I have a very vivid memory from my Developmental Psychology class in college about a study in which a diapered infant was given to adults to babysit for a short time. Half of the babysitters were told that the infant was a boy and half that it was a girl. The half that were told it was a boy went to the toy chest and selected cars and hammers to play with, and the half told it was a girl selected dolls and combs and kitchenware. The experiment did an excellent job of calling into doubt the origin, Nature or Nurture, of our societal gender stereotypes.
The other day I went out to a restaurant owned by a friend of mine. They’d recently renovated the place and all the colors and designs were changed. About halfway through my meal, I received a call from Nature and got up to answer it. Once through the door marked “Aseos” (Restrooms), there is a sink, and two more doors. One with a photo of a sunflower and the other with a daisy. Which door should I use? Read the rest of this entry →
One of the unique cultural practices in Spain is the summer and winter double paycheck. Every July or August and December, Spanish employees receive twice their normal salary for the month. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? It’s actually negotiated that way, so when you take a salaried job in Spain, you agree to receive your annual salary in 14 payments, one per month, and then an extra one each summer and winter. As far as I know, this is the standard practice across most industries. Read the rest of this entry →
We’ve reached a very rebellious stage lately. There are some days where it feels like every single thing we tell Nora to do, she says, “I don’t want to!” Depending on how much time or patience we have available at the moment she needs to, say, wash her hands, I vary from giving a lecture about germ theory to the “sometimes we have to do things that was don’t want to do” to the parental cop-out of “it doesn’t matter whether you want to or not” to actually physically grabbing her by the arm and dragging her into the bathroom to wash her hands. I really hate doing the last two, but sometimes there’s just no time available for negotiations…and sometimes it’s the ten thousandth time she’s refused a perfectly reasonable request that day. Read the rest of this entry →
On her last day of school for the calendar year on December 21, as foretold by the Mayan prophecies, Nora was instructed to come to school wearing a white turtle neck and white tights only, because the little hybrid cafeteria-auditorium gets very hot during performances. Her class had little costumes which were made during the week of workshops, which consisted of a little paper crown and a cloth sack with head and arm holes. We were informed that the Tortugas (the nickname for Nora’s 3-year-old class) performance was going to be at 11:00 AM, and we were to get there by 10:50 in order to find a place in the cafeteria-auditorium to watch from. Read the rest of this entry →
When we went to the United States for Thanksgiving, Nora’s teacher gave her a present and told her not to open it until she was flying on the airplane. Nora was delighted. Three year olds love surprises. We managed to not get asked the famous “Did anyone give you any items to carry onto this flight?” question on our first flight to Germany, although we did on the later one to the US, the land of police state security theater. Read the rest of this entry →
Over the past few years, the technology of 3D printing has shown itself to be a complete game changer. In a few very short years, with the initial investment of a printer, it will be possible to download physical objects. The plastic molding industry is going to be the first to feel the pain but eventually all manufacturing will be at risk. I expect to be a grandfather before complex electronics can be printed at home, but a wide variety of knickknacks and general household replacement items will be coming sooner, e.g. already you can download and print replacement knobs for a variety of items. Read the rest of this entry →
Last week the three, four and five-year-old classes at my daughter’s school got together for an hour in the afternoon to do arts and crafts loosely related to Christmas. They were divided up into seven groups and each sent to a different part of the school with a teacher and some volunteering parents to do a craft of some sort. One room was face painting; another was gluing tongue depressors together into Christmas ornaments; another was constructing bits for a big nativity scene; another was baking marzipan cookies. Somehow, my daughter’s teacher’s husband found me and has been following me on Flickr for several months. I’ve yet to determine if his discovery was related to our choice of school and luck of school teacher. His photostream is much more impressive than mine. Anyhow, Nora’s teacher asked me if I could come and take some photographs of all the workshops. I was happy to volunteer. Read the rest of this entry →