I’m embarrassed. It’s Tuesday, and these are yesterday’s musings, but I ran out of time at work to finish and post them.
Today’s musings are all positive, because that’s all I want to focus on. =) Herein I discuss recent astronomy-related and life-related achievements I’ve met.
The last several nights have been decent, on the astronomy front. I finally printed out a planesphere, and I’ve been taking it outside with me to study the constellations. Prior to actually using said planesphere, I had been trying to learn them by looking at references online, then trying to match up the sky with those references in my head, without a printed copy. This is extremely difficult, and I had no luck at all. Part of the problem is that these references are all flat.
The sky is not flat, of course. It’s useful to think about it the way the ancients did – as a dark spinning dome dotted with pinpoints of light, with Polaris at its axis. A projection is used to translate from polar coordinates (which is how stars are addressed) to Cartesian coordinates (a regular X/Y grid). Essentially what you get is a view where the center of the projection represents the zenith (the point in the sky directly overhead), and the edge of the projection represents the horizon. On one page, you can see the entire sky as if it had been flattened. The consequence of this projection is that constellations appear stretched out the closer they get to the horizon – that is, the outer edge of the projection.
Matching up the sky to a planesphere, I’ve found, is difficult until you get the hang of it – but it’s even more difficult when you’re trying to do the projection in your head. I learned nothing about the constellations by trying to do this – but when I brought an actually planesphere out with me last Thursday night, I was amazed by how much I was able to learn.
I was able to identify and trace, in the sky, the following constellations: Cassiopeia, Ursa Minor, Gemini, Orion, Cepheus, Pegasus, Andromeda (though I’m still sketchy on this; maybe better with darker skies), Auriga, Cygnus, Taurus, and I’m almost there with Lacerta and Cetus. Among the stars I can name by sight now are Polaris, Vega, Betelgeuse, Bellatrix, Rigel, Castor, Pollux, Sirius, Deneb, and Albiero. I know the locations of one star cluster, the Pleiades, and I know how to locate the Orion Nebula (M42) and the Andromeda galaxy (M31) although they’re too dim to see – at least until I get my dream telescope. =D
It’s been an exciting time for me, now that my body’s finally feeling well enough to get excited again. =) It’s better than getting back to normal again – I feel I’m becoming a better person. I spend more time with my kids, playing with them, and they’re happier around me. I’m learning how to be patient again.
Caspian for example is very much into his two’s, and he’s difficult to deal with when he doesn’t get his way. My usual response was to get very frustrated and give up. Lately, with the recovery, I haven’t really been able to cope with him – but during these past several days I’ve noticed that I tend to keep my calm around him even when he’s literally flopping around on the ground in his fit. I’ve also noticed that he responds to me better when I’m calm, and he either doesn’t get to the flopping around stage, or it happens – then it’s over.
I know all this stuff already, and it’s somewhat frustrating to my inner self that I have to go through it again as though I were a newbie to this child-raising stuff. I’m not. We went through some very entertaining fits with Kaylee at this age, and Scarlett before her, so I should be an old hat.
But the way I’ve acted in the past is exactly that – the past. I can’t change it, no matter how much wishing I do. The only thing I can do is make what peace I can with it, then leave it behind. This isn’t just me being philosophical or motivational – this is the literal, physical truth: the past cannot be changed; it is immutable. Knowing this is powerful, because it does more than give me permission to live my life. It forces me to decide between my past and my present/future. I’ve chosen my past for far too long – I don’t intend to continue making that same tired mistake.
This is true for everyone, by the way. I’m not special – if I can do this, anyone can. It’s a matter of choice. You can make yourself the person you want to be by deciding to be. It takes hard work and willpower – and honesty with yourself – but it is possible.
I need to do some more thinking on the precise mechanism by which I’m making these changes in my life. I want to try and document this – partly for my (so far mostly imaginary) readership, but mostly for myself, in case I forget. That’s a real danger for me, you see.
I end this Monday (Tuesday!) Musing with a word to a friend who I don’t want to lose: I don’t need to know the specific details of what happened in your past, because it doesn’t matter. You are allowed to live a happy life if you want to.