Friday, November 30, 2012

Field Trip #2

Last weekend a group of students that are taking historical geology got to go on a field trip to Petit Jean State Park, located just outside of Little Rock.  I went along so that next semester I can run the field trip.  We saw some really beautiful rocks, especially the one below with Liesegang banding (the red/brown circular layers in the rock).  These bands are made of iron that coalesces when water (in this case seawater) passes through the rocks.  It's so beautiful to see.

This is an old waterfall at Petit Jean State Park.  I just love the bedding layers in this waterfall.  There are people at the top center for scale.

Could not have asked for a more gorgeous day.  Nothing beats a good day in the field!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Field Trip!

One of the perks of my job is getting to go on field trips.  I tell people all the time that a day in the field is so much more fulfilling than a day in the classroom.  Students learn more by having an opportunity to look at the rocks first hand and having time to evaluate what is going here.  Here are a couple of pictures that one of my students took while I was teaching about the formation of the Ouachita Mountains.  In the first picture students almost had heart failure when I put a piece of kaolinite clay on my tongue (the clay absorbs water and sticks to your tongue.  They couldn't believe I would put a rock in my mouth...haha).

In this next picture I am teaching students about the different rock layers and describing how Little Rock used to be under very deep ocean water.  By looking at the rocks we can see how sea level changed over millions of years.  The students could not believe we were standing where a very deep ocean used to be.

Love my days in the field!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


One of my most favorite foods is soup.  I can eat it all year round, and very often do.  My favorite lunch is a half of a sandwich and a cup of soup.  There's nothing quite like it.

I received some ham steaks in my meat-share a couple of weeks ago and decided to try this recipe that I found on allrecipes.  The soup was so easy to make, and the flavor was absolutely delicious.  Definitely one of my most favorite soups ever.  I highly recommend you try this on the next chilly night.  Pair it with a bit of warm buttered bread and it's a perfect combination to warm up your insides.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My 2-Year Project...DONE!

As most people know, I love maps...and travel.  In fact, I collect globes and have a room in my house dedicated to places I've been.  I first saw this project here, and purchase the supplies almost immediately.  I have been trying to complete this project for a year and a half...yes, seriously.  I purchases all of the supplies before I left Knoxville.  Then I had to put everything in storage when I moved to Connecticut.  I decided this would be one of my first projects to complete now that I have moved to Little Rock.

Overall, I like the artwork.  However, there are a few things I'd change.  First - buy a map that isn't shiny!!  I don't really like the shine at all.  Next - figure out a way to glue the map down without causing bubbles between the canvas and map.  These bubbles are really irritating me and there is no way to get rid of them...grrr.  Mod Podge is not my friend....nor is the spray adhesive I bought.  Finally, I think I'd hang the pieces a little further apart from each other in the future, maybe an inch apart.  Maybe you wouldn't notice the slight errors in spacing so much.

All in all, I like it.  Hope you do too!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Weekend...

This Thanksgiving weekend has been really nice.  I've been working very hard at work with no real break time.  I'd had a couple of offers to spend the holiday with friends, but I just decided I'd really like to have the four days off to myself, to do things I've wanted to do.  I can't even begin to tell you how much this has rejuvenated me!  I feel like a completely new person.

On the night before Thanksgiving I put together the dough for these Soft Almond Sugar Cookies.  I couldn't wait to try these after finding the recipe online here.  Almond is one of my most favorite flavors!  Anyway, the next morning I pulled the dough out of the fridge and got to baking.  According to the recipe you should not bake for more than 8 minutes.  I tried that, really I did.  But the cookies came out completely undercooked.  My oven temperature is right on so I know it wasn't that.  I decided to bake for a bit longer and found that 10 minutes did the trick.  These cookies are really flavorful.  You should give them a try!


Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Just a feel for what's going on...

Here's a view of about half of the posters from one day of GSA.  There are five days of posters, so you can imagine how many I visit.  Don't forget, there are thousands of talks going on as well.  Anyway,  I am usually one of those standing in front of a poster, presenting my new research.  This time I decided I just wanted to attend GSA and not present - boy was that a mistake!  I really felt disconnected from this meeting.  I won't do that again, unless I truly have nothing to present.

I am, however, recharged when it comes to my research and my teaching!  I purchased a new volume entitled "Teaching Paleontology" and am finding a lot of motivation.  It's one of those books of individual papers that I will read completely through.

Headed back home today.  Can't wait to pick up my little Honor Pookie Lewis.  I miss her so much!!


Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Charlotte GSA

I'm having a great time in Charlotte with my group of friends from UT.  We've been listening to tons of great talks and doing all kinds of fun things.  Once a year is not enough to be able to get together.


Friday, November 02, 2012

My New Favorite Thing...

 A couple of weeks ago I joined a farmshare/meatshare.  Each week I pick up this huge bag of fresh veggies straight from the farm and picked that very morning.  One of the items I've received every week is kale.  A lot of kale.  I am so lucky in that I work with someone who also joined the farmshare and said "hey, want to try my kale chips?"  Instantaneously I was in love.  They are so easy to make, too. 
First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (175 C).  Clean your kale by rinsing it under some cool water.  Strip the leaves off the stems and dry.  I use a salad spinner for this.  Cut or tear the veggies into bite-sized pieces and place on a cookie sheet.

Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over the top and sprinkle with seasoning of your choice.  I quite like the spice blend above.  Bake for 10-15 minutes until chips are crisp.

Remove from baking sheet and place in airtight container.  They are delicious, and so healthy for you too.


Thursday, November 01, 2012

Outside the Office Window...

I was witness to a standoff the other day outside my office window.  This hawk landed in one of the trees.  Two squirrels were running up and down the tree, chattering away and calling to each other.  The hawk moved from limb to limb.  We thought it was trying to catch one of the squirrels, but we're not so sure because the squirrels kept running past the hawk on the other side of the tree trunk, and the hawk did nothing.  Finally, the hawk flew upwards near a nest.  We don't know if the nest belonged to the squirrels or the hawk.  It isn't a very large nest.  The hawk did not remove anything from the nest though.  So now we've got two possibilities...was the hawk going into the squirrels nest for food, or does the nest belong to the hawk and the squirrels were trying to get an egg.  We're just not sure, but we tend to think the nest must belong to the squirrels because the hawk hasn't been back around, nor is it time for egg laying.

Such excitement...right outside my office window!!