Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I blame Peter Sagal

I'm writing resource materials for work.  I work in a small, private counseling practice, where everyone has file drawers full of client handouts they've collected from various agencies over the years, and I've decided they're all too complicated and tired.  I've started writing one-page handouts in an effort to produce short, readable documents to give clients when introducing a new concept.  Homework is common in Cognitive-Behavioral therapy, and although most of these are not designed to be returned as actual assignments, it gives people a resource to review after their therapist has bombarded them with new jargon for 45 minutes.
Today, I've been working on these for a couple of hours, and only realized it was time for a break when I noticed I'd included this bit of wisdom in a description of a thinking error called Fortune Telling:
There are probably some situations in which you can recall “predicting” the outcome when you were correct, but it may be harder to recall predictions that turned out to be incorrect.  If this is true, either your cognitive filters are a little too tight, or you should be charging for palm readings in a darkened room with bead curtains.
Time for lunch, I think. And maybe a conversation with a live person. Also, perhaps I shouldn't listen to Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me podcasts while I'm working.  I'm just guessing.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Good grammar is sexy

It turns out I'm a gigantic weenie.  Who knew?  I mean, were there warning signs along the way?  Did I participate in speech-writing competitions in high school or act in Greek dramas?  Oh, yeah. I did.  Right. Should have seen this coming.

So I've written occasionally about my husband. Not too much, because he doesn't really like it, but sometimes I just get all fluttery about him.  Like when he mentioned the faux shutters while we were discussing the colors to paint our house via email.  That's right. He said faux, and spelled it correctly.  He's smart like that. His apostrophes are always in the right place. He never uses double superlatives, and gives all his prepositions a noun to describe.  I don't want to see any wagging eyebrows, now, I'm talking about grammar.  You're thinking "proposition," anyway. Work on those homophones, will ya? He sometimes sends me emails of ads he's working on where the customer has made gross grammar mistakes, and refuses to be corrected.  They're like little love notes to me.

Yep. Full-on weenie. I'm not sorry.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I won't be the one to break the cycle it seems.

There are some things of which I will want to remind Hannah in about 10 years, so on the off-chance that one of thim might slip my mind, I'll just record them here for all time.

And I quote:
"I'm never going to be too old for snuggling. Even when I'm a Fifth Grader. Even when I'm ten years old. I'm always going to want snuggles."

"I'm going to stay with you forever. I told you that already."

"I'm not going to drive. I'm just going to ride in the front seat."

Then there are the thing that were just cute because she didn't have a good grasp on the meanings of words at the time, such as:
while looking for a slip of paper that was in a memory verse box she made in Sunday School
"Mom, I can't find that paper that says 'The wise men bowed down and brought him gold, incense, and murder.'"

And the blossoming of munchkin-logic, such as the time she asked me why she can't have just bread and honey for breakfast. Her reasoning:
Hannah: The Berenstain Bears do it.
Me: Yeah, but the Berenstain Bears are talking bears who wear clothes and use tools and drive cars.
Hannah: Yeah.  Bears can't drive.

I always hate it when my mother breaks out goofy things I said when I was smaller. Or not even smaller, but just younger.  It doesn't stop her from doing it.  And I very purposely do it to my siblings.  Many of our conversations are based solely on repeating things others of us said as kids.  So I can reasonably predict that it will annoy Hannah when I remind her of these things, and that I will continue to do it, anyway. After all, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.  It would be silly to think that just because I managed to grow a teenager that I'd developed some sense of restraint when it comes to embarrassing my family members.  That's just wishful thinking.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

I still kind of hate technology.

My phone died this week.  Alright.  I probably killed it with my virulent hatred.  Or maybe with my frequent dropping of it on the pavement.  But probably the hatred.

I did hate that thing.  It took me a year to figure out how to switch between calls.  This could possibly be because it is rare that two people call me in the same day, much less at the same time, so I didn't get a lot of practice.  It also had a quick-dial function for the 5 most-frequently-called people, and I accidentally called my husband nearly every day, just trying to open the menu or access my contacts list.

So I went and got a new phone; I had 4 choices, since I don't want a smart phone.  I might have picked the most expensive one.  But it was way better than the other schlock they had in stock.  The user's manual is all of 25 pages long.  It may seem like an odd way to choose your electronics, but I had to defer to my husband's common sense.  The one I initially wanted had a 150-page manual, and he knew I'd never read that, and he'd probably end up having to check my voice mail for me every night plus turn it on for me in the morning. The phone store helpers aren't all that helpey, other than to suggest multiple peripherals you might purchase in an effort to double your ticket price.  They never really show me how those things work.  Dave picks up the slack and makes sure I don't hurt myself.

And now I can't operate the call-waiting again.  Sorry, Amee. I'll call you right back.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Sigh. The revised edition.

We went to the library yesterday after school.  I helped Hannah pick out some learning-to-read books appropriate to her skill level, then left her with the picture books while I went to grab my book off the Hold shelf.  When I returned to the children's area I could see Hannah sitting in a big arm chair with a stack of books, studiously poring over one.  Loveliest sight in the world.  As I drew closer I saw that she was reading a Toy Story book (not too disturbing), and had another sitting right beside her called

I didn't know whether she'd yet read it, and I was not familiar with that name at the time, but, as noted in my previous post, the child picks her own literature, such as it is.  After a bit, she selected the books she was taking home; also in the stack:

You win some, you lose some.  We proceeded to check out, using the awesome self-check station.  Hannah loves that thing. Except when it won't read the tired bar-code stickers. Which was yesterday. Alas.

When we read her books later that evening, I was delighted to learn about Amelia Bloomer and her righteous objections to petticoats and street-dragging skirts.  I'm not sure Hannah was as interested in the story, the the paintings are sweepingly beautiful, and the type-setting is artistic, so it kept her attention.  The princess stories, as the title implies, take only 5 minutes, so they don't have to hold mine.

Ahhh.  Sneaky feminism and literature!  God bless you, Scholastic Press.

Tomorrow maybe I'll stop griping about little girl story books.
No promises, though.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


I've whined about this before, but my level of despair is unmitigated by the repetition of this travesty.
Snooty talkin' makes me feel better. You'll understand why in a minute.

Hannah asked to go to the bookstore this evening.  Of course!  If there's something I'll blow money on in a red-hot second, I mean beside shoes, it's books for my girl!  They've rearranged our Barnes & Noble, so there were books of myths and folklore where I expected to find Pinkalicious.  Nice surprise for me.  Although I don't object to that particular bit of literary confection.  It's not bad stuff for girls.  But what I found was a nice hard-bound volume of folktales where the heroes are girls.  The author makes a big point of not calling them heroines, because she doesn't want any hint of the diminutive in her book.  It's Clarissa Pinkola-Estes for the pre-tween set.

We sat on the floor and read one of the stories; I attracted a child whose mother was reading Vogue down the aisle.  She did keep trying to distract me by pulling other books off the shelf to show me (she seemed about 4 years old), but I would not be distracted from the Tale of Mollie Whuppie.  She outsmarts a girl-eating giant four times!  No one comes to her rescue.  She kicks some giant butt, and doesn't whine about it.  That's my kind of bedtime story.  My other all-time favorite book is

I can recite it for you sometime if you want.

All I want is for my daughter to be independent, not love glitter and lip gloss, and be prepared to tell a boy he's a bum if he complains about her appearance after she rescues him from a dragon.  But what does my child choose?  My dearest love, my precious girl chooses to read this drivel:

Yeah, I know it's backward; I used Photo Booth.  That picture is not worth the trouble of importing a photo from my camera. Or even looking up on Amazon.  Plus, when the FBI confiscates my computer, I don't want them to find any Barbie searches on my browser history for any reason.

International subterfuge: Maybe.
Mass produced tripe for girls: Never.

Oh, and, um: I'm just kidding about the subterfuge, guys.  Didn't I mention that using big words makes me feel better.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Where Physics Meets Metaphysics

Walking home from school yesterday Hannah started talking about my Dad.  She calls him Papou.

Hannah: ...that makes me think about Papou dying.
Me: Oh?
Hannah: Why did he die?

Why, indeed, Munchkin.

Me: Well, his heart just got worn out, and stopped working.
Hannah: So, one second he's alive, and the next second he's dead?
Me: I'm pretty sure that's it.  Papou's heart just ran out of beats, and it stopped. But as soon as his body died, his soul went to Heaven.
Hannah: What's a soul mean?
Me: It's sort of an invisible part of you that never dies.  You can't see it or touch it, but it's the most important part of you.
Hannah: But is it inside your body?
Me: Uh. I guess it is.  Until your body dies.
Hannah: But how does it get to Heaven.
Me: I don't really know. No one has been able to explain that to me.

thoughtful silence

Hannah: I think it must be like a magnet, and when your body dies, your soul just gets pulled to God.
Me:       stunned silence.       I think you must be right.

She has asked me, now and then, since my Dad died how he got to Heaven.  I've never had any idea how to answer her.  Leave it to a six-year-old to figure out the logistics.  Maybe we should get her input on our vacation planning in the future.