Thursday, January 18, 2007

Grass-roots campaign to end genocide in Darfur

A ray of hope in the Darfur situation. Read this article!!!

Okay, everybody can move back to Charlotte now...

It looks like we are going to get an IKEA store here! It won't be until 2009, but that will give everybody time to find a suitable place to live...with lots of room for furniture, bookshelves, picture frames, etc. Then we can all start learning interesting Swedish words. (Well, okay, some of you already had a head start on that!) The store will be in the University City area, and it will be the only IKEA between Washington and Atlanta. (Atlanta has an IKEA?)

In other news, it is precipitating here: sleet and freezing rain, what they daintily call "a wintry mix". It doesn't matter; we all know what they mean... we can hear it falling outside. It makes a whole different sound from rain as it bounces off the trees and roads and sidewalks, kind of a clicking/shushing noise. We always hope that isn't followed by the sound of tree limbs breaking under the weight of accumulated ice, but that isn't predicted to happen...this time. I'm missing my morning walk -- don't want to break any more limbs -- but will be working my usual Thursday schedule. Schools are in session, except for a few of the private and church schools.

NEWS FLASH (7:20 a.m.) -- there's a 12-vehicle accident on the ramp from I-77 to I-485! And I think they just said Independence Blvd. is closed because of ice. Things are sounding worse.

MORE NEWS FLASH!!! History in the making: "Laundry Math" is invented in Charlotte!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Conflict resolution

Continuing the theme of this week (with the exception of the Fly Guy blip), I woke up early this morning thinking about conflict resolution, especially on an interpersonal level. This has been an interest of mine for a long time. I grew up with a not-very-healthy "non-exposure" to healthy marital conflict, and went into my marriage with the really odd idea that married couples, if the marriage is really good, don't ever fight or argue or experience any conflict. This notion didn't work too well for me. Thus began an interest in learning more about healthy conflict resolution w.r.t relationships. I can't say I've become an expert on the subject or anything, but I have read some enlightening works over the past few years. One of them is Words that Hurt, Words that Heal, by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, which came out awhile back but is still very relevant. The way we talk to and about one another really matters. This book was first brought to my attention by an FLT friend who told us about "National Speak No Evil Day." (She also told us about this resource.)

Deborah Tannen has made a career out of researching and teaching about the way people talk with one another. She has several relevant and accessible books on this topic. Her website also has references to a lot of articles and essays she has written on the same topics. (Hmmm, I'm thinking I need to read her latest book, You're Wearing That?! Here's a link to her conversation with Diane Rehm about the book. I love Diane Rehm's show...but that's a topic for another day.)

All of this can be extended to the wider view: how people -- politicians, interviewers and talk show hosts as well as individuals -- talk about one another in the public discourse, how leaders of one nation talk about other nations and their all matters. I'm not saying no one should ever express anything but niceties to one another, what I'm after here is learning how to express ourselves and our feelings in ways that are constructive and building up or at the very least not destructive and hurtful. I'll be the first to admit that this is not easy, and I am not always able to pull it off, but it is still worth working on, on every level of discourse. Come to think of it, that includes how we talk to ourselves, our inner language: we can learn how not to be so self-critical. That's something I am actively working on, too. Which reminds me, I'd better go get on it!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

yet another thing to do in one's spare time...

Thank you, Daragh, and Mairenn!

Honoring MLK

I forgot to mention in my post yesterday, that we now have a street named in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., here in Charlotte. Also, here's a link to a local group that annually responds to the call to volunteer on MLK Day (and the rest of the year as well!); a link to its parent group; and another link to how this year's event went in Charlotte...

Monday, January 15, 2007

"I Have a Dream"

For this day that marks the anniversary of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., I wanted to do something special (hence the link above.) Please go listen to this speech, certainly one of the most important and moving speeches ever given in this country! And I'd like to issue a challenge to those of you who, like me, had to work today: think of a way to honor the memory of this great man, whether it be by prayer, or helping somebody out, or by spreading his message, or by making a donation to an appropriate non-profit organization in his memory (some examples below)...or all of the above. Each one of us can and does make a difference in the world every day; let's try to make it a positive difference!
The King Center
Nonviolence International
Atlanta Women's Foundation
NC Peace and Justice Coalition

Other organizations that promote non-violence

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Goodbye to my Christmas tree

Well, I figured it was about time to take the tree down... it was getting a little brittle, and I won't have another chance to do this until a couple weeks from now, and by then it will probably not have any needles left on it. So, I've been playing music (Claire Ritter, Joshua Bell, Yo-Yo Ma, Adiemus...)while exploring the wonders of having a big new Christmas Ornament Box (Thank you, Daragh!) to put the ornaments (and almost everything else) away in. The only difficulty now will be finding a place to store the box, but I think that is a solvable problem, and a problem worth solving! There were a few candy canes left on the tree, amazingly enough, so I will offer them to my students this week -- comfort food as they tackle their final exams...

Friday, January 12, 2007

A beautiful, amazing view

daily dose of imagery is one of my favorite sites. I don't get to travel as much as I would like, so going to this site every day or every few days satisfies a little of my wanderlust. I like the picture linked above (click on title) because it almost feels like I am there, looking all the way to the river from the top of St. Peter's. Anyway, ddoi originates from Canada, which is someplace I have always wanted to travel in and perhaps even live in. (I could almost live there now -- I got a new coat today which is about the warmest coat I have had in a long time!)

I hope it's been a good week for everybody. I'm tired -- it was a long week for me -- so I'm not going to write much tonight, but get some rest and somehow get prepared for helping out at the Math Club meeting in the morning.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

long time gone

Hey, it's been too long since I last wrote here... A lot has happened: the holidays w/ lots of wonderful visits with family and friends, a trip across country with more visiting and roller coaster rides, an old year ended and a New Year started, and a week of re-entry punctuated with various episodes of illness...(I'm much better now.)
In addition to savoring many happy memories of the holidays (and of course I'm still enjoying my Christmas tree, candles, etc.), I'm currently...
a. wishing I was in New Orleans at the Joint Math Meetings (MAA & AMS)
b. trying to get on top of prep work (for classes and students) I ought to have done last week
c. napping whenever I can find time (especially easy now that Em taught me about "virtual napping")
d. enjoying a new headset for my cell phone provided free of charge from Verizon (yay!) (they may not be able to tell dollars from cents but they do keep on supplying me with free headsets)
e. rearranging my schedule (similar to nailing jello to a wall) since most of my CMS (i.e., public school) students will be finished with their math courses in a few weeks (translate: a week of exams is coming up!) and I might (or might not) get a few new ones. (I was going to put up a link about the crazy 4x4 schedule, but curiously the CMS website doesn't seem to have any information about it. I scoured this resource for more info but no luck.) A few new students from other venues have already found their way onto my schedule; I probably ought to put a stop to this before things get crazy again!
f. working lots of Mathcounts problems; the Chapter Competition will be on February 3. The team looks good so far!
g. listening to lots of good music (including beautiful Joshua Bell violin music from Joseph & Lorian) on my new stereo, both Christmas gifts of which I am very appreciative.
h. planning more trips... so far Baltimore and Evanston are on the schedule.
i. watching season one of Numbers, thanks to a loan from Jonathan & Frances -- just what I needed, another distraction!
j. trying to figure out what to do with all this Christmas wrapping paper (really, I didn't need anymore, I have plenty of my ever-fashionable green-and-yellow...)
k. continuing my efforts to exercise more, eat better, sleep enough, and, last but not least, pray "at all times"!

Happy New Year to all!