Monday, August 29, 2005


Yet another semester. Yet another discussion of the Earth's precession and long-term variations on the sky. Yet another young woman with her astrological sign tattooed on her ankle asking me if her sign is still "correct".

In front of the whole class, no less. And I'm a horrible liar, so I spoke the truth.

She didn't cry, though. I must admit I'm grateful.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

All in the Family

Borg, Oliphant, Doom, Laser - great last names.

I survived the first week of classes. Hectic, even more so than usual, but I survived. It helps to be surrounded by such supportive students - many ready to learn, many returning from other courses with me, many referrals. My long first day ended with a hug and kiss on the cheek from a former student, whose girlfriend is taking my class. He's referred cousins (including my padawan Carlos) and friends before. My classes have become quite the family affair, actually. There's a sister of a former student, a mother of a former student. One woman asked me if I remembered her husband and, recalling her last name, I shuddered. Remembering her husband, I knew she had to have a good sense of humor. :)

And then some classes just seem like family. For example, my physics course at the university. There are almost 150 people enrolled. Not a problem - I like big rowdy classes. It's just that the course was scheduled in a room with 120 seats. I had students sitting in the aisles! But they were all good-natured about it, and the close quarters facilitated the group exercises I had planned. I'm almost disappointed that they're looking for a larger lecture hall to put us in. This class has the strange feel of an overcrowded family gathering, not something normally associated with physics classes.

Anyways, that's what the first week brought me. All in all, not too shabby.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Just one more!

I know, I already posted one image today, but this is so pretty and I have so much work to avoid! - first quarter Mimas and ringshadows against Saturn, from Cassini


I'm pretty certain I've posted this image before, but so many of my students exclaimed "whoa!" when they saw it this week, I had to share - aurora and volcano in Iceland

Saturday, August 20, 2005


Last night, teaching anxiety dominated my dreams. Showing up late to class. Not having enough copies of my syllabus. Students out of control. General lack of preparedness. Missing a class altogether.


Every semester, I have nightmares before school starts. During the day, I look forward to getting back into the classroom again. I'll be teaching my community college students about the solar system and I get to torment university students with physics! Sounds like fun to me. And last semester, I had a great crop of students, but each semester involves new people and new challenges. Will they like me? Will I like them? Will I do a good job?

I wonder what this semester will bring?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Have I posted this image before? Will I post it again? Both are likely, as I love to lose myself in crowds - the core of globular cluster Omega Centauri, from Hubble

Thursday, August 11, 2005


Mars is too beautiful and strange to believe - sand dunes on large crater floor, from Mars Global Surveyor

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Before and After

On August 10, 2004, I decided to take control of my weight. One year and 47 lbs later, you can see the results for yourself:

All Hail Weight Watchers! And, many thanks to Greg for all of his support.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Losing It

Earlier this week I found myself exposing parts of my underwear in public. It was all very innocent, really. I was being fitted by a tailor who is taking in several of my skirts. It's just that she works out of a dry cleaners and as she was pinning my skirts sometimes the top of my underwear was visible as people were dropping off their cleaning. It was surreal. Almost as surreal as the fact that one of my skirts is being taken in almost 2 inches...on each side! And yesterday I purchased a skirt and blouse, each three dress sizes smaller than I was wearing this time last year. Woo!

Galactic Zoo

Many of these galaxies had not been seen previously - the latest release, from Hubble

Tuesday, August 02, 2005