28 December 2009

Wanna share?

You know what I just realized? My Christmas this year lacked the magic of Trader Joe's Truffles. I'm going to have to go get me a box...maybe during my lunch today...

22 December 2009

I have a confession...

I'm an addict. I know this may be surprising to a lot of you (a select few have caught me) out there, but I am. I know that we shouldn't allow ourselves to be that dependent on anything--but I NEED it. Anytime a question or doubt comes up I run to the only source of comfort I have--It's like a reflex for me now. I'd say I could stop anytime I wanted to, but I don't know if that is true. All I know is that I don't want to stop. Please, don't stop being my friend. I promise, it will come in handy for you too! There are much harder substances I could crave. There are crazier things out there. Really. It started innocently enough...Some may think it spiraled out of control, but...I need it... I know this may be shocking, so I'm just going to post a link to my addiction that way you don't have to look at it if your skittish.

PS. I may have another addiction. It's just starting, but I do LOVE it.

17 December 2009

Christmas Activities

For whatever reason, I am particularly craving holiday spirit this year. I know of Thuroughbread in Alta Loma/Rancho Cucamongs, the Festival of Lights at Riverside's Mission Inn, The Nativity Scenes on Euclid Avenue in Ontario, the Euclid Star, and The Living Nativity at Granite Creek in Claremont. Google/maps is advertising this, which could be an interesting way to pass time.

Can you recommend anything else? What are your favorite holiday traditions?

03 December 2009

Quote Me

I was going through my old drafts, and I found one from the end of August with this quote:
"Why are you trying so hard to fit in, when you were born to stand out?"
I'd started the post by keying in the quote, but that was as far as I got. I can't even remember where it was from. I just Google-ed it and was led to sites like these, which included the quote, but no source. I IMDb-ed it and got this. I don't remember watching What a Girl Wants, but I like Amanda Bynes, so it's a possibility. I'm not sure if I got it from that movie, I obviously liked that line.

It's funny how we focus so much on blending into the crowd. I'm sure I work harder at that than most people, but not many people want to too far from main stream society...We may be unique, with a flair, but for the most part we fit the American form (which, I admit, is broader than most other cultures' may be). But in high school/teen years especially it seems people really are "trying...hard to fit in." Why is that? I know that I did it because if I can blend in, I can avoid being noticed. I hate unwanted attention. I never know how to react. I need time to process things, and that time is never given in social situations. Maybe my desire to avoid notice shows that I was not one of those "born to stand out." I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing either. You need the rest of the "boring" crowd for that one funny person to be funny. You need the audience to have a show. Most of the time I am more than happy to be the audience. But sometimes people do it because they want to be accepted by the "cool crowd" (at least that's what the media tells us), which may indicate some social need going unmet (I think I've already bored-I mean- blogged enough about psychological needs.)

But there are people who really were "born to stand out." And some times these people need to be reminded of this. They need to be reminded that we love them no matter what they do, so they will feel comfortable on the stage. When we were younger, my older sister's friend was living with our family for a little while, and she seemed to understand this. She was always fun and outgoing, but she recognized that my brother was longing for a spotlight too. In his lack of understanding, he would try to "fit in" but was really annoying. My sister's friend noticed this bothersome behavior and would sing "(insert name here) needs attention; (name) needs attention." At which point we would all look at him, he'd tell his joke, or do his trick, or whatever it was he needed to get out, and then he'd be fine and we could go back to whatever it was we were doing before. That's all it took. He needed to stand out a for a few minutes and then he was okay. I have a friend now that I do that to. Generally I'm not so obvious about it (at least I try not to be), but every once in a while I cannot resist the urge to sing "(Name) needs attention. (Name) needs attention." And after he's had his time to "Stand out" we get back to whatever we were doing before.

This has turned into a different topic than it started out as, hasn't it? Oh well, Let's just follow the stream of thought and see where it leads us... I think it's sad that some people work so hard at fitting in that they forget that everyone is unique, and that's a good thing to be. Then there are others who are working so hard to stand out, that they forget that it's okay to blend in a little. I knew someone who was so anti-conformity that sometimes she actually did the opposite of what she wanted to do, just because she didn't want to be like everyone else. While I can respect and encourage individuality in a group, I also think it is important to follow your internal compass, instead of trying to avoid the paths of others.

I guess the thing that ties these random strings together is this: You shouldn't worry about what the people around you are doing, but rather strive to live your life according to what you know to be true. You can change if you see something you like in others, but these changes should come because you want to behave that way, not because you want to behave like them.

I guess I will have to try harder to be okay with who I am, so that I can stop worrying so much about what my reaction should be, and just act. I need to realize that the world doesn't revolve around me, so if I make a mistake, that's okay. People probably weren't paying that much attention to me anyway. I need to realize that the slights I perceive to be against me, don't really matter unless I let them. Whether or not they are aimed in my direction, I should have the inner strength to be myself in spite of others. I need to change because I want to improve, and not because someone told me to. I can understand being an example, and there are always people who look up to (or down on) you without your knowing, but really, we shouldn't worry so much about that. If you are living your life to make yourself happy with who you are, that stuff will work itself out.

01 December 2009

Homework: A Love Story

SIDE NOTE: This is loosely based on a factual story--I did change some things so it would fit the assignment's parameters. Just so you know.

After graduating from college, Karen accepted a job in Southern California. As she was getting situated in her new job and apartment she decided to visit a friend, in a neighboring city.(*1) They went to a church meeting together and that’s when her life changed. Jim was standing in the doorway of their religious chapel. He then did something that he would call very uncharacteristic: while it usually takes him a few months to think things over and to get to know her a bit better before he asks a girl out, Jim asked Karen out within two seconds of meeting her. He was already in a long-term relationship with a girl who was away at school in another state and therefore felt very secure and confidant that he didn’t need to work hard to meet anybody else. When he saw Karen walking through the hallway with a friend of his, he walked right up to them and said: “Hello Linda, who is your friend, and when are you going to set me up with her?”
“This is Karen—we met in the parking lot. She just moved to the area. How about we all play miniature golf on Friday night?” So, they went out on a double date on September 28th. She was away from her home and everything she was familiar with, so she was initially(*2) very flattered by his unsolicited attention. She became even more impressed with him as the evening grew cool when he went to get her jacket from the car for her(*3).
Jim looked at the relationship as “a filler relationship” while his girlfriend Charlene was away studying at a college in another state. Jim had been dating Charlene for almost 2 years and was slowly getting used to the fact that they would eventually get married, but there was never an engagement ring, nor a proposal. When Karen came along Jim considered it recreational dating: he didn’t see himself as breaking any insinuated vows-- it was more a matter of having fun and enjoying themselves.
Over the next 6 to 8 months, he progressively fell in love with her(*4), until it reached the point when he needed to make a decision. Over the next few days off from school, usually surrounding holidays, Charlene would write to Jim to inform him of her intended dates of returning home for short visits. Before he could come up with an excuse not to see Karen during that time, she’d inform him that she would also be out of down during that weekend. Up until that point he’d thought the “relationship gods” were smiling down on him. In reality, Karen had been finding out from Jim’s sister, who was also Charlene’s good friend, what Charlene’s plans were and would then plan to return home to visit her family during that time. Karen had known that Jim was dating someone else, but willingly pursued the relationship(*5).
Jim eventually realized that he couldn’t be that lucky for very long. Jim participated in a great deal of soul searching and personal evaluation, which led to a response one day while he was working at the rock quarry: he should marry Karen. This realization was confusing to him because he’d invested a lot of time and money on his relationship with Charlene(*6). It just didn’t make sense to him to practically start over with Karen when he’d already progressed so far with Charlene. Upon more thought he realized that one of the primary life goals he had made was to have a large family. This was something he could achieve no matter which girl he married, so why not Karen?
Jim’s decision was confirmed for him as he was saying good-bye to Charlene on a Sunday night following spring break when she would be departing for school, (with plans to welcome Karen home an hour later). Charlene informed Jim that she had a surprise for him, and would be staying in town for 3 extra days. In the blink of an eye Jim had a big decision to make about what to do and say. Jim knew he had to come clean with her so he could go see Karen.
As time passed, Jim just kept falling in love with Karen all the time. Jim and Karen shared a religious background(*7), which discouraged the socially prevalent practice of cohabitation(*8), and were married about 6 months later. Every time they did something together he found something else to love about her(*9)-- even when she had their first child. After 12 hours of delivery room labor, she held their newborn baby boy, and said “Next time(*10)….” He knew that if she would was willing to go through all that again there must be something special about her. He also loved the way she treated his mom. He felt she was better to his mom than he was: She was always including her, looking after her, checking in on her.
After they were married, Jim was reviewing Karen’s calendar from when they were dating and saw that one Friday night was Ken’s name, and on Saturday night was Jim’s name. And it was the same the next weekend! Jim no longer felt bad for his dual relationships during the courting days. He felt that Karen had done the same thing he’d done to her, even though she’d argue that it was just two dates with Ken. As time passed, Jim found ways to make sure Karen stayed happy, and she in turn kept him happy. They each had secure attachments to their parents, which helped in their relationship.(*11) Together they had 8 children, and while they occasionally disagreed, they made sure to work it out together before it became a bigger problem, and maintain a united stance in front of the kids.

*1 Karen was seeking to satisfy her need to belong, as Baumeister and Leary (1995) suggested; by finding a circle of intimate partners to establish friendships in her new city. The 1995 study showed that these interactions with others who love us are important to those who want to function normally in society.
*2 First impressions are very important, as proven by Sunnafrank & Ramirez (2004). It is often the decision of whether or not future interactions occur. Bar et al., (2005) found that it takes only 39 milliseconds to see anger in a stranger’s face. In 1/10th of a second is all that is needed to determine attractiveness, likeability, and trustworthiness (Willis & Todorov, 2006). Carney et al. (2007) researched to find that it takes only 5 seconds of watching a stranger have a conversation with a member of the opposite sex to determine extraversion, conscientiousness, and intelligence.
*3, 9 Assumptions that the partners are acting in accordance to the individual’s expectations is an example of confirmation bias, as explored by Snyder (1981). It was found that people want to be true, and look for examples that make them correct, more often than looking for proof that they are wrong. Levine & McCormack (1992) introduced a similar concept called the truth bias, in which people assume that their partners are telling the truth.
*4 Companionate Love as described in the Friendship-Based Love Scale created by Grote and Frieze, (1994) the scale tested couples long term love, which differed from passionate love. It is this friendship-based love which couples in long term marriage relationships described. Companionate love has more stability than romantic love (Sprecher & Regan, 1998).
*5 Davis et al. (2007) found that many people (54% of men, and 34% of women) world wide, participate in actions that are trying to attract someone who is already in a relationship, called mate poaching. Most men and about half of women have been “poached,” giving in to the advances and leaving trading their mates. Greiling and Buss (2000) suggest that allowing oneself to be poached is because the poachers offer more benefits than were found in the previous relationship.
*6 Rusbult et al. (1994) described how the amount of investment one has made in a relationship predicts the likeliness of ending the relationship. Higher levels of investment equate longer lasting relationships. Investments can be one’s tangible goods (furniture, dishes) left behind in a split, or intangible psychological goods (love and respect from friends) (Goodfriend & Agnew, 2004)
*7 Similarity exists in several different contests, as defined by Watson et al. (2004). In the above situation the similar religious background displays demographic similarity, which also includes age, sex, race, education and social class. There is also similarity in attitudes and values similarity. There was found to be a tie between the proportion of mutual attitudes and the level of attraction (Byrne and Nelson, 1965). The last similarity defined here is similarity of personalities. Those with similar styles and traits tend to have happier marriages (Gaunt, 2006).
*8 Research done by Bachman et al. (2001) showed that the majority of seniors in high school now believe that it is a good idea to for a couple to live together before they get married. This cohabitation is thought to be a way for the couple to get a better view of how they interact to determine their long term compatibility. Interestingly, Dush et al. (2003) also did a project which determined that cohabitation actually increases the couple’s risk of future divorce. Stanley et al. (2004) blamed this increase on a decreased commitment to each other. The lack of marriage vows shows that they want to keep themselves open to other options. They generally do; Treas & Giesen’s (2000) study showed that married couples tend to encounter less conflict and infidelity than cohabiters do.
*9 (see footnote 3 above) Confirmation bias
*10 Planning to continue the relationship in the future is a positive outcome of commitment (Weigel, 2008). Hampel and Vangelisti (2008) listed other qualities of commitment such as sharing, supportiveness, honesty, faithfulness and trust. Sometimes commitment is negatively instigated, and due to a feeling of entrapment or an obligation to stay put (Miller & Perlman, 2009)
*11 Miller and Perlman (2009) described attachment styles using 3 terms: secure, anxious-ambivalent, and avoidant. Those with Secure attachments easily adapt to new situations and relationships; anxious-ambivalent attachment styles develop into clingy, nervous and needy partners; and those with avoidant attachment styles often try to avoid close relationships and are suspicious of and angry at others (Bowlby, 1969).