Monday, January 31, 2011

It's Colder than A (Fill in the Blank)

Despite the cold winter, William can often be observed in shorts and a t-shirt, (The fact that the shirt is orange and the shorts bright red is fodder for another blog.)  He is a heater box, his hands noticeably warmer than Anna's or my hands, which are generally ice cold.  He enjoys the cold and grumbles when I make him wear a coat because I'm cold.  


Because of this discrepancy in our perception of cold, an article on Slate.com caught my eye:  Are Women Really More Likely to Feel Cold Than Men?  Could this explain why he seems impervious to it?  


As I read the article, I was alternately amused and disgruntled.  Oh, so women have warmer hearts but colder hands.  Aw, how nice!  But it is because of body fat.  Okay, so now we're fat and that's why we are cold.  I thought insulation.....


But then I had to discount the study altogether.  First because their solution is implausible:  "according to some of the same researchers, both men and women may increase their endurance by taking cold showers or running around half-naked in the snow, in case that sounds appealing".  NOT going to happen.  Hold on a minute while I turn up my space heater...There.


How do you think they measured this data?  "They immersed 11 women up to their necks in chilly water, monitored their rectal temperatures, and compared the results to previous work with 14 men".  EITHER they paid each victim participant an exorbitant amount of money (and I'm talking millions) OR they were recruiting mentally ill people who would submit to such torture, which discounts the results.  I mean, really, who would....well, I don't even want that mental picture.


Smaller people have more skin-to-core ratio, so perhaps that explains some of my chilliness.  Perhaps it is just that it is 25 bloomin' degrees outside.  I keep waiting for those hot flashes to hit me, looking forward to them in fact, but I don't think they run in my family.  In the mean time, you won't find me streaking outside.  Oh, we don't want that mental image, either.  


Notes:
Coincidences:  Finished reading Fall of Giants, which went into way more information than I wanted about World War I.  I did learn a few things, assuming he researched well, but by the end of 800 arduous pages, I was done with WWI.  I began reading The Winter Rose and it is set in?  WWI.  Watching Masterpiece Classic: Downton Abbey and it ends the season with?  WWI.  The universe is coalescing to teach me about WWI (which my grandpa Carl was in, by the way, a German immigrant, fighting his own country).

Friday, January 28, 2011

You, You are AWESOME!

Sometimes, the Internet sucks me in.  I start out trying to find what price to set on selling a horse, a horse who has done pole bending, and the next thing you know, you have to shut down your browser before your 8 year old son asks why that naked woman is hanging upside down on a pole.  How did I get to that website?

In a similar manner, I found myself reading excerpts from What Woman Want Men to Know, though I've not read the book.  It seems that the bottom line of the book is that many women most want to feel valued, as that equates to being safe (he values me so won't leave) and to love.  I posted a joke from this author on my Facebook status:

What do men and women have in common?
They both spend their time thinking about how to make the man happy.

Although several women "liked" the joke, mostly men commented.  Interesting.  Dh's response was that OBVIOUSLY this joke was written by a woman and he thought she had it backwards.

Perhaps, because it is the "season of my discontent", aka "winter", I am more stressed, and my radar picks up articles about stress and feelings.  This morning, the New York Times reported that freshman college students are reporting increased levels of stress from past years of freshman.  My first thought was that there are more and more women in college now, and they are more likely to say they are experiencing stress, whereas boys seem to learn "I'M GOOD!" after doing a face plant into a snow drift after slipping on black ice (don't ask how I know).

“One aspect of it is how women and men spent their leisure time,” she said. “Men tend to find more time for leisure and activities that relieve stress, like exercise and sports, while women tend to take on more responsibilities, like volunteer work and helping out with their family, that don’t relieve stress."

I found a little too much truth in this.  Stressed man:  I think I'll go run on the treadmill.  Stressed woman:  I should volunteer at the local animal shelter - oh, look at that cute kitten....  Next thing you know, you are feeding 7 indoor animals (not including birds and fish) and your dh is asking "what's that smell?"  STRESS.

“Women’s sense of emotional well-being was more closely tied to how they felt the faculty treated them,” she said. “It wasn’t so much the level of contact as whether they felt they were being taken seriously by the professor. If not, it was more detrimental to women than to men.”

Being taken seriously.  I guess after so many years, I've learned to not care.  What do I care what that person thinks of me?  But I've not done so well with what I think of myself.  When I encounter a woman of high power or education, I have to slap the bitch inside me that needles, "See, you could have been that.  You could be a doctor.  You're smart enough to have had your own business, be a CEO.  You should have written a book. You could be important."  I get out photos of my kids and mentally tick off their accomplishments and how proud I am of them.  And yet, I have to dig for the outside "value", pushing me to take on more, to do more, so to hear "you are valued".  

I proclaim today "Validation Day".  Tell someone closest to you that you value them in words and action.  Watch this if you need instructions:

Monday, January 24, 2011

On Education

On Sex Education:
The Hokey-Pokey?  Seriously?  How is it that this teacher did not think some parents would not get their panties in a wad?  Can you imagine the chagrin of the kids in the class?  Being asked to dance about class, singing about female body parts to the tune of Hokey-Pokey?  I remember a sex ed class in seventh or eighth grade.  We got "the talk" from Mr. Berne, awkward, just out of college tall and bearded.  He stood in front of the blackboard, on which were drawn the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries.  I remember nothing of what he said, only that we all snickered that standing in front of it, it looked as if he had antlers.  I wonder what happened to Mr. Berne?  I think most of the teachers we had became plumbers and insurance agents.

On Art Education:
My lips were tightly sealed and I hoped I would not be asked what I thought of the large artwork in front of me.  I like pastoral, beautiful, relaxing.  I do not like big smears of mess, art that conjures visions of ax murderers or preschool finger painting.  Yet, (deep breath), I realize that I am not art educated, thus have limited perspective.   I did take several semesters of art history and love the Masters.  Luckily, the year was over before Pollock started throwing up on canvas.  (Oops, there I go again.)  Still, I have trouble appreciating some art.  Perhaps I've not done enough myself?  I will start by collecting dryer lint.

It is dinnertime, however, and I must get to work at the risk of multitasking.

Notes:
Jefferson has begun to learn to play.  Did he in his former life?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Multitasking May Not Mean Higher Productivity

The answer is when it comes to media multitasking, the types of tasks we looked at, filtering, memory management and task switching, there is a literature suggesting there are no differences between men and women. However, there is a large literature on - for lack of better term, I call task multitasking or doing things in the real world, where we do seem to see women have advantages…


I'm glad I went back to read the transcript (see link above) or I might have dismissed the interview altogether.  Multitasking weakens cognitive ability?  Huh.  I guess I'm killing brain cells left and right.  All women multitask.  I rightly judged that the study was conducted by a man, for all women know that when you go to the bathroom, you change the toilet paper roll.  Does this "scientist" thinks it just jumps on the holder by itself?  Of course, not.
Not multitasking means the roll stays forever perched on top of the holder and the empty tube.  


Women have mastered multitasking out of necessity for eternity.  Managing children and the household simultaneously requires nothing less.  For example, I headed off to do barn chores tonight.  Before leaving, I put clothes to dry in the dryer, clothes to wash in the washer, the rice to cook for dinner in the rice cooker, and fed the dogs to eat while I was gone.  (Note:  my husband was in the house should anything decide to blow up.)  I don't think I ever watch TV or streaming on my computer without also doing dishes or folding or ironing clothes.   What woman takes a shower without noticing the red spot in the corner and cleaning it before turning off the water?  


Cognitive ability indeed.  Okay, I'll admit multitasking has its disadvantages, like when I forget about the green beans in the microwave and we have to eat them for dessert.  I'll admit that as an older baby boomer, I bristle at youngers texting at dinner or over coffee.  Media multitasking is, as this article points out, a different story.  


Well, my rice is done, so to preserve what IQ I have left, I will hit "publish" and finish making dinner.




Jefferson is feeling better every day!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Hell

Who decided that Hell was flames and burning souls?   The Hell of my imagination is frigid cold, much like the weather outside my window.  It even makes more sense:  removed from the warmth of God.  I suppose I'm being a bit melodramatic?

My ordinary chores in moderate cold take a good half hour, if no one is dying or diseased.  Today, I added to that chopping ice, as it is so cold that even the heated water tank is freezing.  After plowing the driveway (and yes, I am of the privileged with a tractor to do it, rather than by hand), my feet were blocks of ice.   I was not dressed as a socialite horsewoman.  No, I wore my husband's XL Carhart jacket over my coat and overalls, making me about as visually appealing as a Siberian babushka.  

As I shoveled this morning, I thought that this winter is a test of faith:  faith to remember those warm summer days when I rode horses with my husband, when we came over the hill and wondered aloud if anyone was so blessed to live in such a place as we.  Faith to remember the horses rolling in the pasture or finding the first egg of a new chicken.  Can I remember those times?  Can I have faith they'll be back?  Can I, in the darkness and coldness of winter, know that I'll make it through and feel again the warm sun?

Notes:
Jefferson continues to improve, although his lungs sound wheezy in the morning.  

My dad, who has been hospitalized, gets out Sunday!  Yay, Dad!

Finished reading:

Reading:

Watched at the theater:
True Grit

Watching on Netflix:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

As the week wore on, it became less and less likely that Louise would return.  She had disappeared on the coldest of nights.  She was white, and the snow on the ground made visible to owls and coyotes.  Like any mom would feel, my heart was heavy for my daughter, her owner.

At the beginning, I prayed for her return.  Please God, let her be okay, let her come home.  As the week progressed with no word of her, I prayed that she was okay with someone else, at least not hurt, not some hawk's breakfast.

Acceptance finally gave way to understanding that I had to let go, and listen, rather than ask.  God often teaches us or reaches out to us in times like these.  Perhaps rather than talking, asking, I should listen.

Anna and I made flyers, talked to people, emailed every animal shelter, drove around and around the neighborhood.  We made a sign to place by our driveway.  We scoured websites.   We learned to do things, rather than wait.

A phone call alerted us to a nearby feral colony of cats.  Perhaps our cat was there?  We called the owners of the barn to no avail, so went anyway.  We found no Louise, but did find a kitten, unable to raise his head, laying by the road.  Sick, likely a loss of appetite, combined with being the smallest in a large feral colony, he was about to join his sibling who lay dead and headless in the bushes.  "This one's going with us," I said.

He was pitiful.  Emaciated, dehydrated, he weighed a little over 2 pounds despite being 6 - 8 months old.  We put him on a heating pad, forced milk in his mouth and expected him to die.  An hour later, he stood up.  Still missing Louise, we now had a distraction and a mission to save this one little life.  A kind soul at the Humane Society saw a Facebook post and asked me to bring him in to test.  He was FeLuk negative and was loaded down with meds to fight his upper respiratory infection.  I found out that the woman was a neighbor, only a few streets down.  Jefferson began to recover fully, although a kind vet who later looked at him for me, said he might not ever get much bigger and remain always the kitten due to his poor start in life.

A week to the day, I was taking Lauren back to college when my phone rang.  Louise was back!  Hungry but apparently well, she's not telling where she went.  We now have a collar on her and an appointment to microchip her.  She's lost her outdoors privileges.

Through all this, I could not help but empathize with people who have missing soldiers, people who have children missing.  How does one go on?  We did learn to do what we could, to make a plan of attack.  We learned to pray for acceptance in our hearts rather than the answer we wanted, the strength to carry on.  In the end, we met and heard from many wonderful people, saved a little life, and found we could continue to put one foot in front of the other.  I suppose that's all any of us can do.

Notes:
It is snowing steadily.

Of the three new black Australorps, one is definitely a rooster.  One is definitely a hen.  The jury is out on the third.

I am going to be the editor/publisher of my brother-in-law's blog.  I am still developing it.  If you'd like to watch as I set it up and work on it, you can go to Surviving in the Reel World.  It still needs a lot of work, but we hope to have it up and running by March 1st.  Joe is a TV host on the Outdoor Channel, a professional angler and hunter.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Blogging for Fun and Profit

I've been off for awhile, slogging through the holidays and researching how to blog for profit.  I actually have begun a blog for a celebrity sportsman which I will publish and edit.  In doing so, I have neglected my own poor personal journal and all of your blogs that I normally read.  Now that life is getting back to what is called "normal", I will try my best to again post daily.  I have lots to tell you!  And I will share the website I'm designing  for a preview soon.  I'd love to have input.

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