Sunday, August 21, 2011

Something I Learned From My Grandparents

It has obviously been a very long time since I've blogged here. I apologize if any of you have been disappointed by my absence, but frankly, I haven't felt like I have anything people would care to read. Still, I felt like the last post was a little negative/harsh, so I've wanted to find something I could write about to balance that out. At long last, I have something. You may not care to read it, but I think it's really something.

I've had some neat opportunities to spend time with both sets of my grandparents this year. Those are times that I will always cherish and memories I will always love. In my conversations with them, though, I've noticed an interesting thread. Our conversations covered numerous topics, and they had some neat stories and insights, but some of their answers taught me in a way I wasn't expecting.

The questions I'm referring to were all the same sort; they were questions with beginnings such as: "Was it hard...", "Did you like...", etc. Often, when I'd ask such a question, their answer would be, "It didn't matter...", "No one thought about it, it just was...", or something of that sort. Thus, I've gathered that back in the day, life just was--more so than it is today.

Today, we think of everything in the context of, "Do I like it?" "Do I want it?" "How hard is it?" I don't know what has caused this. Perhaps our society has developed to the point where that's how we differentiate between everything. Thanks to my grandparents, I have come to realize that life doesn't need to be approached that way, and it may be better if it's not. Let me share some examples of specific questions I asked my grandparents, to which their responses made me rethink myself.

One question came up when we were expecting our little girl. I asked Grandma if it was harder having babies back in the day. Her response was something to the effect of, "it wasn't hard or easy, it was just how it was done." I loved that. Why do we have to judge something based on its difficulty? I realize that with today's medical, technological and other advances, there is often a better way to do things. In reality, that is what our economy runs on--businesses are always looking for better, more efficient ways of doing things. Many of those businesses provide great conveniences that are truly blessings, but some just aren't necessary. Tablets, for example. Does anyone really need a tablet? They provide some conveniences, but I can't think of a reason why anyone would need one. Could it be that somethings are better done the hard way. Maybe, even if we have a better way of doing things, our mindset shouldn't look for shortcomings in the way we do it. Maybe our mindset should acknowledge that one method is the way to do it, then we do it and then it's done. I feel like being a mother or going to work, for example, might be better if we didn't think about whether it was hard or easy. It's just the way we do things (hopefully).

Another learning moment came when I asked my grandparents if things (money) got tight when they were growing up. Both of them responded that they didn't know. One lived off the land, so he never thought about it, and the other said her parents never let on. Yet most of us judge our circumstances by how much money we have. Maybe their parents struggled with money, I don't know. I do think that all of us could be more childlike and live off the land, living more in harmony with each other. Maybe we think a little too much about how prosperous we are and not enough about how great life is. I love getting down to the level of the sidewalk or the dirt and just playing with it with my hands; it makes me feel like a kid again. Doing that also helps remind me that everything is here for me to be happy.

My grandparents are amazing. I love them and am incredibly grateful for them. I thought their answers to some of my questions lately have been very insightful and I know I want to alter my approach to somethings as a result.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Merry Christmas, and Get Over It

I have an opinion when it comes to political correctness during the holiday season.
It's become more of a common consideration to say, "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas."
That's dumb.
I understand that not everyone's Christian, but why on earth should that matter.
If I started hearing a lot more people say, "Happy Hanukkah" or "Merry Ramadan," I would think it was great.
I hate to make such an harsh statement, but frankly, if you're belief system doesn't teach you to look past and accept other people's differences, that's not everyone else's problem.
Be happy that other people are being happy. Not only that, but, whether you're Christian or not, be thankful other people are celebrating holidays that promote peace on earth and good will toward men.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

King for a Day

I've heard mixed reviews on birthdays lately. One girl adamantly insisted that birthdays are terrible things because they are always accompanied by let-downs.
That's sad.
None of my first 15 birthdays included surprise birthday parties, and I decided I wanted one. So, instead of waiting around, hoping someone would read my mind, I threw my own surprise party. I called everyone and told them to show up at my house ten minutes early for my surprise party. When the day came, I left a half hour before the party and ran some errands. When i came home, I had my own surprise party. Piece of cake, right?
Another way to make your birthday good is to rock at everything you do that day. That's what my Dad did last week on his birthday.
We went on a horse ride that morning and the horse I was riding was being a pill. It's usually a pill, and I have a hard time getting it to settle down. As my impatience collided with the horse's frenzy, I frustratedly told my Dad and sister to go on without me because I didn't want to deal with it. My Dad offered to take the horse, saying he'd deal with it. I shrugged my shoulders and switched horses. My Dad proceeded to kill the horse's stupidity with patience and singing. I was so impressed. I realized the power of patience when I saw it contrasted with my horse training skills and watched it prevail.

Later that day, we played scrabble. I was doing well, keeping in the game. At one point, I put down a word in order to prevent the others from grabbing a triple word box. I failed. I accidentally set Dad up for a 99 point word, which he took advantage of.
After Scrabble, we played pool. He wasted us before we could even get started.
I don't think, after a day like that, he has a negative impression of birthdays.
So, for your next birthday, go show that you rock at life.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I Tripped to Boston

I can't really think of anything I feel like I need to say, so I thought I'd share a couple photos with you from my recent trip to Boston. Here you go:

Do as I'm doing...

"Not sure what's on my face, but I'll still say 'cheese'."

"Whatcha got there, Henry?" (Thoreau)

Walden Pond

A unicorn, a cow and two humans. Love you guys!

Me learning Chinese Checkers

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Class Members

Here are some people that can be found in most classes. It's probably not new to you, but hopefully it's truth will produce some humor.


FIrst we start with a moment of silence for those who are missing in action. They may be the people who translate to the corpses in group projects (see previous post), but not necessarily. Some of these people are very bright, and have positioned themselves conveniently under the radar, so as to avoid any negative teacher-student interactions. They've decided to avoid those interactions because they've observed the WHBTP's.


These are the Would Have Been Teacher's Pets. They are such because if they opened their mouths that much with constructive, beneficial input, class would be a celestial learning experience. Unfortunately, most of what comes out is complaints about quizzes and tests, and contrary remarks about ideas and concepts. These are the people who, when they raise their hand, or just start speaking, you feel a little pain in your stomach and you want to say (in as nice a way as possible), "You don't have to say anything this time. It's okay." Some of the people saying those things include the Mutterers.

The Mutterers

The Mutterers are the people who say what everyone else is thinking under their breath, whenever the WHBTP's say something. These people are most enjoyed by those who are sitting very close to them and can hear the comments the Mutterers say under their breath. These are usually the people surfing the Internet on their laptops during class.

The Professionals

The Professionals are the people who seem like they came back to school from the workplace. They generally stay quiet, but you get the sense that it's more because everything being said is old news to them. They kind of make other people in room seem like freshmen.

The Brown Nosers

The Brown Nosers would like to be the professionals, but they're just not. They make lots of comments that go above and beyond the given question, tying in concepts and subjects they've learned elsewhere in the program or class. They also like to refer to their scarce experience in their bid to seem professional. They are very excited about student clubs and are with the "in" crowd of the program. They make the professionals smile.

There may be more, but can't think of anymore right now. This will have to suffice for the present.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Group Member Stereotypes

I realized today that groups for school projects are never dull, and I needed to write a blog about them.
In every group, there are the same people. Okay, some groups might be missing a certain person, but I really think it's possible to classify possible group members into a few categories. Here are some of those categories:

The Corpse

The Corpse is someone whose body is there, but their spirit and brain isn't. I'm sure when their body is united with those elements, they are wonderful people, but when they are in a group, they die sitting up. I realize that some people are more quiet than others, but you can tell if someone is dead by throwing them some bait and seeing if they react to it. For instance, after having almost completed the project, and after everyone else in the group has volunteered to do something, you may throw out a comment like, "Well, you've done this, and you've done this (mentioning everyone in the group but that person). Who wants to take this?" Everyone waits for a minute to see if the person is alive, because everyone realizes that person might not have a pulse. When the corpse fails to stir, you will probably hear from the Overachiever.

The Overachiever

The Overachiever is a good person to have in the group. They make everyone else's load easier by volunteering to do way more than their share. This is perfect for the average student who wants a good grade without spending lots of time. However, the Overachiever should be received with caution. While they may be workhorses, they are also misdirected juggernauts. They should not be allowed to make many decisions or do to much of the thinking. For some reason, the Overachiever is blessed with a unique brain that is very different than everyone else's in the group. They are the ones who either make the meetings last way too long because they get stuck on unimportant details that have no effect on your grade or suggest drastically changing the paper/presentation the day before it's due because they, "don't think we quite covered it." Their motivation is partly driven by competition because if anyone in the group were to find out about what other groups are doing and suggest we change to "be more competitive," it would be them.

The Worthless Voice of Reason

The Worthless Voice of Reason is usually a guy who isn't the most intelligent, but realizes that the Overachiever is talking nonsense, and he, as much or more than everyone else, does not want the project to be anymore work than it needs to be. When he speaks up to counter the Overachiever, his suggestions are hardly ever constructive and his logic is usually lacking, but everyone in the group realizes the frailty of the speech, but don't condemn it since he is a generally amiable guy and, while they want a good grade, they don't want a lot of work either.

The Valid Voice of Reason

This person is the one who ends up standing up to the Overachiever when they start getting out of control. If there is any palpable tension in the group, it is a result of these two--the protagonist Voice of Reason fighting off the evil Overachiever. Everyone else in the group usually watches; silently grateful that they don't have to do the dirty work. The Valid Voice of Reason doesn't want to hurt any feelings, so they try to disagree without being disagreeable, but are not about go off into the Overachiever's mists of darkness.

I won't spend time describing the others because they are usually more observers and contributers who are willing to do what's asked of them and don't say much unless asked. That's a little harder to make interesting.

Stay tuned for the next post about class members.