Tuesday, June 30, 2009

In over my head and the science project of a lifetime...

I need to help approximately 10-20 seven-ten year olds create a giant (and by giant...I mean truly GIANT) model of our galaxy-- yes, I meant galaxy, not solar system-- in a very large hall at the church.

And I need to do it on a pretty restricted budget, no more than a couple hundred dollars.

The challenges include:

1. The galaxy is, well, giant, and I need basically a map of it even though it isn't fully mapped.

2. Since there isn't a complete map, I need to decide what is important to demonstrate about the galaxy, and figure out a way to demonstrate those elements first and foremost. I am thinking the vastness is a start, but there are more specific scientific points that shouldn't probably be demonstrated.

3. Hopefully, the galaxy will be hung. I have to figure out what to use for materials. Balloons, beach balls, styrofoam balls...?? At first I was thinking that each would represent a star or planet, and that we would create a "condensed"/mini/unfinished version of the galaxy, but I am realizing after looking at the second picture here that it might be better and would definitely be more accurate to use each one for a solar system...perhaps sharpie pens to mark the systems??

Oh, and I have been researching and strategizing for a while, but it is coming down to the wire. I have two weeks to get this figured out and set up. Ack! Help!!!!!! I need some good advice, tips, ideas, and suggestions, and it can't include "give up."

Here are the links I've found helpful or awe-inspiring so far, aside from the fantastic one above, with the picture:

Monday, June 22, 2009

Another Random Treasure From an Unrelated Internet Search

Check this out...here are free online yoga classes, with videos. Looks like it could be a wonderful resource!


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Divinity School Applications

I have convinced myself there is no way I can get into Harvard, let alone get the required massive financial aid to go (not to mention get the part-time student status required, which will require a special exemption). In case I get the courage to apply, I woke up in the middle of the night the other night and scribbled out a first draft of a "statement of purpose," one of the items required for admission to Harvard's Master of Divinity program.

It felt really genius at the time, but as with most "2:00am writing," if I use anything from it at all, it will need a lot of work.

Meanwhile, I thought I could do myself a favor by putting out an initial request for my letters of recommendation, even though the school does not yet have its recommendation letter forms (which it specifies it needs) online for next year's applicants. While I was online looking for the forms, however, I read something I apparently missed previously: "At least TWO of these letters must be solicited from college, university, or seminary professors who have taught the applicant and are therefore well acquainted with the applicant's academic qualifications." Ah, shit.

I graduated from my most recent school experience in 2001, if memory serves. Since that time, the program I was in underwent a serious overhaul, and I just went searching online to discover that *none* of the faculty from my days in attendance are with the university anymore. So now I have to go hunt them down, and hope that I can find them, and then hope that they are doing something that will look good to freaking HARVARD on letterhead. And THEN hope that they actually remember me (I was an outstanding student of course, LOL, but who knows...their names have since faded from my own memory, so I wouldn't blame them if the same was true for them in regards to me).

Not only that, but suddenly I am starting to wonder if I was supposed to send a thank you note to the Harvard professor who allowed me to sit in on his class (oops!). And if I shot myself in the foot with my inability to attend more classes than I did.

Cold feet time. I am feeling really defeated, and I've hardly begun. My goal was to work through most of the application materials (as well as FASFA materials, etc. for financial aid) over the summer, so that in the fall, when the application is published, I can focus on that. The fall is an immensely busy time at work in any case, and I figured I was doing myself a favor.

But I am terrified, and that makes me simultaneously obsess and procrastinate. Not a good combo!

I think it would help if I could get my self to stop imagining all the other grand candidates. I am who I am. But suddenly the statistics I referenced a few months ago look different. Before I saw:

Applied 677
Admitted 253
Incoming 160
MDiv 50
MTS 100
ThD 6
ThM 4

...and thought, "hey 253 out of 677 isn't bad at all. And since most of the incoming students are MTS students, there probably weren't that many MDiv applicants."

But now I look at it, and think, my chances of being admitted could hover somewhere in the 60-70% range, and probably plenty of those admitted last year didn't get necessary financial aid, because of those that were admitted, about 40% aren't going. Besides, what if there were plenty of MDiv applications, but they just don't accept as many into the program so my chances are even less. Or what if they gave out less financial aid for those studies or...(ad nauseum).

By the way, if you are curious, all the application materials are listed about 1/5 or 1/6 of the way down this page: http://www.hds.harvard.edu/afa/apply/requirements.html.

(I am assuming if I prepare all these materials, I'll have most everything I'll need for the other school to which I am applying as well.)

The big question is, will I apply or won't I?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Politically, about Obama, I feel...patient

While searching a TOTALLY unrelated topic on the web, I came across this blog: http://www.emilytroutman.blogspot.com/, and on it, this video: http://emilytroutman.blogspot.com/2009/01/president-obama-inauguration-words-for.html.

Watching the video, I was most touched by those who used the word "human" to describe their feelings in the days after Obama's election. Now, about six months later, the question still seems relevant enough...and my answer would still be one of those from the list:


It was hard to know, in November, whether we should congratulate Obama on winning or send him our sympathies. What a mess! So far, steady feet. Not perfection. I didn't expect that. Not "everything I could ever agree with and nothing else." I didn't expect that either. But steady feet, humble but strong, thoughtful, and strategic leadership, and a genuine effort at leadership with integrity. I am feeling open, willing to participate, and patient.

And I thank Peacebang for her reaction to this photo, here, which I didn't mirror in enthusiasm, but could truly appreciate: http://www.peacebang.com/2009/06/04/i-hope-you-saw-this/