Houston, we have a problem.

8:41 PM Posted In , , , Edit This 3 Comments »
People, we have a problem. The problem that we speak of regards one of my sisters, and her egregious lack of historical knowledge despite a public education. I'm still nauseous from this conversation:

Both of us- Blah blah blah gasoline crisis in history, blah blah blah.
Her- "they happened during Nixon"
Me- "oh, I thought there were rationings during WWII. maybe there were gas rations during WWII and then a gas crisis during Nixon" (I don't know much about gas crises, so since she was telling me the story, I gave her the benefit of the doubt)
Her- "yeah, they're the same thing Lauren... while Nixon was pulling the troops out of WWII"
Me- "WWII was during the 40's, sis"
Her- "Yeah, and Nixon pulled out the troops from WWII"
Me- "No, Nixon was like the 60's and 70's"
Her- "Oh, uh..."
Me- "Are you thinking Vietnam war? Because Vietnam isn't WWII. Please tell me you weren't thinking Vietnam was WWII (!)"
Her (cautiously backpedaling)- "No, because WWII is Korea..."
Me- "Holy Crap"


Me- "No honey, WWII is Hitler and Germany, and the 40's. Holy Crap, are you serious?"
Her- "ehhhhhh they don't teach me anything"
Me- "I don't care what they do or don't teach you in school, there's no excuse for you not to know that WWII = Hitler and Europe and the Holocaust. Oh. My. Gosh. H-o-l-y C-r-a-p"
Her- More whining
Her- Slams doors.

This really just happened to me. In America. In an affluent suburb. Please someone, if you can foresee more of this in the future, please come to my home and shoot me. In fact, I'll have Rosie the Riveter over, and she'll want to be shot too. WHAT HAPPENED TO AMERICA?

Why I drink Diet Coke...

2:05 PM Posted In Edit This 6 Comments »
...and not Diet Pepsi:

Okay fine, it's actually because Diet Coke is more savory and Diet Pepsi is more sweet. But this cartoon makes me chuckle.

Hasta la vista, Los Angeles

10:11 PM Posted In , , , , Edit This 5 Comments »
"The time has come," the walrus said, "to talk of many things."

That line from a Lewis Carroll poem just popped into my head, but it's strangely applicable to what I've been thinking about lately. First and foremost, it's set at the sea. Even though I live in a place that most people associate with the beach, I don't. I've only hit the beach a handful of times since I've been here... as far as that goes, I associate Los Angeles with highways and chaparral-covered hills. I am more apt to associate Massachusetts with the ocean, and I've had it on my mind a lot, because... I'm moving back to Boston!

I don't think that it's a secret that I haven't been a fan of Los Angeles. To avoid offending the few Angelenos that I'm friends with, I'll just say that it's not my scene. That tends to satisfy inquiring minds. I'm an East-coast girl through-and-through, and while I've only ever lived for extended periods of time in London, Utah, Boston, and California, I know for a surety that SoCal is not the place for me. A few more stanzas from the poem mirror my sentiments quite well:
The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
"If this were only cleared away,"
They said, "it would be grand!"

"If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year.
Do you suppose," the Walrus said,
"That they could get it clear?"
"I doubt it," said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.
There are a lot of great things about Los Angeles, some of which I don't appreciate. Some of the things that I hate the most about LA are other peoples' favorite aspects of the place. Like the Walrus and the Carpenter, I would love to sweep away those parts of LA life, but they're what gives LA its flavor, and are so intrinsic that they couldn't be removed anyway. I'll just say that Los Angeles will forever be a fun vacation spot, but I will never move back.
I am absolutely thrilled to move back to Boston! I gave my two-weeks notice today at work, so I'm done with all of my commitments here by May 1st, then I make the trek across country before starting my new job on May 11th. It's going to be a hectic two weeks, trying to get everything I own packed up and across country in a time- and cost-efficient manner, saying good bye to family and friends, etc., but it's worth it! I have dozens of friends in the Boston area that I'm still in touch with, my brother Christopher and his wife Megan live in Cambridge, and my Uncle Stan just moved to Cape Cod this week. It's meant to be! I'm going to continue working with children diagnosed with autism and other developmental disabilities at a school in Natick (with 7 weeks of paid vacation,) and hopefully my campaign for admission to graduate school in the area is successful. It's the start of a new, exciting chapter in my life, and I can't wait!

In case you happen to be curious about what kinds of things I have on my extensive "To Do" list, here's a taste:
-Finish up the quarterly progress reports for my clients
-Return the 10+ binders and manuals to work
-Pack up my entire life
-Ship items that won't fit in my car, probably on Amtrak
-Find someone to drive across country with me
-Find housing in Boston
-Make a budget (I have to pay for rent and food now, yikes!)
-Get tickets to Red Sox games
-Be nice to my family for the next two weeks (Caroline told me today in a fit of rage that she couldn't wait for me to leave.)

Let me know if you have any helpful suggestions for how to accomplish these daunting tasks, or if you want to help!

Jack of all trades

8:52 AM Posted In , Edit This 6 Comments »
We all know people who are amazing at EVERYTHING they do. You may even be one of those people, but might not openly admit it because you've also mastered the art of humility. I've been 'blessed' to be surrounded by a lot of truly awe-inspiring people, though maybe sometimes it feels more like a curse, and I know how it feels to not measure up. To be seemingly eclipsed by that grandeur. I'll offer an anonymous example: a student accepted to the Ivy League, but decided to go to BYU for financial and religious reasons (quality #1: level-head.) Quality #2: good artist, #3: good musician and in one of BYU's more advanced orchestras, #4: straight-A student in a difficult major, #5: phenomenal athlete, etc. I could probably think of even more intimidating 'Jacks,' but there's no point. We all know them. Maybe we call them by a different name, 'Domestic Goddess,' 'Renaissance Man,' even 'Mormon Diva.' But today, I'm focusing on a different breed of 'Jacks,' those of us whose lives are defined by mediocrity.
Being surrounded by amazing people, I've often looked at myself and seen how I don't compare. I'm pretty good at several things, but I'm not amazing at anything. The fate of being a 'Jack of all trades, master of none' seemed to loom around every corner. I felt like Jack and Jill, who made it up the hill, but didn't have much to show for it. That is, of course, until the Elephant came along. Here's the story of Elephant-butt:
My sister-in-law is pregnant. In the quest to be the favorite aunt (I'm getting a head start,) I've started nesting. I have all of these plans, and one of them was to make a stuffed animal for the fetus. I was a little intimidated by the project, because I haven't done nearly the amount of sewing and such as some of my family members. But I tucked my inadequacies in and shlepped over to Joann. I asked timidly, "do you guys have patterns to make, uh, stuffed animals?" I probably looked pretty dumb, but hey, I got the pattern, I bought some sweet fabric, and I got to work. I wanted to make at least one practice elephant before I made the fetus' to ensure a high-quality product, so that's why this one is pretty feminine-looking. Caroline has announced that she wants it, so I just have to sew on some eye-balls and it's good to go! It came to be named Elephant-butt, don't ask...

So, I could pretend that I shared this experience to give hope to those who feel like they're 'Jacks of all trades, masters of none.' I could pretend that the point is to motivate, to let you all know that if you keep trying, someday you might find something to be proud of. But no, I'm just bragging about my success. So who needs an elephant?

Vaccinations and Autism

7:58 AM Posted In , Edit This 0 Comments »
A lot of people ask me what I think about vaccinations and autism (since I work in the field...) and usually I assure them that I'm a Behaviorist, that I can analyze and shape a kid's behavior, but I don't know a thing about Chemistry and Neurology and if giving someone a shot can cook their brains better than scrambled eggs.
Working in the field and listening to a lot of frantic moms, I went through a brief phase of feeling like I wasn't going to vaccinate my children. Then one event changed my mind. It's going to sound totally tacky and weird... get ready... I was watching the HBO series "John Adams" with Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney, and there's an episode where John's away doing something that politicians do, leaving Abigail alone with the kids during a smallpox outbreak. So, strong-willed Abigail calls up the doctor and strong-arms him into vaccinating her family against smallpox- a procedure which at the time was highly controversial. The scene was pretty gross, with the doctor scraping this oozing puss... I'll stop there. Abigail effectively saved her family. What touched me about that scene was how brave Abigail had to be to do something that scared her so badly, but that ended up saving her family. And we have the luxury of doing that for every person in our country, with years of experience and science to understand how and why it works.
This morning I was reading a blog that I really enjoy (dooce - go there and scroll down to the Vaccination post) and my views are almost perfectly reflected by the author's views. I'm going to vaccinate my children, though maybe I'll space the shots out a little more so that they aren't getting 5 immunizations in one visit. But I'm going to do it, so that my kids don't get yellow fever in Africa and kill half of the Elementary school. Oh, and vaccinations don't cause autism.

Help me!

9:59 AM Posted In Edit This 4 Comments »
Who wants to write my grad school application essays for me? They're HARD! And I'm not used to writing anything that isn't data-based anymore! Help!