Posts Tagged 'animal'

Scuba Diving Class 2 – Two Open Water Dives

This is Part 2 in a Series. Read Part 1 HERE.

Did I mention how terrified I am to scuba dive? No? Well, rest assured that I told my instructor. And Zach. And Kate, the other student diving with us. Here I am, yesterday morning, having problem after problem with pool gear. Mask too tight, respirator too difficult to breathe through, can’t get properly weighted. Bleh. Still. Not giving up yet.


Then we spent time calculating nitrogen concentration in one’s body, safe dive times, etc. I liked this because it was math-y, and also showed that dive sickness is avoidable, and not just a matter of chance circumstance. We got onto the boat for a 40 minute ride out to Sand Key, part of the coral barrier reef 7 miles from Key West. I cannot imagine a prettier day on the water. Calm and glassy and teal.

The crew had the tanks all lined up.


We squeezed into wetsuits and hoods. This is Zach making his “THIS IS AWESOME” face.

1-pre dive zach wetsuit

This was the view off the side of the boat. Those greeny patches? They’re corals 20 feet below.

1-pre dive water view

My nerves kicked in while strapping up. I actually had to put on a ton of gear and then just JUMP off the side of the boat. It took a full 2 minutes of hyperventilation on the “gangplank”, and ultimately I asked Rick, the first mate, to push me off. Once in, I had a bit of a panic, until Zach saw a loggerhead sea turtle 20 feet away on the surface, and I realized that I needed to get under that water. Here’s a bit of bubbly surface panic, but check out those fish! They kept coming close, giving me curious side-eyed looks:

2 surface panic 2

I clutched the rope, all the way down to 5 feet, adjusting and readjusting my mask, my respirator, and finding all my gauges. I hovered there with Duane, the instructor, while Zach sort of paddled around nearby, getting his bearings. I realized I needed to cry, and then prompltly discovered that there is no crying in scuba diving. I surfaced, jittery, breathed a bit (but didn’t cry!), then went back down. Slowly, slowly descending to 16 ft, whimpering and grasping at my teacher’s jacket, bug-eyed with terror.

2-dive bug eyed terror

Duane had a tablet for communicating, so he wrote encouraging things like “slow down, you’re doing fine” and “no drills yet, this is the fun part”:

3 dive notes

It took me ages to relax and let go of that rope, and then I was only willing to swim in circles around it. Finally, I calmed down and we set off to see all sorts of fishies and corals.

3 blue fish

Zach gave me the camera, which was soothing, and took my mind off basic breathing. Time was almost up, so we went to the back of the boat and rested with our knees on the sandy bottom. Zach did his drills, taking out his respirator, getting it back in, and clearing the water from his mask:

2 respirator

We surfaced and I said something I never thought I’d say “I didn’t want to come back up.” We climbed aboard the Sea Eagle and the crew switched up our gear for fresh tanks.

kate 7

Then we cruised to our next spot. I noticed that my hands were really itchy and tingly. Duane said this was from hydra stings and fire corals that grow on the ropes. A good lesson…I won’t be clutching the rope next time. The second plunge was much easier, though I still asked Rick for a tiny push; it’s psychologically pretty difficult to jump in with that much gear on. It just seems impossible that you’re going to float.

On this dive I got comfortable faster, and did my own drills of taking out my respirator, tossing it behind me, relocating it, and putting it back it. Then we just cruised and swam and took pictures of pretty things. Our coral reef is gorgeous.

2 reef

I didn’t think I could do it, truly. Zach says he knew I was capable, despite all my worries, because he’s seen me work through all kinds of fears.

3 feeling groovy

A brave new adventure! Two more dives next week, then I’ll be a card-carrying, PADI-certified open water diver. This time, I can’t wait to go back under. Zach was glad to send his 20s off with a bang. Happy 30th birthday today, mister!

4 after diving

Flamingo Mittens

I flipped for this pattern and just HAD to make these flamingo mittens! But for whom?

My mom, of course, because even though she lives so far away, her hands are about the same size as mine, so I could just make them to fit me and know that they would probably fit her!

Every stitch of these was fun, thanks to this mottled, hand-painted pink yarn that I bought on Etsy. The black is super-soft Capretta from KnitPicks and the pattern is from SpillyJane.

I have been working on these for weeks, but they arrived just in time to cheer her up after a fall that broke her shoulder a few days ago. I hope she feels good enough to be out for walks again before the weather gets too warm to wear these.

I love my mom!

Squid in a Jar

squid (Small)

Last night my school held its annual science fair and I donated this RARE saltwater specimen as a prize. Little did you know that the Great Salt Lake, once famous only for its bouyancy and clouds of brine flies, is now the habitat of several species of cephalopods!

squid label (Small)

Can it really have been a full year since the last science fair, when I made a tiny octopus specimen in a jar?

Happy Birthday Snake Boy!

Last year I made a crazy chicken butt hat for my sweet Boogedy when he turned 1. I knew it would be hard to top. I tossed designs around in my head all year. Zach came up with this idea and it was up to me to research snake markings and design this gluttonous creature. He may be deadly, but perhaps he bit off more than he could swallow!


What you can’t see in this picture is that the hat tapers to a long, skinny snake body that hangs down off the top of the hat to the Boogedy’s neck. I’ll try to get that shot uploaded soon.

To tell if this is a poisonous Coral Snake or the look-alike King Snake, you can use this handy rhyme: Red next to yellow, you’re a dead fellow. Red next to black, You’re OK, Jack!

Happy 2nd birthday Boogedy!!


Stirrings–Love is in the air

No. 4 in my collaboration with Jen of Painted Fish Studio, looking for signs of spring.

Seen on the sidewalk yesterday. I saw lots of mating pairs like this. I’ve always called them Box Elder Bugs. They didn’t seem to be arguing about which direction to walk, they were steadily heading across the sidewalk.


Six–Photo challenge


Jen of Painted Fish Studio tagged me to “open the 6th picture folder on your computer, open the 6th photo and blog it. write something about it. then tag 6 more people to do the same.”

the photo above is my 6 of 6, a detail from this set:


Years ago my mom painted this wooden farm set for my Aunt Suzie’s grandchildren (my cousin’s kids. At this point of familial reltionships, I just consider everybody cousins). I don’t know for sure if my dad cut out all these little animals and sanded them before mom painted them. It’s likely. After I had the Boogedy, Aunt Suzie gave me the set, complete with red barn carrying bucket.


This toy is always a hit for visiting kids, and I’m so pleased that we still have all the pieces! I remember when the Boogedy sat down one day and was able to do all the animal noises.

Also see The Boogedy’s Ark, for another handmade and hand-painted toy made by my parents (for me when I was little!).

I’ll tag:





Spring Heartbreak


This will be our third summer in this house. Every year we’ve planted new baby fruit trees, and lovingly nurtured them all through the scorching heat with daily watering and care. This last summer the neighbor’s rabbit escaped her measley, miserable confines and ran away to our backyard paradise. The neighbor eventually gave up on fetching her home, because she is really hard to catch. That was ok with me, and we fed her leftovers and greens from our kitchen. Zach even put up barriers to keep her from eating the baby trees. However, once the snow got deep enough, she just walked up to the trees and was able to nibble the bark off of anything she wanted. And she did.


15 fruit trees will be dead this year. Heirloom apricots, almonds, peaches, dwarves and standards, all gone. Only the cherry and apple remain untouched.

Zach caught the rabbit and tossed her over the fence, but has vowed that we will be eating rabbit stew if she dares to return.


Update: We caught the rabbit. And my big words about rabbit stew were useless against her cute bunnyness. Instead, I gave her to my brother-in-law, who said she could live in his yard, where all the trees are adults. Plus, he lives 10 miles away.

Chompers and Watchers

Cool: This craft project is hilarious! Thanks so much to BitterBetty for her creativity, a great blog, and for this excellent tutorial. Here are pics of the assembly line:

And photos of more creepy plants. The orchids “watch” the front door. The chomper guards the water fountain.

Dissapointing: I invited 5 people to my little craft party on Sunday, and everybody but my mom cancelled. Tis the season, I know. Fall means everybody gets sick. The way I usually structure these get-togethers is to have everyone pay a small (like $5) materials fee to offset the costs. So after my mom gave me $7 (she’s a good tipper), it meant I spent 23 bucks on styrofoam, paint, pipe cleaners, my first glue gun, silly vampire teeth, etc. About $18 More than I would have with my tight budget, if I’d known it was just going to be us.

I spent tons of time shopping for this project, and hours ahead of time pre-painting everything. Zim’s is going out of business, so I saved $$). I was really looking forward to social time with my friends around the hot glue gun, and potluck snackies. I don’t like sounding whiny, but making 36 chompers practically by myself was exhausting. Mom and I only finished two “watchers”.

Oh well. More chompers for me. Anybody have any pointers on making craft parties successful?

Octopus Redux

The school where I work is having a science fair this afternoon (grades 7-12). I made this octopus as a prize for a winner or honorable mention in the “water quality” category. I have told them that it is a rare specimen from the Great Salt Lake, only two of which has been found before.

The brainiacs should be able to give your reasons why the salinity of the Great Salt Lake would preclude this type of lifeform. At which point I will reiterate their RARITY.

The Boogedy’s Ark

My mom and dad made this wooden ark for me when I was teeny tiny. The ark has a hinged ramp, old rickety casters, and a nylon rope for pulling around.

Originally, the ark had an entire set of handmade stuffed animals (sewn by Mom), but only these two remain. The others were loved to death:

When my mom had grandchildren, she and dad made an ark for each of my brothers and sisters and their new little families. For that project, my dad cut out sturdy wooden animals and my mom painted them in fanciful colors. Now I have a set of those. The gallery below shows them up close.

I have hung onto this ark through countless moves, facing much mockery from Zach. But, he now admits my wisdom in keeping it. The ark appeals to every single child who has ever visited my home, and I always find the animals paired up and tucked into their stalls when kids clean up the set.

These last two photos show the interior loft and the little door for the giraffes to poke their heads out, respectively.

All photos are relatively low-quality, since the Boogedy races over to play with the ark any time I set up a photoshoot!