Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My favorite things

Ever notice how you get a warm feeling just talking about the things you like? It's an affirmation of yourself, too. I like, therefore I am. So make your own list and think it over when you're feeling blue (à la the song "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music). Turn over those objects mentally in your head for a little boost.

So here's my list, non-exhaustive, mind you...

Tea parties and all that goes with them.

And while we're on the subject of tea, I do love my delicate tea cups I bought in Bruges years ago that are such a warm burnt orange and rimmed with gold.

Muscari or grape hyacinth flowers. Adorably elegant with those little blue flowers.

Girlfriends! Need I say more? Here you see Caro, Marine and Karine, dear work pals.

My lime green dish-washing gloves.
They make me feel invincible when I plunge into grimy water. Washing dishes is a little more bearable with these babies.

Winter days that give you hope that there will be sun around the corner. Or that give you an excuse to stay inside and be cozy.

Picking up my muffin from school at the official end of the school day. I can do that for the next few weeks because my hours at the internship are shorter than when I'm in class.

I could go on, but maybe I'll save that for another post. In the meantime, I think I'll spread the joy of favorite things by tagging Crystal, Amber and Jessamyn to make their own lists, if they so desire. And, you, dear readers, I'd love to hear what's on your list, too.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Life is about tests

(... in the style of a Meredith Grey voiceover*.)

Sometimes (pregnant pause), life is about tests.

There are the tests you know you are taking, that you can prepare for. These last two weeks I had quite a few of those. In statistics, micro and cell biology, and environmental management. They are tests in the literal sense of the word. They evoke cramming and late nights or early mornings and stress. And relief when they are finished. Afterwards you get a grade that makes you smile or wince and has some kind of effect on your future. Or not. Or not as much as you thought, when you look back years later.

Then there are tests we all take, students or not, every day. But they are trickier because in fact they aren't official and there's no one egging you on to do well. Except yourself, or your conscience. Like driving. Do I switch gears now, do I let that other driver in, do I proceed into the intersection now or a few seconds later? A multitude of small decisions that may seem small but could have major, lasting effects on our lives and those of others. Who's to say these "tests" aren't more important than the written ones that we make notecards for? They are, in fact, more important. But we don't always see it that way at the time.

And even more subtle but perhaps the trickiest of all are those moments when others test us- test our conscience or patience. Like when Juliette woke up way too early from her nap on an afternoon when I really needed to study for an official test. And I found myself getting irritated despite my efforts to smile and be sweet and cuddly to her while she rotated around my study corner. We are tested, we are pushed, and we must rise above our irritation and prioritize (child over homework). And sometimes we fail and we grumble and rumble and we regret it. And we hope we'll do better next time.

Maybe the real test in life is just that: deciding which tests are really important to pass and which ones we can forget about. And that's something you won't learn in any school book.

*As far as TV voiceovers go, Grey's Anatomy is not so bad. Slightly sappy but rather insightful. It comes in number two on my official voiceover ranking.

Desperate Housewives gets third place. I always feel like I'm having a children's book read to me. Enough already with the heavily emphasized "yes..." or "indeed" before every other statement. But sometimes trite stuff rings true.

But my all-time favorite voice-over sequence was from Glee when Wil and Coach Sue have a fight in their voiceover. TV genius!