Categories: Family, Work

It’s been a year that I’ve been unemployed. Next month my teaching license is going to expire as well. For the first time since 2002 I will no longer be a certified teacher. However, being unemployed is what I’d always wanted, to stay home with our children rather than work for money.

But I was nervous last year. I had worked for so long. I got my first job my junior year of high school and had pretty much had a job ever since. I did not have a job my first two years of college nor while on a mission, but otherwise, I’d worked. I’d barely made ends meet but they had met every month. Last spring I was nervous about stopping my income contributions, paltry though they were, right at the time we were adding a big expense, a whole other person, to our family.

While I might no longer be self-sufficient, I’m also no longer a self. I’m an us, a family. And as a family we are sufficient. As a family, as an us, I do not have to do everything because there are more of us to take care of everything. As a self I had to financially provide for my home as well as take care of the home, clean, cook, laundry, etc. All of that still needs to happen, but we can share the load now.

Archeologists posit that it was the invention of agriculture that allowed for civilization to take the time to invent art. Along those same lines, becoming us-sufficient rather than self-sufficient has allowed us time to develop in other ways. Rather than having to spend the day working to pay the bills, I can figure out what will make Iddo laugh today. And rather than coming home from work and having to vacuum or scrub toilets, Brett can spend his evening keeping Iddo from eating his Latin note cards and see if he can figure out what will make her laugh today.

I really like this us-sufficient thing.

A little bit of this. A little bit of that.

Categories: News, Random

BBC News | ‘Forgotten’ US smallpox vials found in cardboard box – You’d think deadly viruses wouldn’t be forgotten in the back of closets and would be something people would keep better track of. You’d think.

Scientific American | Earth’s Magnetic Field Flip Could Happen Sooner Than Expected – Is it weird that I’m now kind of hoping it speeds up enough to happen in my life time? Of course I’d prefer it to not fry my digital life when it happens, but I think it would be kind of neat. Something to tell the grandkids, you know.

NPR | 5,000 Years Old: Ancient Yew Tree Identified In Wales – And now I must plan a trip to Wales to see this tree. Trees are awesome!

Psychology Today | Dangers of “Crying It Out” – I remember watching an episode of Mad About You in 1997, called “The Conversation.” They shot all in one take and it was about when they let Mabel cry it out (you can watch it here). The whole idea of letting a baby “cry it out” makes me cry. It makes me sick inside. I can’t do it. I won’t even consider it. Thankfully Iddo has been a great sleeper from the start and it’s never been an issue. When she doesn’t sleep well at night we know she’s sick enough we need to do something about it. You might say I’d think differently about “cry it out” if I had a baby who didn’t sleep. But there are other ways to help a baby learn to sleep than by letting them scream themselves to sleep. I don’t want Iddo to know that we won’t be there for her. Of course as she grows she’ll have situations we won’t be there for or can’t help with. But by then we’ll have taught her coping skills and she won’t be left to her own devices with nothing to do but cry.

Always something to say

Categories: Education, Exercise, News, Random, Science & Tech

Mind Body Green | 5 Things Naturally Fit People Do Differently – A friend shared this on Facebook and I was intrigued enough by the title to read it. I am one of those people who seems to effortlessly stay in shape. I won’t tell you how long it took me to get back to my pre-pregnancy jeans because you don’t want to know. I’ve never consciously decided to do any of the 5 things mentioned in the article. But now that I think about it, yup, that’s what I do. There’s an advertisement on Hulu for an exercise program that promises you won’t get bored because it’s a different activity every day. That’s not the way to not get bored with exercise, doing different things you hate every day. I go running 3 times a week (because I don’t want to wash my hair every day, and I need to wash it after I run), and I never get bored running because I love running. Find an exercise you love and it won’t matter if you do the same thing every day.

BBC News | Could Tourette’s syndrome make a goalkeeper better? – I love this story. I’ve heard of this goalie before and I believe it does make him better. One Tourette’s tic, and I don’t know if he has this particular one, is mimicking others. If a goalie is able to subconsciously mimic the direction a player is going, he’ll be better at being where he needs to be to block the score. He isn’t disabled by his condition at all in this case.

Scientific American | Map Shows When Summer Heat Peaks in Your Town – I only have 4 years of data for Tuscon, but my data shows the same thing. If we can just make it through the end of June then the weather starts to get a lot better. And it’s “Tusconan.”

Scientific American | Jell-O Brains and DNA: High School Students Launch Innovative STEM Program – Perhaps we need more high schoolers setting our education policies and fewer politicians? This program is genius!

Scientific American | How to Teach Old Ears New Tricks – It’s been in the last few months that we’ve noticed Iddo’s babbling sounds a lot more like English babbling. She must be picking up on the sounds we make. Also, good, timely feedback is crucial to learning anything, not just pronunciation in new languages. Looks like we need to find a lot of different recordings of Latin in our study.

BBC News | Olympic runner and WW2 prisoner Louis Zamperini dies – I read his biography earlier this year (my review). Truly inspiring.

Out of town. Out of touch.

Categories: Featured, Life, Science & Tech

Random Giggles: Out of town. Out of touch. - Remember when you went out of town and people couldn't get a hold of you?Remember when you went out of town and people couldn’t get a hold of you? You’d leave your house key with a trusted neighbor and they’d check your mail and maybe turn lights on in the evening and off at night. They’d make sure your washing machine didn’t accidentally flood your whole house while you were gone.

There were no cell phones in your pocket where people could still call you. If they called your number they either got no answer (because you weren’t home), or they got your machine if you were super fancy. If you were gone long enough, or if some people left exceptionally long messages, your machine would fill up and that was it for messages.

There were no smart phones, tablets, lap tops for you to check email on. You couldn’t log in to work from the beach/pool/picnic area to see what was waiting for you when you got back. You knew there’d be a lot of work waiting for you when you got back. But there was nothing you could do about it at the time so you just let it go.

The lack of modern conveniences like smart phones and such meant that you had to wait till you got back to tell everyone about your trip as well. You weren’t updating instagram or twitter the whole time telling everyone about what you were doing and where you were (which is a security threat when you think about it, why announce your house is empty?).

Last week we were in Santa Fe with my family (we lived there from 1987 to 1991). And I had my lap top. But I didn’t make checking email or social media a priority, I didn’t do it. I didn’t even read my comics and had a week of catching up to do when we got home. It was a week of sunny days Zachary Levi and Bert style.

And you know something? The world went right on spinning without me checking how it was doing every 20 minutes. It was great! All the emails I got, all the comics I didn’t read, were all waiting for me when I got back and it didn’t matter that I spent our vacation vacationing.

I can’t leave town on a regular basis and leave the internet behind. But I can decide to declare regular “Sunny Days” and maintain radio silence from home more often.

Commenting on the news

Categories: Education, Gospel, Learn Something, News

NPR: Study Delivers Failing Grades For Many Programs Training Teachers – Having gone through a teacher training program, having taught, and having worked in a teacher training program, I have several opinions on this topic. And I’d agree with the study – a lot of programs are not preparing the “highly qualified” teachers the laws require. And I believe a part of that is the professors at the university who are so far removed from what happens in real classrooms that they can’t prepare pre-service teachers for the reality of teaching. Many professors have never actually taught outside of the university themselves. And observing or doing research in schools is a far cry from actual experience.

APOD: How to Identify that Light in the Sky – Brett and I were talking once about how if it twinkles it’s a star. Here’s the rest of the chart.

Scientific American: 4 Ways to Plan a Mind-Restoring Vacation – If we have a schedule to keep or things that must be done, it’s a trip. If there are no commitments, it’s a vacation.

NPR: How Did The Meter Get Its Length? – This story sounds vaguely familiar. It’s still fun.

Deseret News: Ashley Isaacson Woolley: Ordain Women is not the answer on Mormon women’s equality – Amen. Just amen. I am not subservient. I am not silent. I am not silenced. I have never felt on unequal footing in the Gospel. Certain individuals within the Church might make others feel that way, but those are their individual actions, not the Gospel, that does that.

The Friday before Father’s Day

Categories: Family, Infertility

The Friday before Father’s Day in 2012 I left my doctor’s appointment that morning after learning I had a giant cyst on my ovary and we would have to wait another month before our next round of IVF. I stopped at Target hoping to get a Father’s Day card and left in tears because they don’t make cards that say “You are an amazing husband and the exact type of father I want our children to have.” They don’t make Father’s Day cards for infertile people. I made Brett breakfast in bed Sunday morning.

The Friday before Father’s Day in 2013 I left my doctor’s appointment that morning after learning that my body was definitely getting ready to have a baby. I stopped at Target and figured I probably needed to get two Father’s Day cards because Iddo was probably going to get here before Sunday (although I was really hoping she’d wait till Saturday evening, we had plans Friday night). I shared the breakfast the hospital brought to my bed with Brett Sunday morning.

The Friday before Father’s Day in 2014 I don’t have any doctor appointments. But Iddo and I will probably stop at Target to pick out a card anyway. I wonder who’s going to do breakfast in bed this Sunday.

While Iddo napped…

Categories: Education, News

About two weeks worth of things I’ve learned while Iddo napped.

NPR – Learning A New Skill Works Best To Keep Your Brain Sharp – Brett and I like to laugh at the commercial for the program that says it is based on the “science of neuro-plasticity.” Those people should learn to quilt instead.

Scientific American – Black Death Survivors and Their Descendants Went On to Live Longer – I find studies on the survivors of the Black Death fascinating. In part because they are my ancestors and passed on whatever benefits they got from it to me.

NPR – Flood Of Noahs Hit U.S. Cribs In 2013, Taking Baby Name Honors – This article gets the “Best Headline of the Week” award. That is all.

Scientific American – Pluto Bids to Get Back Planetary Status – I love that there are still astronomers fighting for this planet. Go Pluto!

NPR – Harry Potter And The Forbidden Books – I love the transformative power of books!

NPR – What’s Your Major? 4 Decades Of College Degrees, In 1 Graph – I think graphs like this are interesting. The rise in business majors and drop in education majors is especially interesting. I know of at least one university that dropped it’s bachelor degree for secondary ed recently. You have to get a subject matter bachelor degree and then a masters of teaching in order to be certified for secondary ed there now.

Scientific American – Anatomy Of A Dance Hit: Why We Love To Boogie With Pharrell – She doesn’t like the bridge much, but she’s definitely picked up the beat of the main part of the song on this one.

NPR – Vision Involves a Bit of Hearing, Too – The brain is so much more connected than we can even imagine. Which is interesting since imagination takes place inside our brains.

Scientific American – A Learning Secret: Don’t Take Notes with a Laptop – You can type roughly as fast as you talk. But that probably means you’re typing more notes than you need rather than focusing on the important parts. Kind of like highlighting an entire page rather than the main ideas. There’s the physical memory associated with writing that you don’t get with typing as well.

New York Times – What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades – And even more evidence about the importance of writing by hand, both print and cursive. If Iddo doesn’t learn it at school, she’ll be learning it at home. There’s something beautiful about writing by hand.

APOD: Hubble Ultra Deep Field 2014 – Images like this fill me with such a sense of awe and wonder. The majestic power of creation is astounding.

NPR – Playtime With Mom Helps Boost Toddlers’ Under-Developed Brains – It’s amazing to think that interaction with adults can have such a profound effect on brain development. Obviously not being malnourished physically is important, but it seems the research keeps pointing to the importance of not being malnourished mentally as well. I wonder if any scientists will be brave enough to study the effects of being spiritually malnourished. Also, Iddo’s up. I need to go play with her. It’s for the good of both of us.