Friday, February 26, 2010

7 Quick Takes: Volume 6

(The idea of 7 Quick Takes Friday comes from blogger Jennifer Fulwiler, who hosts it weekly at her site, Conversion Diary.)


The other day, while at the drugstore, I noticed something interesting.

Colors of cosmetic items marketed to women tend to be named after sweet treats.

Cherry Truffle. Dark Chocolate. Golden Praline. (I may or may not have been shopping for haircolor at the time.)

Obviously these marketeers know what they're doing. I mean, of course "Truffle" sounds much more appetizing than "Medium Brown."

(Here, I could launch into a big discussion of how this demonstrates women's complicated relationship with food and beauty... but I won't.)

Something about seeing several colors with "praline" in their names reminded me of the movie Where the Heart Is, where Lexie (Ashley Judd) questions Novalee (Natalie Portman) on her choice of baby names:

Lexie: Americus? What kind of a name is Americus?
Novalee: I wanted her to have a strong name.
Lexie: Well, I guess I shouldn't talk. I named my kids after snack foods: Brownie, Praline, Cherry and Baby Ruth.


Speaking of beauty products...

Carolyn McCulley wrote a great article on Botox and national security. She makes excellent points about Americans' obsession with looking young and how terrorists are taking advantage of the resulting Botox market.

More importantly, McCulley examines that obsession with youthful beauty in the light of biblical truth.

Serious stuff.

Still, my favorite part of the article is this wry observation:
I write this post with a bit of ambivalence, knowing the money I spend at various salons. That said, I have never been Botoxed. My dermatologist did inform me a few years ago that it was time to start, because it would keep my fine lines from becoming deep wrinkles. I frowned (deepening those lines) and shook my head. There was no way I was going to stick a neurotoxin in my face, I announced. I was sure that in 20 years, we'd discover why that was a bad idea. She looked at me placidly and said, "I hope not, because I have a face full of it." Maybe she was looking at me in wide-eyed horror, but I couldn't tell.

OK, so maybe I should talk briefly about women's complex relationship with food and beauty, if only to observe that this month marks the 27th anniversary of the death of Karen Carpenter.

Although many of us knew people with eating disorders before then, her death brought national attention to the issue. It didn't fix it, but it brought it into popular vocabulary.

But giving a problem a name is a far cry from solving it.


Like everyone else, I've been watching a little Olympic action.

When I was younger, my favorite events were all of the skating variety (figure skating especially, but also speed skating and hockey). Somehow in recent years, my tastes have shifted, and I find myself enjoying the skiing events more this time.

But I've never paid much attention to curling. Well, except the winter I lived within walking distance of a lake just outside Salzburg. Watching the little old Austrian men curling on the frozen pond was very entertaining.

The 2010 Olympic winter games may have changed the face of curling forever. The Norwegian curling team has introduced a fashion element that puts even the most outfit-obsessed figure skater to shame.

If you haven't seen them, prepare yourself for a treat. And maybe put on a pair of sunglasses.

Those argyle pants definitely make a bold statement.

I believe they're saying, "Hey, golfers! You're not the only athletes who can wear crazypants!"

(I'm so tempted to make a joke about the Norwegian team being victims of circus pants... but I will refrain.)


I'm still a fan of the figure skating events. It's the one time I can use words like salchow and lutz in conversation.

Not that I have a clue what I'm talking about.


One of my goals for 2010 is to eat five servings of fruits and veggies a day. A few years ago, our family bought a share in a nearby CSA farm. We definitely got our money's worth, and that summer and fall we had plenty of fresh veggies, herbs and salad greens.

This year I'm considering doing it again. If you've tried this, what did you like most about it? What did you dislike? And what did you do with the veggies that were more... challenging... to the family tastebuds?


I like movies. A lot. And I like quoting from them. (See take #1.)

Hardly a day goes by that I don't quote or paraphrase from a movie, either out loud or in my head. (OK, maybe I could go a week without quoting. If I were in a coma.)

One day a couple of weeks ago, something brought a movie quote to mind, and I found myself musing about this strange phenomenon.

And then a thought hit me:

If only I could bring scripture to mind as easily.


Friday, February 05, 2010

Of hammers, nails, and the practice of counseling

"If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail."

This week I began my private counseling practice. I should say I began the business side of it. The counseling side has been going on for a while.

A few weeks ago, after months of feeling immobilized by a Catch-22 situation — no office to see clients, but no clients to support the expense of an office, but no office to send them to, and so on, ad infinitum — an opportunity to sublet office space fell in my lap.

I should say, God dropped it in my lap, because that's exactly what happened.

So this week I opened a business account at the bank, placed an order for business cards and stationery, and started working on a web site.

Now that the idea of a practice is becoming a reality, this post from Christian psychologist Phil Monroe is an especially well-timed reminder for me. He talks about seeking a consultation with professionals outside his area of expertise, and how that experience reminded him of the maxim at the top of this post.

Even if you're not working in the counseling field, Monroe's observation applies — we tend to see things from the perspective of our own skillset. It's a humbling thing to admit we may not have the right solution.

Like the department store employees in Miracle on 34th Street, we fear if we tell people someone else has what they need, they'll leave and never return.

But sometimes, what a person (customer, client, friend) needs most is something outside our own area of expertise. In those cases, we serve them best by sending them elsewhere. In so doing, we demonstrate that our love for them is greater than our love for ourselves, our pride, our wallet.

And if it works the way it did in Miracle on 34th Street, their dedication to us actually increases, because we have shown true dedication to them. Ironic.

But it's especially ironic, considering Maslow's own commitment to humanism. Speaking of systems that don't have all the answers.