The Mad Scientist in Me

msc50cvr Before the regular football season games begin, I scurried to book activities into my schedule. For starters, after waiting about 30-some years for my parenting responsibilities to decrease, I’ve finally committed to a Motorcycling Basics and Licensure course along with my daughter and her fiancé. It has simply been one of those things, probably since watching James Bond films in my youth that hung on my bucketlist.

Another commitment has been to coordinate with my youngest son and his sister for an intermediate sign language course with our local park district. She has had two courses at university level and my son took the introductory course awhile back. I used to know at least the alphabet back in 7th grade when my girlfriend taught it to me so that we could have covert communications while our teacher’s back was turned! Wanting to keep the knowledge intact for my kids, I thought that I could bone up with some flashcards and join them in the advanced level class. You never know, as hearing is fading within some of our household bunch, it may come in handy one day!

We also have several MacBooks among us, and we have never taken any formal training. Fortunately, the Apple store offers free workshops in our area, so I’ve scheduled a suite of them over the next couple of weeks just to facilitate my use. I typically use a PC laptop and am entirely familiar with it, but there are certain features available to Mac users that I’d like to explore. Additionally, I have prospects of working with a colleague to coach teachers in the use of iPads, and I determined that I would benefit from picking up more tech skills that I can share.

Lastly, there are prospects to venture toward in open courseware. I am ready to make some decisions on what to schedule and in what order. While having some familiarity with several Learning Management Systems (LMS), I would certainly enjoy experiencing from a student’s perspective what notable professors are doing with online learning.

In the near term, I’m very excited about a photo shoot scheduled for tomorrow. My cronies have convinced me that I should consolidate my diverse businesses into a branded site. I envision a single portal which branches into each of my sectors that I am known for and for which I have already established some websites. We’ll see how that evolves. This is one for which I would appreciate any constructive feedback, I’m aware that it still needs some edits.

My thoughts have been spanning space and time lately—while biking and weeding the garden—to my longtime friend Sheila, whom I met in 5th grade. To this day, we correspond twice a year, in the middle of winter and middle of summer. I was reminded of her today when a friend challenged me to cite 10 books that had somehow influenced my life. That list included the following:
The Holy Qur’an
The Mad Scientists Club
The Road to Mecca
Rich Dad, Poor Dad
Fit For Life
The Jungle
Fahrenheit 451
See You At the Top
The Boy Who Sailed Around the World Alone

Sheila became my friend about the time I’d read The Mad Scientist Club, and that set my interest in science, skepticism of authority, and problem solving. I found a loyal friend in Sheila who was intelligent, industrious, and kind; while I was a bit of a tomboy, and found humor and novelty to be amenable to my personality–kind of like the boys of the book. Sheila was the voice of reason; I was the voice of “why not?” To this day, when we talk we find that we are still the same, and time and distance have not changed anything in our relationship and feelings are the same. In fact, we cry a bit at the conclusion of our calls. Writing is easier on the heart, and there is always so much to share.

Life has its struggles, and I suppose it is somewhat Freudian to be defensively impersonal while we course through each day mindful of how things are with each other. Work is cathartic and aspirations are running high for the means to be free and able to play like kids once more.

It’s About Love & Gifts


Appreciation notes from my students were gratifying aspects of my career as a teacher. If only I’d kept more of them. I found this one as I was cleaning out a dresser, and I love it when former students—now adults—care to “friend” me on Facebook and when I see them succeed various milestones of life.

After all, I always felt that each of them was my kid, and even though the boys and girls are now fully adult men and women, some married and some with children, I remember just about all of them. I guess that I must have done something right.

As we approach the start of another school year, I’m missing the classroom a bit, and have genuine appreciation for the gifts given to me. I am a teacher.

For this reason, if the reader will permit, I want to share and highly recommend a book I received from my daughter, who was gifted with it by her cousin prior to her two month journey to teach, tour, and connect with family in Turkey and Jordan.

Reclaim Your HeartReclaim Your Heart by Yasmin Mogahed taught me that all we tend to put in our heart—our relationships, the value of our intellect, looks, health, wealth, position, and possessions—are actually gifts. Such gifts should be kept in the hand though, not the heart. For the heart is only for the Creator, and gifts bestowed to us are eventually taken away.

If such valuable gifts reside in the heart, they become objects of coveting and obsession; and when removed, they create such deep pain from their loss. We miscalculate that they were given by The One, and we may not realize that the Creator gives what is best for us. Sometimes the revocation of a gift is meant to remind and draw us back to The One.

My daughter, despondent over the genocide in Gaza, asked her aunt if such a horrific situation—one of the most densely populated, essentially trapped and defenseless populations being killed like ‘fish in a bucket’—if it depressed her? Her wise aunt stated, “Allah created mankind to be forgetful, and it is a gift.” Those of us who have lost mothers never forget the strength of our bond; yet, we are able to function because we are able to forget, accept, and continue.

In Islam, families mourn for three days; then they are expected to accept God’s Will and people move on. The loss of a spouse is certainly more disruptive, and two months is acceptable before re-engaging with the world. The point is to realize that we must accept; and we trust that The One gives what is best, no matter how seemingly tragic on the surface.

Given the circumstances in Gaza, I surmise that the haters and malevolent perpetrators will determine their eternal justice. Yet how humanity can generally ignore or misconstrue the situation, in spite of obvious media manipulation, I cannot fathom.

The Palestinians have transcended this world; their faith so solid as to recognize that this existence is fleeting, and so they greet their fate with resolve and capitulation to The One who can best serve justice. When people no longer fear death and accept it, they cannot be vanquished.

Our gifts, our blessings are to be cherished and preserved, but keep them in hand, not in the heart. Hope for their return, and better, as destiny proceeds.

We are members of the human family, and those who remember, care, serve, and educate others will find themselves in rank just under the prophets.

Be glad, patient, and share.