The Way of Love

The other day I was reading 1 Corinthians 13 for my Bible study. I realized this could work really well from a preschooler’s perspective, so I decided to write it. If you haven’t read 1 Corinthians 13, read it here first so you know why this parody is amusing. (I also referred to this alternative, more literal, translation.)

Without further ado, here’s the famous chapter on love, from a preschooler’s perspective.

The Way of Love

If I always use please and thank you, but don’t love, I might as well be throwing a tantrum.

If I can explain and understand feelings so I always think of others first, and if I am willing to share even my most precious toy, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

If I give all my fishy crackers to kids who are hungry and even don’t complain when I get a consequence for something I didn’t do, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. No matter how well I use my words, how often I put others first, or who I play nicely with, it’s all pointless without love.

Loves tries its best to do its best.
Love shares.
Love doesn’t whine for candy at the store.
Love doesn’t boast about how it’s the best,
Doesn’t yell to get attention,
Doesn’t demand the first turn,
Doesn’t get frustrated and throw things,
Doesn’t remember when things weren’t fair,
Doesn’t laugh when other kids get owwies,
Enjoys telling true things,
Tolerates playing with littler kids,
Trusts that Mommy and Daddy will come back,
Keeps looking forward to free play
Even while sitting still and listening at circle time.

Love gives it two good tries. Schedules and plans will finish; play-doh will dry out; grownups will run out of explanations. Right now you can read a few words, but the words you can read don’t tell the whole story. But when you learn to read all the way, you’ll be able to understand chapter books.

When you were a little baby, you couldn’t read and follow Lego instructions to build cool vehicles; you just wanted to eat the little pieces. When you got bigger, you quit trying to eat the pieces and built vehicles from your imagination.

Now it’s like a bad computer phone call, with pixels instead of faces. But it won’t be long before we can actually be in person. We’ll see not only our family’s faces, but be able to get hugs and kisses and play with them.

But for right now, until then, we have three things to help us be more kind and patient: Playing, snacking, and napping. And the best of the three is napping.

A Girl in a Man’s World

I just read How the Bicycle Paved the Way for Women’s Rights, which is what got me thinking about being a woman in a man’s world. (Funny thing about the article: It basically devolved into a discussion of newspaper coverage of women’s cycling fashion from the turn of the century. What the heck?) I found it interesting to learn that my hobby played a role in women’s rights:

The bicycle took “old-fashioned, slow-going notions of the gentler sex,” as The Courier (Nebraska) reported in 1895, and replaced them with “some new woman, mounted on her steed of steel.”

I’ve always gotten along with guys; I don’t consider myself a radical feminist or anything. I’m a (fairly) wealthy white woman, and I do not consider myself underprivileged or victim of prejudice. But more and more, I’ve been thinking about what my life looks like and how it’s determined by these cultural norms outside of my control.

I’ve always gotten along with guys, and that’s good, because…

  • At the technical school where Ian and I went to college, there were more boys named Matt than girls in Ian’s class. But in my classes, which focused on biology and writing, there were more women.
  • My occupation, in the software business, once again surrounds me with dudes. But in my department, there’s a pretty equal split of men and women (although it’s two male managers in a team of six, hmm).
  • In my chosen hobby, there are way, way fewer women than men. Statistics on this are difficult to find and tend to conflict, but at the level I prefer to ride (as fast as possible, with as few stops as necessary), men comprise the vast majority.

(Sorry, I’m afraid I may use more bullets even in my everyday writing since I started technical writing full time. They’re just so darn efficient!)

One of the things I’ve learned, spending most of my free time and work time with guys, is to push for my view. I’ve always been loud and willing to express my opinions, to put it nicely. At the same time, I’ve learned that guys respect me and listen to me based on two things: How firmly I’m willing to speak; and whether I can actually put my money where my mouth is.

For example, when I’m biking with a group of guys, we often call out hazards or alerts to each other. If I call out, “Steep hill, gear down!” at the beginning of the ride, the guys will hear me (I am loud) but it’s not until I’ve beaten most of them up the hill that I earn their respect. The next hill, if I suggest to gear down, they’re more likely to listen. There’s not a lot of negotiation or worrying about feelings, and they aren’t likely to be miffed that I beat them up the hill. More likely, they’ll work harder trying to catch me, and I’ll work harder trying to stay ahead.

At the same time, I’ve gotten many comments along the lines of, “You’re pretty fast for a girl,” as well as more overtly sexist ones: “Is this where the fastest housewives are?” and “If I was younger I’d want to marry you because you’re so fast.” DUDES. Would you ever, ever, ever in a million years say that to another guy? Harmless flirting with The One Girl isn’t harmless.

No, this isn’t the vast majority of guys I ride with. Most of them are great guys who want to know how fast my legs are, not what they look like. They treat me exactly the way they’d treat another guy, I think; that’s fair, and all I ask.

All I ask is the opportunity to earn respect, whatever environment I’m in — work or play; to show what I’m capable of and be judged on my abilities. Which is really all any of us could hope for, I suppose.

I’ve actually got a lot more to say about this, and about what I’ve learned being a cyclist in a driver’s world (can anyone say “discrimination”?), but unfortunately I’m out of time for now. Hopefully you won’t have to wait two weeks for my next installment.

Saturdays

Well, I’m realizing it’s been several weeks since I said anything here. I’d love to say that’s because we’ve had a bunch of super exciting weeks and I have lots of amazing stories to share.

In fact, on Memorial Day weekend, we went with Dad to the LeMay Car Museum, where we had a delightful time. I didn’t get to try the race car driving simulator, although it looked really cool; but, in the family area, we did enjoy the pinewood derby car racing and the giant United States map with roads and tiny cars, and holes that Benji could pop out of like a gopher.

LeMay Car Museum: Derby 2

LeMay Car Museum: Derby 1

LeMay Car Museum: US Map 1

LeMay Car Museum: US Map 2

LeMay Car Museum: Driving a Car

That Monday, Memorial Day, Dad and I rode the 7 Hills of Kirkland Century, which I believe was our first full century of the year.

This hasn’t been my best season for training and fitness; between being sick, the nasty weather, and starting commuting, I’m a month later starting century rides than usual, and I’m slower than previous seasons. It’s just been tough coming back from everything, and I am still figuring out how much commuting works for me to get in riding but not get overtrained or too tired. Last year I was able to steadily pull at 20 to 21 mph for long periods, and this year, that’s a real effort.

Yesterday we did our second big organized ride of the year, the Flying Wheels Summer Century.

Thanks to large groups including people substantially stronger and fitter than myself, I was able to ride pretty fast on these rides. But it wasn’t so much my fitness as my ability to just wheelsuck guys who can ride 23 mph for 50 or 60 miles at a stretch.

In any case, even if my legs aren’t as fast as I’d like, I’ve gotten to spend some beautiful days outside with good friends, and for that I’m profoundly grateful. As usual, I have to acknowledge the loving sacrifice Ian makes every Saturday when I’m gone for half (or more) of the day on what may be the least time-efficient athletic activity ever.

Here’s what my Saturday looked like yesterday:

  • 4:10 am – Get up, eat breakfast, get ready for bike ride.
  • 5:00 am – Ride to meet Dad; ride together to the start of Flying Wheels.
  • 6:30 am – Our group is together, so we start riding Flying Wheels. Ride the ride, a total of 5:05 moving time plus about 45 minutes of stops for water, food, and restrooms.
  • 12:30 pm – Finish the ride and eat free ice cream while chatting with many other bike friends I didn’t ride with but saw at various points in the ride.
  • 1:00 pm – Ride home very, very slowly with Dad and a couple friends.
  • 1:45 pm – Eat enormous bagel sandwich (also very slowly), take shower, lay down and rest.
  • 3:30 pm – Benji is up from “nap” — it’s time to get going again!
  • 4:00 pm – Drive with Benji to Redmond to meet in-laws. Walk to Benji’s “favorite” hair cut place (a Great Clips, sigh) and wait for a million years while an entire enormous Indian family all get their hair cut first. While waiting, go for a walk with Papa Gary and have an adventure.
  • 5:30 pm – Finally done getting hair cut. We won’t quibble about how even it is. Give big tip for the hassle of Benji squirming around all over the place. Walk to Anderson Park for a little time in the sandbox.
  • 6:00 pm – Drive home and administer snack along the way. Get home, Ian feeds Benji a burrito (after pasta, Benji’s favorite food) while I did something that I’ve forgotten. I think it must’ve been wash dishes and prep cookie materials.
  • 6:40 pm – Start bedtime routine.
  • 7:20 pm – Benji is “down” (in fact, he went to sleep faster than usual, probably thanks to taking a walk in the afternoon) so we eat whatever dinner we can scrounge.
  • 7:30 pm – Bake cookies for church tomorrow (while listening to a podcast about scientology, which is fascinating).
  • 8:40 pm – Finish cookies, go to bed exhausted.

I was all excited to sleep until 6:30, which is when Benji’s allowed to wake us up on weekends… but my body decided that since I woke up at 4:10 yesterday morning, I probably wanted to keep waking up around then. So I woke up at 4:30 am. Oh well. I sleep a lot less in the summer and a lot more in the winter anyway, I assume thanks to the extreme differences in amount of daylight.

Anyway, that’s not a totally unusual Saturday. After riding 100+ miles, I’m the “go” parent in the afternoon. We’ll always do something — get together with friends, go to a park, play in the back yard. Sometimes we’ll have people coming over for dinner in the evening, which means I’m also tidying the house and prepping and cooking dinner, and then spending the time with friends later into the evening.

Compare this to Dad’s normal recovery routine: Eat a big meal; take a soaky bath; take a long nap; wake up, do some quiet activities, and then go to bed again.

No wonder I need a nap on Sunday afternoons!

OH! Last thing: Our “waiting for the hair cut” adventure. We walked with Papa Gary on a little path that goes through the woods behind the shopping center, and we found some old train tracks.

Saturday Afternoon Adventures: Benji's Photo
(Benji took this picture himself)

There was a creek (Bear Creek? I think?) with a tiny train trestle and a tiny barge in the stream. It had a sign, not pictured, that said it was a salmon research vessel. Huh.
Saturday Afternoon Adventures: Salmon Research Barge
We played Pooh Sticks on the trestle for a while, although I felt rather nervous that there were no railings or anything to keep Someone from falling over.

Saturday Afternoon Adventures: Secret Train Tracks

Saturday Afternoon Adventures: Anderson Park

Birthday Love

Yesterday I got a year older.

Actually, Benji asked me a real poser about that: “How do you get older?” I said, “One day at a time.” While I thought that was a pretty good answer, Benji didn’t really buy it. After that I ran out of answers, since “It just happens over time” also didn’t satisfy.

I had a nice birthday. Benji had the idea of making vanilla cupcakes with chocolate frosting and strawberries on top for me; he also wanted to go to the toy store and help Ian pick out a present for me. They did both those things, which was very sweet. The present was, perhaps not surprisingly, a 3-in-1 Lego vehicle set — the exact thing Benji would want! But in fact it does give me a wonderful present: peace and quiet while Benji “helps” build the set.

One of my coworkers made sweet biscuits and brought them in with strawberries and whipped cream to make strawberry shortcake for my birthday, which was also very kind and thoughtful. In the afternoon, I got to ride home with a biking buddy who works in Fremont, which was especially nice because we had a vigorous headwind.

And I got to have a nice hour-long chat with Colleen, who also sent me an adorable picture of Lumpy the Dragon for my birthday:
Lumpy

All in all, a nice quiet birthday. We’ll get together with my parents over the weekend and use the excuse of my recent birthday to eat tasty treats. I’m also using the excuse of my birthday to take Friday off and have a 4-day weekend. The weather has (mostly) turned nice, and things are looking summery, which bodes well for the 7 Hills of Kirkland ride we plan to do on Memorial Day.

Looking Summery

We made a water slide in our back yard over the weekend.

Summer Fun 1

Summer Fun 2

Summer Fun 3

Summer Fun 4

Summer Fun 5

It’s been about 9 or 10 months since we were able to play in water without getting hypothermia.

And, our lupines are doing fabulously — including a couple of genetic oddities.
IMG_20170522_192854

IMG_20170522_192936
It feels so bizarre to have bare legs and arms out in the outside (or at all, for that matter) — and, naturally, I got my first sunburn on Saturday because I forgot about the existence of sunscreen. I remember now.

“This Will Blow Your Mind Off”

Thus quoth Benji as he explained the theory of why astronomers think there’s another planet out way past Pluto. Here’s what transpired.

I sat down to write a new daily board, which says the date and Benji’s agenda for the day. Before I started, Benji said, “Wait! I want to sure you something.”

A little background. Benji really wants to be an astronomer when he grows up, and whether he does or not, it’s a fun hobby for a kid with lots of interesting exercises and experiments. There are also tons of videos on space stuff, naturally. Benji’s especially interested in the hypothetical Planet 9, which is somewhere way out in the Kuiper Belt, or maybe father. Who knows.

A few days ago, Ian and Benji watched some videos explaining some concepts about Planet 9, why astronomers think it’s out there, what they hypothesize about its physical properties, etc. I got a little summary of the videos then, and figured that was the end of it.

I was so wrong.

This morning, Professor Benji took up the chalk to draw a diagram that explains why the orbits of trans-Neptunian objects like Pluto, Eris, Makemake, and Haumea strongly suggest the presence of another, more massive object that we haven’t yet found.


He then went on to speculate about the material composition of the planet;

Elucidate on its mass relative to other Solar System objects (Earth and Neptune);

And theorize about the existence of many other such objects yet to be discovered. 


Granted, much of this latter material contained elements of speculation, but it was speculation informed by 2.5 years of education about planets and their properties.

At Work

I haven’t mentioned my job recently, and that’s partly because it’s been going pretty swimmingly. I like my team, I like my boss, and I really like my actual duties. It’s as close to the perfect job as I could imagine.

The last couple weeks, we had something happen that, at first, shook my trust in the company. I was afraid that it would turn out that my company was less scrupulous than I thought. But, just as I was feeling really disappointed, my boss showed some real integrity and completely redeemed the situation (from my perspective). I was deeply impressed at the way my boss ultimately handled the whole situation.

I mention this because it made an impression on me. I talked with my boss about my concerns, and he listened and took action. This may be the first time I have ever had that happen at a job. Having my voice listened to and respected made a huge impact.

So, it remains true: I feel like I have landed at my perfect job. I’m thankful every day to have the opportunity to do it. Most of all,  I’m deeply grateful that we went out on a limb and decided for me to apply when I saw the job opening last fall. 

Now, if only I could get a desk away from where everyone who walks by can see my screens…