Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Week With A Geek

While there have been numerous problems and complaints about Facebook, I have to admit that Facebook enabled me to locate my best friend from high school, Shelley.  Shelley and I spent the summer of 1971 working at a factory whose assembly line was staffed with women only and the two of us middle class white bread innocents got an education there that we could never have gotten in school.  Working the 4 PM to midnight shift meant meant we had a lot of energy to work off at the end of shift so we would go to the dance clubs after work (while Shelley continued her college education) and we partied hard for a while.  When we each got married we stood up for each other at our respective weddings but then drifted apart after Shelley's divorce.

Notices began to appear on FB about our 40th high school reunion and that's when Shelley and I saw each other's name and got in touch.  In 2010 Denny and I were due to pass through the area in Colorado where Shelley now lived, but when we arrived in town Shelley had to fly back to Ohio as her mother had suddenly passed away.  We managed a brief meeting the night she flew back into town and a breakfast the next morning as we were leaving but had no time to catch up. 

This year our visit was complicated by the fact that the High Park wildfire was burning out of control in Fort Collins, Colorado and my buddy had taken on the responsibility of providing a temporary home for half of the wolves and wolf mixtures of the Wolf Sanctuary that was located in the area of the wildfire.   Temporary dog kennels were installed on her property and her large outbuilding was converted into an air conditioned pen for some of the wilder wolves.  So when Shelley wasn't working she had a lot going on at home helping in the care and feeding of these stressed out, beautiful animals.

Denny and I also got to meet Shelley's newest furkids that she adopted last year; this is Beauty.  You have to love that face (the dog's, not Denny--hee!)
The geeky part comes from what Shelley does; she has a whole bunch of letters after her name and is co-owner and CTO of a company that is involved in technology and research.  Part of her job involves checking the company's product under an electron microscope.  Shelley allowed me to accompany her to see what an electron microscope can do.  Running on 100 kilovolts (that's 100,000 volts mind you) I watched as Shelley magnified some of the particles she was studying to the 105,000 power.  As she explained it "think of it as looking at a house that sits a mile away.  Now visualize being able to see that same house from 105,000 miles away--that's the magnification of the microscope."  Totally geeky.  What was fascinating to see was the shapes that nature created when gold was added to seed particles in solution; rods, spheres and in a new experiment that didn't work out the way she wanted the shapes ended up as triangles, diamonds and pentagons (second photo below).  Remember, these photographs are of invisible to the naked eye; the particles are magnified 6600 times in the second photo.  Mind boggling.

Shelley, who is a vegan, also introduced me to the vegan lifestyle in the form of several meals out where I tried a variety of dishes that were incredibly tasty.  I can see that with an effort you could eat quite well without having to resort to smoothies for eating your vegetables and fruit.  I don't think at this stage of the game I could ever convert Denny to the lifestyle but I can see perhaps adding a few more meatless meals to my repertoire.

Our week flew by, Shelley and I still didn't get caught up with each other but we made a dent in the last 35+ years that have passed since we hung out together.  It was a great week despite the constant threat of wildfires around us and the occasional pall of smoke hanging over us.

And the wolves are finally back home in their sanctuary.


Linda Wildenstein said...

How very exciting to have been able to be with your long ago friend. That is just so special.
Everytime I see a photo of you I am tickled by your happy smile. You're a beauty Ms. Linda. Safe traveling. Oma Linda

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Arkansas Patti said...

What a facinating woman your friend is. Her career path is awesome. I would have loved the chance to see that microscope and you gotta love what she did for those wolves. What a strong, unique person. Hope you keep the friendship fresh.

Anvilcloud said...

I figure that since FB is free, I won't complain too much. It's up to us to use it or not if we don't like it. I'm glad that it put you in touch with someone and hope that you get more time together in the future.

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