Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Computer

Well, big excitement, in the form of a new computer. After five years with my last faithful Macbook, I now have a new MacBook Pro so that it is all quite exciting although requiring a bit of adjusting. As much fun as it is getting something new there is always the familiarity of something old... I hope that it will inspire me to blog a bit more regularly but it's always an adjustment to using a new instrument no matter how great it is.

One of the nicest things about having two weeks off is the opportunity to catch up on reading. I just read a book that I really enjoyed. One thing I love about teaching grade six and seven is the opportunity to learn new things or revisit things you once enjoyed learning about but haven't for awhile.

If you follow this blog you know that I started science this year with the geology unit (last year I started with ecology and never really got to the other two units.) Now I admit I am still on the geology unit but at least I know my class did quite a bit on ecology in sixth grade as well. I loved geology when I was in school, not that I took it in university, but I always found rocks fascinating, as do my students. Fossils amaze us all!

The book that I just finished reading is my Tracy Chevalier and is entitled, Remarkable Creatures. I am a Tracy Chevalier fan. She wrote Girl with a Pearl Earring as well as one of my very favourites, Virgin Blue. I had read Virgin Blue just before I went to France several years ago, and brought it along for my friend who was travelling with me to read. She had another book on the go and I ended up reading it again as we traveled in the area near where that novel was set. I enjoyed reading it even more that second time.

Remarkable Creatures takes place in the early 1800's and is set mainly in Lymis Regis (a place I first discovered reading John Fowles' The French Lieutenant's Woman). The story is told from the point of view of two women who actually did live, Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot. The book is Chevalier's usual combination of fact and fiction. Mary is a local girl whose father has always been interested in "curios" but she is the one who really has the eye to find them. Elizabeth, from a higher social strata, moves with her sisters from London for economical reasons and her fascination with fossils leads to a friendship between the two. I think it is easy to forget how little status women had in the 1800's. This book is a good reminder of this. Mary's discovery of the ichthyosaur shook the scientific world and questioned the traditional biblical interpretation of the creation of the world, but initially she was given very little credit for this. Great read...

The weather has been amazing here, crystal clear. This picture was taken during a walk along the seawall in Yaletown.

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