Categories: Life, Musings, Questions

I have very vivid memories of this date 13 years ago. I will never forget what happened that morning. What I did the rest of the day. How I felt. The feelings over the next several days. It is one of those days that I will be able to replay in my mind for the rest of my life.

There is another date I will never forget. But it will be because I have no living memory of it. My parents have no living memory of it. December 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy.” The numbers of those with a living memory of that date are dwindling. That date changed the world, changes that affected my family personally.

The flags are flying in my neighborhood in memory of today’s date. How many will be flying in three months? Does that date still live in infamy?

My daughter has no living memory of the attacks that happened on this date. The World Wars will be nothing more than stories in her history books and memorials we visit on vacation. How do I ensure these memories live on in the next generation? How do I help her understand the significance of what happened? Without a living memory, are we doomed to live it again?

Random Giggles: Losing the Living Memory

Lay hold upon every good thing

Categories: Exercise, Gospel, Health

flexibilityI remember when I first heard about yoga. I thought it was too Eastern religious for me to feel comfortable with. The word “meditate” seemed so foreign to me. I was more comfortable with “ponder.” But that was before I knew anything about yoga at all. Now I find myself shaking my head at my past self and at people like in this BBC article from back in November – Does doing yoga make you a Hindu? Really?

President Hinckley frequently said, “You bring with you all the good that you have, and then let us see if we can add to it” (“Excerpts from Recent Addresses of President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Ensign, August 1998). Yoga has done me a whole lot of good.

Apparently, one of the things it’s done for me is give me more gray matter (How Yoga Changes the Brain). Yoga lets me look inward and really examine what is going on with the different areas in my body. It makes sense that doing so regularly would increase your ability to do so.

Back when I was doing community theater, someone commented to me at an audition that I seemed so calm. I knew I wasn’t that calm, which is why I was sitting there focusing on my breathing just as I do during yoga. That focus on breathing kept me calm.

Brett frequently reminds to do yoga when he can sense I’m getting tense. That and running. Just sitting with my eyes closed, my back straight, my hands on my legs or at my chest, and breathing, helps me center, helps me relax, helps me think clearer. When I’m sitting at the doctor’s and the wait is going on for the eternity that it can there, I’m most often focusing on my breathing.

When I was in labor we found a yoga style music station on Pandora and played that in the delivery room while I focused on Iddo’s heartbeat (very grateful they insisted on continuous monitoring), and breathed. I ended up basically sleeping through most of my active labor that way. Even before labor, I was able to bend down and touch my toes, almost palm the floor, clear up to the end of my pregnancy, a flexibility I get from yoga.

Earlier this year I was memorizing a scripture in The Book of Mormon, “ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ” (Moroni 7:19). There is more to being good than just not doing evil, it is recognizing all the good you find no matter what its source.

I am not a Hindu because I do yoga, but I recognize the good that yoga does for me, embrace it, don’t condemn it, and add it to the good I have found elsewhere in the world.

(Not) Licensed to Teach

Categories: Education, Work

At the close of business hours this past Monday my teaching license expired. I was a licensed (and highly qualified, according to a multiple-choice test the government made me take) teacher for just over 12 years, a full third of my life currently. I taught elementary school for 6 years. I was last in a classroom a year ago when I substituted for a year before Iddo was born. I doubt I’ve spent my last day in a formal classroom as a teacher, but I don’t know when I’ll be back.

In the mean time I’ve got some other teaching to do, both at home and elsewhere. And the skills I learned preparing to be a teacher as well as teaching are going to come in handy on an almost daily basis I’m sure.

Here’s to the next chapter in my life, a life unfettered by licenses and permissions (except to drive, of course).

That’s so quantum!

Categories: News, Science & Tech

I think in another life I could’ve been a quantum physicist. It just intrigues me so much. I’m not really all that interested in delving that deep into math at this time in my life, but I like reading the results of their studies written at the level of the general public.

Today during Iddo’s nap I read about two different quantum studies that I will probably attempt to bring up in small talk at our dinner party this weekend. Luckily, I’m pretty sure the guests will be interested as well. Just in case we ever invite you over for dinner, here’s some reading to bring you up to speed.

Study #1 – Entangled photons (in National Geographic and Scientific American): They used entangled lasers to make images of cats. Because quantum physicists have a sense of humor. Now, is it a live cat or a dead cat?

Study #2 – Proof of Strange Neutrinos (in Scientific American): There are several things that amaze me about this: they figured out they were there before they had visual proof (um, I think that sounds like faith), the lengths they’ve had to go through to prove they are there, and the future lengths they still have to get through to discover anything more about them other than their existence.

Science. It’s cool stuff.

Reading to Iddo

Categories: Books

Picking out some good booksA friend asked this weekend what we’ve all been reading lately. In my case I’ve been reading the following books, repeatedly:

We have a thing for Sandra Boynton at our house. Brett has his own list of her books that he reads to her on a rotating basis at night, with a few other authors thrown in for variety.

We love reading to Iddo. She loves turning pages. She’s trying to be a speed reader and flips through the books real fast. One of my favorite things to watch her do is when she sits down next to her books and pulls them all out in a big stack on and around her lap and goes through them.

I did an online quiz recently to see how much I know about how important it is to read to children. I got one of the questions wrong. The question was about how many parents thought it was important to read to children from a very young age. I thought a lot more parents thought it was important than actually do. I thought it was kind of silly for us to get a book from the hospital when Iddo was born and then from our pediatrician at her 6 and 9 month appointments, but it’s probably the case that those might be the only 3 books some babies and toddlers own. Which is unbelievable to me.

Every week we get on the web camera and do story time with my mom. She reads a story to Iddo (current favorite is A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka) and they sing a song (she likes the chorus for the Hokey Pokey right now). Then Iddo pokes Grandma’s nose and says “beep.”

We went to story time at the library a few times but ultimately decided it wasn’t worth it. It’s a bit of a drive from where we are, it was right when she wanted to nap every afternoon, and the story teller there wasn’t that great. Which was really sad for a library. She had a real hard time connecting with and interacting with the kids. Which is crucial for helping them learn to love reading and communicate.

Several years ago I attended a workshop by PBS Ready to Learn. They emphasized how important it is to not just watch shows that teach (like Sesame Street, when the child is old enough) but to also read books related to the idea and do activities with the idea. Interaction is key.

I was recently contacted by the authors of a new children’s book called Pictivities. It’s a book designed to help adults engage with children while reading to them. The Deseret News did an article about it a week or so ago – Utah couple writes children’s book that helps parents interact. They are trying to raise enough money to print this as a board book, which would be the perfect format for a book like this. Check out their project and see if it’s something you’d consider contributing too.

His daughter

Categories: Family, Gospel

We talked adoption. The idea came up a lot. I read blogs by adoptive parents. But the idea never felt right to either of us. And adoption is not something you just do and it is definitely not something you do unless you are full heart and soul committed.

One of the adoptive blogs that I still love to read is The R House. They have three sons and speak with such love about their adoptions and the wonderfully open relationships they have with their birth families. The love just spills out of their home. They’ve taught me a lot about adoption and how expansive family can be. They are particularly careful with the language they use for adoption. It’s a very positive language. Children are placed, not given up.

One night several months ago I was singing to Iddo as she drifted off to sleep. As I sang “I Am a Child of God” to her, as I do most nights, the truth of the words struck me. And I started to think of my relationship to her in terms of adoption, and especially an open adoption.

Brett and I are the parents of her mortal body. But Heavenly Father is the parent of her immortal spirit. She was born on high. God did not “give her up” when He sent her to us. He placed her with us. With great love He has charged us with raising His child. I want her to have an extremely open relationship with her Heavenly Father, to know where she came from and what that means.

The Father has never relinquished his claim upon the children born into this world. They are still His children. He has placed them in the care of mortal parents with the admonition that they be brought up in light and truth.
- President Joseph Fielding Smith, “Bringing Up Children in Light and Truth,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith.

There are so many people who love our Iddo. But I especially want her to know the love she brought with her and the heritage that was hers before she was ours.

Math and technology items

Categories: Books, Education, News

Three times now I have brought up string theory and quantum physics in small talk at parties. Only once did it go over well. The other two times resulted in a mix of blank stare plus confusion. Seems I have a little work to do on my small talk topics. Perhaps I could talk about these topics? Or I could keep trying string theory. After all, it has worked once before.

NPR | People Wonder: ‘If They Gunned Me Down,’ What Photo Would Media Use? – Surely bias in the media is a good topic. Frequently the media uses photos posted to social networks. What photos would they have available for you?

Scientific American | Does death change our online networks? – Are social networks the answer to immortality? Would I want to live forever in a social network? Pretty sure I’d like to live in memory only. I’ve made it so Brett can have full access to all of my accounts when I eventually die and he has my permission and direction to shut them down.

Scientific American | Net Loss: Is the Internet Killing Solitude and Downtime? – I’m pretty sure I could agree with this book. But I’ll have to get it and let you know. In the mean time, when was the last time you had some down time and didn’t turn to the internet?

Scientific American | How to Talk About the Fields Medal at Your Next Cocktail Party – If string theory won’t work at parties, perhaps international math awards would. We could talk about why it took 78 years to award it to a woman. I need to figure out what the other three recipients did to earn it this year. I’d be the hit of the party!