Sunday, April 1, 2012

On Friday I went with James to our ward's Elders Quorum v. YM pinewood derby. James was busy with his thesis (progress! He's sent a draft in and we're feeling great about it) so didn't have tons of time to put a car together, but also he intentionally went low effort--if it wins, we only spent 15 minutes on it, and if it loses we only spent 15 minutes on it. This is solid logic, but I was a little stressed--offering to paint it or wrap it in a page of his thesis or something. For some reason I imagined this conversation taking place between 15 year old James and 15 year old Kjerstin, which helped put it in perspective (I have some glitter!). We had a great ROI--we usually took about 3rd place, but we couldn't win against the fellows with CO2 cartridges strapped to their blocks.

Wood block, 2 lb dive weight, rubber bands, and last-minute graphite lube.

On Saturday we made soft eggs with buttery herb-gruyere toast and raspberry macaroons, because Smitten Kitchen is taking over my life right now (more approachable than 101 Cookbooks, always witty and delicious) and it was conference weekend=an excuse for an event. Then we spent a lot of hours watching conference (so much about family this time around!), took a walk, washed some dishes.

This week we also saw Jonah Lehrer speak in downtown Madison. I wanted to be blown away but wasn't. I know Lehrer from RadioLab--he's the sort of intellectual who mixes nueroscience with, like, Bob Dylan and comes away with some lovely meditations on the human brain and sometimes humanity. I love this stuff. I listen to RadioLab a lot a lot and fit it into most extended conversations--what I mean is, I think it's cool to mix and match art and science. We did come away with some good pointers: 1. Give kids a lot of latitude in choosing where they want to excel. He said "Choose easy, Work hard" which is, figure out what kids (you) are excited about--decide to do the thing that sounds like the most fun, and then work work work. I've heard this before, and I like it. 2. Aha moments come when you're not expecting them to come, but we're pretty good at knowing when there's something on it's way.
Yes. It was a fun night out. That ended at Trader Joe's. Win and win.

One other thing: I married a really lovely man. James and I have had an awesome week, I think mostly because I've had a chance to take care of him and serve him a little. I'm wary of the "love is an action verb" cliche, but it's a real thing: love is born out of helping--doing laundry and dishes and reading over rough drafts even though a part of you is still *very* conflicted about reading over rough drafts. Conference and a blessing and some good snuggly conversation later and I'm feeling hopeful and excited about our future. And, more than that even, confident that I'm only going to get more excited about our future as time goes on.
All of that paragraph was true, but what I really wanted to write about it how lucky I feel that James has found and is pursuing his passion. I'm surrounded by a lot of people who are smart and motivated but who aren't here for the passion, but every night I get to go home and talk with James about theories and big names in his field and his big ideas for making the field (and families) better. For someone who's spent her whole life flip-flopping dissatisfied-ly from aspiration to aspiration, James' focus and enthusiasm is so satisfying. I'm looking forward to our future, in part, because though I don't know what's coming I know that we're looking in the right direction. 


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