• Learning and Exploring

    The Friend-zone

    I’ve seen a lot of complaining about this. I think some guys try to call straight up disinterest with being friend-zoned and then girls pretend that this is the only thing that happens.

    When someone is clearly NOT interested in you, avoids you, has explicitly said they are not interested in you, you are rejected, not friend-zoned, sorry. Face it and move on.

    However, if person you are interested in you is using you as a pseudo-boyfriend/girlfriend or just in case significant other (aka, what Ann does with Justin in Parks and Rec), jealous when you date or are interested in someone else, selectively burns hot and cold as far as flirting goes, keeps other interested parties away from you, etc. also, not friend-zoned, that person has a narcissism and dehumanizing problem, and you need to run.

    I’d say friend-zoning to be where the couple manage to keep on the outside overall a respectful platonic friendship but where one person wants more from it and eventually probably won’t be able to manage the friendship part. The other party may not be truly interested because of personality, time of life, or unrealistic expectations or all of the above.

    I’d imagine there is a lot of variety, some blends or shading of all of the above. Let me give you my excruciating example. I was “little sister-zoned” by a guy who WAS flirting, but not seriously, just because I gave an obvious giggly response on cue always. It was a long time ago, he wasn’t a jerk, he wasn’t really leading me on or using me, I knew perfectly well he wouldn’t date me, my responses just gave him a little vanity boost. I just get second-hand from the past embarrassment thinking about my side of it.

  • Learning and Exploring

    Family Stories, Dating and Marriage in the late 1950’s: My Grandparents

    My grandmother met my grandfather on a blind date set up by a couple that were mutual friends. My grandmother was around 17, a high school senior and my grandfather around 20, I think he was working in a grocery at that point.

    I think the first date or at least an early date involved him coming to her house, so she wanted to make the meal. When it was time to eat cake, her dad tasted it and said, “Sis, this tastes like cornbread with salve.”

    The next morning her dad said, “Well, I guess that boy will be coming around again?” She said, “How do you know?” “He left half of his car in the driveway.”

    Papau apparently like to drive “fancy” cars and the bottom of his got stuck on their gravel driveway or something.

    Mamau graduated high school and got married in the same year. They wanted to buy a house rather than have a big wedding, so they had a civil wedding.

    They set the date then when they learned his dad was planning to take the fire trucks or something to do a shivaree down their street, they moved the date, lol.


  • Learning and Exploring

    More Family Stories

    We are closest with my mom’s mom’s family, that is why most of the stories are from them. Well, that and they are a close, loud, expressive, hilarious bunch and the older generation is as sharp as tacks still.

    One time my great-grandmother thought it would be funny to wake my grandfather up from a nap by setting his chest hair on fire with a cigarette, this was a JOKE, not a Hillbilly Elegy type story (there are so many parallels, except all mine are happy and all his are horrifying it was like a twisted mirror to read that sometimes, I was wondering where the difference started happening).

    My great-grandfather didn’t care to make too many pit stops going anywhere and on one road trip he was so focused on the destination when leaving one gas station that he left my great-grandmother behind. My grandmother said she was smoking coming out of her ears mad (or madder than a hornet type mad, I love this kind of expressiveness).

    So like I mentioned in my first post, there were a bit over 20 years span between the 5 siblings. My grandmother is about 10 years older than her youngest sister. I knew my great-grandmother had false teeth, I remember her dropping them up and done to fascinate my brother when we were little. I didn’t know or didn’t remember that she lost her teeth in her 30’s. They didn’t have the money to get her false teeth, so my youngest great aunt grew up knowing her mom without teeth.

    She said she remembers when her parents came home from getting the false teeth and how huge they looked in her mom’s mouth because her face muscles had collapsed over the years of not having and because she wasn’t used to seeing her mom with teeth.


  • Learning and Exploring

    Working on My Words

    I think I’d been sitting listening to office gossip last fall when I first thought about cutting out gossip for New Years. In listening to myself and my speech and the constant (often double-standard) reproofs I get from most of my family (doesn’t help, that ain’t the way) and in thinking over some of my posts and comments I decided I really needed to work on my speech.

    In addition, I’m feeling the need to nip the freedom of petty partisan political commentary of one of my coworkers to me. As far as the traditional “taboo” topics, there is a reason they are “taboo.” I just think it should hold as a public taboo but not be taboo in trusted situations because everything needs to be researched and discussed intellectually and in good faith. But more on that in another post.

    In terms of my gossiping, complaining, exaggerating, overreacting, etc. habits, I’ve been reproved my whole life and its implied I should “just stop.” That’s not really the way to convince someone especially if they can see the same issues in “respectable” form or other forms of “respectable” speech sins. Judgement doesn’t equal conviction. Also, there are always roots that are harder to dig out; there are more deeper issues than simple self-control, “self control” in this case is repressive/suppressive if I “just do it.”

    I do tend to be emotionally explosive, impulsive, exaggerative, anxious, insecure, defensive. These are connected for my verbal barrages and gossip. I’m hoping to do therapy and my life coaching and things of that sort this year which should help.

    I’m also (obviously) nosy, bored, and lazy minded. I mean if I can gossip and listen to gossip instead of making the more difficult effort of thinking harder or controlling my spinning thoughts or listening to inane conversations, that is what I do. This is connected to the above, I need to be more proactive, less reactive. My world is too narrow for me, and I live in my head and books and media and not the real world.

    I also need to work on the Serenity prayer. For a start, I wrote down a list of things I want to eliminate in my speech patterns. Clearly, the roots need to be dealt with, but I though if I could have reminders and could verbally express things (at least at work, not sure I want to give my family more fodder for disrespectfully shutting me down), that would be a good start as well. Just to kind of be more aware. I wrote the following list down on a card with the heading of “NO.”

    • Gossip
    • Politics and “news”
    • Complaining and “venting”
    • Cussing and interjections
    • Chattering and filler
    • Exaggerative and imprecise speech
    • Unverified or out of context facts
    • Excessive Covid-19 talk
    • Repetitive speech and idle chatter
    I think I need to work on more positive options, but I do talk too much, so I do need less speech. And if I start working on therapy, start living more and thinking deeper, I will have better things to focus on. I’m not sure about work. My coworkers aren’t really interested in that sort of thing, and some of that is more private, but I need to find ways to talk about positive things. Eventually though, I’d like to get in a more positive environment.
    I’d like to work on my speech, conversation, writing overall actively and the positives traits I’m look for are:

    I think for now, I’m going to try to work on cutting down the amount of talk, then building up the quality of it.

  • Learning and Exploring

    Family Tree Stories

    Like I mentioned in my other post I don’t think its possible to come from my state or certain of the surrounding states and have a bland family history. We just don’t do that here. And it goes further back.

    My grandparents love genealogy and went digging through archives over our state and maybe one or two others (that side of the family has mostly been in this state since Europe). They have tons of old photos and documents. Papau has scanned some of them, but they still have tons to go.

    We have a ration card from my great, great uncle from WWII period with some of the tickets still in it.

    We have photos of my great grandfather who was stationed in India during WWII. He’s holding a monkey in one of them.

    We have a Swiss identity document from my great-great-great grandfather, my Papau’s great grandfather (his great-grandparents and his great grandmother’s brother’s family came from Switzerland).

    Someone died from being kicked in the head by a cow.

    Someone died from skinning a rabid rabbit.

    Someone killed a man in a bar brawl.

    My state is a byword for cousin marriages and low out of state movement, and yes, my great-great grandparents were first cousins. I’m almost absolutely positive going by last names and the counties involved that one of my crushes was a distant cousin (!!!).

    Also, you know how Laura Ingall Wilder’s mom’s family married multiple times into her Dad’s family (2 sisters and a brother married 2 brothers and a sister)? Well, one of my great-grandmother’s older sisters (the one responsible for stealing my great-great grandmothers handsewn quilts one of which my grandmother was supposed to get) married my great-grandfather’s older brother. Then my great-parents married. Later, my great-grandfather’s sister remarried and married my great-mother’s brother.

    Also, I feel like I’m related to half of the state if not America. Apparently it is possible to get a DNA test and not have thousands of cousins 4th cousins and closer like I have.

    Which leads me to, my grandmother’s family was, uh, prolific. She was one of 5, which was small for her side. My grandfather had more sets of two kids in his family before my mom and her sister and reasonable large family sizes of 8 kids. My grandmother had HUGE families in her family tree, 8 seemed typical. The largest?

    Her great-grandfather I think it was had 20+ children between 2 wives. Not at the same time (married cousins in our family yes, bigamy no, at least wait, I feel like there may have been a bigamy story or claim somewhere). No, in this case the first wife must have got worn out with 12 or so kids and then the next wife produced around 8. 19 were listed as still living in the the newspaper clipping of his death. I think 20 lived to adulthood, and there were around 2 that died as young children.

    That isn’t the only case of a large family from two wives, I think the other was more reasonable, you know, like 14 or something.


  • Learning and Exploring

    Family Stories

    Anyone from a rural state is probably going to have a hilarious catalog of stories from their grandparents and great-aunts and uncles plus fun nick names (Pickles, Wig). My maternal grandmother (Mamau)’s family was something else. I need to get a camera or ipad pro or something to take more recordings, phone isn’t good enough for long videos. I’ve got some, but I don’t always remember.

    Also, farm stuff, so be warned.

    My grandmother, her older brother, and her next younger sister were all born within 6 years of each. Then the 4th sister was born about 8 years later I think, and then the 2nd brother 10 years after that (so he’s a few years old than my mom and his kids are my and my siblings ages). So the oldest three had a different childhood.

    My grandmother grew up until I think around age 14 on their extended family farm, and she was a tom-boy and she and her brother (while their younger sister tried to tag along) got into multiple scrapes such as:

    Rowing the boat out into the pond even though they couldn’t swim (the tag along sister told the parents, so they were rescued, I’m not sure if the boat had a hole or what, but they were stuck).

    The pair of them set the tagalong aunt on a bicycle with no chain off down a heel and she chipped her front tooth and has dental problems to this day.

    The pair of them gathered and ate sassafras, so the tagalong aunt tried to copy them . . . except she ate poison ivy.

    My great-uncle shot my grandmother with his toy (and toys then weren’t some dinky plastic things) bow and arrow very near her eye because she was bugging him.

    The pair of them turned a wrestling match into a real fight and got a “whippin’.”

    My grandfather drove hours away to the big city to work in a factory before they eventually moved there so he was gone during the week (I’m not sure how long this period was), so one day they hid from the school bus and skipped school, so they could see him longer. They probably got a “whippin'” from that, I’m not sure all of the details of that, how they meant to spend time without getting in trouble.

    The pair of them found some strange rubbery eggs and bounced them around, next morning they discovered they were snake eggs (my grandmother hates snakes, she always say when she sees one she gets her hoe out to kill).


  • Learning and Exploring

    Christmas History

    I tried to research Christmas history a few years ago, I read some books as part of A Literary Christmas. I basically held a vague understanding that early Christian married pagan elements (some Roman, some “barbarian”) to Christian concepts. But modern Christmas is modern Christmas with significant points (the tree, Santa Claus) brought from Germany in the Victorian period to America (Christmas wasn’t that significant until recently as a huge day unto itself although perhaps Advent season was in some traditions, early, strictly Protestant Americans didn’t celebrate it). I think that my slapdash research then rather matches both the actual history of Christmas and the way it is put together, a patchwork of various traditions put together in various ways over its history.

    And yes, I’m going to be one of those, “but ackshully” people, but I hope I don’t follow the spirit of them. I don’t intend to follow the killjoy spirit, just generally being a history, humanities, and myth nerd.

    I don’t think we are ever going to have a very clear history of Christmas. I’ve come across misinformation and confusion on Christmas history. Be wary of anything that speaks too definitively, actually be wary, there is a weird resurgence in ancient paganism generally that I think wants to rewrite things or blur the truth, particularly about the darkness of these religions and about the accuracy of our knowledge, these are ancient, ancient things, our knowledge is at best vague. I’m going to be sticking to Britannica mainly with some dictionary definitions.

    Advent. This seems to be the earliest Christian conception of Christmas, but it is far more religious and with less of an emphasis on one day.

    December 25th. Per Britannica: this is the date of a Roman holiday (dies solis invicti nati) about the rebirth of the sun which, in one view Christians then connected with the rebirth of the Son. Another view ties the conception of Christmas with the Spring Equinox which timeline puts Jesus birth at Christmas.
    Modern Holiday. Britannica again confirms the German origin of some significant modern Christmas concepts as well as the fact that the Puritans didn’t like Christmas.
    Saturnalia. This is the Roman holiday of the Winter solstice that I think most people with any conception of an understanding of Christmas use to point out the pagan origins of Christmas, that all we did was Christianize it. I think that is too simplistic, especially since Christmas wasn’t that big of a conception really until fairly recently. Clearly the dates are what we did directly take. However, it certainly seems to be a far more like Saturnalia now, at least New Years is. Such days as the first of the year are always going to have an ancient pagan emphasis.
    Yule is the Germanic celebration of the Winter solstice. Britannic didn’t have a separate entry for Yule while googling it brings up tons of articles. I think this is a subject where modern imagination takes a very little source or historical knowledge and runs wild.
    St. Nicholas is the origin of Santa Claus (North-Western Europe and American via the same) and Father Christmas (UK, I think I prefer Father Christmas, maybe because it is less familiar, I just don’t care for Santa or at least how we have him) and Père Noël in France. He is an actual early Christian saint, I’m not sure I knew that or I’d forgotten, we don’t have documentation, just Christian canon tradition, but it seems like it is fairly believable tradition? Obviously, tons of mythic traditions have been added on and then those myths were revived more recently to morph into Father Christmas and Santa Claus.
    Christmas Tree. While trees did have significance in Yule in Germany, apparently that is not the source for the modern Christmas tree, which yes, did come from Germany. It originated in an Advent play.
    Mistletoe. I don’t know how this transforms from having to do with Druid sacrifice (potentially human! although this isn’t mentioned in the Britannica article, I think it was in the Celtic book I just read, but again, tread carefully this is ancient) to kissing at Christmas.
    Wassail. Basically originally an Old Norse toast that turned into an English drink.
    Christmas carols and songs deserve a whole post. We shall see if I get to that in this 12 Days of Christmas or not. I read a book about some of the carols and songs, but I know that the story told for the 12 Days of Christmas song is inaccurate, so I will have to spend more time carefully researching songs. I am more interested in getting to a post about the different tunes between the UK and US for different carols.
    Failure in research: “Happy Christmas” for the Brits vs “Merry Christmas” US. In U.S. there is a sort of, I don’t know, phony debate over “Happy Holidays” vs “Merry Christmas.” Why not both, its a huge extended holiday season anyway? I’m not going to get into that.* What I wanted to know was why the Brits say “Happy Christmas” while we say “Merry Christmas.” I first learned of this, I think in, wait for it, Harry Potter. I thought I remembered reading something about Queen Victoria and snobs preferring “happy” because “merry” was plebian or something, but I can’t find any source I’m happy with (and the stupid debate above mentioned drowns everything out). What I could gather is that the word “merry” had different connotations, like, um drunkenness, and that possibly snobs preferred “happy.” I found a blog post, but I would prefer a more creditable source. I’ve given up sorting through the absurdity, maybe I will tackle this next year better. Anyway “happy” nowadays is about as specific and useful as “nice” in my opinion while “merry” feels specific, jolly and a bit mischievous.
    To sum up. First of all, wow, this took longer than I meant. Anyway, I don’t like fossilizing things the “well, ackshully” way, nothing new gets created plus I have no personal connotation of the pagan (no one does!) or Advent aspects anyway. I like the patchwork history. Pick the traditions or “traditions” you like, make up new ones, take pagan, Christian, whatever you like, change what you like, just don’t create a false history!
    *Actually (ackshully) I am, if you take offense at “Merry Christmas” would you like to go to Hell? Hades? Sheol? Gehenna? Jahannam?
    . . . I, at least, find myself funny. I got a little tired of sorting through those stupid articles.
  • Learning and Exploring

    US Citizenship Test

    I think I’ve taken the old one and passed, but apparently there is an updated one. I think that this should be given to high schoolers at the beginning and end of high school to make sure they learned American History and government decently. Don’t misunderstand me, Americans who are born citizens shouldn’t HAVE to take the test to remain a citizen or anything like that. What I do think it is completely irresponsible not to be able to pass it. And pass it well, I mean (I think I’m rather more informed than the average person as I am a nerd and genuinely like things many people think are boring, but I didn’t meet my standard).

    I took this portion and got 7 out of 9 of the NYT version. So, I got about 77% which isn’t great. I’m not sure why they didn’t have 10 or 20 to get an easier comparable result. 12 out of 20 is now the requirement where previously it was 6 out of 10, both 60% which is an extremely low pass. Which just means the test is longer, that is NOT a long test. I do think nuance is important.

    I took this version and got 16 out of 20. I chose some dumb answers. Oh, well. The NYT version is harder.

    Oh, and I did these off the top of my head. No studying.

    The actual test is not multiple choice. I wonder how that would affect my score, but then so would studying. I took American government in high school, oh, 12 years ago, and I don’t think I did so hot there were just some details that were so you know boring and detailed, I feel that understood econ better. Yes, you read that right. I was struggling generally then which didn’t help either.

    I’m thinking of adding a subject a day to study, since I’m rather erratically pursuing or not pursuing all my random interests and topics I think I should know, a little structure would help.


  • Learning and Exploring

    What I Read: November 2020: The Ancient Celts by Barry Cunliffe

    I read 1 book. Yes, 1 book. Or rather, I should say, I finished 1 book because I’d started this book in September or October. I am however, pleased to say that it was both new to me and nonfiction.

    The Ancient Celts by Barry Cunliffe. I feel like it was written to British or European peers who also studied the Iron age, etc. Because I didn’t get as much out of it as the size would indicate. I also felt like there needed to be more maps, the maps needed to be labelled in more detail, and they needed to be in the book near the sections referencing them. I did appreciate the addressing of the Celtic myth and romanticism, something I know I’ve fallen into thanks to Sutcliff novels and my ignorance (she, I don’t believe ever referenced anything as being Celtic, good for her).

    There seem to be two main things. One is a broadly European language family that existed in ancient times then died out in continental Europe in ancient times and maintained a hold increasingly smaller and weaker in the British Isles and Ireland up into the present). Someone in the 18th century decided to name this group Celtic.

    The 2nd is the group of peoples in broadly central and lower Western Europe whom the Greeks and Romans termed Celts. Archaeology studies this group with reference to (obviously) biased Classical literature.

    Where I understand some of the error falls is when people presume that because the Insular peoples spoke the same language family as the people the Romans called Celts, they were also Celts. But I don’t think anyone called them Celts. I think I thought as did many that Celtic peoples from mainland Europe took over the Isles and that is how the language and some aspects of the culture spread, but I think that what he was saying is that there isn’t evidence that there was such an invasion. That it was people already there who adopted the language and culture (to a certain extent) from mainland Europe and then held onto it longer.

    Also, he was talking about the uncertainty of what exactly differentiated Germanic speaking peoples from Celtic speaking peoples. Just the language and some culture? Or ethnicity.

    I read for the Ancient Britains, but I learned about Ancient Europe. Now, I wonder about the other, later barbarian invasions, the ones who sacked Rome and turned Gaul to France. Do we know for certain they came from somewhere else or did we assume they did?

    I love history. And you do have to love history and be prepared to research further to read this book. The author also wrote some more recent books for A Very Short Introduction which I also have on my shelves, and I’ve looked up some notable Celtic scholars to read as well.

  • Learning and Exploring

    On Rebels

    Another polished up draft.

    I loved the categories of Gretchen Rubin’s The Four Tendencies. It’s not at all profound and not as helpful as I wanted beyond the original categories (at least for Rebels, and I already knew myself before her explanation, I knew I rebelled against others and myself), but the scheme is very useful without being absurdly and unscientifically and unrealistically limiting like personality typing. I found the other explanations, for other people and to see that I lean Questioner helpful, I do think they weren’t super deep and were stereotyped, but the Rebel section just seemed complete stereotype.

    I’m starting to think that most of the stereotype of rebels comes from Obliger-rebellion. Maybe she mentions this? But then she put so much stereotyping on Rebels. Anyway. If you feel the need to rebel, if you make a production of rebellion, that seems to belie the actual inner Rebel/contrarian. We don’t actually do anything we don’t want to do, we are in a constant stasis of rebellion/resistance/contrariness, it’s our norm. I think that’s is part of why I neither stand out nor conform. I just am. It is normal to me to have low-level pervasive contrariness as an undercurrent, not any “reason” for it.

    In my tiny church bubble almost every teen professed faith (Upholders and Obligers) or radically “went off the deep end” (more stereotypical Rebels?) except me and a sparse other few. Of those who originally professed, those who left the faith also went beserk, rejecting everything they had known, not merely the faith but the morals, the worldviews, everything pell-mell without analyzing any of it (Obliger rebellion).

    And then there was me, not a believer but not making a public pronouncement of not being a Christian (I was afraid until I was older and then I was afraid of lying, so compulsively started pointing it out) and throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I think there might have been a few other quiet intellectual dissenters (I didn’t fit this either, I had a side that leaned this way, but my emotional and mental issues were louder although I didn’t want them seen), probably Questioner types, but the norm was the Obliger/Upholder group plus the forthrightly, go against everything immediately people, more stereotypical Rebels although not 100% sure they were Rebels, maybe they leaned Rebel/Obliger while I was Rebel/Questioner and that made the difference.

  • Learning and Exploring

    More Personality Test Ranting and Links

    Another post from the past. I bounce back and forth to interest and aggravation in personality tests and boredom. Here is a period of interest and aggravation.

    Charity and Katie have been posting explanations about personality tests, and I wanted to post my results and I found this draft in my archives

    So, what types get hung up on stuff? Because I just can’t let this Myers Briggs thing go. I know its absolute hogwash, but seeing all these people make funny videos or talk about their type, I keep wanting to find a type. I get ISTP from like every test I take, but I don’t “relate.” I’ve also gotten ISTJ (I can be ISTJ towards people, “follow rules, fit in a box, leave me alone.” (well actually, now, I’m leaning towards avoider) But oh, honey, don’t try that on me! I’ve also gotten INTP. But none of them “fit.” And the functions, what the heck? Looking at the function, I’m like three introverted ones which you “can’t have.” Yeah, okay. I wanted to know what a function based test would look like.

    This test used a couple frameworks. I didn’t put any types on the questions at the bottom because #1 I wanted to know/didn’t relate and #2 I didn’t want it to affect the test. Guess what I got ISTP (also, INTP on two).

    I’ve also done this cognitive function test as few times. I think I usually got the same results.

    Adobe Creative Types. I took this in April and October and both times I got the Thinker.

    Character strength finder.

    America’s Mood Map

    Edit 10/9

    I took the 4 Temperament Test tonight. This framework was the first personality tests I took or I had tests based on it. The closest to the original I took put me as mostly choleric with I think melancholic, the plegmatic, then sanguine, for a while I kept the results, but I don’t know if I still have those, this had to be over a decade ago. Before I took the test this time, reading over the explanations here, I thought I’d been choleric and melancholic, guess what I got 51% choleric and 49% melancholic. I personally don’t think the definitions match me very well, this test looks to focus too much on the positives maybe. I don’t see much of my low-energy-ness. I don’t have the temper I used to either.

  • Learning and Exploring

    Generational, Geographical, and Class Divides with Parental Discipline

    I’ve seen a lot of videos some humor, some not about the strictness of immigrant parents or brown vs white parents or middle class vs lower class. Plus there is always the generational difference of the “I had to walk to school up a hill both ways in snow barefoot” which is how we’ve started to respond every time an older person starts “in MY day we had too . . .”

    Things that were normal back in the day are considered criminal now. Like my grandmother and her sister were all socked in the face for sassing their mom, and switched/tanned whatever, but they held no hard feelings. I mean there is a whole lot more discipline or “discipline” of that sort going on around here now because country people still are like that. There are so many things about middle class America that don’t apply very well around here, because most people here haven’t been middle class enough generations or are working class middle class.

    Even though my background doesn’t really fit the normal middle class narrative (conservative homeschooler stereotype is notoriously harsh/strict), I do feel like more people my age around here were spanked while seemingly there are a lot of people my age in the Western world at large who were treated more like little princesses and princelings, at least per internet stereotypes. I wish there were stats on that sort of thing, it would be really interesting

    So, despite being upper middle class millennial, at least me and the next sister after me seemed to be parented by country/immigrant/lower class parents of a generation or so back. At least if you are going by the stereotypes.

    I mean there is a limited amount of strictness that public school parents can be, they can’t watch you in school. You are under constant surveillance at home. Lots of people said strictness made sneaky kids, I don’t think so, I didn’t DARE be sneaky, although I think my siblings did a bit (but nothing truly bad). Also, I was terrified of everything anyway.