Rapid Rabbit Reminder!

Pixabay: Alexas_Fotos. Free for commercial use. No attribution required.

I forgot to say Rapid Rabbit on April 1st.  I remembered on May 1st. And I’m reminding myself—and you!—tonight to say it on August 1st.

If you know nothing about Rapid Rabbit or Rabbit Rabbit, read my prior posts.

Or just know this: saying Rabbit Rabbit first thing on the first of the month will, according to lore and legend, bring you luck. It certainly brings me a morning smile.

If you forget, this blogger shares some ways to set things right.

 

Photo source: Alexas_Fotos on Pixabay


 

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How Four Numbers Made Me Feel Welcomed

Pixabay: 526663. Free for commercial use; no attribution required“What’s your phone number?” I ask a friend.

“5226,” they reply.

I’m visiting a different state, and being given only four numbers bewilders me. Then I remember where I am. Everyone in the area has the same area code and prefix, so the first 6-digits are all the same. It’s been that way for a long time.

Even though they have to dial 10-numbers to make any call—yes, even local ones—they give out only the last 4-digits when asked their number. It saves time and locals don’t even think about it. I feel honored I’m still treated as a local, even though I moved away years ago. But I have family here, come back regularly and our family roots go back a few generations, so that counts for something.

It’s one of those things that remind me of small ways I feel connected to a place. If I had no history with the area, the 4-digit response to my phone number question would make no sense at all. It would remind me of my outsider status, like hearing a foreign word and having to ask what it means.

Instead, my moment of confusion is quickly replaced with familiarity. Right, I remember. That’s all they need to tell me. The rest of the numbers are known. With that awareness, I experience a sense of being part of the group. They didn’t have to translate for me. I knew the language. This was still home.

 

Photo source: 526663 on Pixabay


 

Corn-on-the-Cob: Summer or Year-Round Food?

Pixabay: 1195798. Free for Commercial use; no attribution requiredWhy do I expect—and want—to eat corn-on-the-cob only during summer?

I suspect it’s because, growing up on the east coast, that’s when it was available. It was grown locally and sold at roadside stands. We’d grill up burgers, cut some summer tomatoes, shuck and boil a dozen ears of corn, slather on the butter and salt, and have ourselves an outdoor feast.

I didn’t realize how intimately I associate corn-on-the-cob only with summer until this year, when corn started to show up in the grocery stores. I never think about corn-on-the-cob except in the summer. I don’t crave it in the winter. I don’t look for it in the spring.

Then it struck me: I don’t want to be able to buy corn-on-the-cob during any other time of year.

For me, corn-on-the-cob is a summer food, like fresh peaches and real tomatoes, that only taste good when grown locally and seasonally. It’s a pleasure to be savored; appreciated partially because of its limited availability.

If corn-on-the-cob was suddenly available year-round, I suspect it would imitate winter-grown tomatoes: looks good on the outside, but taste-less on the inside.

Then I wondered, why isn’t corn-on-the-cob sold year-round?

Every other type of produce seems to be sold year-round, grown in another country and shipped to the U.S. And with corn, it doesn’t even need to be imported; we already grow a ton of it in the U.S.  Yes, most of it is used for other purposes, but…still.

So, given it’s already being grown, why isn’t corn-on-the-cob sold year-round?

Or maybe it is? And I have a blind spot and simply don’t see it in the store because I don’t want to see it?

(If so, I’m sure it’s my only blind spot 😊)

How ‘bout it.

Corn-on-the-cob: year-round or seasonal?

 

Photo source: 1195798 on Pixabay


 

The Contraceptive Pill [50 Things That Made the Modern Economy]

Cindy picture

Humans have sex. A potential consequence of sex is pregnancy. When pregnancy is unwanted, people come up with creative ways to prevent it. Crocodile dung. Half a lemon as a cervical cap.

The birth control pill is one of those pregnancy-prevention systems.  Under typical use, the failure rate for the pill is 6%, versus an 18% failure rate for condoms.  The sponge and diaphragm have failure rates similar to condoms.  When the pill is used optimally, the failure rate is even lower.

What I found most interesting about this episode was learning about the profound social and economic effects the pill had on society, especially for women.  First, for married women; and then, for young, unmarried women.

The pill was first approved in 1960, but it wasn’t until the 1970’s that its availability expanded.  I came of age about the same time birth control became “the most popular form of contraception for 18 and 19-year-old women in the United States.” And this is when the economic impact started to be felt.

Continue reading “The Contraceptive Pill [50 Things That Made the Modern Economy]”

Black Dog

Years ago, driving down a dark road with my young daughter, we came upon a black dog in the middle of the road.

An utterance arose from within, without invitation. Sometimes life delivers succinct messages—no needless words—that remain permanently branded in our brains.

Pixabay: Pexels. Free for commercial use; no attribution required

Black dog.

In road.

At night.

Not good.

 

I tensed; swerved.

And missed it.

 

Photo source: Pexels on Pixabay


 

This is Not Good

Pixabay: OpenClipart-Vectors. Free for commercial use. No attribution required.My dad told me a story from his youth about hitting a skunk at night while driving his father’s car. When he got home and climbed out of the car, the skunk smell was strong. He smelled of skunk. He knew his mother would ask questions.

This is not good, he thought.

I’ve had that same thought; said the same thing when something went wrong: This is not good.

Like my dad, I don’t say, this is bad.

Why is that?

This is bad is shorter. To the point. Clear. Definitive. The opposite of not good is bad. Right?

But this is bad somehow sounds worse.  There’s good and there’s bad and this is bad is clearly bad.

This is not good subtly leaves open possibilities other than bad. Maybe this thing that is not good is actually…maybe…great? Not good slows down thinking; interrupts a clear and definitive conclusion of bad.

It gives some wiggle room; buys some time with the inner Judge.

Maybe that sounds like fuzzy logic, but it works for rice cookers, so I’ll take it.

And…I never learned how the skunk story ended.

But my dad survived.

 

Photo source: OpenClipart-Vectors on Pixabay


 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics as a Tool for Fiction Writers

Writing Resources2-Blog

If you’re a fiction writer and need to understand or flesh out a character’s job and/or industry, check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on-line resources.

The BLS site contains tons of information, but a particularly helpful resource for job information is the Occupational Outlook Handbook, which gives you job descriptions, work conditions, education needed, pay expectations and job outlook information; all things that can help you keep your character’s work from being flat. Or wrong.

In it, jobs are presented as individual occupations (for example, Air Traffic Controller) and incorporated within broader Occupational Groups (for example, Transportation and Material Moving).

Occupational Groups list specific jobs within that group, and include job summaries, entry-level education, and pay information for each individual job listed. Here’s a partial BLS screen shot of the Transportation and Material Moving Occupational Group:

139_BLS+JobInfo_Transp_7-16-19

The Individual Occupations section expands on specific jobs, providing more details, including a description of the job and work environment; what you need to do to get that job; state and area data; and occupations that are similar to the selected one. Here’s a partial BLS screen shot of the Air Traffic Controllers job:

139_BLS+JobInfo_AirTraffic_7-16-19

If you want to check their accuracy, read their write-up about something you know well. My own sanity-check (of accountants) left me comfortable that the site gives an accurate overview of that profession.

By poking around, you may even discover a job for one of your characters you never would have thought of.


Additional links:

 

Photo source: Walk the Goats


 

The Power of 10 Motivates

Pixabay: Clker-Free-Vector-Images. Free for commercial use; no attribution requiredYou’d think if I said I wanted to do something, I’d do it, right? Eat less? Exercise more? Sounds easy, and yet, when I take it head-on, it often doesn’t work.

Self-control, self-motivation, self-discipline all depend on one thing: the self. Problem is, in my experience of life, I often don’t have a single, dominating self operating. Different selves want different things, and the self that wants to exercise is met with resistance by a self that, well, doesn’t.

The self that doesn’t want to exercise doesn’t want to mind the self that does.

“You’re not going to tell me what to do,” it huffs, even though the you resisting is also the me wanting. It gets confusing.

Because I have multiple experiences in life where my own mind doesn’t agree with itself, I’ve come up with ways to overcome competing internal characters.  My trick-trash for uncluttering is one of them.

The Power of 10 is another one; a mental tool to help me navigate inner conflicts.

The Power of 10 defines success as 10-minutes of something: weeding, walking,  meditating. Whatever I’m resisting doing, I only have to do it for 10-minutes.

As long as I do it for 10-minutes, I feel good, because I’ve achieved what I set out to achieve.

Funny thing is, a lot of times I do more than 10-minutes. Willingly. Because the hardest part of getting going is, well, getting going; overcoming the inertia that keeps me from starting. Overcoming my own resistance.  Once the engine gets going, keeping it going takes less effort.

But if after 10 minutes I want to stop, I can and will. With a feeling of satisfied accomplishment.

It would be great to be that person who does what they say they want to do, without resistance. But I’m not. I was struggling to get back to blogging. I got this post written by telling myself I only had to write for 10 minutes today.

My fifth 10-minute timer just went off. Time to review, tag, and post.

The Power of 10.

 

Photo source: Clker-Free-Vector-Images on Pixabay