Monday, July 9, 2012


Last Thursday, I was talking to one of my friends from flute choir. She's going to be leaving us soon, moving on to earn an advanced degree in marine biology. She's been a member with the group for awhile and I'm glad that her final quarter with us is in the summer, which is a little looser and (dare I say it?) more fun than our usual, "we have a concert to put on in 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 weeks" quarters.

Don't get me wrong, I love concertizing ("have gig will practice!") and I love the challenge of it, but I also like sitting around in Patty's living room, sight reading new music or parts I've never played. We also get to talk a little more, and people tend to stick around afterwards to visit. It's nice.

This, however, is not a flute choir post. If it was, it would be over there on that blog.

My friend started telling me what she's been working on this summer.

I lack any kind of basic background in science, so my portrayal of our conversation should only make me look dumb. She definitely knows what she's talking about, I just lack the memory and scientific thinking necessary to talk about anything she said with authority.

That said, it was a fascinating conversation. Without giving too much away about her work (what do I know, this stuff might be secret), she told me that she's comparing specimens from various locations to determine if they share any genetic material. Or something like that. And then she told me how that was done (by computer, using slices that are turned into colors, which sounds pretty, and that statement right there is probably proof enough to you that I am an artistic person and not a very analytical one). She explained that there are long, long, long strings of numbers derived from the color spectrum and the computer compares them all.

I've been playing music with my friend for awhile, and I've heard her play lots of hard, beautiful music (most recently, believe it or not, she totally got into the jazzy feel of "Baby Elephant Walk," our finale at our last concert. I was playing piccolo, and she got to jam. It was fun to listen to), but to see the light in her eyes while she talked about her computer analysis and this complicated process of light and numbers - it was pretty cool.

Then, on Saturday, I was out in the backyard with Jules, and we came across a baby slug slithering around on one of the stepping stones to the garage door. I had a big load of laundry in one hand, and was holding Jules' hand with the other.

I put the laundry down so that we could look at it. It was tiny, this little baby slug.

You should know that slugs and snails and spiders and creepy crawlies of pretty much any kind? I am not a fan. In fact... I am a little scared of these things. They're just gross. But I have a boy. And I realize that boys like dirt and bugs and I'd better make sure that my attitude about those things, not necessarily bad in and of themselves, doesn't transfer to him. I don't want him to be afraid of snails just because they're "icky." (Actually, I stepped on one barefoot, a long long time ago, while walking my ex-boyfriend out to his car one night, and it's possible that that incident scarred me more than I care to admit.) And what if one day, he wants to do something like what she's doing and gets that look in his eye about slugs? Or something like them? So we kneeled down and watched this almost cute little slug wiggle around on the ground for about, oh, I'd say, 20 seconds, max.

Then I said, "Okay, sweetie, let's go in the house now!" And we did.

Updated: If I had a girl I'd be okay with it if she liked dirt and bugs and stuff too. I'm not saying girls can't like that stuff, I'm just saying that I'm not thrilled with it. I'm not trying to restrict my kid's activities based on his sex or gender, or whatever. He can do whatever interests him!

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