Archive for My Chaotic Life

It’s Halloween Already?


I have been neglecting this blog again. I doubt anyone besides my mom has noticed. Still, I figured it’s about time I get into the rhythm of things again.

I’ll be redesigning the website at some point, and there’s not much point in doing that without new content.

So what have I been up to? A lot.

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When Optimism Becomes Dishonesty

InsideOutI just saw the new Pixar movie, Inside Out. As to be expected of any Pixar venture, the lesson of the movie was poignant. Joy, who spends most of the movie being an unintentional (yet enthusiastic) bully to Sadness, ultimately learns a mix of emotions are important for leading a balanced life.

That’s all well and good for the fictional world of Pixar, but out here in reality there is a different set of expectations. Our culture expects Joy to be in the driver’s seat. The other emotions are only allowed to drive under extreme circumstances, and to let them take over, especially when you’re a female in public, often leads to dire social consequences.

The movie aptly demonstrates the unfortunate results of this expectation. When Joy and Sadness are attempting to return to “Headquarters,” we see Joy steamroll Sadness multiple times. Any time Sadness recommended a solution or gave Joy a warning, Joy would ignore it in favor of optimism. Her denial delayed their return to headquarters to the point where a solvable problem ballooned into a dire crisis.

Much like Joy was fixated on keeping her charge, an 11-year-old named Riley, happy all of the time, American culture is fixated on relentless optimism. From the way we run our businesses to the way we run our government, we have effectively removed constructive anger, worry, and fear to the point where the only voices we’ll listen to are the ones who have positive things to say.

Yet we don’t live in a world where only good things happen. By embracing positivity to this degree, we are effectively lying to ourselves and each other.

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Unfortunately, a hard-to-avoid rock on a mountain road removed my front bumper from my car a couple months ago.

Fortunately, I have experienced random plastic parts coming off cars before and kept a supply of wire in my car kit.

Unfortunately, my car was too low to the ground and I couldn’t remove the damaged plastic on the bottom.

Fortunately, the part banging against my wheel was reachable and could be ducktaped out of the way.

Unfortunately, that part came loose many times and mucked up my front tires.

Fortunately, I was due for new tires and a state inspection anyway.

Unfortunately, the money I would have had to spend on my car went to fixing a cavity instead.

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Girl Scouting Ain’t What It Used to Be

A picture of the author with her fellow campers in the arts and crafts shed right after everyone painted their faces and legs.

I just learned today that the Girl Scout camps I went to as a child are being sold. Camp Tohikanee has been shut down for a while–so long that the grass is nearly a foot high by the dining hall. Camp Tweedale held its last flag ceremony this past weekend.

There were songs sung, games played, and adventures had in the night. There were fires, s’mores, banana boats, and a grill cheese sandwich fire that forced the counselors to order out for pizza. There were letters written, crafts made, and early morning icy-cold polar bear swims.

There were pranks. Oh boy were there pranks.

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If Talk Is Cheap, Stop Giving It So Much Value


I’m beyond tired of talking being the only parameter people use to measure my worth as a human being. Most people know talking is a terrible measuring stick for a person’s character. “I value substance over style!” they declare, and then they pull out the talking stick and hold it up next to you.

Somewhere along the line, we as a society have established that talking = interest, talking = intelligence, and even that talking = love. If we accept these equations as truth, then people who don’t talk must not be interested, dumber than a monogamist at a swingers party, and incapable of love.

As usual, there is some truth to this perception. Communication deepens relationships. Discussions breed ideas and inventions. Sharing intimate thoughts and feelings brings people closer together. But here’s where most people get it wrong.

Talk is not scalable.

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Life on the Honors Track

A picture of a pair of glasses resting on an open book.

I spent my entire academic career on the Honors track. Aside from math, which seems to be the one subject my brain processes at the speed of paint drying, I took the Honors and AP courses available in every subject. Yet I never really thought of the implications of separating out the smart kids until I read this editorial by Judy Jones.

The advantage of Honors courses was we could drive dragsters while everyone else puttered about in sedans. We could blow through material faster than the regular classes. When teachers knew everyone in the class could absorb material quickly, they could cover more ground and still fit in time for the students to explore their own interests.

At the same time, I recall being in those classes with a lot of the same people. The “gifted” students stuck together because, let’s admit it, it’s very fun to hang out with people who are at the same geek level you are. It’s great to be able to crack jokes about math or physics and have people laugh so hard that soda rockets out of their nose. Everyone else would just give you a look that asked “so what Star Trek dimension are you from?”

But that environment doesn’t reflect the working world.

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Living Tweetless and Loving It

By now, most of the Internet has likely seen the music video for Stromae’s “Carmen.” The singer doesn’t mince words when it comes to his perspective on social media culture. He aptly captures the affect of the pull of social media and how it encourages us to consume information to the point at which we are consumed by social media itself.

Watching the video reminded me of the mostly empty Twitter feed I have sitting on the side of my blog. Other than some appeals I’ve made to support some worthy fundraisers, I haven’t paid attention to Twitter for more than a year. Stromae’s video definitely hits on why I’ve allowed my Twitter account to stagnate.

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No More Old Maids


I just turned thirty. I’m single, female, and have no kids.  A generation ago, folks would have slapped me with the “old maid” label and made tart comments about how empty my house must feel without a husband and children crammed into it.

But I live in a time when I can tell anyone who tries that bullshit to stuff it right back in the hole it came out of. The only “Old Maid” I intend to associate myself with is the card game.

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Queen of All She Sees


Zura was perched on the railing of my loft, surveying her kingdom from above–as feline overlords (or overladies) do. She was having a photogenic morning, so I snapped this photo.

Then I dared to touch the royal fur and was reprimanded with the growl of displeasure. I guess I deserved it.

Fitting In Really Makes Life Easier


I’m at a point in my life where I really don’t want to be anyone but myself. Expending energy to please people who will never like me for who I am, for people who have judged me to be a lesser being because of how much I weigh, how I dress, and how I choose to live my life, is not a goal of mine. There are too many other important things to do.

At the same time, I am seeing what this path is costing me in terms of opportunities. Whether we like it or not, “fitting in” is an integral part of business and the world in which most of us live our professional lives. Being the odd person out, the “weirdo”, is not an easy position to be in when there are unwritten rules related to speech, dress, and conduct. Because when you’re the “weirdo”, people perceive that they need to exert extra effort to understand you and very few folks are inclined to make their lives harder unless you have some sort of talent they respect or need to further their own goals.

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