Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Mt. Kilauea

Volcanos are another of those subjects that fascinate me. I read all articles about them that come my way and watch any programs on television. I suppose my fascination began as a child when we started learning about Pompeii in school. From that point on, I couldn't get enough information about them.

I've climbed up and into few dormant volcanos -- Diamond Head and the Amboy Crater quickly come to mind -- and I'd love to be able to see Haleakala on Maui one day. Many years ago I had the pleasure of seeing the Kilauea volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii. Steam vents and lava tubes gave me a hint of what was to come, but the actual sight of the steaming volcano took my breath away with its prehistoric look and sheer size. This visit was before a large eruption that eventually blocked the road we'd taken.

There seems to be some recent activity at Kilauea, so I thought I'd share these two articles with you:

Hawaii volcano explodes for first time in 84 years

Kilauea Volcano Blows Plume Of Ash

Stubborn homeowners live by oozing volcano

:) Caitlyn


Friday, March 21, 2008

In The Chicago Area?

I just found a short blurb on what looks like a cool place to visit if you live in the Chicago area or are planning a visit soon -- 1950 Park Forest House Museum.

It's a two-story brick townhouse south of Chicago that pays homage to -- yes, the 1950s.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

April - Miscellaneous Links

Sometimes I come across information that doesn't lend itself to a full blog entry, so I thought I'd try to save these tidbits and post once a month.

I thought this was amazing. It just help prove the wealth of discoveries the Earth contains:
Giant sea creatures found in Antarctic search


The March/April 2008 issue of Westways Magazine has an interesting article about Old Edna, a 100-year-old, two-acre town site in San Luis Obispo County, California. It's owned by a couple, Pattea Torrence and her husband, Jeff Kocan. The town was founded in the 1800s and had all the places one would expect to find in a town of that era -- mercantile, blacksmith, butcher, saloon, and dance hall. The present owners are restoring Old Edna. Now a visitor will find a gourmet deli/cafe and a bed-and-breakfast.

:) Caitlyn

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

My Trip To Portland, Oregon

Recently, I attended the EPIC Conference in Portland, Oregon. When I go to conferences, I usually try to arrive the day before the conference begins so I can do a little sightseeing. Why go all that way and not see something of the city, right? There were tons of things to see and do in Portland. The transit system there was very prompt, clean, fast, and easy to use. We never had to wait very long for a train to come by to pick us up. Very, very nice. Plus it was free if you stayed within the historical district, and there were plenty of stops along the way. Because I was limited to one day, my friends and I had to make some choices. It wasn't easy when there was so much we wanted to see.

Our first stop was the Portland Classical Chinese Gardens. It was beautiful and serene. Winding walkways and foliage-draped portals beckoned you further inside and around the 8,000 square foot lake in the center. Lacy trees dipped toward the water. Everything was blooming. The rock formations and waterfalls, the quiet atmosphere and buildings made you feel like you'd been transported to another realm. An extra treat was a small Dinosaur Exhibit (going on from March 1 to May 21, 2008).

I actually managed to take some pictures while I was there. Author Adrianna Dane also has some great shots. Here are links to our respective photos on flickr:

Caitlyn's Photos From The Chinese Gardens
Adrianna'a Photos From The Chinese Gardens

Lunch was at Old Town Pizza, reported to be haunted by a young "working woman" named Nina who'd been thrown down the elevator shaft 100 years ago. Old Town Pizza sits in the original hotel lobby of the Merchant Hotel. A warren of rooms snakes through the place. The interior was darkened yet rich with color, too. Wooden floors creaked with every step and it was easy to imagine it being haunted when workers walked on the floor above us. And the ladies room...words can't describe the feeling. I'm not sure if I felt claustrophobic or if I time-traveled back to the late 1960s. The walls were completely decoupaged with magazine articles from that era. Our lunch was excellent (salads and paninis for all) and there was plenty of it for a reasonable price. The batteries in my camera had given up the ghost (yes, bad pun under the circumstances), but Adrianna was prepared and took some excellent photos (Adrianna's Old Town Pizza photos).

The last stop of the day was a trip to Powell's City of Books. This huge bookstore fills one city block and I believe it is several stories high. They also have a coffee shop. In the two hours we were there, I spent an hour-and-a-half in the children's section alone. The rest of the time I made quick run-bys to other sections to search for books on certain subjects. The staff there is very knowledgeable. If you request information on a book, they know exactly what you want and where it is. Often you didn't even need to ask. They'd come up to you and ask to help. Sometimes they'll stop what they're doing and get it for you. If you love books and you ever have the chance to go to Portland, put this on your must-see list.

:) Caitlyn


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My First Entry

I find it amazing that I'm actually doing a blog. I never thought I'd ever see that day when I would willingly do so. However, at a recent conference something clicked for me and I realized I could create a blog that would simply be something I would enjoy and, hopefully, interesting to others.

For years I've shared tidbits of desert life, my adventures, and general "nerd" information on my monthly author newsletter loop . My plan is for this blog to augment that fun information with more that comes my way and in a more timely fashion.

So...without further ado, here are a few interesting articles I've discovered in the last several days. I've been dying to share them! (Yes, once a nerd, always a nerd.)

Many of us have been fascinated with dinosaurs since before we were in grade school. The discoveries being made have grown by leaps and bounds since I was a child. The dedication involved in bringing these discoveries to their full scientific potential is astounding. Workers have been picking away at this particular find since 2004.

Mummified dinosaur unearthed in North Dakota

Speaking of digs...

Pre-Inca temple uncovered in Peru

I've always been loved reading about the Maya, Aztec, Inca, and Olmec cultures. I've researched these ancient civilizations extensively and have even used my research as the backdrop for some of my books. (Feather on the Wind writing as Catherine Snodgrass and Into The Lair writing as Caitlyn Willows.) Anytime I see an article about any of them, I have to stop what I'm doing and read it right away.

And now, for the diggest natural dig of all...

Beavers, sheep explore sand bars Grand Canyon left by Grand Canyon flood

This was a planned flood to rebuild beaches along the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. We had the pleasure of going there a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, we didn't take the digital camera with us. (We had every other camera in the world there, but no digital.) So I presently have no photo links of my own to share with you. It was beautiful. It was deep. And we were completely unprepared for the higher altitude. But we explored a lot, even dared walking a quarter mile into the canyon just to say we went in it. We had a great time. However, I'm extremely afraid of heights and had a few problems close to the edge, even with railing. I understand there's a sky bridge over a portion of the canyon now. That's definitely something you won't catch me on.