Musings for Thursday

Another random thoughts post…

The dishwasher finally broke. It had been struggling for a while, and now has ceased to get the dishes clean. Doing dishes by hand has reminded me of how utterly awesome dishwashers are. I dislike emptying the dishwasher, but I don’t like washing dishes by hand for a family of five either (and I’m not even doing all of them). Fortunately, the new dishwasher gets installed on Friday.

I hit NaNoWriMo 17k words yesterday. I wrote 1000 of those words in the final 30 minutes of my workday (5-5:30), and that was a distracted 30 minutes in which I checked email twice. This no editor-thing is revealing, if nothing else, how fast I type.

Simultaneously to writing my NaNoWriMo garbage, I’ve been going through my last round of edits on The Cortlandt Boys (the novel that will be published as an ebook in the next few weeks). Close to publication, this novel is reasonably polished. So it’s good to remember that at one point, big chunks of it were much like the NaNoWriMo nonsense. There’s a lot to be said for the editing process.

A review I wrote of a new book of essays called The Seven Deadly Virtues ran in the Wall Street Journal yesterday. If you’re a subscriber, that link will take you there. If not, you can Google “Vanderkam” and “chastity” and “WSJ” and you should get the full text. I’m not sure how often that particular combination of words has been typed into Google before!

I’m also at Fast Company writing about 10 Habits That Make Everyone Hate You On Social Media. It’s at just shy of 4k shares now. It turns out that lists about mistakes share well, especially if they’re about social media. I also wrote a piece on 7 Time Management Lessons From People Who Write A Novel In A Month. I like this latter piece better, but it has been shared about 98 percent fewer times. This is the dilemma of writing online.

I read in the Wall Street Journal yesterday that retailers have found that Elsa dolls and dresses (from Frozen) sell at a 2-to-1 clip over Anna dolls/dresses/paraphernalia. Since Anna is the heroine who saves the day, I’m not sure what this says about us. Blond and sparkly beats spunk? I was heartened to learn that the Disney executives honestly thought the ratio would be 1-to-1 and were caught off guard.
My 7-year-old was off school on Tuesday. He tagged along with me to vote. I hope my explanation of why I bothered to go vote for candidates who were definitely going to lose was reasonably upbeat and responsible.

I’m doing somewhat better on playdate scheduling. I’m an introvert who’s awkward about her own social life, so managing 3 other people’s social lives is not exactly a strong suit. On the other hand, one of the upsides of having multiple siblings who are very close in age is that life is a constant playdate. So I’m trying to cut myself some slack on this front.

Real Simple sent out an email blast yesterday on “8 Cleaning Mistakes You’re Probably Making.” I get it (see above about how lists of mistakes click really well). But I don’t think that fretting about the direction in which one loads utensils into a dishwasher will make life real simple. We are drifting into Martha Stewart territory here, not life simplification. (What would make my life simpler? Having a functioning dishwasher; see point 1, above).

17 thoughts on “Musings for Thursday

      1. I agree re: the appeal of magic powers. My 2.5 year old has started playing “ice powers” and pretending to freeze things “like Elsa.” She likes Olaf best, though.

    1. @sarah – sparkles are probably a big part of it. Her outfit is definitely more exciting than Anna’s, and as someone else pointed out to me, she’s the one who sings the Let It Go song, so maybe people are just so into that they want to be Elsa as a result.

      1. I did convince my 5yo to be Anna instead of Elsa for Halloween, but I think it’s the sparkles and magic that’s the draw.

        I am disheartened, though, at how both characters are drawn like barbie dolls.

  1. I agree with Sarah. I think Elsa’s outfit (once she “let’s it go”, at least) is a lot nicer than Anna’s. So that’s why little girls like it. My daughter, almost 8, is a fan of Anna, though. So maybe I’m doing something right 🙂

    1. @Rinna – definitely. We’re still massively into Sofia the First around here, so we haven’t had to choose a Frozen princess yet…

  2. I remember buying “Real Simple” a number of years ago, shortly after it began publication. I really wanted to like it. I wanted it to be a publication that would tell me how to live my life more simply, with fewer “things”, allowing me to unclutter my brain and my surroundings. Instead, it was a publication that seemed to be about how I could simplify my life by buying “the right kind of stuff.” Needless to say, I haven’t gone back.

  3. Referencing your appreciation for dishwashers, my wife and I moved into a new house with modern conveniences after living 10 years in a 1932 Dutch Colonial. It had no dishwasher. We are amazed (well, appreciative, really), of just how much of a timesaver having an automatic dishwasher is. Dishes no longer pile up and we can spend our time doing other things (the trick, admittedly, is ensuring those “other things” are actually productive or interesting).

    1. @David S – even if they aren’t productive or interesting, they probably still beat doing dishes! I’m so glad the new machine showed up Friday and is working just as it should.

  4. I just yesterday asked my daughters (9 and 3 1/2) why they thought everyone prefers Elsa when Anna is the one who saves the day, and they said it was the magical powers!

  5. One of my personal mottos: “If it can’t go in the dishwasher, it doesn’t belong in my life.” It was the first thing we installed in our first home, and after living without for a year during home construction I am so thrilled to have one again. Saves time, clutter, and putting my hands in a soup of greasy half-eaten food. Call me a princess, but I hope never to go back to living without one!

    1. YES, this is true for us too. We got rid of a bunch of the crappy plastic plates and stuff we were using for the kids because it all had to be loaded on the top rack or it would get warped. I also load all of the pots and pans even though they’re “supposed” to be handwashed.

  6. I liked your second piece better too! It can be so disheartening to find (predictably, again and again) what people love and what they pass over.

    1. @Emily – thanks! Yeah, I probably should have called the NaNoWriMo piece “7 incredible productivity tips that you’re not using.” That would have clicked better, but wouldn’t have really indicated what the piece was about…

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