Monday, June 27, 2011

A Couple of Brief Thoughts on the Art Discussion (or Arguing)

(Please forgive any lapses in clarity, or crazy typos--my almost-one-year-old is helping me today.)

Man is a social creature. Part of being social is conversation and discussion of thoughts, ideas, and opinions. Often times these discussions can turn into arguments, because there are multiple thoughts, ideas, and opinions on the same subject matter. It can be quite easy to get caught up in one of these conversations and hurt someone's feelings, or to get one's own feelings bruised.

Being married to a Philosopher means that I have lots of experience with discussions! I have, on occasion, found myself trapped into an absurd position because of a long line of the following:

Philosopher: "If you say That, then you really are saying This, right?"
Me: "Well, I suppose so. That does logically follow."
Philosopher: "And This means that you hold Absurd Position."
Me: "Well, that's what it seems like. (Pause as the absurdity of the position fully sinks in.) But that's not what I mean!"

I have also seen what another blogger terms a "philosopher-attack". This is where the philosopher in question gets so engrossed in the discussion that it can sound angry, or feel offensive, but in all actuality the philosopher is simply trying to get as much information as possible and see how the information holds together.

With my experience I believe that I have some ideas that others might find helpful:

Words like "Never", "Always", "Every", etc, are incredibly overused today, and generally should be avoided in most discussions. There are so many exceptions! Also, people like to say things like,

"Blank is NEVER right."
"Insert your choice of objection."
"Oh, well, of course I don't mean in THAT circumstance--that would be ridiculous!"

Well, then you don't really mean NEVER, do you? Just because something seems like obvious exclusion to you doesn't mean that it will obvious to someone else.

Discussion has healthy back and forth, it should be a give and take exchange. Don't just talk past one another--LISTEN and give thoughtful consideration to what is being said. Be careful not to shoot questions as if they were on trial. No one likes to feel that they are in the middle of an inquisition.

Be considerate of other people's feelings. Don't let a discussion turn into a personal attack. Also, don't take criticism of an idea as a personal attack. I find this "rule" to be especially difficult to follow in online discussion--such as on Facebook. In that format so many of the little things get lost: general body language, voice inflection, a smile.

This is the most important point that I would like to make today.

Are you ready for it?


When discussing a difference in opinion the objective is NOT to "win" the argument. The objective is to discover the truth. There shouldn't be "winners" or "losers". Both/all parties engaged in a discussion should feel that they gained some new insight into the subject matter.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fiction and Life

A couple of days ago I watched a movie that had me absolutely bawling. Life as We Know It is not a particularly riveting drama, it is a fairly predictable chick-flick. So why did it reduce me to tears?

Because the premise is that the parents of a young girl about my daughter's age are tragically killed leaving her an orphan. That just touched a little too close to home.

And then...

This morning I finished murder mystery book (yes, another book!) where the psycho killer randomly targets mothers and their young children--again roughly Catherine's age.

Sure, both of these are works of fiction and the chances of those things happening to me and my family are incredibly slim, but they still made me pause and reflect on the important things in life.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"Sleep Like a Baby"

A year ago that phrase gave me warm fuzzy feelings, with visions of a sweet cherub swaddled cozily in a bassinet with her eyes closed and the only sound was quiet breathing.

Then my daughter was born.

She's amazing, happy, and healthy and I love her to pieces! However, the kid doesn't sleep. The first few months of her life my husband and I were rarely asleep at the same time. There were days when she would barely sleep for six hours--all cat naps, snoozes, long naps, eye closing minutes added together in a 24 hour period. She certainly never slept more than two hours at a time and a period longer than 45 minutes was rare. Eventually we found that she was most comfortable in her bouncy seat and we milked that for all it was worth! Now that she's a year old, and has very much outgrown the bouncy seat, she sleeps with us. She still is a poor sleeper. She will wake up anywhere from 4 to 14 times a night and generally takes one nap a day.

I just keep reminding myself that someday she will be a teenager and I won't be able to drag her out of bed.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back...

I am sure that all mothers of an-almost-one-year-old have these days...

You get the Tupperware washed and put away only to turn around to see what used to be a large stack of magazines on the floor.

You get the laundry all washed an folded only to turn around and see a container of Puffs dumped on the floor.

You get the bills paid and organized only to turn around and see the contents of your coupon binder strewn across the floor.

You manage to blockade one bookcase only to turn around and see the DVD cabinet is missing a shelf and most of the movies are on the floor.

And it seriously only took her seconds! She is an adorable little rascal and I love her dearly.

The moral of the story is when visiting my humble abode watch your step.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Adventures From the Comforts of My Couch

This past weekend I finished not one, not two, but three novels.

It has been ages since I have been able to do that! Granted, they were easy reads--from the Young Adult section of the library--but I was able to read for fun!

I've always loved reading. At a very young age I found out that the library had a limit on how many books I could check out at a time. My favorites then were Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Boxcar Children, Happy Hollisters, Bobbsey Twins, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Louisa May Alcott among so many others! The mystery lover in me turned to Agatha Christie in my teens--my personal collection of books is missing very few titles of hers. Sadly, in my late teens and college years I just did not have the time to read as profusely (see previous post about work). I did my best to keep up with the vast amount of reading required for classes--in true English major fashion, I almost always succeeded in my Literature classes. (How I loved those classes!) Shortly after getting married life gave us some rather unexpected twists and turns, which made our local library our number one stop for entertainment. I was hooked into reading for pleasure all over again! I devoured the Twilight Saga, discovered James Patterson, enjoyed biographies, and so much more! More recently, I was so nauseated for most of my pregnancy that I didn't want to do anything after getting home other than watch tv. Post-pregnancy I had a Baby that didn't sleep and then I was also working. So reading for pleasure was a lost pastime. Now that I am not earning a paycheck and Catherine can entertain herself for short periods of time I can read again!

This week's fascinations are: the Maximum Ride series and anything by Rick Riordan--just finished the Percy Jackson series and absolutely loved it. I have updated my library card and am makings lists for a visit this afternoon!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I'm a Stay At Home Mom...

...So what now?

I've earned some form of a paycheck pretty much non-stop since I was sixteen. During my college years I participated in the work-study program during the school year and would often work more than 60 hours a week during the summer. Post graduation I worked two jobs; a normal M-F office job and waiting tables four or five nights a week. After getting married I only worked one at one job at a time, with the exception of a couple of months. After my maternity leave I did return to work, but only part-time. "Work"--meaning I leave the house and earn a paycheck-- has been a big part of my life up to now.

I have begun a journey of a different type of "work". I will no longer be earning a paycheck but I hope to make a significant contribution to my household. Obviously, I have been a mother since my daughter was born, and I did my best to be both a good mother and a fiscal provider.

I am hoping that this shift in my role provides new possibilities and opportunities for me and for my family. Some of my goals are practical: getting and keeping the house clean and orderly. Other goals are personal: attending week day Masses. Financial goals are also important: find ways to save money while improving our quality of life. Some goals are just fun: read for pleasure.

Duty calls...

It's time for dinner.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A New Chapter in My Life

This week is the first week that I am a Full-Time-Stay-at-Home-Mom. After Catherine was born, almost a year ago, I was able to take a three month maternity leave and then returned on a part-time basis. I enjoyed my job; but I am so excited to begin this new journey.

As of now this blog does not have a clear purpose; it is not a Frugal Blog, a Weight Loss Blog, a Literature Blog, or a Movie Blog. It is my blog and as such will be a reflection of me, with my thoughts, my opinions, my ramblings, my nonsense, etc.