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Archive for the ‘Emotions’ Category

In just the last hour or so, I’ve learned quite a lot, which is surprising, considering that I wasn’t trying to learn anything, and the activity I was involved in is not typically considered educational. The things I noticed, though, have been bouncing around in my head, so I thought it important to get them all down on paper (so to speak) before I forgot. So, if you can pardon the personal nature of this, here is my list:

  1. Winter time is not the best time for a pet to die. If you own a pet, you should try to plan their demise so as to avoid the winter months.
  2. Frozen ground is about as easy to dig up as your living room floor (though I don’t recommend trying it to find out).
  3. Shallow graves are not always easy to dig. Sometimes they are just a necessity.
  4. The first 3 inches or so of digging are the worst. That’s where the ground is frozen the hardest. After that it’s just hard-packed clay, pretty typical.
  5. If you don’t have an excavator or other such power tools in your shed, just give up and wait until spring. As far as I understand it, that’s why freezers were invented. Even a pick ax wouldn’t have helped much. But you definitely shouldn’t attempt this with a little three-foot garden shovel. Ever.
  6. If you’re trying to pick a nice, peaceful resting ground for your child’s recently departed and are thinking that a nice shady spot under a tree would be nice, you are thinking like a parent instead of an undertaker. Stop it. Roots grow under trees. Lots of them. Lots of really thick ones. The kind most people buy chainsaws for.
  7. I have a better understanding of the pain that the pioneers must have experienced trying to bury their loved ones in the frozen plains. I was hurting after about 5 minutes, and only had managed to clear the leaves away from the spot and chisel a few shavings of dirt off the surface. There was an extra helping of pain knowing that there was no way to get out of this by whining to my wife about how hard it was or how tired I was. It just had to be done. And they had many more, significantly more profound feelings about the people they were burying than I did about my son’s hamster. It must have been torture. I will definitely look at the pioneer graveyard in Winter Quarters a whole lot differently the next time I am there.
  8. Little boys are not that into eulogizing the deceased, even though it broke his heart to learn that it was his hamster that had died.
  9. Finally, little boys love to dig holes.
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…in order to convince your friends that it would be a great idea to get together at your place, take off their shirts (covering those bits needing covering, of course), stand in front of your gorgeous blue wall, and let you dump all different sorts of foodstuffs on their heads while you take pictures?

Meg Wachter knows. You can see the results on her website. It’s in the “Dumped” collection, of course.

She made a video, too.

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And oh so ready for it, too.

One more here, just because I can.

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Summer Thursdays in Wamego are a bright spot in our kids’ weekly routines. The local public library hosts a reading time that is typically accompanied by some sort of relevant craft. There’s a repeat in the afternoon for the older kids that, I assume, involves more complex stories.

Today was the last one and, contrary to tradition, the library served a snack along with its book and craft. Hyrum, apparently, was not really ready for this sort of delight.

H: I didn’t know today was going to be my lucky day! I thought today was going to be Chloe’s lucky day!

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I just found a fun little website that will comb the 1990 census data and statistically extrapolate (that means guess) how many people in the United States have the same name as you. Plugging in my full name, the one on my birth certificate, I got this:

HowManyOfMe.com
Logo There are
32
people with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

However, when I plug in the name I go by, the one that everyone calls me, the one on my business card, I got this:

HowManyOfMe.com
Logo There are
1
or fewer people with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

It’s the “or fewer” part that has got me feeling all down and existential.

How many of you are there? Go find out, then come back and tell me. Maybe if there are many of you, it will make me feel a lot better about my statistical probabilities of existing.

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One of the apparent benefits of graduating from UCLA is the inevitable Alumni Association newsletter emails. Normally, these aren’t worth the cost of the email (to me), but occasionally, something truly interesting comes across the void.

For example, in the March 2008 volume, there was one story that caught my eye: “‘Hotties’ not so hot when you’re in love.” I clicked through and read the story and found something that was not all together surprising, though extremely insightful.

In this study, the research team at UCLA, working with a team from eHarmony.com, gathered a number of highly-rated pictures from a dating website (so, we’re talking about the ‘hotties’ of the bunch) and a bunch of undergraduates that were in committed relationships. Each of these undergrads was shown a picture of a ‘hottie’ of the opposite sex and asked to look at it for a certain amount of time.

Then, after giving the picture back to the researchers, they were asked to write an essay. One third of the students wrote about anything they wanted (this was the control group), another third wrote about a time that they felt a great amount of love for their partner, and the last wrote about when they were extremely attracted sexually to their partner.

Basically, aside from the control group, they were recalling extreme feelings of either love or lust.

While they were writing, they were told not to think about the hottie, but that, if they did, to simply put a check mark in the margin of their paper.

After the essay, they were asked to recall any details about the hottie that they studied at the beginning.

The results were quite interesting: those students actively recalling moments of love for their partners (remember: love here is not equal to attraction or lust) were 6 times less likely than the control group and 4 times less likely than the lust group to think of the attractive hottie that they had just been told not to think about. Now, I don’t know about you, but if someone tells me not to think about something, that just makes it all the more likely that I will. Don’t believe me? Just think about the last time someone said, “Don’t look now but…” What’s the first thing you did? You looked.

After the essays, when asked to recall details about the hottie, students who wrote about love had a difficult time recalling attractive features of the hottie and typically provided much more general information about the location of the picture or the color of clothing the person was wearing instead of details regarding anything that typically attracts a person’s attention, like their eyes, hair, skin, muscles, cleavage, or the like.

Clearly, lust is not love, and romantic love is not sexual desire. While desire or lust may attract us to a particular person, it is love that prevents us from being drawn somewhere else. Love is, essentially, a blinder that dulls the attractiveness that we perceive in others. It helps us maintain those partnerships that we have formed, the families that we have started.

This has got me to thinking about how many people fall into the trap of infidelity, or who fall out of love with their spouse.

Might there be some application of this study to my life? I’m sure there is.

The one thing that jumped almost immediately to mind is keeping a journal. If we were to record somewhere those things that remind us of the love that we feel for our spouses (be it something they do or say or how they act), we would have a fairly steady reminder of why we have chosen the person we did, keeping those feelings of love fresh and effective in blunting whatever attraction we might have otherwise felt for another. It would be a protective barrier against intrusion into our hearts.

I’m curious: what other ideas do you have? How do you maintain an active remembrance of the love you feel for your partner? Leave your comments and suggestions below; I’d love to hear them.

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No, we didn’t die on vacation. Or join a cult. Or get sucked into a black hole. I’ve just been a bit busy since we got back.Now that I’m back at work, though, I’ve got more time on my hands for things like blogging. Go figure.

So, this is the beginning of the rundown of the major events from our Christmas vacation, including lots of pictures. This first post is rather long in particular because we have lots of things to say about the trip there. Consider yourselves duly warned.

So, on with the show.

(more…)

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