Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Getting In the Groove

Over the summer I took a very intensive calculus course.  If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you know that I passed that course, like a boss.  On the way I learned a few things about routine and daily rituals.

Beep. Beeep. Beeeeeeep buzzes the alarm, waking me up from a semi-confusing dream of late papers, car accidents, and missed airplanes.  I close my eyes, pleading for just a few more minutes.  After hitting the snooze button twice - hey, I'm human - I roll out of bed.  The house is dark, except for the light in the kids' room, and I shut the bedroom doors to encourage their continued sleeping.

I fix my breakfast and warm drink, blearily make my way to the office, and sit in the comfortable chair.  Within minutes I have my Calculus book open, the computer buzzing its own morning tune, and my notebook paper filled clipboard ready to go.  The equations, a little blurry this early in the morning, soon waken the sleeping mathematical curiosity, and I start drawing and writing with vigor on my clipboard.

In class later that morning, I jot down ideas on how I would teach a mathematics course to a group of university students.  Allowing my imagination to go, I find ways of teaching myself through this process, as I ask the questions I am sure these students wonder - "what's the meaning behind this?", "why do I have to do this instead of what seems like an easier way?", and, the quintessential question for every math course, "how the he!! does this apply to my life?"

(Interestingly, I find the last question easiest to answer.  The implications for physics, biology, and daily activities - financial decisions, successful physical activity implementation, maximizing one's time and minimizing risks - are all found through mathematical equations.)

Writing, my first real interest, has helped hone my mathematical skills.  Communicating effectively, especially in writing, is essential for spreading ideas and disseminating information. It's also an excellent way to really learn an idea.  If I can write down the steps and processes by which I'm computing an equation, and explain these steps to a peer, I can memorize these steps and apply them in later equations.

In the typical school year, when the semester is still busy but not as busy as summer, 5:30 is my prime writing time.  Looking at blank screen and creating a post or essay about something that either excites and amuses me, is necessary for my mental health.  As words pour from my brain onto the screen, I can ignore or understand those anxious and depressive thoughts that too often plague me.

As with math, I find my writing is best when I keep a notebook handy for random thoughts, and think about verbally expressing my writing to a friend or stranger. Is my point clear? Have I left out an integral part of the story? Is their reaction expected with regards to the emotion behind the post?

And, like in math, I use available resources to facilitate writing: dictionaries, thesauri, grammatical books, etc.
Each of these rituals are natural components of my day.  I have several apps on my phone that allow my creativity to flow - even while I'm busy doing chores or walking - so I can write essays in my head.

I guess, as much as I veer away from the term, I would consider myself a writer.  Even if I choose to write about nontraditional subjects.

Today at Project: Underblog, we are discussing our daily creative rituals.  Link up with us!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Cooking With Fire. Literally.

For years now, my cooking has been a running joke between Mr. B and me.  (Now a public running joke since I introduced my blogging buddies (back on my old blog), Twitter peeps, and Facebook friends to it.) It all started we found ourselves in Burger King, for the third time in a week after I ruined another meal.

"I just get too distracted by the kids.  I don't mean to burn everything to a crisp but, you know, I forget to turn off the stove when taking care of things.  Besides, I like to save time so I figure I'll just let some things cook - er burn - while I chop other stuff and clean the dishes and change diapers and, and, etc."

"Why don't I do the cooking for a while."

"Are you serious?"

"Yeah, I'll take over."

(Trying to contain my over excitement.) "Okay, only if you want to."

Fast forward 3 years later and Mr. B is still the primary cook.  His cooking skills, and I'm not being snarky here, are professional level.  Eating his food is like sitting in a high-end restaurant.  So. Freaking. Good.

A few weeks ago, when I caught the flu, my first (and, yes, selfish) thought was, "I hope Mr. B doesn't get sick."

[As a quick side note, I am the worst sick person in the world. Summed up by this -


In all fairness, I do get really sick.  Perhaps because I get like a few hours of sleep max when in school?]

So when Mr. B woke up with a sore throat a few days later, I panicked. If he got as sick as I did, I'd have to cook, which means we'd probably end up in a restaurant 100% of the time and/or eating PB&J sandwiches.

Fortunately for all of us, before I broke out the pans and prepared the kitchen for a smoke overload, Ben got better.  (It helps that his sicknesses are typically 1/16 on the serious level, even when you factor in my melodramatic tendencies.)  Our stomachs and pocket book were saved.

Until 2 weeks later, when Mr. B went out with his friends.  And then this happened (via Facebook and Twitter):

Well I just set the stove on fire. AND THIS IS WHY I DON'T



**Don't worry, we were all okay.  Only my pride was damaged***.

***Except that I don't have any pride left, so.....