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524th Friday Blog Roundup

This week was Hour of Code.  I ran it again for every class in the twins’ school.  Kindergarten and first graders worked with a Lego WeDo.  The second and third grades did projects in Scratch.  And the fourth and fifth grades programmed their own interactive fiction games.  They all learned how to write their name in binary (along with learning the point of binary).

I love doing this because it means I get to see every kid in the school and I miss teaching.

One first grader informed me while I was working with his class that I am very popular, and the other kids nodded in agreement.  That made me feel good because when I was in elementary school, I was not-popular.  I wasn’t exactly unpopular, but I certainly wasn’t anything close to popular.  So, you know… I may be 30+ years late, but I’ve arrived.

As someone who works from home all day, being around people and talking for 6.5 hours every day was like a non-runner trying to complete a 5K.  It can be done, but it doesn’t look pretty.  I know I would relearn the ability to be around humans if I worked outside the house, but there would be an adjustment period I would go through to recapture my high noise threshold.

And yet, on the other hand, I felt such a deep sadness today over the idea of not going to school.  I will have to go the whole school day without seeing the twins.  Or bothering their classmates.  (I swung by their lunch table every day this week.)  I volunteer at the school at least once a week, so it’s not like it’s over, over.  But it’s weird to not be there today after being there for so many hours in a row.

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Thank you for all the book suggestions!  I’ve checked some out of the library, put others on hold, and put a few on a to-read list for the future.  It also made me think that I should re-read all my Jasper Fforde.  I love his books.

I met Jasper Fforde a few years ago.  I still haven’t read the congratulations book.  That event (I’m sure you can guess what I wanted it to be) hasn’t taken place.  I guess if it doesn’t by 45, I will close that door in my heart and read it.

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We are a few days away from the Creme de la Creme list CLOSING.

The 2014 Creme de la Creme list is open for entries until December 15th.  No one will be added after December 15th.  Read the post to see how to be a part of the Creme de la Creme, which is open to every member of the ALI (adoption/loss/infertility) community.

Consider that your weekly reminder.

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Stop procrastinating.  Go make your backups.  Don’t have regrets.

Seriously.  Stop what you’re doing for a moment.  It will take you fifteen minutes, tops.  But you will have peace of mind for days and days.  It’s the gift to yourself that keeps on giving.

As always, add any new thoughts to the Friday Backup post and peruse new comments in order to find out about methods, plug-ins, and devices that help you quickly back up your data and accounts.

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And now the blogs…

But first, second helpings of the posts that appeared in the open comment thread last week.  In order to read the description before clicking over, please return to the open thread:

Okay, now my choices this week.

Infertile Girl in a Fertile World is marking her one year blogoversary, and she reflects on the year she has had, trying to conceive.  She takes a good, long look at herself in the mirror and notices how she has changed. “As I examined my face I concluded that I look the same (more or less), and yet different. More tired. Less youthful and naive. The excitement for life has dulled in my eyes, my mouth doesn’t smile as much as it used to. I’ve built up a wall, and perhaps that’s why I no longer recognize myself.”  Go read the whole post AND wish her a happy blogoversary.

Lavender Luz highlights a new adoption book aimed at adoptive parents.  She wrote the foreword for the book, and if the foreword is a taste of the type of helpful information you’ll find in the body of the book, it seems like a must read.  Like this brilliant point: “Anything that strikes you strongly (and dare I say that could be every single powerful chapter?) is resonating for you, either positively or negatively charged, and indicates there is something there for you to look at—within you and from your own experiences.”  Applicable to life outside of adoption, too, no?  It’s a book about how to listen, how to be open, and how to understand another person’s experience.

A+ Effort has a micropost about slowing life down.  It has the most perfect analogy for when life feels good but busy: “I see the roses, but I can’t smell them from this freight train.”  I love this post.

Lastly, Looking for a Little has a tiny post about the “are you pregnant” question that appears on many a medical intake questionnaire.  With just a few sentences, she captures the sadness of having to check no.

The roundup to the Roundup: This week was Hour of Code.  Thank you for the book recommendations.  Your friendly Creme de la Creme reminder.  Your weekly backup nudge.  And lots of great posts to read.  So what did you find this week?  Please use a permalink to the blog post (written between December 5th and 12th) and not the blog’s main url. Not understanding why I’m asking you what you found this week?  Read the original open thread post here.

December 12, 2014   8 Comments

Going on a Me Date

I decided to ask myself out on a date.  It was a combination of Days of Grace’s post coupled with Alphabet Salad’s post.  I was just thinking that I like myself, and I’m sort of good company even when I’m remaining silent and just reading because it isn’t socially acceptable to talk to myself in public.  So I asked myself out, and surprisingly enough, I accepted.  So I picked myself up at 4 o’clock and took myself out for a cup of coffee and a book.

coffee

Image: Pen Waggener via Flickr

Most of the other people at the Starbucks were on a Me and You date, and they wanted to talk.  They wanted to get to know one another, which is nice and all, but my G-d, did everyone have to know so much about one another?  Didn’t they realize that silence is golden, which means that sound is a lesser metal?  Did they really need to know how the other one felt about a Jezebel article?  Or talk about “the Twitter”?  Or go over where they grew up?

You know how there are silent cars on trains?  There needs to be a silent coffeehouse for Me dates.  No phones.  No chit chat.  Orders placed in a very quiet whisper.

I told Josh about this idea when I got home, and he leaned close and quoted:

I will give you my order by Whisper-ma-Phone, for the coffee I want to drink is for your ears alone.

Exactly, my little Onceler.

There is a simple solution: go on the date in my kitchen the next time everyone is out of the house.  I can get total silence and know that my drink order will be made to my specifications.  I’m just saying that a silent cafe, one without music piped over speakers, where every patron is committed to not making noise, and the baristas make perfect drinks with minimal sound, is a cafe that I would definitely patron on my Me dates.  If anyone wants to make one.

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There are people who like to eat (or drink coffee) alone and people who do not.  One time, early on in dating, I knew Josh was eating alone at a restaurant, and I didn’t go in and interrupt him because I assumed he wanted that time alone.  It was very O Henry because he had been hoping that I would interrupt.

There are some people who only go out alone (to a restaurant, the movies, a cafe) if they have to be alone, and others who seek it out, scheduling in Me dates.

I’m a Me dater.  Which one are you?

December 10, 2014   24 Comments

Not All Reading is Equal

Not a Wasted Word sent me an article about how the brains of people who read fiction are different from the brains of people who do all other forms of reading: non-fiction, surfing the Web, Twitter, etc.  It begins,

It’s not news that reading has countless benefits: Poetry stimulates parts of the brain linked to memory and sparks self-reflection; kids who read the Harry Potter books tend to be better people. But what about people who only read newspapers? Or people who scan Twitter all day? Are those readers’ brains different from literary junkies who peruse the pages of 19th century fictional classics?

Short answer: Yes — reading enhances connectivity in the brain. But readers of fiction? They’re a special breed.

They had me at “special.”  Even though this article wasn’t a piece of fiction (and therefore would not be enhancing my brain), I read on.

The gist of the article is that reading fiction changed your brain to make you a more empathetic person.  People who read a lot of fiction tend to be more attune to reading other people’s emotions.  (And hopefully not negating them or telling them, “If you think your life is awful, you should think about Harry Potter and the fact that Voldemort killed his parents.  I mean, that’s awful.  Your life isn’t awful.”)

I read a lot of fiction.  I always have two books going at the same time: a heavy one and a light one.  Like one that changes my whole mood because I am so deeply into the story (heavy) and another that I skim the surface, enjoying my time with the characters (light).  Sometimes the light book is a heavy book that I’ve already read, but because I’m on my second (or third or tenth…) reading, my experience with it has changed.  It still affects me, but it affects me like a light book vs. a heavy book.

While there isn’t a prime reading season — I like to read on the beach just as much as I like to read under a blanket in winter — December break does lend itself to more down time and therefore more reading time.  So in that spirit, I thought we could all throw out some really good fiction books because the last time I did this, I got a bunch of suggestions that I ended up loving.

So I’ll kick it off with The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.  Totally likeable characters in a somewhat unrealistic situation, but an enjoyable read nonetheless.  Another good one: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty.  She’s just a great storyteller.  I love the way she can weave together lives.  And I have to throw in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.  I like to reread his books.  A lot.

What do you have for me?  Any young adult?  Dystopian societies?  Women’s fiction?  Something else?

December 9, 2014   27 Comments

#MicroblogMondays 15: Favourite Colours

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

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I’m not really surprised with my score on the colour test because I already knew that colour affects me deeply.  I’m aware this will make me sound like the narrator of The Rosie Project, but I use a straw in my iced coffee every morning, and I have to choose very carefully because the colour of the straw affects me for the rest of the day.  For instance, I can only write if I’m using a blue or red straw, and only those shades of blue or red that come in that box.  The blue is hex code 3399CC and the red is hex code CC0000.

Yes… I know how this makes me sound.

There are colours that make me happy such as CC6633 and others that fill me with dread such as CCFF99.

So peruse the colour picker and let me know one colour that affects you emotionally: makes you happy, sad, fearful, etc.

P.S. The Wolvog and I like to whisper hex codes to each other, just luxuriating in the idea of various shades.

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Are you also doing #MicroblogMondays? Add your link below. The list will be open until Tuesday morning. Link to the post itself, not your blog URL. (Don’t know what that means? Please read the three rules on this post to understand the difference between a permalink to a post and a blog’s main URL.) Only personal blogs can be added to the list. I will remove any posts that are connected to businesses or are sponsored posts.

1. Just Heather 18. Isabelle 35. Laurel Regan @ Alphabet Salad
2. Simple girl 19. torthú il 36. Suess
3. Jen (Days of Grace) 20. Usha 37. stephanie (Travelcraft Journal)
4. Queenie 21. Rachel 38. Rain
5. Infertile Girl 22. Religion Optional 39. Freckled Latte
6. Persnickety 23. Tara 40. The Incredible Journey
7. earthandink 24. Mary Francis 41. apluseffort
8. Shail 25. Daryl 42. No Baby Ruth
9. JB 26. Turia 43. deathstar
10. Parenthood Diaries 27. Mali (No Kidding) 44. Ke Anne
11. Waiting for Baby 28. Mali (A Separate Life) 45. Kimberly
12. Solo Mama 29. Amber 46. ellen
13. Gil (The Hardest Quest) 30. Infertile Hope 47. With love, Tania
14. Loribeth (The Road Less Travelled) 31. Emma (Muddy Boots & Diamonds) 48. A.
15. Geochick 32. Cristy 49. articulation
16. Uma S 33. Non Sequitur Chica 50. Stacie
17. S 34. Looking for a Little

December 8, 2014   32 Comments

Wait… I Have a Second Party Trick

So Earthandink had a post about tetrachromancy, and while there is no test you can take online to see if you are a tetrachromat, there IS a test you can take to check your colour acuity.

colour_test_1

Did I take it?  Uh… yes, I did.

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And it made me feel really good about myself.  Actually, let’s not mince words: it made me feel superior to the vast majority of the world, including those who have not yet taken the test and therefore may have perfect colour acuity, too.  Plus look at the timestamps on Earthandink’s comments.  It took me 7 minutes tops — though probably more like 5 — to rearrange all those colours with the rest of the time spent leaving those comments plus running around the living room screaming, “I am peeeeeeeeeerfect!”

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The first thing I did after I got my score was go upstairs to ask Josh how it felt to be married to someone with perfect colour acuity.  Did it feel good?  Did it make him feel a little self-conscious when choosing paint colours?  (It should.)  Did he feel like telling people in the grocery store about his wife?  About her perfect colour acuity?  Because I certainly felt like telling people.

I mean, look, I’m telling all of you.  Hi, I’m Melissa.  I have perfect kerning abilities AND I have perfect colour acuity AND I cannot tie my shoelaces (I never mastered that) AND I was such a bad speller in fourth grade that I had to pick up my books and go down to a third grade class because there wasn’t a low enough spelling group to contain me in my own grade.  So… you know… the skillz are hit-or-miss.

So how did you do on the colour test?  Please make me feel good about myself.

P.S. After you take the test, don’t forget to go prep your #MicroblogMonday post for tomorrow…

December 7, 2014   15 Comments

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