Welcome to my blog, aka my place to comment and reflect on things I find inspiring, amusing, irritating, or baffling. When I was young, my Stanford PhD, former physics professor, software engineer father used to help me with my math homework, and I, being mentally deficient in all things math, could never quite get it. He would constantly say to me, "Jill, it's not rocket science." (Did I mention the PhD was in Aeronautics and Astronautics??) So I thought it would be an appropriate title for this blog because everything I write about is, indeed, not rocket science.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Mini History Lesson: Prohibition

I recently had to do a history-related writing sample, so I thought I'd copy and paste and do another mini history lesson. Prohibition is a fun topic, right? If you're interested in this subject, Ken Burns' Prohibition documentary film series is excellent, particularly parts 2 and 3. 

In 1919, Congress passed the Eighteenth Amendment, or The Volstead Act (also known as Prohibition), which banned the sale, manufacture, and distribution of alcohol.  Prohibition was a complex societal reaction to America’s changing cultural landscape.  Increases in immigration, industrialization, and urbanization brought vices such as prostitution, sexual promiscuity, crime, and of course, excessive drinking.  Prohibition gained traction from the progressive reform movements of the early twentieth century and was founded upon nativism, worries about societal disorder, growing fears of unruly and immoral immigrants, anti-Catholic sentiment, and women who were fed up with their men coming home drunk and abusing them.

Anti-saloon sentiment was widespread among business leaders, progressive reform organizations such as the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and the Anti-Saloon League, and middle-class Protestants, all of whom believed that society’s ills could be pointed in one direction: to the saloons and those who drank at saloons, who were predominately working-class immigrants.  Business leaders hoped prohibition would help control their workforce, which would no longer be impaired by alcohol; middle-class Protestants thought it would help control the unruly immigrant community and impose order and cultural unity; and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (and other women’s and Christian organizations) thought it would improve the quality of women’s lives in the home.  Fears of drunken men visiting saloons and brothels and bringing venereal diseases into the home filled the heads of well-intentioned reformers trying to protect innocent women and children.    

As anyone familiar with old-time gangster movies or the show Boardwalk Empire knows, Prohibition was grossly ineffective and widely ignored.  Although alcohol consumption did decrease by as much as 30%, there were many unintended consequences, the largest of which was the rise of organized crime; organized crime existed before Prohibition, but flourished after it.  Prohibition cemented the gangster’s place in American history – Al Capone, Johnny Torrio, George Remus, and Lucky Luciano gained their notoriety during the Prohibition era.  Bootleggers, the name given to those who illegally smuggled alcohol, formed an underground network, producing, distributing, and selling alcohol to thirsty Americans all over the United States.  Gangs became more organized and more violent and speakeasies (illegal bars) cropped up everywhere, having the reverse effect upon society that prohibitionists had intended: more crime, vice, and social disorder. 

Enforcement of the law was laughable; corrupt politicians, police, and prohibition agents abounded, their pockets lined with cash by the people they were supposed to be arresting.  Local police were largely uninterested in enforcing the law, which left enforcement up to understaffed and underfunded federal agents, who did not have the manpower to enforce the law on an individual basis and were up against well-organized and violent gangs.  As the decade wore on, millions of Americans continued to drink and unapologetically defy the law while gangsters capitalized on their unquenchable thirst and became millionaires.

Prohibition was a hot political topic, and candidates’ stance on the issue was an important factor in determining elections; Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected in 1932 partly because of his promise to repeal Prohibition.  The Great Depression made Prohibition even less popular, and as time passed, Americans became increasingly disillusioned by the law.  Ultimately, many Americans did not believe that their defiance of the law was a problem, and they didn’t want their behavior regulated by the government.  The United States government agreed that it was a lost cause, and Prohibition ended in 1933, with the passage of the Twenty-first Amendment, the first amendment to ever repeal a previous amendment.  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Holiday Anxiety

It's October 23rd and I'm already getting anxious about the holidays. I love the holidays and all the fun and togetherness, but the older I get, the more I dread them in some ways. Last night I was thinking about all the things that are involved with the happiest time of the year: decorating, shopping, wrapping, parties, cooking, eating, coordinating, etc. There is a great line in my favorite Christmas movie, Christmas Vacation, when Ellen says, "It's Christmas, and we're all in misery!" This is my mom's favorite line. Every woman, and especially every mother, knows how much work the holidays are.

First there is the shopping. I do most of my shopping online, to save myself from the hell that is the mall at Christmastime, but it's still a lot of work and a lot of money. And I try to put as much thought as possible into my gifts, which means I usually don't go the gift card route. Then there is the decorating. This is an all-day, possibly all-weekend affair. Granted, I'm guilty as hell because I adore Christmas decorations and usually go way overboard, but still...it's a lot of work! Then there is the cooking and eating. I escape most of the cooking because I have a big family and a small house, but I still help out, and I usually bake some sort of holiday treat. But the eating...oh God, the eating. So much food. We have two major holidays a month apart, yet the food binging seems like it goes on for two months. The parties, the dinner celebrations, the leftovers, the cookies, the candy, and the booze. And then there's the inevitable guilt and "I hate myself" feeling after it's all over. Then comes the New Year's resolutions, when we swear we we will never eat or drink that much again! But we do, the next holiday season.

So yes, the holidays are joyous and fun-filled and all that. But they're also stressful, exhausting, and fattening. And that's why I'm having holiday anxiety on October 23rd. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Pointless Update

It's busy season at work, which means less blogging time. But I do have a few pointless things to say: 

1. Giants and A's in the playoffs - woo hoo! I anticipate getting less sleep during these next several weeks. 
2. The season premiere of Dexter was amazing, and I can't wait to see how this season plays out. If you don't watch Dexter, you should (if you don't mind gore).
3. Boardwalk Empire has been disappointing so far. I miss Jimmy Darmody; I didn't realize how important he was to the show until he was gone. I am not enjoying Nucky and Margaret's strained relationship, and what is the deal with the girl that Nucky seems to be in love with? I still frickin' love Richard Harrow. 
4. I have been doing some pro bono work for an awesome non-profit called the GLOW Foundation. Check them out! 
5. I learned a networking method from a career counselor, and I have my work cut out for me. She said when she used the method, she talked to 199 people. Zero down, 199 to go! 

That's all until my work deadline is over in 1 1/2 weeks...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Service Industry Experience Should Be a Life Requirement

In high school, I worked as a hostess at a restaurant called The Good Earth. I was 15-16 years old, just trying to earn some extra spending money, and I was often treated poorly and even yelled at (I told a family that they couldn't put a high chair at the end of a booth because it was against the fire code, and they yelled at me and stormed out). It turned me into a cynic, and I hated that. So I quit. Ever since, I have said that everyone should work in the service industry (retail, restaurant, etc.) at least once in their life because it makes you a better person: more understanding, compassionate, and patient. 

I also worked at Gap for a while after college, when I was searching for a "real" job. For the most part my experience was pleasant, but every once in a while, I encountered a real jerk. Usually it was someone trying to return something without a receipt and wanting cash back (I've never heard of a store that allows this except Nordstrom). People would complain to me about the return policy, because a $10/hour cashier sure has a lot of say in determining corporate policy. I never took it personally and understood that it was just people venting their frustrations to the person in front of them. But overall, I found that working retail was more pleasant than working at the restaurant - I think people are ruder when it comes to their food.

People who are jerks to waiters probably have never worked at a restaurant before, hence my reasoning for service industry employment being a requirement in life! My grandparents were notoriously snarky with waiters, and my family and I joke that they probably ate a lot of boogers (or worse!) in their day. You just don't mess with someone who is serving you food! Of course there are exceptions when it's appropriate to be firm with a waiter (when they're terrible), but I think some people get off on treating others poorly - especially those who are "serving" them. It's an ego-boosting, "I'm better than you," sicko power trip. I want to round up these people and force them to bus tables at their local Applebee's. Then maybe they'll think twice the next time they're nasty to a server - they never know what unwanted surprise they might find in their food.

Friday, September 14, 2012

My New Obsession: Carley's Clear & Smooth Skin Care

I am obsessed with Carley's Clear & Smooth skin care products and want to tell everyone about them (no, I don't work for this company and am in no way affiliated with them). I have terribly dry facial skin; when it's really bad (the winter), I can scratch flakes of dead skin off my face. It's gross, unattractive, and can be painful. And it doesn't help that I wear foundation and powder every day, which dries out my face even more. I've tried several products with no success, and my most recent purchase was an expensive moisturizer from Origins (1.7 ounces for $39.50). Well, it was crap. It smelled nice, but my face was still very dry, even after slathering it on twice a day.

About a month ago, I was relaying my tale of woe to a college girlfriend, and she told me about Carley's. She gave me some samples to take home, and within three days, I was hooked. I went online and bought four of their products, and I have been in skin heaven for the past several weeks. I still have some dryness, but it is 10x better than it was. My favorite moisturizer comes in a ginormous tub, about 5 times the size of the Origins stuff, and at half the price ($19). And it works incredibly!!! I love all the other stuff I bought, too (an anti-aging exfoliant, a daytime moisturizer, and an eye cream). And every product you buy comes with a full-size bar of soap, which is also awesome. They also have incredible customer service, cheap and fast shipping ($5), and with my shipment I received a ton of free samples (lip gloss, hand cream, nighttime moisturizer, eczema cream, etc.), and they have a 100% satisfaction guarantee policy. If something's not working for you, you can send it back and they will even pay for the return shipping. AND they offer discounts if you buy 2 or more items. Are you sold yet?? I love this company! I should be their spokesperson! 

Anyone with skin issues like I have must check out Carley's! They also have a ton of acne products and stuff for scarring and discoloration, but luckily I don't have acne issues.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Mini History Lesson: Native American History

I took a Native American history class from one of my favorite professors at San Jose State, and I just came across my notes from one of his lectures. Time for another mini history lesson! 

Indian history (yes, it's acceptable to use the word "Indian." As my professor explained, Indians don't care what other people call them; they call themselves Sioux, Dakota, Cheyenne, Lakota, and so on) is a challenging field because Indians do not have a written history - it's oral, passed from generation to generation. And oftentimes, one must earn the trust of a person(s) to gain access to a tribe's resources (something about Indians not trusting outsiders - hmmm, I can't imagine why?). Native American history was not my specialty, but I sure did love it. It's complex, challenging, fascinating, and oftentimes frustrating and heartbreaking. 

One of my favorite comments people make when referring to Indian history and the constant, too-often bloody conflict with whites is, "Why didn't all the Indians just band together and fight the Americans?" This would be like asking, "Why don't the Palestinians and Israelis just band together and settle their differences?" We know that that is a ridiculous thing to say, and the same is true of the preceding question. This misguided question assumes that a) all tribes were the same, b) all tribes got along, c) all tribes shared the same interests, and d) all tribes agreed upon the method in which to deal with white intrusion. 

The word "Indian" is all-encompassing, but as you may have gathered, there are hundreds of Indian tribes, each with their own language, customs, traditions, histories, and they are scattered all over the United States. It is ridiculous to think that they could have just set aside their differences (many tribes hated each other), formed a giant army (how would this have been logistically possible?), and fought "the white man" (who had superior weaponry). It's fun to think about, but it is the stuff of fantasy (it reminds me of a Quentin Tarantino movie, on par with Django Unchained or Inglourious Basterds). And don't forget, more Indians died from European diseases (small pox, influenza, plague, etc.) than from bloodshed. 

(Fun fact: we always associate Indians with horses (think every Western movie), riding gallantly towards battle with their faces painted and battle dress on, but it was actually the Spanish who introduced the domesticated horse to the Americas in the 1500s.)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Don't Drink Bleach and You'll Be Fine

I wanted to hang myself when I read this article. Here's a summary: "Fruits and vegetables labeled organic were, on average, no more nutritious than their conventional counterparts, which tend to be far less expensive. Nor were they any less likely to be contaminated by dangerous bacteria like E. coli. The researchers also found no obvious health advantages to eating organic meats." In other words, "The joke's on you, suckers, for paying double for your fruits, vegetables, and meat." Of course the article goes on to say that there are still traces of pesticides on non-organic produce and for this reason, organic is preferable. But if you don't mind some pesticides in your diet, then there's apparently no need to buy organic. Will I still buy organic? Probably, because I'm a sucker.

You really can't win. You try to be conscientiousness and healthy, but a new study reveals that another thing you're doing is slowly killing you. My friend showed me this website the other day, which explains how much BPA is in our bodies from all the food/drinks we consume that are contained in plastic. And I've read that canned food also elevates BPA levels in our bodiesGreat, now I'm going to die from plastic residue clogging my arteries. Oh, and those reusable bags I take to the grocery store because I'm a good environmentalist? They're giving me lead poisoning. Just one more thing that makes you want to bang your head against the wall. 

Over the years I've heard countless studies and new trends which praise or demonize certain foods/products. But it's all too much. At some point, you just have to throw up your hands and say, F it. In my opinion, as long as you're not drinking bleach, then you'll be fine. Now I'm going to go eat my lunch, which is inside a plastic container. And if I'm feeling adventurous, I might eat a non-organic apple. I think I'll live.  

(I recently tried out Tom's deodorant because I was trying to avoid the aluminum in anti-perspirants - apparently it gives you Alzheimer's. But guess what? I reeked. I think I'll roll the dice for the sake of hygiene.)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Bad Hair

Everyone's had a bad haircut in their life. This was mine. I was 12 (this was my 6th grade school photo), and I chopped my long hair off. Actually, about a year before this disaster, I had a cute short haircut, but it wasn't this short. So when I went to Supercuts for a "trim," the woman butchered me. Sheared me like a sheep. I walked out with tears in my eyes and my mom had that "oh s**t" look on her face. She should have never taken me to a budget haircut place, especially for a short haircut, but that is beside the point (no guilt, Mom). I remember going home and sobbing in the backyard, wearing my dad's baseball hat, as if that would hide my horrible haircut from the world and I would disappear.

After that haircut, I officially looked like a boy. I was the tallest girl in my class, had long legs, a skinny, lanky body and was pre-pubescent. Strangers thought I was a boy and would ask my parents questions about their "son." It was humiliating. And it didn't get better for awhile, because as anyone who has grown out short hair knows, it looks hideous during the grow-out phase, too. Actually, worse than this. Oh, and I also got braces in 6th grade, which was the cherry on top of the misery cake.

Looking at this picture now, I think I look kinda cute, with my rabbit teeth and all, but that's easy for me to say 20 years later, when I'm not living it. At the time, during my most awkward and vulnerable years, it was horrible. It took me two years to grow this haircut out - I didn't have nice, long hair again until 8th grade.

I think having a bad haircut is a rite of passage. It was just very unfortunate that mine happened during my pre-teen years - as if those years aren't hard enough without the bonus of looking like the opposite sex. But my hair grew out, life went on, and I can laugh about it now. Bad hair is just a part of life.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Why Coverage of the Little League World Series Makes Me Crazy

Of course I love that the Little League World Series exists and is such a great experience for kids. In fact, Petaluma won third place this year, which is amazing. It's not the event itself that makes me crazy, but the fact that it's covered extensively on TV every year, when women's sports remains relegated to the back burner and as fodder for comedians (WNBA anyone?). During the Olympics, the U.S. women dominated and Americans were riveted. We ate it all up: soccer, volleyball, swimming, gymnastics, etc. But as San Jose Mercury News columnist Mark Purdy reminded us in his article, the country's love affair with women's sports ended the day after the Closing Ceremonies. 

Here's my gripe: Alex Morgan and Hope Solo and Abby Wambach and dozens of other amazing athletes have no national audience post-Olympics (in fact, most of them don't even have a league in which to play). But 12 year-old boys on Little League teams have a massive audience and gain massive exposure. It makes me crazy. 

I think it's a self-fulfilling prophecy: ESPN and other networks don't show women's sports because no one watches them. But guess what? No one watches them because they don't show them or talk about them. The occasional time they're on TV, no one cares because we're not invested in the team. We don't know anything about the players, the league, the coach, anything. When you know someone's story, you become invested and want to watch them play. But we typically don't know anything about female athletes...until the Olympics comes around.

I am definitely not an expert on women's sports, and there's probably a lot of stuff going on that I don't know about. But I do have a husband who watches ESPN like it's Jesus preaching the gospel, and I never hear a single mention of women's sports. So when August comes around and he is watching the Little League World Series, I inevitably go ballistic and begin my yearly rant. 

(I should note that my husband is a women's soccer coach and is atypically interested in women's sports, which is fantastic. But I know he's unlike most men in that regard.)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Flannel Shirt

I went shopping recently and was dismayed to find flannel shirts back in style. When I was a freshman in high school (1993-94), grunge was at its peak. The glam of the '80s was over, and it was all about Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, etc. Girls dressed like homeless men. The manlier and baggier, the better. This style lasted through my junior year. I had a closet full of flannel shirts, two of which were my dad's awesome Pendletons that he wore in the '60s and '70s. I would wear said flannels with an over-sized t-shirt underneath and some baggy, ill-fitted jeans. I even wore sweatpants to school (the real sexy kind, with the elastic ankles), and I owned various colors: maroon, grey, and navy. Oh, and my hair was hippie-long and parted in the middle, with absolutely no style. But lest you cast judgement, I was not an anomaly. This was the style. Every single one of my friends dressed like this and had the same long, middle-parted hair and wore the same baggy, boyish clothes. We thought we were hippies (of course we had no idea what being a "hippie" meant). We thought we were awesome.

Of course nothing humbles you like the passage of time. My friends and I now laugh at how hideously we dressed. We literally looked like boys. And the cruel irony is that we had these tiny little bodies, bodies that we would kill to have now, and we covered them up with men's clothing. So you might understand why, almost 20 years later, I struggle to embrace the flannel shirt comeback. I know that they are tailored and not over-sized like they used to be, but I can't. I just can't. Never again will I dress like a homeless man, no matter how fashionable.

(This isn't a great picture, but it's the best I could find. It's from 1996, and I have my dad's Pendleton tied around my waist. I'm also wearing a Star Wars t-shirt - another fashion gem.)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Cleanin' Out My Closet (I'm Sorry Mama)

I couldn't resist the Eminem reference. This weekend I cleaned out my closet, which I try to do twice a year. I'm really good about getting rid of stuff (but am also really good about replacing stuff with other stuff), with the exception of my junk closet. I'm quite ruthless when it comes to purging my closet, and I have a few tips for anyone who holds on to things for too long and hates to get rid of that sweater that you "might wear one day!"

1. Put it on! If you're unsure about whether to keep an item or not, put it on. Chances are, it's out-of-style, too big/small, or you hate the site of yourself wearing it (amazing how that happens with fashion in just a few years). Then the choice is easy: DONATE (I donate everything to Goodwill, and if you are one of those people who throws perfectly good clothes away, then the karma gods will enter your closet in the form of moths and eat holes in all your cashmere sweaters).

2. Don't keep anything out of emotional guilt. "But this was expensive, and I only wore it once - that would be like throwing money away." Well, guess what? You already spent the money so it's long gone, and now it's just sitting in your closet, taking up space, making you feel guilty. "But I bought this in France 10 years ago and it's just so pretty." Have you worn in it 10 years? Exactly. "These shoes are gorgeous, but they cripple my feet when I walk." Unless you're a masochist, you're never going to wear them again. DONATE. 

3. If you haven't worn it in a year or more, get rid of it - you're most likely not going to wear it anytime in the future. I've heard from professional organizers that a good strategy is to turn all your hangers around so that the hook opening faces you. When you wear an item, put the hanger back facing the normal way. Over the course of a year or so, you can easily see which ones have been turned around and which ones haven't. Get rid of the items that haven't.

4. If you're talking yourself into keeping something, don't. Uncertainty usually means it should go. And besides, it's probably a doozy that should have been ditched four years ago.

Do I have things in my closet that I should probably get rid of? Sure. A couple of jackets, some sweaters and sweatshirts. I'm definitely guilty of a few of the above things. But for the most part, I'm excellent at saying goodbye to old clothes. I've never once regretted getting rid of something; I wasn't wearing it anyway, so how could I miss it? And I know that by donating it, someone else is getting a lot more use of out of it than I did.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

DVR Killed Channel Surfing

Remember channel surfing? It's something we did before DVR, when we watched like, 5 shows. Now I watch 20+ shows (not all at the same time, of course - some are summer shows, others are fall/winter shows). That seems obscene, but it's probably pretty standard. DVR (and Netflix and other content streaming sites) have changed the way we watch TV. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? I don't think it's either because I don't think we're watching more TV, I just think we watch more shows that we love and do less mindless channel surfing (when was the last time your DVR was empty and you had nothing to watch, so just flipped through the channels?). We now have the ability to record a ton of shows and to catch up on prior seasons via Netflix, Hulu, whatever. And it's also much easier to get into new shows with DVR (remember setting up tapes to record shows??). You think, "Hmmm, that show looks interesting, I think I'll give it a shot." It's so easy. You record it, watch it, and are then hooked. Sigh. Add another show to the list.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Mini History Lesson: Gold Rush Prostitutes!

I started this blog for two reasons: to build my non-academic writing portfolio and because I love writing, and I feel like I have a lot to talk about. When I started, I didn't have a theme in mind - I just figured I'd write about anything that struck my fancy. But as I've written more and more, it seems that a common theme keeps appearing: culture. I have been contemplating this new social media culture that we live in and how to navigate it with integrity. My attraction to cultural themes and topics makes sense because I am a social historian (I have a BA and MA in History, which makes me a historian, but that still seems weird to say).

My career counselor told me that I should write about a variety of topics, including history, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to do a little history lesson on one of my favorite subjects: women's history. I wrote a research paper in grad school about working women in the California Gold Rush. This is a very abridged, modified version of my paper. (My paper was actually about non-prostitute working women during the Gold Rush, while dispelling myths surrounding prostitution, but because the topic of prostitution is probably more interesting to the non-history nerd, I'll just write about that.)

When imagining the historical West, images of cowboys, Indians, saloons, prostitutes, campfires, gun fights, and gold fortunes come to mind. These images are ingrained in people’s understanding of this time, with Hollywood movies and novels promoting them. As you might imagine, these images are mostly myths and stereotypes. Historians work to dispel myths because romanticizing history is endearing but crippling and leads us away from the truth.

As is true of women’s history in general, California gold rush women are often misunderstood or ignored completely. A specific myth has a stranglehold on women’s gold rush history and taints their presence in this era: the prostitute. No western movie or novel would be complete without one (or several). Two stereotypes comprise the prostitution myth: one is the nature of the occupation itself, including the type of woman who practiced the profession; the other is the number of women who participated. One imagines a buxom, flirty white woman with curly locks, giggling and seducing men at saloons. One also assumes that women were doing little else in California during the Gold Rush besides offering sex to lonely miners. The prostitution myth is debilitating because it ignores the presence of countless businesswomen during the Gold Rush, and it does not embody women’s actual experiences or the reality of prostitution. Did prostitutes exist during the Gold Rush? Yes. Prostitution, however, was much different than people would like to imagine. It was a profession embroiled in desperation, abuse, and exploitation. Prostitutes were expendable members of society—cast-outs and nobodies, and the plight of non-white women was worse because they were already regarded as third-class citizens. No matter where they came from, the choice to be a prostitute (if a choice were available), was usually out of desperation and accompanied by a life of misery. It was not a romantic existence, and the most common way out of prostitution was suicide.

Some interesting facts about Gold Rush prostitutes:

"[Non-white] women . . . . were the most likely to work as prostitutes in gold rush California, providing sexual services to men in exchange for typically paltry sums. The Native American, Chinese, Hawaiian, Mexican, and African American women who dominated the profession lived desperate lives that were shadowed by violence, disease, alcoholism, and crime. - Edith Sparks, Capital Intentions: Female Proprietors in San Francisco, 1850-1920

“[Chinese] girls who escaped foot binding—called ‘Big Feet,’ were relegated to field work—if they were lucky. Unlucky ones were sold by desperate parents or stolen by Chinese agents, and shipped off to California . . . . Here, they were sold at auction for perhaps three hundred dollars in a land that was supposed to be free of slavery.” - Susan Butruille, Women’s Voices from the Mother Lode

Doesn't that cheer you up? Definitely changes your perception of prostitution in western history, I hope.

Also, the point of my whole paper was that most women during the Gold Rush were NOT prostitutes. Most of them came with their families, and they had to work to support their families and survive (because the men were working at the mines, making no money - another fun topic). Many started successful businesses, and in fact, the founder of Vacaville, California, was a woman named Luzena Wilson, who built and operated a successful boardinghouse there during the Gold Rush. The next time you drive to Tahoe on Highway 80 and go through Vacaville, you will think of Ms. Wilson, the successful businesswoman, non-prostitute, who founded the town in ~1850.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Make New Friends, But Keep the Old

Remember that dorky song, "Make new friends, but keep the old/One is silver, the other is gold"? We used to sing it in rounds when I was a Girl Scout, and sometimes my friends and I still sing it to be silly. Well, my friends and I were chatting the other day about how as an adult, it's more difficult to make new friends because it's easier to keep the old. They've been your friends for so long that you might not even remember how you first met. They know everything about you and your family; they know how you operate and what makes you tick; they know what kind of mood you're in within 10 seconds. But how do you achieve this level of friendship with a new, casual friend? At this age (30s), it seems more difficult to go from casual friend to good friend.

By casual friend, I mean your co-workers whom you might go to happy hour with occasionally, but otherwise would never hang out with outside of work, or your friendly neighbors whom you chat with once in awhile, or your gym acquaintances with whom you gossip. But what about making new, good friends? The kind you can ask to give you a ride to the airport at 6 a.m.; the kind you can enjoy non-awkward silence with; the kind who know embarrassing things about you but would never think less of you (because you know an equal amount of embarrassing things about them).

Most of my friends whom I'm super close to are from my past: high school and before (preschool!) and college. But in the past 10 years, I can count my new friends on one hand. One of them I met in grad school, which is a unique and intense experience that quickly bonds people, and two of them I've known for years, but they happened to be in my sister's graduating class and we didn't become close until recently. And some of my new friends became friends by default - a friend's boyfriend/girlfriend who's automatically initiated into the group. 

It's not that when you reach a certain age, you become a social retard incapable of making friends - I just think there aren't as many opportunities. School is a hugely uniting experience where everyone is looking for friends. And post-school, we get settled into our lives and just don't need as many new friends, I suppose.

And it's not that I have a lack of friends. I have many wonderful friends whom I see regularly. But how does someone in their 30s, without kids, make new, good friends? (I asked my mom this question, and she said that once you have kids, you meet a ton of people and easily make new friends.) For instance, I have a friend from the gym whom I've known for about two years, but we're still just gym friends. We text back and forth, but that's the extent of our outside-the-gym relationship. How do you break from the casual friendship into the, "let's hang out outside of where we normally see each other" friendship? 

I suppose it's more difficult for adults because we're busy - busy with work, kids, life. And laziness is also a factor - if I really wanted to hang out with my gym friend, then I easily could. I could suggest we grab lunch or coffee, and that get-together might lead to others. It just takes someone to make the first step. And then the second step. And then keep going until you feel comfortable asking them to drive you to the airport at 6 a.m.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Phone Diet Results

It has been one week since my last post, when I said I was going to try and only use my phone when "necessary." Here are the results:

- Waiting for my sandwich order at the deli - no phone. Success!

- Waiting for my dress at the alterations shop - e-mail only. Moderate success.
- Watching TV last week - no phone. Success!
- Driving in the car (as a passenger) - e-mail and Facebook. Fail.
- Watching TV last night - played with phone a lot. Fail. (In my defense, the Olympics were kinda boring.)

I'm pretty impressed with myself, as there were many times that I really wanted to play with my phone and didn't. Did I feel less stressed and overwhelmed? Not particularly. But I think I might have felt a little more relaxed...just a little. It was only one week - I'm going to have to give it some more time and see if I notice any long-term positive effects. Like getting over my FOMO.  

Oh, and one thing that I did a lot of while sitting and waiting: people-watching. Man, is that fun. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My Phone Addiction

Last night I picked-up dinner for take-out, and I sat at a table waiting for my food, playing with my phone. Then I thought, when was the last time I just sat and waited for something, without playing with my phone? Probably since before I had a smart phone. And I call it "playing" because I'm certainly not doing any work, and all I'm doing is entertaining myself while I'm waiting. The thing is so damn addictive. And it's not the phone itself that's addictive because no one talks on the phone anymore, it's the things on it - the apps, Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, etc. They call to you: "Play with me! Check me! You know you want to!" You can be waiting for your food order, waiting in line at the grocery store, waiting for a friend, and without thinking, you just grab your phone and check e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, or whatever else you check on your phone. Because God forbid that you just sit there and wait. 

Even sillier (and sadder), we play on our phones (or iPads) while watching TV. So we have TWO forms of entertainment going at the same time because this one show just isn't doing it for us. Our addiction consumes us and we think, "I need to check Facebook/Twitter/e-mail because what if someone posted/e-mailed something in the 3 minutes since I last checked??? I have to stay on top of it!" And what exactly are we staying on top of? Others' lame Facebook posts? Inane commentary about the Olympics or other current events? An e-mail from Groupon? Nothing that enriches our lives in any way. 

This constant need to "be on top of it" is overwhelming and causes undue stress. (My friend just informed me that there is a term for this: FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out. I don't watch The Kardashians, thus did not know this term until today.) What is this new need for constant entertainment and interaction? This is a relatively new phenomenon because 7 years ago we had boring, traditional phones that we used simply to talk and text, and we didn't feel compelled to play with them all the time. It's kind of sad that we're so accustomed to this constant stimulation that we don't know what to do with ourselves during those quiet moments. Even sadder that this addiction causes thousands of accidents and deaths every year, due to distracted driving.

Why are we creating more stress for ourselves? It's really nice to go on vacation where you don't have service and after a couple of days, you realize you don't give a damn about what's going on on Facebook. Or e-mail. Or whatever. The more disconnected I am, the better I feel. More relaxed. More zen. Then I go back to work and get re-consumed. I need to find a happy medium. And I don't even think I'm one of the worst addicts, either. On a scale of 1 to 10, if 1 means you don't own a cell phone and 10 means your phone is an extension of your arm, I'm probably a 6 or 7. Some people cannot be without their phone in their hand for 5 minutes. 

I'm going to do an experiment and for one week (or maybe a couple days, we'll see how it goes), I'll only use my phone when "necessary." By necessary, I mean I'll make/answer phone calls, write/respond to texts, check e-mail if I'm expecting a specific one, and possibly play Words with Friends (I can't keep my friends waiting!). But if I'm just playing with my phone for the hell of it, then I'll see what it's like to just chill. And be silent. And think. Maybe I'll feel less overwhelmed? Calmer? More zen? The goal is not to stop using my phone but to be less dependent on it for entertainment and less consumed by the FOMO. We'll see how I do.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Multi-tasking Myth

I read an article that there's no such thing as multi-tasking because our brains can only focus on one task at a time, and what we're actually doing is serial tasking - "shifting from one task to another to another in rapid succession." You can physically be doing two or more things at once - listening to the TV in the background while reading the newspaper or talking on the phone while browsing the internet, but really, your brain can only completely focus on one of these things. This is absolutely true. If I'm listening to talk radio while reading, I can either pay full attention to the radio and not really comprehend what I'm reading, or focus on reading and not really grasp what I'm hearing. Or, if I'm talking on the phone while browsing the internet, I sometimes miss what the person said because my mind is not fully committed to the conversation. I was always amazed by people who could study or do homework in front of the TV. I was never one of these people, simply because I couldn't focus on my homework and would inevitably end up watching the TV. I would bet that many people who said they could study in front of the TV didn't accomplish much studying, either. 

We brag about our multi-tasking capabilities all the time - we list it as a skill on our resumes, and it is often listed as a requirement in job postings. Moms in particular are touted as the queens of multi-tasking - caring for their children, doing laundry, making dinner, and updating Facebook - all at the same time! Phew! But they are actually only doing one of these things completely. I don't mean this as a criticism, I just think it's impossible to fully commit to more than one task at a time. Everything else is done half-assed.

We love the word multi-tasking because it conveys to others that we are juggling life's many balls simultaneously, and doing so successfully. It means, I have so damn much to do and am so busy that I can't possibly do only one thing at a time! And by telling everyone that we're the ultimate multi-tasker, we are implying that we're kicking life's ass! We rule! Except, when was the last time we had a quiet 5 minutes without a phone in our hand, a computer in front of our face, or a child tugging at our pant leg? Exactly. Maybe being a superb multi-tasker isn't something to brag about. Maybe it just means that we're so busy that we can't even find the time to dedicate ourselves to just one thing. Single-tasking might be something to brag about - intimating a better life balance, perhaps? I think I'll put on my resume that I'm an excellent single-tasker, then direct potential employers to this post. That wouldn't be obnoxious at all. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Facebook Over-sharers

We all know who these people are. Our "friends" who share too damn much on Facebook. They tell you about their children's sleep schedules, what they had for dinner, their trip to Home Depot, their medical problems, their love for Jesus, their inspirational thought-of-the-day, their exercise habits, and even their children's potty training regimen. Is there no filter? Is nothing sacred?

I guess my rule is, know your audience. And because most of us have 300+ Facebook friends, your audience is large, varied, and wildly unimpressed that Bobo went pee-pee on the potty. Or that you had salmon for dinner. Or that you went for a run this morning.

I imagine it to be like telling a joke - you're not going to tell a dirty joke to your parents (well in my case, probably, but that's beside the point). You're selective. You tell them the one about the rope walking into a bar ("I'm a-frayed knot!"), not the one about the snowman and why he had his pants down. 

I always wonder what motivates Facebook over-sharers. The thing that I don't understand is that many of my over-sharer friends are cool people in real life (I don't consider Facebook real life). It's like they forget that they're not just updating their family and group of 10-20 close friends (who might care about Bobo's potty training), but EVERYONE YOU WENT TO HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE WITH, COWORKERS, AND ACQUAINTANCES. That's a lot of people who probably didn't want or need to know that tidbit.

As one of my favorite movie characters of all time, Neal Page, says to Del Griffith, “You know, everything is not an anecdote. You have to discriminate. You choose things that are funny or mildly amusing or interesting. You're a miracle! Your stories have NONE of that.  They're not even amusing, ACCIDENTALLY! And by the way, when you're telling these little stories? Here's a good idea: have a POINT. It makes it SO much more interesting for the listener! ” I think these are words to live by.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Busyness or Laziness?

I recently read this article which argues that most people's busyness is self-imposed and that they are busy "because of their own ambition or drive or anxiety, because they're addicted to busyness and dread what they might have to face in its absence." The author also says that when people say, "I've been so busy," it's actually a boast disguised as a complaint. I think the author is mostly correct, but I would add another factor and say that busyness can also be used as an excuse to mask laziness. A common example in my life: "I'm sorry I haven't responded until now - I've been super busy." Sure, there are times when I am actually very busy at work and don't have time for personal e-mails. But there are other days when I'd simply rather spend my time playing on the internet than responding to e-mails. And then when I do respond, I can say how busy I've been, which might be a partial-truth. I suppose I'm giving away a secret, but I think everybody does this in some form.

The busyness excuse lets us off the hook for a lot of things, whether it's taking too long to respond to an e-mail, return a phone call, or buy a birthday gift. But it is socially inappropriate to say, "I definitely have time for this, but I'd rather spend my time watching TV. I'll see how I feel tomorrow." This laziness isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's just a choice we make about how we spend our time. Sometimes we just don't feel like it. But we feel better about ourselves if we just tell people how busy we are. People can understand this. They'll respond, "Oh, me too. Let's catch up when we both come up for air." Sometimes you just need 'me' time, and you don't want to feel bad about it. And you shouldn't feel bad about it. But just remember to tell everyone how busy you are.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Why My Mom is Awesome

I couldn't leave my mom out after my last post. My mom is awesome for many reasons, but one particularly awesome quality is that she can talk to anybody. And I mean anybodyI once told her that that she could talk to a goat. Years ago we were in Scotland, waiting at a train station, and my mom had a 15-minute conversation with an older Scottish gentleman who had an incredibly thick Scottish brogue (one of those, "I can't believe we're speaking the same language"-type accents), and afterwards she told me that she couldn't understand a word he was saying. Yet she hung in there for 15 minutes. She makes "friends" all over town - the grocery store, the nail salon, the auto repair shop, restaurants, wherever. If we're out-and-about and she runs into someone she knows, it's a guaranteed 10-minute (minimum) conversation, with me standing beside her, discreetly checking my watch and wondering when she'll be done with this conversation so we can go (my dad feels my pain on this). 

Part of it is her life-long philosophy of being kind and friendly to everyone. But I think it is a gift. She can work a room like no one I've ever seen, floating from one conversation to another, making the person she's talking to feel like she genuinely cares about what they're saying (which she does...most of the time) and that they're the most important person in the room. If we're at a party or social gathering together and I'm struggling with a conversation, my mom will enter and I know that I'm saved. 

I try to learn from the master, and she tells me that the key is to just ask questions, because people generally love to talk about themselves. But I've been in situations where I'm chatting with someone I've just met, and I'm throwing out question after question. I'm even thinking of other questions I can ask while I'm asking the current question. And then there's silence. And awkwardness. Pulling teeth. Somehow my mom is able to work through the awkwardness and keep it flowing. 

She also likes to play a little game - a test of egotism and social grace, I suppose, where she mentally notes if the person with whom she's speaking reciprocates and asks her any questions. More often than not, they don't. I suppose I'm giving away her little secret. But I've been in situations where I'm talking to someone like my mom, who's asking me a ton of questions, and afterwards I think, "Shit. I talked a lot and didn't ask them very many questions." But at least I'm aware of it, and I'm constantly trying to be better. Most people probably don't notice that they just talked about themselves for 20 minutes. Being a great conversationalist is definitely an art. I consider myself a young apprentice, which makes my mom the Jedi master. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Why My Dad is Awesome

I was reflecting on my blog title and how "It's not rocket science" is very meaningful to me because it relates to an awesome story about my dad, which relates to the quality I admire most in him. As I mention in my blog description, my dad used to say to me, "Jill, it's not rocket science" when he was helping me with my math homework (which was more often than not because I'm retarded at math). I knew that he had a PhD from Stanford and that he was super-smart and could explain to me the wonders of the universe, but I just assumed his degree was in Physics because he used to be a Physics professor at the University of Victoria, in Canada. And he had a radical t-shirt that said, "Physics is Phantastic." I wore it to a high school dance once, when my friends and I were trying to be goofy and ironic. It wasn't until I was 18 years-old that I found out that his PhD was actually in Aeronautics (or Aeronautical Engineering or some other genius-sounding thing - he can correct me later). We were at my grandfather's memorial service, and I have no idea how it came up, but he casually mentioned it and my mouth hung open. "Your PhD was in Aeronautics?? I thought it was in Physics! So all these years you've been telling me, 'It's not rocket science,' and you actually know what rocket science is???" He smiled and laughed. 

But my dad's uber-smarts is not why he is awesome. The rocket science thing is impressive and cool, of course. But he is awesome because I didn't know this fact until I was 18. 18!! I think if I had a PhD in Aeronautics, I would wear a name tag that said, "Hi, my name is Jill, and I am a rocket scientist. SUCK ON THAT." Well, I don't really think I'd do that. Because I'd like to think that I'm somewhat like my dad. As you might have surmised, my dad is not the sort of guy who talks about himself very often. Or ever. And when he does offer up a crumb of information about himself, you snatch it up and put it in your memory bank because it probably won't come around again anytime soon. My dad is not shy by any means, just very humble and modest. In fact, he's probably embarrassed that I'm writing this post. But with my dad, as with most people who don't like to talk about themselves, you just have to remember to ask questions. Then he'll talk. It just never occurred to me to ask. 

Humility and modesty are such admirable qualities, especially in this day and age, when everything in the Facebook and Twitter world screams, "LOOK AT ME!" Boastfulness and over-sharing is not phantastic. But my dad is. 

UPDATE: My dad informed me that his PhD was in Aeronautics and Astronautics - Aeronautics has been around for years and involves flight inside the Earth's atmosphere, while Astronautics is flight beyond Earth's atmosphere - the rocket science part. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Worst Job Ever?

No, it's not mine. It's the door-to-door salespeople who harass and annoy people like me at work. Corporate door-to-door salespeople, I guess. These people must take all kinds of abuse - I know I dish it out. And sometimes I feel bad about it. But there is no one more annoying or intruding than salespeople who come into my office trying to sell me something, especially when I'm busy. It ranges from payroll service to communication devices, data storage, IT service, office supplies, flower delivery, and even artwork.

I sit at the front desk, so I'm the first line of defense - it's their goal to speak to my boss and my job to keep them away from him. I can sniff them out a mile away. They open the door slowly and often timidly, and stand there and pause for a second with a slight smile and a dumb look on their face. It goes something like this:

Them: "How are you today?"
Me: "Fiiiiiine." (Annoyed already)
"Can I ask you a few questions about your telephone service?"
"No, thank you, we're not interested." (First and only attempt at being polite)
"But my company does something that NO OTHER company does! And I ASSURE you that you need my product!"
"We're doing just fine, thanks. And frankly, our phone service is none of your business." (Blood pressure starts rising at this point) 
"OK, is your manager available?"
"No, he's not here." (True) "And I'm very busy." (Might be true)
"Well, I'm going to leave you my card. What's your boss's name?"
"He's not interested, I assure you. Please leave."

And then finally s/he (usually he for some reason) leaves, feeling defeated, and me feeling a little bitchy. But you know the saying, if you give an inch...

I once had a salesman say to me after I told him that we don't use any of the services his company provides, "I highly doubt that." I took his brochure, threw it in my recycle bin and told him for the second time, "We're not interested. And I'm very busy. Please leave." Then I felt bitchy because I could have given his brochure back to him, but I threw it away in front of his face.

I had another woman from an office supply company tell me that she "wasn't taking 'no' for an answer." She was as green as they come, and she must have just finished her "Selling 101" class. It was her last resort. I basically had to threaten her to get the hell out.

Another guy came in and noticed that our office was a mess with stacks of files piled high (it was April busy season for God's sake), and he actually had the nerve to remark on the state of our office and laugh. Needless to say, I told him to leave.

I think corporate door-to-door sales must be the worst job ever because nice, polite people like me turn into mega-bitches. And they leave feeling dejected, probably thinking, "Wow, what a bitch." They're probably used to getting rejected and abused, but that's why it must be one of the worst jobs - who wants to be used to people treating them like dog shit? 

But this is why I'm good at my job. No one gets past me. I am the first line of defense. And my boss thanks me for it...and pays me for it. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Junk Closet

Remember that Friends episode when Chandler discovers that Monica has a secret locked closet? He obsesses over what's inside until it's finally opened and reveals Monica's dirty little secret: it's her junk closet, with junk piled from floor to ceiling. 

Well, I have one of those closets. I call it my nemesis. My house is immaculate, with every picture frame and decorative vase in its place, and the sight of clutter accelerates my blood pressure. But it just happens: you get older, you get married, and you accumulate crap. Lots of random, "what the F do I do with this?" crap. So you have one designated space where you put all your crap. And that place for me is the guest room closet, aka my nemesis. 

I have some normal stuff in the closet: yearbooks, games, photo albums, wrapping paper. And some not-so-normal stuff: a plastic "Fart Man" whose armpit you lift to make fart sounds (a white elephant gift), a Coonskin hat (also a white elephant gift), empty boxes from electronic purchases with instructions inside (cell phones, iPods, etc.), a Buddha head that I thought was cool and was going to put in my guest bathroom, which turned out to be ten times the size I thought it would be (I wanted little, cute Buddha, not huge, creepy Buddha), Giants bobbleheads for players past, old, out-of-style sunglasses, and much, much more.

Under no circumstances will I ever need the fart man, the Coonskin hat, the Buddha head, or the empty electronics boxes. So, a) Why don't I just get rid of them? and b) Why do I keep them in the first place? I think I keep them because I feel bad for getting rid of something so quickly. The fart man was a huge hit at the white elephant exchange, and I probably thought to myself, "Next white elephant party I attend, I'm going to re-gift Fart Man!" But I haven't been to another white elephant party. And just tossing him in the Goodwill bag right then and there would have been a little sad. Poor Fart Man. I just got him and now he's in the Goodwill bag. Same for the Buddha head - I paid money for the damn thing, it just seems weird to toss it immediately, like a defeat. 

I also keep things because there's always the "I might need/want it someday" mentality. I should eliminate this mindset from my thinking because I can't think of an instance where I saved some useless crap and then one day went, "Where is that cell phone box for that phone I no longer have? I really need it right now!" 

I think I don't get rid of this crap because in my mind, the simple task of getting rid of one thing in the closet means that I have to go on a full-on cleaning rampage. For me, it's all or nothing. Go all out and clean from top to bottom or do nothing at all. Predictably, I choose to do nothing at all. And cleaning rampages are just something I don't have much time for right now. And I inevitably end up making more of a mess than when I started, and then I look at all the crap around me with my hands on my head wondering, "What am I going to do with all this stuff??" (This is why you have junk closets in the first place, right? For the stuff that you don't know what to do with!) So I get rid of a few things, put everything back in an organized manner, wait for a couple years to pass while accumulating more stuff, and then do it all over again. 

The trouble with this strategy is, the closet gives me anxiety every time I open it. I want to take a blow torch to it. I want to take my arm and sweep it across the shelves, tossing everything on the floor, and then throw it all out the window. One of these days I'm going to have to face the music and find an organizing solution that works. But more importantly, I need to change my mindset. I don't need to keep Fart Man! I don't need to keep creepy Buddha! I will never need those cell phone boxes! I will never wear those sunglasses, ever again!

I'm not ashamed of my junk closet because I think everyone has one. Or several. Or just a drawer. Or maybe their whole house is a junk closet. The things I have to remind myself are: never hold on to something because you think you might need it later because you most certainly won't, and if you don't want it now (e.g. Fart Man), you definitely won't want it later. Now, where did I put that Coonskin hat? 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The "I Shoulds"

I have a case of the "I Shoulds." I should read every night before bed. I should meditate daily. I should sign up for that martial arts class. I should bake more. I should call Bobo. I should upload and print my photos. The list goes on and on. It is basically a persistent voice in my head nagging me that how I spend my time is not satisfactory and I *should* always be doing something else because that other thing will help me lead a more fulfilling life. You know, living my best life (thanks, Oprah).

I have a new one. I should stop saying "I should" and tell that nag in my head to shut the hell up. I should be watching TV because I've worked all day and just feel like vegging on the couch and watching Tara become a crazy vampire (which I'm not a fan of, BTW). I should play on the internet even though I've been sitting at a computer all day because it's what I want to be doing at that moment. I should eat the chocolate ice cream bar because it's delicious and I worked out today. I should go to bed instead of read because I'm exhausted and closing my eyes just feels so damn good.

I should not feel guilty about what I'm doing at this moment because it's a choice and it is what is currently making me happy. Feeling guilty all the time is not a good way to lead a fulfilling life. I should go do some work. But I think I'll write this blog post instead.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Photo Hell

Does anyone else want to crawl into the fetal position and weep when presented with the task of uploading, printing, and organizing your digital photos? If you are a routine scrapbooker, then you are an alien creature and we probably aren't friends. But if you're anything like me, you have approximately eight years' worth of digital pictures sitting on your computer (possibly multiple computers since you probably upgraded recently), causing you anxiety at the mere thought of sorting through and printing and displaying them. Every once in a blue moon, I'll try to print a truly great pic (they are so few and far between), but I'm usually abused by my POS inkjet printer telling me that it's out of Cyan ink (for a hilarious and oh-so-true take on printer misery, see The Oatmeal's comic), so I inevitably give up and assume the fetal position.

This means that all the pictures displayed in my house are circa 2005 or earlier. I have a framed picture of my two year-old niece on my mantel. Except she'll be 10 in September. And a picture of my husband and me before we were married, and we are coming up on our six-year anniversary. I have framed vacation pictures from a trip my husband and I took in 2001. I also have three small empty frames sitting on my dresser - they have been there, sans photo, for approximately three years (maybe longer!). This is a sad state of affairs. What is one to do? 

I love digital cameras - you can see your pictures right away, retake the unfortunate double-chin or eyes-closed shots, and take 100 pictures of the same thing because, "I can delete the bad ones later." Trouble is, you don't. (Multiply the 100 pictures of the same thing by the amount of times that you do this, and you get...about 10,000 crappy pictures). So now you have 10,000 crappy pictures on your computer, which you just blindly uploaded and didn't take the time to sort through. There they are, staring you in the face and taunting you.

Adding to the misery, I have a smattering of printed pictures from over the years - a couple I have printed myself, a couple that my mom has given me (my mom is annoyingly great about maintaining photo albums), and some from friends and family. What does one do with these mismatched, random pictures?? We have the printed, the non-printed, and the should-be-printed. I am overwhelmed. Who has the time to go through all their pictures from the last 7-8 years? Not I. 

I bought a Shutterfly coupon for a photo book that expires on June 26th. I was determined to make a photo album of my honeymoon! I worked on it all this weekend and finally completed it today. I was so proud. Oh, and in case you didn't catch it earlier, I got married six years ago. This is how pathetic I am at keeping up with my pictures and albums. 

But, thank God for Shutterfly. As I discovered this weekend, making a photo book couldn't be easier. My resolutions: to timely upload my digital pictures, immediately go through and delete the turkeys and duplicates, make photo albums for worthy events, print great pics and frame, and then stop stressing. Oh, and those random, mismatched pictures? Throw them in a box called, "Misc. pics" and be done with it. Ah, I feel better already.