Marie Claire and North Korea: chick lit with substance

If you’re a chick and want a good magazine subscription, I highly recommend Marie Claire.  It’s only $10/year, and if you’re the impulsive-buy-on-a-whim type that I hope you are, you can get 3 years for just $15.  That’s only 1 meal out to eat for 1 person without tip, so you can do this.  Please subscribe because I don’t like this new trend where magazines are becoming obsolete and are going to only free online versions.  I wanted to start a Budget Travel subscription for the first time, and I couldn’t because they are only online now.  I like getting a magazine in the mail just like I enjoy going to the library, and if libraries ever become outmoded, that will be a day of mourning for me.

Anyway, if I am going to convince you to invest $10 in something, I better make a sales pitch.  (I’m known for up-selling.  Not really.  When I worked at Bruegger’s, I convinced many people, mostly men, oddly enough, to buy the most expensive sandwich, but I’m not a sell-out.  [Women were more steadfast in their lunch choices, probably for diet reasons; this particular sandwich was a 2:1 meat to vegetable ratio.]   I convinced them because I believed it to be the best sandwich on the menu and wanted them to enjoy a tasty meal.  I received no commission for anything, just telling them what was good if they asked or if there was a long line and they were taking entirely too long mulling over the menu).

Anyway, all of the stupid girl stuff is included, but you also get very well done human interest stories with each issue.  This last issue talked about a North Korean woman who is only 1 of 146 who have successfully escaped to America, and included the how, when, and why.  The dictatorship survives primarily because they deprive their people of information.  Secondarily, it survives because they deprive their people of sufficient food.  (Your people can’t overthrow you if they are too weak.  But, your people will not wish to overthrow you if they believe the lies and evil you tell them).

And, why wouldn’t they?  As I read the article, I couldn’t help but think what everyone initially ponders.  Why would somebody believe such ridiculousness?  That North Korea is the best country ever?  That we have it great here?  Here, where we have no freedom, barely enough food to survive, and are scared for our safety?  Scared that we might be turned in by a neighbor?

Then, I quickly remembered the psychology behind brainwashing.  Brainwashing is successful due to the isolation.  They isolate their people completely from the rest of the world.  Their radios are North Korean, and their information is all filtered so that they can control all information their people receive.  They only know that their country is the best, or at least that is the ultimate goal of the dictatorship.  (But, obviously, some people put it together and “defect” to other countries.  Others might put it together, but are too afraid, but it’s impossible to know the statistics on that).  It’s pure evil, of course.  But, it’s pure evil done by someone who understands the psychology of man, but grossly misuses it.

It infuriates me to read this.  Infuriates, saddens, etc.  Why do I get to be born into a country where I feel safe?  (Except in parking garages by myself at night and public restrooms alone in baseball stadiums in cities with high violent crime rates).  Anyway, why do I get to be born into a nice, comfortable life and others have to struggle to survive?

Because of this (my comfortable life), I have an ethical obligation to help others.  I believe this and so does Lauren Conrad from the reality show, Laguna Beach.  You would know this if you had read the most recent issue.  (I guess I’m not going to get you to buy something if I use that most infamous of teacher lines: “You would have known if…”).   I was both surprised and proud that she said that and believes it (she uses her money to help others just as all celebrities should do).

Some will say, “Well, people who are wealthy can do whatever they want with their money.”  True.  They can, but they shouldn’t.  (Usually people say this in context of taxes, government-esque things).  But, I believe we have an obligation to help others when we are able to do so (and by “able”, I don’t mean when it is convenient for us.  I mean when we are able to help, as in financially, emotionally, etc.  Which means most people can help others).

No, I am not wealthy.  I am a nurse.  Did you not see the title of my blog?  I have enough, don’t need anything more, though.  I chose to be a nurse, had the freedom of choice which many people around the world lack.  So, if we have a duty to help others who are struggling, how do we help those in North Korea?  There is a place in China that is a safe haven for these people (refugees from North Korea) where people work to help them, some of them American.  This was the protagonist’s first taste that Americans were not pure evil, but people wanting to help her.  (If you didn’t know, they brainwash their people into saying that Americans are evil, will harm them etc).

But, how to help the people stuck in North Korea?  It always both perplexes and angers me how such evil can still exist in 2013, a time where information is so easily accessible and transportation so efficient.  A place with the most guarded border in the world, their own, to keep their people from escaping to South Korea.  And, there’s The Aquariams of Pyongyang book staring me in the face.  A book I have been interested to read, but have been avoiding for obvious reasons.

It’s tragic enough that the people of North Korea have to experience such atrocity.  But, they are not the only people who do, and while I know it’s impossible to help everyone, how is America supposed to balance being humanitarian while not interfering?  And, how is America supposed to choose which country they will help?  The greatest good for the greatest number?  The “worst” dictator, “worst” atrocities?  (I place “worst” in quotes because I believe it’s not right to quantify atrocity as human lives are the consequence of the atrocity).

Is this the kind of thing that keeps you awake at night?  I hope so.  Because this is what keeps me awake at night.  Knowing I get to sleep on a nice, pillow top dream of a mattress while others around the world are kept awake at night from hunger.  Disease.  Terror.  Some that don’t know that pillow top mattresses exist.  And that America means freedom.


Freakonomics fan examines assertion that abortion lowered crime rates

Intriguing concept (and universally controversial).  Remember when crime rates were high all over the U.S?  (I don’t as I was barely born, but you, the reader, may have been old enough to watch the news at the time).  But, then, unexpectedly, crime rates declined all over our country in the mid-1990’s.  (I say unexpectedly as criminology experts thought they were going to surge even further).

Of all the things we (and experts) would think would have lowered the crime rates, legalized abortion was the primary factor responsible according to Levitt, the distinguished economist and co-author of the best-seller, Freakonomics.  Perhaps you were already aware of this as the book is now 8 years old, and the article he published is even older than that.  But, since I’m just now reading it (almost finished), I became enlightened, but not without a hint of skepticism.  [I question everything; seriously, everything.  This morning, I talked with my husband regarding polygamy and the practical benefits it could have if one limited his wives to only two; legal wife stays home with the kids primarily since she can be covered under her husband’s benefits, and wife #2 works and has her own health insurance.  To prevent jealousy, both wives would work part-time, work opposite schedules so that no child care would be needed.  This would work well for some people. Wouldn’t be for me as I am morally opposed to polygamy, though that’s beyond the scope of that discussion.  Just illustrating a point.  It’s in my  nature, my personality, if you will, to question everything].

Anyway, tangent now done, where were we?  It turns out that I did aptly name this blog, nothing like a little introspection.  Ah, yes.  Abortion and crime rates.  Causality here, to be sure.  You remember how we learned that correlation does not equal causation in our Psych 101 course freshman year?  And, then it was always mentioned somewhere after that, in a statistics class or what have you.  Okay, so Levitt made sure we understood that correlation does not equal causation.  For instance, I’ll illustrate what that means if you have forgotten with a hypothetical example from my field.  More RN’s were hired, and in the same time period, the infection rate went up.

This just means there is a relation between RN’s and infection; it does not mean that the RN’s caused the infection.  It could very well be, but it could also be that the visitors, or therapists or MD’s were not performing strict hand hygiene, and so, that caused the infection rate to rise.  Or, maybe, the infection rate was higher in hospitals everywhere due to a seasonal variance, so the patients came into the hospital with the infections?  You get the point.  That is a hypothetical example of correlation.

So, Levitt wasn’t just saying that there was some weak link between abortion and crime rates.  He was stating a causal relationship.  Roe v Wade occurred in 1973, and legalized abortion was now available to every woman (interestingly enough, Roe, the fake name for the woman for whom the case was named then became pro-life; this fact, as well as others regarding crime, etc, are taken from both Freakonomics or Wikipedia).  Levitt claims that the very people most likely to take advantage of an abortion were those people whose children would be most likely to be criminals (poor, uneducated; those who live around violence).  So, in the mid 90’s, the crime rate dropped all over the country because the adults who would have been criminals were never born.

Bold statement.  Does it make sense?  Yes.  Nobody had ever said this before, wasn’t on anyone’s radar.  That’s part of what makes him famous, his creative thinking.  (Economists aren’t really known for their creativity).  However, it’s important to mention that Levitt credits other things to lowering crime rates at the time.  Increasing the number of police, stricter prison sentences, imprisonment (prior to that, people had more of an incentive to commit crime, Levitt claimed, since there wasn’t much penalty to committing crime, liberal on crime era for a few decades).  Also makes sense.  Criminals can’t commit crimes because they’re locked up for the crimes they already committed.  Nothing earth-shattering there.

Abortion is, though.  It’s just one of those terms that isn’t said without a strong reaction from somebody.  That tends to be the case with controversial topics, though, doesn’t it?  Especially when it involves the life of a baby and a woman’s choice.  Two things that are diametrically opposed, oddly enough.  What I mean to say is that there is infighting amongst women when I wouldn’t expect there to be (one would think, intuitively, that a woman would want to protect the life of her baby).

You may disagree with me on that (and you will if you are in the 42% of people according to a Gallup poll done in 2009).  This is not to say that I don’t understand why people get abortions; please don’t misunderstand.  I am not going to sit outside with a picket sign and make people feel worse for decisions they’ve already made.  I also am different from other pro-life people in that I don’t think abortion should be made illegal (even though I am morally opposed to it).  Why?

Because it wouldn’t work.  I believe women would then acquire hasty abortions elsewhere and would suffer infection rates, extortion, etc.  Can’t go back.  Anyway, I guess I illustrated my point without even intending to do so.  I wasn’t intending to speak of my views on abortion, but in so doing, I illustrated my point that the general masses have a view on abortion.  It’s either wrong or it’s a woman’s choice.

Anyway, I think I’m setting a record for the number of tangents in one post.  Abortion and crime rates.  What he said makes sense.  The only way (in my mind) to really test whether what Levitt claimed is true or not would be to make abortion illegal, close all clinics that perform abortion, and then see what the crime rate does in 20 or so odd years.  If it stays the same, then what he said is probably not true.  If it rises, then what he said might be true (but, you would have to work out other third factors).  Obviously, that is not going to happen, so it’s really hard to test the validity of what he said.

But, apparently, other experts did test what he said, and said that he made statistical errors, that abortion did not lower crime rates; it actually increased it.  Levitt responded by stating that there is still a statistically significant link between abortion and crime rates, though it was weaker than he originally said.  So, who knows for sure?  It definitely was an assertion that rocked the boat, though that wasn’t his intention.  It also makes me wonder if people can really study abortion/crime objectively, and not allow their bias on the matter to influence their studies/results.

He wasn’t/isn’t a racist or in favor of eugenics, was just doing what he does best, thinking outside the box, though that abortion/crime article clearly wasn’t his best work.  To err his human even when you’re a human that is held to a higher standard (in this case, Levitt).  I don’t know why people assumed otherwise.  Well, I know why they did (many people were outraged).  He was just stating his observations.  I am one of the people that should be outraged, but I’m not (and don’t really think others needed to be) because he’s an intelligent, innovative person that is unique in his field.

No, I’m not his public relations expert.  Just a reader who is a huge fan of Freakonomics, and thinking outside the box in general.  After all, a world without creativity is a world that does not progress.

“What is honour, my dear, when you have nothing to eat?”

Fumbling through our book shelf looking for what to read next, this is the first thing I see.  Well, that, and what look to be the legs of an orphan or a person living in poverty.  I also noticed how thin the book was, which was what initially attracted me to the book, and the entire reason I picked it up in the first place.  I flip it over, and my suspicions are confirmed: it’s Poor People by Dostoevsky.  It didn’t take a Watson to figure it out [Why should Sherlock always get the credit?  He did have an investigative partner]  as E recently organized our book shelf by author, and I had already pulled a book out that was 2 books to the left of that one, which was, yes, also Dostoevsky.  The aforementioned Holmes reference wouldn’t make much sense otherwise, would it?

I’ll never understand organization for the sake of organization.  Now, I can appreciate organization to an extent; don’t get me wrong.  But, organizing a book shelf by author?  Or DVDs by genre?  I don’t get that. (My mom would say that I’m wrong, and “everything has it’s place, and there’s a place for everything” or something like that). To me, it’s enough that the books or DVDs are put away (and most of the time, I don’t care if there’s a rogue Fugitive or A Christmas Carol lying around).  Okay, bad examples as both of those are books made into movies.  The former was the movie, and the latter was supposed to be the book.

The specific examples don’t really matter just as it doesn’t really matter if I put back Poor People in the Russian section, filed under “D” and just before “T” for Tolstoy.  Oh yeah, our house could be a mess, but my husband will have an organized book shelf.  Drives me crazy.  Just as it drives him crazy when I take out a comedy, watch it, and put it back with the action movies.  I don’t do it out of spite or to make a point, wouldn’t be very loving of me.  One would think E is very anal, organized all of the time from this description.  No, no, not in the least.

He just likes the DVDs, books, and food to be organized.  That’s all.  So, I oblige him, though I will have no part in helping to organize.  I just try to keep it that way (try).  We all have our quirks, don’t we?  And, the best we can do as husbands, wives, or friends is appreciate the quirks in our loved ones, and laugh at them.  Laugh at the people, not the quirks, because the people are who make them funny.  The quirks have no comedic value in and of themselves; by their very definition they are attached to people.

Well, that was quite a tangent, wasn’t it?  But, not really, it only appears that way to you.  I intended to shift in that direction at the end of the first paragraph.  Back to the Russian great, Dostoevsky.  I haven’t read Poor People yet, but this will be next or close to next on my list.  I’m currently reading some Hemingway as the only Hemingway I’ve ever read was The Old Man and the Sea, and while it’s been about 13 years since I’ve read that in high school, I remember actually feeling like an old woman by the time I finished reading it, like I had aged as much as the old man had.  Didn’t like it, but wanted to give him another chance.

So, doing that now, and liking what I’ve read of his short stories so far.  I read his very first short story ever published, and then immediately read one of his last ever published.  And, one can tell how his life had changed from realism with a hint of hope to depression.  I didn’t do this intentionally, only wanted to read one of his best short stories before going to bed, but there’s definitely a stark contrast in the themes between the two (about a 40 year difference in writing, too; published his first at the age of 22).  Also, going to give his novels another try in A Farewell to Arms.

Anyway, I did read Dostoevsky once, but that was also at some point in high school when I was 15 or so during the summer at our pool, but didn’t get that far into it, only 100 pages or so.  It was summer, I was young, and maybe wasn’t ready for him yet.  Well, we all know age leads to wisdom, right?  (joking, of course, though it does sometimes).  Going to try him again, but this time with a different book, Poor People.  Mainly because it’s short.  But, as a bonus, it happens to be his first book, so that’s kind of cool.  His first book will be the first I read of his works.

And, back to that quote.  That quote.  How good it is.  “What is honour, my dear, when you have nothing to eat?”  Now, I can’t pretend to put that in the context of what he wrote as I haven’t read it yet, but I can only guess.  Without any context at all, it’s a great stand alone quote, could very well just stand by itself.  Obviously still very applicable today for the world’s hungry.  We’ll talk about Poor People more later once we’ve both read it.  For now, I guess I better get some practical things done around the house, folding laundry, feed the cat, etc.  (Kidding, I didn’t forget about the cat).

Network TV and society: The Bachelor is who we are while The Newsroom is who we ought to be

So, why are HBO and BBC good, and network TV is not?  And, why can’t I just buy HBO without buying cable?  I will not buy cable on principle, an overpriced monopoly.  Not that I’m missing much.  I’m really only missing BBC and HBO, one of which costs an exorbitant amount to have.  And, while I will not pretend to have business expertise that I do not, how do monopolies exist in an established capitalist society?

Meaning, why is there only a (usually shoddy) cable company for an entire region?  Why can’t there be two? [I ask this, knowing the answer.  This really is just a rhetorical question by a frustrated previous customer of cable TV]. Having more than one, as we know, forces both of them to not be crappy.  Forces them to have fair prices.  Forces them to have decent customer service.  Without going into waters that I can’t swim, this is the very fundamental purpose of capitalism: competition.

Merriam-Webster defines competition in business as “the effort of two or more parties acting independently to secure the business of a third party by offering the most favorable terms” (as taken from Wikipedia; knock it if you want, but Wikipedia is the fastest way to learn a bit about anything).  In this case, we would be the third party.  And, being a third party stinks.  It always does, doesn’t it?  Third party candidates for an election, while they make their values known [and I respect them for standing for something] never stand a chance.

Well, won’t say never.  But, hardly stand a chance.  Being the third party as a customer?  Stinks.  We are powerful, yet powerless.  We shape business decisions without having any say in what those decisions are.  Same goes for politics (though it shouldn’t be that way, should it?  No).  Politicians, Congress go for ratings the same as ABC does when they made Desperate Housewives or The Bachelor.  [I wonder what it feels like to sell your soul for money].

Shows that have us question human nature, the difference between good, evil, and the morally gray, shows where a woman has fallen in love with a few men who she met 4 days ago, and must choose in 2 more episodes, who her husband should be.  I actually said that sarcastically, but it turns out that such vapid shows actually do make me question good, bad, and the morally gray just by the nature of them being devoid of any meaning.  Makes me question our society, our values, our progression (or regression) in this case.

Have I watched these shows?  Yes, a few episodes in the past.  Did I even find myself rooting for a particular man or woman on an occasion?  Yes, for which I am ashamed.  Guilty pleasure night, I called it.  I needed to watch something “light” that night as it was a rough day at work, emotional for the children.  (This was when I worked in mental health).  So, I’m not denying the need for “light” TV.  I’m not saying that every show needs to be a treatise on Plato’s Republic, but there could be good “light” TV.  Good comedies.  Shows like Everybody Loves Raymond and The Simpsons would be examples.

If I learned anything from The Newsroom episode last night, it’s that stupid news shows (and other shows) happen because we allow it to happen.  [I already knew this, of course, as we all do, but this just renewed my frustration with network TV, and the general public. This is an example of how the powerless are powerful].  Just stop watching CNN and FoxNews, and they’ll be forced to actually show the news again.

If I could watch ACN, I would!  This is why I watch this show (The Newsroom on HBO).  By watching The Newsroom, I get to see what good news can be.  I never really got to experience it, I guess, since the days of good news were before my time.  The internet has changed a lot of that, I guess, as people don’t rely on broadcast news as we did in the past, but the internet is not to blame for bad news.  Reporting on Kim Kardashian’s new baby (or whatever, I don’t even know what is going on with that family or who they really are) and placing important news in captions along the bottom of the screen rather than the other way around (though I maintain the former shouldn’t even be in captions).

Is this really who we are, America?  Do we really seek entertainment over meaning?  Are we a hedonistic society?  Have we become a “drink today for tomorrow we shall die” kind of country?  Or are we the humanitarian thoughtful people who care for their fellow neighbor?  Whether that be literal neighbor or across the Pacific?

It’s not fair to blame cable TV or politicians.  That would be easy, yes.  They could be my scapegoats if I were to make a conscious choice to have scapegoats. TV really is only a reflection of society’s values, culture.  From the latest hit show that is being produced to the latest bill that is being passed, we, the customers, society, are behind it all.  The powerless.  Turn out to be quite powerful.

Please tell us about your strengths and weaknesses: the question you can’t escape

The quintessential interview question.  Or application, essay question, etc.  It shows up everywhere, taunting us when we thought we nearly escaped it.  From your application as a cashier to your application to the House, it will show up.  The key?  Is to not dread it.  Or be afraid of it.  I remember I used to think, “Oh awesome.  This question.  What weakness do I share that won’t make them not want to hire me?”  I mean, you don’t want to look weak in any way.  You want to be top dog.  I then quickly did some introspection, went through my list of strengths, weaknesses, and found a weakness that I do most certainly have that is both a strength and a weakness.

Perfectionism.  This is a strength for obvious reasons.  My motto?  If I’m going to do something, I’m not going to do it half-donkey, but do it right.  Do it well.  Do it the best.  That’s great, but perfectionism can also impede progress, which makes it a viable weakness.  But, it also makes the perfect answer to the unanswerable question.  Or at least: the question you feel will make you look terrible regardless of what you say.  Which leads me to my biggest strength lest we’re all about negativity here.

Tied for my biggest strength: would be my memory (have an excellent one, the ability to read things and just remember them.  Was an asset in school, allowed me to just cram for things, and also is certainly helpful at my job).  Allows me to just read over my patients’ labs, and know what their creatinine has been running for the past 3 days to the hundredth value.  5.23 to 6.42 to 7.26 (just hypotheticals, of course, but if you’re wondering, those are terrible values.  You don’t want your Cr to be there).  Tied with memory?

Empathy.  I sometimes feel like what’s his name on Heroes.  That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but that’s one of my biggest strengths, which is also vitally important for an ICU nurse.  Being able to understand the feelings of my patients and their families helps me better help them, comfort them in times of grief.  My job wouldn’t be a job for those lacking in those 2 strengths.

Just like I wouldn’t be the best engineer or mechanic or carpenter or physicist.  The point being: we all each have our gifts for which we inherited, not necessarily from our parents only, but we were born with them.  (I believe they are God-given, but you may believe it’s just happen chance or chromosomes aligning just so or a Gemini thing perhaps).  Sure, our weaknesses can become less of a weakness or even become our strengths for some of us.  How?  By knowing the answer to that awful trap of an interview question.

If we know our weaknesses, strengths, ourselves essentially, we can improve upon them, improve upon ourselves to a degree.  For instance, say you are too impulsive.  That can lead to destructive decisions, so one needs to identify triggers to impulsive decisions and how best to stop those.  Or, maybe one is a pushover.  (Meekly raises hand as I used to be in this camp).  I was a people pleaser (and still can be from time to time), but I have learned not to please people at the expense of myself and have learned to say “no.”  (No, I was not a prostitute, though it kind of sounds that way from that description).

The jobs I have had since graduation from college have forced me into the assertive camp, and it is awesome, and so freeing.  In order to be good at my job, I have to be assertive for my patients.  That’s how things get done.  Leadership?  Some people are just natural leaders, and this is their strength.  An important strength.  Some people are also great side kicks, the Robins to Batman.  These would be the great advisers, which are also vitally important.  Leaders can’t do their job well without great advisers.  Why do you think the President has more advisers than the Octomom has kids?  (Have an odd sense of humor as that was the first analogy that came to mind (inherited sense of humor, I guess).  Not minimizing that scenario; I think it’s an ethical tragedy that was allowed to happen anyway.  Don’t mistake what I’m saying: the children are not a tragedy in and of themselves.  Never mind.

Anyway, I was younger then, and have since figured out why they ask this question.  They are essentially asking us to summarize ourselves.  Most people don’t answer completely honestly (sure, they tell all about their strengths), but they carefully choose which weakness to expose (just as I have done in the past).  This isn’t because said person is prone to a large ego; they’re just trying to get a job.

What potential employers are looking for is humility, transparency.  Life is about growth, and no, I’m not talking about self-actualization here.  Blech.  Vomit.  Get me some IV Zofran.  Knowing ourselves helps us be better employees, fathers, daughters. (Woops, now that John Mayer song popped into my head, for which I’m very sorry.  My apologies to you, as well).  Regardless of your philosophy or whether or not you are or are not a humanist (which I am not, thought I made that clear), introspection is important.

It just might help you get that job.  I now am much more transparent.  I have no problem telling someone I used to be more of a pushover.  An appropriate amount of self-confidence helps us know it’s okay to have weaknesses.  So, if you have an interview tomorrow, don’t fret.  Just answer the question.  Honestly.

As you’re preparing: Too many weaknesses?  Probably lacking in self-confidence.  Humility is a good thing, definitely a good thing, but it’s a balancing act.

Too many strengths?  Probably leaning toward the hubris Herulean side of life.  Could probably use a reality check.

Which is why they ask this question.  A good interviewer can tell a lot about a person by their strengths and weaknesses (or the weaknesses we choose to expose), and how well suited they would be to the position for which they are applying.  Of course, that’s if you make it past the wonder that is the web-enhanced application process.

If you’re wondering where this blog post came from, I’m not quite sure.  (Note the above title of my blog).  I was thinking about the economy, people looking for jobs, and somehow that led me to my (historically) least favorite interview question.

Country better than city? Ask a NYC mouse: the 10 things greater than 10 other things list

I pondered this as I ate my Chobani Champions yogurt this morning (Chobani’s yogurt for kids).  Regular Chobani has nothing on the kid’s version, especially the vanilla chocolate chunk, my favorite.  They’re less expensive, too (though yes, I realize it’s actually a smaller product).  So, let’s start the list.  Feel free to add to the list, agree, or disagree.  It’s all in good fun. 

You’re wondering: what do mice have to do with this?  The country versus city debate is a common “which is better?” debate as referenced in one of Aesop’s fables.  I really hope you read this as a child.  Anyway, the NYC mouse definitely has the best life currently, if he can escape the night exterminators.  It’s estimated that NYC has at least 1 rat for every 1 person living there.  NYC has a huge rat problem, heard that somewhere, but saw it on a BBC special, Human Planet, which I’ve previously told you to go buy and watch.  If it sounds like I’m lecturing, I am; when something is good, it is good, and therefore, good to watch.

1). Chobani champions > Chobani (and most other yogurts, including Yoplai (gasp!)

2).  Pixar > Dreamworks (though I haven’t seen How to Train your Dragon, hear that one gives them a run for their money, but still, there’s no contest overall).

3).  Farm Anatomy: The curious parts and pieces of country life > human anatomy and physiology book I studied, though I enjoyed that, too (reading this book now, or, rather, looking at it (mostly illustrations, the best kind of book, no?).  But, I’m learning a ton, from barn cupolas to the makeup of soil.  I always thought it would be cool to live on a farm, but this book makes me want to just go out and live the farm life.  Going country.  Now.

4).  Puppies, kittens > babies (not better than, just wins the “Who is cuter contest?”)  Ask most people, and they’ll agree, according to a poll done by or yahoo or something I read a while back when I was wasting time.  Not all babies are cute; I certainly wasn’t, looked like a preemie cyborg.  Though I was a cute toddler, no doubt.  More puppies and kittens are cuter than most babies, though that is not to say that all kittens and puppies are cuter than all babies.  Note the context here.  This is not to confuse my love for children.  I love kids (though I’m more of a “kid” person than a “baby” person).  I’m sure I will make an exception for my own baby.

5).  Old fashioned Christmas lights > the travesty of the LED invention.  Whoever invented the LED must feel much like Oppenheimer did.

6).  The beach vs mountain debate?  I really am torn.  Both are beautiful parts of God’s creation.  This is called general revelation, I think, if I am remembering my humanities class correctly so long ago as a college freshman.  Oh yeah, the age thing.

7).  30 years old  > 20 years old.  (Though I’m not 30 yet, still have a long 2 years to go).  But, it just is, and not because I’m in denial of my age, but because at 20, I don’t think you have the same appreciation for life that you do as you get a little older.  I am probably more in tune with mortality than the average Jane since I’m an ICU nurse and see this regularly, but life experiences happen to us all and give us a greater appreciation for the life we’ve been given.  Hopefully).

8).  Curly hair > straight hair.  Speaking from a girl who has had both naturally, curly hair is so much better, so much easier to maintain.  I get out of the shower, and let my hair air dry, and that’s it, looks good.  Whereas before, my hair had a little wave to it, went everywhere if I didn’t blow dry it.  Love low maintenance hair.  For whatever reason, my hair decided to become curly on its own about a year ago, and I’ll take it.  I guess if you have stick straight hair, that is also just as easy to maintain.

9).  Publix > any other grocery store.  We’ve already discussed this, no need for a re-hash.  Can’t argue with absolute truth.  Just can’t.  Truth ain’t relative, ya’ll, and the same goes for morals.

10).  Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman > any other Italian actor’s performance, or any actor, for that matter.  Excellent film.  If you haven’t seen it, watch it.  One of my all time favorites in film.  Doesn’t have the re-watchability of Father of the Bride I and II, but that’s not because it’s inferior; it’s just not a comedy.

Well, this was fun, folks. 

I don’t actually talk like that, but I’m practicing for when I open up my apple tree farm, making apple cider, and Grandma’s homemade applesauce with my family by my side, lots of land, and, of course, a barn cupola.  Since I just now learned what the thing on top of the barn is called, I must now have a barn.  On my farm.  With my apple trees.






I really want to go to P.F. Chang’s, but I can’t get you to wear more than a T-shirt

Role reversal.  I didn’t say those words.  My husband did last Saturday evening after we had taken our young cat, barely an adult cat, to the vet to be euthanized earlier that day.  My reply?  Something to the effect of, “This isn’t just any t-shirt.  It’s my $10 comfy find from Marshall’s, super soft cotton, that has the EKG rhythm [NSR probably in the 90’s, no ectopy noted] on it” [and it still isn’t the androgynous T that you would wear to work out, one that is still shape flattering to an extent]. 

I said, “Where can we go with me wearing exactly what I’m wearing?”  His reply, “Not much of anywhere.  Just change your shirt.  I want to go out on a date with you.”  Me?  “No.  I’m not going to.”  This went on for 30 minutes or so, but we both got a good laugh in how ridiculous we both were being, stubborn.  We ended up just grabbing a bite to eat down the road mainly because it was getting later since we bickered for so long and I had to go to bed for work, was feeling tired anyway.  Euthanasia has that effect on your circadian rhythm, I guess.  And your marriage.  

He wanted to get out of the house to get his mind off our beloved cat that was now just a pile of ashes at the local vet, and since we had a gift card to P.F. Chang’s that we hadn’t used yet, he figured we’d go on a date since I worked the next morning, hadn’t gotten to do anything fun in a while.  Understood.  Except that T shirt was so comfortable.  The perfect apparel to lounge around and cuddle with the other beloved cat who has no idea why her buddy isn’t here.

I guess you could say victory was mine.  Not really, though.  Wasn’t exactly a fun evening.  But, we all make compromises in marriage, part of loving your spouse (though I’m not quite sure that qualifies as a compromise on his part).  You’re probably thinking, “Geez, it’s just a cat.  Cat dies, and their marriage is falling apart.”  Hardly.  Just illustrating what typifies day to day life in marriage. 

We really do love each other.  Tonight I’m taking him to see Iron Man 3, a movie I have no interest in seeing.  Yes, I did see Iron Man and the Avengers (not in theaters), but because he wanted to see those again, and they were fun movies.  I don’t really see it as a compromise, though.  I want to do things he enjoys sometimes because I love him, not doing things out of obligation.  He does the same.  Does he really enjoy going to Target?  Not at all.  He hates it, but suggests going sometimes because he knows how much I love it.  Just one part of a healthy marriage: unselfishness or selflessness (though nobody’s perfect at this as evidenced by the above).

Though we have now decided that I will not go to Target with him.  It’s much more enjoyable just going by myself, and he can remain ignorant at the cost of life (toiletries, cleaning supplies), which he prefers.  I love that store.  Just went last week, got 2 new cardigans since they were on sale.  Going to wear it tonight.  It’s embedded with seahorses, 3/4 sleeve.  How cool is that?  How many cardigans do you own with seahorses on them? 

Anyway, I hope that you have an enjoyable weekend!  And, if you haven’t tried shopping for your apparel at Target, I highly recommend.  Much of my wardrobe is from there.  Good stuff, done by actual designers, inexpensive.  Good business move on Target’s part, for sure.  I know I am very excited for this weekend, mainly for days off to actually spend time with E, even excited for my date tonight to see Iron Man 3. 

What’s for dinner?  P.F. Chang’s.  But, it’s the frozen meal I bought at Target this past week partly as a joke, and partly because I wanted to see if their frozen variety was any good.  What am I wearing?  My new cardigan.  Beloved T-shirt is in the hamper now, must start washing it inside out so that I can save the EKG rhythm on the front, and have it not turn into IVR (idioventricular rhythm, means “dying heart” symbolic for the “dying shirt.”)  Never mind.