Fourier Analyst

Fourier Analysis is a mathematical tool which can do a number of things: separate out signals from noise; help identify patterns or trends in data; filter out all unwanted data and focus on a single signal; use approximations to make generalizations; make approximations of real world signals (think electronic music); combine harmonics to get a stronger signal. That's what I'll be trying to do here!! Won't you join me with your comments?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

"...put on your own oxygen mask before attempting to help those around you." If you have ever travelled on an airplane, you have heard those words or other similar emergency instructions. And if you are like me, you have listened to them and known they made sense. And Oprah has had various shows counseling the wisdom of such advice in other situations, the message being "Look after yourself first so that you can be in better shape to take care of others."

But whoever wrote those words obviously was not a mother. Sorry Oprah, I know you mean well, but until you have been a parent, you don't know what you are talking about. Or maybe you do, as I don't know the sacrifices you would be willing to make for your 4-footed babies.

It isn't just the daily interruptions: answering questions while we are on a phone call, missing our favorite TV programs in order to calm last-minute homework meltdowns, interrupting our bath ritual to stop a squabble between siblings, letting our kids have the last cookie or finish the ice cream telling ourselves we don't really need the dessert, forgoing that pair of shoes for ourselves so that we can afford to give our offspring that wardrobe item that would break our budget.

But tell me what mother, what parent for that matter would deny their child blood, bone marrow, kidney, lung liver, skin.... anything that could be given that would help their child in need. The costs in money, health, emotional distress, job security or anything else be damned.

We all do it. We consider it part of the job as a parent. You give yourself to your children and pay no attention to the toll it takes. And even when you do know, when you realize that you are on your last nerve, you are draining your batteries, that what you are doing or what your child is putting you through is raising your blood pressure, aging your body, greying your hair, making you a nervous wreck, driving you crazy...do you stop?

I don't know how you answer that question for yourself. I know that everyone has their own limits. But for me, as long as I hold out hope that whatever I am doing, all that I am going through, all the frustration and stress and worries and tantrums and breakdowns will eventually lead to a better life for my child and a light at the end of the tunnel (even if I can't see it), means that I will sacrifice myself, my health, my sanity, my self esteem, my happiness whatever it takes.

And make no mistake, dealing with a teenager means you sacrifice a lot. Dealing with a troubled teen means the cost can be very dear. Which is to say that my health is suffering. Weight problems, blood pressure issues, fatigue, listlessness, mood swings, low resistance to every germ and virus that comes around, etc. And while I know what causes it, and what I need to do about it, I have not yet gotten to the point where I can "put on my own mask first".

I know I need to. I plan to. One of these days I will. Soon. I promise. But right now I just don't come first. I blame Mother Nature.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Getting back on the horse...

I know. I've been gone. A while. Sorry. It was a lot longer than I expected. But tbh I just have not had the energy to do more than hold my life together with chewing gum and baling wire (at least that's how we fix things in Texas and that's how I feel like I've been surviving so far).

But if a life crisis has drawn me away from blogging, a mini-crisis has drawn me back. You see, I am losing one of my best mates here. And while we have not had the almost daily interaction that we once had as she already left me once to move a 40+ min drive away, I did get to see her on a regular basis and now I face the prospect that this will no longer be the case. And believe me I am kicking myself that I did not make more of the time in the past year to avail myself of her physical presence. Most of you readers know her just from the virtual world. I was blessed to play with her IRL. And believe me, you come away with your face hurting from smiling, your sides hurting from laughing, and your perspective on the world slightly askew just because she has made you see things in a different way.

One of the things she has opened my eyes to since I have known her is just how much my life here as an ex-pat is different from what it would be in the US. Her blog has basically been about her own experiences here and I identified with her a lot and also saw so much more of how I have adapted to my surroundings after 20+ years overseas. Some things are very frustrating and are part of the usual rants that ex-pats share when they get together. Others are very unique and enriching experiences that add so much to our lives.

So while I can in no way follow in the footsteps of my dear Jenn, one of the things she has taught me is that maybe I too have "Something to Say...".

So if you are here my dear readers.... "she's back!!"

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Out of the mouths of babes....

During our recent visit to Texas, my Netherlands-born children made some very astute observations about how different it is to the country they live in.

• DD2 said, "Mom, in Holland they have their flowers in the fields but in Texas they have them on the sides of the road and in the middle." For those of you who have not experienced Texas in the springtime, you don't know what you are missing!

• DD1 observed, "In the Netherlands and Germany you can always tell which buildings are the churches, they are always decorated and built different. But in Texas they all look like the Walmart." While she is not completely correct in her observation, her comment is a lot closer to the truth than I had realized. I didn't point out to her that Walmart is often where families go on Sunday instead of church...

• DD2 asked, "Mom, how come the cows in Texas are only one color?" Tbh, this is something I would have never noticed!