You don't See that Every Day

On Thursday we got an e-mail at work saying that I-75 (Alligator Alley) was partially closed because a plane had made an emergency landing on the highway!  Luckily the two people on the plane were ok.  Even though it had landed around 2pm, the traffic was still backed up and we had to sit on the highway for about 35 minutes.  

People always act so chaotic and idiotic in situations that are out of the ordinary.  We had been stopped for about 2 minutes when people started getting out of their cars, stretching their legs, and using the side of the road for a bathroom.  2 minutes.  Maybe if we we had been stopped for 5 hours this would have been understandable.  I guess Floridians are low on patience. 

This is actually the second time we have seen a plane crash on the Alley since I've started working.  Unfortuantely that accident did not end as well and the pilot lost his life.  He had tried to land on the highway but missed and ended up in the swamp.  The water and mud will just suck everything in.  We actually saw rescue teams pulling pieces of the plane out of the Everglades.  

Luckily this time it just held up traffic for awhile.   
Notice the man on the side of the road wandering off to use the "bathroom"

The plane had been pulled to the side of the road

There are always strange things to be seen out in the boonies of Florida!


Run for you Life!

I love walking on the Boardwalk.  A chance to get some exercise and clear my mind.  Most days it is very enjoyable.  Others, such as today, are not.

5 Reasons why I hated the boardwalk today:

1.  Got chased by a hornet for 1 out of the 1.5 miles.  It was 2 inches long and black and red

2.  Walked into a spider web that was 4 feet across

3.  Heard very loud rustling in the trees

4.  Got chased by a swarm of flies

5.  Sweated to death because the humidity is 406%

Experiment Time

I have two degrees, a bachelors in Anthropology and a Masters in Museum Science.  However, even though they sound super scientific they are a BA and an MA.  I've often heard my interest of study refered to as a "soft" science.  Ok, I know that I am not a rocket scientist by any means but sometimes I get to do science experiments!  One of the projects at work is cataloging artifacts from the field school that was held this summer.  The students were trying to relocate a 19th century Third Seminole War Fort.  We have a lot of really neat objects, but several of the metal artifacts we have are a mystery because they had deteriorated beyond recognition within the ground.  So we decided to do some metal analysis in order to figure what the objects were made of. 

We ran three tests: lead, iron, and copper

Our results will hopefully help use narrow down what these mystery obejcts once were!  Bill Nye the Science Guy would be proud of me.

Finding tiny flakes to remove to test the surface

Juan assisted us (I know I'm Italian but my arms aren't that hairy!) 
Testing the object for copper. 



Bargain Hunter

I am still adding things to my new place to try and make it feel like home.  I've been looking for months for a new rug and a new TV stand.  Last week I went shopping and found both items for amazing deals!  Using my Christmas gift cards didn't hurt either!  It always pays off to be patient and wait for those sales.

New rug - $5

New Lamp- $19

New Tv Stand- $60
New DVD player-Free!
(bobby found it in our neighbors trash and it works like new!)
Making it feel like home- Priceless :)

creepy crawly

Just wanted to share what I just found on my living room floor

Next time I'm moving to North Dakota


The La-boratory

The Lab is a very important part of my job.  When we get artifacts in from the field they go to the lab to be processed, cleaned, sorted, and identified.  Then they are accessioned and cataloged into our database and archivally housed.  Most of what we get in is animal bone and what is known as sand-tempered plain bodied ceramic fragements.  Occassionally we get lithics and other types of prehistoric tools.  The lab is the backbone of the Collections Division and is the final step of an archaeological project.

Right now several projects are going on.  I'm working on an inventory of our collection and also working on processing our 10 year backlog!  My lab manager is working on processing incoming projects from the field and is working on a project that consists of a large amount of burned animal bone, meaning it was most likely an archaic camp site.   

There's always something going on in the Lab!


Sorting the artifacts

Drying Racks-where the artifacts go after they are washed


The observation hallway-it creeps me out that people can see me

Washing Area

Some of the tools to help clean

My awesome lab coat!


my favorite place

I was told by a good friend once that if you move somewhere new you should find a special place to visit often and make it your favorite place.  A place that is your own and a place that you feel comfortable.  Every new place I've lived, I've tried to find my favorite place.  In Texas it was this coffee shop that my friends and I would go to and study at and play card games.  When I was in Italy, it was Piazza Novembre, where I could sit and watch the fountain and the people.  In Denver it was actually my place of work.  The 6th floor at the Denver Art Museum was my haven, being surrounded by Renaissance and Impressionist art work. 

The Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum has a 1.5 mile long boardwalk that loops through a cypress forest.  There is this one place on the boardwalk that I always stop and spend some time.  The walkway passes over this pond and almost everyday I can see these white birds with their long orange beaks, standing on one leg.  There are trees sumberged in the water and plants growing on top of the surface.  It is usually very quiet and you can hear the birds talking.  I do not allow myself to think of work, but just focus on such a beautiful and peaceful scene. 

This is my new favorite place.



Does your school gym have a chickee?



Bug Bites

Something keeps biting me.  The other day at work my leg started itching and I looked down and I had 11 bites all over my left leg and ankle.  They are incredibly itchy, more than a mosquito bite.  Now they have turned this weird dark purple color.  I'm sure its some sort of poisonous tropical bug. Hopefully my leg doesn't fall off.



Rez Rally

Yesterday morning was Rez Rally.

Rez Rally is an annual 5k that the Seminole Tribe puts on to help promote health and diabetes awareness.  This year it was hosted by the Brighton Reservation, which means I had to wake up at 3:30 in the morning.

You all may be shocked that I did a 5k, but let me clarify that I walked it!  I carpooled with some co-workers, which made the drive a little more bearable, except when one of them kept yelling "REZ RALLY!!" every 10 minutes.  Remember that it's 5 in the morning.

I don't usually like doing this kind of thing.  I don't like pep rally bonding time.  I never participated in school spirit and am always embarassed when everyone becomes best friends over things like this.  But I thought I should go and see what it was all about.

I ended up having a good time!  The Brighton reservation is beautiful, and the trail we walked was lined with thick hammocks of palm trees, Spanish moss, and pine trees.  It was nice to be part of a bigger cause, helping the tribe fight diabetes.  It was the first time I had been around tribal members from the other reservations and it was interesting to see the Seminole Tribe as a whole.  

We got some awesome participation prizes, one being a gift card for new Nike shoes!  I'm not sure if I will do it next year.  Who knows, maybe I'll try to run it!

Brighton Reservation- 6:30am

THPO- Each Reservation wore a different color. BC was black

Carpool team- Katy and Juan

Juan and Andrew- Andrew placed 5th

Doesn't it usually say Dogs?

My favorite- the Spanish Moss

The Red Barn on the Reservation- listed on the National Register

Its Raining, Its Pouring

Guess what!?  Its RAINING!  How unusual...  Another weekend spent inside watching the little lizards scurrying to find shelter.  I wish Florida would start being that tropical paridise that it's supposed to be. 


Super Snake!!

I've never had a fear of snakes.  I'd much rather be put in an enclosed case with snakes than spiders any day.  But now that I'm working in one of the most dangerous places in the U.S. (bears, panthers, bobcats, alligators) I might be changing my mind about how I feel about those slithery creatures. 

The Everglads are now home to the Burmese Python.  These snakes are one of the largest in the world and have made their home in the Florida Everglades thanks to those irresponsible pet owners.  They have caused a wide fear and panic, especially for those with small pets and children.  There is a government program through the National Park Service that specializes in the removal of these giant snakes.  They began in 2000 and have so far removed around 1,300, but apparently this is only a fraction of the total population. Yikes!

Today there was an article in the news about a new fear.  A Super Snake!  During the hunt for the Burmese Python, they have discovered the African Rock Python.  They have caught 5 total, with one measuring 14 feet long and another measuring 21 inches in the middle.  This breed is meaner and bigger than the burmese python and fear of the two breeding could pose an even bigger threat.  The Rock Python has been known to eat goats and crocidiles in Africa, which means it could definitely eat small naughty children, or people named Kate minding their own buisness. 

Hopefully I never see one on my daily walks around the boardwalk.  Especially this possible new meaner and bigger bread.  Being strangled to death does not sound like a good time.

12 foot African Rock Python

Burmese Python


Museum tips

For those of you who don't get to spend your days in a museum, here are some helpful tips courtesy of the Onion.

*In large museums like the Louvre, it is virtually impossible to see everything in one day. This is why jogging is both acceptable and encouraged.

*If you don't experience a painting with all five senses, you aren't truly experiencing it.

*Beware: Some museums are more reputable than others. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City? Pretty reputable. The Flagstaff Groundhog & Jackalope Hall of Fame? Less so.

*Why enter the museum when the only stuff you can afford is in the gift shop?

*When on a guided tour of a history museum, at every civilization, ask whether the men of that era ever had an overpowering urge to dress as a woman and be caressed by a big, strong man.

*Though many are painfully dull, some museums gots cars in 'em.

*Remember: "Suggested donation" means waltz in free, even if you are loaded.

Be sure to dress appropriately for your museum visit, wearing knee-high boots, sturdy rubber gloves, and a heavy apron. Did I say museum? I meant salmon cannery.

*When looking at the exhibit on genetically modified super-spiders, try not to get too distracted by Kirsten Dunst.

*This month, the National Mustard Museum in Mt. Horeb, WI, is unveiling a new exhibit honoring those slain while serving the mustard industry. It is a moving tribute to America's mustard dead and is highly recommended.

*If short on money, get a friend to enter a museum and have him or her describe everything to you via walkie-talkie.



Yesterday while at the little gas station on the reservation, I overhead two men speaking Miccosukee (Mikasuki).  This is one of two languages of the Seminole Tribe of Florida.  The second is Creek, which is spoken by Seminoles on the Brighton Reservation.  Miccosukee is more commonly spoken by the elders in the tribe. 

It sounded so beautiful and I guess the anthropologist in me got a little sad knowing that the younger generations do not speak their language as often.  Miccosukee is also closely related to the Hitchiti language, which is no longer spoken.

Miccosukee is not only a language but a tribe.  They are closely related to the Seminole Tribe, both descending from the Creek Nation who inhabited the area that is now Georgia and Alabama.  One of the largest Miccosukee reservations is right next to the Seminole Big Cypress Reservation.  Everyday we drive through the Miccosukee Reservation to get to work.

There is a big sign when you enter the Big Cypress Reservation, welcoming visitors.  As you leave, the reverse side of the sign says "Sho-na-bish!" which means "Thank You" in Miccosukee.  For now, this is the only phrase I know in Miccosukee!



I saw a baby opossum running through the grass yesterday at work.  I have never seen one before and at first I thought it was a giant rat.  He seemed a little confused and lost, so hopefully he was running back to the safety of his mom!  Next time I hope I get to see one hanging from the trees ~



Its Cold!

Brrrr! Its been chilly down here, in typically the warmest part of the country!  Everyone is on edge and is acting like it is the end of the world.  The high the past few days has been in the low 60s, but dropping down to the 40s and 30s at night.  For Bobby and I, it feels like fall and we are loving it.  For everyone else, it is an arctic blast.  I do however feel for those who have citrus crops, seeing we had a frost yesterday and things aren't looking too good. 

Winter jackets, scarves, ugg boots, and hats are the attire right now in the office.  It is also the talk of the office. Every few minutes someone makes a comment about the weather, usually with a shocked or irritated tone. 

People were calling into the radio station today about how their heat decided to not work at home and they are probably going to freeze to death in the 63 degree weather. 

The weather has actually been a headache for me at work.  We are having issues with our heating and cooling system. Because the heat is on in the building it means our relative humidity will drop.  Our system is supposed to counteract this, adding humidity to the air.  But of course it's not working. Our RH in a controlled environment is usually at 55% (yes this was a shock coming from a state with no humidity) and it is now reading at 27%!  This is not good news for the objects, meaning they could react, causing them to crack or expand due to these large fluctuations.

Tuesday we took a field trip to "town" to look for humidifiers.  Apparently this is a foreign object down here.  Home Depot had no idea what we were talking about.

"you mean you want a de-humidifier."
"no a humidifier"
"are you sure you don't want to be taking moisture out of the air?"

We've got them all set up over the collection areas trying to raise the humidity.  So far its working a little bit, but we're anxious to get the HVAC people out here to fix the problem.

So in the end I guess I'm ready for the warm weather to come back.  Hopefully though, I won't be turning into a whiney Floridian anytime soon, bundling up the minute it drops to a freezing 68 degrees.

My coworker bought her dog a snuggie so it won't die from hypothermia.



A few weeks ago, Bobby and I went to go visit my good friend Melissa (aka Mel) and her boyfriend Kip up in Tampa.  Mel and I met our freshman year of college.  Her dorm room was right next to mine.  We became best friends along with 4 other girls from our dorm- Penny, Lisa, Makenzie, and Tara!  Our sophomore year Mel and I lived together and had a great time having dance parties and watching lots of movies.  Mel moved to Florida to go to grad school at the Mofitt Cancer Center in Tampa and is being a brilliant scientist.

It took about 3 1/2 hours to drive to Tampa and Bobby was able to see his first alligator along Alligator Alley.  It was fun to explore the west coast.  It looks quite different then where we live, there are more trees  and the vegetation is thicker.

It was so good to catch up and see familiar faces.  We went to the Tampa Aquarium, had a nice dinner, watched a Christmas Tree light show, and saw little kids ice skating on fake ice (only in Florida).   

The tree lit up to Trans Siberian Orchestra songs

On Sunday, Mel ran in a 1/2 marathon and so Bobby, Kip, and I went out to cheer her on.  It was near the beach, but unfortunately the fog was so dense you couldn't even see the ocean.  Mel ran a great race and it was fun to see her do so well!  Bobby and I had such a nice time and hopefully we will see them soon!

A lake they ran by

pine trees

The finish line

YEA Mel!


What a Year

I am really looking forward to 2010.  I am excited about what it will bring and the new things that are ahead.  This past year was a whirlwind of experiences and just trying to figure out my life.

I lived in three different cities, worked two different jobs, and graduated with my masters.  Phew!
Museum of Texas Tech University

 Denver Art Museum

Seminole Tribe of Florida's Tribal Historic Preservation Office 

Looking back I realize that even though things do not always seem great at first, everything always works out.  I was miserable when I first moved to Lubbock, Texas.  It was windy, dusty, and far away from home.  When I left last December I was sad to leave.  I had grown to love the museum and the people I worked with.  Part of me will always love country music, gigantic stars on people's garages, and that old west feeling.

Denver was easier to adjust to.  I was home, with my friends and family.  I loved every day at the Denver Art Museum.  I worked with awesome people and got to see amazing art every day.  I think someday I would like to work in an art museum again.  Where else do you get to look at Monet and Degas whenever you want!

Now here I am in a new state and environment.  I would have never imagined last January that I would be living in Southern Florida!  I've gone from dusty and dry to mountains and snow to tropical beach. Its amazing where life takes you.  Everything fell into place for my new job and I guess it was meant to be for now.  Hopefully though this year, I won't have to move again and I can start building a new life here and enjoying what 2010 has to offer.

Happy New Year!

Rainy Day

It rains a lot in Florida.  We are currently in the dry season, but don't let this fool you.  It still rains.  It rarely rains in Colorado so this is something new to experience.  I am not exactly looking forward to the rainy season (which of course includes Hurricane Season) where it rains every afternoon.  One of my coworkers explained a typical summer afternoon: 

"It pretty much looks like the end of the world is coming.  The sky is a horrible gray color and the clouds start swirling.  Then the lightning starts and it rains so hard you can't see anything in front of you!"

Great.  Can't wait.   

At least today we are experiencing a light drizzle.  It is a perfect afternoon to sit and read my book.  I can definitely handle this!