Lately I've been struggling to find blog fodder. Well, not really struggling to find it as much as struggling to piece together a coherent train of thought that leads to a single conclusion, instead of a random smattering of unrelated weirdness that leads nowhere.
7 Quick Takes.
The idea here is to take the stumpy little ideas that are floating around in a blogger's head, gather them into a tidy group of seven (why seven? Well, why not?), throw a number above each one, and call it a post. The beauty of this is, it doesn't have to lead anywhere. In fact, it's almost better if it doesn't!
Well. As all my friends know, I have no trouble coming up with pithy observations about random stuff.
So I'm giving 7 Quick Takes a shot. Sing out in the comments if you think it should be a regular Friday feature.
(The idea of 7 Quick Takes Friday comes from blogger Jennifer Fulwiler, who hosts it weekly at her site, Conversion Diary.)
OK, enough introduction. In the words of Peter Pan, "Off we go!"
Somehow I overlooked the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall on November 9th. I really should have blogged about it. I'm still amazed that it happened.
I visited Europe as a kid, and in my mind, I can still see that horrific wall standing as tragically solid as it did in 1972. But there's a section of it permanently installed in the lobby of our local public museum that reminds me that it's down. It's a surreal experience every time I see it.
And speaking of walls...
I've blogged about removing the wallpaper in my master bathroom. I haven't, however, blogged about finishing that project. That's because I haven't.
I stalled out partway through the project and haven't been able to bring myself to get back to it. Which means the walls look like an unholy mess. (My fingernails, however, look great!)
It seems the original paper was applied to walls that had not been primed first, so removing it has taken hunks of the drywall paper off. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to get the walls smooth enough to look good under semi-gloss paint.
But I may have found the solution in... more wallpaper. This time, it's paper that looks like old-fashioned beadboard, which is a look I've always liked.
Maybe this project will eventually be completed!
I've been reading the archived entries of a blog called The Julie/Julia Project. This is the blog that became the book that became the movie Julie & Julia (...that lived in the house that Jack built).
It's interesting to see the blog page, formatted just as it was in the movie. Reading the blog is almost like being there and watching the whole thing unfold. But that by itself wouldn't be enough to keep me interested. Julie Powell is just a really good writer.
Here's the link to the first post in The Julie/Julia Project. (If you follow it, be forewarned that Julie uses four-letter words as liberally as Julia Child used butter.)
Speaking of food... and blogging... and blogging about food...
This isn't a cooking blog, but there's something I make all the time that is so simple, so basic, so fundamental, and yet so mysterious to most people, I feel I must share. It's life-changing.
I'll post a recipe soon. Like maybe tomorrow. Stay tuned.
And now, for something completely different.
Christian psychologist Phil Monroe recently blogged about psychological testing. He observed that people tend to either: 1) overestimate the value of tests, or 2) dismiss them altogether.
I've seen several tests used in different settings, and of the two camps Monroe talks about, the people in the first camp scare me the most.
I went to the library last week. That in itself is no surprise — I go there often. But when I looked at my stack of books, I realized I had unintentionally gathered no fewer than five books on self-improvement in various forms. Evidently I'm gearing up for some serious New Year's resolutions.
I just completed my first course toward an addiction counseling certification (CAADC). Since I've worked and done research in that area, I felt like I already knew quite a bit about addictions and substance abuse. Oh, how wrong I was.
The class I just finished dealt with some of the physical aspects of substance use. I've been away from that aspect of the counseling field for several years, so it wasn't a surprise that much of the information about stimulants (or uppers) and depressants (downers) was new.
But when we got to the chapter on alcohol, I thought I was in familiar territory. I was in for a shock. I knew about alcohol's effect on the liver, but I was stunned to read about the toll long-term heavy drinking takes on the heart. (Trust me, you're glad I didn't post a picture here.)
I also had no idea about the dangerous potential of heavy alcohol use in combination with seemingly safe over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen, ibuprofen... and aspirin. It seems the first can lead to liver failure, and the other two can lead to serious intestinal bleeding.
And yes, armed with these new bits of information, I'm a wonderful party guest. All set for New Year's Eve.