Faith vs Fear

Faith vs Fear

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Words vs. Numbers

I am taking a communications research and statistics class this semester. It's almost the last class I need to get my BA in Mass Communication. I delayed taking it until the end because I really am not good with numbers. (And how I ended up being in charge of family finances is beyond me!) I enjoyed the first part of the class on the theory of research in communication. In fact, I was feeling proud of myself because I got an A on the first test. But now we're heading into the actual math and statistics part of the class, and I'm nervous (actually, terrified is a better word). Which is why entries here may be sporadic until mid-May when I'll be done with this class.
It's interesting to me how genetics works: My grandfather graduated with honors for his masters degree in math from Berkeley during the 1920s. He also taught advanced math and science classes when he was the principal and school superintendent in his small Idaho town. I swear I was somewhere else in heaven when math genes were handed out, but they did end up with one of my sons. Ben is finishing up his masters degree in nuclear engineering and took most of the advanced math classes the university offers.
A few months ago we had a discussion on the relative merits of math and language:
"But math is so logical, Mom!" he said.
All I could say is, "It may be logical to you, son, but it's Greek to me."
When I countered that language is much easier to understand, he brought up all the exceptions to the rules in grammar. I couldn't argue the point.
What I struggle with is all the various formulas that have to be followed exactly in order to come up with the right answer.
We did agree that it's a good thing there are a wide variety of talents and personality types. Can you imagine a world filled only with mathematicians? Or for that matter, grammarians? or artists? or lawyers? or mechanics? or musicians?
David got the results of the blood tests he took last month. He's still low on lithium, so the Dr. increased the dosage. He also added depakote to help with the hallucinations. David is finally going from getting little sleep to having some sleep, and his moods are doing better.
He was a little stressed last weekend when he forgot to take his meds one night. He started obsessing (again) about my health, and what would he do if something happened to me. I would be flattered, except I know it's because he's more concerned about his own welfare than he is about my well-being. It is, however, a good reminder to get our financial house in order. That task is just simply going to have to wait until this math class is done. I can only deal with so much at once!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Time Management

One of the challenges that I struggle with is how to manage my time to get everything done that I would like. I work full time, have a small part-time evening job with David and our youngest daughter, go to school part-time to finish a degree, and try to take care of the house, the family budget, church assignments, etc. And that doesn't even count the other things that I want to do to take care of myself, or even do more research about mental health issues. It's easy to get overwhelmed, and I have to remind myself that I do not need to get every thing done at once, and that it's important to celebrate small successes. I like this reminder found in the Book of Mormon: "And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength." (Mosiah 4:27.)
I read an article about procrastination several months ago, and posted this on my wall: "What's the best thing you could be working on, and why aren't you?"
Sometimes that "best thing" is relaxing and playing. During the last few weeks I have been focusing more on the tasks I need to do during the week, and then slowing the pace down during the weekend. We've been able to visit with our children and grandchildren who live nearby, as well as with our Sailor son and his wife when they came home last weekend.
We also make a point of attending our Sunday church meetings. David goes as often as his health allows, and I go regularly because I have found that it gives me the peace and strength I need for the coming week. I've noticed that his moods aren't as severe during the week when we have a calmer weekend schedule.
I really don't like time management systems; I am a Type B personality and would rather stop and smell the roses than be tied to a hard and fast schedule. For a long time I could hardly even look at a printed day planner, although now I can use one when I absolutely have to.
My first husband loved making schedules and lists, and at one point insisted that I record what I was doing every 15 minutes. It nearly drove me crazy. I had three very young children, and we were living in a small, married-student apartment. I was also struggling badly with post-partum depression, and didn't know what was wrong with me. On one particularly bad day I heard the song "Garden Party" by Rick Nelson. I love the song, and especially related to the line: "You see, you can't please everyone, so you've got to please yourself." I decided that I had had enough of schedules, and threw mine out. It was one of the best things I ever did for myself.
This was before the onslaught of time management systems and day planners. It's too bad that he didn't market his ideas; he could have made a fortune.