Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Taking Time to Stop

They say to take time to stop and smell the roses. Well, roses don't grow well for me, but now that the semester is over I am taking time to stop and enjoy my other flowers. Here they are for your enjoyment too. Take some time to stop and see the flowers today!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Whitman Sampler (& Bronte)

My last post centered on a quote by Emily Bronte. Most people know her as a novelist, the author of Wuthering Heights, but she was a poet as well (as were all her siblings, but she was the most talented poet in the family).

While writing my last post, I decided to go back and reread some of her poetry. Here is one I came across.
I'm happiest when most away
I can bear my soul from its home of clay
On a windy night when the moon is bright
And the eye can wander through worlds of light --

When I am not and none beside --
Nor earth nor sea nor cloudless sky --
But only spirit wandering wide
Through infinite immensity.
The theme reminds me of the following poem written in 1881 by Walt Whitman.
This is the hour, O soul, thy free flight into the wordless,
Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done,
Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the themes thou lovest best:
Night, sleep, death, and the stars.


I just came across a line in my favorite novel, Wuthering Heights, that I had not noticed before. I've read and reread this novel since I was in high school (which is more years than I care to share!), and I always love making new discoveries in literature.

Unfortunately I noticed this one because I now have reason to identify with it.

"Having leveled my palace, don't erect a hovel and complacently admire your own charity in giving me that for a home."

(from Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte 1818-1848)

Sadly, there are people out there who don't realize that it doesn't count as kindness when they enter your life, make up their own definition of helpfulness, demolish what you have going on, set up their own agenda, meet that agenda on their terms, and then sit back thinking they deserve undying gratitude because in their eyes they have done SO much for you.

- and when, shockingly, you are frustrated rather than grateful, they are astounded and feel unfairly unappreciated and martyred. They feel it's unfair how "mean" you are being to them after they've been so "nice" to you.

Once you deal with the mess of their sense of martyrdom you can get back to the business of demolishing that hovel they've tried to box you into and rebuilding the palace of your life.

I'm amazed by Emily Bronte's insight, particularly given that she lived her brief 30 years on this earth almost entirely in the remote town of Haworth in northern England in the parsonage that was her childhood home. She didn't have a lot of exposure to society or travel, but there is a lot of wisdom and understanding of people, relationships, and the human condition in her work. Her quote bears repeating:

"Having leveled my palace, don't erect a hovel and complacently admire your own charity in giving me that for a home."

Amen, sister!!

Saturday, May 26, 2007


"Poems should attempt to speak the unspoken, and so allow others to speak."

Ann Lauterbach

"Poems do not endure as objects but as presences. When you read anything worth remembering, you liberate a human voice; you release into the world again a companion spirit. Perpetual resurrection – I read poems to hear that voice. And I write to speak to those I have heard."

Louise Glück b. 1943

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Much Needed Laugh

I love my book club! The members are great people, and the conversation is always stimulating. It is a tranquil sea of rationality in this crazy world.

Unfortunately and uncharacteristically I FORGOT we had a meeting this past Tuesday. I've been in the midst of very focused study all week. Typically if I cannot attend I let the leader know - in case others also cannot, and it needs to be canceled.


After the meeting, which was rather poorly attended, the leader sent out a message to all of us proposing dates for our next meeting, the finale of the season - always great fun - first a trip to the Pub for dinner and conversation, followed by a movie. This time the movie will be "Stranger than Fiction" with Emma Thompson.

I felt bad having neither shown up nor having made contact, so I responded to his email with the following:

Hi all!

I'm sorry I didn't write in to say I could not come. My brain has been emptied of everything but Riemann Integrability and Cauchy Criterion and Convergence Tests. My final is Friday, but my brain should be functioning again after that - and eager for some fun and relaxation!

I agree with Leslie's recommendation - saw it in the theater when it first came out but would like to see it again - very thought provoking.

Both dates are entirely open for me! YEA! I'm fine with either one.

- looking forward to seeing everyone then!

A fellow member responded with the following:

Good grief, Heidi, do you have to get shots for those?

That provided a much needed laugh for me this week!

If you happen to read this Friday, May 25 before 11am Pacific Time (or between 11:00am and 1:15pm, which is when my exam is taking place), I'd sure appreciate prayers - for recall, creativity, inspiration, and perhaps divine intervention!


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Tying up my Camel

If you're wondering where I am this week, you can find me tying up my camel.

Why do I need to tie up my camel?

Well, I'm in the final stretch for the semester. I've finished writing the book that was the project for my independent study, and I'm in the middle of exam week. In the midst of my study a friend saw me with books up to my eyeballs and flashcards everywhere and asked if I wouldn't rather just set that all aside and pray instead.

That sure sounds good! It would be a lot easier praying all week that God will help me do well on the exam than it is to go over and over my 83 flash cards and old homework assignments and my textbook and 244 pages of densely written mathematical notes - reworking problems and reproving theorems from scratch. As much as I believe in God and answered prayer, I do think the old sayings are true, "The Lord helps those who help themselves," and "Pray as if it all depends on God, but work as if it all depends on you." I just don't think God is going to hand me an A on the final if I pray INSTEAD OF studying.

I've heard that in parts of the Middle-east they say it this way:

"Trust God, but tie up your camel."

Bye! I'm heading out to tie up that camel nice and tight!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

World's Most Attractive People

I believe the world's most attractive people are those who are comfortable in their own skin - people who are genuine - people who know who they are and are not afraid to be who they are - people who don't have anything to prove (and are therefore free to be truly kind) - people who are perhaps a bit eccentric or quirky - ORIGINALS!

Today I will be attending the wedding of two such people. I'm very much looking forward to it and am sure it will be a fun and joyous event to remember for all present!

Private to Juliana and Ross: You are beautiful people!
Best wishes to you in your life together!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Existence of God

Italian mathematician Guido Ubaldi (1671-1742)felt that the following was a proof for the existence of God, because "something has been created out of nothing."


= 0 + 0 + 0 + . . .

= (1 - 1) + (1 - 1) + (1 - 1) + . . .

= 1 - 1 + 1 - 1 + 1 - 1 + . . .

= 1 + (-1 + 1) + (-1 + 1) + (-1 + 1) + . . .

= 1 + 0 + 0 + 0 + . . . .

= 1

So we have begun with zero and built one out of it. As he said: "something has been created out of nothing."

Regardless of what you think of the conclusion he came to, is there a problem with the "proof" mathematically? If so, where is the problem?

Monday, May 14, 2007

mi copa está rebosando

The subject line is nearly the only verse I remember from my Spanish studies, but it came to mind in thinking about Mother's Day:

"mi copa está rebosando"

"My cup runneth over!"

I could have a great Mother's Day just looking at my three boys, but I got presents too! Hugs, roses, handmade gifts and CHOCOLATE - and not just any chocolate either, See's Candy - the best there is - a hand-picked selection of the dark chocolate I like best - bordeaux and coconut - WOW!

So, although the only thing I need to celebrate Mother's Day is to have my boys around me, I sure won't turn down the gifts!

Thanks guys!!!

I am truly blessed, y mi copa está rebosando

Saturday, May 12, 2007

In the Cards

One of my quirky goals in life is to create a deck of "found cards." This is my set so far. As you can see people must have a particular dislike for Kings of Hearts, Kings of Spades, Queens of Diamonds, and Sevens of Clubs.

I'm posting this today because my deck grew tonight as I walked through a parking lot and made a find. When I find a card, I always wonder how it ended up on the ground by itself. When I play cards I get the deck out, play, and then put the deck away . . .

Oh well. Other people must have a different "card philosophy," and it is because of that that I can pursue this quirky goal!

I wonder if over the course of my life I will be able to build a complete deck of "found cards."

(And . . . uh . . . no jokes in the comments about not playing with a full deck!)

Friday, May 11, 2007

Ubiquitous Bumper Sticker

I keep seeing the same bumper sticker over and over:

Well-behaved women rarely make history.

I wonder if someone is trying to tell me something?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Quote for Thought (2)

I have come to the conclusion that my subjective account of my motivation is largely mythical on almost all occasions. I don't know why I do things.

— J.B.S. Haldane (1892-1964)

Monday, May 07, 2007

Driven Crazy!

I sometimes wish I had a loudspeaker on my vehicle so I could "commicate" with other drivers.

Here are my top four driving pet-peeves:


I hate trying to turn left and waiting for another driver to pass who then makes a right turn onto the street where I am waiting, which means that if they had used their turn signal I could have turned left and been on my way instead of purposelessly waiting for them. How hard is it to make a slight movement of the wrist and flip the turn signal on??


It is so discourteous when coming to an intersection to be in the middle of the lane, which means that people wanting to turn right cannot get past until the light changes or the person hogging the center is FINALLY able to make their left-hand turn onto a busy street. If a person is not turning right, they should be as far to the left side of the lane as they can be so people turning right can do so! It's just common sense and common courtesy.


Smokers who litter cigarette butts from their car window obviously don't want that garbage in their car. Why do they think I want it in my world if they don't even want it in their car??? Is the interior of their car more important than this world we all inhabit and would like to enjoy the beauty of? Is it that they think somebody will pick up after them even though they are unwilling to empty their own trash out of an ash tray? I wonder who they think that clean-up person is. (I've also heard of a still hot cigarette butt flung out a window coming into the open window of the driver behind them and burning that person. This is DANGEROUS as well as rude!)


Why don't these drivers get it when people in the two lanes to the right of them, which are supposed to be the slow lanes, are going faster than they are? Don't they notice the line of 15 cars behind them bumper to bumper eventually pulling over, passing on the right, giving them dirty looks as they pass, and then pulling in right in front of them - car after car after car after car? HELLO! On major highways there are 3 lanes: slow, medium and fast. I wish these people would choose the appropriate lane. Why do they want to be in the fast lane anyway with angry drivers tailing them?

If I had a PA system, I guess I would say, "Are you really THAT clueless or do you just think you're more important than the rest of us or do you just not really comprehend that the rest of us even exist?" I'm sure it's a good thing I cannot do this or I probably wouldn't still be alive to be writing this given the high incidence of road rage out there and the possibility that these people may have more skill with a gun than they have with a car!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Limitless Possibility

I probably had the strangest reason any teen ever had for wanting to get a driver's license.

My mom didn't take me to the library as often as I would have liked, so I saw a driver's license as a ticket to the library. OK, OK, I'm a geek, but so is my brother, because once I got my license I used it to bribe him. I could get him to do almost anything by promising a trip to the library.

I've come across a couple of quotes lately that make me feel my brother and I are not alone. If you are a reader, you may appreciate them too:
"I think libraries are a wealth of possible experiences, and you can choose among them. At the library, you can choose, you can find personal experiences, but you should do the choosing yourself, rather than have choices dictated to you. The library offers thousands of opportunities, wonderful experiences, several forms of happiness; or unhappiness, perhpas. There are a milion possibilities."

(spoken by Jorges Luis Borges 1983, Morgan Lecture at Dickinson College)
There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry --
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll --
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human soul

(Emily Dickinson c. 1873)
POST SCRIPT: If you have gone on a literary journey lately that you've enjoyed, I'd sure love to hear about it -- always more than open to recommendations! Please feel free to share in the comments section.