A Visit from the Sphinx

One night this spring I left all the doors open to the van. It was stinkier than usual, and I figured anyone who thought they might peer inside would have found little of value before being frightened off by the smell. But the next morning when I turned the ignition on, the kids gasped. Our […]

Rust, Beer and Burritos: Interview with Jonathan Waldman

I met Jonathan Waldman when we were both magazine interns. We had a lot in common–we both got really into working on the magazine’s science column, and we were both really big fans of burritos. (He later sold me a shirt that featured a burrito-powered bike). When I ran into him at a conference a few […]

This Post Longs to Be Close to 500 Birds

The other day I was just starting to work when I heard a strange cooing in the other room. It sounded like a baby. But I swore I’d just dropped the actual baby off at a friend’s house. When I went to investigate, the baby wasn’t there, so I figured I was having a mild, […]

These Are a Few of Our Favorite Places

When my husband finished grad school in 2006, we spent a lot of time talking about where we should go next. We knew we wanted to leave the college town in Oregon where we’d lived for the last few years. Should we head to the Cascades, move north along the Willamette River, or go south and west, […]

Redux: The Scientist in the Garden

This is an updated version of a post that originally appeared in January 2012. I can’t remember why the seed catalogs started showing up, but once they did, I was a goner. If you haven’t ever gotten one, imagine full color photo spreads of produce, like the striped Tigger Melon and and the orange-red lusciousness of […]

The Last Word

February 2 – 6 Ann gave us a posthumous profile of Charles Hard Townes, whom you can thank for astronomers being able to peer inside the centre of the Milky Way, and for conscientious physicists advising the US Defense Department without being muzzled. Fancy a moth in maroon velvet? Grotesque ripple-lines? Giddy exclamation points and […]

Tongue in Beak

The other day while we were playing at a nearby park, a woman got out of her car and swooped over to where my sons and their friends were trying to flip over small boulders. She had these awesome knee high boots, and bright red lipstick. Seeing her reminded me what happens to everyman hero […]

A Few Good Maps

I’ve probably said this before, but I really like maps. In college, I bought a huge collection of used maps at a geography department sale to use as wrapping paper. When we lived in Oregon, we got a gigantic one of the state to put on the living room wall. (We also got an even […]