Friday, April 5, 2013

Modern Day Parlor Game

C and I came up with a new game today. Our bathrooms have original 1950's tile complete with built-in cup and toothbrush holders. Wiggle always wants to use the toothbrush holders, but of course, modern day toothbrushes don't fit. C was telling Wiggle that his toothbrush wouldn't fit because "Toothbrushes have gotten wider over time. I have no idea why they have, but they have."

The statement made me think of all of the new, crazy, very specific non-fiction books that have come out in the last few years. Why not one on the history of dental care in America? The game is to pick the subject and then pitch titles.

I pitched a few -

Long in the Tooth, Short on Science: How Modern Dentistry has Been Shaped by Advertising

Uncovering the Tooth: The Connection Between Advertising and Dentistry in America

A Winning Smile: How America Kept, Whitened, and Straightened Its Teeth

4 Out of 5: The History of Oral Hygiene Through Advertising

And the winner...

Tooth Decay: How the Oral Care Industry has Impacted Dental Health (submitted by C).

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Baby Steps

First, let me say - I am not pregnant.

I am talking about baby steps in the mind. I have written before about my general tendency toward gluttony. It is a trait I have been unhappy with about myself, and something I have wanted to get rid of for some time. Recently though, I have been trying to embrace my gluttonous ways a little more. I mean, we are not talking about one or two traits here. I am gluttonous across the board, so it's probably better not to fight the trait outright, but instead to try and work with it in order to make changes in my life.

A few months ago I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. As self-help books go, I liked it better than most. Partially because, and this shows what a complete snob I am, she is smarter than many of the people selling the secret to happiness. Also, she didn't end up some kind of happy-zombie for whom turning a particularly stubborn frown upside down is as easy as walking on your hands everywhere. At the end of the book, she seems only slightly happier than she did at the beginning, but she has made a commitment to continuing to look for and embrace happiness. One thing she talked about that I liked was whether people are abstainers or moderators. She is an abstainer, meaning it is easier for her to totally cut something out than it is for her to try and moderate her behavior. I realized that I, too, am an abstainer.

When C and I quit smoking when I turned 30, it was like flipping a switch. After over 10 years of at least a pack a day, I quit cold turkey with little difficulty. I haven't had a cigarette since. Part of it is that I know I am like an alcoholic for cigarettes. One cigarette is not what I want. One cigarette wouldn't even be good, it would just burn my throat and make my tonsils swell. What I want is the tenth cigarette, so I don't ever have the first one.

Gluttony is other side of this coin. It's easier for me to make a full on commitment to something too. I can exercise EVERY day, read EVERY day, cook all our meals EVERY day, but once something interrupts the chain, the whole thing is lost. I don't know how to get back on track because the commitment seems so daunting. I mean, life is going to get in the way of things occasionally, and with young kids around, more often than not.

So my new plan is to throw myself with abandon into the planning of a project. Plan the garden that will supply ALL of our summer vegetables, make a reading list of ALL the past such-and-such winners, plan to DIY-finish the basement, etc. Then take the monster-future-oriented task and commit to a tiny, tiny step of it. I assume that for most of my pipe dreams, I will end up being happy stopping or staying at some point well before/below my crazy, too-large, plan.

So the garden will get planted, I will read more, the basement will get cleaned up, and if I never get to the end of my goals, so much the better.