Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Following "The Man"

I have always been fascinated with people and what makes them tick. Why are some people confident when others are not? Why are some perfectly okay with working for "The Man" and others have to work for themselves? How much of it is upbringing and how much is innate?

There is no doubt that part of how one is is related to innate qualities that we're born with. There is plenty of research with separated-at-birth identical twins to prove that. However, I tend to assume that more of who we are is based on our life experiences. Regardless of whether that's the correct assumption, I have proceeded with it through life, trying to understand people.

The current piece that I'm trying to figure out is why some people are constantly trying to go against the rules and defy authority (my husband), while others have it so ingrained in them to follow the rules that options that lie outside of the accepted realm aren't even considered (myself). Of course, I have several other specimens that I have investigated without their permission during this process of learning and trying to figure this stuff out, but it became interesting to me because he and I are so differing on this. I really like the balance, don't get me wrong -- it helps me branch out, and keeps him from going completely off the deep end. But why are we like that?

One reason, I think, is that I have moved so much in my life that I have developed this desire to fit in. More than a desire, really -- a deep-seeded need to be normal. I was the "new girl" in so many schools, and never fit in anywhere, that I tried to become a chameleon, to be like everyone else. My husband, on the other hand, went to the same school from first through twelfth grade, lived in the same house since he was two, and basically had the same friends his whole life. I think, as a result, he has always wanted to find a way to stand out from the crowd -- to not be lumped in with all the people he grew up with. He has looked for what makes him unique for his whole life. He is nearly desperate to figure out how he is totally different from anyone else. I think there are other things that play into this kind of pathology, having to do with parents, but that's a topic for another day.

For now, I'd say that my working hypothesis is that a stable home and friend life leads to a desire to buck the system, while constant upheaval in early life leads to more caution and desire to go with the accepted norms. Please discuss, and shred my hypothesis to pieces. It gives me more reason to continue to study this particular set of societal activities.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Visiting Family

Does anyone else stress this time of year when trying to figure out what to do about holidays and visiting family? Generally, we have Thanksgiving at our house with some kind of family having come in town, and then we go somewhere for Christmas. But this year, we couldn't have anyone come in town for T-day (see previous post), so that leaves Christmas. And to further complicate matters, no family lives in the same state, and my husband's parents are divorced, so that's three entirely separate families to visit. You'd think that after 7 years of marriage we'd have figured out how to handle this lovely conundrum. But it seems that it doesn't matter how hard we try -- we always make the family that we don't visit upset.

One good thing has come from this whole pile of fun, though -- we are now pretty much immune to guilt, which ought to come in handy one day when we have kids.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Thanksgiving Dinner

I love to cook Thanksgiving dinner, and I'm pretty good at it, if I say so myself. I roast a mean turkey, and all the trimmings are made from scratch (except the pumpkin pie, which everyone knows is better if you just make it from the can). So, this has always been my holiday, from the time I graduated from college and had a place with a kitchen. We either have my family or my husband's family in town for the big feast. But not this year. The husband is expecting to defend the PhD thesis next week, so the week of Thanksgiving, we were expecting him to be a basket case (turned out to be true), and we don't want to be entertaining out-of-town guests. So, what does a cranberry-loving freak like me do on the biggest cooking holiday of the year? Was I really supposed to get turkey breast lunchmeat and make a single serving of mashed potatoes? I refused to stoop to that level. I had to cook this meal -- and nothing smaller than a 25-pound turkey was available at the grocery store when I went.

My solution? I cooked everything I would normally have cooked -- turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, peas, cranberry relish, and dressing. For dessert there was apple pie, pumpkin pie, and homemade vanilla ice cream. Mmmmmm.

We had 6 for dinner -- all local folks who weren't going to visit family for the holiday. It was wonderful, I sent home tons of leftovers with people, and I now have 5 cute little pounds of turkey meat in the freezer for future cooking endeavors. I think it worked out fine. Maybe the relatives won't be invited in the future, and we'll just keep doing it this way.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

I went last night to see the fourth movie, and it was awesome! I was so impressed with how well they managed to fit an enormous amount of story into 2.5 hours and how good the dragons looked. I guess that means I agree with what they considered to be the important parts of the story. I still dislike the actor they're using for Dumbledore now that Richard Harris died (or maybe it's just that he was so good), but apart from that the movie was really good, and the dragon animation was impressive. I would recommend it to all! Even as a die hard fan of the books (would you like to see the spreadsheet I put together as I reread the books this summer to prove it?), I really liked this adaptation. Did I mention that the dragons were cool?

However, it appears that I have either aged out of the demographic that is allowed to be Harry Potter fans, or we were in a theater in the wrong area. I don't think there were more than 10 people in the entire theater over 18. The first book came out in 1998...if that was set to appeal to 8- to 10-year-olds, then I guess the demographic for this point in the saga would be highschool and early college. But I'm certain that there were more people my age at the opening of the third movie. Have they all had kids now, and can't stay up to watch a movie at midnight? That's certainly feasible, but I just have to ask where a person's priorities are if they can't get a babysitter to watch the kids in order to go to opening night of this movie. Oh wait -- maybe all the potential babysitters were already going to the movie...

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I Graduated!

Today, I went to the doctor for my 10th appointment in 3 weeks regarding this stupid abscess thing on my hip. I have been doing 2 loads of laundry every day -- sheets in the morning, towels at night. I have taken every last antibiotic pill that was prescribed to me. Finally, it has paid off. As of today, I am allowed to take care of the hole in my hip all on my own. No more visits to schedule! Woohoo! I feel like a free woman, and I hardly know what to do with my free time!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

A Little Bit Flippant

A couple of weeks ago, my grandmother died. She was cremated, and we just had the memorial service this weekend. My grandfather died several years ago, and he was cremated and has been saved in a purple velvet bag in my dad's office. Now, his mom is in an urn. So, there they are -- Urnmom and Bagdad.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Basketball Season

College basketball season is finally underway! I know we're just getting into the exhibition games this weekend, but I have been waiting for this moment since the first part of April when the last season ended. Why, then, do I live in a football state and did I go to a football school? Well, I didn't realize I liked basketball so much until college. And then I went to games. I love the speed of the action. I love the sound of shoes on the floor. I love the closeness of the stands where the noise can't help but be contagious. I went to every game I could go to, and I've never been able to shake the fascination. And now the season is about to start again, and I can feel alive once more.