Friday, February 27, 2015


It's strange when a celebrity dies. We didn't know them, but we sometimes felt as if we did. This morning when I heard that Leonard Nimoy had passed away, I, like so many others was left mourning someone that I had never met. Leonard Nimoy was a very artistic person who aside from being an actor was a director, a poet, photographer, and a musician among many other things. Of course most of us remember him as Mr. Spock. I remember being very young and sitting with my Dad and my older sister watching Star Trek and then later racing home to watch the reruns with her and also my little sister. I was just a young kid, but I knew, even then that they were trying to send me a larger message with those episodes. The show was a basic good versus evil drama cloaked in the shroud of space travel, but it was so much more. Besides the idea that we could travel out beyond the confines of our own atmosphere looking for new places and lifeforms, there was the notion that it was done not with the idea of conquering worlds but in the name of science and knowledge. There was the idea that everyone was valuable no matter what color they were (green, purple, tentacles, it didn't matter). Women were officers on the ship and their opinions were valuable (even though Mr. Roddenberry preferred them in really short dresses). Star Trek suggested a future where disease, civil war, and money were vestiges of society's troubled past. The people in Star Trek were flawed, brash (think Captain Kirk) and often lead by their emotions (yes, even Mr. Spock). Each crew member had their weaknesses and strengths. Still, they sought to do the right thing and mostly, it worked out in the end.
This afternoon, Paul and I were talking about Nimoy's death. Paul, who grew up loving Star Trek and in particular Mr. Spock, told me about when he was a kid and would practice in his room raising his eyebrow like Mr. Spock until he could do it perfectly (he still can). More importantly, he told me that Star Trek was one of the reasons that he wanted to (and did) become a scientist. I wonder how many other kids were similarly inspired? Many, I'm sure. Not a bad legacy for a short running show and a handful of actors. I hope that knowledge made the years of wearing the funny haircut and pointy ears well worth it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


It's been a busy six months. In that time Paul and I had an amazing trip to Paris and London (I've been meaning to post photos of that trip, but have been daunted by the sheer scope of the amount of photos I must sift through. I will do it soon), then the holidays and then off to Albuquerque for a workshop and then on to Tucson for the gem shows (I will also post pictures of my time in Tucson soon as well).

It's almost March and I don't know where the winter has gone. It's been a pretty brutal season for the eastern U.S. and I hope the worst is over for them. I know a lot of people don't like it, but I've always had a love for winter. I love the snow and though I sometimes dislike the lingering cold I try to embrace it as just part of this wonderful place that I'm lucky to live in (Full disclosure: I haven't as much patience for the hottest days of summer. Just ask my family!). When the weather is nice enough I love to put on my Yak Tracks and get out and walk the trails and take pictures of the beauty that is all around us.

 My sisters and I were lucky enough to have had parents that taught us to appreciate and love the natural world around us. One of the things I love in the winter is the return of the Bald Eagle to much of the Midwest. I had never seen a Bald Eagle until I was in my late 20's. When I was a kid Bald Eagles were on the brink of extinction due to habitat loss and the use of DDT which caused the thinning of bird of prey's eggshells, causing their populations to severely decline. Since the ban on the use of DDT in the 1970's, eagle populations are on the rise to the point that the Bald eagle has been removed from the Endangered Species List. Now, in this one spot there are dozens of them that stay the winter.

Today, I walked to a spot where the eagles congregate along the Iowa River. They seem to like this area, probably because fish are plentiful there near the dam.  They're beautiful and majestic, but actually funny too. They engage with each other and sometimes seem to be playing games of tag in the sky. I never tire of watching them. I could have stayed for hours but the wind finally chased me away.