Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Jewelry Is Still On Hold, So Here's More Kvetching

 My 89-year-old Nona has taken to watching Fox News in the last few years. Seriously, she has it on all day. The station numbers are worn off her remote. This in itself is bad enough, but she also is starting to show signs of dementia. Panic-inducing fear-mongering and flat out lies do not mix well with dementia and the creativity she used to apply to things like painting. She becomes fixated on the things she sees and sometimes fills in gaps with her own material, which only adds to her paranoia. She is convinced that Obama is going to take her health care coverage. She is terrified everyone she knows is going to get H1N1. When temperatures here didn't rise above freezing for a week, she was terrified something awful was going to happen to my mother, though she couldn't articulate what that was. 

Watching even the local news is scary enough, but Fox News goes beyond irresponsible in their neglect of the truth and decreasing individual quality of life for vulnerable populations. 

Boo, hiss! (I'm being flippant here because I really don't think there's anything to be done and I need to laugh or I'll get even more pissed off)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Catching Up: I Can't Post Pictures of Christmas Presents I Made, So Here's My Take on A Psychological Study

Wow, I guess I haven't been here in a long time. The creativity tide went out for a little bit, but I've been working on a lot of projects for gifts that have come out better than I expected. Unfortunately, this means I can't post pictures of them on the off chance that the recipients see them. At least one involves a clock hand. It's really cool! More on that later.

So, I'll take a moment to address this article at PsyBlog. The study at the center of the article is about how we respond to others' "unspoken expectations." Analysis of experimental results is subject to the biases and blind spots of the individual performing the analysis and I think this presents a problem here. 

I'll try to sum up the experiment. Half of the men in the study were given pictures of women rated 8/10 in attractiveness. The other half received pictures of women who scored 2/10 (the article said nothing about who rated the pictures). The men were told that they were conversing with the woman in the picture (over headphones and microphones). The women who spoke with the man who thought they were attractive spoke more animatedly and generally engaged in behaviors consistent with stereotypically attractive people.

The article states that the reason for this is that the women were responding to the unspoken expectation about their attractiveness, that the women picked up on the expectation that they were attractive or unattractive and were induced to behave accordingly. I don't see how the researchers made this leap. I didn't read anything in the article ruling out the possibility that the women were responding to the men actually treating them differently based on their attractiveness, which is different than women responding to a projection. Men and women both seem to treat attractive and unattractive people differently at times and perception of these behaviors could cause their response (eg., speaking more animatedly when one perceives interest on the part of the other person - interest that may be generated in part by the other party's response to attractiveness; there's a reason it's called a feedback "loop"). 

It also doesn't seem the researchers attached a value to how each male participant responded differently to attractive vs unattractive women, or even whether a man's perception of his own attractiveness impacts his response to women (I realize this could be another study in its own right, however, mentioning the possibility would be a good start).

This feels a little like splitting hairs, I know, and it could be two different ways of saying the same thing. However, I have difficulty letting assumptions about women slide. Research has a long history of misreading and misrepresenting the handful of women that have been included in psychological research. Women have been harmed physically and psychologically by these "oversights." One way to prevent these abuses is to raise awareness in the researchers and those who consume and/or interpret the research for mass consumption, where the biases and abuses are perpetuated. We have to stop the cycle somewhere, however briefly.

Friday, November 13, 2009


I was working so hard on my new idea, which looked really cool, that my neck and shoulders are tight and sore. This sucks because the first earring has a flaw (thread wrapped around a narrow part, I didn't see it and kept going) that I can't fix, so if I try to start over, I'll aggravate that.

Also, my car has been somewhat out of commission due to brake issues. It's fixed earlier and cheaper than expected due to babydaddy's buddy. Yay, I'm free again! Aaaaaaannnd, now I'm getting the cold that kiddo got and gave to babydaddy.

At least he's well enough to be primary parent this weekend. 

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Weaving Woes & Checking In with the Blogosphere

Bead weaving involves using the little tiny glass beads (seed beads) and thread to create amazing designs. Some are very simple - weaving netting is fairly easy to learn (and gets better over time). Many of these techniques are very old and seen in Native North American and African jewelry

I had an awesome idea for some earrings and it's turning out to be a little more work than I anticipated. First I tried herringbone stitch. This is a really cool looking stitch. It's also a very old stitch seen in African jewelry. As you can see, it looks really cool. Unfortunately, when I tried it with my earring idea, I couldn't keep it from ruffling and I couldn't find anything online that would help. Back to the drawing board. 
 On to re-teaching myself brick stitch. So far, the first couple rows are really hard. With so many of these stitches, they go much easier once you get going, so I'm mustering my patience. 
It will be worth it!

On a totally different note, here are some great notes from the feminist blogosphere.
Kellyanne Conway has some very confusing words regarding Sarah Palin. -Kate Harding
High school gender issues - New York Times
On remaining child-free - AlterNet (thanks, Henry)
What does US troop presence mean for Afghan women? - Washington Times
Democrats, please grow a pair of brass ovaries - New York Times
Because every day should be love your body day - Kate Harding

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Coming Soon!

Coming soon to my Etsy shop. Very sparkly silverplate earrings.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Much Needed Rant

Somewhat off topic. Some whining, too.

Something is bugging me and I'm a little uncomfortable sharing (I know, I'm surprised, too). It's been bugging me more and more over the last couple weeks. I feel stuck. In my work life, I'm literally stuck because I'm not licensed in Oregon and can't get licensed without a job (that's the short version). It's at best frustrating and at worst discouraging. One of the results of my unemployment is that I have a lot of time to do laundry, dishes and other forms of cleaning, not to mention the volumes of relational work. *(Relational work is part of the massive amount of unpaid work in the home that traditionally falls to women to do. This includes caring for the emotional needs of family members, mediating conflict, listening, helping people get out of a bad mood, visits, letters and phone calls that keep the family connected to the rest of the family, etc.)

I have become a stay-at-home mom. 
Stay-at-home moms out there, please hear me out. This isn't criticism of people I see as inferior, because I don't see it that way. I support any woman's choice regarding what she does with her life. Absolutely no judgment there. The problem I have is that it wasn't my choice and I know from previous experience that I feel pretty overwhelmed easily. It doesn't help that it really is a 24-hour job.  I've tried really hard to define myself for myself. That is, I've tried not to let myself be defined in my own head by the roles I inhabit. This is hard because US culture encourages us to define ourselves by our career choice. We introduce ourselves to other people and one of the first questions is often "So, what do you do?" We base a lot of our assessment of others on that one fact. We base our assessment of ourselves on that fact, too, and I realize it affects my personal assessment more than I wanted it to.

And I don't know how to escape this, other than getting a job. I miss getting up every day, having to take a shower early, putting on a little make-up, wearing some of the nice clothes I have and going somewhere my talents or expertise are needed (though I will admit to not missing driving 30 min or more to get there). I miss doing something I really enjoy. I'm terrified I'll have to get a crappy job that limits me that I have to keep indefinitely while I continue looking in every possible nook and cranny for a better situation. Not the end of the world, I know, but I spent a long time getting my fancy-schmancy degree. My personal relationships, including my marriage, suffered greatly and I lost parts of myself I'm just beginning to find. Not to mention the ENORMOUS debt I've incurred. Seriously, I could have bought a pretty nice house for what I've committed to.

I definitely keep myself busy. I started my Etsy shop to have an outlet for all the jewelry I make and don't wear or give away. This has opened a whole new world of social networking to promote this shop. It's really amazing how social networking has encouraged incredible immediacy in commerce and overall debate. It sucks up a lot of my time and I'm not sure if it will pan out, if I'll sell even one piece. I do a lot of laundry. Sometimes I do dishes, though that's the one area where I get defiant and stop doing them for a few days (or, more recently, a few weeks). I love to read, but I feel guilty, like I should be looking for a job or working on Etsy stuff.

I, like so many unemployed, get discouraged at times. I'm uncomfortable not working at what I wanted to. I'm somewhat uncomfortable about accepting money from the government and frustrated that it works out to about $7.16/hr (and that's on the high end). I'm grateful that unemployment compensation is available and I'm grateful that I have a roof over my head and I'm in very little danger of getting kicked out. I'm grateful that my ex-husband is a good guy who still puts up with my crap, loves our daughter to bits and is someone I know I will always be able to count on.

I suppose this means I'm comfortably stuck. Negotiating cognitive dissonance is exhausting. I'm going to go play with beads.

What the Hell?

Huh?  (kinda gross)