We're all just life-long learners...

    2020 has been one long learning experience.

    In March, I learned I’m allergic to octopus bites....

    The progression of an octopus bite
    The progression of an octopus bite... Photo: Kathy Ho

    In April, I learned that having your friend move in to be your quarantine buddy MIGHT slightly change your living habits...

    Quarantine friend
    Quarantine friend? Why yes! I'd LOVE a quarantine friend!

    In July, I learned that I’m not that great of a gardener...

    Cucumber garden
    Oops...Well, at least the tomatoes tasted good... Photo: Kathy Ho

    In September, I learned that it is much cheaper to cut your own filters for your air purifier...

    September armageddon
    It snowed ash all day and the sky was gray and the temp was hot and our lungs were shot... Photo: Kathy Ho

    This month, I learned my hospital is running out of N95 masks, so they are being “reprocessed” and reused...

    N95 shortage
    I really wish people would stop wearing N95 masks to the grocery store... Photo: Kathy Ho

    The most significant lesson that I learned during this year is that sacrifice is SO important for the greater good. Every single person has had to forego so many comforts and experiences and hopes, but that certainly doesn’t mean the world has ended. So while I was disappointed that the PolarTREC season and my trip to the Arctic has been postponed, it just means more time to prepare, process, and learn that much more about narwhals.

    And I’ve learned the MOST amazing things!!

    Did you know that the name narwhal means ‘corpse whale,’ because their mottled grey bodies look like the bloated dead corpses of drowned sailors? Magical!!

    And you may know that their tusks are actually teeth... but did you know it’s almost always the upper left canine, and it actually pierces through the narwhal’s upper lip?? And inside their mouth, there are no other teeth! Sometimes a narwhal will also grow a right tusk (and therefore have two), but regardless which side, the tusk always twists to the left! Narwhals basically said: screw it, bilateral symmetry!!

    Oh, mighty narwhal. I dub thee King of the Goth whale.

    from Narwhal, Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clanton



    Kathy Ho

    Crazy, right?! I think it is pretty rare - less than one percent! But since narwhals are so elusive, I sometimes wonder if there are a bunch of two-tusked female narwhals swimming deep in the ocean, but we've just never seen them!!

    William Henske

    What a fun/sobering post Kathy. I never knew you could be allergic to octopods. As a bee keeper, I've always got an epipen near where Im working- now I'll need to add it to the beach kit! Your orange sky picture is really cool, and scary and apocalyptic. Hope you are hanging in there!

    Elaine Krebs

    I learned I am not that great of a gardener either!! But I learned I have friends who are great ones :) And thank you for teaching ME all the cool things about narwhals! <3