Weekly Photo Challenge: Rare Close-ups

lizard on rock macro

baby snake near rocks

This week’s photo challenge is “rare.” Neither of these little guys may be rare in and of themselves, but it is pretty rare that I can spot them AND get a good close-up! In fact,  this is the first time I’ve ever come across a baby snake here in Arizona (seriously, he was tiny), but I’m glad I saw him before I stepped on him! He was certainly a fierce little fellow.


Wednesday Wisdom (8.10)

Joshua Tree National Park, Vince Lombardi quote

The last week or so I’ve felt like my life has been totally out of my control. Everything I’ve purposefully tried to do has fallen apart and it seems the only things that do work out are obligations foisted upon me by outside forces. It’s been incredibly frustrating.

I’m not really sure how to regain control of the situation (or as much control as any one of us can have). I dream of living a more purposeful life, but the reality is much more difficult to come by. Instead I keep daydreaming about a weekend escape, just by myself. I think I’m going to have to make that happen… I need a “reset” weekend.



If I had a Superpower…

super-power1Remember when you were a kid and would daydream about having superpowers just like your favorite comic book or cartoon hero? I don’t feel the least bit bad for admitting I still daydream about it sometimes – and my friends and I still discuss the best superpowers to have! (smile)

Generally I’ve always opted for either mind reading or teleportation. Most of the time teleportation gets chosen if I have a trip coming up or I’m feeling particularly restless. Wouldn’t it be nice to just blink and take a true mental health holiday?? Oh man, now I’ve lost my original train of thought…

Pina Colada Thailand beach

Anyway, back on track here… So! My standard answer 9 times out of 10 is mind-reading with a couple of caveats. My one deal-breaker caveat would be that I could control the ability. I imagine that not being able to tune out all the thoughts bouncing around out there would drive me mad in no time. My preferred caveat would be the bonus superpower of understanding all the languages of the world just because it would save a lot of time looking things up (and it’d be super cool🙂 ). So in a perfect world, all of the above – but I would be pretty content with 2 out of 3!

I’ve spent too much quite a bit of time weighing out the pros and cons of reading minds and if it was something I could sign up for tomorrow, I’ve decided I would definitely go for it. I mean, yes, it would be a nifty little way of upping my poker game (not difficult given it’s current status) and I could definitely use it to move up in the world. However, it’s occurred to me as I’ve (kinda) matured that this mind reading thing could also be used for a lot of good outside of selfish purposes.

I could dabble in the save-the-world level activities like finding out who’s plotting to blow what up next. But realistically (ha!), I think I’d be better suited for using my talent on a smaller scale. For example, one of my backup career plans was to be a psychologist, specifically a refugee psychologist (which is where knowing all the languages comes into play). Imagine being able to understand what’s going on without being told. So often people avoid telling the truth out of fear, imagine being able to see past all that and help them with the real issue. The same premise could be applied in so many different areas too!

MindReaderOf course there are downsides to this as well. I think it would be extremely difficult to filter out the negativity. It’s a given that at some point I would hear something about myself that I don’t like. There would also be the burden of knowledge that comes with having access to so much information. I’ve always been pretty good at keeping secrets, but I imagine mind-reading would take that to whole new levels! Then there’s the biggest downside – how other people would feel (assuming they knew, which I am given my earlier supposition that I’d be doing this to help). I wouldn’t want someone randomly in my mind, so I couldn’t expect everyone else to go along with it. I’m just not super comfortable imposing my will on others so that would definitely be a con.

Mostly mind-reading would be an awesome superpower to know whether I’m right or not about other people. I have a fairly strong intuition about others and I think I’m pretty good about reading emotions, but reading thoughts would certainly be the easiest way to confirm feelings. And yes, that would maybe take some of the mystery out of life, but you’re talking to the queen of spoilers. Knowing the end just means I’m better prepared and can enjoy the journey. Too bad life’s not that simple…

What would your superpower be??



Mammoth Site, South Dakota

I recently discovered the Roadside America website/app (for iPhones) and it’s quickly become one of my absolute favorite references for finding weird/cool things/places to see/visit. While in South Dakota I took full advantage of my brother’s iPhone and we happened upon the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, South Dakota.

The Mammoth Site is both a museum and an active paleontological site. More than 26,000 years ago, large Columbian and Woolly mammoths were trapped and died in a spring-fed pond. For centuries the bones lay buried, until discovered by chance in 1974 during excavation for a housing development when earth moving equipment exposed a fossil. Luckily, the Mammoth Site was preserved and today it is the world’s largest Columbian mammoth exhibit and a world-renowned research center for Pliestocene studies. To date, 61 mammoths have been identified, along with the remains of a giant short-faced bear, camel, llama, prairie dog, wolf, fish, and numerous other plant and invertebrate fossils.

I thought the coolest part of this site was the fact that it is both a museum and working dig site. There are programs each summer when volunteers come to the site to work – all under the curious gaze of the visiting public. It made for a rare opportunity to see work in progress and to gain a better understanding of exactly how such site are run. And, honestly, I found it way more interesting to see the bones in situ vs in a more clinical museum setting.

One of the most amusing facts of the whole tour (for me anyway) was that so far, all of the mammoths found have been male. Apparently they just happened upon this nice little water hole, thought to go for a swim, then couldn’t climb back up the slippery sides. Kind of a sad story, but for some reason it just seems like a very male scenario (sorry guys).

Overall, I definitely found this place to be worth the price of admission and a few hours of your time. If you have kids, even better!

P.S. I apologize for photo quality – the lighting here was all over the place and I only had my cell phone (rookie mistake not bringing an extra battery for the SLR – oops!).

Mammoth Site, South Dakota, archaeology

This model was totally surreal – those bones are just SO big!