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emmy [AT] curious-notions {dot} net
December 2009
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Instead of sheep

Yesterday I was all set to be mopey and sad and weepy. The morning just. kept. getting. worse. In the littlest ways too. Needing to write two problems after I finally turned in solutions. Getting a slightly rude email asking me to provide said solutions after they had already gone up on the website. Running over to … did I give my advisor a name? Lee. I ran over to Lee’s office a few times. Sunday hadn’t sucked because Bear is a lovely lovely man, but I was doing solutions for most of it and so Monday was sucking pretty hard around 2pm.

Then … have I given Lee’s friend a name? Queen. Queen comes over. She ALWAYS livens up the place. I’m giving her the name Queen not because she’s stuffy or regal, but because she just owns spaces when she walks into them. She’s incredibly vivacious. She reminds me of Alison, a friend of my aunt’s, that my whole family just adores. Which for my family is unique. Then the person who sent the slightly rude email crossed my path as I was heading to the bathroom and was sweet and apologized. Then Bear and I head home to a present, a nice big check (for the house, but the fact that it’s bigger than we expected means that we have a little bit of money left over for groceries and moving and setting up house when we finally get it), and a card. Bear and I were so flipping happy and grateful and it was just amazing. Then I talk to Linda and AJ and both of them have had nice turn arounds with certain aspects of their lives as well and it just was a really really good feeling.

THEN THIS MORNING I GOT NEWS THAT MONARCH HAS BEEN BORN IN THE WEE WEE HOURS OF THIS MORNING!!!!!!! (I’ve been staring at her pictures for a while. I want a baby now. This feeling better go away fast.) SHE IS THE PRETTIEST PRETTIEST LITTLE GIRL.

So. Instead of being sad and mopey and upset, I think instead I should be counting my blessings. Before this Christmas, despite the hard year that everyone seems to be having, our blessings are plentiful and huge and lovely and omgpleasegetridofthisdesireforababyplease.

10 rules to try and live by (coblogged with Linda)

Linda and I coblogged this in chat. Because we have pity for those who read our blogs, we have reformatted and trimmed it down. You can find Linda’s version here. (Disclaimer. I have no clue if we actually match or not, but probably reading just one or the other is good enough. ETA: Now that I have read Linda’s post I am laughing at the idea that anyone would read one of our posts and assume the other is the same because WOW do we take things differently, but the rules are the same. I understand not everyone is interested in Linda or I.)

  1. Childhood wonderment is essential
  2. I’m stealing this from Linda. She probably has a better story to go with it. My cousins are my inspiration for this rule though. They were running around and screaming and trying to make snowmen in the snow that fell in Texas on Friday. Every year, when the first snow falls for the season, I call my mom and tell her its snowing. I’ve had people get confused and think I just moved to the northeast when they hear these phone calls.

  3. Sometimes having the last word isn’t the same as winning
  4. As an older sister and a daughter and a wife, I know this rule very very well. Sometimes you get that zinger or you get that last word in. But then what? What does it do but hurt the other person? Then after the anger fades, you are a bitch who couldn’t just discuss your problem reasonably and then walk away like a mature person until both of you were ready to deal. Winning means that a situation was addressed and resolved. Not that you had a moment of superiority. Getting the last word is like having one too many cookies. Good in the moment, but gross later and it sticks with you for too long.

  5. Blog about the stuff that you want to remember and not about the stuff you want to forget
  6. Linda and I both agree that while maybe you want to write down the shitty stuff that happened to you, keep it in a personal journal. Blogs are for sharing. Make sure it’s something that you want other people to know and remember about you.

  7. Sometimes you just gotta sit on the floor
  8. Linda didn’t like this one, because when you sit on the floor, usually it means you are at a low. My take on it is that sometimes though, you just have to accept that you are at that low point, sit on the floor and just let yourself take a breather. You can get back up later. Sitting on the floor (or in my case, taking that damned-fucking-iowjifwjeofwjefi nap) is important if you want to get back up (or wake up) later.

  9. Be careful what you ask for because it always fucks you up the ass later
  10. Ok. Our one cliche of the bunch. The thing is that it’s so so true. The examples I have of this all break rule #3, so I’m going to just say that I imagine everyone has at least one example of something they thought they wanted, except when they got it, it turns out that it wasn’t what they really needed or actually wanted. Life works in funny and perverse ways.

  11. Best friends are essential
  12. Um. Duh. Linda might drive me batty, but she’s still one of my most precious miracles. I strive to never take her for granted.

  13. When things go down the shitter, pamper yourself
  14. Look, you had a bad birthday? Make yourself a cake. Your boss yelled at you? Run yourself a bath. Your husband/wife is cranky? Go open a good book or put in a good movie or make yourself some tea. Yeah, your best friends are awesome and do a great job taking care of you. Your husband loves you and that’s great. It’s still good to practice making yourself feel better too.

  15. Don’t wait for growing up to get easier
  16. It only gets worse. Pick up the pace.

  17. Enjoy your body.
  18. Don’t take it for granted. Enjoy food and smells and sounds and textures. Have sex or masturbate. Exercise. Do it.

  19. Don’t use other people to define yourself
  20. I know too many people who for some reason or another can’t stand on their own. So they find someone else that they can mimic and glue themselves to. I only know of one situation in which it hasn’t blown up into a huge ugly mess and it’s a very very unique pair. Every other time? It gets ugly. No one likes to be used, whether it be for their style or their habits or their looks or their attitude or their ability to find grace. They probably appreciate and cultivate and work hard for that aspect of themselves. Find your own style. Your own habits and patterns and abilities. You might even like yourself better.

Those words do not mean what you think they mean

Lately I’ve noticed people using words in ways that grate. I am not a linguist. I am not a grammar freak. I do not have the most extensive vocabulary. I do have a love for words though and this love causes me to wince and rant when they are abused.

So, today, I’m sharing.

First is the word wit. Let’s consult the dictionary.

wit [wit]


1. the keen perception and cleverly apt expression of those connections between ideas that awaken amusement and pleasure.
2. speech or writing showing such perception and expression.
3. a person having or noted for such perception and expression.
4. understanding, intelligence, or sagacity; astuteness.
5. Usually, wits.

a. powers of intelligent observation, keen perception, ingenious contrivance, or the like; mental acuity, composure, and resourcefulness: using one’s wits to get ahead.
b. mental faculties; senses: to lose one’s wits.

We are really only concerned with the first three definitions. I’ve never heard anyone misuse wits when they meant to express mental acuity. If you tell a joke that everyone has heard before, you are not a wit, you are a bore. If you write a blog using cliches, you are not a wit, you just have no imagination. Wit requires perception and cleverness to express connections. While wit does not require complete originality, it does require some.

Another word that is driving me crazy, and honestly, has driven me crazy for a long long time, is nonplussed. I almost always hear it used to mean someone who is not surprised. It does not mean NOT surprised or NOT shocked. It means puzzled or perplexed. Someone who is nonplussed might have paused or might have a blank look on their face because they are readjusting their thinking or maybe their eyes are wide open. My best guess as to why people are confused by this word is that it starts with ‘non’ and so people assume this means NOT surprised. Let me share something: there is no word plussed. If nonplussed were to mean not plussed, as in not shocked, then there would be a word plussed that meant shocked. *shakes her head* There is no such word. Nonplussed means perplexed and will always mean perplexed. STOP ABUSING THE WORD.

This last one is not a word exactly, it’s a phrase. I know this phrase very very well. I lived with someone who embodied this phrase. The phrase is “passive aggressive”. When someone is aggressive, they act and do things and express themselves directly. If they are mad, they yell (importantly, they yell at whatever caused the anger). If they are sad, they cry. If they are happy, they laugh. If they are hungry, they go to get food. I might be stretching the point here, but aggressive people are direct and action oriented. Passive people prefer not to act. They prefer not to express themselves. If they are mad, they might say something, but probably softly or only to one person. If they are sad, they might shed a tear. If they are hungry, they might not say anything or even get themselves something to eat. Passive doesn’t mean lazy or stoic, it just means that these people prefer to not act as much as aggressive people do. All of this is fine. I’ve met wonderful and kind people who were passive and amazing and kind people who were aggressive. Sometimes it is just a style. Passive aggressive people are manipulators though. This isn’t just a style, because passive aggressive people are aggressive people who chose to not act themselves. Passive aggressive people want OTHER people to act for them. Or to take blame for them. Or to get mad for them. Or to get mad at them so that they don’t get mad themselves. Wikipedia has a decent entry about the disorder.

So, an example of a misuse that annoys the shit out of me: Blog entries and comments are not passive. Maybe they aren’t the most aggressive things in the world, but they are some kind of action. Maybe it’s a really weak action. Maybe the situation called for yelling or a phone call or something and a blog entry is WEAK, but it is not passive. Weakness does not mean passive aggressive. Do not say you or someone else is passive aggressive when what you really mean is that you or someone else is weak or timid OR JUST PLAIN PASSIVE. (Anonymous blog entries and comments are a whole ‘nother bag. I’m talking about stuff that can be attributed to a person.)

Please people. Use the dictionary, use wikipedia, use google. Use your common sense even. Do not abuse all the pretty words and phrases.

full moon isn’t just for werewolves

I don’t know why, but today has been rough. I had students that refused to read instructions. I had students ask me questions that I covered in a SPECIAL LECTURE JUST FOR THEM THAT I KNOW THEY ATTENDED. I had my mom go spastic on me twice. Bear’s mom is having trouble (she’s not causing it lovely woman that she is). My brother was spazzing out. ‘A’ sounded odd on the phone. Bear isn’t sleeping. I’ve gotten a little lost in the last set of solutions I’ve got to create.

To top it all off, Lin isn’t having the best day in the world either. She was already stressed and now there are bombs going off. I hate when I give her advice and suddenly she’s up shit creek. I feel like maybe if I’d given different advice, maybe it’d have gone better. Lin I know you are going to read this, but I’m going somewhere with this. Just hold on a second. (Don’t bother commenting that you would have done whatever anyways and that you were just getting my take and I’m your brain. I know all this about you; I gave you the advice anyways. I HATE when shit goes flying so I feel bad.)

I tend to be pretty confident in life. If I say something, I’m saying it because I think I’m right. I have a lot of arrogance with regards to my intelligence. I know lots of people a LOT smarter than me or with memories that make mine look pathetic, but I also know that I can be pretty intelligent too. So when I do speak, I speak with that awareness. It means that I’ve had people get very very annoyed with me when I’m wrong because they didn’t even realize they should have assumed I might be wrong. Maybe that doesn’t make sense. Lemme give a contrast. I have a younger cousin. She was the baby for a long time, and while technically she isn’t the baby anymore, she is for our generation. She could tell you the sky was blue and people would make fun of her for saying such a silly thing before they remembered that oh yeah, the sky is blue. She’s SO often goofy and wrong and not serious that people don’t take her seriously and don’t believe her. Its the complete opposite with me.

So today, with everything going wrong, I’ve been questioning every word I type and speak. I’m just trying to get through today without growing 4 paws, fur and a snout (despite the fact that my mother might say I look pretty mean and ugly to her today).