Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Apophenic Apptitude

Do me a favor and visit (so you can help me, and so you can have a new can thank me later :) ) find my post "Apophenic Apptitude" and comment, like, and share away so Jp and I can realize a bucketlist item of handing out TEN hundred dollar bills at the airport this Thanksgiving.--:L

Apophenic Apptitude

What’s better than a palindrome? A numeric palindrome.  
What’s luckier than 7?  11 of course!
What’s a giant bummer?  The fact that if you add all the one’s in 11:11:11, 11/11/11 you get TWELVE.  Unless of course, you subscribe to numerology, in which case even an apophenic maniac on the hunt for truth, justice and a great piece of art can turn the twin 1’s toil and trouble into perfect harmony, but not Royal Oil.

Because “Nothing is so alien to the human mind as the idea of randomness”(--John Cohen), I will don my most cosmopolitan of space suits and trek out into the vast vibrations of this planet, (or at least the city of Phoenix) in search of the truly random. When I find it, I shall place my One thousand, One Hundred and Eleven dollars and Eleven cents on the counter and ask “How may I obtain twelve of these?”


I will head to Phoenix Sky Harbor on November 24 with Eleven one hundred dollar bills to hand out to Uniformed Military, mothers with crying children, big brothers not picking on little sisters, and bikers holding the door for elderly couples. The other eleven dollars and eleven cents will buy one and a half Chai latte’s from the Starbucks at Terminal 4.  If my kids are lucky, I’ll spring the extra for two hot chocolates.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Split pea soup

An thoroughly fictitious imagination of  the letter between the now famous Swedish DIY kitchen atom splitter, and the authorities:

  •  "Dear Sirs,

    Recently I have undertaken to split an atom at home.  It is my theory that an atom can in fact be split using such every day appliances as a GE blender, Whirlpool stove, and a dollar store hotplate.

     I am currently engaged in blogging my attempts, and have had one particularly popular post titled "melt down in the kitchen, no toddlers or housewives involved"...however, after melting half a dozen premium movie theater plastic cups and blowing the hell out of my favorite "#1 boss" ceramic mug, it ocurrs to me that there may be some safety issues involved in my undertaking.  It is my greatest desire to accomplish this task without damage to self, home, or community, and further precautions are being put into place.  ie:  safety goggles and a lead apron are now worn on each occasion that the activity is pursued, clothing is no longer optional, and in fact is from here on out, prohibited in the kitchen area.

    The reason for my correspondence today is to satisfy the question of the legality of my activities. Please advise.

    Respectfully, the Naked Kitchen Atom Splitter

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


To the east, rising out of the earth like an ancient tribe of petrified nomads lies the Superstition Mountains.  Jagged, yet beautiful, reddish in their hue, nearly deplete of vegetation, they give the appearance of being steadfast and immovable, totally unchanging.  And yet, each crack, each line of strata, each thin-fingered skeleton of a peak that reaches for the sky tells a story of creation, sometimes subtle, sometimes dramatic, but always beautiful.

In the temperate winter months, the mountain maintains its image of dependability.  The sun rises behind its massive rock formations, casts its long shadows against the crags in the late afternoon, and then proceeds to set in front of it.  Allowing the glowing sun to illuminate its beauty in whichever position the sun finds itself is a particular talent possessed by the sheer cliffs and rocky terrain.

In the heat of summer, the Arizona desert finds in itself a fickle personality.  "But its a dry heat" doesn't always apply in the month of July, as the monsoons breed towering thunderheads over every mountain in sight.  The  heat and the moisture create lightening, thunder, wind, and darkness; ominous looking clouds which threaten to dump massive amounts of rain at any given moment into any given ditch.

But more importantly they create shadow, and depth...even movement, on the otherwise immovable.

The mountain is always there, the next noticeable change to it likely only in the event of the catastrophic. And yet, the way the mountain looks...that changes by the day, hour, even minute, effected only by clouds, and sunshine.

Sometimes the clouds are dark and threatening, they stir up dust and block so much light that the mountain becomes difficult to see.  Other times, the clouds are light, airy, almost "happy" as they take on the shape of a rubber ducky, or billy goat.  The "happy" clouds specialize in playing up the mountains most inviting features.

Love is like the mountain, and life is like the weather.

Sometimes, just for a moment, love's landscape is changed by the atmospheric conditions of its home.  It may appear darker, more dangerous, brighter, or safer than it really is...but however it may appear at the moment, love is always there, its always love, and its always inviting you to appreciate its beauty, in whatever amount of light, dark, or perfect combination of the two it may be enjoying today.

Love is Love.  Let it be steadfast, immovable, dependable.  Accept that some days may bring dark clouds, and the accompanying wind and rains.  Expect that the sun will peak through, the wind will turn gentle, and that given a change in atmosphere, the mountain will yet again be revealed in all its beauty; perhaps appearing all the more beautiful for the casting of a momentary shadow.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


The moon hung lazily just above the cliffs.  The grazing donkey, oblivious to the moon's teasing swings to its backside, ventured nearer the ledge, delighting us with a scene so quintessentially southwest it had a slightly manipulated-for-our-pleasure feel.

The weather was hot, easily 103 or 4, maybe hotter, but we were barely aware of the day of week, let alone the numeric measure of our discomfort.  Tracks in the sand told a story of four legged reptiles, migrating birds, and the occasional human visitor.  A group had probably left the spot hours before.  They had done their best to leave no trace, but still we could feel that this spot had quite recently offered up its soft sands to the weary bones of summer adventurers.  Who were they?  What were they like?  Probably much like us, suburban nine-to-fivers looking for an escape from calendars and alarm clocks.

We ventured behind the camp, sifting sand through our sandals up a short path.  Carefully picking our way through bramble and cactus, we climbed over a few deteriorating shelves of shale onto solid red rock. There we found a history of ourselves.  Small handprints covering walls of a deteriorating household, layers of history imprinted in stone.  The snakelike drawing we found repeatedly over dwellings looked significantly different from others.  No menacing head, no rattling tail. What if it was an ancient house number?  A locator? A way to communicate "you're here! This IS the third house on the right as soon as you round the bend in the river" to neighboring families? What of the rams? The guys riding horses? The circular figures-some surrounding people, some empty?  What did they mean?  Did they mean anything? Did an exasperated (or maybe it was inspired) mother hand her children a bowl full of leftover whitewash, and tell them "we're moving anyways, go have some fun, leave your prints all over that wall." Or were the small prints a family tree of sorts?  Were the inscriptions "1874" "Jim was here" and "God Loves You" modern acts of vandalism, or additions to a story not yet finished?

The group could only interpret what was present before  us in terms of our own imaginations.  I began to wonder what would my home look like to adventurers 800 years from now?  Would they find deep meaning in the shape of my couch?  Would they presume a spiritual connection between the coils on the stove top and the strange sucking device I know as a range hood? What meaning would they find in my son's collection of Star Wars toys? Would the intricately designed toys be considered beautiful? Useful? Understood to be just what they are-favorite toys? Would they guess that I kept dozens of plastic grocery bags under my sink as an offering to some invisible god, or would they somehow ascertain the truth...its trash, but I feel guilty about even having them, let alone throwing them in a community dump where they will linger into infinity?

Brought back to the present by the scent of chicken pot pie in a dutch oven, I laughed a little.  Secretly, I would be delighted if they thought the Millenium Falcon was a mysterious communication system, and my house number a rank.

The rag-tag group convened around the camp-kitchen...somehow still the heart of our home, so many days away from home, happy, satisfied, and joyfully debating the possible meaning of the guy that looked like an alien.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pantscil Sharpener

“Introduciiiiiiiiiing….the Pantscil sharpener!”  he proclaimed loudly (and proudly).  Arms triumphantly raised over his shaggy brown mop of hair and grinning that famously snaggled toothy grin only an eight year old can posess, he waved a fresh, never been sharpened “I ‘heart’ NY” pencil in the air.  The pencil took on an air of “magic wand” as he prepared to demonstrate his first fully functioning invention.  Admittedly, I had only half-heartedly looked his way when he came bounding down the stairway.  Skipping the last two risers so that he could enjoy the loud “thump” of energy pounding into the floor after landing solidly on lower ground was such a part of daily life, it had no special meaning to my ears.
“Wait, what?”
“Introduciiiiiiing….the Pantscil Sharpener!”
“Mom, don’t you wanna see what a pantscil sharpener is?”
“I’m not entirely sure I do”
“Come on mom, its funny!”
Tears of laughter were beginning to collect in the corners of his eyes and he just couldn’t contain himself any longer. The Pantscil Sharpener must be demonstrated.  Now!
“Ok, show me what a pantscil sharpener is”
“It’s a pencil sharpener in my pants!” he explained in his still high pitched voice.
I dared myself not to laugh, but failed miserably as I observed him swinging the pencil downward, towards his waistband where he had stashed an electric pencil sharpener exactly front and center. 
The pencil activated the sharpener and the high pitched squealing of blades against new wood, paint, and graphite competed with the laughter in the living room. 
“Dude, NOT appropriate!” I managed to spit out between hearty laughs.
By now the tears were streaming down his cheeks and he was jumping up and down like a happier version of Rumplestiltskin.
He composed himself long enough to remove the electric sharpener from its temporary home and place the newly sharpened pencil on the dining room table.
“Here you go sis, a brand new pencil from my greatest invention”.
She gladly picked it up to draw a rainbow and a unicorn.
“I love my mama”
“I love MY mama”
“I love you both”.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"Just to see what its like"

Its no secret, I love The Onion.  Every day the feed pops up on my facebook page and I giggle out loud at such inane observations as "Paleantology class winces whenever Fundamentalist kid raises hand" and "Rich first grader buys whole sheet of Gold Stars".  The stories are pure ri-donk-diculous-ness, and that's what makes them great.  One might think it would be hard to pick a favorite, but oh no.  It is not. The story that forces itself into every part of my daily life, remains knitted into my memory of all things hilarious, even DEMANDS to be acknowledged each and every day is "Boise Homemaker Bows to Mecca, Just to See What its Like".

For some unknown reason, Cave Dude has chosen the "Call to Prayer" as his alarm tone.  Every morning at 6:30 a very soft warbling call emits from that small hand held device we like to call "the slave driver". The tune is not unpleasant.  In fact, it sure beats the loud death-to-the-human-race robotic beep/buzz alarm that he used to have.  To describe the call to one who has never heard it is not within in my range of abilities.  If I were to try and sing it, it would come off as an irreverent mocking.  If I were to try to write it, it would come off as pure gobble-dee-guk. But what really wakes me up is the powerful urge it provokes in me to be that Boise woman and find a colorful rug to kneel on, just for a moment, while facing east.

In my head, that Boise woman looks alot like me. I have the scenario all worked out. The mother of two has been a lifelong member of a Christian church of one sort or another.  She's worked hard, had some disappointments, has a great , but not well known sense of humor, and a secret desire to be rebellious... in the safest way possible.  She's 40 lbs overweight, has a home that's reasonably well kept, but no showplace.  Her kids are classic kids.  She doesn't know what to do with her boy, and her husband tries his best to be boring, because he thinks that's what everybody wants from him.
She has two of those old fashioned braided rag rugs somewhere in her basement.  She found the kids playing "Magic Carpet Ride" last winter and has been toying with the idea of using it as a prayer rug ever since.  She kept her thoughts a secret, absolutely sure that admitting to wanting to try out bowing to Mecca would get her an appointment with the local clergy immediately and a whole crap-load of hail-Mary's.  The day she tried it, her husband came home for lunch unannounced and caught her bowing in front of the kitchen sink.  Thinking quickly, she explained that she was just "doing some detailed scrubbing" on the floor and quickly got up to fix him a turkey and mayo sandwich, on plain white bread, no mustard. Never suspecting she had been caught in the act of bowing to Mecca, he simply shrugged and asked "what's for lunch?"

Is it blasphemous?  Maybe.  But it makes me laugh every morning, and if laughter is the best medicine, then what better time to get my daily dose than first thing in the morning? Maybe tomorrow morning will be the day I try it out, "Just to see what its like."  Maybe Cave Dude will join least in the giggle.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Forward Marching

Its only fair to follow up after throwing out various diagnostic suggestions to the blogosphere. Professionals and opinions and doctors and technologists, and what feels like a lifetime of appointments kept in a 1 month period of time have left us with all kinds of "potential" diagnoses.  And again the question pops, why do we need everything to be labeled?

Well, because a label for cave-dude means qualifying for additional schooling, and other important services and resources for our family.

And a label for cave-dude jr.  means moving forward without a label.  Confusing, right?  Let me explain.  I think I've got the right people for our family working on all the right things.  As I had written before, the school had suggested that cave dude jr's behavior was far outside of normal. They were able to recognize that he is not malicious, or destructive, and is actually a pretty awesome kid, who has a deep need to be a big squiggle in the teacher's day. So we've pursued getting a "label" for this behavior, because the school requested it.  Without a label, he's headed down a disappointing road of school suspensions and dropping grades.  But here's the GREAT news.  Apsergers....nope.  He's too physically attached to his family for that to even be looked at as a root cause.  I'm good with that.  Hyperkinetic....heck yes, just about scored 100% on that one.   Hyperkinetic is the old word for a label we all know and hate.  ADHD.  UGH.  But here's the scoop on ADHD, with treatment, the school doesn't even need to know that he's been diagnosed.  So long as the treatment is successful, no label necessary! So, we're getting a label, to avoid a label.  The idea behind this is that with the proper medication, his ability to modify his own behavior (because the medication speeds up the neurotransmission between the parts of the brain that say "Squirrel!" and send you running, and the part that says "Its just a squirrel, no need to check it out, you already know what a squirrel does.") will be so much improved, that he shouldn't need any modifications in what the school, or his parents, or anybody else should expect of him.  I also love this doc's opinion that medications are to be consistent, not used "recreationally" to get through certain events.  In other words, the ADHD is a 24/7 issue, learning is a 24/7 behavior, and medications should match the 24/7 climate.  This also helps in laying the foundation that drugs are not used to get through events. Drugs are used to treat important medically related situations.  In other words, we lower the risk of recreational drug use in the future by not allowing the ADHD meds to be used recreationally where the child learns what it feels like to be "up" or "down" because the dose will be constant.  12 months ago, I would absolutely not have been open to medication for this.  But after seeing the excellent improvements for cave dude sr.  after starting meds to assist in coping with PTSD and knowing how much better he feels because of them, I feel open to giving it a try. Here's hoping for a future that includes an 8 year old who acts more like an 8 year old, and less like a toddler who's exploring the world for the first time every time we go out into public.  This could be a good thing.