Yes, Virginia, Scientists Are Human.

Loved this story about the human side of science and how we can encourage all children to develop an interest into the fascinating world of how we learn and how we know things about this pale blue dot that we live on and the cosmos around it.

https://one.npr.org/i/918864226:918902097

Hope you might enjoy this story too.

We obviously have a long way to go in order for all children, regardless of their circumstance or where they come from, are ‘brought to the table’ so to speak.

Thanks for stopping by.

Drew

Liftable Moments

View this post on Instagram

Just finished this audiobook by Melinda Gates. Every chapter was riveting and yet repugnant in the sense that our history of how women have been treated on this planet is abominable. As I remarked earlier, I would not normally have been interested in a book about women. Again, not that I have anything against women, just that my reading interests usually center around science and self-help these days. But the blinders so to speak have been removed from my eyes and I found Gates’s book a profound and important read. I think the most heart wrenching stories for me came from Melinda’s accounts of the sex worker trade in India and how women there have so few choices to make to feed their children. If you can’t muster any sympathy for these women after listening to these stories, I’m not sure you’ll be able to muster sympathy for much else. We live in a world of competing sympathies I know. There is so much that vies for our attentions and our concern. I think the most poignant sentence in this book for me was Melinda’s revelation that women ultimately have a much greater ability to ‘absorb pain’ compared to most men. Not all men, just most. She wrote that sentence in the context of ending warfare for world peace. Women seem to have advanced abilities to not inflict ‘eye for an eye’ justice, rather justice that doesn’t continue the cycle of violence. We could definitely use Melinda’s moment of lift for all girls growing up on our planet, as well as all boys. We also need it for those whose gender is more fluid and not as easily defined by current cultural norms. We can do this. We have the capability as humans to sympathize and empathize with our fellow humans. My hope is that we can all use this ‘superpower’ of ours if you will to lift one another up and not tear each other down. I hope you’ll take a moment to listen/read this incredible piece of writing. Again, if only you have time for the 1st chapter it’s so worth it. Thanks for stopping by, Drew🙏 #melindagates #themomentoflift #thoughtsandthingsifindinteresting

A post shared by Drew Mather (@drew_mather) on

Some hope on the horizon

At a time when hope can seem like a rare commodity, I just discovered this black woman’s work in agriculture and wanted to share in the case you may not have heard about her.

I am renewed in spirit for what I see others doing around me like this farmer to bring that much needed hope to the masses (see links below).

I started listening to a podcast last night called ‘To The Best Of Our Knowledge’ from Wisconsin Public Radio, co-founded and hosted by Anne Strainchamps.

Absolutely wonderful journalism and storytelling.

They featured a black woman farmer by the name of Leah Penniman who farms in New York State.

The episode’s title ‘Growing Justice’ caught my eye (see link below):

https://www.ttbook.org/show/growing-justice

Leah’s story and her way of telling her own story is so inspiring.

After listening to her speak on the podcast interview I found her farm’s website (see link below):

Our Team

, and then a Today Show interview she did (see link below):

https://www.today.com/today/amp-video/mmvo73291845637

There is SO much hope that springs from her and those around her.

Had to share.

Would love to hear your thoughts if you get a chance to check out this podcast episode and/or this interview from The Today Show.

Pretty powerful stuff.

Turns out justice, dignity, respect, and yes, even money, does grow on trees, as well as the soil the trees are growing in.

Thanks for stopping by🙏

Link to a public post on my Facebook page (see below):

https://m.facebook.com/603705000/posts/10164762138990001?d=n&sfns=mo

Quick posts from Instagram and Facebook

Took a walk to get outside and found myself going inward 🙂 Thanks John Muir 🙂

View this post on Instagram

Been a while I know. Hope everyone’s hanging in there🙏 I’ve had some health and work issues that have prevented me from getting back to my 50 @ 50 challenge training. Hoping to resume here in the next few days. I took an early AM walk this morning down to the beach. Saw a few things that caught my eye and made me start thinking about the concept of resilience. I’ve been hearing that term alot lately. I’ve walked by the plants in these pictures many times since we moved to La Selva Beach back in 2011. 9 years this December. Hard to believe it’s been that long. The 1st plant growing right next to the railroad tracks is I think a lupine based on the pods and leaf arrangement. The other plant on the beach with the pretty purplish flowers is an unknown to me in terms of a name. I also liked the juxtaposition of the tiny purple flowering plant growing in nearly 0% organic matter soil (ie. Beach sand) next to an eroded storm water outlet structure that’s clearly had better days. What really stood out to me this morning was just how inhospitable (from my vantage point) the environment that these plants were growing, and, seemingly thriving. Blooming where we’re planted is often a phrase I hear about humans and how we must strive to make our lives meaningful where we are currently. These resilient plants are helping me see that today. I want to have roots that can thrive even in the most stressful of conditions. I have a lot to learn from these plants I think. My late friend Tricia McCauley would have probably had some interesting things to share about these plants. RIP dear Tricia. I better get to learning about these plants while I still have breath. Thanks for reading this, and, as always, thanks for stopping by. Kindest regards, Drew #resilience #earlymorningwalk #plantmoreplants #neverforgettriciamccauley #plantsaremagic #lookingup #plantshealingpeople #plantshealinglandscapes

A post shared by Drew Mather (@drew_mather) on

And, as always, thanks for stopping by,

Drew

Meditation, Atomic Habits, Hamilton, Michelle Obama, and Black Lives Matter

Started back meditating today.

It’s been a while.

Only 3 minutes, but it helped (above picture is what you get if you do the 3 minute ‘Breathe’ mediation on the Headspace App).

I’ve been rereading (actually listening to the audiobook for free on my Libby app thru my local library) a book called ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear that talks about just tiny changes to our daily routines that can really add up over many days, months, and years of developing these tiny habits.

The book is excellent and I highly recommend it.

I started developing not so productive habits over the past few months since getting some health diagnoses that held me back from exercising in the ways that I wanted to (running, biking, surfing).

I’ve had to rethink how I do exercise.

I’ve had to rethink a great many things.

In the interim, I finished watching the broadway play ‘Hamilton’ for the 1st time this week on Disney+

If you know me, you’ll know I am really not a big fan of the theatre.

I can definitely appreciate a good play with good actors, but it’s not something I particularly enjoy.

I’ve tried to figure out why I’ve felt this way about the theatre over the course of my life, but I’m not exactly sure why.

I think some of it may have something to do with growing up with two parents who were in the theatre and feeling a bit of pressure to try and please them. The pressure not coming from them, but just from the situation itself.

Some may be from an experience as a teenager trying out for a role and not getting it.

I think some of it may be working at a campground on my summers during college with my best friend where he and the bulk of the people I worked with were in a nightly play all summer long, and were just all so super talented at what they did and I just didn’t feel like I belonged in the group. Again, not from them. They tried to make me feel welcome. I simply chose not to feel welcome.

Again, just not sure on any one particular reason for my aversion.

Maybe like the message conveyed in Atomic Habits, it was a collection of atomic negative experiences that led to my own current thinking on the topic.

Regardless of the reasons, I’ve remained someone who resists going to the theatre to watch a play unless it’s my kid acting in it, or another family or friend.

My sister’s the complete opposite of me in this regard. She excelled in theatre as we were growing up together.

She’s been raving about this play to me for many, many years.

She took her whole family to see it live in New York. I didn’t quite understand why at the time it was so important to do so.

Now I do.

My wife told me last weekend it was streaming on Disney+ and that we should watch it together as a family.

The Hamilton wave finally crashed upon my shore.

And, my aversion therapy began.

Tuesday night of this past week I finished watching the cinematic filming of ‘Hamilton’; written and acted out by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

I think Michelle Obama summed it up best when she said of Hamilton that ‘It was simply the best piece of art, in any form, that I have ever seen in my entire life!’ (4:52 into the video)

Michelle, I could not agree more with you on that assessment.

I echo your words a 1000 times over.

IT. WAS. THAT. GOOD.

I’ll be going back to the songs and the spirit of that play until my dying days I’m fairly sure.

My favorite song is Aaron Burr’s ‘Wait For It‘ sung by the immensely talented actor, singer, and dancer, Leslie Odom Jr.

Miranda’s masterpiece is a gift to the Universe, and our pale blue dot to not let our days here be spent without sharing our unique talents, without giving of ourselves to others.

My wish today is for us all to embody the spirit of Miranda’s Hamilton of working hard and spending time each day to love those around us, to bring kindness to those around us. To see that our Nation and all Nations here on this pale blue dot bring everyone together, and everyone along a path of compassion and respect for all beings, that we don’t exclude anyone.

Thanks as always for stopping by.

P.S. The #50at50challenge is still on. I have a little over 3 months to get ready. With my current health condition I may have to cut back a bit on the bike and running miles, and do more paddling miles.

We’ll see.

Will keep you all posted.

Thanks for your support.

I also, in the aftermath of the murders of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor and others, I feel the need to make this #50at50challenge an opportunity to bring more awareness to the plight of our black brothers and sisters and others who may not identify as a brother or a sister.

For every mile you run/walk/paddle with me (either remotely or in person) on October 14th, 2020, would you pledge with me to give $1 to a charity/non-profit of your choice working to end racism and hate and fear on our Pale Blue Dot?

Thank you🙏

#neverforgetgeorgefloyd

#neverforgetahmaudarbery

#neverforgetbreonnataylor

#blacklivesmatter

#learnyourhistory

#dontbeafraidofyourhistory

#watchhamiltonthemusicaltoday

#linmanuelmiranda

#alexanderhamilton

#michelleobama

#practiceloveandkindnesstoall

#50at50challenge

For Ahmaud

www.npr.org/2020/05/13/853962473/poetry-callout-write-a-poem-for-ahmaud-arbery

A poignant piece worth every 5 minutes and 11 seconds.

Stunning.

One love indeed, Kwame.

We need love now more than ever.

An Ode to Ahmaud

I never knew you.

But I am now responsible for you.

I watched a PBS news hour report this past week showing your last moments on this pale blue dot of a planet.

My son reacted, ‘Whoa!’

You ran in front of that white truck not thinking it would be your last run, your last few strides on our shared planet.

The men in that truck full of hatred and fear put bullets into your body and ceased your life energy that would have brought you back home to your mother.

You are the same age as one of our family friends who sometimes watches our son and he loves and looks up to.

We still have so much to do to educate the masses on our planet who don’t stop to think about what their hatred and fear and unkindness does to everyone around them.

Ahmaud Arbery, your life is not over.

The energy that once flowed through you still flows.

Your energy is magnified.

Others, including myself, will not forget you.

A call to kindness and compassion toward all living beings is needed at this moment.

One love, one people, one very small pale blue dot for us all to survive on.

Let us all remember Ahmaud and how hatred and fear towards ourselves and others make existence here a living hell.

Let us also remember how love, kindness, and compassion make it a heaven on earth.

You are missed, Ahmaud.

You are missed, you are loved, and your life and its being brought to an end so abruptly and so violently will never be forgotten.

Rest in peace dear Ahmaud while the rest of us get to work not resting until there is peace.

Ants Marching Again

I had a person reach out to me last night through my work email for help in finding work. Recent college grad, no notice from her employer. laid off. Has an environmental background.

I get these emails periodically from people who are looking to get into the environmental science field.

But, we’re not in normal times, and these emails are coming in more rapidly than in times past.

I wrote this person back an email trying to encourage them and giving them some, what I hoped, were helpful tips and places to start looking.

I always try and remember what it was like for me when I was starting out. Man, I needed the longest runway to take off, and to be completely honest, I’m STILL sputtering with my little prop plane to stay up in the air.

There are a few songs that I always go to when I’m having a rough go of things, turbulence 🙂 if you will…

Actually there are 3.

The first two, I mentioned to this person.

These are ‘Sunny Hours‘ by the Long Beach Dub All Stars and ‘Change Your Mind’ by Sister Hazel.

The third, I thought of after I sent the email. Will send it along to this person too in a follow up email.

It’s this 3rd song that I’d like to just share a few thoughts…

Dave Matthews and his Band have been around a while. This song that I go to time and time again has been around since the 90s.

It’s also a song that I blogged about a few years back; May 12, 2017 to be exact.

I watched a live version of this song (click HERE) this morning and was struck by 4 things:

1. How MANY people this band was reaching just in the park they were playing,

2. How DIVERSE the bandmates were, not just in their ethnicities, but all their instruments too,

3. How much FUN they all seemed to be having playing music together, and…

4. How many combined hours of musical practice and just plain old HARD WORK were represented up on stage.

Finally, it’s the message that I get from this song to not let myself get ‘stuck in a rut’ so to speak, and to not keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. But, at the same time, remembering to have compassion on myself and others that we’re all ants marching and “doing it the same way.”

I hope you’ll maybe watch this 7 min 32 second video sometime, and find some inspiration as I did this morning.

Would love to hear your thoughts if you do.

Thanks for stopping by.

Drew

Some sayings and concepts I’ve found helpful as of late that I thought I’d share

1. Practice kindness.

Sounds easy, right? Well, I’ve found it to be one of the most difficult things to do on a consistent basis. Kindness requires persistent mindfulness of my thoughts and actions. A fairly difficult task when life happens. I fail miserably at this, but I continue to try to practice this simple act. As the Dalai Lama says, kindness is his religion.

2. When you have kids, if you’re raising them with a partner, that partner will change in ways you never imagined. And alot of that change won’t sit well with you.

A special thanks to my cousin Meredith for cluing me in on this one 🙂

I’ve never forgotten her advice to me right after I got married. I’ve most certainly struggled remembering it when I’m ‘in it’; those special ‘heated’ discussions you can have with your significant other. But, overall, I do tend to come back to my cousin’s sage foreshadowing over and over again.

Just be ready for the changes as best you can, and try to remember it when you’re ‘in it’ and carefully back peddle away from getting further ‘in it’.

Also try and remember there’s ALWAYS a reason why your partner acts the way that they do.

They’re human, just like you. And, they’ve had alot of conditioning and ways of navigating their world that are difficult for anyone who isn’t that person to understand.

Also, applying kindness to the situation as in #1 above really helps. Again, I fail miserably at this, yet, I keep trying.

3. Eat food, not too much, mostly plants, and mostly those that grow close to, or actually IN the soil itself (I’m looking at you carrots and potatoes).

A special thanks to Michael Pollan for this one from his book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

4. Try to carve out at least 10 minutes of EVERY day for exercise where you sweat just a little bit.

Thanks to Matthew McConaughey for this tip.

Just 10 min can keep you from spiraling down a rabbithole of unhealthy habits.

Trust me.

I’ve failed at this one MANY, MANY times.

Also, if you can, try and do your 10 minutes 1st thing in the morning after you get up.

That is unless you absolutely, positively feel that doing exercise in the middle or at the end of the day is better for your body.

My partner falls in this latter category.

I’ve had to learn the hard way not to push my early morning ways onto my partner.

There’s probably another big life lesson about marriage in that last sentence 😉

So…that’s it.
My four things that I wanted to share that have helped me as of late as I begin my 49th trip around this beautiful star that we call ‘the Sun’ on this gorgeous pale blue dot of a planet that we call ‘the Earth’.
Thanks for stopping by. 
Drew

A splendid concept

Today, on a podcast I listen to occasionally called ‘The Splendid Table‘, chef, Sean Brock shared an interesting idea about how he’s come to think about community.

At about 44 minutes and 30 seconds into the interview, Sean shares with the interviewer, Francis Lam, that he’s been reading alot from a psychologist named Alfred Adler.

And from his readings, Sean’s come to focus on community in its smallest unit; two people.

If your smallest community unit isn’t going well, Sean shares that he’s come to believe that there’s a good chance your larger community units (i.e. organizations, business ventures, friendships, work relationships) won’t fare that well either.

He speaks from experience apparently.

Intriguing to say the least.

His advice…try and figure out how to make your most immediate community unit work and thrive before spending too much time going out and trying to figure out your other larger community units.

I like it for its simplicity.

I think this concept is actually a pretty splendidly clever way to put things in perspective with how we interact with each other.

We, myself very much included, tend to want to go out and seek other respites from our immediate communities.

And yet, maybe…juuust maybe…we’re missing out on some greater lessons these smallest of communities provide?

I’d like to spend more time this week with this new concept…making sure my table is set, so to speak, for my most immediate of community members, and that my table setting makes sure that my immediate community members get my full attention 🙂

What do you think?

As always, thanks for stopping by.

Drew

A High School Student’s Speech That Made Me Want To…Practice…Yes, Practice :) Allen Iverson eat your heart out ;0

My old college roommate and dear friend, Rob Archer, sent me this link of his son’s valedictorian speech, and his own speech at his son’s high school graduation in June of this year.

You’ll probably want to jot this guy’s name down, Brenden Archer.

Yeah, this kid’s something special.

https://youtu.be/ZjDz-8otPmI

I know I’m a bit late in sharing this, and despite it being over 4 months ago, I still feel it’s important to share this speech with you.

I hope you’ll find his words as inspiring and refeshing as I did when I first heard them 4 months ago.

Again, apologies I’m just now sharing this.

Brenden’s speech starts at, go figure, 20 minutes and 19 seconds into the ceremony 🙂

My friend, Rob, who is an English teacher at Brenden’s now former high school, Shadle Park, was invited to speak by the students and faculty; a very high honor.

Rob’s speech begins at 26 minutes and 50 seconds into the ceremony, and is inspiring and refreshing in its own right.

There are many bright moments in Brenden’s speech, but there is one that sticks out prominently with me; his reference to Allen Iverson, aka AI, the former NBA point guard for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Rob and I got such a kick out of Iverson’s ‘Practice’ rant to the sports media back in 2002; Brenden’s 1st full year on this pale blue dot.

And now, in that transfer of knowledge from father to son, Brenden’s taken the Iverson practice rant and given it his own ‘Archer Analytics’ if you will.

Analytics that I hope my own son one day will take heed.

Practice leads to great things, and is Brenden’s central message.

Brenden, you are a testament to practice , to hard work, to determination, and to diligence.

All of these qualities I saw in your Dad the first year I met him in August of 1988 on a long E dorm room hallway at Furman University (where I believe a few rounds of ‘death frisbee’ may have been played).

Brenden, congratulations on a remarkable high school career!

From academics to athletics, you excelled mightily.

I know your parents and your whole family are incredibly proud of you, and how you’ve conducted yourself.

I still remember the time you guys came down to visit us in 2014.

You were 13 years old, and so kind to Matthew who was only 6 at the time.

You brought a small drum with you to do what you talked about in your speech…practice.

We’re talking about practice 🙂

Yep, and you kept practicing and getting better and better at that drum.

And now…look at you.

A practicing musician made perfect.

Or at least perfect in the sense that you are enjoying making music for yourself and others.

Again, a lot to be proud of there.

You were only 2 years old when I met you in Long Beach, CA for the 1st time. You and your Mom and Dad were living in Oceanside, CA.

Chihiro and I had only been married a year. Your Mom and Dad about 3 years.

I actually hadn’t seen your Dad and Mom in about 3 years since their wedding.

What a fun, quick, yet very memorable dinner that was for me to get to meet one of my dearest friends on the planet’s new son.

You lit up the room then, and you’re still doing it 16 years later.

Look out world!

Brenden’s graduated from high school, and he’s taking his ‘light show’ on the road.

Brenden, I know there are many out there who need your light, and are comforted to know your light is out there, and that it shines so bright.

I’m definitely one of those folks.

Thank you, Brenden!

And thank you, Rob, dear friend, and Kristi, Rob’s partner on this long journey, for raising such a wonderful human being!

Here’s to many more accolades in the future for you all 🙂

My kindest and humblest regards,

Drew

(A sand tennis protégé to Brenden Archer who is in need of much…much…you guessed it…practice 😊)