Wednesday, July 31, 2013


English: campfire with potatoes עברית: מדורה ב...
English: campfire with potatoes עברית: מדורה בקומזיץ עם תפוחי אדמה (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It's not that I don't like the outdoors.

I enjoy rainstorms, after all.

Waterfalls, woodland creatures, wildflowers are all great.

I'm really, really white, but I'm also kind of obsessive with sunblock, so that's not necessarily a problem.

And a really good day puts the weary muscles and mosquito bites out of my mind until after the fact.

And really, there's not much better than a really awesome bonfire (note to self: write about bonfires).

But I hate camping.

Now, there are reasons I hate camping that make total sense, but can be mitigated.

I was a Girl Scout, and some of the troops I was in had particularly bitchy girls.  And this was at a particularly bitchy age, besides. So there were some nasty things happening.  (Want stories?  Ask in the comments.) By the time I had a troop of pretty awesome girls, we also had pretty weak leadership.

Add in some fun additional factors, like:

  • A family curse that states that, whenever we go camping or beach-going, it will rain or otherwise have terribly inappropriate weather.
  • Sneak-attack "lady issues" on the latrine.
  • A troop that made a big deal about "camp cooking", such that we basically spent the whole trip cooking, cleaning, swimming, and having a campfire.  And I don't like swimming that much.
  • Introversion that I didn't have a name for, but which basically meant I would wander off to get some time to myself, then get in trouble for wandering off (note: they were right to punish me for wandering off alone without telling anyone, but trips like this need to better accommodate for introverts somehow)
And, again, that's not even counting middle-school girls being middle-school girls.

Chris wants to go camping. I dread the idea.

And I know, as an adult, it's completely different. You get to choose who you go with and where you go and what you do when you get there. You can drink. You can burn things, or use your pocketknife, with impunity (so long as you follow the rules of the campsite, of course).  You have your own cellphone, so as long as there's a signal, you can wander off a little. You can eat out of cans, and if that's not a balanced meal, well, you can make yourself a salad when you get home.

Intellectually, I know that.  But emotionally, I'm scared to death that, even if I go with people I know and trust, it can only end with them making fun of and disdaining me.

Because in my experience, that's the only thing there is to do when it rains at camp.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

What makes you happy? #21

Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

I had a neat dream.  Nothing about it made sense -- I've talked about dreams before -- but I sort of fell in love with the dreamworld.

It was Ancient Roman.

With modern American attitudes (yeah, I can guess what inspired my unconscious on that one).

But with steampunk technology.

One way or another, I now need to dabble in Roman Steampunk. More ethnicities! Fewer corsets! Centurions with boots and guns and cigarettes! Dirigibles with the aquila on them!
Daniel Proulx - Canada . : Steampunk Exhibitio...
Daniel Proulx - Canada . : Steampunk Exhibition at The Museum of the History of Science, The University of Oxford, U.K. (Photo credit: Catherinette Rings Steampunk)

I'm kind of excited. Ask me brainstorming questions! Link me to relevant Pinterest boards!

What's inspired you recently?
Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, July 29, 2013

Meta: Help?

Occasionally, I'll ask for help.  Sometimes, those posts can languish, and you may wonder if I could still use help.

Rule of thumb: If I link to it on this page, it's still valid.

So, what could I use?

Your stories and advice

Feedback on tags

Some HTML help

Take a book off my hands!

Thanks in advance!

Updated 10/23/15 to update one of the links.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Friday, make that Saturday, mega-review #24

Long Island Iced Tea Cocktail
Long Island Iced Tea Cocktail (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It has been a long couple of weeks, sorry I didn't update last week.

Two Fridays ago, Chris went out with some friends, so I had a nice quiet night to myself. I went to a panini place I like  and then stopped at a cocktail bar I like for a chocolatey cocktail for dessert.  I chatted with a neighbor.  It was nice.


Saturday was long.

We started with a dentist appointment. So, there's that.

From there, I went to a baby shower.  It was just the thing for an exuberant Long Island extrovert.  I, as you'll recall, am none of those things. It was lovely for what it was, just not my scene.

After that, we visited some friends for drinks.  That was a lot of fun. We played BANG!. I died three times in the same game.

We got home pretty late -- in terms of hours awake, it had already been a long day by that point.

I don't want to go into details here. Let's just say I found out first-hand that there's a serial groper in my neighborhood.

I'm physically fine, but still a little shaken.

Sunday was largely spent trying to convince the cops to take me seriously, despite the fact that I didn't do 100% exactly what they think I should have done while freaked out during a crisis scenario. In the end, I decided, screw it; I need to take care of myself. That was my focus for the rest of Sunday.

I missed my writing workshop as a result.

Monday was pretty normal.  Tuesday, I had a doctor's appointment that took up most of the day for no real reason. Everything's fine. Wednesday and Thursday were pretty blah.

Last Friday, I had lunch with a friend, and then Chris and I got a nice dinner.

Saturday was back to the dentist for Chris, and then lunch and errands. Chris went to bed early, while I met up with friends for drinks and games. My cab home cost more than my drinks for the night.

Sunday, Chris ran in the Queens 10K, and then we met up with friends who also ran, and got brunch.

Tuesday was supposed to be book club, but there was something of a comedy of errors, so that got pushed off.

Wednesday I found out the next baby shower I'm going to is really really soon, so I started on a second blanket in earnest.

Thursday, I took a free online knitting course, where I won a three-month membership to Yarncraft Academy. Exciting!

Friday was quiet, and now I'm posting this.

My reading, less so: Demon Princes is a slog, but I've made it through the minimum needed for book club.

Next week is going to be busy, but I don't want to get into my plans until they happen.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Time: The Pursuit of Happiness (Part III)

So we've been talking about Time's feature on happiness, lately.


Part III: Who's Happy Around the World?

This infographic reviews studies and surveys from around the world, with what might be surprises about who is, or is not happy.  What do we see? Wealth, security. and even safety don't mean as much as you might think, and neither does career.

Then again, I wonder how the studies and surveys were done.  If you live in a society with a dangerously corrupt government and/or inhumanely strict sedition laws, of course you're going to say you're incredibly happy with your life despite poverty and unrest!

Well, check the infographic out and let me know what you think.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Fretting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I'm a pessimist.

I'm also, admittedly, a little superstitious. If I'm ready for something, it won't happen, so I need to be prepared for the worst.

So I fret.  What could possibly happen, and how will I deal with it?

Of course, the one thing I don't anticipate -- even if I should have -- is the thing that happens. If I bring my umbrella, it definitely won't rain... but someone will vomit.  If I bring a sweater, I won't get cold... but the theater will do random bag checks and I'll miss the previews.

No one can predict everything. Nothing goes perfectly.

But I believe on some level that I can, and it could.

Then, when (not if) it doesn't, I blame myself.  Worse, I become absolutely convinced that everyone else is blaming me. I scored you free tickets to Six Flags? Well, clearly I'm the one you're pissed at when it's 95 degrees out and we're in line for three hours.

 No, really, I genuinely believe this.

So what's the healthiest way to be truly well-prepared?  And how do I let go afterwards?

(And don't say "suck it up" or "get over it."  20 years of trying hasn't made that happen.)

Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What makes you happy? #20

flickr page view stats
flickr page view stats (Photo credit: jurvetson)
Recently, this blog hit 2500 pageviews.

Now, I know most of them are probably bots. And I'm well aware a not-insignificant percentage is me digging up older posts to reference in newer ones.

Still.  2500 pageviews. That's pretty cool.

I want to thank every one of you who contributed to that count.


Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, July 22, 2013

I Don't Know What I Want... Chapter 4

I Don't Know What I Want, But I Know It's Not This

By Julie Jansen

Chapter 4: Personality Preferences, Interests, and Skills

Ah, the chapter I've been waiting for. What do I like? What am I good at? Why am I so bad at answering these questions?

Once again, this chapter is a series of quizzes, so I'll be breaking it down over a few entries again. So let's get started.
Personality Preferences
This section starts off by explaining what Jansen means by personality:
Personality is the totality of an individual's distinctive traits. Although aspects of your personality can change slightly as a result of experience and self-awareness as you move through your life, your inherent personality was developed by the time you were two years old. 
So I took the quick-and-dirty personality test, which appears to be loosely based on the Myers-Briggs test.  My results? Well, I'm an introvert, which we already knew. I'm more of an idealist than a realist, which surprises me a little, but OK. I'm more factual than emotional, which, again, surprises me. I prefer structure over spontaneity, which is true -- I like novelty, but I prefer planned novelty. Finally, I'm more acquiescent than assertive, which I'll concede is true in professional settings, though I bet some of you are laughing at that idea when it comes to more personal situations.

Next time? We look at interests.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Time: The Pursuit of Happiness (Part II)

English: Data from April 2011 Editor Survey th...
English: Data from April 2011 Editor Survey that lists Social Media activities (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Last week, I introduced Time's feature on happiness, and talked about the article that made up Part I.

Part II: Tell Us What Makes You Happy 

This was an infographic of survey results; online, you're encourage to take the survey first and compare your answers to those overall.  So I shall!

The results are pretty much what you might expect (I only fell into the majority occasionally), but here's something I found really interesting:

23% of people report having felt worse after looking at other people's Facebook pages or other social media profiles. That's a minority, but a pretty big one.

Why? There's no majority answer to that question, but the plurality (30%) say it's because of felling worse in comparison to others.  So far, not really shocking.

76% of people say they believe other people make their lives look better than they are on Facebook etc.

But 78% report that their own profiles reflect their lives as they really are.

Something about that doesn't line up.  I can't quite put my finger on it; the closest I'm coming up with is "Everyone's life sucks as much as mine, but I'm the only one who tells the truth about it, but their lies are cooler than my truth so I still feel bad."  But that... let's call it irrational.

I don't know.  Check out the survey and let me know what you think.  More next week!
Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


The Pursuit of Happiness (1971 film)
The Pursuit of Happiness (1971 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It's a topic that's come up several times in my life recently, most notably in a recent issue of Time.

We don't have a right to happiness.  We have a right to the pursuit of happiness.

There are innumerable studies and rules of thumb and old wives tales about things that make people happy, and there will always be someone they don't work on. A person who doesn't need more sleep because depression has her sleeping all day. A person who isn't cheered up with exercise because he has chronic pain.  An introvert who can't stand crowds; an extrovert who can't stand solitude.

But we pursue.

We look for our passion because maybe then our day jobs will make us happy.  We try to find out where we belong, so we won't feel like outsiders anymore.

We want something, and maybe we don't even know what that something is. But in the end, it boils down to whatever will make us happy.

Sometimes, it's so tiring to keep chasing.

So what do you do next?

No, really.  I'm asking.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

What makes you happy? #19

Baby blanket.  Blanket and photo copyright: me
I've probably touched on a similar thing before, but whatever.

I knit. Some stuff for myself, some stuff for others.

Friends of ours are expecting, and I knit a blanket.

It's very basic, but it looks pretty snuggly to me, and it's machine washable, which is important.

We bought some nice things off the registry, and I wrapped them pretty awesomely, as well -- I used a sippy cup as a topper.

Wrapped package. Photo copyright: me.
It's not art, by a long shot.

But crafts, done well, are very satisfying.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, July 15, 2013

Meta: What I'm reading right now

So, I regularly let you folks know what I'm reading, but I also try to keep my progress more up-to-the minute, so here's an overview of what I'm reading now, courtesy of Goodreads:

Enhanced by Zemanta