Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Monday, November 27, 2006

Reading is...


This weekend, I've had the wonderful company of a very bright four and a half year old. It has been amazing just observing. She seems to learn so much everyday, and everyday is a milestone, like a mini-graduation. I am sure every kid on the planet goes through this at some point in their lives, but to me, that makes it all the more amazing.

The coolest thing by far is watching her read. What age do you learn to read anyway? Words are so familiar, second nature and just done without thinking....if there are words in your field of vision you read them, just can't help it. I feel like I was born knowing how to read, I can't imagine learning to read.

Watching her sound out words, big words, is just amazing....I see a 7 letter word, and that's it. It stands alone, just a symbol etched into my memory...she sees it as the sum of all it's parts, each letter a sound and each word she figures out is an epiphany for her. A little victory. So amazing to watch...what it must feel like to have that kind of mental growth so often.

It's so crappy that you can never fully appreciate what you have.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I was watching my favorite news source, FoxNews, and sawthis piece. I watched thinking, are you serious? Could someone really spend their life researching the way people are smiling in pictures? Spend years analyzing the way eyebrows look and the crookedness of lips. ABSURD! And to what end?

To realize that if you're happy now you're more likely to be happy in the future.

I could have told you that.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Staying power

"Where are we going?"
"To the airport"
"Can I come too?"
"Where are you going?"
"Can I come too?"

Thursday, November 16, 2006

9 letter words

Terrorism. The operative word that is like a cloud over this country, me, and my life. I can only wonder the ways that my life would have been if not for this word. It is everywhere. After the elections, I read this poem and was moved.

I lift my voice aloud,
make Mantra of American language now,
I here declare the end of the War!
Let the States tremble,
let the Nation weep,
let Congress legislate its own delight
let the President execute his own desire--
this Act done by my own voice,
published to my own senses,
blissfully received by my own form
approved with pleasure by my sensations
manifestation of my very thought
accomplished in my own imagination
all realms within my consciousness fulfilled

Communism. Another 9 letter word. If I was born in a different time how would things have been different?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Well it was a fun weekend at N.E.R.D, I'm officially a member. Along with the other 1,000 or so in attendance plus the Microsoft conference happening in the same hotel it may have been the highest concentration of geeks in glasses this side of the Mississippi (and yes I wore my glasses).

The conference got underway with a motivational speaker, Joey Cheeks, an olympic speed skater. After finding out who the speaker was, I was thrilled. I just couldn't wait to hear what wisdom this speed skater from North Carolina who is a couple years younger than me could impart and the motivation he would provide. Oh, plus I was just dying to hear all the great sport cliches (note the sarcasm). But I was pleasantly surprised. His thoughts very much echoed exactly what it was that I was feeling going into the week. Why do all this work? For what? His story was very different, but very much the same.

He talked about his years of training growing up and moving away from home to skate and be coached by the best. He talked about all the years spent preparing, the countless hours spent training on the ice and in the gym. All the people along the way who helped him get there. His coaches, his parents, a nutritionist, a sports pyscologist, a team of rocket scientists who designed a suit that cost $15k. All this time and effort to finally make it to the olympics and spend 30 seconds competing...all those years of preparing, a life spent focused on one thing...and only to be over in 30 seconds. In the end he was just, "a grown man in tights skating in circles." He spent all this time building up the story and then made you see that reaching his goal is not the most important thing to him.

I really felt like he was talking to me and it gave me some much needed perspective. I've spent so much time and had the support of so many people along the way; I've been working so hard I forgot to ask myself what is really important. It was good to be reminded that it is far better to be signficant than to be successful.

Friday, November 10, 2006


After what seems like an eternity of studying a bit of recognition this weekend. This weekend is the beginning of the annual Actuarial (N.E.R.D) conference in sunny California. This will be my first conference and my induction into the society.

I have spent countless hours in what has been a blur of studying and test-aking over the last four and a half years. I have never put so much effort towards anything...and this weekend I'm getting recognized for being ALMOST done. I have been thinking, has it been worth it? Will it have been worth it to have given up a large part of my 20s to get a couple lousy letters after my name that only 5 non-actuaries worldwide will know the significance of (plus or minus 3 people).

There are so many other things I could have been doing during that time, namely spending with my family and Zahra and other things for which there is never ENOUGH time. Time I can never get back. So many other pursuits given up.

I am a firm believer in the philosophy 'use your time now doing what's important' and though I respect the 'work hard now to emjoy later' camp, I can't understand them and would not want to be one of them. But am I one of them? Why spend all this time and energy on this? I don't really know the answers to these questions and it has been bugging me...but for now, I think I will just enjoy this weekend.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Wow, it's been a while.

For the first time in a while my mind feels free to wander and think about things not actuarial. I love learning and that is what drives me to study, but sometimes it's like a prison, stuck to the same thoughts and no mental energy to devote to anything else.

I have this new mental freedom, the best kind of freedom and I'm taking advantage of it. This freedom feels so new; I had forgotten what it felt like. I am in awe of this feeling and am going to hold on to it.