Merry Christmas Eve!

Dear Salt Lake, Thank you for your lights,

for your endless supply of live music,

for the view just outside my door,

and for the view just minutes away.

I am now leaving my stockings hung with care,

and am leaving my snuggly bed,

and am off to my motherland:


Mass Media Child-Birth vs. The Real Thing

Can’t wait to see this documentary. Enjoy the trailer:
Link to interview with the filmmaker, Vicki Elson.

SUVs and Maternity Care

I am a great lover of analogies. I just came across one that made me smile: What SUVs Can Teach Us About Maternity Care. This post comes from one of the best blogs I’ve come across on Maternity Health Care: Science & Sensibility.

Botany of Marriage

I attribute some of my most profound life lessons to plants. One of my favorite phyto-lessons came a few Christmases ago while I was sitting on a plane,  nibbling on some raw veggies. I was admiring the perfect spirals in my pieces of cauliflower and soon became  absolutely mesmerized by them. Fibonnacci’s sequence in nature will never grow old on me. (In fact, more than once I have considered that if I were to start my own religion, the Golden Mean (phi) would be a central pillar of my doctrine). In case you have never noticed the cauliflower’s spiral, check it out here. It is truly a living fractal:

The spirals are most evident when cauliflower is crossed with broccoli (its sister) to form romanesque:

Pretty trippy huh?

I followed the spiral as I ate, pulling one tiny branchlette after the next. I was awed to see that within each smaller section was another perfect spiral, and another, and another. I pictured the spiral continuing on past the limit of my eyesight, down through the molecules of the plant,  to the spiral of the double helix, and maybe even beyond that. Is it possible that the quantum field within the cauliflower is spiraling too? My thoughts then shifted to human beings and I contemplated the possibility that my own life might somehow fit into an eternally perfect spiraling fractal.

Then came the realization that has forever changed my view of marriage:

I noticed that, although the sections I was eating formed part of a perfect spiral, each branchling separated from the spiral was distinctly deformed around the edges. In the process of growing in a tight clump, they had become molded to their neighbors. I imagine it might be possible to put a separator between every tiny cauliflower branch so that each could grow perfectly round, but this would sacrifice the over-all symmetry. No cauliflowerette would ever fit well with its neighbors if it grew alone. The reason these flowerettes fit so perfectly together is that they grew together. That was it! They grew together! The neuronal firings in my brain shifted to the topic of marriage (not surprising since I was then a student at BYU and said topic was a regular matter of discussion). Here within this severed white cluster of cellulose was wisdom: I am not searching for my perfect match. He doesn’t exist. My perfect match–the one who will fit seamlessly by my side–will be created in the process of growing together with me.

Earlier this year when a professor challenged us to write an essay for The 2009 Alma Don Sorensen Contest, I again thought of plants. My essay, titled “The Botany of Marriage” was awarded 5th place. I was honored to find that just shortly after being published in the SquareTwo journal, an Environmental Lawyer posted an essay of his own in response to mine.

Any thoughts on my essay?

Middle School Cafeterias

This afternoon I broke a 12 year streak and ate hot lunch in a Middle School Cafeteria. The following image I found online summarizes the memories I have of this social and gastronomical misfortune.

Today’s adventure, however, was surprisingly pleasant. Provo’s Centennial Middle School fed me a tasty chicken salad in a whole wheat wrap and a green salad that contained no iceberg lettuce, but had everything from beet greens to cucumbers and radicchio in it.  Dessert was shortcake with real strawberries and cream on top. $2.75. Who knew anyone in a public middle school eats this well?

I took a few strides back in time as I squeezed through the disordered clumps of awkward adolescents, tray and milk carton in hand, and asked a girl sitting alone at a table if I could join her for lunch.  She wasn’t sure, since she was saving the 3 empty seats around her for some friends still waiting in line. It was probably my charming smile, or my very adult appearance, that finally won her acceptance. We pulled over another chair and soon these 3 seventh grade friends and I were talking about the usefulness of science, the nature of most school hot lunch menus, the instruments we play(ed) in band, and our favorite pets.

The best middle school humor I heard in our conversation came after I asked one girl if she lived in the country (she told me she had 25 pets). Her friend cut in to respond for her: “of course she does, it’s called the United States!” When the bell rang and the lunchroom again became a chaotic hive of not-quite-adults, all three of my lunch-mates thanked me for sitting with them and for bringing ‘fun science stuff’ to their school. How tender is that?!

A Day in the Life of a Rural Congo Midwife

In my Google News feed I screen for any articles containing the words: midwife, doula, pregnancy, obstetrics, birth etc. Sometimes the articles make me terribly antsy to become a midwife. This morning the BBC published a slideshow of a ‘day in the life of a midwife in rural Congo.’

Oh, I cannot wait until I have the skills to be able contribute to this effort of empowering mothers and catching babies.

Enjoy the slideshow!