home on the range

I just arrived back from two weeks in Northern Wyoming. The main focus of the trip was helping out on a dinosaur dig (awesome, I know) in the Bighorn Basin, but we made time for some extracurricular exploration.

So, sit back, relax, and smell the prickly pear flowers….

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…and the lichens.
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In Wyoming, epic rainstorms also mean epic rainbows.
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We were blessed with the precious moment of bumping into a newborn white-tailed deer fawn in the wild.
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A hike through the Beartooths was a very, very good thing.
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Those clouds.
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The Bighorn Canyon is surely one of the best kept secrets of the West, giving the Grand Canyon a run for its money.

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Perhaps the highlight of the trip was the pig races. That’s right, the pig races. If you ever happen to be in Red Lodge, MT, make sure to make this your top priority. In fact, make a visit Red Lodge, MT your top priority and enjoy the pig races.

Grab a Moose Drool, pick a pig (Waltzing Fatilda, perhaps? Sausageawea is another good one. Hillary ClintHAM won’t let you down!), and watch the little pigs run their dear, little hearts out because they know that a treasure chest of leafy greens awaits them.

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and they’re off!

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will. do. anything. for. alfalfa.

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GORGE

We took a trip up to Cody one night for the rodeo…yeehaw!

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BA female rodeo stars

My favorite painting in the Buffalo Bill Center of the West:

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No Parking: Violators Towed Away

We cooked dinner every night in our little farmhouse.

Fried bread was made. And all was well.

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such calorie. very oil. many fry.

But that big sky, mmhmm.
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A Sprinkle of Santo Domingo

I have just come back from two weeks in the Dominican Republic, spending half the time catching bats in tucked-away caves and half the time meandering around Santo Domingo. Nearly 100% of the time I had dodgy WIFI and have been unable to keep tabs on the trip. However, I must briefly comment that the most fantastic feature of this country is the innate appreciation for art. It is a tangible phenomenon in every crevice of this city.

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Stay tuned.

new year in new places

Happy new year! Over the years I have finally come to the realization that New Year’s Eve is not really that great and am no longer spending any money on a shiny new outfit for it. It seems to be the case (for myself, at least) that the less money I spend on the night and the less time I spend thinking about where you will be when the ball drops, the more enjoyable the experience. This year, I happened to celebrate ringing in 2014 six hours earlier than everyone back in New York in Rehovot, Israel drinking Goldstar and wearing jeans and my motorobike t-shirt. To say that I wouldn’t have it any other way would be stretching it, as I was celebrating with none of lover and loves from home, but it certainly was a good time celebrating with new people in new places.

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new year’s day in a grapefruit orchard in rehovot, israel

I will post soon about Rehovot but I must dedicate this post to new year’s resolutions. Being that it is 5 days after the new year and I am in extreme procrastination mode writing my grant, I can’t say that I am off to a splendid start, but what’s that saying? Better late than never? As reflect a little bit on how I have changed over the last year, I can say that in January 2013 I was wallowing mess of singleness, living under the delusion that I could manage my time well, and continuously scheming of clever ways to get off Long Island and see exotic places again–happy, nonetheless. Well, I still am absolutely horrid at managing my time but I seem to have pulled it together a bit and found a lover that won’t drive me crazy and went on an incredible journey with my friend Rocio throughout Utah and Arizona. I also managed to weasel my way into a trip to Costa Rica with my adviser to collect bats in which I have completely refocused my life work to study their sense of smell. And it is awesome.

Anyways, my resolutions. In 2014, I will:

(1) Never go three days without running and always run on a Monday. I am hoping this prevents and lulls and excuses.  And while I’m at it: Log my runs. A habit I had always thought about doing, but never actually committed to doing it.

(2) Sit up straight. My posture is horrendous and will often catch myself in photos slouched over and standing awkwardly in my single-footed pigeon-toed position and as I turn 25, it is about time this goes. I would like to say something like do yoga three times a week to do this, but I can’t say I actually will commit to this. However, I will say that I will do posture promoting yoga in order to accomplish this.

(3) Learn to do one pull-up. For the love of God, it is just one pull-up.

(4) Publish three papers. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there and I have none to show for myself for 2013. Sigh.  It’s a new year!

(5) Blog mindfully. The once-every-three month thing is pretty lame, I know. Although I would like to do it more often, what I think I actually am referring to is my tone.  Without trying to state my opinion one way or the other about this, the viral post “23 Things to Do Instead of Getting Engaged at 23” had many, many people offset by the content. I myself found the post somewhat entertaining and I do have enormous amounts of respect for women who go out on their own, especially in regards to travel. However, I did find parts of the post rather obnoxious at times with the whole “I am a woman and travel by myself to exotic places and look good doing it” attitude. Yet, I couldn’t help but think that I can sometimes sounds like that and I don’t think I want to anymore. I just read my insanely respectable cousin’s blog who is volunteering in San Diego living on $100 a month and I felt so much more inspired and refreshed.

(6) In relation to the previous point: volunteer one time this year. I know, one time. That is so pathetic. And yet last year I did not give my time to anyone else unless I got something back in return. As I trudge along in my PhD, I feel extremely self-fulfilled by my research. I find the olfactory system of bats to be the most interesting thing in the entire world at the moment and do not feel the need to justify what I do on any other level. Still, the world sucks. And as much as I can try to convince people that bats and the sense of smell are important to the betterment of the world, I think can still find some time to directly help somebody else.

(7) Read one book a month. With limited space, limited funds, and limited desire to ever move all of my books into a new apartment again, I hereby am declaring the rule that I can no longer buy another book. I either have to read one I already have or finally get my freaking library card and check it out.

(8) Wake up before 7:45AM every day of the week. I used to be up with the sun last spring and would run everyday. What happened to that girl? Time to find her again.

(9) Drink more water. I virtually drink none until I find myself parched beyond belief until I knock everything out of my way to search for the nearest glass to fill and chug and then repeat the filling and chugging three times. Life doesn’t need to be that painful.

Enough for now. We’ll see how I manage with that on my plate. Cheers to all the new people and new places and new ideas and new adventures in 2014!