Archive for January, 2014

I’m a nerd.  It makes me kind of a dork.  I can’t be a dork.  It is imperative for my jobs that I am perceived as adept at being a fully functioning human being.  I have to convince myriads of students that they are, in fact, capable of performing algebraic tasks.  When left to my own nerdy devices, I give the impression that they can only become proficient mathematically if they become robots as I am a robot.  That causes self-efficacy to tank.

I have assessed that the only way to correct this is to give the impression that I am one who possesses an awareness of social norms and is proficient in understanding interpersonal interactions and therefore, can make informed choices about behavior accordingly.  I need a bridge from nerd to some form of savvy.  That bridge can be best completed by becoming a hipster.

A hipster is one who is aware of what social norms are, but chooses a unique path instead.  If I become a hipster, I can be perceived as one who is choosing a rather eccentric, nerdy path instead of one who is predestined by social awkwardness.

I think that I can pull it off because I think I’ve accurately compiled a list of achievable characteristics of hipsters.  In fact, I already exhibit many of the characteristics.  I wear big, geeky glasses half the time.  I don’t drink coffee made in regular coffee pots, but instead, I have three apparatuses for making coffee without the appliance.  I have been known to make my own laundry detergent and do other things in the realm of what I prefer to call pragmatic naturalism.  I don’t participate in a large portion of mainstream media.  I dress oddly.  If I’m correctly identifying characteristics of hipsters, I’m on the way!

The glasses.  We must begin with the glasses.  When I was 16, I determined that I never, ever look like myself when I wear glasses.  It didn’t matter which pair of frames I picked, people always stared at me in glasses as if they were trying to figure out why I looked like an inaccurate version of myself.  So, I decided to go all out.  I got the biggest, most terrible, large black frames I could find.  I wanted glasses that were so prominent that they were the obvious thing obscuring my face instead of better ones where people couldn’t figure out why I looked weird.  The reason for looking weird was unmistakable.  Fast-forward 15 years.  After using frames that were electric purple, black cat-eye, brown studious, and rimless, it was recommended to me that I get “nerd glasses” because they were very “in.”  This is as backwards as genuine hipsters saying that they wear things that are “ironic” to be cool, thus losing the irony.  My self-named “nerd mask” glasses are in?  Sweet.  That means an increase in supply.  I am back to two “hipster” or “nerd” glasses (one black, one powder blue) that are very reminiscent of ones that I had when I was in high school (the ones that my mother described as an effort for me to try to be ugly on purpose).  It’s really out of necessity that I wear glasses, but if I can get hipster cred, so be it.

Coffee.  I love a good, hot beverage.  I frequent coffee shops.  They have the beloved hot beverage and pseudo-office workspace.  I don’t like the taste of old coffee residue that comes out of household coffee makers from the second use and beyond.  I once heard of common hipster practice of being so pretentious that they only drink fresh coffee from a French press.  That’s sort of true for me.  Here’s the reasoning.  Old coffee is gross; fresh coffee is fantastic.  So, the rule is that I will use a coffee making apparatus if all of the parts can be soaked and then washed in the dishwasher.  I have a French press, a stovetop espresso maker, and a Turkish kettle.

Now, the next one confuses me.  Making pragmatically natural choices (natural childbirth, choosing herbs over medicines that I can’t pronounce, etc.) sometimes earns me the title of hippie (or neo-hippie) but it’s often associated with hipsterism.  Whatever it is, it’s a practice that I will continue to embrace.  I think that the hipster part might come in when naturalism meets craftiness, like making laundry detergent and altering thrift store clothes at home (being super cool and keeping things out of landfills and all).  Not just using a natural product, but making it.  Bonus points for a craft that has an aroma of Pinterest is made from eco-friendly, materials where I can say, “That is sooooo much better than the conventional method.  I’m never going back.”  I’m still not sure on this one, but I might qualify.

Concerning media, I don’t own a TV.  I don’t have time to watch it.  Hipsters don’t like mainstream stuff.  Check.  But they instead like indie stuff.  Hmm…gonna have to work on that.  I don’t listen to enough of a variety of music or read a variety of books (they’re mostly of the same themes).  Frankly, I’m not sure what hipsters are supposed to be into, just that they’re not interested in things that the majority of people like.

Being a professor, I thought that dressing like a librarian was very appropriate.  A couple of years ago, I was told that everyone dresses to fit his or her personality…except me.  I was much too drab for my eccentric personality.  Furthermore, I was not pulling off “librarian;” I was turning it into “dead librarian.”  The project of rebranding me began.  I asked for characteristics so that I may replicate what was being done to me.  Sometimes, there was a blessed pop quiz (I love quizzes.).  Now, I usually feel like I’m wearing a costume.  That’s okay.  I am not naked and people look me in the eye assuming that I’m conscious enough to clothe myself so weirdly on purpose instead of the dead librarian before where people treated me as though I was scary and probably devoid of compassion.  Whatever.  If one is not astute enough to be trendy, she might as well be consciously eccentric.  I typically find weird things at thrift stores and swaps (because I’m a cheapskate) that other people wisely overlooked.  Uniqueness is a characteristic that hipsters strive for, right?

Let me be clear.  I’m not saying that I fully understand all things hipster nor that I’m a card-carrying member.  I’m just saying that I have enough characteristics to give it the good ol’ college try.  Finally, this will come to fruition when I seem capable of participating in relating to the general population.

 

I started scribbling (digitally).

It really had nothing to do with January first, but the beginning of a new semester (because that’s when I clean out my planner).

The scribbles turned into sub points of four categories of resolutions.

Spiritual

  1. Listen to the (whole) Bible

 

Personal

  1. Spend more time with kids
  2. Blog more
  3. Figure out how to love work
  4. Become a hipster

 

Physical

  1. Weekly 10k
  2. Google “better booty”

 

Academic

  1. Read hunger games?
  2. Spend three weekly events learning music

Then, it took form and became a lot of words.

Spiritual

Listen to the whole Bible – I have always had success with auditory learning.  I used to listen to large chunks of the Bible (instead of read) to increase my reading comprehension and recollection.  I drive a lot, so I have more time to listen than to read anyway.  So, this isn’t as daunting of a task as it may seem.  I need an audio Bible and a reading plan to make it perfectly palatable.  I installed an audio Bible on my phone and started thinking about what reading plan I could use to accomplish this goal.  The interesting part of this resolution is that I picked up my phone (as a passenger in the minivan) to look up plans to read the Bible in a year.  My phone vibrated before I hit the search button.  My dear friend sent a message to a bunch of ladies asking us to join a group where we would read the Bible together in a year.  She had picked out a plan and spearheaded the creation of a discussion group.  She is my easy button.

Personal

Spend more time with the kids.  This one is a no-brainer.  These awesome little people aren’t getting any smaller.  This one might be described better as “more saying no to work and yes to the kids.”

Blog more.  Done.  Now, I need to continue this therapeutic practice instead of making lists of what I would blog about if I took the time.  I doubt that anyone reads this but my husband, but he thinks it’s funny and I get words out of my head.

Figure out how to love work.  Work is not what I wanted work to be.  The work that brings home bacon is time consuming and becoming more so.  It’s gotten bigger than the job that I signed on for with phrases like “We think that you would be great for this new task and we think that it should be part of your 40 hours.”  And on the flip side, “Well, we’re not going to give you more hours to use for staff (the hours that I would be now busy with all of my new tasks).”   I really appreciate that they think that I can sneeze magic rainbows and make it work, but every magic rainbow that leads to a success at work is a look of disappointment from my children or my husband treating me like I’m an outsider to the groove that they have going in my absence.

I love the other “work” though.  It brings little to no bacon, but I love it.  That’s where I’m alive.  The only problem with that is that my family can’t seem to handle me being gone for the little bit extra to do job #2.

The thing about the bringing home bacon job is that I think that it’s what I’m supposed to be doing right now.  My gut says that I need to be here.  Furthermore, as long as I’m there, I’m thrilled.  Every morning, I begrudge going.  Every night, I regret that I wasn’t home.  But I love my job while I’m there.  Therefore, I need to accentuate the positives and find fixes for the negatives.   I don’t like the commute?  Listen to the Bible.  I don’t like the extra time?  Leave and play with the kids instead.  But I need to be happy with the job where I’m going to be spending a large portion of my life.  Happiness is a better choice than misery.

Become a Hipster.  This one requires a longer explanation.  But I think it would be occupationally and possibly socially beneficial.  I need to learn how to do that though.

Physical – Let me preface this by saying that I read an article on New Year’s Eve that used the term skinny-fat.  This refers to one who is reasonably small and therefore appears to be skinny when fully clothed, but is much too unhealthfully flabby where it’s hidden.  I’ve lost 45 lbs.  I’m hearing, “No!  You CAN’T lose any more!”  I beg to differ.  Actually, my wads of jiggle beg to differ.  It’s not about small.  It’s about replacing jiggle with strength.  Between bellybutton and knees, major changes need to take place.

Weekly 10ks. I have run an experiment 3 different times in the last decade and a half.  Every time, I’ve reached the same conclusion.  Running makes me thicker; walking makes me slimmer.  This was a painful conclusion because outside of the experiment, walking seems like the wussy version of running.  Who wants to be a wus?  I have decided that I need to change the parameters of the experiment.  I called the distance the constant and the activity the variable.  So, a three-mile walk was compared with a three-mile run.  However, research suggests that mom metabolism doesn’t reach a fat-burning zone until 45 minutes into the cardio.  A 3 mile run takes less than half an hour.  That’s not enough time to get into a fat burning zone.  So, the new experiment is to make time the constant (well, time range) and distance the variable.  Cardio activities should take between 45 to 75 minutes.  At least two activities per week need to start with a 10k run.

I must add that for the first time in years, I have lost enough weight that if the experiment goes awry and I get thicker, it won’t crush my soul.

Google “better booty.”  I’m not really sure what that means (hence the googling), but two things are for sure.  1) No matter how small the rest of me becomes, this thing will always be large.  I should probably be a better steward.  2) I have a long list of stuff to work on already, so this one is not urgent.  So, it’s not a January goal, but maybe a June goal.

Academic

Read Hunger Games?  Let me explain the question mark.  I have a hard time calling fiction of any sort academic.  It’s still reading, so it has academic potential.  However, fiction (reading that which is not factual) seems counterproductive academically.  Now, I think (the scheme that so far resides in my head) that the path from nerd (current state) to hipster is bridged with geekiness.  That is, things that have the aroma of nerdiness, but have saturated popular culture that they warrant a fan following.  Then again, from what I understand about Hipsters, I need to read the series prior to becoming one so that I can scoff as if it was some unimportant rite of passage that was so last fad.  Therefore, it’s still a question mark.  Then again, I thought that of Harry Potter.  I was going to read it to preview it for my young son.  I was captivated.  For the first time in 25 years, I read fiction willingly and it was intended for children.

Spend three weekly events learning music.  My brother-in-law drew my name for Christmas.  He gave me a piano arrangement book and then goaded me for not sight-reading fast enough.  (FYI, I doubt that he could find 5 Facebook friends who are not professional musicians who sight-read anywhere near as well as I did.)  It’s about the level that I played when I stopped spending time learning new music (end of high school).  So, really, it’s a perfect starting point.  I need to grow that skill back to where it was.  It’s merely wasteful not to do so.  So, I want to spend three sessions (no specific time, just until I’m done) per week learning more music as opposed to playing the same things over and over by memory.  This resolution is vague (not piano specific) because I learned the viola conceptually when I was 25 and promptly put it down.  Now, I still sound terrible and I still have the tapes on it like a middle-schooler.  Also, my left hand understands guitar chords, but my right hand thinks strumming is weird.  So, there’s LOTS of room for musical improvement.