100 Ways To Raise My Blood Pressure

A site called “A Circle of Christian Women” has a list of “100 Ways to Reduce Stress.” Let’s take a look at this thing:

1. Get Enough Sleep
2. Wake up 15 minutes early.

Uh. Doesn’t one contradict the other? And why should the woman get up fifteen minutes early? Since this is a “Christian” woman site I’m going to assume the focus is on married women, so why can’t hubby get up early? Oh haha what am I saying, of course wifey has to get up early to prepare everything for everyone else.

3. Prepare for the morning the night before.
4. Avoid tight-fitting clothes.

Sensible. Okay.

5. Don’t rely on your memory.

Um, what. That’s all they say; you really need to qualify a statement like that with some explanation and tips, like “stress can make us forget things; keep a to-do list handy just in case.” Or else it sounds like you’re saying “you flighty woman, you know you can’t remember shit and it gets you all stressed out. Chillax and ask your husband!”

6. Practice preventative maintenance.

O-kay, though they don’t say of what — car, house, you? I’m thinking they’re referring to health, because treating our bodies like cars that need regular oil changes is so American. (Stay tuned, I’ll have more to say on that subject.)

7. Make duplicate keys and store them where you can get to them.

Sensible, but who doesn’t do that. Oh I forgot — “women are so flighty and silly they need to be told to make duplicate keys.”

8. Say “no” more often.
9. Set priorities in your life.
10. Avoid negative people.
11. Use your time wisely.
12. Simplify everything you can.

I’d like to know who the Christian woman, who is supposed to devote her life to family and God, is allowed to say “no” to. Besides Satan of course. I’m going to assume this list is designed for everyday normal stress, not “Satan is here and he wants your soul” stress. So, who can the average Christian woman, who is supposed to be agreeable, say “no” to? Her kids, I guess, when they want snacks between meals, to stay out past 8 PM on a school night, or to be gay, I guess. As for number 9., that’s funny. I thought proper Christian women let others (God, their husbands) set priorities for them. I guess those priorities then are “do what God and your husband say, because their commandments are one and the same.”

Sorry, I’m letting my snark show aren’t I? Okay, on to number 10- avoid negative people. Gosh. What if those people are the ones they live with? Like, say, their husband? Numbers 11 and 12 sound like my New England-bred grandmother’s “use it up/wear it out/make it do/do without” dictum. Other than that I have no real objection to them, unless it’s to point out that a Christian wife and mother is not always the one in charge of how her time is used. (Nor are any of us, but let’s focus.)

13. Make copies of important papers and store them where you’ll be able to find them.

Okay, again, who doesn’t do this? Well, lots of people actually… but again this sounds a lot like a “you silly woman” thing. And also there are “important papers” that copies of are generally useless, like things that are notarized and stamped — house deeds and so on. I don’t know what good a copy would be in case of, say, a fire, if it’s one of those documents that needs to be original to be recognized. A better suggestion would be to get a safety deposit box or fireproof safe for your important papers. Just my two cents.

14. Repair anything that doesn’t work properly.

Yeah, do it yourself. I guess. (Note: repairing some things is sometimes more expensive than just chucking the broken desk lamp and buying another one for five bucks at Walmart. YMMV.)

15. Ask for help.

American advice always has this in it, but we don’t mean it. Asking for help, as everyone knows, just reveals that you’re a useless moocher and parasite and also a loser and weak so go ahead, carry those cinder blocks from the car to the garage wall you’re fixing yourself (because your husband has a golf meeting with the pastor and your kids are ages 3, 5, and 7). Your ruined back will prove to the world that you’re a martyr to Doing It Yourself And Being Good Frontier Wife all in one.

16. Chunk down big jobs into little ones.

Carry the cinder blocks one at a time. (As long as you can get them all piled up before it’s time to make dinner.)

17. View problems as challenges.
18. Look at challenges as opportunities.

This is an American list for Americans. No one else says goofy shit like this as if it were a real thing that people believed.

19. Unclutter your life.

Leave the church, divorce your husband, dump the kids at Grandma’s… oh that’s not what you meant. Sorry, I’m untrainable.

20. Smile
21. Be prepared for rain.
22. Laugh at something.
23. Pet a dog or cat
24. Don’t try to know all the answers.
25. Look for the silver lining.
26. Say something nice to someone.
27. Teach a kid to fly a kite.
28. Walk in the rain.
29. Schedule some time each day to play.

Here it is, in a nutshell: the training American women get into being nicey-nice Miss Sunshine Happy Face at all fucking times no matter what. Turn that frown upside down! Be nice to everyone! Don’t think too many thoughts — they make frown lines! Be a giggly happy playmate! Be nice to everyone no matter how they fuck you over! Also bonus aim-her-at-a-kid, any kid: just grab some random kid off the street and teach them to fly a kite, never mind whether they want to learn to fly a kite or not, whether or not you even have access to a kite, or the outdoors. Anything but have a moment alone without some freshly-spawned human mite dependent on you. Good God.

Anyway I’m tired of copying-and-pasting. The list just goes on and on, telling women to de-stress by doing things like putting air-fresheners in their car, going to a ball game and screaming (I hate sports, so no), and the last one, my personal favorite: “stop counting things.” No really, that’s number 100 on this list. Well then.

Let’s read… a list of questions I answered!

I just love answering questions I find on the internet. Here’s a list I found over at the Happiness Project. “Want to know yourself better? Ask yourself these questions”, the title orders. Okay. I’ll play. Here goes:

Q: If something is forbidden, do you want it less or more?
A: It depends on the thing forbidden. If the thing is some dangerous object (like a nuclear weapon) or something that belongs to someone else (like their jewelry) I don’t automatically “want” it. If it’s something that I have a right to as a human being (for example, the right to not be forced to get married in order to be treated like a full human being) then of course I want it.This question is much too black and white for such a complicated subject.
Q: Is there an area of your life where you feel out of control? Especially in control?
A: I feel gradations of control and lack of control in all situations. For example, I control my car when I’m driving it. On the other hand, I can’t make it fly or go faster than the speed of light.
Q: If you unexpectedly had a completely free afternoon, what would you do with that time?
A: Probably the same thing I do with expected free time: sitting about like a lump, reading the internets. I’m quite lazy.
Q: Are you comfortable or uncomfortable in a disorderly environment?
A: That depends on what exactly is being disorderly or orderly. Right now I’m typing this in what is basically a junkroom. But I’ve got my things about me, big windows to let light in, it’s not too hot, and there is no one giving me grief. If on the other hand I’m in the office on a bad day, and it’s full of complaining people and everyone’s in a bad mood, but the place is all neat and spotless, I am very uncomfortable.
Q: How much time do you spend looking for things you can’t find?
A: Way too much time but a lot less than I used to. I learned that just chilling often results in my remembering where the thing I lost was.
Q: Are you motivated by competition?
A: No. I’ve no interest in worrying about what other people get up to.
Q: Do you find it easier to do things for other people than to do things for yourself?
A: That depends on the thing. Some things I do for other people because they don’t know how to do it and I do and it’s easier just to do it myself. Other things they can damn well do for themselves. As for doing things for myself, well, how else will anything get done? I don’t have a bevy of servants at my beck and call. This question isn’t worded well. It would make more sense if it was like this: Do you find it easier to do things for other people or to let them do it themselves?
Q: Do you work constantly? or think you should be working?
A: This is just bad wording. I don’t understand what it means. I work, I relax. So do other people though some might work more than others. Also, people need to sleep.
Q: Do you embrace rules or flout rules?
A: All of them at once? Why all these binary either/or questions? Anyway, I tend to try to follow the rules, unless they are egregiously stupid. But I also try to keep away from situations with stupid rules (i.e., sports).
Q: Do you work well under pressure?
A: No I do not. I can do it, but being pressured means I often end up being sloppy and making mistakes. Don’t pressure me, people.
Q: What would your perfect day look like?
A: Kind of like the one I had today (sitting around in front of the computer, drinking tea) only with more productive writing gotten in (that is, no tweeting or blogging).
Q: How much TV do you watch in a week (include computer time spent watching videos, movies, YouTube)?
A: I can’t even measure that little bit. I did watch a classic Doctor Who serial last week on Youtube. Otherwise I don’t even “watch” Youtube as most of my collection is for the songs.
Q: Are you a morning person or a night person?
A: Night.
Q: What’s more satisfying to you: saving time or saving money?
A: Neither I’m afraid.
Q: Do you like to be in the spotlight?
A: No.
Q: Is your life “on hold” in any aspect? Until you finish your thesis, get married, lose weight?
A: Yes. I’m between living-on-my-own situations.
Q: What would you do if you had more energy?
A: Write more.
Q: If you suddenly had an extra room in your house, what would you do with it?
A: Darkroom for film developing! Only I’m in an apartment, and it’s not mine so any unexpected extra room wouldn’t just be mine to decide what to do with.
Q: What people and activities energize you? Make you feel depleted?
A: In general, people deplete me and solitary pursuits (reading, writing, taking photos) energize me. I am not a “people” person.
Q: Is it hard for you to get rid of things that you no longer need or want?
A: It was, but it’s getting easier every year.
Q: Do you get frustrated easily?
A: Yes.
Q: On a typical night, what time do you go to bed? How many hours of sleep do you get?
A: One-o’clock AM or so. Not enough hours of sleep.
Q: If at the end of the year, you had accomplished one thing, what is the one accomplishment that would make the biggest difference to your happiness?
A: If I had (shouldn’t that be “have”?) finished polishing up my novel draft enough to get it published.
Q: And here’s another question for you. What questions would you add to this list, to help other people know themselves better? It’s so important, and so elusive.
A: There was nothing here about what books you read, just something about tv.

100 Not Really Best First Lines From Novels

Oh, me and internet lists, here we go again. Anyway, something called “American Book Review” has decided these are 100 of the best first lines of novels. Let’s just say I don’t… entirely agree with all of them. Also, a warning: I haven’t read a lot of these novels. So I will be coming at most of these as someone who is picking up these books for the first time and deciding on whether or not I’ll read on. Let’s go:

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