If you had an incurable disorder, would you want to know?

Several years ago, I took a course in Human Molecular Genetics. I enjoyed the technical “science-speak” (replication and mutation and such) but also relished in the ethical conversations. One such discussion centered around the following question:

If through genetic testing, it was discovered that you had a disorder with no cure or no viable treatment, would you want to know?

Fellow students took turns attempting to answer an inquiry that seemed so final. Most wanted to know. There was a desire to have the information to organize lives. Things had to be put in order. Loose ends tied. I listened intently, fascinated by this peek into the brains and souls of classmates. When all eyes finally fell upon me, I hesitated for a moment and began to communicate in slow, deliberate tones:

I would not want to know. Yes, there is a need to “organize a life” and to “tie loose ends” but I should be doing this anyway. I could leave this building, cross the street, and be hit by a bus. Death is a certainty whether today, tomorrow, or 50 years from now.

We (humanity) continue to put thing off. We lead disorganized lives and attempt to function within disorganized systems. Loose ends dangle, then tangle leading to more disorganization.

Would you really want to know the general time frame of your death? Would this cause you to significantly alter the course of your life? End your procrastination?

Posted in Death, In my brain, Life, Mind, Mind & Spirit, Mortality, Personal, Spirit. Comments Off on If you had an incurable disorder, would you want to know?

The story behind my 9/11 truth

If you are looking for something political or angry or exceptionally sad, I humbly ask that you move on. Those are all valid perspectives and I’m sure you will be able to find blog posts to suit what you seek. This is a discussion of personal discovery.

Backdrop: In August of 2001, I was fortunate enough to travel with a friend to the West Coast and see parts of the state of Washington (Ocean Shores and Friday Harbor both come to mind). Took in a little whale watching and even spent some time in Vancouver, BC. Everything was incredibly beautiful. The “better do this now before I’m chained to the lab” trip was right before I started graduate school.

Story: I was running late on 9/11. I know this because my same friend would normally drop me off at the subway station. He drove me to DC only if it seemed as though I wouldn’t make it to class on time. Jumping from the car, I scurried into the building and plopped down in a chair. Whew, on time again. After starting class, the professor was called away and left the room. I do remember him, at some point, indicating that we had to evacuate the building. Something about a plane hitting one of the Twin Towers in New York. Everyone gathered up tangibles and streamed outside into the courtyard. There we stood chattering, reminiscent of a childhood fire drill until some lone voice broke through with the message – just go home. Don’t stand here. Everything was canceled. Just go home.

The crowd (this wave of people) began to move. Slightly confused, I moved with it. Part washed down the escalator leading to the subway (Foggy Bottom for those familiar with the DC area). Today for me, that was not an option. My friend, my ride. How would I ever contact him? I had a cellphone but he did not. Looked at my watch. Figured he was probably more than an hour away. Purely out of instinct, I continued to move with the crowd. As my brain focused, I could hear one-sided phone conversations. One plane had hit. A second plane hit. This was not an accident. Possible other targets. It was starting to sink in. I traveled a few more steps until I reached a bench. Sat down because, in that moment, I honestly didn’t have any other place to go.

I stared at the moving wave of humanity. Felt no panic from them. Not even a tremendous amount of confusion. Simply that they were all just trying to get home. I looked to the sky in time to catch a glimpse of fighter jets screaming overhead. Was this it? The end of the world? The end of my little piece of it? The end of me? I sat several blocks from the White House thinking this could be it.

Thought of my parents and siblings. Oh, and my grandmother. I so loved Mama Dear. I thought of them all. Quickly came to the conclusion that it would be okay because they all knew that I loved them. Thought of my lovely summer trip and smiled. Thought about getting back into grad school and accomplishing that goal. All seemed so positive. Then I thought:

If it is truly my time to leave this earth, I am ready. I’m not encouraging it but I am prepared. Tomorrow is not promised. Sometimes, today isn’t. I am at peace.

I stared at the crowd again. Noticed it was thinning. Then, something familiar caught my eye. My ride, my friend. How did he find me so quickly? I walked to the car as if our meeting was somehow planned, opened the door, and climbed in. He spoke of not leaving DC that day. He had stayed in the city for breakfast, saw everything on TV at a diner, and rushed back for me. We quietly listened to radio reports and entered the highway to join another wave of humanity just trying to get home.

Five years later, I reflect on that day just as countless others. I am sure there will be moments of anger or sadness but I know I’ll always come back to my 9/11 truth:

Tomorrow is not promised. Show love to those around you TODAY. Wake up and treat each day as special. Promise to (think, feel, act) do better that day. Be at peace.

Tomorrow is not promised

That is why I’m here posting. I kept putting it off, telling myself I would write something tomorrow. Planned like the next day was a given. Assumed that my eyes would just “pop” open, I would get up, hang out at the other blog, and (with sufficient time) post to this one. Still struggling with that juggling act.

Some bloggers have a philosophy of not posting unless they have something significant to say. Think I fell into that trap. Analyzing everything and posting next to nothing. What is truly significant? I am learning on my other blog that just reading the thoughts of others is important. Several times there, I have hesitated writing something because I thought it sounded pretty crazy only to have it be a popular post. I will start doing that more here.

Must do better because tomorrow is not promised.

Posted in Blogging, Death, In my brain, Life, Mind & Spirit, Mortality, Personal, Random Notes. Comments Off on Tomorrow is not promised

Pluto no longer running with the big dogs

Status change. Pluto is now considered a “dwarf planet” (part of a new class of objects).Pluto What I learned in school – wrong. Dang.

How did that happen?
Long story short. A bunch of experts met. A small percentage voted. Planets have a new definition. Pluto didn’t make the cut.

Long story longer. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) meeting was held this week in Prague. As Ray Suarez so succinctly put it during a News Hour interview on Thursday:

A group of scientists essentially made the decision for the rest of humanity that Pluto’s not a planet.

When put like that, maybe more than a few hundred should have voted. Don’t you think? Read more from the transcript: Scientists Demote Pluto to ‘Dwarf Planet’

Why is Pluto no longer a planet?
‘Cuz the smart people say so. According to Nature.com:

In the end it was decided that to qualify as a planet in orbit around our Sun, a chunk of rock must have been made round by its own gravity; have cleared its neighbourhood of other debris; and not be a satellite of another planetary body.

This is what happens when you keep putting off the yard work. Read more from the article: Pluto loses planet status

But the debate must be over?
Of course not. Astronomers can be stubborn just like the rest of us and refuse to give up without a fight. BBC News reports:

But the lead scientist on Nasa’s robotic mission to Pluto has lambasted the ruling, calling it “embarrassing”. And the chair of the committee set up to oversee agreement on a definition implied that the vote had effectively been “hijacked”.

Got to love words like embarrassing, hijacked, and revolt. Read more of this story:
Pluto vote ‘hijacked’ in revolt

So, I am torn. Sad because Pluto is no longer a major player but excited over the passion scientists display when defending a point. Despite what others may think, geeks are definitely not boring.

Posted in Geek, In my brain, Mind, Science. Comments Off on Pluto no longer running with the big dogs

How in the world do you stay married for 54 years?

I’ve been trying to post this since Saturday. Wanted to wait until I actually talked to my parents but that proved to be a bit of a problem. Called them (lost count) times between Saturday and today. Finally, reached my sister this morning and Daddy called this afternoon. Someone crashed a car into the big telephone box (what do you call that thing?) and knocked out the phones in the neighborhood. Whew! Yep, I freaked when I couldn’t reach them but then figured it was something crazy when “Mama Dear” didn’t answer. She’s my grandmother who lives next door. Glad everyone is OK. I’ll have a nice long phone conversation with my people later this evening but until then, here’s Saturday’s post…

A few days ago, my mother and father celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary. The longer I am married, the more incredible I find this fact. Sometimes (a lot of times), I wonder about their secret. Is it commitment or love? Perhaps trust or communication? Faith, maybe? Growing up around them, I am certain of one ingredient.

I occasionally ask my father why he wanted to marry my mother. The answer varies slightly but here is the paraphrased gist:

You know I was in a car accident before I proposed to your mother. I hit my head and certain things are still fuzzy.

This is said with such a deadpan look from my father that I am chuckling now thinking about it. My Dad’s comedic timing is priceless. I am confident his sense of humor continues to hold my parents (and my family) together after all these years. How wonderful to have the ability to smile and laugh come what may.

Until I’m able to get on the phone and joke and act a little kooky:

Happy Anniversary, Mom and “dear old” Dad! πŸ˜€

Posted in Family, In my brain, Life, Mind, Mind & Spirit, Personal, Spirit. Comments Off on How in the world do you stay married for 54 years?

Please, DON’T pass the chips

As I was tweaking the site on yesterday, I listened to “The News Hour with Jim Lehrer” (my favorite news program). That’s my thing now. Basically use the television as a radio while I’m on my computer. Anyway, I was following this story about radio frequency identification (RFID). Now, I dig gizmos just as much as the next person so I was thinking this is pretty nifty. It will replace barcodes. You can even use it in ID bracelets and tags. Great. How convenient. Made complete sense up until…

You want to implant this thing under people’s skin? What? Huh? You’ve got to be kidding. I don’t care that it’s only the size of a large grain of rice. Still not cool. External tagging is a definite possibility (although some disturbing privacy issues are raised). Having the chip reside inside of me – um, no.

I am such a big fan of the future. I prattle endlessly about Star Trek (the original) and the concept of transporters. Solution must be just around the corner. So, I’ll pass on this implanted chip thing and gladly tell scientists to work on giving me the ability to travel to the other side of the world in a matter of seconds. You know, important stuff.

Read the transcript of this News Hour Science & Technology story:
New Identification Technology Raises Concerns over Privacy

Posted in Eclectic, Geek, In my brain, Mind, Personal, Science, Technology. Comments Off on Please, DON’T pass the chips

My poor little neglected WordPress stepblog

Thought I would finally drift back. Been spending time dealing with a medical issue and writing extensively about it on my “geek with fibroids” blog. I was hoping to do that and post stuff here but couldn’t quite perform the juggling act. Now, I can.

Decided to change the header. Found a site with nice free images. This particular photo reminded me of water droplets so I came up with “condensation from a complex mind” as a site theme. I might change this later but really like the idea now. Used GIMP to crop the header image and add the lettering because it’s good and free. If you want details on how to do it, leave a comment.

Added some stuff to the about (“the geek”) page just in case you wanted to know a little more about me. In a nutshell, I labeled myself a New Age Hippie/Bioscience Nerd. I think that says it all.

Okay. So, let the games begin…again!

UPDATE: (August 18, 2006) Already changed the header image. Got it from the same site. I like the colors in this one more and it’s still basically in line with my theme. Ice is cool. πŸ™‚

Posted in Blogging, Eclectic, Geek, In my brain, Life, Mind, Personal. Comments Off on My poor little neglected WordPress stepblog