Friday, July 13, 2012


       There's a rut on my path and I'm pinning my wheels in the mud.  It happens to even the most determined, headstrong dreamers.  Today I have at least a possible explanation for how this happened.  Through Elliot's recent assertion of independence, which grows daily, I looked at myself and realized that he gets it from me: I am after all, experiencing a hopeless case of mid-life extended adolescence; perpetually resistant to instruction.

      I like to find a flaw in the tapestry of wisdom, then use that flaw as a reason to reject it.  I want to make my own interpretation and mold it to my need.  I wonder, are we genetically coded to resist?  Or is this a cultural trait of the American?  Our individuality seems to require this trait, otherwise we would be a civilization of clones, raising flags and marching in honor of a dictator.

     I am subversive and resistant, even at the cost of productivity, practical solutions and efficiency. 

    This means that sometimes, I am foolish.

I discovered that like my son, I am resistant to instruction when:

1.  The instructions are tedious and technical:

You will notice when you change the exposure level as demonstrated in the last tip, the shutter speed also changed to suit that particular exposure. You can however set the camera so it's the aperture that changes to suit the required exposure instead. To do this, press the exposure compensation button example of exposure compensation button down while turning the rotator to the correct exposure. This way it will be the aperture that is changed and not the shutter speed.

Therefore, before setting the correct exposure, it's important that you ask yourself which setting is more important to keep for your specific shot. Is the aperture more important or the shutter speed? If you're shooting a landscape, then I recommend keeping the aperture (f/number) as you had originally set it to. If you are photographing a moving object like a bird for example, then I recommend keeping the shutter speed setting.

 Now take the photograph.

2.  The instructions have been repeated so often in the media to have lost all meaning.  

In order to lose weight, expend more calories than you consume.

3.  The instructions are too open-ended or vague.

  I don't know how to tell you how to make this couch. The original instructions included are FAR from detailed. You will have to wing the upholstery completely.

4.  The resulting example is an image of perfection.


5.  If the instructions suggest that I need to make a large investment of time and finances to achieve the desired result.

 6.  If the instructor appears and sounds like a classic authoritarian.

 7.  If I am already deeply involved in a habitual practice and the instruction requires a disruption of my routine.

8.  If the instructions trigger fear at the thought of risk.




 9.  If the instructions are so clear, simple and direct that my adolescent mind rejects them based on a masochistic need for complexity.

If you want to change the title, try brainstorming.


     Anne Lamott once wrote about becoming yourself by route of discovering what you're not.  Perhaps because I am fond of Lamott and her witty sarcasm, I suddenly don't feel resistant.  I have been resistant to changing the name of my blog, shop, fb page, twitter, etc for all of the above reasons.  Months ago I was reminded to simply practice brainstorming, at least five minutes a day.  This resulted in a great tag line and mission, but still no viable title.  Perhaps I'll begin again by following Lamott's advice and begin with the obvious; the "what it's not."

Then I asked for more instructions, wondering how people choose names.  How to name your dog seemed like a good place to begin.

5 Tips on Naming Your Dog (from

  1. Choose a name that will be easy for your dog to learn. A two-syllable name usually works best. Get your dog used to hearing his name often. It should be spoken in a gentle and happy manner. There is no sound more pleasant for a dog than the sound of his own name.

  2. Don't give your dog a name that sounds like a command. Avoid names like "Joe" (No), "Jay" (Stay), or "Fletch" (Fetch).

  3. Your dog deserves a respectful name. The attitude you and others develop toward your dog can be affected by the name you give it. Avoid derogatory names like Bozo and Doofus. Steer clear of names that have negative connotations like Diablo, Lucifer, Satan, and Cujo.

  4. Your dog's name should not sound like any other name within the family, a close friend or neighbor. You want to avoid confusion and hurt feelings. (My neighbor and my dog were both named "Charlie", and my neighbor would think I was yelling for him whenever I would call my dog in from the yard.)

  5. If your dog is going to be around kids or the elderly, avoid upsetting names like Nightmare, Killer, or Monster.

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