Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Generation of nincompoops?

Yes, I know how to correctly spell nincompoop. That brilliance aside, let's discuss this article. (Okay, it helped that I just read it in the name of the article, but I would like to think that I would have known how to spell it, even if I had not just read it. We'll never know.)

Click me to read the article.

It raises some interesting points. I assume I am part of the group raising the rising generation, because I did know how to tie my shoes before I went to school (I think I did at least . . . Mom?), I know what to do with an ice tray, and I am very adept at addressing an envelope.

However it was sad to think about how much "common" knowledge gets lost every generation. Or is it sad? Surely the rising generation has new skills that the old generation does not have. Computers are the first thing that comes to my mind. And is it really vital to know how to ride a horse anymore? Fun? Yes. Vital? No.

One part of her article that really surprised me was where she seemingly nonchalantly included cursive as an unnecessary skill for the future generation. I love cursive. I became a little feisty when I read that. However, as I thought about it longer, I had to wonder.

I keep a real journal that I write in almost every day. I have volumes of them. I began seriously at age 12, but I have a few that my parents helped me write or teachers forced me to write when I was even younger. The majority of these journals are written entirely in cursive. Cursive is just faster than print.

When I was in school, cursive was mandatory course of study. When my mother was in school, she took a class in short hand. Consequently, at least one of her old notebooks is written in shorthand. She mentioned a year or so ago (upon finding that notebook) that she wished she remembered how to read shorthand better, so she could read what she wrote.

Now obviously, shorthand is much further away from every day print than cursive is, but it has not always been so. I had the privilege of working in the special collections section of my university's main library. While there, I spent over a year reading journals from around the 1850s to the 1930s. These were mostly written in cursive, but a different cursive than we have today. Certain symbols were written differently, certain letters were written differently, and some letter combinations had a sign all of their own. So sometimes, it was difficult to decipher. Those changes happened over decades though. Will my own journals be difficult to decipher in just two decades?

And even today, I worry when I write a cursive Q that some people will think I wrote a 2.

I was reading a book the other day that is based just over a hundred years ago, and those who could not write simply put an X for their signatures. I have friends today whose signatures are either almost exactly like their print or have some symbols involved. I assumed they either didn't like cursive or thought the symbols were artistic or fun. After reading that article, I simply wonder if they do not know cursive.

Is cursive dying? I already knew the English language was dying (thanks to this article my friend shared with me), but I saw that coming. However, I did not notice the dying last gasps of breath of cursive, and I am mourning it a bit.

So, do you know how to write in cursive? Do you enjoy writing in cursive? Or are you shouting Hallelujah and Good Riddance at the possibility that cursive may be a lost art with this rising generation?

Something in the article also made me think of my father. It mentioned that there are college aged students who have never taken a bus alone. Now, part of me wonders if they just grew up in the country where buses were not necessary or always had a car. However, I do believe that my generation—and I'm sure the next—are much less frequently alone in public transportation than previous generations.

When my father was in the eighth and tenth grades, he went to a boarding school in the East. His parents also lived in the East, in a nearby state. During his two years at boarding school, my father would come home to visit his parents. To do this, part of his trip involved arriving in New York City at one train depot and then leaving New York City on a different train depot. He navigated the trip there, the ride from one depot to the other, and then the trip to his parents' house all on his own. I don't know how many eighth graders are allowed to do that these days. Is our world that much less safe or are parents just that much less willing to allow their children to strike out on their own or are children that less capable of handling situations on their own (without smart phones or even regular cell phones)?

When telling me this story, he related having recently watched a Shirley Temple movie where it showed her hitchhiking in the middle of the night. He mused that when the movie came out, moviegoers probably chuckled at her cuteness and tenacity whereas if that scene had occurred in movie today it might be to illustrate neglectful—or even abusive—parenting.

Interesting how the world changes.

And it always does. We can't stop it, and should we? I like bathrooms and running water as much as the next person. I enjoyed being able to wear shorts and T-shirts, and I loved playing sports. So, while some change makes me sad, because I miss something that is on its way out, I do enjoy many of the new changes (like this blog!).

Did anything from the article make you happy or sad to see it go?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sigh

So those of you who have had children come in contact with your computer know that children never leave computers exactly the way they found them.

Jill, while I was getting dressed this morning, somehow changed the way colors look on my computer. I'm hoping if I go to system preferences, I can figure out what she did.

Sometimes it takes me a long time to figure out what she did. A few, I've never solved.

I do often wonder to myself, "Why does that hot key even exist?! Who could ever intentionally want to do that?!"

Cosmo, our cat, also contributes to the mayhem. Since we have a Mac, we usually just put the computer to sleep rather than shut it down. So when Cosmo runs across the keyboard or moves the mouse, he wakes it up. He then sometimes lies down on the keyboard. Sigh. Again. Why do those hot keys even exist?

Done with complaining. I am blessed to have a computer, a daughter, and a cat. Oddly vibrant colors are a small price to pay for those blessings.

Fall came on September 21, which I believe is the fall equinox. I didn't really believe it though. We had been having lots of weather still in the 90s. Summer seemed to be here to stay.


There were some indicators though. Our tulip tree has been dropping leaves for about the past three weeks, or so. But again, fallen leaves still don't spell fall when you can't step outside without sweating.


However, this week, fall has finally made its appearance. Or perhaps autumn did. I've never been sure why this season had two names. Seems unnecessary to me. Probably because of all the different cultures that came to the US back in the day. Perhaps one said fall and the other said autumn, and we get to have both now. Don't quote me on that though as it is just a guess.

Life is progressing well. As expected, I am enjoying the second trimester MUCH more than I did the first. We're past the halfway mark now, and we were able to learn through an ultrasound that we are expecting a Daniel Wells Collett, not an Alice Rose Collett. I am slightly intimidated by the idea of raising a boy, but then again, I didn't know what to do with a girl before I had one. I'm sure I'll figure it out. And there are plenty of people to help me along the way and give me advice. :)

Jill has a new "action" these days. When you tell her to close her eyes, she just furrows her brows. It is as if she wants to close her eyes, but she doesn't want to not be able to see. It's pretty cute. I have it on video, so I'll get around eventually to putting that up on my youtube channel.


She has two other new habits as well. She puckers her lips into a sort of duck or monkey impression all the time. When she's feisty, when she's happy, when she's sad, etc. It really is almost all the time. She also holds her belly button when she is tired or insecure or whenever she feels like it. She loves her belly button. She feels no shame in attempting to touch other people's belly buttons either. Sigh. We're working on that one. Last week, she walked up to the grandson of a friend of mine and lifted up his shirt to get to his belly button. The shocked four year old quickly pulled his shirt down. Tee hee. Oh Jill Bean . . .

Oh yes, and when something surprises her, she says "whoa." It's awfully cute. When I turn on the disposal, when Grandma make the golf cart move, when she falls—the response to everything is "whoa." I think it's a pretty good response.

I can feel Daniel Wells moving all the time. I actually have for over a month now. It is amazing how much earlier I can feel him than I could feel Jill. I think part of it is because I know what it feels like now, so I don't have to guess or wonder if the sensation is something else. It's definitely him! I have been trying to explain to Jill about the baby brother in my womb, but I'm not sure how much she is comprehending at this point. My mother-in-law shared a story with me about one of Jeff's brothers. At a doctor's visit for one of her pregnancies, her son heard his new brother's heartbeat. Her son then asked the doctor to put the machine on his belly, because he apparently had a dinosaur in his tummy. Cute! :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Alert Driving

I was reading an article that really . . . well made me say "whoa." So I thought I would share it with you.

Click here to read the news article.

The gist is that an elementary school, tired of reckless driving and child fatalities, has spent $15,000 to have a 3-D holographic image of a little girl chasing a ball appear in the road when you drive past the elementary school.

I support careful driving and not hitting children, but I am not sure about this method. Part of me fears that instead of just braking, someone might brake and swerve and hit a real child. That would be so tragic. It just seems like putting in a speed bump would get people to stop speeding. I guess part of the problem is parents speeding, pulling U-turns, and talking on their cell phones as they drop their children off. And a speed bump would really only help with the speeding.

I don't know what a good solution is, but I guess it is good that they're doing something, and we'll see how this works out for them.

Distracted driving isn't really an issue with me. Drowsy driving is my personal problem. It was really bad in high school. I even fell asleep once while actually driving and was in the other lane when my cousin woke me up. That was scary, but we were lucky and there was no oncoming traffic. Other than that, I've only actually fallen asleep at red lights and even occasionally stop signs. Since leaving high school and getting more sleep and being physically healthier, I haven't had as many problems staying awake driving. (I am capable of falling asleep while singing. So singing doesn't work when I'm driving. My solution was keeping contact solution with me and dropping it in my eyes. That kept me awake behind the wheel.)

However, being pregnant has made me tired all the time again. I actually thought I might be pregnant before I actually knew, because I was driving to a friend's child's piano recital, and I started having to fight dosing off. I give rides quite frequently, usually about ten or so a week to various friends, and recently if the friend and I are not talking, it is getting difficult to stay alert. I am not sure what to do. I'm going to bed in time to have my eight hours, but waking up with Jill or the new baby (aka having to pee) is interrupting my needed sleep. And I've been too busy recently to nap with Jill. It was really pathetic this last weekend. I had a slumber party with some besties from high school, and I had to pull over THREE TIMES because I was getting drowsy. (I've learned my lesson from high school.) Twice, I got a 10 to 15 minute nap in before Jill would wake up, and the third time, I said "sorry unborn baby" and got a carbonated, caffeinated beverage. Better to give a fetus carbonation and caffeine than die on the highway, I always say. (Okay, not always. I've actually never had the opportunity to need to say that before.)

Anyway, I'm just getting frustrated. It's not plausible to stop driving. I have service to do and errands to run, but I can't endanger myself and those in my vehicle. With my glasses, the eye drops are no longer very convenient. Does anyone have any tips on staying alert while driving? What could I eat other than like sour worms that would keep me up? Is there a power food that is healthy and a "waker up"? Windows down, cold air, radio on, singing . . . none of those work for me. I've tried slapping, but when I get drowsy, I forget to keep slapping myself.

I wish Jill could just talk to me. I don't fall asleep when I'm talking to someone.

So yeah, if you have any advice, let me hear it. Or if you have opinions on the 3D girl in the street, I'm interested in those, too.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

haha last pink post I promise!!

Okay, I did finally do some pink research, and here is what I found. Pink for girls and blue for boys began around the 1940s. So that means my grandmothers were probably often dressed in blue, and my grandfathers in pink when babies.

This is from the Ladies Home Journal:
“The generally accepted rule is pink for the boy and blue for the girl. The reason is that pink being a more decided and stronger color is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.”

Other sources I read said that pink was viewed as a soft, pastel, "baby version" of red, which was a "boy color." And blue was associated with the Virgin Mary, and as such was appropriate for girls.

It made me wonder if that is why Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Alice in Wonderland, and Wendy were all in shades of blue. Because back then that was the girl color. And Snow White's dress was half blue.

One of the articles also pointed out how purple was once the color of kings and then it was the color of NFL teams, and now it is becoming a girl color, too. I remember when we moved to Indiana, I was shocked to find out my high school's colors were purple and white. I thought, "do the boys really wear purple?" And they did. And they looked fantastic in it.

Anyway, so there it is. In the 1920s, pink was very much for boys and blue very much for girls. A few decades later, that all began to change. Some blamed it on the Nazis and their use of the color pink. But if that is the real reason, I don't really know.

And blue is my favorite color. But not because I'm trying to be a boy. :) I was once told that pink made the red splotches and zits on my face stand out and blue made my eyes stand out, and haha, I've preferred blue ever since. (Pink was definitely my color when I was little though!)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

follow up on pink

I feel the need to continue my tirade on pink. My issue with the color's status stems from my issues with baby clothing. In one short week, Jeff, Jill, and I will have a peek at our new baby via an ultrasound. We are praying that all the organs will be in order and that the baby will comply and allow us to see what the gender is. So, we are obviously thinking a lot about whether we're going to have a boy or a girl.

If we are having a girl, done. I don't have to buy a thing.

If we are having a boy, then I wish I could say done. But the powers that be say it is not so. When did pink become a predominantly girl color? When did cherries, strawberries, butterflies, hearts, polka dots, flowers, etc. become designated female designs? I like a good train, truck, or boat as much as the next person. Surely many men like to eat cherries and strawberries; they all have hearts (although I'm sure some women will disagree!); some probably like to garden flowers, etc. So, why does it seem so wrong to me to put a boy in an outfit decorated in fruit? Why do I never see boys wearing fruit? Why do half of Jill's outfits have fruit on them?!

So, you see, my real issue is with being a cheap wad and not wanting to buy all new clothes that will be pooped and spit on (among various other activities) and that will only fit for a few months. But it feels so wrong to put a baby boy in pink. With frills.

I do dress Jill in blue. With her blue eyes, she just looks gorgeous in blue. And I do not get offended when people call her a boy when she wears blue, as they inevitably do. Because I understand that by putting her in blue, I have made her look like a baby boy. But I don't do that to her every day, and it seems harsh to do it to a baby boy every day. To dress him "like a girl."

So, does anyone know the history of "baby colors"? I could google it, but it's more interesting to read what your opinions are first.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sisters

Pete, Dan, and Amy—you're welcome. Being your sister was my pleasure. ;) (tee hee) And Mom and Dad, thanks for making it all possible!!

A recent study has shown that having a sister that you get along with decreased depression in young teens.

CNN report
USA Today story

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Colors vs. Shades

Do any of you ever get riled up about pink? (If you do not and are completely uninterested by the topic of pink, then quickly scroll down to the pictures and other topics below the pictures.)

I do sometimes.

Unreasonable I know.

But seriously. When did it become a predominately female color, and when did it even gain color status at all?

Here is how I understand colors.

There are three primary colors: red, yellow, and blue. Then there's white (no color) and black (all the colors). You get secondary colors by mixing the primary colors together.

Red + Yellow = Orange
Red + Blue = Purple
Blue + Yellow = Green

Those are the colors. (Please note that I am not an art major or anything, so I am not promising that the above information is correct. I'm merely sharing my color beliefs. (tee hee) Please feel free to let me know if I am wrong, because I am curious about this.)

The rainbow has some colors in it. I was taught they were Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet. You'll notice that matches the primary and secondary color sequence, with each secondary color fitting nicely in between the primary color it came from.

The other day I saw a drawing of a rainbow that instead of having indigo, had pink. Pink. On the rainbow! That got me started thinking about pink.

Once you have your colors,  you can make shades of those colors by making them lighter or darker (through adding white and black) or by adding other primary or secondary colors as well.

As far as I can understand, pink is just red with white in it. Just like light blue is just blue with white in it. Or light green is just green with light in it. However, pink has somehow gained color status. Yes, all shades have names thanks to Crayola, but pink is actually considered a color more so than any other shade. (Again, my opinion.)

If I dressed Jill in a light green outfit, and I said, "Do you like Jill's green outfit?" I do not believe that anyone would correct me and say, "Oh, I thought it was light green." (At least I don't think anyone would!) But if I dressed Jill in a light red outfit, and I said, "Do you like Jill's red outfit?" I do believe that someone might say (or at least think), "Oh, I thought it was pink." I would actually be considered wrong by calling pink red, because pink is no longer a shade of red. It has become a color.

And I would like to know when that happened.

Haha. I'm sure this is a really boring post for pretty much everyone, but I've been thinking about it a lot recently, and I wanted to know if anyone else shared my slight annoyance with pink. So . . . do any of you? Or am I just completely weird? (Maybe don't answer the last question. tee hee) ;)

Okay, I'll add some pictures to reward anyone who read this far.


Other news: Jill's two bottom canines have made an appearance, so she's up to almost 14 teeth! The ultrasound for new baby is scheduled two weeks from today! So soon. :) I still haven't decided what Jill should dress up as for Halloween. There are just too many options. Any suggestions? (Haha. I say there are too many options, and then I ask for more!) I am feeling a lot better now than I did before. I haven't thrown up in two weeks, and I can almost always eat at mealtime. For the most part, I feel wonderful and super excited about baby number two!!

Oh yes, I suppose I should mention the cat trials. Sigh. Cosmo came home from the vet two weeks ago. Yes, we took away his manhood. He was kept at the vet for three days after the surgery. He came home with no complications and was doing great. He was as cuddly and as frisky as ever (never both at the same time though!). Previous to going to the vet, he had only had one accident. Only one. After coming home though, he would go in his litter box about once a day and do all the rest in various places around my house. AHHHHHHHHH. What to do? What had happened to my perfect cat?

One morning around 5:00, I actually woke up to the smell of cat poop in my bedroom. I have never before wished that I had farted, but man. When I woke up, I was REALLY hoping that smell was somehow a fart and not cat poop in my bedroom. Farts require no clean up. Alas, it was cat poop.

So, after a few days of despair and being really nauseated by cleaning up so much cat poop (because trust me, pregnant noses are sensitive!!), I got him limited to only pooping in one corner. Ha. Then I caved and just bought another litter box for that corner. And he has had no accidents since. He has also never used his other litter box since. So, I have an unused litter box in my utility room, separated from the house with a beautiful cat door, and then I have an eyesore of a covered litter box in my family room behind my television.

I wonder what would have possessed him to reject his old litter box and choose a new location to do his business? I have no idea. I do know though that I have not had to clean any more poop out of my carpet, and that is all that matters.

(Luckily, he almost always pooped on things rather than directly on the carpet, like papers, a cardboard box, a bulletin board that was on the ground waiting to be hung, etc. This was only a problem when he chose to poop on a tangle of electrical cords. That was a mess cleaning up.)

But once again, I have a perfect cat. I need to get some video footage to show how much Jill just loves him.