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Seaworthy Study

Area biologist 'meets' dolphins all over the world and shares findings in her book.

May 07, 2000|ANN SHIELDS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Marine biologist Kathleen Dudzinski can hear the familiar sounds of the sea near her Oxnard Shores home. Away from home, her work takes her into the sea, where she studies dolphins in the wild in places such as Japan, the Bahamas and Argentina.

Dudzinski shares her findings in "Meeting Dolphins: My Adventures in the Sea," published by National Geographic. It is a companion book to the MacGillivray Freeman film "Dolphins," being shown around the country.

Dudzinski will be at Ventura Barnes & Noble at 7 p.m. Saturday to discuss and sign her book, which is targeted to children 8 and older.

She became interested in dolphins after working on a whale-watching boat during her sophomore year in college. She said she worked seven days a week, 12 hours a day and enjoyed every minute.

"I'd always loved animals and the ocean," she said. "This showed me I could merge those two into science and follow my passion."

She analyzes her data from home after each excursion, and her findings are both objective and subjective, she said. One of her goals is to expose others to the playfulness, grace and intelligence of dolphins.

"If you look at intelligence the way I like to view it, in flexibility and adaptability of behavior, then most social animals--people and dolphins--are very intelligent because they can be put into new situations within their environment and survive and thrive," she said.

Personality, on the other hand, can't be quantified and tested statistically. There is no scale to measure adjectives used to define personality, she said.

The filmmakers involved in her research will sponsor an online bulletin board this summer where she will post field notes. Children and adults can follow her research this way, she said.

As director of the Dolphin Communication Project for the Ocean Conservation Society based in Marina del Rey, she hopes to develop new study areas that may include New Zealand and Patagonia. Check Dudzinski's Web site at http://www.umiandus.com.

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You can get into the Mother's Day spirit a week early--just listen to Dr. Karen Engberg discuss her book, "It's Not the Glass Ceiling, It's the Sticky Floor: Other Things Our Daughters Should Know About Marriage, Work and Motherhood," Prometheus, $22.95).

The Santa Barbara physician will be at Ventura Barnes & Noble at 2 p.m. today to discuss and sign her book.

In a recent interview, Engberg said the most valuable advice she would give her daughters is to wait until they are close to age 30 before getting married--she was 29 when she wed her physician husband. She also urges women to use the years between college and age 30 to find that thing they want to do, whether they do it for the rest of their lives or not.

Guilt is inescapable, especially for mothers, Engberg said. "It's the way we are wired. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but rather a matter of figuring out what's nonproductive guilt and what is useful guilt," she said.

So are all the high-achieving women having fun these days? Those who recognize their limits are having fun, but those still trying to do things the way they think men want them to aren't, she said.

Still, women are not beating up on themselves as much as they were. Engberg said women have come a long way toward saying that what goes on at home is at least as important as what goes on at work. Find out what else she has to say at her book signing today.

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For another perspective on parenting, Patrice Karst has written "The Single Mother's Survival Guide," (Crossing Press, $10.95). She will discuss and sign her book at 3 p.m. Saturday at Borders in Thousand Oaks.

A single mom since her son's birth eight years ago, Karst searched for guidance in books but found only how-to's, she said.

"I found [no book] that spoke to my soul, so I decided to write one," the Calabasas author said.

Her first book, "God Made Easy," was a success, so the task didn't seem too daunting.

She wrote "Survival Guide" to let single mothers know they are not alone, she said. She described the book as having humor and practical advice and as a workbook with a place for wishes, dreams and goals.

"It's kind of like having a girlfriend in a book," she said. Her next work, due out in June, is a children's book titled "The Invisible String." Karst can be reached by e-mail at singlemothers4u@aol.com.

MORE HAPPENINGS

* Sunday: 2 p.m. Millie Szerman will discuss and sign "A View From the Tub," her inspirational guidebook for women about to work from home. Borders, 125 W. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks, 497-8159.

* Monday: 11 a.m. Story time featuring Carol Carrick's "Mothers Are Like That." Borders, Thousand Oaks, 497-8159.

* Monday: 12:30 p.m. The Monday Afternoon Club will focus on "A Map of the World" by Jane Hamilton. Thousand Oaks Barnes & Noble, 160 S. Westlake Blvd., 446-2820.

* Tuesday: noon. The Book & Song Reading Group will focus on Julie Taymor's Broadway musical, "The Lion King." Thousand Oaks Barnes & Noble, 446-2820.

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