Wednesday, August 31, 2011

One thing I know about parenting...

I was talking to a friend of mine, who is 6 months pregnant, and we were discussing pregnancy in one's 30's (no, I am not pregnant, but it seems like everyone I know is).  Someone I know who is in her 20's recently gave birth and she said she had no problems whatsoever during her pregnancy.  She threw up exactly one time, when she had the flu.  I told her to keep having babies, because my friends in their 30's were miserable.  Maybe not all of the time, but they certainly weren't going to describe their pregnancy as no big deal.

Then I was perusing The Happiness Project.  The Happiness Project lists things called Secrets of Adulthood, and the author, Gretchen Rubin frequently links to other bloggers who have posted their own Secrets of Adulthood.  For some reason, this reminded me of the conversation I had with the above-mentioned friend.  I said that while she was having a harder time being pregnant than "20-something," she will probably have more confidence in her mothering, precisely because she's not in her 20's. 

When you're in your 20's you still don't know enough to know what advice is garbage and what you should hang on to.  I believe I said something to my friend along the lines of, "when someone says you have to do something-or-other, you know enough to think, do I really have to? is that relevant? do I care?"

My friend responded with a laugh, "Is that relevant, do I care?! I love you for saying that!"  (I think she may have been getting overwhelmed by the number of baby books out there and the fact that there was no way she could do everything that was being suggested.)  Because by the time you're in your 30's you've learned enough about both life and yourself to know that what someone else tells you may not be relevant, and that, especially when it comes to parenting, you probably don't care how different/strange/whatever you seem compared to the "normal" mom as long as your kid turns out okay. 

I had an Auntie who used to let us draw on the walls.  In very specific circumstances.  As in, right before they were going to be rewallpapered.  This might sound appalling to other parents, but we NEVER drew on walls under other circumstances, and it was made very clear to us that we were only allowed to draw on the walls because they were going to be rewallpapered.  This may not have been a good plan with kids who were more likely to forget the rules, or get out of hand, or color violently (I have, in fact, seen violent colorers. I have no idea where they get the idea that that is acceptable behavior), but Auntie knew that we would follow the rules, and play nicely together, and we had a blast. 

If I were inclined to come up with a Secrets of Adulthood list, up there somewhere around the top would be to figure yourself out first.  It's obviously an ongoing process, but you can't possibly become an adult without knowing who you are.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

On learning to read

This is an essay I wrote for copyediting on "my favorite extracurricular activity." Yes, I realize that some paragraphs have fewer than three sentences.  It's very hard to write about one's favorite hobby in 250-300 words.

When I was a little girl, I was so excited to enter first grade. First grade was the grade where the miracle happened: students learn to read. Even before I could read, I loved books. My parents still joke about reading “Big Dog, Little Dog” so many times that they were able to do it in the dark, without the book!

The first day of first grade was a tremendous disappointment. We spent the day doing things like writing our names inside all of our workbooks and taking a tour of the school. We did not learn to read.

Fortunately for me, my mother was also a first grade teacher. I came home from school that day and said, “Teach me to read right now!” My mother insists it took several months for me to learn to read, but in my memory, I could do it within a few weeks.

Because of my mother, I learned to read much faster than my classmates. In fact, I was often in trouble because I was always several pages ahead of the rest of the class.

In second grade, I had a teacher believed that it mattered less what we were reading than the fact that we were reading. He allowed his students to read magazines, comic books, newspapers, and anything else that caught our fancy.

Novels have always been my favorite format for reading. I enjoy the heft of a good solid book, the character development required for 300+ pages of text, and the fact that novels allow me to temporarily escape my own reality. Reading is not just my favorite extracurricular activity, but it is, hands down, my favorite activity. Period.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bag of BonesBag of Bones by Stephen King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can't believe it took me this long to read Stephen King! I'm a scardey-cat, and always thought I wouldn't be able to handle his books, but after listening to a number of friends praise him, I asked one for a "beginner" SK.

This story is a ghost story, but really isn't freaky-sleep-with-the-lights on. I did cheat a one point I skimmed my way through the book just to make sure I could keep reading it at night, and I could.

King's writing is impressive; he is clearly a talented storyteller. I don't want to give away what happens in the book (and you can always google it if you want to find a plot summary), but I will say that if you never thought you could ready Stephen King, try this one...I survived!

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

I have my mother's toes, and other random thoughts

I have my mother's toes.  Not her feet, although I don't have my father's feet, either, but I definitely have my mother's toes.  They're not bad toes.  The second toe isn't longer than the first toe, they don't look like monkey fingers, and all of my toenails actually grow long enough to paint, if I was inspired to do something as girly as paint my toenails.  All in all, not a bad big of genetics.

I've noticed that in August, the first month I've decided not to have "blog" on my resolution list, is the month I've posted the most number of blogs.  And I actually have one that I started ages ago that I might just post as-is, because it actually needs a lot of clean up to make it decent and I'm not sure I feel like doing that.  And I'm sure my four avid readers really need to read a rough draft of some random musings I had a few months ago.  That's an excellent use of everyone's time. 

And now I'm going to try to tie these two ideas together.

Getting back to my mother and genetics, I also happen to be built just like my mother.  And I've inherited her good health.  Sister, who is six inches taller than I am, with about eight miles of legs, has, as I've mentioned before, more health problems than I could possibly imagine.  Once I asked Sister how she could tell the difference between food poisoning in general and celiac poisoning, and she said, y'know how you feel with food poisoning...? And I had to interrupt her right there because I've never had food poisoning.  Not when I was in Egypt, not when I ate expired yogurt in college, not ever (touch wood).  She looked me incredulously, as in, who lives in that world?

But, I've also inherited my mother's stature.  Once, before Captain America and I were even engaged, I took him home and he met Bia, my mother's mother.  I told him to take a good look at the two of them because if he stuck around, that's what he'd get in 30 and 55 years.  Apparently the view was fine, and we got married and lived happily ever after.  **Sigh**

Unfortunately, neither my mother nor Bia have any waist to speak of.  They also have what my mother calls pancake hinneys (okay, as a total random aside, blogger didn't like how I spelled this word, and Miriam-Webster wants me to buy their upgraded version before it will let me look at this definition, and google wants me to spell it "hinny" which is a cross between a donkey and a mule or something like that).  I've alleviated that second problem with running and lifting weights, but I can't seem to grow a waist.  This has been driving me crazy, because, in case you hadn't noticed, I've been trying to lose weight.  With a waist, you always seem thinner.  I have a wide rib cage and a short torso, so I have to be really skinny to look like I have a waist.

I realized last night that I've been trying to lose weight for over two years now, with nothing to show for it.  So I've been wondering, if, like blogging, I remove it from my to-do list (so to's not actually on any list), maybe I'll have better success with it.

I've been thinking back to when I was skinny, and when I was thinner than I am now.  When I was in high school I was on two swim teams, was a teenager (yay teenage metabolism!  why didn't I appreciate you more then?), and I actually ate two fundraiser-sized boxes of Reese's Pieces every day.  Somehow, I'm not sure that's going to help.  I could take up swimming again, but I'm not sure I want to.  I haven't actually enjoyed swimming since high school. 

When I was in college, I pretty much ate what I wanted, took some exercise and dance classes, and worked out when I thought about it.  I did gain a little weight in college, but I graduated weighting 120lbs, so I was still thin.

The last time I weighed 120lbs, I was on wellbutrin, and as soon as I stopped taking it, I gained the weight back, so that's neither a healthy solution, nor a long-term solution.

When I lived in Oregon, I was a semi-vegetarian (mostly because I lived with a vegetarian who liked to cook, or at least liked to cook more than I do), I lifted twice a week, and I drank less.  I also slept less, which seems funny because people who get enough sleep tend to weigh less. 

I have noticed that after age 26 my metabolism slowed down drastically, which is sad because I'm no less hungry, and while I have no issue eating healthy things like salad and steamed veggies, I still also want to eat tater tots and Hagen Daz. 

I'm currently training for a marathon, which is actually not a good time to try to lose weight because it's a ton of running, which means I'm going to be crazy hungry (this is actually pretty conventional wisdom--most experts don't recommend trying to lose weight while training for a marathon).  I'm pretty sure going back to the way I ate in high school and college is not the right direction to head either, so as far as I can see, my options are to fit swimming and another day of lifting into my schedule, give up alcohol, or just learn to accept that I have no waistline.  I'm not sure I like any of those options, but for the time being, I'm going to try to accept a more zen-ish state of mind.  My husband and my friends don't seem to care about my waist, I'm healthy, and I live in San Diego, for Heaven's sake!  My life is good.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Beauty Detox Solution: Eat Your Way to Radiant Skin, Renewed Energy and the Body You've Always WantedThe Beauty Detox Solution: Eat Your Way to Radiant Skin, Renewed Energy and the Body You've Always Wanted by Kimberly Snyder

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is a tough book to review. I really liked Snyder's enthuasism about her eating philosophy, and I felt that she does care deeply about the health and well-being of her readers. She seems like a genuinely good, caring person.

That being said, I just don't think I can do this diet. I really like the idea of it, but I also really like the idea of gardening, and I know it will be no fun for me.

Snyder's basic tenents are pretty much what you would expect: cut out processed foods, alcohol, caffeine, and simple sugars and grains; and eat lots of fruit and veggies. She has this whole thing about the order of the food you eat, by which she means that you should eat the more simple foods early in the day and save the heavier, harder to digest foods for later in the day. Her big thing is that fruits and veggies will keep the digestive process going, perpetually cleansing the body and allowing for elimination. If you eat heavy foods in the morning, the theory goes, you've just slowed down digestion for the rest of the day.

Snyder insists that elimination is the way to rid the body of built-up toxins, etc, which she refers to as "sludge." Eating her way, you will remove sludge from your system and increase your "beauty energy." This is a cheesy phrase, but at the same time, she really, really means it.

She says as you progress on this diet, your hunger and cravings will diminsh over time. This may be true, but I don't like being hungry, and while I'd rather take a nap in the afternoon than have some soda or coffee, the reality is that a nap just isn't an option.

I've tried her glowing green smoothie, which I really don't mind, and I was fairly excited about, as I don't like to eat veggies, but I don't mind drinking them, but it's still a bit more work than I like, and a bigger clean up than I like. What can I say? Spending my free time concocting meals and smoothies is just not what I want to be doing. I'm not that much of a foodie, and since my health is, overall, pretty good, I'm just not that worried about it.

Additionally, she talks about having tons of energy, and maybe if I stuck with the program my body would adjust and I'd have enough energy, but I don't when I'm starting off. I have a naturally high metabolism, and combine that with the marathon I'm training for, and I really do need to eat. Besides, Snyder talks about only needing to do yoga to stay thin, but I don't WANT to do yoga. I WANT to run!

Also, I have a husband, who happens to have an insanely high metabolism, and while I can convince him to have vegetarian dinners a few times a week, this diet is just something he's not going to do. End of story. And he's currently in charge of making dinner.

So the final word is, yes, we would probably all be better off if we ate this way, but I don't think that's realistic for anyone I know, and even while Snyder provides you with stepping stones and doesn't suggest you completely overhaul your diet at one time, and she insists she works with corporate types, stay at home moms, and people of other varieties (in other words, not just hippies), I'd really like to see their daily schedules. Because the time alone to buy fresh produce every few days is overwhelming to me.

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Shadow Princess: A NovelShadow Princess: A Novel by Indu Sundaresan

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I LOVED The Twentieth Wife, and I thought The Feast of Roses was good, but Shadow Princess was just slow. It skips a generation and picks up when Empress Mumtaz Mahal dies in childbirth, her husband, Emperor Shah Jahan, decides to build the Taj Mahal for her, and their eldest daughter, Jahanara becomes Shah Jahan's trusted confidant, essentially filling her mother's role.

And then not a whole lot happens. There's not really much discussion of the building of the Taj Mahal, there's a little bit of sibling squabbling, there are a few love affairs, but mostly, this book is about what the rich are eating or wearing, or how they travel throughout the empire, and, actually that's about it.

Until chapter 25, when the war of succession begins.

While I was reading this book, a lot of questions came to mind. For instance, how does the Emperor get all of these riches? What are all of his workers paid? What caused the downfall of India? And what happened to Goharara, the child born when Mumtaz Mahal dies?

I'll start with the fourth question first. Simply, we don't know. Around the age of two, her character makes a reappearance on an elephant as the imperial family is traveling around the empire, but after that, nothing. Maybe she died during her childhood. Maybe she lived a rather uneventful life. Maybe there was simply nothing else mentioned of her in Sundaresan's research.

Basically, and I'm really simplifying this here, but the downfall of India occurred for three reasons. One, and the common fall of empires, is that they simply spent all of the money that previous generations have (through time, the common denominator in the fall of any civilization is a lack of resources of some sort). Secondly, Aurangzeb, who assumed the throne after Shah Jahan, was less tolerant of other religions than both his father and grandfather, and thus he disgruntled a lot of people. Finally, and perhaps most significantly, the British came in and took over, as they were wont to do around the world.

Now I'll discuss the first two questions I asked. I don't actually have answers, but I have some ideas. In Mogul India, the Emperor owns everything, and once you die, it reverts to him. Traditionally, he'll divide the holdings among the persons heirs (meaning sons), but not always. So the emperor also owns the gold mines and such. Then there are the taxes. I can't quite figure out this system because the emperor can grant cities to people, and then they collect the taxes, which is their income somehow. And finally, there's lots of exporting of spices.

The book doesn't cover what the masses do, but the imperial family lives extravagantly. My suspicion is that most of their wealth comes from owning everything, and not from taxes, because I doubt the common people are paid very well, and therefore couldn't likely pay a lot of taxes. My two hypotheses are that the value of money was very different then than it is today (I don't mean what the money equals in today's dollars, but more what you could do with it/get for it), or that the trickle-down-effect may actually have worked (although I seriously doubt it.)

Anyway, if you're interested in the time period, Beneath a Marble Sky is a much better read.

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Friday, August 12, 2011

I can't believe it took me this long to read The Hunger Games!

The Hunger GamesThe Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First, I have to make a confession: I listened to this book on CD; I didn't actually read it. This is important to note because this made the young adult aspects of the book really young adult-y, whereas if I had read the book, I would have skimmed past them and probably not mentioned them at all in this reivew.

That having been said, The Hunger Games is a totally engaging story of a girl forced into an arena and how she survives (I don't consider this to be a spoiler, as this is the first book in a trilogy). It was reminiscent of the movies The Running Man and Gladiator, but with a female hero and more humanity to the story line.

It was also refreshing to read a book that centers on teenagers that doesn't contain vampires, or focus on sex and drugs, or make teenage girls out to be ditzy fasion- and boy-crazed individuals.

The ending is killing me, and I can't wait to read Catching Fire!

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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Smokin' Seventeen: A Stephanie Plum NovelSmokin' Seventeen: A Stephanie Plum Novel by Janet Evanovich

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was a welcome return to the more classic Stephanie Plum. The plot has not changed at all, but I did actually laugh out loud while reading this book.

I've come to the conclusion that the two main problems with this series are the repetitive plot lines, and the fact that Stephanie hasn't aged at all. I actually did a Google search to find out how old she's supposed to be, and the most reliable answer I found is that she's 30.

When I started reading the series, I was in my late 'teens/early 20s, and Stephanie's life was entertaining. Now that I'm in my 30s, her life doesn't make a whole lot of sense. When I was young, I didn't know what it was like to be in my 30s, so I was able to just go with it, but now that I know, it's beyond far-fetched.

Additionally, she's been stringing along two guys, and I'm surprised that they continue to put up with it.

All of this being said, I did actually have fun reading Smokin' Seventeen, which is the point of reading. Just don't expect anything new.

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Friday, August 5, 2011

Confessions from the inept

Today I'm working from home.  And because I'm an uber-dork, and I don't want to cheat my company of any time, but also because I don't want to work any more than what I get paid for, I time myself.  So you can relax, this is all off the clock, so to speak. 

So I was uninspired to read more about how self-checkout kiosks work, which, I have to say is less than riveting, and when a friend of mine was here last week, I discovered that I own red eyeliner.  Okay, technically, it's cranberry.  So, I thought, what's a more logical break from work than playing with eyeliner?  Nothing!

First, let me clarify.  I did not buy the red eyeliner.  My mother tests products for Clinique, and they give her free samples of all sorts of stuff, and one of the samples was red eyeliner.  I don't actually ever buy makeup because of this arrangement, which is nice.  Anyway, the red eyeliner is sort of a foam paintbrush, which is an interesting application method because, and I'm sure I'm using all of the correct jargon in explaining this, as you drag it over your skin, the center of the line is actually lighter in color than the edges of the'll find this in art when the paintbrush is wrong for the type of paint you're using.  Or maybe I just have problems.  So, to begin with, the application process is not particularly even.

Then there's the question of what else you're supposed to do.  On one eye, I tried using blends of gray and silver eyeshadow.  In retrospect, I'm not sure what I was thinking, other than that the shade of red was sort of metallic-y, and I didn't think it would work well with the bronze shades of eyeshadow I own.  And I was afraid if I used the greens, I'd just look like a Christmas wreath.  As it turns out, gray and silver were the wrong choices.

Logically, I tried the bronzes on the other eye.  It looked better, but still not in a wear-out-of-the-house sort of way.  And let's face it, I'm not about to put on makeup to sit on my sofa and watch Game of Thrones or True Blood.

So then I thought I'd google "red eyeliner," and lo and behold, a picture of Rihanna showed up (along with a whole bunch of pictures of Goth and least I'm prepared for Halloween). And then I even found a blog that told me how to get this look on my own.  Of course, it involved a whole lot of product that I don't own, but I figured, it's only me in the house, so it's not like I'm going to scare anyone.

So, grew a third eye. 

No, actually I took off the gray and silver eye shadow and started over.  I noticed Rihanna had black eye liner on as well, so I did that, too.  And I don't have any red or pink eyeshadow, but I do have blush, so I tried that.  In the end, I ended up with a very dramatic eye, but I'm not sure dramatically what. 

However, the shade of cranberry is really quite fantastic, so then I thought, well, if it's safe enough to put on my eyes, it's probably safe for my lips.  Unfortunately, no.  Well, not no, as in it's unsafe for my lips.  No, as in, cranberry eyeliner looks dark gray on your lips and that's just repulsive.  And then, of course, you can't just wipe it off.  Fortunately, I own a lip exfoliant (I know, right, I don't even like to wash my face, and yet I own a lip exfoliant?).  It's Mary Kay, and I highly recommend it--the cranberry eyeliner on my lips was no match for the lip exfoliant.

At least my husband wasn't home to see the mess I made in the bathroom.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I am not my sister

This is my second Toastmasters manual speech, way back from when I was still a member of Toastmasters at my old job.  The purpose of this speech is: organize your speech.

My sister sent me an NPR article entitled "Siblings Share Genes, but Rarely Personalities," by Alix Spiegel.  To quote the article, "many siblings have very different personalities.  But to researchers, this is a puzzle.  Siblings share both genes and environment.  Why, then, are they often so different?"  This is something I never really thought about while growing up.  My sister and I have always been so, so different.  But how we are different has changed.

My interest in sibling differences really peaked when I realized a) our differences transcended more than the stereotypical older child/younger child divide; b) when I learned, and continue to see, how different my husband is from his siblings--different in ways that my sister and I are not different; and c) when I talk with friends who are both the oldest, like I am, and have a sickly younger sibling, like I do.

I am going to discuss the article with you, then I will tell you about my own experiences, and finally, I'll leave you with some ideas to ponder.

Before the 1980s, psychologists believed parenting was important; siblings were not.  Then in the 1980s, Robert Plomin published a paper discussing the three main ways siblings had been studied: physical characteristics, intelligence, and personality.  Not surprisingly, siblings generally have similar physical characteristics and similar levels of intelligence.  However, Plomin says "children in the same family are more similar [in terms of personality] than children taken at random from the population, but not much more."  The actual statistic is that we are similar to our siblings, personality-wise, only about 20% of the time.

There are three theories as to why this might be the case.  The first is the theory of divergence and is Darwinian in nature, basically stating that children in the same family will develop different strengths as they compete with their siblings for their parents time, love, and attention.  An example from the article is that "if one child in the family seems to excel at academics, to avoid direct competition, the other child, consciously or unconsciously, will specialize in a different area, like socializing."

The second theory as to why siblings might have such different personalities is environmental.  The theory is, somewhat confusingly, titled the "non-shared Environment theory."  This theory basically states that we don't actually grow up in the same family as our siblings.  Siblings experience major family events such as moving or divorce at different ages and therefor their experiences differ.  Additionally, no matter how much parents say they treat their children the same way, and even if the do want to treat them the same way, in reality this is rarely actually the case. 

The third theory is that of exaggeration.  This theory "is the comparison theory, which holds that families are essentially comparison machines that greatly exaggerate even minor differences between siblings."  An example from the article is that in a family with two social children, the one who is extremely extroverted will be treated as the extrovert, and the other child will be treated as an introvert, even thought in any other family, this second child would be considered an extrovert.

My experience lines up almost directly with this article.  When people meet either my sister or me, and then they meet the other one, they always say, "Your sister is so different from you!"  They say this in a way that suggests that my sister and I are more different from each other than siblings typically are.

Under the theory of divergence, my experience is more physically Darwinian that the mental and emotional Darwinian suggested by the article.  The fact is that my sister is, and always was, more sickly than I am.  There's a fun game my coworkers and I play called did Virginia's sister have that?  It goes something like this: one coworker will say, my father's having hernia surgery next week, and I'll say, oh, my sister had that; another will say, my roommate is home all week with bronchitis, and I'll say, oh, my sister had that.

It's to the point that if we were wild animals, I"m pretty sure she would have been left for the wolves.  But we're not wild animals, and we have access to modern medicine.  So my parents spent a disproportionate amount of time taking care of, and worrying about, my sister.  From the outside, it completely makes sense that parents would spend more time and energy on the child that needs them more.  But I'm sure you can imagine that growing up like this just made me feel like my sister was totally spoiled.

In terms of our environment, my sister and I grew up in similar homes until my junior year of college, when my parents began their divorce process.  Without going into too much detail, it is sufficient to say that it was a much smoother process to me, who was living 3000 miles away at college in Montana, than it was to my sister, still in high school, at home, in New Jersey.  I think this experience, or two different experiences, is the defining factor that explains our different relationships with our parents now that we are both adults.

As far as the the theory of exaggeration goes, my sister was always the crabbier, moodier, more difficult child.  It's understandable now when you consider that she not only caught every disease, cold, and virus that went around her school,  but also that my family spent 20 years poisoning her.  Unintentionally, of course, but poisoning her nonetheless until we learned she had Celiac disease and couldn't eat gluten.  This would make anyone disagreeable.

This is not to say that I was a particularly agreeable child.  I was not.  I think, by the time my mother finished arguing with me about something, she was simply too worn out to argue with my sister.  Which is why, in my opinion, my sister has been better at getting away with doing what she wants than I am.

Also, due to my sister's temperament, I am considered the more reliable, responsible,and patient sibling.  I am not patient.  Until you compare me with my sister.

All of this is very important to me because it helps me understand my family dynamics.  Even though I don't agree with all of the parenting decisions my parents made, and continue to make, understanding the continuing cycle of the fact that mys sister and I are different causes my parents to treat us differently, causes us to become more different, at least helps me come to terms with the treatment.

In conclusion, I hope I have enabled you to think about your relationship with your siblings in terms of divergence, environment, and exaggeration.  I will leave you with a quote from this article, which was originally published for Thanksgiving,"this Thursday, as you eat your turkey, look across the table.  There you may see a brother, a sister, a step-sibling, a twin.  And maybe they're your friend, and maybe they're your enemy, but one thing is for certain: their very existence has had a profound influence on your life".

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Buying art from children?

I started this back when I worked at my old job...I guess I saved it because I thought I'd have more to say, but I really don't.  This is it.

We have this thing at work (wow, that's a brilliant way to start a post)...let me try again...there's a guy at my company is also an artist, and he has a relationship with an art school in San Diego...I think it's an actual school for artistically gifted children.  Anyway, we have a bunch of their art hanging in one of the halls at work.  It's a little sad because it's in the facilities hall, and not one everyone walks down all of the time, but I pass the art on my way to the gym. 

There's this really cool, what I am going to call, pictorial map of Africa.  It's not a real map at all because it doesn't have anything labeled on it, but it has drawings of things that represent parts of Africa on it.  I think it's really cool because it tells more of a story than a regular map.  In fact, I guess the best image I can use to explain it is a treasure map where they show the sharks that you have to avoid, and the strong winds or whatever. 

So like I said, it's really cool.  So I asked the guy at work if the art was for sale, or if the school sold prints of it, like greeting card sets and what have you.  He said they could talk to the student and see if the student wanted to sell the piece.  As you know, I'm all about owning original art.  But this isn't exactly what I had in mind.  Not because it's not good, and not because it's done by some random kid I don't know, but I have some sort of issue I can't quite articulate about buying art from a kid.  Like maybe I'm validating them too soon, or maybe the kid won't do something productive with the money, or maybe the success will go to the kid's head, or I'm really not sure.  Something in my gut just says not to buy it from the student.

But I don't think I'd have any of these qualms if I was buying it from the school as part of a fundraiser or something.  Am I nuts here, or do I just lack the vocabulary to explain my feelings?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

July's resolutions

The month of July started out very, very slow, resolution-wise.  Mostly because we were on vacation.  Also because I didn't really feel like doing anything.  I also decided to remove both "blog" and "stretch" from my resolution list.  I'm not going to stop blogging, but it was becoming something I thought about doing every day, but couldn't really bring myself to do, and who needs that kind of stress over a hobby?  Also, I'm still stretching--I mean, hello! I signed up to run a marathon in October, I have to stretch! But, again, there's just other things I'd rather be doing than thinking about stretching.

Sort of unrelated to my resolutions, I've also discovered that lately, I've had a lot more fun thinking about my reading lists rather than actually reading anything on them.  I know, I don't actually have to read the stuff in the order it was put on the list, but I'm a bit of a control freak about that.  I'm sure if I had a psychiatrist, they'd say that maybe I'm substituting this rather pointless bit of control for something that is currently out of my control (or at least feels that way) like, oh, I don't know, maybe my career.  And now I've just charged myself $175. 

Anyway, on to what I've actually been doing.  In July, I both exercised and flossed 19 times.  I have yet to have Sister demonstrate her 30-second flossing routine, but I would love to have that skill set.  Is this the first month where I've exercised more than I've read? I read 15 times in July, which is actually less than half the month (see paragraph 2 above).  I did my arts and crafts stuff 10 times, which I consider a pretty good success rate, and I worked on my novel a whopping 3 times. 

A word on writing a novel.  It's hard.  I have a bunch of ideas flying around, but no real purpose for these fragments of story lines, and I can't figure out where I want my characters to end up.  And many of my ideas don't work together, so they're their own story.  So I have about 8 terrible books started.  At least they're started, right?

Before I decided to 86 the stretching, I actually got it in twice.  So, based on my fancy math skills, which I don't actually care to explain, my overall success rate for July was 38%.  Not fantastic.  Although my suspicion is (notice how after 7 months of doing this I finally have a suspicion as to how it works?) that it will be hard to be anywhere above 50% because all of these things take time.  And I do currently have a job.  And a husband.  And friends.  And laundry.  And all sorts of other things to do, like get caught up on True Blood.  So, if 50% is the goal, and I got 38%, I've actually had a 76% success rate at meeting the goal of 50%.  See, that is some pretty fancy math!