. The path is part of the Olympic Discovery Trail. Mount Baker on the northeast horizon astonishingly tall and frosty white--but I didn't try to photograph it. You need a long lens or else all the camera sees is a little blip on the horizon, whereas in truth it LOOMS.

There were ducks and gulls, and a quartet of otters heading east through the water parallel to shore, flashing their tails as they swooped along ahead of us; briefly we hustled down the path, but we couldn't catch up with them. A mother with a small boy saw a seal, but we didn't see it. A tiny pond behind the path was still frozen — it's been really cold — and we watched gulls clown around as they slid on the ice: skidding landings, or their little legs slowly doing splits as they peck at bread thrown for them. We walked through the Rayonier Mill property as far as Ennis Creek, where there were several pieces of orange flagging hanging over the creek marking salmon redds. We couldn't read the hieroglyphics on the ribbons; M. said the date the redds were flagged would tell us which sort of salmon, she guessed coho. Then back again, then went out for tea in the dusk.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Raptors in the Rain

Long day touring the birding locales of Sequim, Washington, with a raptor guy. Actually, a merlin guy. Though we didn't see any merlins (there are probably less than a dozen of them on the Olympic Peninsula), there were peregrine falcons, redtail hawks (85% of all raptors on the Olympic Peninsula are redtails), bald eagles. Cooper's hawk, sharp-shinned hawk, kestrel. Ravens. Also many ducks (especially pintails and wigeons), shorebirds (especially lotsa dunlins), trumpeter swans, tech talk, and lots and lots of birders' jokes.

We started at Dungeness Landing, where the rain began. En route to Three Crabs landing, the tail end of our convoy spotted a peregrine falcon in a tree across the street from the Dungeness Bay country store. Someone went on to Three Crabs and brought back the rest of the cars, and the theme of the day was set as 18 wet people stood by the side of the road listening to our instructor and peering through scopes protected by umbrellas. My notebook and my feet and my enthusiasm got very wet right there, but since we were carpooling and my car (along with my warmer coat) was ever further behind us, there was nothing for it but to perservere for six more hours.

We continued on various roads past farms and fields and ponds, stopping whenever observation struck as long as there was room to pull over safely (and sometimes when there wasn't). The rain lightened up through the day. The binocs were mostly useless (and wet), and I got better at seeing through the scopes. OK, it's true: birds are really handsome beings, and it's a pleasure to get such a Really Good Look at them. One of our number was a young teen who had great results using her cell phone to take pictures through the eyepiece of a scope. Towne Road dyke. Port Williams. Washington Harbor. Carrie Blake Park. By the end of the day, if everyone was pointing their binoculars Way Over There, I might actually pick out the little vertical mark of the raptor on his/her branch. And wait for someone to set up a scope so I could actually see it.

Binocs are undergoing the rice cure (buried in a bowl of rice) to dry them out. If young S. emails me some of her cell phone captures I will post them. Here's a map link. The shore points are fairly firm, but the roads between don't look right. Zoom out a click to see where we were in relation to Port Angeles.

Right On, Library of Congress!

Library of Congress has put a collection of photographs on Flickr. Entry on LOC's blog announcing the move. Flickr page. It started working immediately: comments accumulating. The ones on the potato harvest photo gave me goosebumps, and on #LC-USF35-8 commenters have already identified a location, adding data not present in LOC's information.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Cherry Coke Jello

E., the leader of the mystery readers group here at my mom's seniors' apartment complex, says that on BookTV they interviewed a woman who teaches English and literature at West Point. The interviewer asked her what soldiers leaving for Iraq read. She says they all want to read The Iliad. My mom's job for the mystery group is to arrange for multiple copies of the books they are reading to be sent over on the Bookmobile. This week they are reading Elizabeth Peters' Crocodile on the Sandbank.

Last night's Salad of the Day in the dining room keeps their reputation for strange offerings (egg and pea salad, anyone?) intact: cherry coke jello.

Friday, January 11, 2008

91 Added Minutes of Daylight

About to be on my way to visit mom. I won't mind the longer days, I'll tell you that.
     8:01 AM sunrise and 4:42 PM sunset here tomorrow
     7:26 AM sunrise and 5:38 PM sunset in Tucson
for a total of 91 more minutes of daylight.

The other pertinent numerical fact is seven. Two purpose-bought mysteries, two stray paperbacks, three library books.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Five Minutes West

It rained a lot in the past day or so. When I left work I realized I had forgotten to check the online river gauge. So when I came back up to Highway 101, I changed my turn signal from left to right, and headed west to see how much water there was under the highway bridge across the Elwha River. Five minute later I was sitting in the car thrashing into my boots and rain poncho. It was pouring down rain.

I hopped out and went onto the bridge, there was plenty of room for vehicles to go by. I had however forgotten to figure in the sheets of water thrown up by any 18-wheelers that happened to be barrelling past.

When I tried to take pictures, the camera got wet, so I didn't try very hard. Not so much water; this is what 11.8 feet on the gauge looks like. The historical peak flood stage was 24.65 ft on 12/03/2007, the storm I missed when I was in Tucson.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Slushy Roads, Sun Breaks, Snow Showers, Storm Surf

Beautiful ocean, beautiful ocean.
Lake Crescent After a Snow Shower

The Ocean Is Calling

One of those space-between-the-storms mornings. Gotta go. Checking the rivers, Park roads recording (360 565-3131), weather (1)(2)(3), the First Beach web cam, the tide tables.

Tomorrow might be better. But I gotta go. Maybe I'll go tomorrow too.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Party in the Magically Invisible Library

We had an open house for tribal staff in our library Friday. There I was in the supermarket at 7:30 AM buying snacks and treats for 30 people, just in case. For some hours no visitors came. We sent out the fourth email of the week inviting people to come, this time offering a prize drawing. 'Let's offer them a copy of the new Sherman Alexie book,' said R. 'Nuh-uh, you're not giving away our most hottest new title,' I said. 'OK,' said T., 'ok, we'll give away my personal copy.'

Eventually maybe a dozen people drifted by in the course of the day. There were two women, I'm not sure which office they worked in. They ate our munchies and looked around and finally asked timidly if we meant they could check out the books, they could bring the kids to check out books. 'Oh, yes,' I said. 'I guess I should make a sign.' They nodded, so I printed up about six sheets that read


and showed the women my handiwork (they approved), and taped the signs to the end of the bookcase, and the table full of treats, and the display of new books, and the exit door, and everywhere.

One parent checked out a couple of board books. One teacher also checked out a few things, including the DVD of Powwow Highway that came in on Wednesday and that both R. and I had our eyes on.

Maybe we have to do this every month.

Don't Tell the Serious-Reading Police

Long rainy day. Nothing to read. Well, no mysteries I want to read. Went to the public library when it opened this morning, as that is the best time to hope to score something good from the New Books shelves. No luck. None of the other opening time browsers seemed to score either. I have twenty mysteries on request and not a one of them has turned up for me in the past two weeks. Only thing that caught my eye in the new books was a small Orson Scott Card book, an Ender Christmas story of all things. But I appear to have gone back into the stacks in a trance and wandered home with Ender's Game under my arm, and am rereading it instead of either the several nonfictions or the several second-choice mysteries lying around the house.

So I am reading, or rather not-reading, Karen Armstrong's The Bible (again); and LeGuin's Voices. Am saving Leslie Marmon Silko's Yellow woman and a beauty of the spirit : essays on Native American life and Jimmy Carter's Beyond the White House : Waging Peace, Fighting Disease, Building Hope (and several desirable mystery paperbacks) for the next trip to see my mom a week from now.

OK. Going back to Battle School...

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Memos to Self

I need to remember to bring my tape measure to work, to figure out what size of bulletin board we have room for. The Education Building has all kinds of stuff on its walls already, handcolored posters of Klallam names for animals, announcements of training opportunities, etc.; but we need a place for Library News. Yes we do.

Our library's books of Edward Curtis' photographs have about eight different call numbers. I need to round them up and give them all the same number so they sit together. No matter what Library of Congress thinks is supposed to be happening to them.

Then I need to figure out how to create a literature section in the adult books, so that novels and poetry and writing collections shelve in the same neighborhood, like perhaps in the very first bookcase one sees when they walk in the door. Don't need to worry about drama: I can't think of a single Native American playwright. Filmmakers, yes. But the DVDs will be shelved in their own conspicuous section, like ON TOP of that first bookcase. When I manage to order some.

The tribe's techie is leaving in two weeks. He's said he will get the last module of our catalog software up and going before he leaves, the one that makes us searchable from the web, so that his successor will not have to start from scratch in learning to get the program (Resourcemate) to play well with the tribe's network. Oh it will be so exciting to sit at home and check our holdings, or to create links to our own records when one of the library's books figures in the Reading News....