Saturday, August 3, 2013

Nostalgia and Random Integers

This past week, despite my best intentions, has passed without an essay. It's been one truly weird and wacky week in which I have accomplished a lot, but most of it felt pretty insane, like spending nearly 3 hours at Target trying to buy back-to-school supplies.

Now, there's a topic to write about, but sadly, the resulting essay would be a whine-fest about the good-ol'-days when our moms bought a Trapper Keeper (if we were lucky), a few packs of notebook paper, and pencils. Today, supply lists are top-secret protected files online, not accessible by the parents who need them even when the parents have smart phones. Seriously, here's the  message I get when I click on the link:

403 - Forbidden: Access is denied.

You do not have permission to view this directory or page using the credentials that you supplied.

I need credentials to access a school supply list? Seriously?

And don't tell me that Target has lists for area school districts because the schools told me that they would have such lists and. Target. didn't. At least not for my school district.

Whine and complain, whine and complain. In the end, the mom of one of Nick's friends typed the 8th grade list on Facebook for me. What an unexpected kindness.

Let's just reflect on that wonderful kindness and move on, shall we?

I also sorted through my office papers. These things breed, and culling the herd mercilessly took all of yesterday morning. In the process, I found bits of paper with the following notes on them.

1. If something such as wallpaper requires lessons in a magazine to "demystify," should we be doing it?

8. Why does a photo of hair on Pinterest have the caption "good color for fall"? Seasonal hair color? How do people pay for these things?

42. "There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge." Bertrand Russell 

61. From Biz Dock ad: "The Elder...he who speaks of floppy disks." Oh, how I wish I could find this ad on YouTube! Remember how much an improvement the 3.5" disks were over the 5.25", or are you not an Elder?

62. Which reminds me of THIS, which is proof that humans are good and wonderful.

3. "When we're up against a struggle and we think we can't keep going, we can change that by praising God. Our chains will fall from us." Don Piper

1567. "So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and in his good time he will honor you. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you." 1 Peter 5:6-7

32. "If cellulite looks so cute on a baby's butt, why doesn't it look cute on mine?" Susan Raihala

7. A wish list of stamp sets and inks I wanted to buy six months ago, some of which I surely still want.

Now I can throw all these pieces of paper away. Yay!

My elder son has taken a fancy to physics, largely under the influence of Dr. Sheldon Cooper and Leonard Hofstadter. With typical 13-year-old confidence, he believed that he could master the subject quickly and began to get frustrated when he encountered equations like this:

He asked me to explain some similar equations, and--proud moment in parenting!--I didn't laugh at him. Instead, I explained that before one can run, one must crawl and then walk, and then build endurance. Only I didn't use a clunky and clich├ęd metaphor, I really said, "You need to know a lot more algebra before you can follow physics equations." So he asked me to teach him algebra.

We went to Barnes and Noble and bought a book on Algebra 1, which he is beginning with enthusiasm. My son's desire to be a geek is going to make my brain hurt, but perhaps that's a good thing. I used to know all this math (up to and including calculus, actually), back in the Floppy Disk Era, but that disk doesn't run into today's drive, if you know what I mean.

When Nick starts asking me about Chaucer's Canterbury Tales or the death of feudalism, I'm going to score some wins, though. A medievalist mom can dream, can't she?

On an unrelated subject, it's 36 days until Ironman Wisconsin. George and I will drive to Madison, Wisconsin, where we will stay in a lovely hotel just one short block from Starbucks and two blocks from the finish line. I will support my demented husband as he tries, once again, to complete this 140.6-mile race. His current record is 3 Finishes, 3 DNFs. Yes, he's attempted Ironman races 6 times before. De. Ment. Ed.

This year, we are joined by my sister-in-law, Angela, and her husband, Mike. Mike's the demented one in that pair. Angela and I will happily carry their bike pumps and cheer them on as they swim, bike, and run their way to utter exhaustion.

Also, it's just 23 days until school starts. The most wonderful time of the year.

Good times, people. Good times.

And then there's this clip from Ellen I watched last night. Because we all need to cry about sloths, don't we?

Have a lovely weekend.


  1. I am an Elder. I recently cleaned out a desk in which I may or may not have found some of said floppies.

    And #32 is priceless.

  2. OMG...I absolutely LOOOVE these type of posts!
    And now, both my youngest son and I have tears running down our faces from laughing at the Ellen clip.
    What a great way to start the week!


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