C-Squared get married!

Last weekend, on Mar 21, I had the honour and pleasure of attending my dear friend Cristine’s wedding. We have known each other since the first week of University, when she sat next to me at a Frosh week orientation activity. Over 18 years later I still consider her one of my closest friends.

Unfortunately, for the last decade I no longer have the pleasure of living in the same city (or country for that matter) as her. We rarely have the opportunity now to spend selfish time physically together to just talk about nothing in particular, or share the minor tribulations and triumphs of daily life. It is in this other city that she met and fell in love with her now-husband Chris. (which of course generated the cute couple nickname, C-Squared) Continue reading C-Squared get married!

By which name should kids address me?

I’ve been volunteering at my daughter’s school recently and I’ve come to a little conundrum: by which name should I get the kids to address me? Right now they greet me as “E1’s mom” which really isn’t sufficient. (Gotta educate them early that there is more to a person than being merely defined by her relationship to someone else.)

Having the kids call me by my first name would be pretty easy, it’s the name I’ve grown up responding to. However, there is a part of me that thinks that as a parent, I’m not here to be friends, I’m part of the community of adults helping to raise these children. With that hat on, a level of formality helps establish and maintain a level of respect, especially if I’m going to be calling them out on improper behaviour. Mrs. Toh or Ms. Toh accomplishes that.

But Jen, you say, isn’t the name “Mrs. Toh” also defining yourself via your relationship to your husband? Didn’t you just say above you didn’t want to do that? Yes fine, technically it is, but I’m complicated that way. I’m of a mind that it’s up to each person to determine how they want to be referred to. I chose willingly to adopt my husbands last name, it’s on all my ID, so Mrs. Toh it is. I do not have “E1’s mom” on my ID.

This leads me to then think: how should I teach my daughters to address other adults, as a default? Continue reading By which name should kids address me?

Jeneral finds of the week: 2015-03-01

Last weekend was a little crazy, filled with birthday parties, travellers returning home with jet lag, and temperamental water lines to the washing machine. So I skipped a week. Here are this week’s things I’ve stumbled across that have been interesting: 2015-03-01

  • Fried OKRA: A Management Framework for People Who Don’t Like Vegetables. This article on Medium takes an entertaining spin on a management framework.

  • Bruce Feiler gave this really inspiring TED talk with a cheeky tech title: “Agile Programming—for your family”.  But what it really boils down to are his 3 planks for working toward a less-stressed, more collaboratively-managed family dynamic: 1)Adapt all the time; 2)Empower your children; 3)Tell your story. I think it provides another tool/technique to use with the Adlerian philosophy for parenting, which we aim to follow in our household. I highly recommend this 18min watch. 
  • I also wanted to celebrate the historic ruling in the US that the FCC declared the internet to regulated as a public utility, which supports Net Neutrality and prevents the establishment of paid prioritzation, aka internet fast lanes, by cable companies and ISPs. This is huge news, but unfortunately many (most?) people don’t know or don’t care. This entertaining segment by John Oliver on his show Last Week Tonight last summer is a good explainer on why we should care.
  • Like so many of us, Chris Kirk at Slate was overwhelmed with dealing with his email every day. He was email-depressed. So he decided he would try to make his own email client to make one ideal to the way his mind wants to manage his email. His journey to do so would reveal a lot about the history of how email got to the state it is today, why changes to email functionality are so slow compared to other technologies, and some ideas going forward to manage work communications. (the Slack application is featured, and I just think about how I wish our teams had this years ago)

~Jen

<–previous finds

The darn colour of The Dress messes with more than my eyes

The above image is of #TheDress, the fiercely debated internet meme of Feb 26, 2015. I know the discussion about whether the colour of the dress is white&gold or blue&black is ancient history now, 4 days later. But, I’ve realized that the colour of The Dress has messed with more than my eyes. (I see white&gold, BTW, but the manufacturer of the dress indicates it is made in blue&black)

What we see with our eyes is a major part of how we view reality and frame our understanding of the world. Maybe it’s the largest part, at least for me. There are some people out there who won’t believe anything unless they see it with their own eyes, and that most everything else is a conspiracy or hoax. And while I’m not a conspiracist by nature, I admit that when I first saw this dress and claims by some people to see the colour as blue&black, I first thought it was some elaborate internet in-joke or hoax being played on me and half the internet, or that something was going on with my screen.

When I realized there was legitimate debate going on about the colour, I then started to doubt my own vision (which is also admittedly not razor sharp). Then that led to a bit of existential angst, because I realized that if two of us are standing together looking at the same thing, and seeing two completely different things, how can we trust our own perception of reality? This feeling is magnified even more so because the object that I am looking at (colours of a dress) is so trivial. If I can’t trust what I see about something so trivial, how can I trust what I know and see about more complex and important matters, like love, joy, disappointment, or meaning?

Then to extend further, if two people can’t agree on something as trivial as colours of a dress, how can we have any hope to agree on foundational facts to build towards agreements in conflicts over government policy, religion, our rights, or priorities? We can’t just “agree to disagree” on every single thing, that just leads to greater inertia where nothing changes. I was starting to get down on these despairing kind of thoughts, so of course, I went to look at this dress business some more on the internet.

There are several scientific explanations of what is happening (like here and here), which is comforting to know what is likely going on with my eyes. I am also taking some solace in reminding myself that this debate is over a digital image. Digital images that are at the mercy of the digital sensors for capturing the exposure and white balance, and that can be altered in a myriad of ways in post-production. It’s another reminder to be wary about anything we see on the internet.

So I guess if I think about it that way, I am someone who would have to see it in real life to truly believe it. Huh. Who would’ve thought.

Image source: Tumblr / Swiked