Saturday, June 3, 2017

I'm cleaning up my desktop (the real physical one) and came across this printed article that resonates with me relative to too much news.  For me, too much news makes me depressed.  I recommend the article to you:
New is bad, by Rolf Dobelli

Monday, May 9, 2016

Felicity Rae has arrived!

9 May at 9:55 am, born at 9.0 lbs (4 kg) and 21 inches (53.3 cm) long, here is Felicity Rae.

Her Mom is doing fine.  Her Dad is enthralled.  Her older brother treats her delicately.  All 4 grandparents are thrilled that she is here and grateful for her safe arrival.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Last week we hiked in Little Mulberry Park as part of our preparation for El Camino de Santiago in the fall.  The park is really nice.  Here's the link if you care to learn more about it yourself:
Gwinnett County: LittleMulberryPark

What is it that makes for a "really nice" park?

  • Being CLEAN is important.  I saw 3 pieces of trash during our walk, and I brought 2 of those out with me.
  • Being user-friendly is important.  There are miles of walking paths through the park and most of them are paved with asphalt or concrete like the one in this picture.  Some are not paved - which also has benefits - but even the dirt paths are well maintained.  You're not walking through  weeds.
  • Being scenic gives this park special attraction.  There are paths through the woods, through meadows and around the lakes and ponds.
Parks like this are one of the great benefits of living in Gwinnett County.  A few blocks from our home is Collins Hill park.  It's much smaller than Little Mulberry, but still beautiful and well used.  Nearby is Rock Springs park which is set right on the watershed divide between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.  If you spit to the north, it will eventually make its way to the Chattahoochee river and then down through the pan-handle of Florida into the Gulf.  Spit to the south and it will go to the creek that feeds the lakes in the Richland subdivision (where we live) or the spit will go to the creek that goes through Collins Hill park.  These creeks come together by the tennis courts in Richland and as Little Suwanee Creek, they join the Yellow River.  Just for the record, I need to go on to say that the Yellow River joins with the Alcovy to form the Ocmulgee River.  This eventually joins with the Oconee River to form the Altamaha River which empties into the Atlantic Ocean at Darien, Georgia.

The summit of this hill is the highest point in the area.  The meadow is a big contrast to the thick woods throughout most of the rest of the park.
We hiked 12.37 km on that day.  This is about equivalent to what I expect we will hike on our third day on El Camino.

  • I think our first day we will go from St. Jean Pied de Port to Orisson (still in France).  
  • The second day we will cross the border and spend the night in Roncesvalles.  
  • And on the third day we will hike 11.8 km to Viskarreta.  If you know the difference between kilometers and miles, you can tell we will be taking it easy at the beginning.  By the time we get passed Burgos, near the end of this trip to Spain, I expect we will be hiking 20 km a day. 

Honor Motherhood

I came across a quote from Donald Winnicot that caught my attention.  In her blog, BrainPickings, Maria Popova writes: 
Winnicott calls for a recognition of “the immense contribution to the individual and to society” that “the ordinary good mother” makes simply by virtue of her devotion to the child, particularly in the early stages of infancy. He urges:
Is not this contribution of the devoted mother unrecognized precisely because it is immense? If this contribution is accepted, it follows that every man or woman who is sane, every man or woman who has the feeling of being a person in the world, and for whom the world means something, every happy person, is in infinite debt to a woman.

I wholeheartedly agree.  As a man, I cannot appreciate the full meaning of what it takes to be a Mother.  As the husband to a wife who has gone through labor 3 times, and as the father of a daughter who will deliver a baby tomorrow at 9:30 am, I stand in amazement of what they are willing to go through physically, mentally and emotionally to bring this new life into being.  My own mother went through this 10 times.  So, beyond these words of awe, of gratitude, and of respect and admiration... beyond these, there needs to be attitude and actions that match the words.  My actions are a true measure of how I feel.  I hope to be open to the subtle guidance (usually sub-conscious guidance) from my daughters, my wife and my mother on how to honor their sacrifice.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Truth - Science - Religion

As is evidenced in my career as a Mechanical Engineer, I am enthralled with science and technology.
I treat engineering problems as a search for truth: the best solution to a problem.
In recent browsing, I came across a thought that captivated my attention because of how it resonates with my own ideas.  This comes from the astronomer, Vera Rubin (a modern day pioneer).  She writes:

"We’re still groping for the truth. So I don’t really worry too much about details that don’t fit in, because I put them in the domain of things we still have to learn about. I really see no reason why we should have been lucky enough to live at the point where the universe was understood in its totality… As telescopes get bigger, and astronomers get cleverer, I think all kinds of things are going to be discovered that are going to require alterations in our theories… Science consists of continually making better and better what has been usable in the past."
Women in Science, Dark Matter, and Our Never-Ending Quest to Know the Universe. By Maria Popova

What fascinates me about this is her ability to put things "that don't fit in" somewhere in the category of things we still have to learn about.  And why don't we know about these things?  Because the required foundation has not been established.

For me, science and religion are not in opposition.  There are, among all the scientific truths we know, some concepts that could be interpreted as being contrary to the truth I understand, based on my religion.   I counter that we don't know everything about science.  And regarding religion, there is a lot that is "yet to be revealed".

When we stop being curious, we stop progressing.  In both science and religion, there are things I am curious about.  I cannot discard science because all theories are not proven.  Likewise, I cannot discard religion simply because all questions are not answered.  In each case, I have to put some questions "in the domain of things we still have to learn about."  In the meantime, I proceed to expand the foundation that will allow for more understanding - in both science and religion.  How?  By trial and error: experimentation.

As a way to find the truth, experimentation works in both religion and science.  I suppose the people who find the most conflict between religion and science do not understand that concept.  Or perhaps they believe that the way they live their life has no effect on their experiments.  While this may be true in the lab, it is not true in the religious lab of life.

As I continue to reflect on why so many people can only see conflict between science and religion, I realize that few people understand that God DOES communicate with us.  This I know: God loves me.  Everyone can find that out for themselves, and like me, build on that foundation of truth line upon line.  Hooray for TRUTH!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

I value this thought:

"Conversations that clarify, improve, and expand or extend our thinking are respectful and uphold trust; attacks that just trash a work break the trust in which the work is shared. We want free speech, differences of opinion, and a field that doesn't have to be overly cautious. But trust abused silences people, and that is not free speech either!!!" 

I want to refer to this in the future, so I thought it best to document the link here for easy access later.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Hiking again

On the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, winter is releasing its grasp, and spring is barely starting.
This little flower was along the AT between Gooch Gap and Woody Gap in the North Georgia Mountains.
We hiked 6 hours along the AT, from Coopers Gap to Woody Gap, in preparation for hiking El Camino de Santiago, in Spain.  The distance is shown as 8.4 miles in my old out-dated guide book.  I used Endomondo to track our route on my cell phone, and it measured 16.5 km (10.2 miles).  Being that the app was paused for 20-30 min. while hiking, I think we actually did a little more than 10.5 miles.  I had paused the application during a break at Gooch Gap shelter.

I learned yesterday that my Michelle had never seen the inside of a shelter on the Appalachian Trail.  Here's our picture at the shelter.
At Gooch Gap Sheter
 When we started the hike at Coopers Gap, which by the way, is at the tip of beautiful Gaddistown valley, it was very windy and cold.  The wind was literally roaring through the trees as we climbed the mountain out of the pass.  Michelle was grieving over the fact that our #1 son, who was hiking towards us, was wearing a windbreaker and no other sweater or jacket.  She regretted not giving him one of the pull-overs she was wearing.
At Coopers Gap
The road behind us goes to Springer Mountain, the start or end of the Appalachian Trail.
The other end of the trail is Mount Katahdin , in Main.
Once we got over the mountain top, it was much nicer.  As it turns out, num-one-son and his friend were hiking on the sunny, down-wind side of the mountain.  They never got cold.  This is the view they had during the first part of their hike.

They started hiking from Woody Gap and we started at Coopers Gap.  We met in the middle and exchanged keys.  Well, it wasn't quite in the middle.  They hiked much faster than we did, so they got to our car earlier than we got to numonesones.

We are sore today.  This pain has made me realize I should not invite anyone else to join us on El Camino de Santiago.  The pain is made tolerable when taking into account the reward.  In one regard, hiking is like fasting.  When it's done without purpose, it's just enduring pain.