Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dying a Good Death

Dr. Randy Pausch spoke at Carnegie Mellon University yesterday, addressing his life as he prepares for his death. Within a few months, readers, it is likely that pancreatic cancer will claim him, turning him into another forgettable statistic.

It is unlikely, however, that those who were fortunate enough to know him will ever feel he's just another number or will ever forget him. After reading the Post-Gazette article on his presentation to the standing-room-only crowd, I doubt he'll be that to me either.

I'm currently teaching a psychology class where they're being put through the paces of goal-setting. I keep asking them for more details about their goals, pushing for them to make things concrete... and thus more attainable. Today I read them the article about him, discounting the fact that he bears the title of "CMU professor" because I don't want to give anyone reason to use his profession as an explanation for his achieving his goals.

It isn't, I told them, about titles. They don't mean a thing when it comes to your behavior.

Reaching your goals takes a high degree of discipline, regardless of your title or station in life. It takes a willingness to put yourself out there, to open up and say "here's my heart," and risk having it trod upon. Perhaps that's one of the reasons I exploded today in my English class. Why do people have to live down to the expectations of society? Why do they have to say "this is where I come from" and think that it's reasonable to repeat the cycle? All I want is for them to realize that they can do more then they realize.

Dr. Pausch is dying as admirably as anyone can. I hope that, when I'm his age, a young 46, I can look back at my life and find that I can go on with the same integrity he has today.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Site of the crash of Flight 93.
Shanksville, PA.

Six years later, a nation still mourns.
Six years later, we still find it incomprehensible.
Six years later, I look at my son and wonder when he'll ask:
Where were you, Mommy,
when they flew those planes into those buildings?
What was it like that day?
Were you with Daddy? Were you scared?
Those will be difficult to field, depending on his age, but I'll manage to answer.
I'll say something motherly and comforting
because that's my job
and I'm going to protect him for all I can,
for as long as I can.
It's that other question that will get me:
Why did they do that, Mommy?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Six-two-oh! Oh la la!

Six hundred and twenty points!

Glorious, glorious number! One step closer to fulfilling those admission requirements for Duquense University.

THAT number, by the way, is my math score on the GRE, which I took this past Saturday. I loathe those things, you know.

This was the celebratory e-mail sent to some:

OVER and DONE with. It took three long hours today. Somehow I did NOT get a headache, though I was so light-headed at one point I began to wonder about the policy on fainting at the keyboard.

For the record, I have never been this uptight in my life about academics and tests. Ever. I got a 620 on the math, if I remember correctly. Don't know what that means yet, to be honest.

As long as I don't have to square it, divide it, or find out what happens when it goes 50 mph in 20 minutes while my verbal score goes 49 kph in 30 minutes, I'm as happy as happy can be for now. Just wanted to let y'all know... and wanted to thank you for putting up with my nerves this week (some more then others).

Have a nice day! :)

(I know I will, now that I know it's an acceptable score for admission and that I needn't retake it!)