Former columnist for the Los Angeles Post Examiner, the Baltimore Post Examiner, and Gatehouse News Service

Thursday, May 20, 2010

So That's How God Did It


Even though I am packing up the house to move, and today winding up a book club at our senior center, and also guiding three young men daily through the peaks and valleys of modern life, and additionally installing carbon monoxide detectors in the house we're leaving with my husband, I have still been obsessing over just one thing, and it is this: the Standard Model of particle physics still does not explain how our matter-dominated existence came about.  Darn the conundrum! If there in no difference between muons and antimuons that arise from the decay of B mesons...well, what are we to think, what are we to assume?  Finally, there's this.  Thank you Yahoo!, for bringing me the answer to why we exist!!!

With the provocative title of the article from the awesome site http://www.space.com/, Yahoo! brings us ths fascinating look at matter and anti-matter, which is only understandable if you have a PhD in Physics, but is still interesting and applicable for all of us (as we wipe the drool off our laptops froom the level of concentration needed to parse the article.)

I love the study of space and space travel.  Many see these things as proof that there are rational, non-spiritual reasons for the existence of the Universe, and for the existence of us, but I see it as proof of the artistry and infinite mind of the One who made us, who gifted us not only with a limitless universe, but with the curiosity and capability to be absolutely fascinated by his creation.  Science and religion are natural partners - it is Man who mucks it up by getting in the mix with the rational mind. 

Ok, that's the mind-blurt for today.  Back to packing!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Matt, Matt, You Have to See This

Okay, so we're moving, and I have been packing up our current house for about the last three weeks.  My middle son Matt arrived home from college late last week, and he was tired.  (It was studying that made him so tired, right??) Anyhoo, I was finishing up sorting through the attic, and Matt was sleeping - hard - one floor below.

As I was sifting through the latest pile of stuff up in the attic, I stumbled on the old, original toybox belonging to Matt and his brother Fred back when they were babies, then toddlers, then little boys, and I hadn't seen it or thought of it in years.  It has been covered by what we shall term "attic funk" for some years; air conditioners, Christmas decorations, cast-off furniture.  I ran down to get Matt, excited for him to see it.  "Matt, Matt, wake up," I said, urgently shaking him, as if I had discovered a nest of exotic baby bats up there, or a clump of diamonds that we had forgotten about.  "You have to see this."  Matt finally rolled over and woke up.  I felt a small flicker of embarrassment as he struggled to a sitting position; he is 20, and maybe 20 year olds aren't that interested in the toybox they had when they were 2...

We went upstairs together, Matt expecting, by this time, to see something really great.  I looked around furiously as we emerged at the top of the stairs; could I somehow, in the next seconds, see something else that I could pretend was that great - great enough to wake the guy up on his first morning home from college?  Nope...even the toybox is better than the other items we were looking at: an old Thigh Master, an old weight bench, a crumpled-up poster of dogs playing poker.  "Okay...here it is."  I might as well go for it; really build it up.  "Can you believe I found this?  I mean, can you believe it?  It's like an antique!  Your old toybox...WOW!"  It was as if an antiques auctioneer was going to stop by the attic at any moment and offer us thousands of dollars for it. I pointed down at it enthusiastically.

Matt sat down heavily if unsteadily on a three-legged chair and put his chin in his hands, staring at the toybox and saying nothing.  (He really was quite tired!)  He looked up a me.  "You need to get out more, Mom," he said gently, as if to a toddler.  We both laughed, and together we went through the old toybox.  His 20 year old hands touched the toys that used to be the gems of his heart when he was 3 and 4 years old; the old dump truck, the little book about the rabbit, the scarred wood blocks.  His expression turned softer as traces of memories came back, of a simpler time when he and his brother had no worries and nothing but time.  Before the world got so complicated.

I'm not going to wake him anymore when I find something great - unless I come across the hula-hoop he used to be (and still might be!) so good at.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Stepford Shoppers

I'm sorry, but has the world of parenting gone crazy lately?

I was in my happy place, Target, this morning, and was sharing the aisles with moms and their loud, demanding kids.  Now, you would hope to hear loud-er moms in response, threatening the old time-out "when we get home, Buster," or removing just-acquired treats from the little monsters' grips.  Instead, here is an accounting of what I heard/saw:

A young mom, seemingly oblivious to the fact that she was in public, happily shrieking a strange lullaby that anyone who had not yet had enough coffee just would not appreciate hearing.  The lullaby had to do with a worm, an apple, and a hill of some sort.  The kid in the cart was beyond bored, and rolling his eyes directly at her (you couldn't blame him - everyone knows worms hate climbing hills; they have no feet.)  I tried to harmonize when she went by, as by this time I knew all the words, but the kid stuck his tongue out at me, rendering me speechless.  I should have done us all a favor and issued a Citizen's Time-Out (similar to a Citizen's Arrest).

The next issue was a mom with a child who was asking her mother over and over again if they could get a pink daisy backpack of some sort before they left the store.  Now, the deferential, sort-of-pleading mom, oblivious to anything but her child's needs (even though, as she patiently explained, a backpack was not in the budget,) rolled over my actual toe with her cart as they went by.  That's right, rolled right over my toe.  Grunting in pain, I backed away, deftly manoevering my cart as I retreated, and they both turned to look at me.  "I'm okay," I mumbled, limping over to grasp on to a rack of bland canvas artwork behind me.  They both stared for a moment, seemingly dazed, and then proceeded on.  Remember the last scene from The Stepford Wives, where the robot-women are out shopping?  Well, in 2010, it's teams of robots - parent-child robots who are taking over my Target before I've had coffee.

Don't mess with my Target, kids.  I'm begging here.