Plenary

I think we are finally starting to get involved in some of the really cool learning stuff for Roman Catholicism. We read each night from the YouCat, the youth Catechism of the Catholic Church. That’s been a good start. But it has been a lot of low-brain topics so far. This week, however, we have found ourselves truly talking about whatever is presented from the YouCat topic, actually looking up further information on lots of it. And it is awesome.

Tonight, in an almost-bizarre twist, we ended up on the topic of plenary indulgences (Just look it up – it’d take me too long to explain them here now!). We even called my mom for her input and read from multiple online articles and dictionaries! What a fascinating topic! And, in doing that research, we got into the topic of how to address clergy properly. So, I found a fun Wikipedia article on how to do all of that for the different clergy (Yes, that, too, is a bit complicated, by the way.)! It was a very good time tonight.

Thank you, God, for this oddly fun surprise. Keep it up, please, and keep us with you. In your name, I pray. Amen.

Post-a-day 2022

Tum Tumm

I’ve had this drum for almost two years now, and I still am not very good at playing it. I haven’t had any lessons of any kind, because I don’t know drum players (for this kind), and I’m just not an internet lesson person (despite my encouraging others to do it regularly!)… man…, how do I sort out my life enough to be able to do all those internet lessons I have been wanting to do these past few years???

I think part of it is financial security. Another part is the predictability of my schedule and life that usually comes with financial stability and security. That makes the routine possible, and having the routine is something I both want and need for my learning things of all kinds. At present, though, I don’t allow myself the mental space for such things, as there is too much else that is more important that I still need to figure out, versus these things I just want to figure out. Yeah…

Hmm…

I’m hoping Thanksgiving week has drumming in it for me(!!!).

Post-a-day 2021

Learning

I began last week learning something entirely new to me. Okay, so it isn’t exactly entirely new to me – I first learned some foundations for it back in middle school. Mrs. N**** taught us in computer lab. I think most of the other kids, the girls especially, weren’t huge fans of it and didn’t really get it too well. But I was and I did. It was HTML.

Hypertext Markup Language, that is.

And, you know, though I didn’t ever realize that I could pursue learning HTML, I did pursue learning other languages. Remember, languages and math are all the same thing to me. So, a computer language just feels like a fun cross between the human spoken/written languages and the math ones. No wonder it was easy for me to pick up, and no wonder I loved it back in middle school.

But I never knew that this was the foundation upon which all of this ‘computer programming’ and ‘software engineering’ was based. Don’t ask me how – I don’t know how I didn’t ever make that connection. But, finally, I did last week.

And I’m doing beginner work on it all now, starting off with a course on HTML. Though I’m in this course to learn HTML, I kind of feel like reading the comprehensive list of code for HTML would be easier for me at the point. The blocks of text that attempt to explain things to me are often much more confusing that just looking at the actual code itself. I regularly go back to the text after reading the code, and decipher it that way – the code makes more sense seen than talked about. Does that makes sense, how I said that? I guess it is like just about anything else: you can talk to me for days about it, but, until you show it to me, it is just words and ideas, and doesn’t fully make sense or click.

But this stuff is clicking. And I’m liking it. A lot.

I’ll finish the HTML foundations course tomorrow or the next day, I think, and move into CSS or iOS app development training next. Or both…

It’s funny, though. I can tell this is important to me, because I won’t let myself cover too much direct information in a day, so as not to confuse it all later. And I am excited every night before bed, as I plan out when I will be working on it all tomorrow.

Man… did I mention that I’m a nerd? Well, it just got a bit more obvious. 😛

Post-a-day 2021

Double down

What if the work I really want to do really does involve spending hours a day in front of a computer screen?

Hmm…

I just don’t see it. Part of the day? Sure. Hours every day? Nope.

But I can still see it as a possibility, my having a semi-desk job, in one of those hipster-y-yet-not ways, of course.

I am thinking this all, because I have been looking to see what lights me up whenever I cross it as an opportunity. And this nerdy language stuff and language software really has me booming like firework finales on repeat.

And I mean lighting up the whole night sky kind of bright, here…

Duolingo, I might be coming for you in the near future. I don’t have the credentials for it yet, but it is all too likely that I will be figuring them out and getting the necessary ones soon… You are forewarned. 😉

Post-a-day 2021

The hard conversations

I talked openly about sexual abuse with someone yesterday. And about body parts. And sexual intercourse.

There was no anger or wrong-making or freaking out. We just talked. Questions were asked and answered calmly, honestly, and genuinely. And the conversation eventually comfortably and naturally moved onward into something else.

And nothing was weird. And we both gained an unexpected degree of value from the conversation.

And wouldn’t the world be a better place, if we could have informative, open, and safe conversations about more of these traditionally taboo and sensitive topics?

My world certainly has improved since they have become part of my everyday life. It was really, really scary at first, and difficult. And awkward and uncomfortable. Now, though, it has become quite normal and easy. And I am grateful for that every time such an opportunity and conversation arise.

Post-a-day 2021

^Right in the middle of typing it, I caught myself, and so got it right 😛

Learning… without teaching

Not all people are teachers. And that’s okay. And it doesn’t make someone a worse person, if that someone is not a teacher.

I need to remember that better. All of it. I keep growing current frustrated with people who are tasked with teaching something to someone – especially to me – but who are not good teachers.

Ugh…. such hair-pulling emotions ensue within me, whenever I am in a situation that requires me to endure bad teaching. And it is even worse when I actually am in need of teaching, when I am aiming to learn something that is new to me… just give me the written manual, please, and walk away.

::total face palm::

Okay, breathe… slowly and deeply, just breathe… let it go… there is something to learn here, though it is obviously not the information I was aiming to learn… find that something, and feel gratitude for its having presented itself to you… thank you… aaaahhh…

Post-a-day 2020

Next Step

Okay, training on my own (with mandatory videos) is complete! Now to do some in-person training and some solo study (because I want to do the latter, not because I have to do it).

I’m actually excited about the solo study that I get to start doing tomorrow. I really hope I start with it tomorrow. Things really do transform when we are interested, invested, and enrolled in them – I was rarely so excited about studying on my own for things in school… or even learning the information in the first place, at least for most of school… wow.

Crazy, huh?

Post-a-day 2020

Frenching

Today, I posed a question to myself. Though, I didn’t actually have words to the question until after I answered it. You see, I was looking at myself in the mirror, about to go downstairs to go on an afternoon walk (since I still can’t run after my accident three weeks ago). In my head was French and the excitement of living in France as an adult – something I have only dreamt of doing, but have tasted as a student – due to this Netflix show called Emily In Paris.

I was somewhat lonesome today, and wanted a movie or series to keep me company while I cooked for a long while. I somehow ended up with Emily In Paris, and fell in love. We had a full and satisfying relationship all day long today (think Jim Gaffigan on Netflix shows being like dating), and I was taking an unwanted but necessary break to go on my walk (got to get those hundred miles in somehow). And so, I’m looking in the mirror, French and Frenchmen and France and chocolatines in my head. And I somehow answer this unsaid question aloud, in French.

I say first, before seeing myself in the mirror, “Bah ouais. Je ne parle pas le français comme langue maternelle. Ce n’est pas ma langue maternelle. Mais j’adore le parler….”

Pourquoi ? someone asks in my head.

“Parce que quand je parle le français…, je me sens…,” and I now look directly at myself in this Masaie mirror on the wall, halted just before the first step downward. “Je me sens… un peu sexy…,” and I smile as I admit it, adding raised eyebrow as and a head tilt at the second feeling, “tellement à l’aise… et,” and this last is he hardest to admit, “comme quelqu’un qui en vaut l’envie. Je veut dire, quelqu’un qui mérite être envié…,” and I look at myself with these words having been said aloud, experiencing the fullness of their truth, and somewhat being that person envying his girl in the mirror – woman in the mirror – and I smile, fully content in that moment, give one final glance to the freckles around my nose, and head down the stairs and out the front door for a hearty walk in the chilly late afternoon air, under the overcast, Fall sky.

As I began my walk, I realized that my unsaid question – it felt a bit like playing Jeopardy, I suppose 😛 – was, “Why learn a foreign language?”

I contemplated this on my walk, and even recorded myself for a bit, just to see what it was like as a means of keeping track of my thoughts. (It was cool, but I’m not sure it is my style for sharing those thoughts with others.) I repeated my earlier statements on speaking French, but added the question to the beginning, and continued my statements with a further idea: When I speak English, these are not the ways that I feel. By speaking French, I have discovered and continue to discover things within myself that I previously had not known. By speaking a language different from my native language, I get to experience myself and life in a new way. And that is possibly the best and most valuable part of speaking a different language.

And, to be clear, this is not due simply to saying words in a foreign tongue. It is by having learned the language, which means experiencing its people and culture, as well as its use, that I have gained access to these formerly-foreign parts of myself. It is the Frenchness within me that I have learned and found throughout the process of learning to speak French, the language. I always support immersion as a necessary part of learning a language, because the language and culture not only go hand in hand, but cannot be separated from one another and still remain true to who and what they are.

So, why learn a foreign language? To discover how life and you are better than you ever imagined. 😉

Yeah 🙂

P.S. For those who do not know French and have not already stuck that paragraph into Google Translate, what I had said roughly translates in English to, “Well, yeah. I don’t speak French like a native speaker. I’m not a native speaker of French. But I love speaking it. Why? Because, when I speak French, I feel… I feel… a bit sexy…, entirely at ease…, and that I am someone worth envying.”

Post-a-day 2020

Pinky

…And The Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain…

Loved those guys when I was little.

Tonight, I was talking with my brother (the neuroscience one) about how language and math show up in the brain, specifically grammar and foreign language for the language stuff, and then algebra for the math stuff.

It turns out that, the algebra shows up with lights all over the brain, whenever we do it.

Language understanding and production are from specific, individual areas that interact with one another.

And the functional parts of language (think syntax) actually work more like the algebra does in the brain, with lights all over the place.

And so, it makes perfect sense that languages have seemed to me to be the same thing as algebra – I have always referred to them as math, and in various ways, and that is exactly how I see them in my head.

We even talked about how, algebraically, I personally see sentence structure across the languages.

Basically, we turned my nerdy question into an even nerdier conversation, and it was awesome.

Now, I know that I definitely want to see a brain lighting pattern test of my brain, especially around math and languages and grammar!

Post-a-day 2020

Nerds

We research in my family.

When we are interested in something, we start learning about it, and we tend to do lots of research on it.

Presently, I am preparing to use a used Prius for a while.

Someone was very upset and expressed concerns of my sanity and logic in doing this.

So, to satisfy my initial belief that it was a reasonable idea, and not just plain crazy, I started looking up important things about Priuses, in order to learn more about them… whatever might be important to know, you know?

In sharing a small bit of what I’m learning with my cousin, she replies, “You will now be well versed on the Prius. I’m imagining you building a PowerPoint presentation”.

And, while I chucked inwardly at the intended joke, I also totally saw the seriousness of her statement, and had to agree: I could so see myself doing that.

In fact, I kind of did for physics class in high school at one point… we researched various hybrid cars and their overall effects on the planet…. let’s just say that, fortunately, things have improved in the hybrid world since then…

Anyway… I think I already have enough information to give a really good ten-minute presentation on using used Priuses…

Total nerd, right?

And I love being it. 😉

Post-a-day 2020