Thursday, September 30, 2010

Celebrate the freedom to read!

So, banned books week is almost over, what have you done to celebrate?! I know that not everyone celebrates holidays that are instituted by the American Library Association, but I believe that everyone should. Its ridiculous that in our "advanced" society (note the sarcasm) we are still banning, or worse, burning (gasp!) books! Its literary abuse in my mind!

So, Im giving you an easy way to send the week out with a bit of fanfare :) Just tell me what banned book you have rebelliously read!! Here is a list of some of the common ones, and examples of the illogical and absurd reasons why they have been banned!

The Color Purple by Alice Walker ~ It has been banned because of "sexual and social explicitness" and because it is "smut." Wow...

Animal Farm by George Orwell ~ because of "indecent images" and because "Orwell was a communist."

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut ~ because it "contains foul language and promotes deviant behavior" (side note: I bought a copy of Cats Cradle from a little used bookstore in a small town and when the owner scanned it he said, "Oh! I didn't know we had this stuff in here" with a scowl on his face! You own a bookstore buddy, respect them! I mean yeesh! they can hear you...)

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh ~ because it should be prohibited to use public funds to purchase material that promotes homosexuality and novels with gay protagonists suggest that homosexuality is natural and they should be taken from the shelves and destroyed (Im paraphrasing). I don't even know what to say about that one...

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll ~ What?! Apparently it is "disastrous to put animals and human beings on the same level."

In 1978 the American Heritage Dictionary was even challenged! Apparently it contained "39 objectionable words." Are you freaking kidding me?!

This is only a teeny tiny portion, there are lists here, herehere and here that contain many more. So, please share the banned books that you have loved and join me in my quest for literary freedom by pledging to read one soon!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Happy Monday {2nd ed.}

Here we go, I made it to the 2nd edition!! Yay me :)

Off the shoulder shirts
I am in love with these recently! I think a lot of this obsession is due to my new awesome owl tattoo ;) ...but I also just think they are such a cute mix of comfy and sexy, plus they just scream "fall!!" to me!

My owl tattoo!
Well doesn't that just lead nicely into my next item?! :) Ive had it for about 2 months now, but Im still just so smitten with it! Isn't he cute...?
(Ok, I have realized that a lot of people are finding this post through an "owl tattoo" search, which is great but please don't steal my tattoo people, what fun is that?! Find a good tattoo artist and get one drawn up just for you...that is why it is art!! Nobody wants identical tattoos, they are such a beautiful route for individuality!) 

Adorable dog photography
Ahimsa, where we take Zindle to her training classes, has a bunch of pictures up by Dane+Dane studios and I love them! What a fun job that would be!
Fall always brings me back into my tea drinking phase, and also makes me question why I ever left it! Adagio teas is one of my favorite online ordering sites, their simple black vanilla is amazing and Im really excited to try the spiced apple chai! Pikes place market also has a great store called Market Spice for getting teas. They have an entire wall of big glass jars that you can sniff your way through until you find the perfect tea! My favorite there is their Knockout blend of camomile, rosehips, catnip, and a bevy of other delightful stuff that takes me right into bed! Yum...

Ok, thats all for me this Monday! What is going to make you happy this week?!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Awkward Family Photos!

I am so addicted to the Awkward Family and Pet Photo websites! I just love the things that people choose to do in family pictures. Here are a few of my favorites....
Ok, the look on this horse's face is absolutely priceless!! 

This is just too beautifully and awkwardly dramatic to me. I want to meet this family!!

And here is my awkward family photo. I actually happen to love it though, its by far my favorite picture of us! :) Oh the 80s.....
Who else wants to share and awkward family photo or moment? Come on, you know you have one!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dream journaling...

I've finally started keeping a regular dream journal. For years I've said that I will do this, but always chose to sleep that extra 2 minutes rather than write my dream down (its 2 minutes, come on Crystal!!). I can't believe it took me this damn long! I find it so amazing to discover my patterns in dreaming. I love trying to decode the hidden meaning in my intricate unconscious world. (I know, there I go with that damn rich internal world stuff again!!) Plus, Im remembering everything is so much more detail now. When I read back on past ones, its like Im there again!

Does anyone else keep a dream journal? If so, what do you think about it? Have you learned anything interesting about yourself? If not, here are some tips. Do it right away! Its best if you don't get up or even turn on the light (if that is possible!). Simply by standing or sitting up, you further exit that space where your dreams occurred. Write any dream you remember down, not just the ones that you find intriguing upon waking. Sometimes that seemingly insignificant ones will give insight into fascinating themes later on. And finally, don't make too much out of it! Often our dreams are not what they seem at face value. So, when you dream about chasing a chicken down the street, don't think you need to go eat a bunch of chicken (or eggs!) the chicken is probably representing something elusive in your life. The fun part is figuring out what that is!!

ps: I love this video :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Happy Monday!! {1st ed.}

As some of you may have noticed, Im not so good at the weekly themed posts. I have tried furry fridays, and saturday photohunts...but I just don't seem to keep up with them. Quite often though, I find something that I am excited about or that makes me happy and I want to share it, but it's not enough for an entire post. Plus, I never post on Mondays and yet I really like reading other peoples Monday posts because they seem to set the mood for the week. So I thought to myself, what better way to get into the weekly groove than with a bright optimistic Monday theme?! So, here it is "Happy Mondays" (apparently Im not feeling too creative!). Im going to post a list of the random things that make me happy or that I am excited about for the week. Sounds cheery and fun right?! Lets find out....

New shows!
All my favorite shows come back this week, yay!
Castle ~ Have you seen this show? Its such a fun twist on the worn out police drama, I love it!
Modern Family ~ Only the best comedy out right now! (I would say ever, but nothing will ever top Friends!)
Glee ~ Ok, so there is a tie for best comedy! Ive been having Sue withdrawals...
The Office and Greys Anatomy ~ I love both of these, I wish they would quit scheduling them at the same damn time!

United States of Tara!
While we are on the topic of tv, I just discovered this show and it is awesome! If you have not seen it, go rent season 1 on dvd. Its about a woman with Dissociative Identity Disorder (multiple personalites) and it is such a great depiction of it. Its a comedy but yet they don't disrespect the disorder with insulting jokes (in my opinion anyways). I just love her family, they handle it perfectly and don't try to hide it. Plus they are working together to get to the root of why she split...I could go on forever, but basically its just awesome! (If anyone has seen it, who is your favorite alter? Im partial to Buck!)

This is my favorite season. I love it all; the weather, the leaves, wearing big comfy sweatshirts, lazy Sundays drinking coffee under a blanket, crockpot meals! I saw pumpkins for sale a few days ago and suddenly realized that it was fall, its funny how certain things start a season off for you. What marks the beginning of fall for you?

Ive been a bit out of the yoga practice for about a month due to lack of money...but I am determined to get back into it. I just love the feeling of being grounded and centered that always follows a good yoga class. In terms of self care, its right up there with therapy for me!
This video is amazing! I just ordered the Skidless mat towel that she is watch out, soon I will look like this!! (right.....I can barely do a shoulder stand! someday...)

Ok, thats Happy Mondays! What do you think? We will see how long it lasts :) Oh, and yes, I do realize that its technically Tuesday now, I just got the idea a bit too late! :)

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Remember care bears?! I loved them! Cheer bear was my favorite, I think I still have the stuffed animal that I carried around.....
Isn't this the cutest halloween costume!?

Any fun Halloween costume plans yet? I love hearing what people are wearing!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Book Crossing

Ok, so I know I have a few fellow bibliomaniacs out there in blog land! Has anyone heard about book crossing?! You can print or order these cute labels, then you stick them in a book and "set it free!" You can give them to a stranger or leave them in a fun place. Then you watch the progress online. How fun is that?! Plus a great way to save some trees and make someone's day. (I would be ecstatic if I found a free book!!) Who wants to sign up?! (ps: its free!) 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Proud to be an introvert!!

Yes, I am an introvert! People are often surprised to hear this, which in turn surprises me because I feel like I embody introversion pretty damn well! I have realized though that this stems more from a difference in understanding the nature of introversion, than in a misunderstanding of who I am or who I present to the world.

So, what does an introvert do when she wants to understand a concept better? Thats right, she reads a book on it!! I had a basic understanding of myself as an introvert, but true to my introverted form, wanted to grasp the whole picture. (Introverts like to know a lot about fewer topics, while extroverts generally want to know less detail about a broader range of topics) The best book that I found was called The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World by Marti Olsen Laney PsyD (side note; yay for PsyDs!!!) She is a doctoral level clinical psychologist, so she knows her stuff! (yeah, tooting my own horn here!) But, she writes in a way that is very easy to understand.

Here are some general concepts from the book that I found to be most beneficial in understanding myself and how I function as an introvert. (as you may have noticed, things directly from the book are green) The first major thing is that we are often misunderstood as being socially awkward or shy and introversion is often equated with social anxiety. This is not true, introverts actually do enjoy social interactions, just usually on a different level than extroverts.

1) One concept that I have heard before, but that I find the most useful is to think of it in terms of where you "recharge." Think of an introvert as a rechargeable battery and an extrovert as a solar panel. Introverts can function in social settings perfectly fine, as long as they have the ability to recharge at their home base. This means that we need the time to regroup and consolidate internally in a quiet and safe place where we can be alone (aka: home, bedroom, or some other private place). Extroverts on the other hand, recharge through social interactions, they soak it up like a solar panel!

When I finally grasped this concept, it was like a profound light bulb went off for me! I am able to have fun when out with people, but I have always had this urge that I call my "homing beacon!" Unconsciously, I get to a point where I need to recharge and leave the event so that I can go to my home base. I love that an understanding of this has brought it to the conscious level. Now that I know this and am able to take care of my recharging, I can function better in social settings. This used to cause me problems because I would not listen to my "homing beacon" and then my anxiety would come out in self-destructive ways (drinking too much, becoming irritated with friends, etc). I believe that it is when, as introverts, we do not allow ourselves this space to recharge (or as I call it, feeding our introversion) that is when we get labeled as having social anxiety and/or come across problems.

Another aspect of this point is that we place a lot of value on our home base because it is essential to our recharging and introversion feeding! This is why we generally don't like surprise or extended intrusions to our space. In other words, we are happy to have visitors as long as it is not for a month at a time and we have enough time prior to prepare ourselves.

2) We need time to process information before responding. So, its likely that we will never make good comedians because we are the people who think of a witty retort a few hours later! This is something that I have always been frustrated with in regards to arguments, either in relationships or when debating something that I feel strongly about. (Introverts often have very strong feelings about topics that they have a vested interest in, or are morally attached to) I have learned to compensate by writing my feelings down (often in bullet point, because Im a dork like that!) so that I can organize them before getting caught up in an emotional conversation.

3) We can take offense when we are interrupted. As you may have noticed, we don't talk a lot and are generally the listeners. This particular aspect of introversion is much to the dismay of my partner. Most people in our society are used to being talked over and talking over others. We have a very vocal society that is run by extroverts and this is one area where us introverts do not fit in well. Putting all the prior points together; we generally only open up fully to those who we trust into our emotional home base, we likely have strong feelings about the things we are willing to talk a lot about, and we take the time to process our thoughts before vocalizing them. So...maybe that helps to shed light on why we take it personally when someone interrupts us when we finally talk!

4) We don't function well under a lot of stimulation. My best example of this point; Costco!! I hate the damn place, but my extroverted girlfriend loves it! There is a Jungian concept that describes the differences in stimulation in great detail, but even with a full graduate level class I still do not fully understand it all. So, here is my watered down version. Introverts have a very rich internal world and are overstimulated by an abundance of external stimuli. Extroverts are fueled more by external stimuli than by their internal world, so they thrive on stimuli in the external world (remember the solar panel that I mentioned earlier). This is why I am overwhelmed by all the lights, noise, and crap in Costco. In fact, I usually stay at the cart and read a book (my on-the-go version of my home base) while Rachel goes out into the scary Costco world.

There is sooo much more that I could share because I am fascinated by this concept and how us introverts function in such an extroverted world! But, I will restrain myself :) The most important take home point for any introvert out there is to feed your introversion! Basically just remember that you need to recharge. Listen to your rich internal world (yeah, Im proud of that internal world thing!) and notice when it is telling you that you need some alone time. Figure out what works for you to recharge. For me, its reading a book, spending time in my office focusing on school work, or taking a walk. Then, when you feel like you are overwhelmed by all the stimuli that is in this extroverted world, take time to recharge. And finally, be proud of your introversion! I personally think that we have many advantages over extroverts (I mean come on, we have a "rich internal world!!") and we only need to understand ourselves better to be able to function effectively in this crazy extroverted world!

I highly recommend to anyone who thinks that they are an introvert, or anyone who is dating or close friends with an introvert, to read this book. Also, the most recent edition of Psychology Today has an article that summarized most of the information pretty well.

What do you think? Are you extroverted or introverted? Does it work for you? Did this introverted girl ramble on too much about her rich internal world?!
My idea of a perfect home base to recharge!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Just a snippet

I just realized by adding that "popular post" thing to my side bar that my most read post is the butt tags one! Huh, who woulda thunk.......

Update: I have been coveting the cute little blog "go to" buttons that I am seeing on everyone's sites. So, I made a few of my own, they are along the side bar too. You know you want one!! :)

Friday, September 10, 2010

"Greatness lives on the edge of destruction"

I was watching the Will and Jada Smith family on Oprah today (a rerun from May, I think?) and Will made this statement in reference to the amount of work his son went through for a movie. I love this quote!! I think it honors the significance of hard work and how the payoff of pushing yourself to the point of breaking is....well, greatness!

I googled it afterwards, assuming that it was a quote he borrowed from a philosopher or someone. From what I can tell though, it was an original Will! I did although, find a lot of controversy over it. Apparently people thought he overworked his kid, who was 11 at the time. I don't know, I think hard work is good and I find it to be far better than a rich kid who is handed everything in life on a silver platter...

What are your thoughts on it though? Do you think life should be easier? That "the edge of destruction" is a bit too far? 

Personally, I love it. I like to think that when I feel at the edge of my destruction, really I'm just that much closer to greatness!

(On a side note: is the Smith family not absolutely perfect? Yeesh!!)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Considering taking the homemade pet food plunge....

I have been making home made dog biscuits for a few months now. They are fun to make, I know what is in them (and therefore, what is going into my dog's bodies), I can make them into fun little dog, heart, star, and even cat! shapes, plus the dogs LOVE them!! This change was an easy decision, it costs less and is much healthier.

Switching to home made dog food though...thats a bigger decision! I've wanted to for quite a while for a multitude of reasons; I don't trust the dog food labels, I think variety is needed, plus the quality of what is put in pet food is so low, its scary. I was at Half Price Book's 20% off sale this weekend (side note; yay for 20% off at one of my favorite stores!!!) and found this book on making the switch. Ive only started reading it, but have made it through the introduction, which includes all the reasons why a natural diet is so important. It was exactly what I needed to push me over the edge! Did you know that road kill is occasionally used to make the lower end dog kibble?! Obviously that is one of the dramatic statements, but even the less disgusting information was surprising to me. It can basically be summed up by the realization that pet food labels that say "USDA inspected" are true in a disgustingly ironic way. The meat is inspected, but not in the way they want you to think, its the pieces that don't pass inspection that make it into pet food! This means that feathers, fecal matter, bones, and fat are the main ingredients making up the "protein" that our furry family members are eating. (Reading through this information also reiterates my decision to be a vegetarian by the way!)

So, how do I solve this problem and relieve my newly increased anxiety over what my furry family members are eating? I make it myself! This book also includes recipes and tips for making the change. I know I have a lot of other pet lovers and owners out there in blog land though. Has anyone else considered this, done it, know someone who does it, anything?! Im nervous that I won't include everything that they need, won't be able to do it, they won't like get the idea.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Apparently I really am an eternal student...

I just finished all my coursework and its not really having the relief filled effect that I expected. I have found myself looking for academic-y things to if this damn dissertation is academic enough!! I have actually caught myself on multiple occasions over the last few months contemplating signing up for foreign language classes! I have the community continuing education class websites bookmarked on my computer...hmm, a writing class or a review of classic literature?! Seriously Crystal, take a break from texts, deadlines, and tests!!! What is wrong with me? I was in Fred Meyer the other day and instinctively went to the school supply section. I actually started to cry when I realized that I didn't need to pick out folders and pens.

I guess I can give myself a little bit of a break. Folders, textbooks, and deadlines have been a huge part of my life for...well most of my life! Its a big change in my scholastically minded life to not have deadlines hanging over my head.

Im convinced that I will forever be intrigued by knowledge and searching for the next new bit of it to soak up. Someday, I will be able to enjoy it, taking classes I want to take and not acquiring an obscene amount of debt in order to do so. Im really excited for that! But right now I think I need a break, no more classroom learning for a while! I want to enjoy it again when I start; to be able to be fully excited to learn! Right now, its just habit and another thing to get through. But yet, its tempting....yeah, I have issues!

Oh well, I guess I still have this dissertation thing to keep me grounded for now.... (sigh)