Monday, September 24, 2012

Day One...Listening to the Silence

My husband and I get into these impassioned discussions about our future and what we need to achieve our goals.  Usually, it's just talking but yesterday we decided that we really needed to do something, however small to show our dedication towards self improvement.  I talked a really good game about how we should give up something that we really like 'for the greater' good of being more productive, and being more present in everything that we do.  So...I gave up TV, if my husband would give up video games and I woke up this morning to a heart drawn on a piece of paper to remind me of this fact.
there is a heart drawn on that paper--if you look closely!

Let me tell you about my TV viewing habits. I record quite a few shows and almost never 'watch' them. I listen to them while I crochet, clean, cook, chat and play on facebook.  I don't have the TV on all of the time, but I do have it on too much.  I think it's one of them rebel things from when I was a kid and my parents exercised extreme control over our television viewage. I like having background noise, and the radio reception for NPR is awful in our house. I was trying to think of something that I could give up that would be in some way equal to his video games, that I might learn something from giving up for a week.

I am engaged in a constant battle with my husband over how much time he spends playing video games. Actually on the flipside of that, he thinks that watching TV is mindless brain rot since you aren't interacting with the environment. So in the end, we both think that we are rotting our brains.  We have so much to do though, and are always feeling overwhelmed with our responsibilities, and planning for the future.  Something needed to give.  So I came up with this idea that we give up something that we like, something that means something to us, and instead engage more actively and fully in everything that we do.  We tend to do so much with our brains in one place, and our bodies in another, and I wanted to see how well we could come back to the present and be present in our daily activities.  Most of my cooking 'mistakes' are because I listen to audiobooks and get lost in the story and don't realize that I'm using phyllo dough instead of puff pastry, or that bread without salt tastes like air, or that you need to spray the damn pans first. that I'm thinking...I believe that all of my cooking mistakes are when I'm distracted, and I think in our lives today, we are all distracted.  We are thinking about everything that is going on all of the time, and don't know how to resolve it, or turn it off.  I'm so guilty of this. I read mindless fluff most of the time (I wholeheartedly admit) because it allows my brain to turn off for a period.

How will I deal with the quiet? I hate listening to the fridge make noise, and my computer sound like it's on it's last legs because it really needs to have the fan blown out. Well, I can try online radio (that has nothing to do with the election!), and I can get audiobooks, which frankly, help me to be more productive anyways because I can move around with them on.  I can also get used to the silence again.  Stop always filling the silence with more noise, stop running away from my thoughts, and see what I learn.

My goals for this week include getting ready for my second swap event on Sunday, clean my house, work on my blog and learn about personal finance and savings. It sort of hit me recently that you don't just magically know about finance and other 'adult' things, you have to be open to learning about them.  Why did it take me so long to figure out that out?

My husband's current google status is, "new status message - Day 1/7 without video games. It's going to be a loooooong week.   10:25 AM"

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Saturday Mornings

Saturday mornings are a beautiful blessing.  I love waking up before my husband, and snuggling up to him. Listening to his relaxed breathing.  I woke up this morning with a kitty on my feet, which was a nice treat, and just laid in bed for awhile playing a game on my phone and slowly waking up, thinking of the adventures that were to come for the day. Somehow I managed to convince my husband to make me breakfast (although I'm still not sure how that happened) and he proceeded to made me this glorious breakfast of  eggs with veggies, sweet potato hash browns and mashed avocado.  The cats were having their own lazy morning...

Saturday morning nap while their people eat

Henry wondered why we wanted to take pictures

Newton was...sleepy
 Newton's favorite place in the world is any open bag. It can be a grocery bag, a box on the floor, my luggage, duffle, purse etc.  He loves them all.  I was attempting to pack an overnight bag, and ended up, instead, packing a cat.  Luckily I didn't need this bag in the end, so he got to hang out there until I left the room (and he, of course) followed.
Have a beautiful weekend!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Survival Tips for Traveling and Living with the Color Blind

We just got home from vacation and vacation posts are long overdue. However...I really needed to write this  funny survival guide that has been bouncing around my head for years now.

My husband is color blind, or more exactly, color deficient. He can see just fine.  He can see colors too, but he can't always tell the differences between colors. He does not just see 50 Shades of Grey! And yes, more than one person has asked him that. They test for colorblindness in schools these days, but apparently not in 70's since he didn't learn that he was colorblind until he joined the Navy.  Since my trip made me realize how little the average person knows about colorblindness, I suggest that everyone read this ammmazing book by Oliver Sachs called The Island of the Colorblind which is about a Micronesian island of Pingelap where there are people who are completely colorblind (called achromatopsia), and do see the world in shades of grey.  This is actually a serious condition that comes with a lot of difficulties (including incredible light sensitivity and difficulty focusing your eyes) and is incredibly rare. It is really a fascinating read, and taught us so much.  If nothing else, click on the link and read the editorial reviews to get some understanding of the condition.

When we first met and he explained his colorblindness, we came across this website (go there now or this will make no sense to you!) showing pictures of how someone with color deficiency sees things verses what I see. It really was eye opening (no pun intended) because without looking very very hard at the pictures, they all looked the same to him, but incredibly different to me.  On one level, it made me profoundly sad that he would never see the deep green saturation of the green grass with bright red flowers, that he has no idea what color my eyes are (even if he says they are the most beautiful he's ever seen), and that I had to learn to cook meat (more on that), but he sees things in a way I'd never imagined because he has had to create coping mechanisms to deal with this disability.

When looking at a green tree that most people would say, "Oh look a pretty green tree," he sees the shades of green as distinct 'colors' and analyses the parts of the whole.  In computer programming terms (cause I'm cool and geeky like that), we look at the object as a whole, while he is analyzes the individual classes that make up the object.  He has created some really interesting techniques for overcoming his color blindness, but like being left handed, society hasn't adapted many techniques that would make it easier for colorblind people to fully interact with their environments.

I joke with my husband that I need to write a survival guide for living with the here it is. Everything in this list has happened to us, and funny things keep happening as we forget that we see things just a little different.  These differences have made us stronger as a couple, more understanding of differences, and made me a better cook.   Enjoy, and comment with your own stories!

Found here

When traveling or living with the colorblind:

1. Do not ask them to read a Google map with traffic overlays of red (stopped) yellow (slow) and green (normal) because they can't see the red and green any different than the background color, and  just wonder why there are occasional gaps in traffic (the yellow).  First he was confused, then he got really grouchy when he realized a program was written relying wholly on color.

2. Do not get them addicted to any game that involves matching color for Bejeweled.  It's sort of sad to watch him play, because he has to do it entirely by the shape and it takes forever.

3. Do not ask them what they 'don't understand about a warm pink center' when they once again overcook your steak. THEY CAN'T SEE PINK.  (This one took about a year for me to realize).

4. Don't ask them what they can't see...duh, they can't see it! People ask him this all the time.

5. If they are red/green color deficient (like my husband) Don't ask them "how can you drive, since traffic lights are red and green?" The lights are in the same place each time, and they look at the light placement, not the color! When playing Rock Band he doesn't look at the colors of the buttons that come up either, but rather the placement.

6. Don't look at them sadly and tell them what they are missing.  You will get punched, and deserve it. I deserve to be punched. He didn't know what he was missing until I pointed it out.

7. Don't ask them to drive in the city where the traffic lights are on the sides of the road. It's a mean mean trick since they look like tail lights.

8. Don't ask them if they see everything in grey...seriously, people.

9. Don't buy socks in multiple colors (brown, dark blue, black) and laugh when they can't match their socks's mean.  Don't question why they have 10 shirts of the same brand in varying colors and 5 pairs of neutral pants. It just makes getting dressed easier. Also, if a shirt stains their underarms...please tell them, because they'll never be able to see it.

10. Don't ask them to do the laundry if there is anything red in it.  They can, and will manage to dye all of your clothing pink.  When my husband was in the Navy, he once had dress 'pinks' instead of whites.  I think they had a hard time actually punishing him for something that he literally couldn't see.

11. Don't point out that the color that they've worn for the last decade and love and thought was actually purple.  Finding this out involved a rather embarrassing exchange over cat collars in a pet store two years ago.  I thought it was awesome that he liked purple (my favorite color) so it broke my heart a little to realize he had such a hard time telling it apart from blue.

12. Don't highlight your hair red and feel sad when they can't see it.  Or wonder why they like goth makeup or bright pink stripes in hair. It's what they can easily see.  In bright light, he can see my highlights, but normally it's a no go.

13. Don't take them peach picking where the COLOR (pale pink/yellowish) is the determination of whether or not to pink the fruit.  While my husband did wonderfully at this, it was slow, annoying and incredibly difficult for him to determine which were ripe enough to pick.

14. Don't let them go through the leftover paint to fix spots on walls unless the color variant is very large.  It won't end well if you have pale colored walls.

15. Don't be vain about your blue eyes.  When you ask the man that you love what color your eyes are, he'll answer with "I don't know, but they are the most beautiful I've ever seen," with a note of panic in their eyes. That...was humbling.


1. Ask them to describe how they see something. "What colors do you see in the sunset?"

2. Do ask them to explain why two colors look different! People who aren't colorblind won't really have an answer for this. Colors just look...different. He can tell you exactly what color is missing to make something a little different because he has to work at it.

3. Buy a meat thermometer.  This has saved my marriage, and dinner on so many occasions.

4. Dye/highlight your hair for yourself, not your spouses approval.

5. Paint your toenails so bright and happy colors, he'll appreciate it.  By bright, I mean red and aquamarine. Not some shiny pale pink. He can't see that at all.

6. Do all of the laundry, it avoids awkward conversations later about why all of your white face cloths are now pink.

7. Continue to make games with 'color blind' settings that change the colors of the pieces into ones more easily seen by people with color deficiencies (there are many different types of colorblindness!)

8. Learn! Learn about what colorblindness is, and put yourself in someone else's shoes for a day.

9. Gently (not patronizingly) attempt to explain what colors YOU see things as. An example would be the cat collar; "I see this one as more purple because there is more red in it, this is more blue."

10. Understand that 'shades' of colors are really hard to see differences and pale colors are impossible to make out.

I've learned a lot about colorblindness throughout my marriage, and will continue to learn more.  It's a really interesting topic and one that constantly challenges us to put ourselves in someone else's shoes.  Are you colorblind? What experiences have you had? Do you have any more do's and don't's to add to the list?