Monday, November 29, 2010

Snoop, by Sam Gosling

4 out of 5 stars
Total read in 2010 so far: 140
(Also posted on my Goodreads profile here.)

I am a cluttered person. Even if I didn't live with a packrat of a husband, I would still be at least a little cluttered. I very much like surrounding myself with things like pictures, stuffed animals, little figurines and knickknacks. And I prefer it when other people's homes are cluttered, too; it feels as though life is really lived in the place, and it gives me something to look at. One of my friends, in particular, always has something new at her house, some weird quirky thing like a chess set with specially molded pieces to look like her family members, a tiny plastic violin that plays on its own, and other interesting things.

Besides being cluttered, another thing I am is a snoop. Not so much in real life - I don't go poking in other people's things, not even their medicine cabinet - but in my mind and online. I like to read home design blogs in preparation for the house we will hopefully own someday, even though I know since I am cluttered and he is a packrat our house will never look anything like the pretty, carefully designed homes in photos online. But I seriously doubt any of the pretty rooms online actually remain looking pretty. I like to imagine boxes piled with stuff just off to the left of the camera and a screaming baby on the other side being held by somebody who just does not get why everything needs to be photographed.

Take this photo, for example, from Apartment Therapy.

Now I assume at least one of those stockings is for a kid. In every house I've ever been in that has kids, everything on that pointless ladder (is it for cleaning the tops of the windows?) would be immediately ripped off and the ladder made into a jungle gym. From the ladder you can try to jump perfectly into that chair, or climb onto that display cabinet and upset those UFOs on the top, and then laugh while the family dog tries to walk through the strings and paper lanterns that are now on the floor and gets hopelessly tangled up.

My point is, that room is really unrealistic unless it's for 3 adults, so no room is ever actually going to look like that. It even looks kinda silly if it's for adults, I think (that's why my house will never look like it belongs in a magazine). So, not being a snoop, I get kind of an unrealistic view of other people's houses. But photos that other people take for decorating blogs give you another way of snooping. If they're trying to show off a particular paint color, a mirror, a frame they made themselves from reclaimed wood, or a collage, what do the other objects they put in the photo tell you about them? Or, what can you see in the backgrounds of photos, in other rooms with the doors open? It's just like snooping as described in this book.

As you can imagine, I definitely enjoyed this book. It wasn't quite the five stars of awesomeness that it could have been, but it was up there. The author uses psychology to analyze the objects in people's rooms and try to find out what it tells him about their personalities. (For example, having sports memorabilia up means you might lean conservative politically; having maps up means you are probably open-minded in your day to day life.) You can extrapolate some of what he writes about easily to people you know. Somebody who is always trying to be on top of things might have their bedroom relatively organized and the CDs all in one place, but if you look closely you might see they're not in any particular order, the discs are missing from some of the cases, they're all mixed up, etc. Or, if somebody has photos all around their computer monitor, whether the photos face the person or visitors to their office tells you something.

This book doesn't exactly give you a list of stuff and how it correlates to personality. It doesn't go, "okay, if they have a sock sticking out of their drawer it tells you this, and if they have a stuffed pig on their desk it tells you this," but it does give you information you can use. It helps you break down areas where people live and figure out how their stuff relates to them. I have never really had occasion to walk into somebody's office or bedroom or bathroom and systematically tackle their personality, and especially I have never done this for a stranger; I think the best way to figure out somebody's personality is to actually talk to them, or rather listen to them talk. But, I like the information nonetheless.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving thanks

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

I am thankful for my husband, Scotty.
I am thankful for my family, and everyone in it. 
You give me strength and support and a healthy dose of anything 
I need at the moment: sarcasm, humor, reality, optimism.
I am thankful for my bearded dragon, Loki. 
I am thankful for bookstores and libraries.
I am thankful to live in such a beautiful place.
I am thankful for smiling babies. (Ohmygosh, look at baby Lorelai!)
I am thankful we have ways to get around. 
Especially since they are pretty ways to get around.
I am thankful for the coming holiday season.
I am thankful for vacations and time to relax.
I am thankful for good food.
I am thankful for the beauty of nature.
And I am thankful for the small moments in life.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Loki update

Loki had been acting more tired and less aware of or interested in his surroundings for a week or two now. As soon as the sun went down, he wanted to find a place to sleep and ignored everything - food, noise, light in the room, etc. I put it down to the temperature drop initially. Bearded dragons do brumate (a reptile version of hibernating), but he's too young to do that yet. I read on a couple of bearded dragon forums that parasite infection can often mimic brumation. When he had really stinky poop on Sunday, which is another sign of parasites, I decided to take him in to the vet.

The exotic animal vet I go to is excellent but they keep odd hours because they also do house calls (imagine hefting an ancient, massive tortoise into the car for a vet visit). I was really surprised when I got the first appointment of the day on Monday.

Loki's tests came back positive for bacteria and 3 different kinds of parasites. Pinworms, and two other kinds, which aren't detailed on the care sheet. (None of it is contagious to humans. Humans can get pinworms, but not from other animals. It doesn't cross species.) The vet assistant gave Loki a dewormer and explained how to give him the two kinds of medicine he needs.

So far, he's been doing OK. He gets the medicine in the evenings. He's supposed to get a 30 minute bath in the morning. We did that Tuesday morning, but Wednesday morning he was shaking and trying to get out of the sink, so he only got maybe a 5 minute bath. I'll try again this morning.

He's supposed to be feeling better in 7 days. He's had 3 doses of medicine now, but still seems lethargic. He's eating, but he just seems down. Hopefully, he starts perking up soon.

Friday, November 12, 2010

30 Day Challenge - Day 30

Finally done!

(See here for the complete list of days & questions.) 

Day 30- Who are you?

After reading through all of these answers, you should know by now! ;)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

30 Day Challenge - Days 27, 28, and 29

(See here for the complete list of days & questions.) 

Day 27- Why are you doing this 30 day challenge
Well, when I started it I thought it would be fun and a good way to occupy some time out of my day. But now that October and early November have turned out to be pretty busy, I have no idea why. :)

Day 28- A picture of you last year and now, how have you changed since then?

December 2009:
With the cuddliest/floppiest cat in the world, Sneakers

November 2010:
In our new car, Prudence
Well, a lot has changed since December of last year, but I don't think I myself have changed a whole lot. I am still the same person I've always been, just with a little more life experience under my belt, which of course will always be true. 

Day 29- In this past month, what have you learned
I have learned a heck of a lot about Foursquare, Tumblr, and Posterous. I have learned the names of the sixteen billion James Patterson novels coming out in the next couple months. (Hint: if you come up & ask "what's James Patterson's newest book?" you're going to get a list.) I have learned that I get paid a day early both paychecks this month thanks to holidays. I have learned about astronauts and space travel thanks to the book Packing for Mars by Mary Roach. I learned about the Battle of Gettysburg for my review of Coal Black Horse by Robert Olmstead. I learned that Loki does not like it when it is cold in the morning. I learned 15 large crickets are a good meal for him (vs. 30 small). I learned that I really like the movie How to Train Your Dragon, and bought myself a Toothless for my desk. ...I guess I learned a lot. :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

30 Day Challenge - Days 25 and 26

(See here for the complete list of days & questions.) 

Day 25- What I would find in your bag
I actually posted earlier in October with a picture of the contents of my bag (minus the camera I used to take the picture). Here's that entry. My bag is pretty ordinary, I think, except for the hearing aid accessories.

Day 26- What you think about your friends

OK, I admit this question is a little confusing to me. For one thing I don't have a ton of friends, but for another I don't know what I would think about them other than "I like them as people and like spending time with them." Maybe overanalyzing simple questions is why I don't have a ton of friends ;)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

30 Day Challenge - Days 22, 23, and 24

(See here for the complete list of days & questions.)

Day 22- What makes you different from everyone else
*shrug* I've actually never thought of myself as different than everyone else. There's no reason to. Everyone is human, and makes the same mistakes. We all live our lives differently, and everyone is unique in some ways, but I think focusing on differences often just creates more problems. I think of myself as pretty normal.

Day 23- Something you crave for a lot

"For" shouldn't be there. Anyway. Chocolate (particularly Hershey's milk chocolate - something about the taste - and Milky Way candy bars). Apple limeades from Sonic. Juice, if I haven't had any in awhile. Hm. It's all food. Weird.

Day 24- A letter to your parents

Mom and Dad,
I love you. Just want you to know that.
Love, Megan

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

30 Day Challenge - Days 20 & 21

(See here for the complete list of days & questions.)

Day 20- Someone you see yourself marrying/being with in the future

That's him right there. Already got the "marrying" thing out of the way. :)
Day 21- A picture of something that makes you happy
Flowers and my purple Converse.

Monday, November 1, 2010

30 Day Challenge - Days 17, 18, and 19

 I decided to do NaNoWriMo this year. It's kind of great because we are also doing write-ins at the library! It's on our Facebook page if you live in the East Valley in AZ. I have 1,715 words so far in my story. It's going well.

(See here for the complete list of days & questions.)

Day 17- Someone you would want to switch lives with for one day and why
Ooh, this is a toughie. It seems so easy to pick a rich person or a celebrity, but honestly it seems kind of boring (depending on the person, of course). You can practically already experience a celebrity's daily life with all of the reality TV out there.

I think I would pick an average person in a country I've never been to (which is all of them except the USA). I would love to get a peek into someone's ordinary, daily life, and see what's the same and what's different, in, say, Japan, North Korea (how crazy would that be?), Ireland, Switzerland, etc... 

Day 18- Plans/dreams/goals you have
(In no particular order):
  • Get my bachelor's degree (probably in History/American History)
  • Get my master's degree
  • Buy a house
  • Have 2-3 children
  • Buy a Chevrolet Blazer or similar (to replace the truck when it eventually dies... hopefully this will be a couple years)
  • Get a dog
  • Be published
Day 19- Nicknames you have; why do you have them
Well, a lot of older people like to call me "Miss Megan." That one is pretty common. Scotty and a few other people call me Megs. He also calls me chica. And if misspelling my name counts as a nickname, I get that a lot, too! :)