Saturday, May 29, 2010


Squink: "Mama, can you turn off the music? I'm too tired to listen
right now".

Driving home after playing with the cousins.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I <3 Sunday

Because it gives me the perfect venue for theological discussions.

Today the themes were:
  • Adam & Eve (more specifically the concept of Eve's role in terms of our human existence). Exploring this issue allowed me to look at this as a parable and I ended up considering that Eve was a victim of Patristism (and by this I mean male religious scholars). I think the parable has been misinterpreted and I think that Eve was actually heroic (please don't smite me if you disagree) in choosing to eat from the fruit of the tree of knowledge.
  • The rite of baptism. more so, though, on the purpose of which this ritual serves. (it was an offshoot of the concept below) but worthy of mentioning on its own. My thoughts here are that it acts as a means to seal the individual with a community by creating and extended metaphorical family and thus establishing a covenant with God.
  • Original sin. I have trouble with this concept, so I explored its meaning to other religions... it seems to be pretty Christian in nature. There are two schools of thought 1) that it is the genetic (of sorts) inheritance from the "sin of Adam" or that it 2) refers to a general state of sinfulness. My tendency is to think that if God exists, we would be perfect creations and as such that even our imperfections make us perfect (which aligns with how I see sciences like biology, chemistry, physics and such to be so magnificent that they are perfect in design).
There is nothing like some light philosophical ponderings on a Sunday morning... I suppose I should clarify why I even feel  that I need to share my beliefs (or possibly non-beliefs)... I call myself an agnostic, and more specifically I lean toward agnostic theism. I find thinking of these things to be profound and helpful in my understanding of the world in which I live.I don't focus on the Western religions, I look at everything based on what gets discussed around me on any given Sunday. I've explored many issues, many ideas, many disciplines. I wanted to keep a record of my thoughts, so I decided to put them here, open wide for anyone who cares to share an idea (hopefully with a generous and kind spirit) with me as I ponder these notions. I hope it works out OK.

One thing further on my agnosticism.... I once asked someone I profoundly respect if they believed in God. They replied to this question by saying "I don't worry about things that are untestable". I don't know that I can say the same, I enjoy thinking about the concept too much.

Saturday, May 08, 2010


Squink: "Mama, when I get old like you, I can walk on water".

The Science Fair and my bucket list

When I was in about 5th or 6th grade, I decided to try and enter my schools science fair.

To be very frank, the fact that I was encouraged to try something like what happens to carnation in colored water seemed fruitless and uninteresting. I knew what would happen and I knew why. I wanted to be challenged.

Perhaps it was a clue about my strong interest in biology and social sciences, but, what I chose was to investigate survivability... specifically desert survival.

My hypothesis was: Armed with the right tools and or knowledge a human being is capable of surviving in the desert for a reasonable period of time.

No, this is not a test tube or physics project... but I was interested in what mechanisms would help prolong a person's survival should they be lost in the climate in which I lived.

I have a family that will not take even a small road trip with out provisions in place to help provide water and sustenance should there be a horrible circumstance and we do, indeed, get stuck in the desert.

So, I employed the scientific method as I went about my project.

  • First, I set up my hypothesis.
  • Second, I formed a conjecture. I stated what I knew to do (make sure you have water when being placed in a position that you could become stuck in a desert) and thought about what other things needed to be in place for survivability to occur. those, in general, were: how to procure more water (you can't carry a city water plant with you), how to identify and find nourishment in the harsh clime (what was available to eat so that calorically we could sustain our bodies), how to devise an action plan for getting to safety.
  • Thirdly,  I deduced my predictions; namely that there were means to get water from a desert, there was readily available nutrition and that we could indeed devise a plan of action to get our bodies to safety.
  • Lastly I tested this. 
    • I researched condensation to identify a way to procure water and came up with a plan to help use the available resources to help provide more dihydrogen monoxide. ;-)
    • I researched desert flora and fauna to identify possible food stuffs, and set out to see how easy these items were to identify
    • I looked at what the research said about traveling to safety and had to come to conclusion of developing an action plan.
    • I built a miniature condensation trapping mechanism that one could employ and measure what water amounts it was able to get.
    • I cited all of my sources.
This kind of project was outside the norm of what any of these folks had ever seen or even expected to see at a science fair. To be very frank, at that time, I was told that this was not a science fair project, but was a research project (I really want to know however, what the difference was in the case for a 5th or 6th grade science fair project). I was devastated. I could see how there was real science in there, why couldn't these adults see it? I knew there was academic rigor that was sustained through out my entire experience with the project. I was curious, I did not know something, I set out to identify what the research said and to see how it applied to those of us living in Arizona. The failure to see through the lack of carnations in colored water was somewhat devastating at that age. I felt like a failure, and decided that maybe women are just supposed to play stupid. What a sad thing.

Thankfully, I got over it. I suppose I have to thank my slightly odd high school science teacher who let me play dumb when he knew I was more aware of what was going on. Really, in hindsight, no teacher would get away with what I could get away with in his class;
I sat ON the tables, not the chairs
I got to draw pictures instead of working on experiments if I could deduct the result correctly.
I got to play my Depeche Mode tape in the film projector they had (you know the one that has a tape player and you turned to the next slide when it went "beep".

I was his teachers pet, I got away with everything in that class, and I actually had this teacher for two straight years. But the key was that even if I acted like a doofus in class, he and I would actually have some interesting discussions outside of class. And sadly, it was through that bizarre experience that I was able to allow myself to think of science as something I enjoyed. Though yes, I was and still am somewhat haunted by that first science fair experience.

So, I have always had a secret desire to be a judge at a science fair. Interestingly enough, a friend that I went to high school with is an 8th grade science teacher. And offered me the opportunity to be a judge at her second Science Fair. Finally a place to put my Biology and Anthropology college degree as well as my years as a medical student to good work. I got to be that judge. So, I went into this experience wanting to recognize rigor, scientific and academic rigor. I strongly believe I did that. I LOVED the process. I loved being able to talk to the kids and ask them questions to see if I could find out how much their curiosity was at work here.

And best of all, I got to cross that item "Judge an Elementary School Science Fair" off of my bucket list.

Thank you Miss Dayna, it was truly an honor.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Bucket lists (BLIOTD)

I have compiled those 100 things about me, and even went so far as to add a second hundred things about me... but this, this is a slightly different version of that.

The previous ones were mostly about the path I had walked

This one is about the things I want to do. They call them A Bucket List for some reason, though I am inclined to think it is something to do before you "kick the bucket".

For a few months now I have been carrying around a list on my phone where I can jot down the ideas as they come to me.

Sadly, it is still rather short.

Here is what I have so far:

So, what prompted me to tell you I am doing this... I realized, recently, that I had two things coming up which I was so excited about doing that they too belonged on my list. So, here are those:

  • Be a judge a science fair  (more about why this is crossed out on the next post tomorrow)
  • Stay in a yurt

So, I have decided to start making these dreams a little more public.

In addition to the SQOTD (Squinky quote of the day), there will now be BLIOTD (Bucket list item of the day). And for the record, I am taking suggestions... and I am not limiting myself to falling on either side having 100 items... So, tell me; what, based on how you think you know me,  should I consider adding to my all too short list above?

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Guinea pig interchange, or what are we having for dinner...

A Squinky conversation

The other day, as Squink and I are heading home he tells me

"Mom, I want a guinea pig"

so I answer

"Oh, yum! we eat those where I come from"

and he says

"No mom, I don't want one to eat"

so I ask,

"What do you do with them if you don't eat them, they are so yummy to eat"

he says

"You take them home and put them in a cage"

so I ask,

"And then you eat them?"

"No"       he says,

"you take them out every once in a while and play with them"

so I ask again

"And then do you eat them?"

and he is started to get frustrated with my insisting on eating them

so he says

"NO MOM, you don't eat them in my Arizona!"