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March 2012 (121 posts)
Every day we squinted up at it. It was kind of ugly, like an aggressively modern, metallic stalactite. It kind of looked like The Terminator if The Terminator were a ceiling fan. Then it stopped working properly, sometimes just randomly shutting off. So that was annoying (and, we didn't realize, ominous)."We should replace it," I'd say, decisively. "Wait, maybe we should have someone look at it. I mean, it's already up there. Wait. No, we should get a new fan. Wait, no, I know, just a light." I was going to decide what to do, soon. Eventually. Weeks passed.
Then the ceiling fan burst into flames.
After the fire department left, after the charred hunks of fan were disposed off, after the soot was scrubbed from the ceiling, after every one was settled back at home, safe and sound, after we'd counted our blessings and told ourselves how much worse it could have been and how actually lucky we were, my husband knew just what to say to make me feel better about the whole thing: "Well, at least that makes that decision easier."
It was true. But it got me thinking. While it was, um, decisive, this was not actually probably the best way to make a decision. What other choices am I putting off, to everyone's detriment? What else in our lives is ticking away, waiting for us pick one way or another? Let's assume that every procrastinated decision will not resolve itself in a ball of fire...but you never know. Better to just take down that ceiling fan, or whatever it is in your life, and move on. As a wise man I know likes to say, "There is making the right decision...and then there is making the decision right." Which is why I decisively love my new, simple non-exploding kitchen light.
7 Steps To Making Better Decisions
Decision-Making for a Stronger Life
out, being less of a control freak can make you happier. Let's all pledge to
let someone else do the laundry (even if they do it all wrong).
The Life-Lifter: Explore
the moon's surface on your lunch break.
Beach Tea Towel, $9. Brooklyn artist Claudia Pearson has illustrated everything from children's books to New Yorker pages. Her new collection of tea towels for West Elm features images of summer picnics, reminding us that Memorial Day Weekend is just 8 weeks away.
Cakeslider Bouquet, $22. When you can’t decide between baking someone a cake or bringing them flowers, try one of these bouquets--each “flower” is a piece of cake in its own little push-up-pop container.
Clip Note Organizer, $12. This massive paper clip is a fun way to keep notes, business cards, photos and receipts from taking over your desk.
1. The onion dice. You shouldn't be crying your eyes out when chopping . If you are, your knife needs honing, since a less sharp blade crushes an onion instead of cutting it, which releases more gas into the air and makes you weep more.
2. The tomato slice. The knife should be able to cut a ripe tomato with almost no downward pressure. If the skin doesn't puncture, the blade is dull.
3. The paper cut. A razor-sharp knife will slash a piece of paper with a clean cut. If the paper winds up torn, with ragged edges, the blade isn't up to snuff.
Keep reading for suggestions on how to use a knife sharpening steel.
The car, I realized, was from a local driving school. And then I saw the woman driving. She was probably 60 at the youngest, her hair covered with a headscarf, and she had a look on her face of sheer determination. She didn’t look scared, or embarrassed, or frantic, the way I would have surely felt were I driving not just the wrong way but the wrong, like, dimension. And something about her made me want to just jump for joy.
My irritation immediately melted away. This woman! She was doing it! She was learning to drive! It’s something most of us did without thinking twice (and without any sense of fear or danger) at age 15, a skill that now seems as ordinary as walking. And here was this woman, the world’s worst driver, inching her car towards an ill-fated parallel parking spot, concentrating so hard she didn’t even flinch when a taxi cab swerved around her. In that moment I loved that woman, and that she was learning to drive, and that all sorts of (very slow-paced) driving adventures lay ahead of her. We should all be so open to new ideas, new projects, new skills. Even if, at first, we really, really suck at them.
Here are some places to start:
7 Ways to Learn a New Skill
Learning for Fun
Instead of marshmallow chicks, try...
Hawthorne & Wren's Donut Muffins. These cinnamon-sugar bombs have the same light, sweet coating as a marshmallow chick or bunny (they also freeze just as well), but are free of the finger-dying neon color. The company sends 20 in a basket lined with a green linen napkin, and is offering free shipping on all Easter orders.
Instead of jelly beans, try...
Magnolia Bakery's Easter Cookie Basket. This beautiful basket delivers the same color punch as bowl full of jelly beans, consisting of miniature meringues in pastel green, pink, blue, lavender, yellow and cream, plus a dozen lemon shortbread cookies, half dipped in chocolate, the other half rimmed in purple sugar.
Instead of a chocolate bunny, try...
Rocq's Sweetheart Macaron Collection. A plastic-wrapped chocolate bunny is nice, but just doesn't have the same "oh la la" factor as a pearly white box filled with 24 Parisian cookies. The package includes four varieties: dark chocolate, raspberry, peach mango and red velvet, and shipping is free.
A visit to the Amazon basin, minus the fist-sized mosquitoes. Yay for Google Street View!
Whether your prom was the night of your life or you stayed home and watched "Carrie," here is one take on the quintessential school dance you're sure to love.
"Faux fun helps you ignore problems; real fun helps you face them." Could it be that you only think you're having fun? How to find the real thing.
Make a point to appreciate art. It just might help your health someday.
The Life-Lifter: Who says there's nothing left to discover? This intrepid pair is planning an ambitious expedition across Africa -- for a noble cause.