Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Moving Law # 3

This is probably not, technically, a "law" as much as a suggestion, but I'll list it as Moving Law # 3 just to be consistent with earlier entries.

If you you are involved in a long-distance move (i.e. you won't be making multiple trips back and forth in your car) AND if you will be using the services of a moving company (i.e. you have enough junk to justify this), THEN it is tempting to think that you can put a lot of "last minute" stuff in your car, but that way lies disaster !  Unless you send as much stuff as possible on the moving van, you will almost always end up with more stuff left (after the movers are gone) than what you can possibly fit in your car! . . .  Instead, try to pack up absolutely everything for the movers to take except what they refuse to take (e.g. pets, liquids, etc.).  You will still end up with way too much stuff in your car (and way too much time spent packing it), but the situation will not be quite as bad as if you were counting on having more space in your car than you actually have.  Trying to ship things by air freight or railroad at the last minute, or trying to rent a trailer on short notice are nightmarish situations that you would probably want to avoid, if at all possible.  (Perhaps there is a "space" variation on Parkinson's Law:  stuff expands to fit the space available, and can easily expand even beyond the space available.)

Color Coding for Cars

It has occurred to me that many items are color coded and this makes it easier to quickly discern something about the item.  Labels on decaf coffee, for example, are usually green.  Warning signs are often in red.  What if we used color coding on cars to help us distinguish between types of drivers?  We could see, at a glance, what type of driver we're dealing with.  Here's how it might work:

red = fast driver; usually immature, impulsive; angry or irrational if crossed
blue = middle-aged driver; mature, experienced; generally cautious and law-abiding
green = new driver; immature, inexperienced; good reflexes, but tends to push the limits
yellow = youngish (but not green); happy, carefree; basically cautious, but sometimes inattentive when singing along with song
orange = prisoner; should not be on the road in any event
pink = young woman; usually attentive except when applying makeup or talking on a cell phone
purple = think former (or current) mental patient; erratic; alternately goes too fast and too slow; makes left turns from right turn lanes, etc.
gray or white = older driver; mature, experienced, but sometimes drives too slow
black = think drug dealer; sticks to big cities and interstate highways; a tad fast

Thursday, June 20, 2013

What Old People Do All Day

If you've ever wondered what old (or "older") people do all day, the answer is Maintenance.  And, believe me, the older you get, the more maintenance you need.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (1)

This is the first of what will probably be a number of posts on depression and/or Seasonal Affective Disorder -- problems that I have personal experience with.

It seems to me that there is a lot more to Seasonal Affective Disorder than the amount or intensity of light.  So there is probably more to the "cure" than using a light machine or moving south.

I tend to think of things in anthropological terms.  In anthropological terms, human beings have only "recently" moved out of caves and into modern cities.  Most of our past -- as a species or as pre-human primates or as other earlier forms of life -- was spent in much more primitive conditions than we have today.  But that's when we "learned" a lot of what we have to work with today.

For cave men (in Europe, for example), winter was probably a frightening prospect.  Winter would bring shortages of food, famine, cold temperatures, frostbite, and the possibility of death.  It would not be surprising to me that they would dread winter and feel "depressed" as winter approached, and as winter continued, before spring arrived.  So, it's not surprising to me that many people today dread winter and feel depressed as winter approaches, even though they might not have to deal with food shortages or famine or a real possibility of death.

So, that's my thought for the day . . .  just that it's not surprising to me that Seasonal Affective Disorder afflicts people today.  It's their heritage as creatures facing the terrors of winter.

Friday, February 8, 2013


For a while, "multitasking" was all the rage.  It seemed as if almost any amount of work could be accomplished if only the worker did multitasking.  (It's amazing that more of us weren't laid off, since a lot more work could obviously be done by far fewer people.)  But, gradually, most people realized intuitively or read the research that showed that multitasking was not the solution to everything.  Multitasking, in fact, did not work.  . . .  This leads me to the present day when I take pride in consciously "single-tasking" whenever I have a job in front of me.  I wholeheartedly recommend it, especially to those "middle aged" (i.e. older) folks like me.

How Therapy Works

This is how I think psychotherapy works.  It works by convincing you either that:
1) You're not as crazy as you thought you were (or)
2) You are crazy, but it's not really your fault. 

When Things Settle Down (WTSD)

Some years ago, I had a friend whose life seemed to be constantly in a state of chaos -- though probably not any more than anyone else's.  But she was always optimistic that, at some time in the future, things would be different; things would be better.  She would start many sentences with, "When things settle down . . . ."  At some point, she probably realized that life was always more-or-less chaotic and that things might never actually settle down.  At least I realized that, looking at her life, and eventually realized the same thing about my own life.  Nevertheless, my husband and I started to adopt her expression and state that we would do such-and-such, "when things settle down."  We said this so many times, and it seemed to use so many syllables, that we eventually adopted the shorthand way of saying this.  We would just say, "WTSD . . . ."  You're welcome to use this shorthand for yourself, if you want to talk about what will happen  . . .  when things settle down.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Not Very Enlightening

There are some words that we probably need, but they do not exist.  One that comes to my mind is:  endarkening.  This is the opposite of enlightening.  It means making things much worse in a cosmic sense or, more specifically, leading toward political or national armageddon.  (Since I assume this is MY word, I think I should be entitled to supply MY definition of the word.)  For example, "The extreme partisanship of the current Congress is endarkening."  Usage may evolve further.

What God Is

Somewhere -- I wish I could remember where (maybe Ken Wilber ?) -- I read a story about a conversation between two men (or two people -- it doesn't matter).  It went like this:

Person #1:  Do you believe in God?
Person #2:  What else is there?

This seems, to me, to be the best explanation for what God is.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Love and Marriage

Here are some words of wisdom for people whose lives (or childrens' lives) don't turn out exactly as planned.  Helen, who was a friend of mine long ago, once said, "All of my children fell in love, got married, and had children,  . . .  but not necessarily in that order."

I Know How You Feel

I've always felt that for someone to say "I know how you feel" is rather presumptuous.  No, I feel like saying, you definitely do NOT know how I feel.  How could you possibly know how I feel?  How could anyone (except me) know how I feel?  I can appreciate the generally good intentions that people have when saying this, but it still bothers me.  I think that people should find other ways to express empathy.

Once, when I was talking with a coworker in the hallway, I mentioned how much this phrase bothered me.  She said that, yes, it bothered her a lot, too.  Only then did I remember that she was a transgendered person -- a woman who was formerly a man.  Wow.   Here was a really great example of the point I was trying to make.  After all, how many people could possibly know how she felt?

Mixed Messages

All the while I was growing up, I felt like I was getting mixed messages.  One set of mixed messages was that, on the one hand, everyone needs to get married; on the other hand, all married people are miserable.

Monday, April 30, 2012

My Uncles in Texas

When I was a kid, my family occasionally visited our relatives in Texas.  My great-uncles (grandmother's brothers) always seemed larger-than-life to me.  One uncle and his wife were big people -- big in every way.  When my mother told them that they shouldn't make a big breakfast for us, my aunt said that they usually made a package of biscuits every day -- just for the two of them.  A package of twelve biscuits was divided into seven for my uncle and five for my aunt!  (This was in addition to eggs, bacon, etc.)  . . .  They lived in a small town.  My uncle said that they had lost the keys to the house a long time ago, but just went to bed each night without ever locking any of the doors.  (I doubt that they would do that today, even in a small town.)  . . .  We were always amazed by these people!

Murphy's Law -- Variation

Whenever you find a product that you really, really like, they stop making it.

Everyone knows about this variation of Murphy's Law.  I could give you hundreds (well dozens) of examples.  I once bought the perfect pair of sneakers.  Perfect fit, perfect color, perfect in every way.  I went back to the store six months later to buy another pair.  The store no longer had these sneakers AND the company had stopped making them.  . . .  I once found the perfect lipstick.  Perfect color, perfect consistency, etc.  The next time I went to the store, I learned that the company no longer made this color.  I would think that I was dreaming these things, or imagining them, except that this seems to  happen to everyone.

(Corollary:  If you find a product that you really, really like and buy lots of it, so as to store up, they will continue to make it, possibly forever, or will come out with a much-improved version of it, usually for less money!)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Storm Before the Calm

My sister and I both came up with this concept almost simultaneously.  (Discoveries, like calculus, are often made by two or more people simultaneously.  It seems as if, when an idea is "ready for prime time," it sometimes jumps into existence in two places at once.)  Anyway, the idea is "the storm before the calm."  It's that period of time, in housecleaning, when everything's been hauled out and things are in disarray, but before everything is put back into its proper place.  For a while, in other words, things look worse on their way to looking better.  (This can also be used an excuse when you didn't get as much done as you hoped to get done!)