Girls don’t need telescopes.

(What follows is an essay that I’ll be turning is as part of a scholarship application. This happened last night and I’m still very upset about it. I hope you’re upset, too. The encounter lasted for quite a while but the word count for the essay must be less than 500 words.)

I’d had another essay prepared for this application. It was a really good essay, too, but something happened last night that I feel very strongly about. I am compelled to share this experience with you as it pertains to my educational and career goals.

My son and I went to the observatory here on campus. He likes star charts and planets and imagining what aliens might look like. We climbed the spiral stairs and looked through viewfinders; we saw the stars and he was happy. As he leaned over the railing, he saw a group of kids playing chase and he asked if he could join in. I agreed and down we went. He tore off after the other boys and a girl, probably about ten years old, stood beside me. She told me, as gregarious and talkative children do, about her brothers and her favorite subjects and how much she likes “space stuff”.

When I showed her the star chart app on my phone, she said, “My dad has one of those on his phone but he won’t let me see it.” I showed her the Pleiades on my tiny screen and told her the old myths about the seven sisters. She said, “I want a telescope but my dad says girls don’t need telescopes.” I suggested maybe she just wasn’t old enough and she said, “No, he just says girls don’t need sciencey stuff. Girls don’t need telescopes.” I felt nauseous, but she continued, “We all want to look through the telescope, but my dad says the boys get to look first because I’m just a girl. I’ve been asking for a long time, but finally my brother asked, so we got to come.”

Our conversation continued and I chatted with her mother (who thought I was crazy for wasting my time with school) and the family finally left to go up the stairs to the observatory. The father and the boys went first while the little girl held her mother’s hand and bounced with excitement.

This is why I want to teach: I want to empower children, especially girls, with knowledge and curiosity. “Girls don’t need sciencey stuff” will haunt me for a long, long time.

My husband has deployed to Afghanistan; children there would gather around the troops and ask for candy or pens. He offered pens to the girls first, as pens are seen as tools for education and power. “Kahlum, meestuh? Kahlum?” (“Pen, sir? Pen?”) The thirst for knowledge is acute in the young, even in cultures where women are worth less than a goat…I never thought I’d see a family squash the light of curiosity here in America.

I will teach high school chemistry and I will add oxygen to the flame of curiosity. Girls need sciencey stuff.


Brag Boards, Step 1

(or…I am out of school for two weeks and will now finish as many crafts as I can before school starts again and the next thing is a quilt for a friend that’s like…two years over due…)
Cheap canvas, pencil, ruler, period table of elements


Next: glue and paint over the lines

Then: assemble the wires and clips


Pin Cushion Ring

Pin Cushion Ring

People do do really dumb things after midnight.

Drive-thru wedding in Vegas, drunk tattoo, pink faux-hawks, watch CNN…

I cruise Pinterest like a pigeon trolling for popcorn. “pin ALL the projects I’ll never do!” and “save ALL the funny and relevant memes!”.

Except I couldn’t sleep tonight and I found this super-cute pin. And I gathered this stuff:


And murdered an innocent medicine cup. Because reasons.


Then I cut some scrap material into a shape vaguely resembling a roundish sort of a curvy circle-wanna-be, then stitched the world’s lamest running stitch.


I gathered the thread up a bit (it sort of resembled a Nelly Olson bonnet. I always hated Nelly Olson.) and stuffed it with some fluff I found on the floor. (Don’t judge. I have fluff on the floor.) …pulled the thread tight, made a little noose (kind of sad, really) and made this:


It was at this point that I realized that the murder of the medicine cup was unnecessary. I expect Dexter to be here any minute.

Then I remembered that I have a thimble that I hate. Behold, the Hated Thimble of Doom::::.


I put some hot glue in the bottom, then crammed some
Little Scrappy Bits in there to add some height.



Then I added more hot glue and then crammed the little beheaded Nelly Olson down into the top.



I don’t have any ring-making supplies (thank Sauron for that!) but I have a whole pant-load of hair ties. I found one, conveniently, on my wrist because I always have a hair tie on my wrist. I secured it in double (grammar much? nope.) with thread. .



There are few things in life that terrify me more than Gorilla Glue. However, because I really wanted to make this project work and because I have the world’s pissiest little glue gun, I felt like being brave.



Gorilla Glue and fingers just don’t mix.


After drying and checking to be sure my fingers wouldn’t have to be melted off my hand because of the GG, I can proudly show you that I made this:


…and I think I’ll take up a collection so I can go get a manicure. Sheeeeesh…

Anyway, here’s a very non-contrived, non-artsy-fartsy close-up.


supplies used
thimble, glue gun, Gorilla Glue, stuffing, 4×4 scrap of muslin, hair elastic, thread, needle, scissor, Purple Thang (yes, that’s what it’s called.) Medicine Cup to murder is optional.

Come Along, Audrey

This week I played with push-pins and did this:


I’ve had that canvas for a long time, it was just collecting dust.

I also had this canvas:


The original plan was to make a larger version of the “beach” canvas, but then I sat down and watched the doctor who Christmas special and started to draw.


This is how it progressed:





I just can’t bring myself to stick it with cup hooks and pins. It’s called “Come Along, Audrey”.

Now I’d really better get back to work. 🙂 Allons-y!


T-shirt Quilt Revisited


It’s done!

It’s actually been finished for a while and I’ve made a couple of blankets since, but I got busy and forgot to blog about it.

…because I know you guys just live to read about what I do.

Here’s my signature Franken-corner:


I’ve since learned how to do proper corners thanks to YouTube, but proper corners aren’t fun, so…No photos. And the one with proper corners is on its way to a friend, so maybe when he gets it, he’ll share his non-Franken-corners.


I’m making another quilt and there are several “tech” shirts involved…that will prove to be an adventure.

Side note: I have no races scheduled on my calendar. It’s weird. And oddly…freeing. I’m actually training harder with no scheduled deadline; coach says its because I have a self-defeatist psyche that I have to work through.


Positive talk for the day: I will successfully fold all the laundry and drink at least a gallon an a half of water.


Month of the Military Child

Every month has a dozen Causes and every Cause has a month. This month is The Month of the Military Child. I have three of those. (kids, not months)

I don’t want you to feel sorry for my kids and their friends. Pity is absolutely unwarranted. I’m also not going to compare my kids to your kids, as they’d be different anyway, what with being different people, and all. But I’ll tell you some things about my kids that might make you think a little more about The Cause of the Month.

**My kids are just kids. They don’t walk around in miniature PT shirts or salute their Dad when he gets home from duty. They don’t have high and tight haircuts, their rooms are a mess, and I have to jump through hoops to get them to do their homework.

**My kids know the value of time.. They know how special it is that they can see their father at the end of the day and they know that not seeing him for a week of field exercises isn’t a big deal. A week isn’t a big deal. A month is a bummer. A deployment will suck, but is manageable. An afternoon at the park with Dad?…priceless.

**My kids know about death. As the children of soldiers, they have friends who’ve lost a parent on the battlefield. They’ve made sympathy cards in art class. Please don’t speak in platitudes or euphemisms around my kids. They’ll feel sorry for you and think you don’t know any better. They know that Daddy may not come home when he goes Over There, but…

**My kids have faith in God beyond their years. They know that Jesus is their best and truest friend. They know they can count on Him. They know if Something Happens, there will be a reason; but they have faith that Daddy will come home and they praise God all the way to Green Ramp.

Military kids can make quick friends and tell 24hour time. They know all the acronyms (PT, PFT, ACU, HRC, NCO, OIC) and the biggest one of all is…

**My kids aren’t afraid to PCS. (that’s moving to civilians). They don’t particularly like it, but they aren’t scared. They know the boxes and movers will come, they know their stuff will be show up in the new place eventually, and they know they’ll be making new friends. They know how to pack their Bag of Special Stuff that the movers don’t get. My kids are excellent road trippers.

**My kids are respectful of the Flag, of old veterans, of Memorial Stones, of Wounded Warriors, of Generals, of Retreat and Taps, and military spouses, and other kids, and of Command Sergeants Major because they get it and can comprehend the hard work and sacrifice behind every single one of those things. Their best friends’ dad is a firefighter…those kids get it, too.


My kids aren’t better than your kids, they may not be tougher or smarter. They aren’t more special than your kids. They are special, though. They’ve said good bye to friends, family, their dad, and their homes. Rejoice for them, however, because they’ve said hello to new friends and adventures. Most importantly, they’ve hugged their Dad and they know what a big deal that is.