Thursday, November 15, 2007

Feeling Gnomish

I like to go into Scandinavian shops. I like the brightly colored knik knacks they have and I use the fact that my husband is 50% Swedish as my excuse. (They have good cookies, too)

This year we discovered these adorable little gnome ornaments. Nooooooo... not the Travelocity commercial type.

This type:

We bought one and I decided I could make a bunch of my own. So I went to the craft store and bought the red felt, pink mini pompoms, wooden balls with a flat side and gray paint. The beards I made out of some alpaca roving I had. I sewed across and then cut so it makes a nice even beard.

Too cute.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Planning Ahead

I find myself facing surgery next spring and need to plan for the 3 weeks I'll be out of commission. Since it's abdominal surgery, I need to plan "sit very still for hours on end" types of activities.

So, I'm thinking that one thing I'd like to do is do some research on El Anatsui. I was hoping to be able to do a paper on him in my last class, but he didn't fit the criteria. Instead I did a paper on another Modern African artist, Francis Nnaggenda.

I first heard about El Anatsui when I did a paper on 3 Nsukka artists, Uche Okeke, Obiora Udechukwu, and Olu Oguibe. Since then, I've seen how his art has progressed and actually got to see one of his wall hangings up close and personal at the Harn Museum in April.

He's also been a huge influence on his students at Nsukka. One of them, I've discovered is Nnenna Okore. I'd like to find out more about her, too.

Optimist, Pessimist, or Realist

I've started to notice that pessimists tend to call themselves realists.

This intrigues me since it implies that optimists aren't realistic (yes, I'm an optimist). It also, if you follow the logic, implies that everything that happens is a negative and not a positive. That life will always end up less than satisfactory and any attempt to be happy and content with the outcome of events is simply not being realistic.


Might I suggest that you see what you look for? Pessimists are not realists. They simply see what they are inclined to see and the same can be said for an optimist.

I can understand the need for a pessimist to redefine him or herself since the word is associated with words like defeatist, wet blanket, fatalist, cynic, and killjoy. No one wants to be a killjoy or a wet blanket.

But a word is only what you make of it and the action taken based on what you are is more important than the tendency.

To my mind there are two types of pessimists:

A true blue pessimist: One for whom there is no happiness unless everything goes wrong as predicted. The glass isn't just half empty, it will be completely empty very soon. Those who fall into this category can too easily find themselves indulging in their pessimism. They love to predict that everything will not only go wrong, but horribly wrong. I worked with a man who was like this and he pulled everyone down with him. It was a mental and emotional strain having to be in his presence for hours on end.

An optimistic pessimist: One who sees first what can go wrong but is very happy when it doesn't. The glass is half empty but they would be happy to see it filled up. These guys can be very useful in a organizational sense. They can see where a plan could go wrong, but are willing to look for a solution to keep it from going wrong. I have known a lot of these types since I have family and friends who fit this category.

Well we can't leave out the optimists, can we? These guys usually get all the good press. However, they have their pitfalls, too.

A true blue optimist: One for whom there is no evil or bad in the world. The glass is half full and there is no doubt in their minds that it will very soon be full. While being positive is generally a good thing, not acknowledging that bad things happen and have to be dealt with is definitely unhealthy. Bad things do happen and need to be acknowledged and dealt with. And no one can be around these guys for too long, because too much positive thinking can make the people they come in contact feel inadequate.

A pessimistic optimist: One who sees the good first, but can also see the bad. The glass is half full and that's okay. I fall into this category and it is related very closely to the optimistic pessimist. I can only speak for myself and hope that my personal preferences aren't clouding my judgement too much. I see the positive first, but I'm willing to acknowledge and prepare for the negative. It might happen, so you've got to be ready for it. But, in the end, taken appropriately and with a positive attitude, it will come out okay and I can be happy and content.