Tuesday, March 18, 2008


French phrase of the day for Tuesday, March 18: J'aimerais avoirs plus de temps libre. "I wish I had more free time."

Unbelievable. My phrase-of-the-day calendar is mocking me.

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So whenever I have an unresolvable grammar problem, I Google the word and multiple usages (this goes for French papers as well as English papers, lab reports, and everything between). The quandary of a few minutes ago was "indispensable" (I had intially typed "indispensable (noted: -able, not -ible) for," saved, closed; and then when I re-read it, I thought, "indispensable to?"). Google confirms! And returns a link to "30 Practical Tips to Make Yourself Indispensable to Others," separated into six categories: Belonging, Esteem, Learning, Aesthetic, Self-Actualization, and Transcendence. On the sidebar, links to "15 Tips to Stay Positive in Negative Situations" and "30 Ways to Increase Your Mental Capacity" and "26 Tips to Stay Calm When Situation Goes Bad." And then somewhere, I can't find it anymore, "37 Lessons to Help You Live a Life that Matters." Aw. Items 27, 28, 35, 16, and 15: Harvest failure, always make new mistakes, surround yourself with A-players (haha!), listen to that little voice, and be yourself.

I think today was the first St. Patrick's Day that I FORGOT it was St. Patrick's Day and subsequently didn't wear any green. Nada. Overheard someone else comment on the date this morning in lab (conspicuous lack of green attire in the MSE dept.). Which means today (now the day after St. Pattie's) is my brother's birthday and he's a year older! Nine! Oh my gosh! I remember when my sister turned nine, or I remember asking her if she was excited to turn ten the next year. And she said she sort of was. Kenny's reaction was the same.

I can't believe he's growing up.


My corollary to "surrounding myself with A-players" was to always keep the company of people over ten years younger than me. Be among the very young at heart and all that. And I still do, but that ten-year age difference is becoming smaller and smaller. You can't joke about the same cheesy things with a nine-year old that you could with an eight-year old and still get an appreciative response (use the word "magic" with any recourse to humor and now the best you'll get will be a " . . . Right."); you find yourself the mantra of hassled caretakers to huffy schoolagers: Be patient, just wait - would you please be patient?? Things just can't wait when you're nine. Everything still has its novelty and you can't wait to show it to people, you just hope they'll be impressed. I hope I was impressed enough. Yo-yo tricks and new Pokemon and dinnertime stories about the author who had visited his school to talk about Alaskan voyages and a new storybook. My life certainly isn't as exciting as any of that. But when you don't respond immediately and the steadily higher and higher-pitched intonations of "Come see this!" don't stop, you wonder if you missed the boundary between maintaining interest and lavishing too much attention. I miss my brother. I see myself in him. He's got a bit of the only child in him because my sister is now too busy with school to play with him all the time, and Mom and Dad too tired and removed by work. He entertains himself, plays with stuffed animals, plays his video games, complains of boredom, tells me that I sleep too much, all the while hoping that someone will just pretend with him for a little while . . .

And so I did.

This Spring Break will be the break I reconnected with old friends. I saw and spoke to people who I'd known in high school who I hadn't had real conversations with for a year and a half. I will remember it as the break I watched my first Pokemon movie. And slept through some of it the on the first viewing. The break I baked a batch of cookies, but spooned the cookies a little bigger than I normally do (so there were fewer cookies) and had to bake another batch two days later because my sister wouldn't stop pestering me about it. The break I played "Dear Frog" with my brother and we pretended our frog stuffed animals wrote letters to each other and voiced our respective frogs, "Frog" and "Frogg." And hopefully I'll remember the last Spring Break my brother was still a child. Because he'll always be a kid in my eyes. But he's growing up. I'm powerless to stop it, and I don't want to. It's just . . . time. (:

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From "30 Practical Tips to Make Yourself Indispensable to Others"


- Send them your favorite quotes.
- Take the time to do small research to answer their questions.
- Lend them your favorite books.
- Spark their curiosity by asking them smart questions.
- Tell them your favorite web sites to learn from.
- Send them the articles you find that might help them.
- Passionately share your learning experiences; it’s contagious.


- Lend them your favorite CDs or DVDs.
- Tell them where they can learn to play music.
- Tell them where they can learn to draw (Drawspace is a good start by the way).
- Share your favorite wallpapers and pictures.
- Let them know of interesting cultural events you hear about.


- Encourage them to find their life purpose.
- Encourage them to follow their heart more than the expectations of others.
- Share with them inspirational stories about men and women who are willing to pay
the price to do what matters to them (e.g. Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa).

(I liked those! I do those with my friends all the time :D, esp. "Learning")

1 comment:

alice said...

Your brother sounds adorable. :) I wouldn't want him to grow up, either, haha.
Also. That site seems pretty interesting. I do a lot of the tips that you listed, too, but even though I share music mixes and the occasional YouTube video and quirky art project, I don't know if I'd agree that the "aesthetics" part is all that "indispensable". But maybe it's just about moderation. I do think that there's such a thing as investing too much time into other people in an attempt to be (feel?) useful..
In any case, I think that YOU are indispensable! :D