22 May 2015




Life is pretty difficult for a house cat.

After several weeks of stress, clawing, and the occasional full blown cat fight, peace has return in the home.  Gordo and Loco are on house arrest due to embarrassing encounters with the neighbors... I won't go into details but we were told of stolen hams, lunches gone awry, other kitties getting bullied, and worst yet, a certain orange-brown feline sprawled in the neighbor's bed.  Eh'.  Ya, que pena doesn't come close.  Reigning in the boys was not without its difficulties, but happily everyone is once again content to be at home.  Even little Tutis only makes quick runs out.  The rain and cold seems to have curbed her excitement for exploration.

And this weekend is a long one thanks to Chile's defeat of Peru during some war some time ago.  So, we are all enjoying relaxing at home.  Taking cat naps when we please, raking leaves, taking care of the neighbor's chickens, and Pablo is in the process of making us a new kitchen table.  I hope to show you photos of that soon... when he finishes... 

17 May 2015



Boys and their toys.

Really, I do not get it.  I mean I think I'm a pretty playful person as are many of the other women I know, but there seems to be something about grown men and remote-controlled flying objects that we just cannot fully understand.  Just a few weeks ago we received our Dron.  One of our clever laboratory vendors had a promotion going that if we were to buy X amount of goods we could have our very own flying machine.  I can only imagine that the marketing genius behind this scheme either possesses a Y chromosome... or lives with someone that does.  So, several weeks after purchase, the sales rep shows up to the institute to deliver not one but several of these babies.  Because as it turns out, my husband is not the only professor dreaming of owning his own flying toy.

And while I am not very interested in flying the Dron, the little camera attached, which can take photo and video, is pretty cool.  Pablo has been making the most of the 7 minutes of flight that the battery allows him, below you can find a little video of where we live.  



15 May 2015



The southern hemisphere has become dark.


Though that does not mean it is not still beautiful.  It might be harder to get out of bed, drive yourself to work, and have your second cup of coffee having not yet seen the sun, but now I more often notice the stars.  And I will more fully appreciate when the sun swings back in our direction.  When it is cold and rainy, as it is most days in the winter here, we might think fondly of our old life with 360 days of sun a year.  But without the rain there is no green.  Without the dark we cannot revel in the light.  No, we do not miss our old life, we push through into a new reality.  And while my blogging might come less frequently these days, that does not mean that I lack stories to tell.  I simply lack the time.  As we work to get to know our new surroundings and navigate a small yet larger daily commute, my time for story telling shrinks…  that and the lack of reliable bandwidth in our remote area.  So, I apologize my friends for at times also leaving you in the dark, but I hope you´ll keep coming around.  One of these days I´ll get all of those photos posted… 

13 May 2015

01 May 2015



Happy Fall!!!!

I know that most of you are happily transitioning into mid Spring but here in the south, we are gearing up for winter.  While many of the native trees here don't senesce, introduced varieties like Maples, Oak, and Poplar are brightening our shortening days.  The two Japanese Maples in our yard are brilliant.  And along with the pretty leaves, the fruits of autumn are also falling.  My neighbor was nice enough to gift me a pile of squash which I have been mixing into everything possible.  But more abundant than squash right now are the chestnuts or castañas.  They fall from the trees protected by their mighty spiked husks.  I am still removing chestnut spines from Pablo's head from those that fell on him a few weeks ago when he was out raking up mountains of the nuts.  And despite the fact that all of the four neighbors in the area are plagued with an abundance of castañas, our enterprising neighbor kid has set up shop and is selling nuts at 1,000 pesos the kilo.  Needless to say, we have had our fill of roasting chestnuts over the fire.  Because when the nights get chilly and the wind from the river starts blowing, we, like every other family in Valdivia, light our wood burning stove and get cozy around the fire.



23 April 2015



No we have not endured lava burns or ash suffocation!!  The recent volcanic eruption here in Chile is pretty insane but we, in Valdivia, have felt no effects of the explosion.  On the contrary, today is a beautifully sunny Thursday.

In other news, I thought I would share with you a few photos from some of our recent field sampling trips.  Behold, Playa la Mission!  The water might be cold, but the beach is quite pretty I must say.  We don our 7mm wetsuits complete with neoprene hoods, gloves, socks, and booties and wade into the water outside the wave break zone.  We dive down searching for Piure and other lovely creatures. Sometimes we are successful, sometimes we lose to the current.


Big algae in photo above!!  Bright and shiney urchins in the photo below!!

Check out the tiny Piures sticking out their orange siphons!!

So many crabs... so much algae...


16 April 2015


A random little post for the middle of your week...

Best recipe book that I've found so far: The Hoosier Mama Book of Pie
This book is the pie Bible.  One of my very good friends gifted me this book and I thank her every week when I am inspired to tackled ever more challenging pies.  Seriously, I have pie fever.  I am obsessed with making pies.  This week its quiche, last week was pumpkin, before that I made not one but three (!!) apple pies... one for us, and one as an apology to both of our neighbors that have had to endure visits from a very naughty cat... more on that to come....