Last night I brought my telescope (and a couple of backyard astronomy books) over to my friend's house and we packed up two of her kids and drove out to Crown Point to do some stargazing. Her daughter (I'll just refer to her as "P") is ten and really interested in science and nature. When I asked "A" if she knew any good places to stargaze that weren't too far outside of Portland, she immediately said, "Crown Point."
So we made plans to go out there, and she kept telling me how excited "P" was. I was excited, too, and happy to be able to share what little knowledge I have of the stars.
It was freezing cold when we got there, but I'd planned ahead and put on long johns under my cords, and I had on a long sleeve shirt, a sweatshirt, my super incredibly warm coat and thermal socks. Not to mention a hat, scarf and gloves. And I still froze my ass off. But it was worth it.
I tried to point out the constellations I knew and which stars they were comprised of. Orion, Canis Major/Minor, Cassiopeia, Gemini, Cygnus, Pegasus, the Dippers, Pleiades, Denub, Betelgeuse, Castor and Pollux, Rigel, Procyon, the winter triangle, Regulus, Polaris, Sirius and all the rest.
Unfortunately, it was too cold for "P" to stand out in the wind for very long, but I did get to show her the moon and Venus. "A" went back to the car, too, but I stayed out and did some more gazing. I saw the Orion Nebulae, which was awesome. Sirius, Rigel. I tried to get a bead on Betelgeuse, but it was too cold and I gave up. "A" had to be at work at 9:30 (we work together, I had the night off), so we headed back into the city. When I got back in the car, "P" was reading one of my library books. Inside I was all "Yay!" I don't want to squeeze out any kids of my own, but I'm happy to be a kickass auntie.
We didn't get to see as much as I would have liked, but I was still really happy to get out and enjoy the stars. Aside from light pollution, Crown Point is a wonderful, wide open place to utilize and enjoy your telescope.
I can't wait to go back.
It's going to be clear again tonight, so I'm going to take the 'scope out into the yard tonight and show my sister. Too bad I have to work. Arrrgh.
By the way, did I mention that a friend ("M") from work gave me her telescope?
Therapy is going well, though I've only had two sessions so far. I've booked appointments for the next two weeks; the next one is this Tuesday at 2:00, and then the other is on February 8th at 4:15. I'm playing around with times to see what works for my stupid night shift schedule.
She recommended I read a book called "Who Moved My Cheese?" by Spencer Johnson, so I got it from the library. It's only 94 pages, so it won't take long to read.
Next session we're going to work on relaxation techniques. That will help me a lot. I have a hard time relaxing.
I've been having a lot of trouble sleeping for almost two months now. It sucks. Nothing works. I fall asleep (with great difficulty) and wake up two hours later, completely unable to fall back to sleep. It got so bad that I sort of collapsed at work. And again last week when I was out in the yard with my telescope.
I hate insomnia with the white-hot fire of a thousand suns.
Lastly, the moon (with earthshine) and Venus.