Greetings from Logan Airport in Boston. Even as The Naturalist's Notebook keeps humming along, I am en route to the site of the 2012 Summer Olympics for a world press briefing. It is already time to start setting up Sports Illustrated's coverage of the London Games. Between Monday and Wednesday I will be touring Olympic venues, studying the future press center, sizing up hotel options and meeting with SI colleagues and London organizing officials to try to figure out how we should deploy our writers and editors two years from now.
Under orders from Pamelia, I also will be finding and purchasing orange Smarties (like M&Ms, but slightly classier) and Worcestershire crisps (i.e., Worcestershire-sauce-flavored potato chips) to bring back home. Pamelia spent several years living in England as a child and still is attached to all things British.
Leaving the Notebook right now isn't easy because we've had lots going on. Such as:
•) The arrival of the hologram. The photo below may look like a small frog sitting on top of a flying saucer—which would be pretty cool in itself—but it's a reflected image that simply looks real. We keep trying to pick it up but our fingers go right through it.
• Geocacheing 101. If you've never heard of the globally popular treasure-hiding and treasure-hunting activity called geocacheing, well, you should have been at the Notebook when geocacheing whiz Nat Smith gave a presentation this week. He also helped us hide a box full of goodies that you can find if you're in Maine, can follow clues and have a gadget that gives you GPS coordinates.
• The opening of the ant and insect room. Our volunteer intern, Sarah, worked with Pamelia (and drew upon a key suggestion from an 11-year-old friend-of-the-Notebook named Howard) to turn a bathroom into an ant colony, an insectorium and a tribute to pioneering naturalist/artist Maria Sibylla Merian.
• We said goodbye to Craig the seagull. Our favorite piece of folk art wasn't named Craig until a woman asked if she could buy it and Pamelia imposed some....conditions. The woman promised it was going to a good home and said it made her think of a dear friend linked to Maine. And then she named it after me. As much as we hated to sell the gull, we had to let it fly.
• A not-so-itsy-bitsy spider took up residence on one side of the Notebook. I haven't been able to identify the type yet—do any of you recognize this?—but it is quite large and quite lovely.
• Some memorable lines were spoken. I liked the one from the educator who said that teachers should get three summer-workshop credits simply for visiting The Naturalist's Notebook because there are so many great ideas for inspiring kids. I also liked the e-mailed message from a man who said his family members, who had recently visited us, "were mesmerized by a shop that has more cool things per square inch than anywhere else in the world." But the best, kookiest line, came from our young god-daughter Lily, who drew upon an obscure scientific reference while playing miniature golf with us one evening. When her tee shot didn't have enough oomph and rolled back down the slope to her feet, she yelled, "Fourteenth law of Newton!" Which meant that, uh, she could hit it again without a penalty because the gravity guy had interfered. When her next shot did the same thing she yelled, "Thirteenth law of Newton!"
• The woman who created this blog for us came to visit. The wonderful Dina Helal, who works at the Whitney Museum in New York (and, as it turns out, is the world's wildest miniature golfer), is staying with us all week. So while I head off to the country where she was born and grew up, she gets to hang out in Maine. Just for the record, she asked me to bring back some bags of roasted-chicken crisps to go with the Worcestershire ones.