Thursday, September 07, 2006

Time to Kill--What to Do?

Ok, so I don't have a lot of time to kill, but I'm looking for a hobby. Or an outlet. Or something interesting for me (read only for me, not for my family) to do. I'm transitioning. Don't know what the final destination is (or if there will be a final FINAL destination). But, right now, I'm not actively looking for work. I'm taking care of my kids full time and trying to finish getting settled into our house. There is of course always more that needs to be done. but, I want something that is just for me.

Right now, I read. I read a lot. I'm always in the middle of a book and a New Yorker. So, there's something that's my thing.

I went today to a institute class that's just started up. I used a precious day of kid trading to try it out. I felt antsy the whole time I was there, mostly because it was a big group of women that I didn't know very well and that makes me nervous. Introvert, all the way. If I can get past that, which I'm sure I can given some time, I'm not sure how I'll like it. It's a pretty big group, and I wonder what kind of individual interaction (my preferred way of getting to know people) I'll have. The women in the group all seem to be at a more advanced stage in life, with older kids, and some are grandmothers. I'm not sure what the discussion will be like and how open I will feel to discuss. I'm sure it would be good for me to study the scriptures with a goal in hand and have a weekly forum to feel responsible for some coherent thought. I'm just not sure, though.

I have looked into taking some classes at a community college or other local institution. I haven't found the perfect fit for time and class though. I'm still holding onto this option as a good possibility, with high desirability. I am thinking perhaps an art history class, Italian history would be cool, maybe Italian language.

There's also my Italian family research. I'll continue that no matter what. The downside to focusing most of my free time on this is that there is little/no social interaction, and even with the introvert that I am, I need to make friends.

Hmm. I'll have to think on this some more. A post for another day: my feelings about grad school/future career/passion for my field vs. need for general academic stimulation.
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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavars

Ok, this is just a quick post on a book I finished a couple of weeks ago. It's by Mary Roach and it's all about all the interesting and amazing things cadavars are used for. One chapter is all about how cadavers are used to determine the forces that human bodies can endure in car crashes. Cadaver research was instrumental in designing seat belts and air bags. The intro chapter was about plastic surgeons practicing face lifts on cadavar heads. (It was a little freaky to hear her talk about them--the heads-- being in roaster pans.) And a chapter about a woody field outside of some university where they study rates of decay under varying circumstances, all to help forensic science. CSI all the way. Totally fascinating. And of course, a chapter on med students' use of cadavers in the gross anatomy lab.

It made me think about my death and what I want with my body afterwards. Definitely organ donation, no question about it. There was a section on the notion of where life resides in the body--when someone is brain dead, but their heart is still working, and how organs are harvested for donation. But, besides that, I have, up to this point, always favored a simple pine box. Now, I think, why even have a burial? There was a bit about green burials and turning humans back to the soil a la compost. Ideas like these have taken hold in areas like Europe where there isn't a lot of land for cemetaries, and those that are buried have only 30 or so years to reside there before the caskets are removed for someone else to take their place. Anyway, cremation seems like a good option too.

Very interesting book.
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Saturday, September 02, 2006

Through the eyes of a child

During the summer months in Minnesota, my children rarely see night. With the sun disappearing, at last, at 9:30 pm, and reemerging well before they awake (thank you black out shades), they rarely experience summer night. Last week was an exception. We were booked on at 8:00 fight in order to travel to Utah for my sister's wedding. Due to recent tightened security measures, we planned to leave the house around 5:30 in order to be there two hours before our departure. T woke up at 5, probably because of our scurrying around with last minute packing. MJ was up soon after, and there was some down time for them before we needed to leave. I was in the kitchen finishing up some tasks when MJ came running in. "Mommy, mommy, you NEED to come outside! You have to come see the stars! They are so beautiful" I assured her that I would, after I finished whatever it was I was doing. She rushed back outside to the porch. In a few minutes, I went outside to find my two children, standing on the porch, holding hands, staring transfixed at the sky, and singing "twinkle twinkle little star" over and over. I was overcome with love for them and for their ability to be amazed and awe-struck at a truly beautiful sight. And I remembered when I too had felt the same way gazing up into the night sky.
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