Mag Lab Tour

Tallahassee is home to the one of the largest electromagnetic field labs in the world. I didn’t realize that until today when I toured the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.

I was supposed to have met a member of the Tallahassee Women’s Social Meetup Group for the tour, but she didn’t make the trek out to the lab. There were plenty of others signed up for the tour, though, so I wasn’t the only visitor.

The MagLab was once located on the campus of M.I.T., until a group of researchers from Florida State University in Tallahassee joined forces with researchers from the University of Florida, and Los Alamos National Laboratory to make a successful bid for the facility. Now researchers from all over the world come to Tallahassee to conduct cutting-edge research.

Below: This decorative piece made up of magnet components is displayed in the lobby. I tried to figure out how to smuggle it out, but my purse isn’t large enough. It’s beautiful!

Below is a set of stacked magnets. If you imagined large horseshoe-shaped magnets, join the club. These are all discs, that when stacked, form a helix-type structure.

Below: The outer ring is a magnet, while the silver colored disc is a cooling mechanism. Tiny slots cut into the cooling disc allow de-ionized water to flow through and around the magnets. Because electricity powers the magnets, it’s necessary for the water to be de-ionized otherwise researchers’ findings would be shocking–and not in a good way.

Below is one of the lab cells where researchers from all over the world test out their theories using magnets. That large robot-looking thing beneath the yellow guardrail is the magnet for this cell which is in the process of being set up for a group of researchers.

The magnets are used to study energy and the environment, the foundational science of protein and disease molecules, and a vast array of other subjects. Recently researchers using the lab have discovered connections between the way sodium impacts and interacts with malignant tumors and are looking for ways to put that knowledge into practical applications.

Below is a superconductor. Cool, eh? Literally cool. The temperatures necessary to operate a superconductor are similar to what one might find on Pluto. That’s -271.3° C.

I need to take another tour. There was way too much for me to take in on this visit.

If you’re interested in reading more about the MagLab, check out the website at Tours are offered every Wednesday starting at 11:30.

A Long Walk

On Wednesday, February 21, I took a long walk up Apalachee Parkway in Tallahassee. It wasn’t for exercise; although, my heart rate certainly sped up as I strode across a bridge on my way to the historic capitol building.

Students representing Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida, the site of our nation’s most recent school shooting, traveled more than six hours to the state capitol this week. Some of the survivors of the shooting met with state legislators in small groups on Tuesday, petitioning their representatives in Florida’s House of Representatives to take up a proposed ban on semi-automatic weapons.

The representatives ignored the students’ pleas, but hey, they did vote to ban pornography, so there’s that. I hope you can read the anger in that sentence. That action, that slap in the face the legislators handed these young people, spurred me to drive into Tallahassee on Wednesday to support their cause as they marched to the capitol. I wasn’t the only one.

There were no available parking places near the capitol grounds.After driving around for about 45 minutes in search of a parking spot, I finally found a shaded place in the Chili’s parking lot half a mile away. As I locked my car I crossed my fingers that the car wouldn’t be towed during my trek. I had some place special to be, and if I got towed, so be it.

The crowd grew as I got closer. People were pouring in from every direction. Some were gawkers, but most were there to offer support. We were all inspired. These teenagers spoke passionately, articulately, and with a maturity that puts a certain current president to shame. They are fired up and angry. Many will soon be able to vote. And they won’t forget the snubs of their elected officials.

Peace, for our kids’ sake, people.

Looking for a Whatsit

Yesterday I posted about the Happy Painter, aka Janie Roberts, and her shop out at The House of Plywood in Tallahassee’s Railroad Square Art Park. I was specifically looking for a replacement for this piece:

This was the crowning glory of a decorative candle holder my eldest sister-in-law, Lyn, had given me four years ago as a housewarming gift. It fit atop this piece,

and enjoyed a place of prominence on my dining room table. Upon presenting me with the gift Lyn had made just for me, she advised me to avoid picking it up by the top. For three and a half years I was so careful to follow her advice, but one day I moved it without thinking and you see the results above.

I’d tried to describe to Janie at The Happy Painter just what it was I was looking for–a sconce, a globe, a whatsit, but until I took the piece in she wasn’t sure exactly what I meant. The minute she saw it she sent me to another vendor, Chip, who has a wonderful lamp shop in Railroad Square. I’ll do a whole piece on Chip’s shop one of these days. I’m not even sure of the name of the place, but he found me a possible replacement for a reasonable price.

Now I just have to break out the old glass and affix this new whatsit to the wrought iron piece. I’ll get Studly Doright to help me with that. There’ll likely be less bloodshed that way.

So what is the proper name for this? Is it a sconce? A globe? A whatsit?

Happy Painter Art and Furniture Studio

On Friday I had two appointments in Tallahassee and a big stretch of time between the two. Rather than return to Doright Manor after appointment number one I had lunch at a cafe and then treated myself to a Lemon Cooler cookie from the Cake Shop. Yum! Even then I still had over two hours to kill before appointment number two, so I drove out to Railroad Square Art Park.

Railroad Square is a fun place with all sorts of shops ranging from the relatively bland (a construction company) to the bohemian (an herbalist), and there’s even a great brewery called “Proof.”

Lately I’ve been on a mission to find a couple of specific items, so I went to the fabulously named House of Plywood.

The House of Plywood is an artisans’ craft mall with unique shops lining the breezeway. I’d wandered in before, but today I got no farther than artist Janie Lou Roberts’s shop.

Janie remembered me and what I was in search of from my previous visit several weeks before! For someone like me who can scarcely remember what my husband looks like on a day to day basis (I make him wear a name tag to cut down on the awkwardness), her recall was astounding, and a bit flattering. (Note to self: Really TRY to remember what Studly Doright looks like.)

Janie and I discussed the object I was looking for (I’ll post about this object tomorrow) and she made some more suggestions as to where I might find one. Then I took time to look around Janie’s shop–“The Happy Painter and Furniture Studio.”

Janie paints happy paintings. I didn’t take pictures because I wasn’t thinking. That’s not uncommon in my life. But Janie’s paintings are vivid and engaging. She painted one of a pair of sunflowers that made me think of a sunshiny, floral American Gothic. I could find it on her page, but this is her profile picture from Janie’s Facebook page:

Here another of Janie from Facebook:

In addition to happy paintings, Janie sells books, small pieces of furniture, and all sorts of little accessories. Even better, she’s a genuinely nice person, and if she doesn’t have what you’re looking for, she’ll point you in the right direction.

(I receive no compensation for this post. I just want people to check out Janie and her business.)

Peace, people!

A Post About Something I Didn’t Get to Do

One of the MeetUp groups I’ve become involved with had planned to visit a local Tallahassee historical site, the Lichgate House on High Street on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately a private event was being held at the venue, so we ended up meeting for lunch at Newk’s, a local eatery.

I’d never heard of Lichgate, but it’s a site I’m eager to visit now. This is a place I’ve driven by dozens of times without realizing what lay behind the foliage. There’s only a small sign marking the site.

The story of Lichgate House is compelling:

I hadn’t checked my email before going to the site, so I got a glimpse of the grounds from the parking area where I learned we wouldn’t be able to enter, but would instead go straight to lunch. We’ve had a cold front move into the area, so maybe the cancellation was for the best, and we can visit on a warmer day.

Pinterest had some photos from Lichgate:

I can’t wait to see this for myself.

Peace, people.

Barely Bearing Up

I used to be a hardier person. At least that’s the story I tell myself. It’s become more difficult to believe, though, as I find myself whining about the less than balmy weather we’ve had in Tallahassee these past couple of weeks. Some days we barely climbed above 40°!

When Studly Doright, and I, along with our two kids, lived in North Dakota we went entire months without seeing temperatures above 30°F. I drove daily on icy roads, supervised playground duty in sub-zero weather with three feet of snow on the ground, and went about my business even with blustery winds gusting at fifty miles per hour. And those were the more temperate winter days! Somehow, we adapted.

Neither of us were accustomed to long term cold, having grown up in the panhandle of Texas. We knew brief periods of winter that often were replaced by spring-like weather, within a space of six hours. I can remember mornings that school was cancelled due to snow that found us playing outside sans coats by 3 pm.

I’m rambling, I know. It’s this darned cold weather to blame. I’m barely bearing up under these conditions. My feet have forgotten how to wear flip flops and will require remedial instruction once the temps begin to rise once more. That’ll most likely be next week. And, as God is my witness, we will rise again.


Since moving to the Tallahassee area over four years ago, I haven’t connected to many other women. Most days I’m fine enjoying my own company, but sometimes I get lonely.

My blogging friend, The Happy Quitter at inspired me to connect with others as she had through the Meetup app, so on Thursday evening I did just that and met members of the Tallahassee Women’s Social Meetup at the Wine Loft.

I’m not going to lie, I was a nervous ninny before connecting with these women I’d never met before, but Studly Doright sent me off with a kiss and an admonition against talking too loudly–something I do when I’m nervous. I’m not sure I was successful in keeping my decibels down, but I don’t recall anyone recoiling in disgust, or covering both ears, so maybe I was within reasonable levels.

The group of women was friendly and diverse. I enjoyed sipping wine and visiting for a couple of hours, and I’m looking forward to the next time I’m able to join them. Maybe my nerves will have calmed and I can listen more than I talk.

I’ll write more later, but for now I must prepare for an adventure. Sorry to be so cryptic, but I’m not even sure what it entails.

Peace, people!

Risk and Reward

The Texas grandkids are visiting us here at Doright Manor, and they don't always want to do the same activities. Yesterday Studly Doright took Dominique to the Tallahassee Museum for zip lining adventures (Jackson doesn't meet the height requirements) while Jackson and I went to a local arcade.

I didn't take many photos though, because I was too busy being defeated in two player challenges. This kid knows his way around video games.

When we returned home I challenged him to an old-fashioned type of game.

I won, thank you very much.

Hopefully Studly Doright took some photos of his time with Dominique, but I won't hold my breath.

Peace, people!

Unloading the Bikes

Sometimes having fun is hard work. Today Poppa, aka Studly Doright, and the grandkids took the bikes to a local riding park outside of Tallahassee. I went along just in case a chase vehicle was needed.

Poppa made sure both Dominique and Jackson played active roles in unloading their bikes.

While the three intrepid bikers took off down a series of dirt trails I sat in the car and read for awhile. Consequently, I have no exciting photos of their ride, only secondhand tales of near misses and wrong turns. In the end, my chase car services were necessary when Dominique's scooter suffered a minor breakdown. It is nice to be needed.

Peace, people, and safe travels.