Use it even after you start to lose it

Apparently, a new study reveals that moderate exercise of 15 minutes a day can delay, prevent or improve symptoms of dementia, Alzheimer's Disease and other cognitive degenerative disorders.

On related news, I went to the cycling class again yesterday and I LOVE IT! My seat hurts, though. I need to get some of those fancy padded panties.

Oh, and aside from that peanut butter cookie I just ate, I'm back on my healthy food thing. I really love vegetables. When we are used to eating a lot of them, we get sick when we don't - so during the last month of what Mark lovingly refers to as "the fast food diet" I've been feeling
nauseous half the time. Of course, he lost 5 pounds eating Taco Bell and hasn't looked this good in a while.

I am listing some of the topics I am mentally engaging, because my world-curiousity is up and I am thinking about so many things... interesting things. Things that you might actually want to read about - as opposed to what I had for dinner (chicken southwest burritos with grilled peppers, black beans, zuchinni and corn, in a creamy chile verde sauce -- Mark didn't notice the zuchinni... I snuck it in for the veggies-in-disguise factor.)

They are: physiology, particularly of the brain, memory and time, existential crisis, death and the purpose of life, how complex systems in nature are poorly designed, dimensions of the universe, matter and our experience of matter, dark matter, the reality or nonreality of the abstract world, how/why our brain abstracts (and all matters associated with abstraction,) and I that's all I can think of at the moment, but I know there are more.

When I ask Mark, "Honey, what are you thinking about?" I'm apt to get some kind of list such as the above. I think that's why we never run out of things to talk about or get bored.

Meanwhile, feel compelled to comment to this post with what you think about. If you don't think about anything, start.

Some quotes I liked this week:

An unexamined death is not worth dying. --Some Death Researcher from my

There is a fine line between a religious experience and a psychotic
episode. --My religions teacher on founders of new religions and thier claims of
talking to/experiencing god firsthand.


Have A Spin

I finally made it back to the gym after the long hectic break. I decided to hit it really hard to that my muscles would be so stiff that I'd feel compelled to go again in order to normalize the feeling. Anyway, my plan worked perfectly. I ran for 1/2 hour, lifted weights for my back and arms for 1/2 hour (and I interval train so that's a lot) and then decided to take a spinning class for the first time ever. It was fine, for the most part. Very difficult. My seat hurts, but not as much as the legs I can barely move. It is a welcome soreness. I'm already pumped to get back in. It's always only hard for me the first time after being away for a few weeks. After that, I love it!


Me and My Guys

I'd like you to meet a few of my amazing friends. On the far left is Nick. He is extremely travelled, speaks Japanese, and attends Duke Law. The fellow to my direct left is my new husband. As you can see by the twinkle in his eye, he is a genius. There is more to say there, but you let Mark speak for himself. To my right, Josh has a bachelors in Chemistry and is currently in the last phases of medical school. And far right is the right-brained business mogul and tech savvy artist, David. I am of course, in the center because I am the prettiest.

This is an incredible group of people. We need a scientist and a chef and we are the perfect group of people to get stranded on an island with. Posted by Picasa

My little brother. In this photo he sort of looks like a criminal about to chop your head off. However, I assure you he is quite tame. (Just don't feed him rolling rock.)


First Day of School

School's officially underway again. I had just gotten my goofing off groove going, too. (We got a gameboy for Christmas... I'm suddenly a girl-gamer. Who would've guessed, but I'm really hooked!)

I'm taking Fractals, Death & Dying, Ritual/Symbol/Myth, and my personal favorite, Intermediate Probability. (I took Advanced Probability last semester, did well, and this particular course is designed to help pass the actuary exam... convenient because I have to do that anyway. Now I get credit for it!)

The Death one may sound strange. It's for a cultural perspective credit and I am really looking forward to it, mostly. (Except for the part where I have to interview a funeral home director.)

The Fractals is my sweet spot. It is a nuance of math that fascinates me and I have always wanted to have more than a superficial understanding of this interesting facet of math. If you don't know what fractals are, they are complex, infinite, symmetrical geometric figures. Check out some pretty graphical demonstrations here.


A Boxer is a Dog, I thought.

My cats are boxing. They do this thing where they sit on the tallest surface they can find, face off and stare each other down while standing on their back legs with their dukes up. And then every once in a while, one will punch the other, the one who gets punched punches back, and then they get in a headlock (just like regular boxers) until they break it up and start over. It is seriously hilarious. I took a couple pictures, but I'm sure it won't capture the humor of the routine.


Odds and Ends

Did you know that your post-holiday weight is actually a random number?

I mailed pictures on CD to practically everyone, so you should be seeing yours pretty soon. Print quality may not be fantastic. If you want to order a quality print, I can have them reproduced for you from the master. Regular 4x6 are $0.18, 5x7's are $1.60. I don't know about the larger sizes. Just reference the name the picture is saved as (most of them are numbers.) The master file sizes are too large to transfer but produce excellent quality prints.

Congratulations to the Knouses... welcoming our family's newest addition. Welcome to the world, McKayla. You are beautiful.

I want a program that organizes your contact info in the family tree format so that you can see the card profiles by generation, keep track of whose kids are whose and do searches by, say, Birthdays in January, or search by things like, age (so that you can get a list of all adults for Christmas cards) or generation (so you can get only siblings or only aunts & uncles, etc), that is compatible with mail merge so that you can print labels or envelopes or mailing lists, and has a spot for all contact info (such as email, fax, etc,) is compatible with outlook, and common calendar programs (and can program alerts or auto messages for birthday's, anniversaries, etc) and a comment section so you can write things you don't want to forget (their major in school, where they work, hobbies or interests, etc.)

I guess keeping track of family members isn't difficult for smaller families, but ours is big enough to pose a challenge... I have so many documents in different places - a birthday list that I can sort by generation and catagory (Mark's or mine, immediate or extended, month, age) but doesn't hold contact info, a contact list in table form with household members and important dates (which is impossible to search on and impossible to organize and is never fully completed but is pretty comprehensive) and a contact form in list form with address only. It's hard to keep track of them all and keep them updated.

I'm getting set up for classes. I start back up in 10 days. Still working on what I'll take... some interference with my schedule for work, so I'm waiting to hear back whether my work, my teacher, both or neither will cut me some slack. That answer will determine what classes I can take. Right now it's between Intermediate Probability (exam P prep - awesome - doing the work anyway,) Linear Programming (programming, yuck and class 5 days a week) or an easy religions class to go toward a minor (but it would force me to take a summer physics class that requires that I get off work early every day for 5 weeks and would kill me with 5 hour classes every day.) So, obviously, I'm hoping to compromise the probabilities course with work and the teacher since it is offered at a conflicting time.

I'm kicking butt with my exam prep. I have my average time per problem down from 11 minutes to 5 minutes. My goal is 2 minutes. My accuracy must be 90% or better. I'm halfway through the prep curricula. I'm optimistic, but there is always May if I don't make the very small and elite cut of those who pass on the first try. It's pretty much all I think about these days. (Which makes coming up with something to post that is interesting a decent challenge.)

Even in my fantasies, I am a very boring person.


Di Vinci Code

I just finished reading the Di Vinci Code and I can't figure out what the big deal is. I asked someone at work if he had read it and they guy went crazy about not reading blasphemous texts. I guess drawing fiction based on religions that come too close to Christianity is crossing some line. I don't assume that a novel is supposed to be religious. I read a triller conspiracy on the same thread as an alien invasion... inventive, fun, and suspenseful storytelling. Regardless of the authors intentions, the meaning of a story ultimately lies in the hands of the reader. I don't think that Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream is actually promoting the view that fairies are real. It's called literary freedom, plot device, etc.

I don't think Jesus should be off limits to creative people who want to use religion as a creative tool for storytelling. I think Jesus, a storyteller, would agree.

And hear is the spoiler if you are planning to read the book... the church wins, in the end. A literary critique of the book could suggest a promotion of Christian traditionalism just as easily as any other message. Read what you want to read into it.


Happy New Year!

Time is really flying. It feels like last week that Scott was explaining that the big Chandler Christmas tree is made out of silver spray painted sage brushes, but it was last year. I guess a lot has happened this year to help the illusion of time passing quickly.

My New Years resolutions are the same every year. Go to the gym regularly, eat raw foods more often, floss more often, pick up after myself everyday, go somewhere exciting, and do my best in school. This year I get to add "graduate with disctinction," "pass actuary exam 1," and "find a real job."

I had this wonderful memory of my dad at Christmas one year. We were driving up North in his big truck and we were singing in duet acapella harmony "Silver Bells." I thought our voices blended very nicely. Sometimes I miss having someone around to harmonize with. Eva and I always do a few favorites when she visits. It has a calming effect. We should record them. I'll put them on my CD when/if I ever get around to recording anything. I lost all my songs in the fire. I have to write new ones.

I got our pictures printed today. Man, they turned out really, really good. The detail does not show up on the computer the way it comes out on print. There are some really nice ones. Mark posted a few more on his blog. I think he's putting a few every day.