Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. Thomas Merton

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Earth Hour 2012

Help the Planet. Turn off your lights for an hour tonight, March 31, at 8:30 in your time zone. Here's some information.

A Sad Day

Oh, dear. Just checking through the bloglist and found that there is sadness over at A Houseful of Rabbits. Their sweet Lucky has crossed the Rainbow Bridge. I know he will be missed.

Sewing Assistants or My Cat Hair Has Fabric on It

I'm back to sewing living history costumes for a couple of friends at the museum where I used to work.

It has been a long time since I've done any machine sewing at all. The two younger cats, Pants (the big tabby) and Twinkie (the little calico), are fascinated by the machines and love all the piles of fabric surrounding them. They also seem to think it is their duty to keep me company while I toil away in isolation in the sewing room.

They are good helpers. Here are some photos of them hard at work. Click to enlarge if the right edge of the photo is cut off

(I'm still trying to figure out the intricacies of posting from my iPhone. Some things elude me, such as photo spacing.)

How would I ever manage to get any sewing done without the help and companionship of these two furballs?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Science Fair Update

Another great year with interesting and creative science projects. Only three trebuchet projects this year. Since I judge in the behavioral and social sciences division, I don't have to judge projects dealing with engineering, aerospace, chemistry, biology, or physical sciences, but I get to view all of them after judging my part. Of course, the kids have access to Internet resources such as "Science Buddies" for project ideas, but some of the kids choose topics related to personal or family interests and issues. The last two years I've seen more forensic science topics. This year one student studied blood spatter analysis (student used a Karo syrup mixture that approximates the consistency of human blood) and another that investigated gender and "tells" to determine if there were differences between male and female indicators of lying. A few of the projects dealt with handedness, including one that examined "hand" dominance in dogs. There were so many really neat ones. It is always difficult to rank them. Thank goodness we have a team of judges and can discuss the projects in order to make our decisions.

On another note, I am currently sharing my computer with another family member, so I'm not getting to read my blog list as frequently as I'd like. I do have access through the iPhone, but commenting with the new prove-you-aren't-a-robot word verification makes commenting difficult. I apologize to all of my fellow bloggers who aren't hearing from me. It isn't from lack of trying.

I hope everyone is safe, sound, and well. Keep blogging!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Gabby's Turn

Miss Gabby has a bit of a cranky disposition, so she tends to get less coverage in the blog. Today is her day.

I didn't plan to cut off her nose in the photo below. Again, it's a case of the iPhone format being larger than the blog allows (I guess...). Anyway, click on the photo to enlarge it and you'll get the whole Gabby.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Here Come Da Judge!

It's that time again! The 58th Annual North Alabama Regional Science and Engineering Fair is taking place today through Friday at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. The fair is coordinated and hosted by the College of Engineering at UAH. This will be my third year to serve as a judge in the behavorial and social sciences category. I really enjoy this task. I get to see some interesting science fair projects and talk to kids with great creativity and problem-solving skills. It is amazing to see some of the things the kids come up with, the amount of research and work they put into them, and the neat ways that the projects are displayed.

Here is a bit of official information concerning NARSEF.

58th North Alabama Regional Science and Engineering Fair
March 7-8, 2012, University Fitness Center
Awards Ceremony March 9, University Center Exhibit Hall

Students in grades 5 – 12 in public and private (including home) schools from Colbert, Cullman, Franklin, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marshall and Morgan Counties in North Alabama are eligible to participate in the North Alabama Regional Science and Engineering Fairs (NARSEF).

While the Fair is a three-day event (see attached agenda), judges are involved only on the second day – Thursday, March 8.
Judges will be assigned into teams of 3/5/7 judges per team. Each judging team will be responsible for judging a category and age group. For example, Botany 9-12 grades, Engineering 7-8 grades, etc. Some teams will be assigned to judge a “Special Award” which is donated by a company or organization (past Special Awards include Toyota, US Navy, Scientific American, to name only a few).

Judging is composed of two parts: interviews and review. During the interviews, each student stands by his or her project and is available to explain the project and answer questions. The judging team interviews each student within the category/age group the team is assigned. Every student must be interviewed by at least one judge.

After the interviews are complete, the Fair is closed to the public from 2:30 pm to 6:30 pm. During this time, judges can and are encouraged to return to the Fair and review the projects they are judging. The judging team then discusses the projects and come up with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places, as well as honorable mentions (if applicable), by 4:30pm.

It should be an interesting day. Hmm...I wonder how many of the elementary kids will have experiments on how to build a better trebuchet this year...

In other news, spring seems to be getting well under way here in the Huntsville area. The Bradford pear trees are blooming and that means that my allergies are acting up. Time for Zyrtec or Allegra, I suppose. We've had a bit of stormy weather with tornadoes already. Of course, this has made national news because of the damage that occurred. Thanks to all of you who have inquired about our safety. Unfortunately, we might have another round by the end of the week. There's more warm weather followed by a cold front, so the weather service will be busy keeping an eye out for severe weather. I suppose we'll just keep the TV and weather radios on and be prepared.