10.12.2002 - Since
I've met you...
School has started (actually, the semester is already half over). I'm taking German (a language is required for a degree and, though Spanish would be more beneficial in Tucson, Germany is in my genes). I'm also taking a planetary sciences class about asteroids, comets, and meteors taught by Dr. David Kring. My third class, right up my alley, is Women in Science. I'm really enjoying my classes. Learning is such a wonderful experience.
And, thank my lucky stars, I'm also working...finally. Actually, I'm self-employed again. I'm a contract bookkeeper for a company that sells new and used golf cart motors. Here's the astronomy connection...the name of the company is Luna Industries and the owner also has an interest in astronomy.
I'm also working as the contract admin assistant (a.k.a. Admin Goddess) for an artist. In my younger days, I had aspirations of being an artist myself, so I'm really enjoying this opportunity. I brought a few S&T and Astronomy magazines to her last time I was at her studio. Who knows? Maybe there will be some astronomy influence in her future work.
I've also completed my training as a volunteer telescope operator at Flandrau Science Center on the UA campus. I'll be on the roster next month. So, if you're in town, stop by for a visit.
Yup! I've been busy. And, so has this Web site. It has had over 26,000 visitors, with over 7,400 in the last 60 days!
One of the things I enjoy most about my passion for astronomy is sharing it with others. It gives me immense pleasure when a new friend says, "Since I've met you, I look up at the night sky." I feel truly lucky that I am able to share such a wonderful gift, a gift that will touch them for the rest of their lives.
7.25.2002 - One Orbit
One of the things I love about astronomy is it shows us that the Universe is all about balance, from the smallest atoms to the largest galaxies. Within a nanosecond of a cataclysmic event, such as atoms or galaxies colliding, work begins in bringing back balance. After all, homeostasis is the natural state of all things.
So, even though there have been tough times in Tucson, and around our planet, I know that achieving balance is on the horizon. I thank my lucky stars that astronomy is a part of my life and that it teaches such valuable lessons. I'm looking forward to this next trip around the Sun.
5.8.2002 - May
This May Day was no exception, though without the girls and boys dancing around the pole. It was, however, a momentous day, a miraculous day, a May milestone day.
This May Day was the day the 10,000th visitor stopped by this Web site! Never in my wildest dreams did I think this would happen so soon.
This current site was loaded on the Web on January 2, 2002. I expected about 15 visitors per day based on the numbers from the previous site which was graciously hosted by Barry Malpas. Now, there are over 100 visitors per day, from all over the planet!
So, thank you, dear visitor, for stopping by. Thank you for validating for me that this project is needed and worthwhile. And, thank you so very much for your continued support. My heartfelt appreciation and gratitude is as vast as the Universe!
4.28.2002 - Two
Last Tuesday, April 23, I was the guest speaker on David and Wendee Levy's local radio show about astronomy, Lets Talk Stars. The show is sponsored by Starizona, the astronomy shop down the street from me. It was the first time I'd ever been on the radio as a guest. It was a lot of fun, it was scary, and it was exciting...all at the same time.
David and Wendee were wonderful and made me feel right at home. I was really surprised, and pleased, by how much he knew about women astronomers. It was a true honor and privilege to be their guest. And, I got my first t-shirt.
Last Thursday was "Take your daughter to work day" and I volunteered at the University of Arizona. They have a slightly different twist on this annual event. Their version is "Take your daughter to campus day". This is the 9th year they've done this and they offer presentations and exhibits throughout the campus. One volunteer commented, "I'm surprised by how many fathers are involved." It was a wonderful day, and I got my second t-shirt.
After volunteering at UA, I went to Starizona to pick up the April issue of S&T (I wanted to read Katy Garmany's article on Bio Dome up the road from me). There was a patron in the store visiting from Oregon and he asked me what I liked to observe. I told him I was more of a proponent for women in astronomy than an observer. He asked, "Have you seen that Web site, womanastronomer.com?"
Yup, it was a great week!
4.20.2002 - New Beginnings
In the meantime, it's time to have some fun. Hey, if you're not enjoying yourself, why do it? One of the things I really enjoy doing is this Web site. It allows me to express myself creatively, as well as learn more about the inspirational women in astronomy.
And it is these incredible women that this site is all about. In the next few weeks, I'll be updating this site and adding more to the "Women Astronomers" pages. Go to the Site Map to see who I'll be adding.
I'll also be posting some articles I've received that were not published in the newsletter. They were written by both professional and amateur women astronomers and, I hope, you will find them interesting.
I would also like to invite you to contribute and share your stories on this site. Write about whatever you like, as long as it would be appropriate to post here. It may be about your experiences as a woman astronomer, or what you have done to inspire women and girls in astronomy, or you may want to write about a woman astronomer that you think should be added to this site.
As I said last week, this site is not about me. It's about the women and girls that love science and astronomy (including me). I hope you will help to encourage and empower women interested in astronomy. Together, we will create a place that is ours, a place where women truly do hold up half of the sky.
4.13.2002 - It's Not
Last Saturday, I called a dear friend, a woman astronomer, with tears in my eyes, sobs in my throat, and despair in my heart. I told her I thought I should shut down theWoman Astronomer. The most important thing I heard her say was, "It's not about you."
That's true. The cause and goals of theWoman Astronomer are not about me. What is about me is what I've personally put into it and the rewards and pitfalls of those efforts. I would like to share a few with you.
I have tried to figure out where I went wrong, why the pitfalls seem to outweigh the rewards for me, and what it will take to get back on track.
The reasons behind my financial ruin are easy to identify. I've put all I have into this, and borrowed even more, without realizing a reasonable return on my investment or efforts. Any financial planner will advise you against this strategy.
I invested in this as a business and because I am so passionate about this cause. A business must have sales to survive. Unfortunately, I am not a salesperson, nor have I been successful in securing funding through grants.
In looking back, things started going downhill in the summer of 1999. I was at the Mars Society meeting in Boulder, Colorado, when I noticed something wrong with my eye. A look in the mirror brought the greatest shock of my life. The right side of my face had fallen! The next day, the doctor confirmed my suspicions. I had Bell's palsy.
For the most part, I recovered physically. When I'm really tired, that side of my face is not as pert as the other. It's the emotional effects that have been harder to recover from. And they have been compounded by menopause, a very stressful experience for me.
I'm a single woman, with no one to rely on but myself. With the exception of a few close friends, I have little moral support. My mother still asks me, "Have you found a husband yet?" and does not support my efforts with theWoman Astronomer or in obtaining a long overdue education.
Trust me, it's nearly impossible to stay "up" and motivated when you feel all alone. I have, pretty much, been down in the dumps the last three years. I thought a change in latitude would help with my attitude. It has. It's given me the strength to take a close, hard look at the pit I've put myself in.
So, why have I told you all of this? Well, to share a part of myself that I've not shared with you before so you may get to know me better. It is also my hope that you will understand how difficult it is for one person to take on a task of this magnitude. And, it's time to make some decisions.
As I see it, these are my choices and their effects on the future of theWoman Astronomer.
So, it is with deep regret and great sorrow that I am officially ceasing publication of the newsletter. I will, however, continue with this Web site as long as there is the need and for as long as I am able. It is time to put theWoman Astronomer where she belongs, and that place is not about me.
Thank you for your time and your support. It has been a privilege and honor to be of service. Clear skies and I remain...
3.26.2002 - My Legacy
Originally, I wanted a degree in astronomy. However, due to my advancing age :-), that is no longer a realistic goal. I have changed to an "interdisciplinary" degree with studies in astronomy (of course), women's studies, and writing. I changed course because I've given myself until age 50 to get my bachelor's degree and don't want to be a student until I'm 60 to get the education required for a career in astronomy.
It is unlikely my name will ever appear in an astronomy text book. Instead, my contribution to astronomy will be, and is, theWoman Astronomer and promoting the science to women and girls around the world.
It is my hope that through this work, I may offer encouragement and support (something that was lacking for me) to those that aspire to be an astronomer. It is through them, (perhaps even you, dear reader), that my legacy to astronomy will survive.