It took me an extra day to get out of Ithaca, so I drowned my sorrows in Ice Cream. The following day, I made it to San Antonio and we drove south to Rockport where we rented a little place perched up in the Live Oak trees.
Nothing throws you into relaxation mode faster than eating with your hands, so we went with The Boiling Pot for our fist supper of vacation. That's a alcoholic beer for the record.
Our treehouse in Rockport
Goose Island State Park
This beer was called "oil and guns."
Paradise Pond, Port Aransas, TX
Leonna Turnbull Birding Center, Port Anransas, TX
Poor Indigo Bunting made it all the way across the gulf and then hit the ranger's office at Mustang Island.
Quick stop in Texas oak scrub north of San Antonio at the Friedrich Wilderness Park to find some breeding Golden-winged Warblers.
All the bags!
Back in the fall I was asked to take over the Visit Ithaca instagram page. I gladly accepted and then the day before I was supposed to start the election happened and all the wind went out of my sails. Key to my not losing faith in humanity was the task of highlighting the beauty if the Ithaca area. Here are a few shots from the effort.
Hopshire beer and cheese night
Many months ago I was incredibly grateful to make it down to Washington, D.C. for the Women's March on Washington. My major motivation for getting myself there was to march with the 500 Women Scientists group started by some fantastic friends from CU Boulder.
Below is an email I sent to some college girlfriends about the experience and some photos I took with my iPhone that day. More about my photos used in some of the material for 500WS can be found here. The photo above actually made it into Science.
I feel really lucky that DC was an easy option for me. The bus wasn't too expensive and still allowed me to work most of Friday and get into DC before it was too late to navigate the metro. And then, I was able to stay at the home of one of the 500WS organizers who I know from CU Boulder. There were good friends from Boulder and new friends from Wyoming. There must have been 14 women in the 2 bedroom house.
Things started early on Saturday with reporters in and out of the house and all of us trying to figure out what to carry and which phone numbers to sharpie on our arms just in case. I don't think I spoke to a single reporter. Oops, I need to be better about standing up. It did feel good to see my purple flower on everything.
So, we eventually made it to our rally spot pretty early and there I saw some other ladies from my cohort at CU. I hadn't realized just how much I have been missing familiar women friends. It felt so good to be with that group again. I lucked out in grad school with a cohort of women (and one man) who were good scientists and were also wonderful educators and communicators. That group always helped me to feel very grounded in my own passions in grad school. It has been wonderful to see what we have all done with our various skill sets.
We stood like sardines through about 5 hours of rally speeches. We heard Gloria, Ashley Judd, Alicia Keyes, Janelle Monáe (maybe my favorite), and totally missed Madonna. The crowd felt diverse to me. Lots of men, lots of people of color, lots of ages. I felt pretty good about that. There was some complaining about all the standing, then a good friend totally snapped at some folks during the call and response of mothers and the names of their children who have died due to police brutality. It was an important moment.
I felt overcome with emotion and gratitude. I felt hopeful. It was amazing for people to cheer for us and for science. I cringed at Trump Hotel.
We marched until dark, got home to refuel and finally drink water and then had a really long meeting about next steps. Mostly our focus will be education about climate change and the importance of science and research in everyone's life. Flint Michigan should be an example for everyone, Zika, etc. etc. We are also working on a science education outreach to red areas program. We had that meeting at the home of someone whose parents are social scientists and their opinions were golden....if a bit on the academic side. They were trying to help us find ways to communicate on the level of people who don't believe in climate change. It is hard. Really really hard.
Sunday was more of me watching the organizers do press. During the time it took me to get Saturday's dreadlock out of my hair, they did an hour long interview. Goals.
The bus home was full of speeches from local teachers, professors, cosmetologists, mothers of trans children, women from South Africa who have seen this shit before, women who had unsafe abortions, women whose lives were made better because they had access to abortions, teenagers who were scared for immigrant friends, young black women who had just done their first march and mother-daughter teams who marched for each other.
I am glad it was an option for me and relieved that it has proven to be such a helpful group for staying motivated and organized.
This poppy is from an evening lecture by Gary Snyder with an awesome garden party in the Botanical Gardens after.
Cornell Campus during the golden hour
Sometimes I sit by our garden like it is an old friend. I snuggle up the the Kentucky Wonder beans and wait for the Ruby-throated Hummingbird to stop by on its traplining route that includes the zinnias, the pole beans near the kitchen window and the Kentucky Wonders near the old boat. I watched some ants take down a small dollup of rich blackberry jam made by my mom. A few weeks ago I spent nearly a whole Saturday soaking it up.
Recent adventures in kombucha-making have made for a rather sweet version, so I am still working on my timing.
An abundance of fungus at Ringwood Nature Preserve lately
While Eliot biked around Lake Cayuga, I went for a nice long run and then drove up the lake to Long Point State Park for some swimming and putzing around. I learned about the park from a man who sells jewelry at the Farmer's Market. A friend bought a necklace from him with these tiny little lake shore stones and old pieces of porcelain (like lake beach glass of the ceramic variety) and I asked him where he found them. He told me about this cool swimming and beach combing place, so I went to check it out. I've never been a huge fan of places where you have to swim in the designated "swimming area" and I am also a strict rule follower, so that made for a bad combo. I did meet a nice older couple who really wanted my picnic table and in exchange for the table, the women gave me a tip on the best spot to look for lucky stones. So, I foraged for stones with an elderly lady until I lucked upon one. With a measly google search, I can't figure out what causes these holes. Some sources say "fossil wormholes" and most others have lots to say about their ability to bring good luck. Sounds perfect!
I finally got word from Eliot that he was close to the town of Aurora where we planned to have an early dinner before he finished the last leg home. Here he is with his turn sheet and some hearty poutine at Fargo Bar and Grill. I had to have one last dip in Cayuga before my drive home.
The next day we had a big breakfast and a fun adventure. We swam at a secret waterfall, drove to The Farmhouse Brewery for a tasting and good company, stopped at the Route 96 Road Side BBQ Diner (don't worry, Diet Coke is a once a year thing for me), where Eliot had the Route 96 Fix (a special peanut butter and fried egg burger). Then, we couldn't pass up the maple shakes that we didn't have enough cash for and they kindly just gave to us. Oops!
Bean pride and a plum tart made with the plums I canned in Idaho last summer.
If you have yet to try the dosa at the Sadya Snacks booth at the Farmer's Market. Get yourself on down there! Perfectly paired with a Hopshire beer on a rainy evening. We used to get these every now and then in Sydney as a special treat. They are the perfect combo of salty and sour, but with all the comforts of crispy carbs. Delightful!
Evening harp and Guinea fowl heading up to roost in Weeping Willow trees
Garden pride and adorable caterpillar feet
The Ellis Hollow Fair: friendly sheep, a dunking booth, a White Elephant Sale, an abundance of apple pie, a cake walk, a silent auction (totally scored a yoga pass), and a physics bus.
About Sarah's Blog
This personal blog might be stream of consciousness for a little while, but I hope to share my discoveries in nature, food, travel, and thoughts from deep within in my brain folds. It is not peer (or even family) reviewed and is similar to a journal or field notebook that happens to be open to the public. I am a recent PhD graduate and transplant to Ithaca after thirteen beautiful years in Colorado and Idaho. I can also be found in the links below.