Playing Catch Up

Life’s been a little hectic of late, and I’ve found myself behind on filling everyone on recent events, so I’ll be back posting on relevant moments for the past couple of weeks (read: posts will be back-dated to a date appropriate to the circumstances of the commentary).

So, if you keep up with my posts, you may need to scroll back to catch everything.

Also, if anyone reading this is feeling overdue for an email, ramble, or related, I haven’t forgotten about you! I’ve got some topics noodling around and they’ll be heading out into the world soon…

Tiger Princess for the Win

Back from Girls’ Weekend (in Black Hawk), and, let me tell you, there are few things in life that compare to getting all dolled up with girls and trouncing around a few casinos.

Slots were played, dollars were lost (and won!), crab legs were consumed with reckless abandon, and drunken frat boys wanted to party with us (well, one drunken frat boy, but he was drunk and insistent enough to count as several). Needless to say, good times were had by all (except perhaps the aforementioned drunken frat boy, since we politely declined his invitations to party).

The big win for the weekend? Mine, surprisingly. While waiting on the girls to powder their noses, I sat down at a slot machine called Tiger Princess and fed it about $5. A few spins in, I hit some kind of outrageous bonus round. It proceeded to give me a dozen or so free spins, many of which won $10+ or provided me with additional free spins. Several minutes later, I had won about $140.

Combine that with some much needed girl-time, and that puts me in pretty high spirits going into the week. Thanks girls!

Learning Experience: Define Your Terms

RT, SL, and I returned from our whirlwind trip to Michigan yesterday. We followed up our arrival with brunch with my father (primarily arranged so that they could retrieve their pup from him).

Brunch saw SL and my father argue (in a friendly way) about global warming for the better part the meal.

Why were they arguing? Not because their views were terribly different, but because when SL said “global warming” she meant it as a generic term of an environmental occurrence as defined by research in the field, and when my father said it, he meant “Global Warming™” with all of the implications of fear-inducing propaganda and Al Gore’s growing pocketbook.

The result? They weren’t having a discussion about global warming. They were having two [very different] discussions about global warming.

 * * *

So, what have we learned?

Define your terms, people!

It is folly to assume that just because you’re using the same word(s) as someone else that you both mean the same thing.

Language is a fluid, changeable, cultural, interpretive adventure.

Words change meaning based on placement, context, pronunciation, and the person who uses them.

And defining your terms isn’t just important when discussing academic topics, it’s just as important when communicating with, well, everyone.

 * * *

Have you ever had an argument with a significant other or a friend that stemmed out of a simple miscommunication? Say, over conflicting definitions of personal or relationship boundaries?

Let’s take a look at a problematic term that comes up often in romantic relationships: cheating.

In most relationships (even open relationships), “cheating” is unacceptable, often to the point of being grounds for instant termination of relationship.

But, what is cheating, exactly?

Is it sex? Kissing? Flirting? Falling in love?

… maybe all actions that could be considered romantic or sexual in nature are completely off-limits.

… maybe flirting is cool, kissing is ok, but everyone better keep their pants on.

… maybe everything, including sex, is ok, as long as it’s disclosed and agreed upon beforehand.

Well, it could be any of these things, or none of them, or some other variation (and that’s what makes the term problematic – people tend to agree that it’s bad, but they don’t agree on what it actually is).

Here’s the thing: in your head, you probably have a pretty solid definition of what cheating means to you (and this applies to definitions of all kinds of things, not cheating exclusively) – and whatever that definition is, it’s the right definition for you. But does your definition match your partner’s?

More importantly, have you and your partner discussed your [potentially very different] perspectives of what actually defines this term in your respective heads?

If you haven’t, well, there’s no time like the present.

* * *

Transparency is important in relationships. All relationships (friends, family, lovers, colleagues). I’m not saying you should share your deepest darkest secrets with everyone you know, but transparency builds trust, and trust builds stronger connections.

So, if you’re having a conversation, especially if it involves a high-risk topic, put forth a little extra effort to make sure that everyone is on the same page and talking about the same thing. It goes a long way.

Weekend in Michigan

As noted previously, I was in Michigan this weekend for my cousin’s wedding, and a few things happened:

  1. My brother, RT, who was supposed to fly out with me and his girlfriend SL, instead ended up in New York for work all week and had to make his own way to Michigan. This involved a Friday flight… that was delayed until Monday due to weather.  It then involved a Greyhound bus… that was cancelled. And finally a rental car… which he drove from NY to Detroit.
  2. RT’s delay meant that I spent an extensive amount of time with SL (we’re talking like 7 AM until almost midnight when RT finally arrived in Spring Lake). My suspicions have been confirmed: she’s pretty darn awesome.
  3. SL and I found an amazing coffee shop in Grand Rapids, which we stopped in at on a whim after leaving the airport (a separate review of Schuil Coffee & Tea will follow).
  4. I learned that I am apparently completely incapable of parallel parking a rental car. Seriously, folks, it was bad.
  5. I had a surprisingly pleasant time reconnecting with my cousins, aunts, and uncles.
  6. While there was very little snow on Friday and Saturday, come Sunday morning (when RT, SL, and I had to head back to Grand Rapids at like 6 AM), it was practically blizzarding. If you’ve never had to drive on Michigan roads, in the snow, in a rental car, at 6 AM, you’re totally missing out on a thoroughly unpleasant experience.

But, hey, back in Colorado now… just in time for brunch with RT, SL, and my father. As always, this should be… interesting.

Weddings & Family

My cousin’s wedding was today.

It was quite a lovely event.

The ceremony was thoughtful, the reception delightful.

The Maid of Honor (her sister) gave a speech that was both tearful and heartfelt.

The groom performed a song that he composed for his new wife.

They really make quite a lovely couple, and I wish them all the best in their life together.

 

Aside: Events with my extended family always serve to remind me that I am very clearly the black-sheep-weirdo of the family.

Amusingly, this event saw me promising my cousin LF (not the cousin who got married) that, should I ever find myself getting married, I would be sure to throw an event that embraced my oddities and would provide a unique and unusual experience for my guests.

Honored

I was asked this week to be Maid of Honor for JF and ST’s wedding.

I accepted, of course.

I am very excited. And honored. And excited.

And, holy carp, there’s a lot to plan!!

Bridal shower, bachelorette party, emergency event kit, plus the wedding itself. Someone’s life just got a little bit busier.

And a toast… I think I have to write a toast. Perhaps with jam…

Being a Responsible Adult

I am a responsible adult.

At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.

And, I suppose, when I opt to work through my vacation day, on my birthday no less, and then work all night on Sunday rather than miss my deadline, then I suppose that I might not be wrong about that.

There are times in life when you come to the realization that you’ve really become an adult, and putting in extra hours (or working through your vacation) so that you minimize the negative impact on your fellow workers? That’s one of those adulthood-realization-moments:

Image from Hyperbole and a Half
Image from Hyperbole and a Half