Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Nothing Strange Here

This post is part of the 2013 Think Kit Challenge, a blogging project by SmallBox. 

I managed to make it through day 2 of this challenge without missing a beat. Day 3 got a little delayed. What do you think happened when I walked away from my laptop about 10:00 p.m. to watch the news. You guessed it! I woke up in Day 4. I felt I needed to think about how I would present the strangest thing I have seen in 2013 and still appear to be at least a little normal.

Facebook did this to me. I have friends from all walks of life on Facebook. I have friends from childhood, friends from college, friends that I have met once, and friends that I see every day. I enjoy the variety of posts that I see when I get up in the morning and hit that page. I usually check it again before I lay down at night just to make sure that all is well. I did that about a week ago and that is where everything got strange.

There on my Facebook news feed was a picture that is forever burned in my brain now. Thanks friend! I won't call you out, but you know who you are. Anyone ever heard of Victorian post-mortem photography? I won't link to it here, but I know you just have to go look. There amoungst otherwise harmless pictures of babies and pets was a picture of a child, perhaps 3 years old with eyes that were VERY open standing in front of an older lady who was already quite decomposed.

The discussion that followed was something like this:

"That poor child looks scared to death?

     "That child is dead. His eyes are painted on his eyelids."
"The old lady is obviously dead."
     "Yep, I think they dug her up for the picture."

Good Night! And Sweet Dreams.

Monday, December 2, 2013

And The Survey Says...

Day 2 of the Thinkkit daily writing challenge. Today's prompt, "Take a Poll".

For the sake of variety, I decided to poll a very small amount of people (children, actually-well, grandchildren, actually) to see if I could get manipulate the answers by the way I asked the questions.

To Grandson
  1. What is your allowance per week?
    1. $5.00
  2. What chores do you do for that allowance?
    1. Take out the trash, clean my room, folding clothes
  3. Do you feel like your allowance is fair?
    1. Yes
  4. What additional chores would you be willing to do to increase your allowance?
    1. Do all the laundry and dishes
To Granddaughter
  1. What is your allowance per week?
    1. $5.00
  2. What chores do you do for that allowance?
    1. Fold clothes, clean my room, clear the table
  3. Do you feel like your allowance is unfair?
    1. Yes
  4. How much do you think your allowance should be?
    1. $15.00
  5. What additional chores would you be willing to do to increase your allowance to $15.00?
    1. Nothing. It should already be $15.00.
This was a very simplistic and unscientific poll, but I feel like it illustrates a point that needs to be made about national polls. The poll results can be manipulated by the way the questions are phrased.

I think back on the days when I was a busy, working, mom raising two kids. I realized that the outcome of our conversations depended largely on my communication skills. For instance, if I picked the kids up from day care and asked "What do you want for supper tonight? Yummy hamburgers or fish sticks?" The chances were automatically weighted in favor of the hamburgers even though both of my kids liked fish sticks also. Put the "Yummy" in front of any of the foods they liked and that would influence them to make that choice.

Of course, they were small children, but the same psychology works on adults too. Here are some examples:
  • Most people will pick up an item that is marked $5.98 as opposed to a similar item marked $6.00, even if the $6.00 item is better. 
  • People will attend sales advertising "Prices Slashed" and make purchases without ever realizing that the prices are actually higher than the competitor's price.
  • Buyers in the grocery store will purchase 2 items that are marked 2/$1.00 even though 1 only costs 50 cents and 1 is all they need.
Words are powerful tools that can be used to manipulate the results of a poll and the opinions of the public. If I were asked if I thought it was acceptable to imprison all children with ADHD, I would say "Definitely Not!" But if I were asked if I felt that children with ADHD should be given the benefit of isolation in a secure location as a way to minimize distractions, I might not think that was such a bad idea.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

My Year in Photos? Thought you would never ask!

This post is part of the 2013 Think Kit Challenge, a blogging project by SmallBox. I thought long and hard before committing to this project. A challenge always comes in handy when one is trying to motivate oneself, so I selfishly accepted this challenge for that purpose. Besides, when I saw the first prompt, I knew I had the material.

My year in pictures seems to be the same year after year. It involves my family and friends, which make up the bulk of my time and energy, leaving only enough time and energy to make a wholehearted but half-a***d pursuit of the Arts. In my opinion, you cannot pursue the Arts - the Arts pursue you. For the purposes of this blog post, I narrow it down to family.

This past year has been a year of challenges for our family, so that is my focus. The pictures below are not for the purpose of bragging, but for the purpose of congratulating these amazing people that have accomplished so much in spite of their difficulties. So I would love to highlight some of their successes.

My youngest granddaughter, Lena, accepting the 2nd place trophy in her school talent showcase. She was in Kindergarten and competed in the K, 1st, & 2nd grade division with a solo tap dance. I am not only proud of her talent, but of her courage and composure. Her Division 2 Young Champions Cheerleading team also took 1st place in the State Competition.
My oldest granddaughter, Carys and her Level 4 Young Champions won 1st place in the state competition and competed at the nationals in Virginia Beach, VA. She also completed her first 5K in August - the Elvis Presley 5K run at the tender age of 9. 
My only grandson, Gabriel, the one who bears the blame for making me what I am today (Grandma), beams with pride over his 1st place Spelling Bee trophy. He competed as a 6th grader in the Arlington Middle School competition with such composure and confidence! He heads to the county competition in February, 2014. In addition to being smart, he is one of the kindest 12 year old boys that I have ever met. I would be remiss if I did not brag on his gaming skills also.

How does a grandmother get so lucky?

My daughter accomplished a lot this year. She had surgery on both of those beautiful eyes, taught school, taught yoga, redid 3 bedrooms, all while raising my wonderful grand kids. She somehow managed to have a bit of a social life in addition to all of her responsibilities.
My son also accomplished a lot in the past year. He moved back to midtown (his favorite place to live), rebuilt a long-neglected social life, lost weight (so proud and so jealous), worked at his job, worked on his music, and remained an all-around good guy. This guy is my wings!

How does a mother get so lucky?

I did my first juried art show in many, many, many years. It was the premier show of Art2Wear in Germantown TN. I have to admit that I loved the attention, the adoring crowds (wink, wink), rubbing elbows with all of the creative people.... But it gives me pause to consider what I really want to do, and I really enjoy rubbing elbows with my tight knit little group at Memphis Melange Etsy Team and Indie Style Market. They keep me artistically stimulated, give me creative criticism, high fives, kicks in the butt when needed - you know, like family. 

There is one more picture I have to throw in, just because there is a lesson here to be learned.
Never, never, never accidentally fall asleep around my family.You are fair game for a practical joke.