Saturday, June 27, 2015

Not Trendy

This evening I noticed something beautiful in the sky.  Venus and Jupiter are very close together.  The computer tells me that this is the closest the two planets will be over the space of a few decades.  The astronomers are saying that this series of three conjunctions (over the space of 14 months) is quite similar to what the star of Bethlehem may have been.

When Maggie and I were first looking up "Sky and Telescope" to see what they said about this lovely sight, I started singing, "... and Jupiter aligns with Mars, then peace will guide the planets ..."  Poor Maggie.  "WHAT are you singing, Mom?!"  So I belted it out: "This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius ..."  Yeah.  Like I said -- poor Maggie.

Singing the song reminded me.  Once upon a time, in grade school, I won some contest at the Y.  The prize was a 45 of my choice.  (For you youngsters, a "45" is a record.  The kind that got played on a old-fashioned turn-table.  The little ones, with one song on each side.  It would be comparable to your winning a $3 iTune giftcard.)  They asked all three winners for what songs they'd like.  The other two girls immediately came up with song titles.  At that point, I didn't listen to pop music yet.  So I chose "Age of Aquarius."  It was something I knew.  The adults didn't know what to do: "That's old.  I don't think that's available any more.  Is it still on the charts?  Can you tell us a second choice?  I don't think we'll be able to find that song."

When my hair was initially cut short, here not too long ago, several people complimented me with how "trendy" I looked.  I was offended.  I didn't respond in a nasty way, but yes, that kind of praise bothered me.  If they liked my hair and I didn't, I could accept their compliment.  If they said my haircut suited me, I could disagree but appreciate their well-intended words.  But trendy?  Yuck.  I don't like trendy.  I don't want to be trendy.

"The Age of Aquarius."  I was already out-of-sync and decidedly behind-the-times when I was just a little kid.

Definitely untrendy.
And proud of it.  Darn tootin'.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Brain Games

We are watching a psychology show on Netflix right now.  Brain Games explores the way the brain works, and how it can play tricks on us.  There are plenty of optical illusions and interactive activities.  (After several episodes my curiosity got the better of me -- I did peak once when they said to close your eyes and listen.  The sign on the screen?  "We told you to close your eyes.")

One episode was quite interesting in that it began with the premise that --from birth-- men and women are different.  They think differently.  They have different brains with different strengths and weaknesses.  This is inbred in our cells and DNA.  I was amazed that such a thing would be stated so bluntly a mere 3 years ago.  (We've made quite the rapid slide into nonsense here the last year or so, eh?)

Another interesting episode was how people tend to be overconfident.  We don't like to think we don't know.  We don't like to accept that we make mistakes.  We justify ourselves.  There are spiritual and theological ramifications to this psychological fact.  (Or maybe flip it around: they showed the psychological ramifications of what is actually a spiritual fact.)  It makes me even more put off by [ahem] confidence.

The episode on paying attention helped me understand some situations I face at work ... and why it's so easy to overload a mind (especially after a brain injury that compromised my thinking skills).

In many ways, I apparently think more like a man than a woman: my color perception, my spatial skills, my verbal skills.  Oh well.

The episode on memory showed me something else that I suspected.  My memory has really gone downhill.  [My apologies, Gary.  But it has.]

The oddball thing of this whole series?  My brain is more like Maggie's now than it used to be; we're finding quite often that we both come up with the same answer in the interactive games.  But we keep answering the "wrong" answer (that is, the unexpected answer, given by a small minority of their subjects).  We're wondering if we have trained our brains this way.  If so, I think it's a good thing.

Sunday, June 21, 2015


Lovely, amazing, beautiful wedding yesterday.  We've known the groom since he was 1, and the bride since she was about 4-5.  So good to go to a wedding where they are firmly committed to Christ's being the center of their marriage.

Cherry pie in the oven baking.  The cherry tree is loaded with beautiful fruit.  I don't know if it was that the weather was just right this year, or if the tree's flourishing was due to my lack of mangling pruning the last two springs.

Gary is still doing ALL the mowing.  He does not permit me to help.  I am spoiled.  Also, Maggie and Katie seem to be accomplishing any housecleaning that happens around here.

I gave up on the garden.  I planted some lettuce and almost none of it came up.  I've harvested almost none of the strawberries -- Gary, Maggie, Katie, and the kids have done whatever picking has happened.  Not all the raspberries have been pruned and weeded.  Grape-vine shoots and tendrils look nice but need to be tied to their supports.  I guess we'll be buying tomatoes from the farmers' markets this year.  The garden spot is covered with dead leaves, a little hay, and the kitchen scraps for composting.  This is the seventh year of the garden.  We'll call it our "fallow year" and just pretend like we planned it this way all along.  Yup.  Sure.  Absolutely.

This year's catechetical symposium had a smaller attendance than usual.  But the topic was good. 

Took a trip down to my hometown to start helping with cleaning out my mom's house.  Between the travel, the late nights, and the simple physical work of going through drawers and closets and carrying things and walking back and forth, it took a week and a half of recuperating before I could do anything more than lie around (when I wasn't at work).  I was even too tired to read.  My appetite went away, and I still haven't cooked a real meal since before that trip.  I fear that I'm not going to have the strength to do what I should in this project.

What is it with all the rashes this past year?  It seems like, if somebody merely looks at me cross-eyed, I'll develop another rash.  Well, no, it's not people looking at me; it's plants getting anywhere near me. Thus the disincentive to be putzing in the garden very often.

I heard two different conversations at the wedding yesterday from young unmarried men.  You know what they each want in a wife?  Number 1 requirement: a woman.  What a different world it is today that this would even be mentioned in a joking way. 

One of the gals at work just had her baby, and the two college-aged gals are doing temporary internships (thus limiting their hours available for work).  I hope my hours get shuffled a bit for the next few weeks so that I can fill in holes instead of working my usual hours.  Thing is, I'm still under doctor's limitations on how many hours per week I may work -- that will keep me from overdoing.

I've got some editing to do, so all the rest of my to-do list for church tasks is getting ignored.

I tried going back to Curves to "exercise" -- with a very slow and easy trial of getting back to some physical activity.  That was right before we went on the trip to Illinois, so I haven't been about to go back to Curves again.

It happened again today: I decided that no matter what went undone, I had to call Mom because it's been so long since I talked to her.  And then I realized ... no, I wouldn't be calling Mom.  I wonder how long it will take before I quit forgetting.