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budgeting, purchases, stories


Choosing Wisely-3

Last weekend I decided it was finally time to go shopping for a pair of walking shoes. I’d been alternating between rain boots and regular boots for the past five months, but now the weather is getting a bit warmer, and there are days when wearing boots feels weird and constrictive. And my go-to walking shoes—a pair of Converse that I’d been wearing for six years straight—were literally falling apart. While I don’t have to dress up for work, I do need to look presentable, and that probably means no falling-apart shoes.

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health insurance, stories

The Chinese Hospital Story

The Chinese Hospital Story

When I lived in China back in 2006-2007 I got around mostly by bike, as did many thousands of other people in my city. I never once wore a helmet, because no one else did. And that’s why it was extremely lucky that when I eventually got into an accident I did not land on my head. (Side note: As someone who is now older, wiser, and has worked in a hospital brain injury unit, I implore you to never, ever ride a bike without a helmet.)

Instead, I landed on my tailbone. After a few seconds of sitting stunned on the concrete, I stood up and walked the couple of steps to the curb. The guy on the electric bike who had hit me stopped to see if I was okay, and I told him I was. But the next morning I was in too much pain to go to work. So I took a taxi to the hospital. My Chinese friend Sylvia met me at the hospital to translate—a kindness for which I will be forever grateful, since I didn’t know enough Chinese to communicate anything useful, other than saying the word for “bicycle” and pointing at the base of my spine.

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books, identity, stories

Shelf Theory


Do you like to read? Books, I mean. Do you like to read books?

I could be wrong, but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that the answer is probably yes. I’m basing this on my assumption that there’s a fairly sizable overlap in the Venn diagram of people who read blogs for fun and people who read books for fun.

Okay, next question: Do you currently, or have you ever in your life, owned a large book collection?

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friendship, link-ups, stories

Adventures in Bucket-Filling, Close to Home

This post was inspired by Maggie at Northern Expenditure, who had the very cool idea of making a “fill-the-bucket” list and encouraging other bloggers to do so too. A fill-the-bucket list is different than a regular bucket list: rather than a list of things you want to do, it’s a list of cool things you’ve already done. The idea is to celebrate the opportunities you’ve already taken, rather than putting pressure on yourself to accomplish certain things within a specific timeframe.

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questions, stories

Be Sure You Have Answered All Questions

This past semester I taught a very content-heavy course in which the students’ grades were based mostly on their performance on three long, involved exams. I know from experience, both as a student and as an instructor, that it can be surprisingly easy to accidentally miss a question, or even a whole page, on an exam. So in an attempt to prevent this, I emphasized to the students each time that it was their responsibility to check their exams over carefully before turning them in, to make sure they hadn’t missed any questions.

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big questions, stories, Uncategorized

A Tale of Two Lists

two lists muppets

Let’s talk about Ebenezer Scrooge, being that it’s December and all. I don’t know how long it’s been since you’ve read A Christmas Carol (or watched the 1992 Muppet movie version of it, which by the way is fantastic), but Scrooge is actually a pretty complex guy. He experiences fear and regret and loneliness, just like anyone. He has memories of love—and of heartbreak. And most importantly, he courageously allows himself to undergo a deep and genuine transformation in a very short period of time, becoming a much kinder, more generous, and more caring person.

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