Saturday, December 31, 2016

Welcome to Adult Coloring - The Latest Craze!

    Wouldn't it be nice to return to childhood when your biggest decision was whether to use the peach crayon or the apricot?   I had a friend in kindergarten who never used her purple crayon.  She was saving it for something special.  When I found this out, I was dismayed that I had not had the foresight to save my purple crayon as well, although I wasn't sure why.  For kids, coloring is a social activity.
     While out Christmas shopping this year you may have noticed the walls of adult coloring books in some of the major department stores.  Welcome to the world of adult coloring - the latest craze!  It is touted to be very relaxing and great therapy for those with frazzled nerves.  Apparently by the number of coloring books available, anyone and everyone is doing it.  You can buy full sized 8-1/2 by 11 books, or miniature versions, apparently to carry in your purse and take out while waiting in line at the bank or the doctor's office -  I guess anywhere you are likely to have a few extra minutes.  I guess you are supposed to carry an extra pack of crayons or colored pencils with you at all times as well.  If anyone asks, just say they're for the grandkids. 
     The first thing I ask when I see those walls of intricately designed coloring pages is "Who has time for this???"  Well, since it's that time of year between Christmas and New Years Day when the parties are over but it's not yet time to take down the decorations, apparently I do.  I didn't want to make the commitment of $10 to buy a full sized coloring book.  Instead I went to one of the many online coloring pages for adults and printed out a few samples.  There are myriads of themes and styles to choose from - something to meet every taste. 
    Luckily my husband and I are pack rats and even though my youngest is 17 years old, we have not yet thrown away all the art supplies from his childhood, so I found a good supply of crayons and colored pencils in the basement.   All I needed to do was knock the crust off of some of waxier crayons, sharpen a few pencils, and I was coloring away!
     My first picture was a medieval wood cutting of monks, lords, and ladies sitting around a table sharing a meal.  The second one was a Picasso-like portrait of a guy eating some fruit.  All told, it took me a couple of hours to color these two.  You can see the results below this article.
     It was amazingly fun, easy, and relaxing, although I am not sure of adult coloring etiquette so I have a few questions:
    1.) Is it permissible to mix crayons and colored pencils on the same page?
    2.) Why are the quality of crayons so different. Some are smooth and go on the paper like silk, others go on bumpy and unevenly.  How do you fix that?
    3.) If the artist made a mistake in the rendering, should you correct it, or just color it like it is?
    4.) If you are in a new relationship, at what point should you admit that you spend your free time coloring?
    5.) Is it okay to color in public?  How about during your break at work? How about while waiting in line at the unemployment office? Will it affect your chance for a promotion/employment? 
    6.) Where do you display your finished works?  Do you frame them?  Hang them on the refrigerator?  Throw them away?
    7.)  Is it possible as an adult to color too much? At what point does it change from a relaxing hobby to an obsession? At what point does it become a ridiculous waste of time?
    8.) Should you admit your coloring habit to your friends?
   Soon Christmas break will be over and I'll be heading back to work.  I'm sure I won't have time for much coloring then, but in the next few days I may indulge in a few more coloring adventures.  If you want to join me, just do a Google search on "adult coloring pages to print" and you will find many pages for your enjoyment.  Happy coloring!  Let me know what you think of my creations below.  (Oh, and may I borrow your purple crayon?  :) 


On the Edge of 2017 - Anticipating the New Year with a New Presicent

   Once again it's time to say goodbye to an old year and hello to a new one, with all the hopes for a brighter future that the New Year celebration usually brings.  We in the U.S. just witnessed an ugly 2016 election with some of the seamiest, dirtiest, most outrageous partisan tactics at the highest level that we have ever seen.  Many are still in shock over the results of that election, including me.  (For those who follow my blog, you may have notice I have been missing in action for a few weeks.  Actually I have been working on writing some books for children on themes of diversity and acceptance.  I almost feel like it's too late for the current generation, but maybe the next generation can be saved if we start now.) 

    But back to the topic at hand.....we look forward to 2017 with some anxiety about what our newly elected president will bring to the office.  How will out lives change?  Will he settle down and become "presidential?"  Will he carry out some of his most outrageous promises?  Will he ever hold a press conference, or will he continue to govern by tweets?  Will he repeal Obamacare?  Will he build the wall?  Just what can we expect from our new president and his cabinet in the years to come?

     Americans wanted change and it's change they got.  If early prognosticators are correct, Trump plans to reverse the direction we have been going as a nation on many key issues, such as environmentalism (by pulling out of the Paris agreement,) promotion of clean energy (by promoting the coal industry), and immigration (by curtailing further immigration of certain groups such as Muslims and deporting some who are already here.)  Given his sudden flip flops on positions, it is hard to say which of these policies he will really implement and which were simply tools he used to get himself elected, and now that he is in office, has no intention of fulfilling.  Remember  his rallying cry?   "Lock her up!"  Looks like that's not going to happen either.  But how many votes did he win from people who believed he would?

      I have heard from several evangelical Christians, Franklin Graham being one of them, that the election of Donald Trump as president was the answer to their prayers.  I understand where these people are coming from.  They feel that one of the greatest evils of our society is the millions of abortions performed each year.   They believe President Trump will nominate Supreme Court justices that will reverse Roe vs. Wade and make abortion illegal.   It's understandable that Christians would feel this way.  I do agree abortion is a bad thing and should be the last resort as a solution to an unwanted pregnancy, maybe only used in cases of rape and incest.   But does God care more about unborn babies than he does about poor people who depend on Medicaid, that is likely to be cut under a Trump presidency?  What about social programs that provide care for those babies who would be born if abortion is illegal?  Is it okay with God for those to be eliminated?  Does God turn a blind eye to the millions of people who will go back to being uninsured if Trump repeals Obamacare?  Is God in favor of a nuclear arms race?

     Neither party's platform holds the key to all moral issues.  Republicans like to think they hold the high ground, but a quick examination of their policies reveals that they don't.    It is true that God works in mysterious ways and "all things work together for good to those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28.)  Maybe Trump's election really was an answer to prayer, but only God knows the ultimate plan and whether President Trump will lead the American people to the Promised Land or if things will get so bad that we will all turn to God begging for forgiveness and deliverance.       

Friday, December 9, 2016

The Theory Behind the Nearsighted Geek

     We all know the stereotype of the nerd with coke bottle glasses sitting in the corner with his nose in a book.  He (or she) is extremely intelligent but has no social skills. He only associates with other nerdy types with similar introverted personalities. He's never had a date and doesn't seem to want one.
    I am one of those near sighted geeks. I can relate to people one on one fairly well but put me in a room full of people, especially loud gregarious people, and I am ill at ease. I recently spent an evening with a group of loud, laughing, joking people and had trouble keeping up with the conversation. Although I knew each of these people individually, they seemed to take on completely different personalities when together as a group. They interacted with each other in ways very foreign to me. It was like they shared a rapport that I was not a part of.
     Their ability to interact did not seem to have any correlation to their level of intelligence. Some of these folks are professionals and some are laborers. I think it has more to do with how they learned social skills as young children.
     I will add here that my uncorrected eyesight is 20/400 and I did not start wearing glasses until I was in the fourth grade.  I think my lack of social skills is directly related to my uncorrected poor eyesight as a child.
     So what is the connection between poor vision and introversion?   If you think about it, many people with poor vision were born that way.  Their inability to see well may have only been discovered once they went to school and had eyesight screenings, or had trouble seeing the black board. That means they spent the first 6 or 7 years of their life living in a world where they could only see a few inches in front of their faces.  As babies and toddlers, they could only interact with someone who was in very close physical proximity. Without the ability to see or make eye contact from across a room, it was harder to join into group conversations and play. Their social development was hindered and to compensate, they may have turned inward and developed a rich inward fantasy life, thus the later interest in study and books.  By the time they got older and had their vision corrected, the phase of personality development that gives us the ability to interact in large groups was over and they had missed it. They would forever be behind their peers in social ability.
     I believe that' s how the stereotype of the nearsighted nerd developed. Like all stereotypes, it has a grain of truth in it.  No matter how hard a I try I will never be a social butterfly, but with a little conscious effort and practice I can learn to take action and not be a social wallflower. This is just my theory.  If anyone knows of studies that have been done to prove or disprove it, I would like to hear about them.