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Tennessee, United States
Retired teacher living in East Tennessee, adjusting to life in the land of round door knobs. Photographer for our local animal shelter and foster of many dogs and kitties. Don't ask me how many dogs I have, but my son got me one of those "I'm the crazy dog lady" sweatshirts.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Under the Ash Cloud

In a scenario no one expected to ever see, the skies over Europe have been shut down for days. Sorry, your flight has been canceled because Eyjafjallajokull, an Icelandic volcano a thousand miles away from your destination, is erupting is not what one expects to hear at the airport. I haven't seen any figures on how many Europeans were stranded on other continents when the airports shut down on Ash Friday, April 16, but it must number in the thousands.

For my school district, it was Spring Break, and while the majority of students, teachers and staff had traveled by car or other ground transportation on holiday, those who had flown to far-flung locales, like Turkey, Greece, the Canary Island, or Ireland, found themselves stranded and uncertain how best to manage their return. Journeys normally measured in hours, recently been measured in days.

A colleague told of sleeping on her husband's lap in an Italian train station side by side with other travelers because all the hotels were full. Others took two-day ferries to get back to Italy from Greece to spend another day on the train getting back to Germany. Flights that would normally have gone all the way to Frankfurt, Germany landed instead in cities like Prague, the Czech Republic and Salzburg, Austria. Those disembarking then continued their journey by train, car or bus. Other colleagues in Turkey still wait with bags packed for word that they have a flight and should head to the airport.

Thankfully, there have been no accidents, no airline disasters, so while some may criticize the experts and question why so much caution was applied in this case, I would rather my friends get home a week late, than not have them come home at all.

Photo from NASA.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Pale Blue Dot

This video has been around for a couple of years, and yet fewer than a million people have seen it. I wish everyone in the world would watch it. We all need to be reminded how small our planet is in the universe, how precious it is, and not that we are insignificant, but that we need to keep ourselves and our self-importance in perspective, and that's what this video is about, perspective.