Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Notebook Note

Anyone that hangs around me for any length of time knows or notices that I usually have a pocket-sized notebook and pen with me.

I carry this pad of paper for the overt reason of taking notes of something that I either really want to remember or something that I need to do. On one level, it provides people with whom I work a bit of comfort – when they utter a profound thought or state a project need – seeing the notebook come out is a non-verbal cue. With the notebook, I am saying, “Your current discussion/statement is important enough that I’m going to try to make sure that I can remember it.”

People, being the creatures that we are, usually respond with a bit of chagrin and needling toward me. This is analogous to people not being able to take a complement – I get the needling because somewhere in my fellow conversationalist’s psyche, he finds it difficult to believe that someone thinks enough of his/her thought to put it to paper.

That is Reason #1 that I carry a pad of paper.

Covertly, I carry the pad as a reminder of my dad.

Years ago, when I was just out of college, visiting back home, and running errands with Dad, he said, “Do you have a piece of paper? . . . of course you do, you’re an engineer.”

Those few words, in a passing moment (probably in a hardware store) placed upon me a little bit more of my dad’s admiration and love toward me. It felt good.

It still feels good today.

That is Reason #2 that I carry my brown-covered, pocked-sized, curved-to-match-my-butt pad of paper.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

PixSun 3 - Raising Boys and Girls

First Day of School Picture 2007.

The difference between raising boys and raising girls is obvious to anyone with the chance to raise boys. . .

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Far, Far Away

On radio a couple weeks ago, I heard a story about four galaxies that are "racing" toward each other and preparing to collide. These galaxies are approximately 5 billion light years away.I have a few thoughts about this story -- or rather about the 5 billion light years:

  • These galaxies have probably (almost undoubtedly) already collided and whatever happened to them after the collision probably completed itself a very long time ago.
  • These galaxies are incomprehensibly far away -- the distance that light travels in a second is something like 172,000 miles; the distance that light travels in a year is 365 times 24 times 3600 times that; then, don't just multiply that by one billion, multiply that by 5 billion. That is one heck of a long way away.
  • Finally, something that far in the distance it must take up an amazingly small amount of the night sky. Jostle the telescope (or whatever they use to sense the galaxies that far away) just a smidgen, and you would complete the miss all four galaxies.
  • Space must be relatively haze-free for the light to be able to travel that far and not just die out.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

BkThtTue 3 - Thought Repetition

From p.39 of One Small Step Can Change Your Life by Robert Maurer, Ph. D.:

  • Try this experiment. Tomorrow at work or wherever you spend your time, ask one of your friends the color of the car parked next to hers. Your friend is likely to give you a funny look and then admit she has no idea. Repeat the question the next day and the day after that. By the fourth or fifth day, your friend will have not choice: As she pulls into the parking lot the next morning, her brain will remind her that that silly person (you) is going to ask that silly question, and she'll be forced to store the answer in her short-term memory bank.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Friday, August 17, 2007


Initially, this post was going to be about making assumptions. But then last night I read a paragraph about faith. Here is Merriam-Webster's definition of faith:

Main Entry: 1faith
Pronunciation: 'fAth
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural faiths /'fAths, sometimes 'fA[th]z/
Etymology: Middle English feith, from Anglo-French feid, fei, from Latin fides; akin to Latin fidere to trust -- more at BIDE
1 a : allegiance to duty or a person : LOYALTY b (1) : fidelity to one's promises (2) : sincerity of intentions
2 a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust
3 : something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs faith>
synonym see BELIEF
- on faith : without question on faith>

In reference to Definition 2b(1), do people (me included) go to church because they have faith (i.e., is their no proof) or is there another, subconscious reason that they go?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

BkThtTue 2 - Inner Trust

From page 61 of Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom:

  • "You see," he said to the girl, "you closed your eyes. That was the difference. Sometimes you cannot believe what you see, you have to believe what you feel. And if you are ever going to have other people trust you, you must feel that you can trust them, too -- even when you're in the dark. Even when you're falling."

Isn't it interesting to see that when a person has to -- really has to -- trust another person, it frequently cannot be done with our cognitive processes in motion. We cannot do it with our eyes open, we can not think it through, and we cannot make a list of pros and cons. A part of us has to let our subconscious takeover -- it is gifted in this area.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

PixSun 1 - Barnstorming

Barnstorming in Noblesville, Indiana - I spoke to this pilot for a few minutes, watched him take off, then watched him do a low fly-by and rock his wings goodbye.


The caterpillars are all in their chrysalis and will be back out in about four days. We found it interesting to watch their leaf-devouring technique.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Space Shuttle Education

The Space Shuttle Endeavour (STS-118 - 119th shuttle flight) blasted off yesterday at about 6:36 p.m. local time.

At about 6:05 p.m., the kids and I had just sat down at Goldstar for some Cincinnati chili. I mentioned to them that I'd like to be able to make it home to watch the shuttle take off in about a half-an-hour. Then, I wondered out loud if we'd be able to make it. I thought that it'd be close, but if we didn't make it, it'd be ok . . . it wasn't worth stressing about.

But then, I had a mini-victory. My laptop was in the car. With a little luck, we'd get a wireless signal on the way home and we'd stop and be able to watch the event.

So, a little after 6:30 found us parked on the side of the road with me holding the laptop up facing the back of the minivan with all of us watching the little screen and listening to the countdown.

We watched it clear the tower, roll, and keep on going. I still get a proud and impressed feeling when I see it lift off.

But that isn't really what this post is about.

Not too many people watch the shuttle take off or land anymore which (I guess) is ok. So, sometimes not too many people have any public working knowledge about it. Here is some of the trivia that I know:
  • On ascent, the shuttle slows a little to go through the sound barrier. Then they "Throttle up to 106%". It was when they throttled-up that the Challenger exploded [the throttling up was unrelated to the explosion].
  • A little after clearing the tower, the shuttle rolls to help with telemetry and communication.
  • About 8 minutes into the launch, the shuttle is PNR - past the Point of No Return - they are going to space -- even if they lose all of their main engines.
This also is not what the post is about, but the following is:

So K. was having a discussion with one of her friends about the shuttle. K. stated that after a little while, the rockets fall away from the shuttle. Her friend disagreed in what I picture as a looking down the nose type of disagreement. K. stood her ground and reiterated that they do fall away -- and so does the large fuel tank. The friend disagreed again.

K. brought it up during bedtime tucking-in. While talking about, I mentioned to K. that it was ok that her friend disagreed, but K knew what she knew -- she had seen it first hand -- she saw the rockets separate.

And that is what this post is about. Because Dad likes shuttle launches and even puts lift-off into his Outlook schedule to try to see them, his enthusiasm for this has (been forced to) rubbed off on his kids a little bit.

Nearly instant feedback on some of the parenting that is going on around the homestead! It felt good.

Incidentally, landing is scheduled for no earlier than August 18, 2:29 p.m.

Here are links to the launch and the rocket separation. Godspeed STS-118.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

BkThtTue 1 - Everyone Met

Today,I learned that a distant family member died.

Later in the day, I was reading Tim Madigan's book about Fred Rogers titled "I'm Proud of You". On page 7 of this book, while talking about Fred Rogers, the author wrote:

  • Another time he wrote [a letter to me] that he had discovered the South African word ubuntu, which means: "I am because we are." "Isn't that lovely!" He said. "My identity is such that it includes you. I would be a very different person without you."

With the effort of just a little reflection, it is (hopefully usually) good to know that everyone we meet puts or adjust a little bit of clay on us.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Caterpillars and Poop

Recently, Kim and Kira brought some wild flowers home from the farmers' market.

A couple days after that, Kira told me about it and said something to the effect, "Won't it be cool to have a butterfly in the house?"

Yesterday, Kim, Morgan, and Kira were looking at the flowers and at the caterpillars, were commenting on the caterpillars, and noted that there was not one of them, but (to date) four of them!

Today after breakfast Kim asked, "Do you think that all of that stuff on the floor is from the flowers . . . or is it poop?" I said that in my mind, "it is from the flowers" - regardless of what I actually know. Kim stated, "Nope, I'm pretty sure that it is poop -- I remember commenting about all of the poop the last time."

For more stories about caterpillar poop, look at Beehive Academy here and here


While vacuuming today I "accidently" vacuumed up a small, sharp lego block that in the past either it or one of its gang has caused severe pain to my foot while walking through the house at 3 a.m.

I don't feel bad about it at all -- there are plenty, plenty more legos and it provided me a bit of happiness and joy.