Operation Building and Unbuilding: Part One

Why not?
Let’s operate on Operation. Why not?

posted by Beret

Age Range: 7 and up

Things break all of the time at our house. Luckily I’m married to Mr. Fix-it, and very few weeks pass that we don’t put his title to the test. He has tackled the dishwasher, the dryer, the oven, the car, the disposal and–albeit reluctantly–the computer. That sort of tinkering is extremely helpful. When everything seems to be working, however, he finds something unbroken to fix. For example, he is constantly rewiring our home entertainment system so that, yet again, I don’t know how to turn on the TV or work the stereo. I find that irritating. He just finds it unbelievable that I can’t figure it all out myself.

Lately, I have been wondering: what was different about his upbringing that helped him to see the world through the eyes of an engineer?

I asked him what he did in his spare time as a child, and he proceeded to tell me a story about secretly removing the brakes from his bicycle and embarking on a variety of death-defying activities. He was twelve years old. This gave me pause. “You took off your brakes? How did you know how to do that?” “I didn’t,” he said, but that certainly didn’t stop him. He took everything apart: watches, clocks, whatever he could get his hands on.

I THINK THIS IS THE KEY.  Taking things apart is an excellent way to figure out how they work and how you might build or change them. It’s not just my humble opinion, either. I started doing a little research, and discovered all kinds of resources and programs that include tinkering as a way to develop conceptual development.    Continue reading “Operation Building and Unbuilding: Part One”

On Loss, Grief, Cats, and Picture Books

posted by Gina

Stella Cat turned 16 in August.  We brought her home from the pound when I was just a few months out of college, so small she slept in her food dish.  She’s seen me through love, loss, divorce, uncertainty, joy, and a cross-country move.  She is the love of my life.  She is not doing very well this week.

The vet is cautiously optimistic, but I know that even if she comes home this time, I’m facing the reality of losing her in the fairly near future.

Stella Cat, studiously ignoring the paparazzi.

In many ways, for many of us, these loves are more personal, more profound, than any other relationships we have.  For those without a pet, there are no words to explain this strangely deep and meaningful connection.  The logical triviality of it (“it’s just a pet!”) doesn’t measure up to this kind of grief.    Continue reading “On Loss, Grief, Cats, and Picture Books”

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