Sunday, January 23, 2011

1/23/2011 Recovery Day

Whew! I was so tired last night that I couldn't sleep! That happens to me, getting all wired. I was really excited about our ski trip, and also fretting about some things I wished had been better.

I did finally fall asleep, but this was one of the very few times I woke up at home and thought, "aw, rats!" Then, "where should we ski next time?"

Of course when my mind is all wound up, one of my best outlets is writing (others are exercising and baking), so I sat down to purge my whirling mind of thoughts and torment my poor blog readers with yet more stream-of-consciousness overflow.

And when the pressure on my brain was finally relieved a little, I got up....and my lower back said: Nay. Fortunately, it let me stand all the way, but transitions up and down are uncomfortable. I'm glad it happened from writing instead of skiing (though the time connection is clear). I'm in for a few days of creaking and groaning and old-lady sounds (and hopefully prescription drugs if my back doctor will agree over the phone). No cane though.

It didn't stop me from taking the boys to something we'd reserved and planned this afternoon, and a primary reason I wanted to come home early (which was in every way a good thing). This is an unusual treat: The Physics Show, a free physics demonstration put on by a local college, and oriented toward kids. We were running late, so I didn't push Dave to get Katrina ready to go, which was just as well. It really was meant for school-age kids.

This was really a nice little show! I was delighted to see that the first topic was Electricity, to give Gabriel some background on his favorite topic. He recognized a demonstration in which a magnet was moved near a coil, then the coil moved near the magnet, while an "electrograph" showed if there was any electricity. "That's AC, Mom!" Gabriel leaned over and told me (alternating current). He hadn't heard of Faraday's Law though. Neither had I. Julian participated more, answering "yes!" when the physics instructor asked things like, "do you want to see that again?"

They also did demos on temperature and pressure, leaving the finale for last. Another physics instructor lay down on a bed of nails, had another bed of nails placed on his torso, then a cinder block placed atop the bed, and then someone smashed the cinder block with a sledgehammer! The point was to show how pressure could be dispersed over a large area, but the boys were mostly excited about the smashing thing.

Just like in high school, this sort of science is interesting but mostly lost on me. I still can't explain why you get shocks getting in and out of a car (something about negative and positive particles repelling each other). It's too much art and not enough tangible visible clear digital -- it needs imagination and faith I don't have. (Biology was my best science, since it was more literal, memorization was a bigger asset, it involved cute fuzzy creatures sometimes, and I never minded dissecting things.)

But when Julian told me later that some kids say that Santa Claus is really your parents (no idea why this was on his mind today), I said, "I'll bet most people don't believe that you can move a 2x4 with a plastic post, without even touching it!" (one of the static electricity repelling demonstrations). I had a believer when I told him, "See, The Force really does exist!"

Tonight was homework catch-up, lunch-making, and we're back to the real world tomorrow.


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