Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ode to Gina

For the last year, my college friend Gina, her husband, and her daughter and son have been living here in Bryn Mawr. They leave to return to San Diego in just a few days, and I am very sad to see them go!

When Gina moved here, we started one of the most depressing and shortest-lived book clubs of all time. We started by reading "Age of Iron" - an apartheid era novel about a terminally ill woman, we moved onto "The Bookseller of Kabul" - an expose of sorts about women's lives in Afghanistan, and we stopped just shy of discussing "Mercy" the new Toni Morrison book about 19th Century slavery. I wonder why no one (including us) wanted to join our book club? I know she's going to be excited to return to her military-wives book club in San Diego and return to reading normal books again - or at least ones that do not require the reader to be on a therapeutic dose of a mood elevator.

We had dinner with friends occasionally too, but the real jewel of her time here was our Friday night "dates." Now Thursday nights are my "date night" with my husband, so initially I felt bad introducing competition in calling it a "date", but it was also so nice to have a day that we planned to see each other, even if it was more often every other week.

In the process of our Friday evenings together, I got to spend quite a bit of time with her brilliant, adorable, and talented children. I loved seeing her and her husband with them - a united front, but equal parts playful and structured. Her daughter is creative and sweet. She is friendly and precocious with an enviable imagination. Like the first time I spent the whole evening there - when she did a dramatic interpretation of the life cycle of a butterfly - or last night when she drew just about the best horse I could ever imagine a 3.5 year old drawing. And her sweet son is like this tiny silent bumper car of smiles... ricocheting off furniture, finding his way into new and ever-more dangerous places, but with a full-body grin that makes you want to just ease him to a new venture without scolding.

Spending time with them has provided me with a parental model I really want to emulate: equal parts books and playing, fun not only in the messing up of things but in the picking up too, and an omnipresent consistency that allows the children to relax into the routine - comforted in knowing what is going to happen, regardless of whether it is mom or dad who is actually doing the routine.

I know it's not easy for them, but this is truly a beautiful family - inside and out. And I am grateful to them for welcoming me into their lives so openly.

...And I am going to miss them terribly.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Magic number: 10,000

I am in the process of reading Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers right now. There is something about the way that he slowly begins to beat you over the head with his thesis that leaves me slightly annoyed and wanting to disprove him.

That small detail aside, there are already a few interesting things in the book (I'm only 50 pages in). The first chapter is COMPELLING and really makes you think this book will change the way you view life in general. The rest, eh?

But one concept he talks about in great detail is the rule of 10,000 hours. Basically, if you want to be great at anything, you need to have spent about 10,000 hours practicing doing it. Talent is an empty ideal - time spent doing things is the real measure of success.

This is a very interesting concept, and one that I quite believe to be true. In my job, I watch women struggle with reaching their goals and making changes to their lives, and the ones that seem to succeed are the ones that put alot of time and energy into the whole process. They are the same folks that would have practiced their piano or written every night in their diary. They do NOT give up. They just keep plugging away at things, until they reach their goals.

So, how much time do I really spend on reaching my goals? Good question. I am quick to let distractions derail me, and I think this book will reinvigorate a sense of discipline! Let's hope at least.

Now the other 10,000 - steps. My acupuncturist, the sweet woman, would like me to lose 20 pounds. Easy for her to say! But I have slowly started working on increasing the intensity of my workouts and making sure I don't take any days off. So far it's working. We'll see tonight when I weigh myself again. But in addition to my normal workouts, I am going to try to ensure I get the recommended 10,000 steps in everyday. My darling Miss Maria is going to give me a pedometer! Yeah!

So there you go... 10,000 hours and steps... my two new goals.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


It's summer and I cannot be expected to think or write in any structured fashion. Spelling for example is falling by the wayside. But I still have things to say.

Like for example: How would the demographics of those people that are executed change if we started applying the death penalty for company officials that are found guilty of bribery? Seems like the number of people executed in Texas would actually go up.

That's a joke... sort of.

Now, also on my mind are things like flip-flops. Like how I want to stop wearing the ratty ones I own, but I cannot bring myself to buy a new pair of shoes to replace them. So instead, I look cute from the ankles up and trashy in the foot department. For gosh sakes, I don't even have toe-nail polish on right now. That hasn't happened in the summer since 1995.

Other items on my mind:
- Why does it seems strange to me that Tony Blair is going to head up the EU?
- Why am I tanaphobic? Both afraid to get more color on my skin and afraid of overly tanned people.
- Why can't I form coherent thoughts when the mercury rises above 85 degrees?
- Why can I drink a glass of water and feel like the room just cooled down by 5 or 10 degrees?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

How Facebook killed my blog.

I have slipped into this summer haze... it's not that I'm not busy or doing things, but more like I have no interest in expending the energy to talk about them.

So hang tight... maybe I'll have things to post this week.

I get my haircut tomorrow. That's exciting.