Archive | July, 2011

It’s my 50th!

29 Jul

I’ve reached my 50th post! What started as a class assignment has turned into a weekly goal that I’m happy to say I’ve accomplished. I’ve learned a lot in the last couple months and I’m happy that there’s a place that documents this growth. What I was aiming for when I started this blog was to receive a passing grade, but when that came and went this became an exercise for me to better what I’ve always enjoyed, writing and relating. Writing is the easy part, relating to others poses much more of  challenge.

Blogging can be daunting at times, especially in the beginning, but once you overcome the panic/fear that everyone is going to read and judge every word you write it gets much easier. Because truthfully, not many people will even read it. At least not as many as you want. Because isn’t that why you write and publish your posts anyway? To ascertain a following? Well, you’re never going to have as many readers as you hope for because you’ll always want more, and that’s a wonderful thing. Wanting and doing go hand-in-hand. By wanting to gain more readers, you’ll do your best to produce better posts in order to achieve your goal.

When I re-read posts I wrote when I first started blogging I slightly cringe. Despite it only being a couple months, I know what I produce now is much better than what it was and I’m hoping to continue getting better with each month. Blogging, like any other skill, flourishes with continual improvement. If you never start, you can never get better and that is doing a huge disservice to yourself and anyone else you may inspire.

Photo credit: http://bit.ly/oHtBfr

Little girls, Big things

26 Jul

I know I’m not alone when I feel that somedays simply suck.  Not that today is one of those days, but sometimes things just do go your way or at times you simply don’t want to go to work and you’re left in a crappy mood because you’re forced to do all these things you don’t want to do.  No one likes feeling like this and no one likes having to come in contact with people who are feeling like this because it brings down everyone else.  Negativity spreads rapidly and easily, so the best thing to do when you’re in a foul mood is to quickly locate the source and end it.  I know it sounds a lot easier than it is to do, but what I find inspiring is this video:

 

I’ve watched it a handful of times and each time it makes me smile.  Daily positive affirmations can do wonders for your mood and self-esteem.  No need to jump on top of your counters, but positive reinforcement of what is good in your life will remind you that the negativity you currently feel isn’t worth it.  If a little 5-year-old has so much to love about her life just think about how much you’ve accomplished and all you have to enjoy.  Doing this and feeling better about yourself is beneficial for you, but it’s also beneficial for those around you.  No one enjoys being around a Negative Nancy or a Bitchy Betty.

Here’s another video that makes me feel better, not only about myself but about little girls everywhere:

Lost in translation

21 Jul
Whenever anyone tells me they’re going out of the country for a while I always think the same things:
  • How’s the food?
  • Is the beach close?
  • What language do they speak?

The third one isn’t the most important, but important nonetheless. It never fails to impress me when people travel on their own to places where English isn’t spoken.  I can never grasp how they manage to get around, order food or ask for directions.  You can only point to so many things with wide-eyes and large gestures until you run into something that’s not within eye-sight to point at.  So to all those travelers who have gone to non-english speaking destinations, I am both envious and amazed.

I spent most of last week visiting my parents with Mr. Kelley.  It was similar to witnessing what I would be like in say, Brazil.  My parents speak English, but it’s limited.  They know basic words and can hold a conversation about day-to-day things, but if you ever want to discuss the meaning of life or topics of the existential, esoteric nature you’re barking up the wrong Asian tree.  It was interesting to watch and listen to my boyfriend interact with my parents.  Both parties worked very hard to understand the other and it mostly worked, but sometimes all one could do was smile and nod. Depending on what was being discussed, there are some words that aren’t translatable.  For example, my parents differentiate Mr. Kelley’s two dads, not as “dad” and “step-dad”, but rather “real dad” and “fake dad” despite the fact that both matter immensely to him and he considers them both his dad. The fact that there was no accurate word for step parent in Cantonese simply meant they had to use the next best thing.   This goes to show that no matter how loud you speak, how large the gestures or how many adjectives are thrown in some words are simply lost in translation.

Photo credit: http://bit.ly/ogcer5

To Kindle or Not…

19 Jul

Reading has always been one of my most favorite parts of summer.  It’s the only time I can read whatever I want without feeling guilty that it’s not from Penguin Publishing or a McGraw-Hill hardback.  I’ve already taken full advantage of this limited time luxury by reading non-stop for the past two months.  I’m not sure if it’s because I grew up reading copious amounts or if I was born this way, but I read freakishly fast.  It’s both a blessing and a curse.  On one hand, I breeze through books like a speed racer and it takes me half the time to read a text than it would others. Yet, this only really benefits me when I’m reading for pleasure (ie: books with plots) and not for class because at the rate that I’m ingesting the words I can’t comprehend difficult text.  So here’s where the downside comes in: while it takes me half the time to read for fun it takes me twice as long to read for class because I need to re-read a few times before I actually grasp what is being read.  However, none of this has to do with what I want to discuss today.

I received a Kindle last Christmas and have gotten mixed reactions when I share this fact.  I’ve had some gush about their amorous relationship with their e-reader while others turn their nose up at such a device.  After spending some quality time with mine here’s my overall reaction:

Positives

As mentioned, I read quickly so it’s become a norm for me to travel with at least three books regardless of the destination or duration.  Anyone who has flown within the last couple years knows the irritant of having to pay a baggage fee on top of the ticket price and being a notorious over-packer I always have to worry about weight. As I have grown out of picture books and prefer novels over magazines, adding three large books to my already crammed suitcase is a challenge and adding any more weight to my carry-on risks extreme back pain.  This is where my Kindle saves the day (and my back).  I can now take as many books as I want wherever I go and not have to worry about leaving room in my suitcase or purse.  Also, the battery life on it is phenomenal.  I can go weeks without having to charge it.  It’s been a huge relief to have multiple books in a compact reader that fits in just about any bag.

 

Not-So-Positive  
The downside to the Kindle isn’t really a negative it’s simply what I find undesirable.  I basically grew up in a library and from the time I learned how to read I was seldom seen without a book in hand. Reading from a book that I can hold, seeing the familiar dog-eared pages and storing a book on a shelf when it’s concluded is what I’m used to.  It’s familiar and it’s right.   I don’t care how nerdy it sounds, I love books.  I love everything about books. I love the way pages feel rough yet smooth, the stiffness and crackle of the cover when you open it for the first time, the sound the pages make when you turn it.  However, my most favorite thing about holding a book occurs in the last 20-30 pages when you’re reading a really good page-turner that you can’t put down and will forfeit sleep for. That feeling of not wanting the book to end, so you read a little slower relishing every word in every sentence until you’ve reached the last letter.  Although I can still appreciate a good novel electronically, I don’t feel the same sense of bittersweet melancholy when I can’t feel the right half of the book thinning out.  When I can’t see, without a shadow-of-doubt exactly how far into the book I am and how much I have left.  That is what I miss when I read from my Kindle.

No phone, no flight

13 Jul

I do things sometimes that make me think, “I’m kind of a moron.”  One of those such occurrences took place today.  I was supposed to be on a 10:15 flight to Las Vegas, but I’m writing this at 10:33 and I’m still at the airport in Reno.  Needless to say, I missed my flight.  No, my car didn’t break down,I didn’ t wake up late, and my ride took me to the airport on time.  The reason for me being late is a silly one, and I’m rather embarrassed to admit, but I missed my flight because I forgot my phone at home.  I know…  I’m terrible.

Once I get to the airport I have this sinking, I-forgot-something-important feeling (why couldn’t that feeling come 10 minutes sooner?) sure enough my phone was missing.  Like the winner that I am I have no one’s phone number memorized, nor are they written down.The only available contacts I have are frequent diner cards for U-Swirl and MMM… Yogurt that I found in my wallet. As important as both these places are to me, I somehow don’t think they’re going to help me out of this pickle.  After another trip cabbing it to and from the airport here I am waiting for the next flight.  At least I’m super on time. This doesn’t happen very often. Now, I know why.  I have children on all sides of me whining, one sitting next to me whistling incessantly as if in a Disney movie, and another yelling, “Gimme mine! Gimme, gimme!” I’ll give her something…  (Please see re: I’m terrible.)

This incident goes to show how dependent I’ve become on my phone for contact.  I was extremely upset without it and probably would have cried if it were a particular time of month.  In retrospect, I probably could have made my original flight, cabbed it to my parents’ house, had my roommate mail me my phone and avoided the extra trips to and from the airport. But I only now realized this.  Like I said, I’m a winner.

Photo credit: http://bit.ly/puEIPd

The great debates

12 Jul

When I think about my best conversations they all have one thing in common: varying points of view. My favorite discussions feel more like debates, not because I enjoy yelling or arguing but because they’re with individuals who believe in something for a good reason and aren’t afraid to stand up for it. But even more so because they are capable of doing something not many people are able to do, disagree in a respectful, tasteful manner.

I love when people believe in something. I love even more when they aren’t afraid to voice these opinions even when they’re the only person who feels this way. However, I hate when people are rude, tactless and close-minded in doing so. It makes me not want to hear what they have to say and not want to be open to the possibility that they may be right or that that it even matters.

The great thing about opinions is that everyone has one, but the way they express it makes all the difference to me. When sharing differing views it’s necessary to be open-minded, responsive and aware that others may be right in their own way. Sharing your point-of-view is only half the battle and to be honest, it’s the easier half. The difficult part is piping down and listening to the other person. Listen to understand don’t listen to respond. At the end of it all, even if you don’t end up with parallel viewpoints it’s still a win/win because despite the fact that I don’t like your opinion or even agree with it, I’m thankful that you have one.

Photo credit: http://bit.ly/r1UCEF

Stop Slut-Shaming

10 Jul
“What’s up whores?!”  Whenever I hear a girl yell this at another group of ladies a little part of me dies of rage.  Let’s talk about slut-shaming for a little bit and how completely wrong and counterproductive it is for all women.  I understand things aren’t nearly as equal or balanced as I would like them to be, but it’s important to keep fighting the good fight in hopes of one day balancing out not only the pay scale but gender roles a well.  Before anyones’ panties get bundled or nipples get twisted, I know that women have come a long way, but there’s still so much further we could go and slut-shaming is essentially putting us back 20 years every time a woman calls another woman a derogatory name and thinks it’s completely okay simply because it’s said out of “love” or “friendship” or even because they are a female themselves it’s completely acceptable.  Newsflash: it’s not!  By calling others names like slut or whore you’re not re-claiming the word nor are you showing any form of female empowerment.  By using those words all you’re doing is making it that much more acceptable for others to call you those names and not in friendly way, but in a demeaning, degrading, debasing kind-of-way.

I understand the intent of the girls’ who choose to use these words.  I understand that in their mind, they probably aren’t trying to label others by yelling “Sluuuuts!” to a group of friends. However, what you’re saying and what you mean are two different things.  We as human beings, especially women, are brought up in a society of sexual repression where sexual education is somehow seen as a negative, unneeded course and Planned Parenthood isn’t a health center or advocate for women’s health, but a polarized topic of debate.  We grow up in an environment where anything that has to do with sex is awkward to discuss or worse, not discussed at all.  So calling one another sluts and whores may seem like a form of sexual liberation, but it’s not.  In Tina Fey’s (awesome) words, “You’ve got to stop calling each other sluts  and whores.  It just makes it okay for men to call you sluts  and whores.”  If you genuinely want to break the mold of gender stereotypes or  somehow make it acceptable to dress however you want without being labeled there’s no quick fix.  I wish we could all simply be the way that we are without the stereotypes, but again, that’s not the case.

As women we live by the code of being feminine, but not too girly; talk about sex, but don’t have it too often and wear dresses and makeup, just not too short or too much. It’s a convoluted mess of mixed messages and I’m not sure how to straighten it all out.  All I know for certain is that labeling others what we don’t want others to label us is not helping at all. It essentially perpetuates and condones the acceptance of the stereotypes and hurts womankind as a whole.

Photo credit: http://bit.ly/qajVzM