Sunday, October 31, 2010

How to Raise Your Adult Children—If You Want Them to Hate You

So, I got a review copy of this book, How to Raise Your Adult Children. Now, I have to tell you, I am really tickled when I get review copies of books through my blog. I once got one about Nazis and Jews and condoms, which is still sitting on my bookshelf unread (which probably says something about the appeal of the book). Anyhow, this book sounded pretty interesting and who better to review a book on raising adult children than an adult child?

Well, this adult child is glad the authors of this book are not her parents. Their advice is sort of confusing to me. They don't think it's OK for parents to always pay for dinner when they take their adult children out to dinner, don't think that parents have any obligation to pay for their kid's college even if they can (and specifically think grandparents shouldn't help pay for their grandkids' college just to teach their own children a lesson for not saving), think that parents always know how their kids' relationships are going to turn out, and think that parents should convert their kids' bedrooms into something else the second the kid walks out the door to college.

One of the authors is a comedy writer so the book is supposed to be funny. It's not. The other writer is a marriage and family therapist who suggests that pretty much everyone needs therapy. Now, don't get me wrong, I think mental health counseling is incredibly important, but I'm not sure the daughter in her first month of college who calls home multiple times a week needs therapy nor does the grandfather who doesn't mind babysitting his grand kids every weekend.

Now, I'm not saying I know everything about raising adult children—or even children children—and certainly the authors occasionally call parents out for being stupid or ridiculous or something, but they don't give adult children enough credit. Because you know what adult children are? Just people. People who sometimes make good decisions and sometimes make bad decisions and sometimes need a helping hand from the people who love them.

(And for the record, my parents did not pay my college tuition and I don't have a bedroom in my parents' house, but my parents pay when I eat out with them and they will owe me as much babysitting as I ask for considering how much babysitting I did for their children.)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Bizarre and Wonderful World of Shoes

I just discovered "shuella"—that is, a shoe umbrella. It is a hideous contraption. I'm not sure how it works or why anyone would try to make it work. Is it so hard to wear regular rain boots and carry your heels? Would anyone who is so vain as to want to wear beautiful shoes in inclement weather stoop to wearing these on their feet? The answer is no, and this is coming from a girl who ruined two pairs of flats last year before she finally bought her super-cute rain boots

These, though, are genius.

In Which I Learn Some Health Stats

I've been extraordinarily exhausted lately even when I get what should be sufficient sleep. After that went on for a few weeks, when I didn't really have time to be sleeping at all, I went to health services on campus. The doctor suggested that I was just stressed out. When I tried to tell her that I know stress, hang out with it every day, and this is not stress, she seemed skeptical at best but took some blood. All the tests came back negative. She again suggested stress; I again reiterated that if this was how my body reacted to stress, I'd know it by now. She said there were some tests for rarer conditions that she could run. Those rarer conditions? HIV and ... mono. Now, I assured her that HIV seemed highly unlikely (considering...), but why in the world would she wait until the second blood test to test for mono? The tests haven't come back yet, so I don't know whether I have mono or not, but I'm just saying that, in the scheme of things, when a student comes to the doctor complaining of extreme fatigue, shouldn't mono be up there at the top of the list? And is a USC student really just as likely to have mono as HIV?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

1 a.m. Thoughts, Sense Not Guaranteed

At this very moment, I should be constructing a survey. It would help if I knew what the survey was supposed to be on. [Insert shameless idea solicitation here.] In the next week, I have four papers due, which is clearly why I am blogging right now instead of frantically tearing out my hair while trying to read a book I have to review and present on Friday. I'm afraid if I go to sleep now, I'll oversleep in the morning, so clearly the solution is not to go to sleep anytime soon. All of this makes sense in my head. And I'd really like to bake, but I don't really have time even though freshly baked cupcakes (and the physical exertion of creaming butter) may make me feel better. Also, I have eaten rice cakes as a meal at least three or four times in the past week, which I'm pretty sure is not the most nutritious thing I've ever done in my life. Then again, I've probably eaten chocolate for a meal, too, and a few weeks ago I had a mint-chocolate-chip ice cream sandwich (so many hyphenation questions that my brain is going to explode) for breakfast, so maybe rice cakes are a step in the nutritional right direction.

If I read another 10-12 articles (or however many I have opened on my computer) tonight and can come up with a survey-construction hypothesis, then I can go to bed satisfied (and turn off my poor computer, which is begging me for mercy; I had to leave it on over Shabbos because I had downloaded a ridiculous number of articles and didn't have the patience to organize and save them all). So, here's to hoping for some rest for me—and my computer.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pumpkin Season

“Men are like pumpkins. It seems like all the good ones are either taken or they've had everything scraped out of their heads with a spoon.”

Pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting in honor of yesterday's pumpkin carving (which, unlike my first pumpkin-carving experience, did not involve a semicolon). Let's just say the can of organic pumpkin that went into those cupcakes was ridiculously expensive, but apparently there is a canned-pumpkin shortage, so I took what I could find—at the second supermarket I tried.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pomp and Circumstance

USC inaugurated its 11th president on Friday. I was mostly worried that parking would be a problem (it wasn't, which maybe had to do with the fact that I got to school at 7:15 a.m.), but I did watch the ceremony from the Ph.D. dungeon. (This had two advantages: I could use the inauguration as background noise while reading about sensemaking in organizations and I didn't expose my hair to the unusual-in-L.A. humidity.) But even while watching it from the relative comfort of a place where somewhere around 80 grad students spend a ridiculous amount of time doing a ridiculous amount of work and eating ridiculously badly, the inauguration left me all warm and fuzzy inside. So, I figured I'd devote some blog space (and time that should be used to write about survey construction) to USC school pride (or some semblance thereof).

  • I learned from the inauguration that probably every USC event should be endured with a drinking game involving the phrase "Fight on" and references to the ancient city of Troy. I imagine this knowledge will come in handy in the future.
  • I am a sucker for a good speech about the importance of education and American opportunity, etc., etc. A good immigrant story helps, too. Nikias's inaugural address did not disappoint.
  • USC has the most international students of any American university, which is a nice statistic that it throws around whenever it can, but I recently learned that USC also has the most fountains of any university in either the U.S. or the world (I don't know which one and I really know how one would actually gather statistics for this). Pride in our fountains culminates with a senior fountain run, in which the seniors race to get wet in each of the fountains. It's apparently incredibly hard to make a good route for this because the maps are never accurate because USC is constantly adding more fountains to stay on top of this having the most fountains thing.
  • Obama clearly likes USC better than Columbia. He is speaking here next week (parking worries intensify) and seems unlikely to speak at Columbia despite the efforts of this group.
  • This is less USC-specific, but I found this quote in a paper I was reading about narratives and storytelling in newsrooms (you know you're jealous of my exciting life) and really liked it, so here it is: "It is important to reflect at this point on my story, the story of an academic researcher. ... I am cast, at various times, as fool (to think that academic research matters to people in newspapers), as villain (associated with one group or perspective, usually management), and sometimes as hero (telling the story that nobody else is willing to tell)."
And with that, I will leave you to go do my schoolwork. Or to bake pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Yeah, I want to do that.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Why 12-Year-Olds Shouldn't Be on Facebook

Or at least why you shouldn't be friends with them on Facebook:

A guy I met on Shabbos friended me last night. To which my 12-year-old sister commented for all my (and I suppose her) Facebook friends to see, "your new boyfriend." She then deleted it and now denies it was her (which maybe it wasn't, but I don't know who else has access to her Facebook account—I mean perhaps another sibling, but...). It's no secret that 12-year-old sisters are bratty, but Facebook lets the whole world see their brattiness. The joys of technology.

Sister for sale?

Friday, October 08, 2010

Wearing White Shoes and Hiding My Underwear

Jezebel tells me that going to college will not make me a "miserable spinster." But will going to grad school make me one?

I have decided that since L.A. does not have seasons and people here wear Uggs in the summer, I can totally wear white shoes after Labor Day.

A piece on what USC students wear reveals they own designer bags, shop at H&M and Forever21, and have useful fashion advice like " "Don't wear anything you don't like," "Don't get caught up in the USC paraphernalia,"  "Never wear heels," "Dress however you want," and "hide your underwear."

Thursday, October 07, 2010

אנחנו מאמינים בני מאמינם

I get uncomfortable when I see news about women being forced to cover their hair or forced not to cover their hair. (And, yes, the anecdote in the article that spurred this post about immodestly dressed women being spray-painted bears a striking resemblance to what sometimes happens to some women in Meah Shearim who are deemed inappropriately dressed.) In Reading Lolita in Tehran (awesome book, btw), the author talks about the symmetry in the fact that she so viciously opposes the law that forces her to wear a headscarf just as her grandmother opposed the law that prohibited her from doing so.

This post, though, is not about hair-covering (though the slew of three-day yom tov this year—and next—did have me wishing I had an excuse to cover my hair) so much as it is about religion. I guess what makes me uncomfortable is anyone being told how she should worship and how religion should affect one's life—not because I don't think religion is important but precisely because I think it's both important and an intensely personal choice.

The aforementioned slew of three-day yom tov combined with the school I had to miss for it did have me complaining a lot. Which (combined with the paltry number of times I made it to shul, not that women have an obligation to go to shul, but...) made me feel like a bad Jew. After all, yom tov is supposed to be enjoyable, not a nausea-inducing stress fest.

Yom tov also had me answering a lot of religion questions to school friends (i.e., "Why have you dropped off the face of the planet for the last month?"). This, plus seeing Leap of Faith (a musical about a crooked revival tent preacher) and the latest episode of Glee (in which a grilled cheese sandwich with the face of Jesus leads to some surprisingly good discussions on faith) have had me thinking about religion a lot (or, rather, thinking about religion in a different way than the day-to-day being an Orthodox Jew requires thinking about religion).

My brain, though, like my life and my room is a little messy right now and can't be cleaned up until I first write a literature review about Facebook and outline how I'm going to talk to my undergrads about sex in the media and maybe lose the weight I gained over yom tov and call my 8-year-old brother whom I've been ignoring...

So, let's call this a placeholder for a more thought-out post on religion.

Monday, October 04, 2010

This Is My Life

The next few days/weeks are going to be quite painful, but I bought a new alarm clock (so I can pretend the problem is my perfectly functional alarm and not my complete inability to get work done).