the banner

Our dog is nuts.  I just googled this phrase and found 34,400 hits so I guess we are not alone.  Why do we all continue to get dogs who clearly drive us nuts sometimes when we could just get a cat who’s a reasonable companion but also rather content with life?  Never having owned a cat, I won’t comment on this beyond noting that Catbert must have some basis in reality.  Googling 6x the number of hits on google as the phrase above, by the way.

I wonder if the dog thinks her human is nuts.  Or perhaps she associates well with me and spotted our similarities faster than me.  She barks a lot, I talk a lot. We both love the same foods (kibbles don’t sound good to me either).  She wants to say hi to all the other dogs, I want to talk to all the other people.  We both wonder what’s going on around us.  We both need interaction.  We’re both emotionally in tune with others’ concerns – and wear our emotions (perhaps too loudly) on our sleeves.  We love hugs.  We notice those around us and can’t help but make quick conclusions about others, most of which turn out to be wrong.  We often start on the wrong foot (paw) but end up with a new best friend.

But most of all, we both love adventures and exploring.  The photo in the banner captures a rare moment when Tilley was reflecting on the path behind her, with excitement and anticipation for the rest of the journey.  Journals, like photos, are about capturing snippets of life to revisit further down the road.



I wanted to use this post to rail on The Tipping Point, but I best wait until I finish it until I try to take it apart.  So, I’ll reflect on It’s not you, it’s the dishes instead.  This book was originally called Spousonomics but was later renamed.  The premise is that the authors apply economic principles to marriage.  Just as economics tries to provide structure to how the deal should be struck, sposonomics tries to give guidelines as to the terms and format of that agreement.  If I say nothing else about the book, my major learning is that happiness stemming from a relationship can be fixed by both parties sitting down and working out an agreement.  My take: as in business, because each situation is different, no solution shall ever be the same.  And thus, we hope that we read enough case studies to learn from others’ experience and apply our learnings to our own life.

Each chapter in the book has exactly three case studies assembled from a series of interviews.  Some are weaker in proving their points than others.  Some of the couples’ problems could have been handled with solutions from more than a single chapter.  In *all* cases, the couples had to first identify the problem.  Then they had to sit down and come up with a solution.  Some ideas: chore distribution by total time of the couple rather than total time of the individual, take a time out before an argument heats up out of control, stay in the habit of being in love even if not inspired by mood, not being complacent that your spouse will always be there, set incentives between the couple for good behavior, compromise, open communication and don’t put off dealing with the issues because you never will.

The same problem can be solved with more than one of these techniques, but as Bryan says, just do something!

My questions: what if only one person thinks it’s an issue?  How to bring up the problem without bringing blame into the matter?

Today I realize I don’t always accept help well.  I’m quick to ask for help when I need it, but when others offer help without me asking, it often makes me frustrated.  I don’t know if it makes me feel incapable or if I just want to take a stab at whatever it is first.  Or maybe I’m not busy enough.  I always feel like I’m towing the line between just throwing up my hands completely and thinking ‘ok, fine, I’ll just let the other person do it’ and trying to hang onto more than I can manage on my own for not wanting to let it out of my grasp (discouraged by The Effective Executive).  Strangely, the one person I have no struggle receiving help from is my husband.  I like it when he offers to help, although I try to be careful not to be a burden.

I wonder if I get this from my grandma.  She never wanted advice or help as she got older.  I don’t know if she wouldn’t admit that she needed help or if she didn’t need it.  (And she was always asking my grandpa for help.)  Maybe the same is true for me, but at least I understand where she is coming from.

There’s a sermon (undoubtedly many more) on receiving, but emphasizes that one must receive God’s grace (here assumed to be a given) as well as his penalties.  I guess I struggle with this too – I haven’t figured out what to do when any being helps me – and when something bad happens, I say it ain’t fair.  But I’m ok at making lemonade from lemons.  The sermon seems all mixed up to me.  I can associate more with this article for women truck drivers.  “Practice saying ‘thank you, yes, I would like some help’ or ‘thank you, but no, I don’t need any help right now’ and then you will at least be gracious to the person trying to be nice by offering help and will be a good example to the patronizing ones.”  This works well – but what about when the help isn’t offered, it’s just given…

Pineapples – solved

Pineapples are delicious and really everyone likes them.  In fact, when asked “what type of fruit would you be?” the largest fraction of responders in my sorority(myself included) answered that they would be a pineapple.  Either we all wanted to be delicious and golden yellow, or we knew that we would be safe from an lazy kitchen chefs.  Probably explaining why this fruit is so tasty, cutting pineapples sucks!  Then this thingy came along:

This gadget is surprisingly awesome.  Until I sat down to write this, I wondered what about it fascinated me.

Let’s start with that it’s really humbling something so simple works so well.  However, I also note that this is not obvious.  And it has its own wikipedia page, no inventor credited.  It’s the perfect symbol for a successful engineering result: simple, non-obvious and works well.