Weekly Update for March 12, 2023

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Weekly Update at Introverted Reader

Welcome to my weekly update for March 12, 2023!

I saw a Facebook post several weeks ago asking for volunteers to be virtual moderators for a kids’ program at the North Carolina Arboretum, which is in my hometown. I’m not working while my husband and I travel with his job but I have a surprisingly hard time volunteering at places that interest me, i.e., libraries. Since they’re government entities and there are always lots of kids around, volunteers usually have to go through a background check. That’s fine–I promise I don’t have any skeletons in my closet–but I’ve been told that the library’s cost in paying for the background check isn’t justified by the amount of time that I’ll be in any one place. It’s a bummer but I understand. Everyone has to weigh costs and benefits. I was able to volunteer for the Friends of the Library in Old Orchard Beach, Maine our first summer traveling though, and I loved it!

Anyway, back to this virtual volunteer thing. The object of the program at the arboretum is to get kids outside, exploring, and participating in citizen science. They take pictures of whatever they come across in their explorations, identify it to the best of their abilities, and upload it to a website. That’s where the virtual volunteers come in. They verify the identification or gently steer the child in the correct direction, post some encouraging words, send the picture over to iNaturalist, and award points to the child for each submission. The kids earn badges and points they can redeem for prizes. I love to be outside and I’m constantly using apps to identify what I find. And it’s all virtual so I can volunteer from anywhere and for as long as I want! It’s like a volunteer position that was made just for me! I had my remote training on Wednesday and now I’m ready to get cracking! I had to ask my trainer how long my comments back to the child can be. I’m very quiet in person but, as you can see, if you give me a keyboard, I have entirely too much to say. She just told me not to write a thesis!

Casa Grande National Monument

All images © Jennifer G. at Introverted Reader 2023

We visited Casa Grande Ruins National Monument in Arizona a month or so ago. It might not look like much until you realize that this structure is 700 years old and built with caliche, a muddy material essentially made from the desert sand and gravel. Four stories is a pretty impressive height then! The walls are perfectly aligned with the cardinal directions and one wall has openings that align with the sunset on the summer solstice; the rising sun on the spring and autumn equinoxes; and the lunar standstill, which only happens once every 18.6 years. There has been a modern shelter protecting the ruins since the early 1900s.


Top Ten Tuesday

Ten Bookish People I’ve Met


I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe in beautiful Asheville, NC. I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you if you purchase merchandise through links on my site. 

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf Book Cover

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf 🌟🌟🌟

Currently Reading:

Thirteenth Child (Frontier Magic #1) by Patricia C. Wrede

Hidden Palace (The Golem and the Jinni #2) by Helene Wecker, read by George Guidall

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi

Up Next:

I’m not sure what I’ll read next but I’m hoping to post about books on my spring TBR for Top Ten Tuesday so that will give me a better idea. I’m feeling like a big fantasy binge might be coming on. I tend to read heavier books in the winter and lighter books in the summer.

What did your week look like?


Deb Nance at Readerbuzz hosts The Sunday Salon and Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer hosts Sunday Post. Kathryn at Book Date hosts It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

Other Posts You May Enjoy:


  1. I love the volunteer position that you are taking on; you’re right that it seems tailor made for you since you can do it as you both travel the country. How fun, especially encouraging kids in their discovery of the outdoor and nature.

  2. The volunteer program sounds amazing! I hope you enjoy it. As for me, last week was my first week on the new shift, and with it some big changes (like the amount of reading time at work was non-existent). Of course it doesn’t help that I finally got hit with the cold that’s been floating around my house (I’m the last one to catch it. :/).

    I hope you have a great week!
    Pam @ Read! Bake! Create!

    1. I had the same problem when I switched to dayshift! That was when I finally started listening to audiobooks. I could never get focused on them before but I was desperate for more reading time. I started listening during my commute and haven’t looked back. I hope you recover from your cold soon.

  3. Hmm? Virtual volunteering sounds intriguing. I really liked that series by Patricia C. Wrede and hope you do too. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

  4. I love the sound of that volunteering program, Jen. Ideal for you while you are travelling – and thank you for sharing the pic of the amazing 700 year old mud building… Interesting that they had so much of a handle on the cardinal points and solstice events – but then, they had access to the night skies in a way that we can only dream of. Certainly in this country, where they are all but obliterated due to light pollution. I recall reading Thirteenth Child and thoroughly enjoying it – I hope you do too. Have a great week!

  5. What a great library happening to volunteer for, I bet you enjoy it and whether you write a thesis or not the kids will love your comments.

  6. I can’t believe that out of all the places we went when I was a kid growing up in Scottsdale, Arizona, we never visited the Casa Grande ruins! I never even knew about them until I read your post! Very cool!

    Also very cool is your virtual volunteer opportunity!

      1. Ughhhhh. That’s just WRONG! When we lived in Scottsdale we would take “Sunday drives” and see nothing but desert on both sides of Scottsdale Road, as far as the eye could see. Now it’s wall to wall houses out there.

  7. Hi Jen!

    Aaah I miss you guys! I do hope you get to take part in the volunteer program. I hardly get through my days at this stage and think I need to start asking for volunteers! LOL!!! No, it’s not that bad.

    Gosh, I really do need to start reading The Gollum and the Jinni. I have it on my audible library and I’m just about done with my current listen. Maybe I should just start with that one!

    Have a lovely week ahead!

    Elza Reads

  8. Jen, that virtual volunteer program sounds ideal. Our work as Texas Master Naturalists is to encourage kids to spend time in the outdoors. I was just reading an article in Texas Parks & Wildlife, “TPWD Biologist Becomes iNaturalist All-Star,” and a quote from that naturalist (@sambiology) is one I think is powerful: “When I use iNaturalist, what I once called a weed or a bug or a beetle, I find out its real name, and it changes the relationship that I have with that creature. It becomes my neighbor, rather than just a little innocuous thing.” I think that’s important with children, especially.

    It’s amazing to think that Casa Grande has been there 700 years. It seems to have been created with careful thought.

    1. It seems like such a cool program! They have a theme every two months (right now we’re doing botany and in May we’ll start herpetology). At the end of those two months, they invite participants to the Arboretum to meet scientists who work in the area they were just studying. I saw pictures of the last event and the kids’ eyes were huge with wonder as ornithologists showed off live birds for them. It looks like so much fun!

  9. What a great program! I would love to volunteer this way – especially since I’m still working. And I love the history of the structure you shared. Isn’t the world amazing?!!
    Have a terrific week.
    Terrie @ Bookshelf Journeys

  10. That’s so neat about the volunteer program! Good luck with it! It sounds awesome. Also, that structure you visited is pretty amazing. It always blows my mind how ancient cultures were often so mathematically precise with the seasonal calculations and everything…

    Oh and I wanted to mention too- I tried Heardle after seeing your comment on my post. 🙂 Fun! I tried the 80’s version and had to laugh- it was from a hair metal band I used to like so that seemed appropriate! But it took me three tries because the intro to the song is kinda different, I couldn’t place it!

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