Color Blind

Buds and I have long been fascinated by the idea of how the words for color, or lack thereof, impact how color is perceived. There is a memorable story from our early life together of someone saying to us, “Why do you care so much about green anyway?!” after we had apparently talked too long about how people see color differences.

Finally, a study that supports and clarifies those discussions of long ago.

Color Vision

There is an embedded video that talks about a group of people in Namibia who don’t have separate colors for blue/green, and how that impacts what they can differentiate. Vice versa, they have different words for different types of green, which Westerners have a very difficult time discerning.

Words shape the brain…in so many ways.

Father’s Day

When Buds and I met, I was immediately so entranced, so enamored, so attracted, and so in love, I didn’t really think about if he’d be a good father to our children some day. We certainly talked about having children; I even remember the first time. He was driving me to the airport for my flight out East for Spring Break. I had planned the trip before I met him, and though I was excited to see Saffy and Barton, it was a wrench to be apart.

We’d been dating one month.

As we rode up the escalator, he was talking about our sons wearing cowboy boots. I turned to him and threw my arms around his neck. “Our sons.” I’d never planned a future with anyone before.

Now that we have a son; based on what I know of him at 8 years old, I don’t think cowboy boots are in his near future, but there are other hopes and dreams that may come to fruition.

Buds shared some of those hopes and dreams in church yesterday.

Let’s stop to think about that for a moment. My wonderful hubby, who didn’t grow up in a church, and for whom it was difficult to imagine finding a spiritual community that would feel nurturing and safe and invigorating, has found such a place of growth and connection at UUCF, that our pastor called and asked him to deliver one of the homilies about Father’s Day.

Three Dads spoke, and all did a lovely job. Buds got laughs, and a little throat tightening from us all.

Here are the words he spoke, and the video I took. I was so incredibly proud and grateful that others were given the opportunity to see what an amazing human he is…what an incredible Dad.


Wow. I’m Chris Gemignani. I normally spend my time hiding on the lee side of Jennie’s friendliness. This suits me well.

So Mary Katherine asked me to think about the joys of fatherhood. To share little stories and little wisdom about little ones. We have three kids; Zoe 9, Zachary 8, and little Noa (a girl!) 5.

I want to share two things about parenting that Jennie and I think about a lot. First, children must find their own path. There’s a joyterror in releasing control. Of letting them stray from sight, wander over a hill. John Hodgman has an advice show where he mediates disputes. John is a former correspondent for the Daily Show, the PC nerd in those old Mac vs. PC TV commercials.

Recently, a young couple appeared on his show. Two science nerds. They asked his judgement about where their kids should go to camp when they were of age. The father had been to sports camps and found them hierarchical, bullying societies. He wanted his kids to go to nerd camps. The mother, had that great American experience at her childhood camps. Canoeing, archery, swimming in cold lakes, campfires. She loved it and wanted her kids to have this experience, partly so their little nerdlings would have something in common with their classmates of the future.

In making his decision, John expressed the joyterror of letting kids find their own path better than I could, so I’ll borrow his words.

“You cannot repair your own psyche by forcing choices onto them that you wish you had made yourself. Nor can you become young again by forcing your children to relive the things you enjoyed the most in your life. All you can do is to give them tools that will allow them to better live in the world and to be attentive to the things that they are interested in, whether you like those things or not, and give them access to those things to the best of your ability and then hope for the best. “

Hope for the best.

Secondly, respect. We try to treat our little humans like little humans, worthy of our full attention. A dialog between someone who’s seen much of the world and someone who’s seen not so much. And seeing not as much of the world is a strength too. There’s a pure joy in learning new things, a lack of fear that comes with having felt fewer hurts. We teach and we listen and we learn.

As Zachary told Noa the other day as they were heading to the pool.

Noa, there are three parts to life.

First, Spirit
Second, Human
Third, Soul

Well played, little man.

As a parent of little ones, there are unique acts you get to experience. Like ruffling hair. That possessive and fond motion when you reach down and connect to their wiry bodies, touch the back of their head, hold them close. I never knew this touch before having kids and it will be lost, lose its meaning, become an annoyance, when they’ve grown.

But for now they stand close like they belong. Like racehorses must enjoy the pressing closeness of the gates. Then the bell clangs and the doors spring open and they fly off.

Thanks, Laura for the time, and this is a great opportunity to ruffle the hair of your neighbor.

Father's Day Homily

Classical Conversations

Of all the reasons I am grateful to be able to spend so much time with our children, at the top of my list are the insightful, delightful, and unexpected moments that peek into each day.

As we walked into the house after running a large number of errands, the following conversation ensued:

Buster: Mom, is it possible to get to absolute zero?

Me: I think so.

Monkey: Actually, the second law of thermodynamics states that for something to get colder there has to be something colder than it for the heat to flow to. So, you can’t reach absolute zero because there is nothing colder than that for the heat to flow to, right Mom?

Me:……..Sounds right.

After we got inside, I sent Buds a message so he could be part of the conversation, too.

Chris: Tell them I have some solutions. One way is some version of Maxwell’s Daemon. Which is a special thing that can know how hot each molecule is and then

Monkey: I am smart.

Chris: separate out the hot ones from the cold ones. Did you know about Maxwell’s demon? You should look that up. tThat’s one way scientists have tried to get to absolute zero.

Monkey: Whare do the cold molecules go?

Chris: You put the cold ones on one side and suck out the hot ones.

Monkey: and the hot ones?

Chris: Take the hot ones and throw them somewhere else so that only the cold ones stay in your bucket. Keep doing that and you get colder and colder, but it does require you to have something at the atomic level that can measure each atom

which is




A long time ago, somebody had an idea that this measurement device would be a little tiny
demon and it was called Maxwell’s demon after the idea.

Monkey: But the heat in the room? and did you no that space is just a dregree or two below absolute zero?

Chris: Yes. It’s pretty cold.

Monkey: I no. You can freez in to a block of ice.

Chris: Ice is too hot.

Monkey: brrrrrrrrr

One of the things I loved about this exchange between Buds and Monkey was how obvious it is that Monkey is still a little girl, but she also has clear insights and questions. She really gets the idea behind this concept. I love that for her sake.

They. Never. Cease. To. Amaze…

Back To The Pool

Thanks to the May warmth, the pool has frequently been on our agenda already. People often ask if our schedule changes during the summer, and I invariably say, “No, not really…except we go to the pool every day.”

Some early snaps of our recent fun in the sun.

Goggle face is a frequent friend.

Two kids and a dad.

A Zombie, A Ringwraith, a dad, and an orc at the pool.

Buds and I are hoping that Thursdays, when he is the stay-at-home parent, can become our day we all go to the pool together in the late afternoon as a way to relax and re-connect. Sounds like a winning plan to me.

Massadoah Moments

Mia had the fantastic idea that our families should host a tubing day at Massadoah as an auction event. She spear-headed the effort, and I was glad to be along for the ride. John The Wonderful and his equally wonderful wife, Ann Marie, offered to help, and we’ve just finished the event, which was a huge success.

The one wrinkle to the whole event was that two of the original winners were unable to attend, but luckily two other wonderful families were able to take part. The weather was absolutely gorgeous. Mia and I had planned enough food to feed at least 5 additional families. The two youngest adventurers took naps, so they were able to stay late. Everyone loved Massadoah and the peace and beauty it shares with its visitors. Much laughter, great stories, children playing, shared meals, and a sense of wonder at these amazing people we share a church home with; these were some of the thoughts that flitter through my brain as I think back on the day. Oh, and Kelly made me laugh so hard during a conversation about “scat” that I snorted relish up my nose. That was memorable.

Here are some selected photos of the amazing people:

Shared food and laughter

Heading up from the first view of the water.

The scouting team returning from "The Zen Field."

Kel takes a platoon down to investigate the ground hog.

HP still captivated even with the river in sight.

Great friends, and a goofy face. You guess which one. 😉

The fire, a friend, and a is good.

We love a good fire and a good s'more.

A little peace and quiet for the plastic members of the crowd. Notice they don't get too close to the fire.

Kids and the great outdoors; always magical...

Paula's stories had us rolling with laughter more than once. I believe this was the "Ice Ball To The Face" story.

A full Massadoah kitchen makes my heart sing.

Snuggling after water play is heart-and body-warming.

Our crew shared their love of Minecraft with a willing audience.

Harry Potter Fever

It took a sister’s special sort of pressure, but the outcome was the Buster walking up to hold my hand today to tell me, “I can’t believe I resisted HP for so long.”

He finished Year 2 on the drive home from Massadoah today, and wanted to jump right into Book 3. The two big kids have loved having the shared experience of these books to talk about, and, of course, since I love them, too, it brings great joy for me to see them both settled in reading them. We definitely need to look for an extra set of them at the Library sale next year. We need to have at least two copies of each book, and we’ve already loved 2 different copies to pieces. These are great problems.

This whole process of reading for The Buster has reminded me of how he learned to talk. Not much talking for a couple years, then whole sentences and paragraphs. HPs have been his first real chapter books. That’s a pretty magical way to begin.

This warms my heart.

One copy is just not sufficient!

He can sleep anywhere, now he can read anywhere.