Bash Bowl 2024: University of California College Applications

This is the second layout I completed for Game 2 of Bash Bowl 2024. I earned two more points for the Scrappin' Banshees by using stickers and making a page with three photos. It wasn't enough. Twisted Scissors slaughtered us in Game 2 by a score of 551-398. Yikes! 

Despite our massive loss, I am really happy with this page. It shows the three universities Trevor applied to: UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, and UC Santa Cruz. I used the mascot of each as my photos, then added journaling about his top choices and what he'd be studying at the three schools. 

I made it as a companion page to this layout that features a small sample of the hundreds of university solicitations Trevor received in the mail. I made that page at the beginning of November, not expecting that he would continue getting mountains of mail. It's almost March, well past the deadlines for virtually every university in the United States, yet the mail still comes every day, telling him it's not too late. He has even received quite a few acceptance letters from schools where he didn't apply. It's weird, but I hear from friends that it's not unusual for kids with a high GPA to be aggressively courted by mid-tier public universities and all levels of private universities. 

All that mail has gone into the recycling bin, because Trevor has known for years that he wants to attend a University of California school. Specifically, he has his heart set on the Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology program at Davis. With so many universities begging him to attend their schools, you'd think he has a pretty good chance at admission to UC Davis. But it's far from guaranteed. UC schools are incredibly competitive. 

Trevor's backup school is UC Santa Barbara. It has a strong academic reputation and Trevor feels like he would be happy there. It is slightly less competitive than UC Davis, so his chances there are a little better. If he goes to UCSB, he'll be majoring in Zoology. 

Trevor had planned to only apply to those two schools, but at the last minute he added his third choice, UC Santa Cruz, as a backup to his backup. They have a solid Marine Biology program that interests Trevor. 

I am really happy that I got this page done before the University of California posts admission decisions. My journaling is more authentic since I don't know the outcome. So when will Trevor hear? "As early as mid-March." This is how I feel about Mid-March. At least he doesn't have to wait until late March. Unless he does, since "as early as" implies that it could be much later. Argh!


Sacramento Zoo

For his Senior Project, Trevor has been visiting sites related to wildlife biology to learn more about careers in the field. Wildlife rescues, sanctuaries, museums, and nature centers have been great locations for him to research and speak with staff. There is one more category with many career opportunities related to wildlife rehabilitation and conservation: AZA accredited zoos

On Thursday, Trevor and I headed to the Sacramento Zoo to see what we could learn about zoo careers in wildlife biology

I love the Sacramento Zoo. I visited multiple times during college and took Trevor several times when he was little. Our most recent visit was in 2012 when we attended their Boo at the Zoo Halloween event, so we were way overdue to return. It didn't feel like it'd been that long since we were last there, but that's probably because we've been busy visiting zoos all over the country for the last ten years. 

It was fun seeing what had changed at the Sac Zoo since our last visit. I loved seeing Donnie, the young capybara, hanging out with his dad. Capybaras are awesome. 

There's a baby giraffe, too. Meet Cheyenne. She's so cute. 


We always read all the signs at zoos, but we were especially diligent this time. The Keeper Notes that were displayed by many of the animals answered some of our questions and sparked others.  

No question about this, though. Black with white stripes

It was fun watching a Keeper deliver a massive amount of hay to J Gregory (5000 lb), Sac Zoo's first white rhino. He galloped toward her, eager to dive in to his delicious meal. Brayden (3 lbs 12 oz) eats grass hay too, but we don't have to buy nearly as much. 

I love watching meerkats.

Hello, Tortoise!

It was very interesting watching the zookeepers working with Cleo. She is 18 and one of the oldest lions in the world in human care. We didn't get to see Slamson II, a 3-year old male who was just brought to Sacramento. Cleo was very cooperative during her training session, doing all of the behaviors the Keeper asked her to do. 


Afterward, Trevor and I had a chance to talk with a Keeper and ask all of our burning questions. As it turns out, the woman we interviewed is a graduate of the same major that Trevor has applied to at UC Davis, so he was able to ask questions about that program as well. That really helpful. Among other things, she said that getting that first paid job after graduating is difficult, so it's very important to do volunteer work and unpaid internships throughout college in order to gain experience and make connections. 

It was really nice to have a leisurely visit to the zoo and not have to rush to something else (in sharp contrast with April 12, 2023). We really enjoyed looking at all the animals and learning from their Keepers. The Sacramento Zoo, while on the smaller side, is a wonderful zoo and I highly recommend a visit.

Make that visit soon, though - there is a New Zoo coming! It sounds amazing. With groundbreaking expected in 2025, it'll be awhile before it's open to the public. But I'll be following it very closely and the deRosiers will be among the first to visit when it does!


Lindsay Wildlife Experience

In November, Trevor completed the planning phase of his Senior Project. Since then, he has been working on the doing phase. The visits we made to the World Center for Birds of Prey and Biodiversity Museum Day gave him the chance to learn a lot more about job opportunities in wildlife biology. He has conducted an interview with a wildlife forester and he spent a day shadowing a wildlife specialist at International Bird Rescue. Last week, we visited two more places that care for wildlife. Today I'm going to tell you about one of them: Lindsay Wildlife Experience

Located about 35 miles from us in Walnut Creek, Lindsay Wildlife Experience is a wildlife hospital, zoological organization, and educational museum specializing in native California wildlife. It first opened in 1955, but 1970 is the most important date in its history. That's when it opened the first wildlife hospital in the United States. The Lindsay Wildlife Rehabilitation Hospital is still among the largest wildlife hospitals in the US, caring for wild animals that have been injured or orphaned due to urban growth and loss of native habitat. 

The museum portion has excellent exhibits about raptors, bees, and underwater creatures, to name a few. 

This exhibit talks about domesticated animals. Informative displays help visitors understand about the different needs of wildlife compared to pets. It explains why pets do not belong in the wild. That tube going above Trevor's head connects two areas for pet rats to enjoy. 

The raptor area was particularly popular. It took some doing, but I eventually managed to get a photo without other people's kids in it. There were multiple preschoolers pretending to be eagles in the giant nest. Super cute. 

I love hands-on exhibits and this one was fantastic. You lay on your stomach with your arms stretched out. There are sensors in the wings. As you move your arms, you control the view on the screen, swooping and diving (or soaring in a straight line, if you keep your arms still) over the Bay Area. It was super cool. I waited my turn (amongst the preschoolers) to give it a try; Trevor was mortified. 

I mentioned that Lindsay has the first and longest-operating wildlife hospital in the United States. It accepts injured or orphaned wild animals from all across the Bay Area. Many of the success stories are displayed. We have a lot of Anna's Hummingbirds at our home in Fairfield, which is where this patient was injured and returned after four months of care. 

There are a lot of interesting exhibits around the hospital. The one on the left asks visitors to look through the microscope at samples taken from various animals, then match them to diagnose the illness or disease. That video screen was on a long loop, showing rehabilitated animals returned to the wild. We sat and watched the whole thing. 

Of course, the animals are the stars at Lindsay Wildlife Experience. There are four raptors in this photo. 

This bald eagle is named Atsa.

Lord Richard, the turkey vulture, was basking in the morning sun. 

Every hour or so, there is an educational program about one of the resident species. The first we saw was all about Penelope


She is a North American porcupine and is full-grown at 17 pounds. We learned that porcupines have approximately 30,000 quills. Their quills are the same as the hair on human heads, in that they can't throw their quills anymore than we can throw our hair. Baby porcupines are born with soft hair, which hardens into quills within hours of birth. As if their spiky quills aren't enough of a deterrent to predators, porcupines can also secrete a strong, unpleasant odor. Penelope didn't feel threatened by us, so we didn't smell a thing. 

Porcupines are herbivores. They are nocturnal, eating vegetation during the night, then climbing a tree to sleep during daylight. Their thick, beaver-like tail helps them climb up and down trees. 


The next presentation was about the desert millipede. He didn't show off his skills like Penelope did, but it was still fascinating to learn all about him. Fun fact: this particular middle-aged millipede has approximately 300 legs. Each body segment has 4 legs and millipedes get a new segment every time they shed. An especially long-lived millipede (they can live about 10 years) can indeed reach the 1000 legs in its name. 

Desert millipedes are decomposers, feeding on mostly dead plant materials. They are slow-moving and nocturnal. They help aerate the soil by hammering through compacted soil with their heads. Millipedes aren't especially dangerous to humans, but they can produce skin irritation if you touch them. 

Our third presentation of the day was about the Common Raven. I didn't get a picture of Hello, because we were way in the back and I would have just gotten photos of a bunch of preschool heads blocking a raven cage. Hello is named for his extreme interest in saying, "Hello." He uses 25+ different dialects or intonations to repeat the word. We heard two, each completely different. He imitated laughter and other bird calls during the presentation. What an interesting and intelligent bird! 

Finally, we met Rufous, the red-tailed hawk. He can't fly due to an injury, so he wasn't wearing a tether as he enjoyed the sunny day in the Nature Cove, under the close supervision of his handler. 


Lindsay Wildlife Experience has awesome trading cards featuring their animal ambassadors. You can't buy them - you have to get them from staff members, by completing their scavenger hunt, becoming a member, attending a special event, and more. We collected as many as we could during our visit!

Trevor and I had such a wonderful time at Lindsay Wildlife Experience. It's a great place for all ages to visit, and it was excellent for Trevor's Senior Project. He was able to talk with multiple staff members about jobs in wildlife biology. He also learned about their Animal Keeper internship opportunities and is considering that for the summer of 2025, after his freshman year of college. We are fortunate to have many wildlife facilities nearby, with lots of opportunities for volunteers and interns (18+, which is why he's not doing it now). Tomorrow I'll tell you about where we went the following day and what we learned there about careers in wildlife biology.


Trevor's Senior Project: Wildlife Biology

The 12th graders at Trevor's school complete a year-long Senior Project related to one of three areas: Career Exploration; Community Service; or Creative Expression. They spend August and September coming up with ideas, learning research techniques, selecting a mentor, and doing preliminary investigations. In October and November, they turn their ideas into a formal pitch and present it to their teacher and fellow students, as well as the principal and a panel of parent or community volunteers. Once their projects are approved, they move into the doing phase, which can last through April. In May, the seniors present their projects to the school, parents, and community members. The projects are always as unique and interesting as the individual students themselves. 

Trevor's Senior Project is "Studying Wildlife Biology," which fits into the Career Exploration category. He has applied to study Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology at UC Davis (fingers crossed) so he hoped this project would not only help him learn more about careers in wildlife biology, but also help him decide among the four areas of specialization offered in the major. I combined a picture of Trevor giving his project pitch and two of the slides from his presentation on this layout:

Senior Project (affiliate link)

When I ordered the photos, I knew I wanted to use the animal-themed paper scraps a friend gave me a long time ago. The papers were each about 12" x 5", so I sketched out a design that would feature them and still have space for the photos and some journaling. It was a happy coincidence that the design I planned worked so well for Game 2 of Bash Bowl. 

I used stickers for the title, which is on a tag, and there are three photos on the layout. So this page earns 3 points for the Scrappin' Banshees. We need every point - Twisted Scissors walloped us in Game 1 by a score of 454 to 358. Let's go, Banshees!


Bash Bowl 2024: Happy Holidays 2023

After scrapping our family photo from Christmas for Bash Bowl Game 1, I used the prompt a second time to scrap our holiday card. Between the colors I used and the fact that the photo was taken in July, this is officially the least-Christmasy Christmas layout I've ever made. 

Happy Holidays 2023 (affiliate link)

I used three of the Game 1 prompts for this page. Maybe. Let me know if you think I deserve all three points. 
  • I feel confident that the "may your days be merry & bright" sticker counts for a song lyric. That's one point. 
  • I'm fairly confident that the metallic star stickers are shiny. Two points. 
  • Do my background stripes count as a rainbow? I cut apart a striped paper and rearranged the colors into rainbow order. Without red, orange, or purple, it's half a rainbow at best. But it wouldn't be on my page that way without the prompt. I don't think half points are allowed, but I'm calling this two and a half points!
Trevor has had the previous week off from high school (college classes still met), so he and I took two local field trips as part of his Senior Project. I'll tell you about them next week. 


Bash Bowl 2024: Christmas 2023

Bash Bowl is back and I'm excited to be playing along! There are some changes this year: there are three 1-point elements (previously there were five) and one 2-point element per game with a 5-point touchdown (instead of 7); we do not need to submit a 'before' photo; and each game is only three days long. I'm playing for the Scrappin' Banshees this year. Goooo Banshees!

Here is the playbook for Game 1: 

I was not happy when I saw this first playbook. The pictures I printed wouldn't make sense with a rainbow, and I couldn't think of any song lyrics or quotes that fit them either. I don't use a lot of shiny stuff in general, and I don't like interactive elements that get hidden in a page protector. Ugh. I could force all of those onto a page, but I wouldn't be happy with the results. I decided to just go for a single point: shiny. 

I matted our group photo from Christmas, then used shiny gold tape and a fun patterned paper to create a background that looked like gift wrap. As I was looking for embellishments, I found a vellum sticker with Christmas song lyrics on it! I adhered it directly to the photo, added the other embellishments, and finished with the date. Two points for the Banshees!

Christmas 2023 (affiliate link)

This is a rare page from me with no journaling. But I felt like whatever I would write ("We hosted Steve's family for Christmas 2023.") wouldn't add anything to the page. One could argue that future generations won't recognize the people, but: a) I have no confidence that my only child is going to keep my scrapbooks and pass them on to those future generations; b) everyone's name appears on other pages within the same scrapbook; and c) I can just list the names here. Top row left: Steve's sister Teri, his aunt Lois, his mom Pat, his dad Dave, and Steve. Bottom row: Steve's wife Cindy (aka, me) and his son Trevor. Everyone has the last name deRosier - Pat and me by marriage and everyone else by birth. You're welcome, future generations!


CreativeLive: iPhone Photography and Mobile Photography

One of my creative resolutions for 2024 is to take two creative classes. I intentionally left that goal broad (as opposed to specifying something like painting or cake decorating) so that I could take advantage of opportunities as they arose. I'm glad I did. Otherwise, I wouldn't necessarily have stumbled on this outstanding iPhone Photography and Mobile Photography class by Philip Ebiner for CreativeLive (affiliate link here and below). 

After a lifetime of using a proper camera, I've only starting using my phone for photography fairly recently. I know the basics, but definitely needed this class to help me realize the full potential of my iPhone. After a great introduction to the benefits of mobile photography, this class started with technical basics (exposure, focal length, lighting) before moving on to the more creative basics (composition and story). The instructor did an amazing job of presenting a topic, then walking you through it with many examples. I loved all of the real-world practice sessions. The class covered panoramic, portrait, selfie, and timelapse modes, editing options, and different ways of sharing photos. 

This class was exactly what I needed to feel more confident taking photos with my iPhone. I've been practicing a lot and I can definitely see improvements after taking the class. There's one area I'm still struggling with, however, and that is photographing an uncooperative subject. Occasionally I luck out and get acceptable pictures straight out of the camera....


... but most of the time I my subject comes racing at me and nose-bonks the camera before I get a shot. These are the best of the many, many nose-bonk shots I've taken. 


CreativeLive does offer pet photography classes, but none appears to address the unique challenges of photographing rabbits!


Annual Survey of Museum-Goers

Each year, the American Alliance of Museums conducts a survey of museum-goers on behalf of participating member museums.  

I visit a LOT of museums each year, so it's not unusual for me to receive surveys from a handful of different museums. Each collects and interprets their own data. While I don't think less of non-participating museums (many are already great and packed with visitors), I do appreciate those museums who opt to participate. They obviously value their guests' opinions and are striving to improve. 

I just received my first AAM survey of 2024. It happened to come from the outstanding Nascar Hall of Fame, which we visited in January 2022. I have nothing but good things to say about the Nascar HOF. Even people with zero interest in car racing (like me) will enjoy the diversity of exhibits that cover the history, technological advances, key people, and necessary skill that goes into the sport. Anyway, I took the 10-minute survey and thought it would be fun to share a few of the non-site-specific questions (and my answers) with you. 

This was hard to answer. My response varies a lot depending on the type of museum. A hands-on science museum that targets children (like Museum of Discovery) could not be more different in audience, needs, and purpose than the Legacy Museum. A museum that covers a narrow subject (like Mill City Museum) is completely different than a museum that showcases a huge subject (like the Harvard Museum of Natural History.) I want different things from art museums than I do from history museums, science museums, or pop culture museums. Of the nine possible choices (besides None and Other), I selected six and I'm still wondering if I shouldn't have answered differently. 

I don't visit most museums more than once, but it's not because I don't want to. It's because they're thousands of miles from home. For the purposes of this question, I ignored all the museums I've visited that are more than an hour or two from home and answered just based on local museums. 

I visit around 40 different museums a year. While I may want to go more often, "Professional Museum Attendee" is not a paid job, as far as I'm aware. I'm visiting as many museums as is possible for a person who has a job, family, and household responsibilities. 

I wanted a choice of "All of the above" but settled for picking the two that matter most to me right now, in this stage of life. I would have answered differently 25 years ago, when I was more likely to visit museums alone (or with 32 children at a time). 

This question threw me at first. Do I use my imagination in museums? At first I thought I didn't, but then I realized that good, immersive history museums are all about imagination. Art museums inspire me to create, which definitely uses imagination. I'm not a "time travel to the future" kind of person, so that doesn't appeal to me. 

There were a lot more questions, but I'm going to stop here. If this interested you, I strongly recommend reading the following reports: 

I'd love to hear your thoughts!