Various And Sundry

Inspiration continues to elude me when it comes to blog posts. So today’s a bit of a mish-mash.

Recognition

Adrienne of Middlemay Farm recently nominated me for the Dragon Loyalty Award. Having made the difficult decision (okay, all decisions are difficult for me) to go award free, I won’t forward this one or provide random facts about me (you know how difficult that is, too). But I will highlight Adrienne’s blog, in case you aren’t familiar with it.

Adrienne is, in her words, “a writer, living in the country, who milks goats, chases chickens and sometimes keeps the dogs off the table while writing books about the Weldon and Crenshaw families of Gilded Age Englewood, New Jersey.” Her first novel, The House on Tenafly Road was selected as an Editors’ Choice Book by The Historical Novel Society.

If you haven’t yet stopped by to see her amazing array of historical photographs and thoughts, please do so. (Historical in that sentence is really meant to modify only the photographs, not her thoughts!)

Interpretation

Although fewer than normal, the comments from people who did check in on last week’s tidbit from Summer at the Crossroads were encouraging. I was so glad to see that the tension factor was there. They got me thinking, though, about how we interpret character behavior cues provided by the author. I think most people picked up on Kathryn’s discomfort with the situation. Yet, I wonder if the cues I provided (and continue to provide in the scene) will be interpreted the same way by all readers. Will everyone recognize by the end of Chapter One that Kathryn is simply an ______________?

Contemplation

For some reason, I recently remembered an event from kindergarten, which was, shall we say, sometime in the 20th century for me. And I got to wondering what it said about my five-year-old self’s thought processes.

Maybe some of you had something similar. At our “activity table,” there were three buckets filled with water and labeled as below. A variety of objects of different weights, densities, and sizes were near them, similar to this:

I’ll bet you understand what the teacher wanted us to do.

The idea, of course, was that we would pick up an object and place it in the bucket marked “???”.

Honestly, what else would anyone do?

If it floated, we would move it—you guessed it—to the bucket marked “float.” If it sank? Obvious—into the “sink” bucket it went. Easy peasy, right?

Well, enter me and my first crack at the table. I knew what the three buckets meant to my teacher. But what did I do? Er, something a lot like this:

Seriously—wasn’t this more efficient?

It made perfect sense to me to dump everything in the “sink” bucket first. Then, I picked out whatever floated and put it in the “float” bucket.

I can still remember the teacher’s rather bemused reply. “Well, that’s a different way to do it.” I was probably the first student in her years of teaching who had ever approached the “problem solving” from that angle.

In that brief moment, five-year-old me may have channeled Alexander the Great, who, legend has it, approached the Gordian Knot in a similar manner. According to one version of the legend, the knot could not be unraveled, and Alexander solved the problem by slicing it with his sword.

I assure you, that was likely the sole similarity between me and the world-conquering Macedonian. And I prefer to think of it not as cheating but as thinking outside the box.

So would you have met my teacher’s expectations with the buckets? Or did your kindergarten self think in ways that surprised the adults?

64 thoughts on “Various And Sundry

  1. I thought it was a guessing game where you put everything you think would sink into the the sink bucket, everything you think would float into the float bucket, and anythign you were unsure about in the ???? bucket. LOL. Guess my mind’s a little different too. Your method makes more sense too because you cut out the necessity of putting each item in two buckets. It’s just more time and energy efficient to dunk it all in one bucket and take the floaters out and add them to the floater bucket.

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    • There have been more “takes” on these buckets than I expected. So maybe my teacher’s thoughts that everyone would approach them the same way was a bit unfounded. 😉

      Sometimes, I still “cut to the chase” when it comes to problem-solving. Other times, though, I seem to latch onto the least efficient and most convoluted way to do something. Maybe my “Libra brain” needs both to maintain balance. That sounds like a reasonable scenario, right? 🙂

      When I took calculus in college, I hated the “related rates” problems. I’d look at something like “a bucket is filling with Quantity X of sand at the rate of Y while Quantity A spills out through a hole at a rate of A…” and think, “Fix the darn hole!” 😀 I don’t think the professor would’ve accepted that reasoning, though….

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      • LOL. Just shows how unique the human mind is at problem solving. 🙂 Sometimes we do something a way that is less efficient but more familiar too. Get a new bucket is my thought. 😉

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