New Bookshelves   Leave a comment

Ana’s Knock-Off-Wood has to be the best blog ever! Ana gives simple plans for making your own furniture, along with the inspiring pictures that her readers send her.

How about making this (Ana says this was her first project ever):

Ana's Farmhouse Bed

Ana's Farmhouse Bed

Or this:

Ana's Armoir

Ana's Armoir

I’ve got my eye on these:

Modern Bookshelves

Ana's Modern Bookshelves

I’ve been in my condo for 4 years now, and it’s time to start thinking about what would suit it better than the furniture I already had. Here’s my living room now – see those too-short, too-narrow bookcases on the back wall? Soon to be history!

My living room

Here it is - my first photo, so be gentle!

This is going to be a slow project for me – it’s 110 degrees outside in Phoenix in July, and I’ve got a ton of traveling, to visit fcguy in SoCal – but I’m looking forward to getting started on it soon.

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Inspiration   Leave a comment

I had surgery last week. Minor stuff: I was in and out of the hospital in 4 hours, including arguing with the insurance company on the phone. Back to my normal life by the weekend, but my energy level is all over the place. Fortunately, fcguy was able to come in from his SoCal home to watch after me for a few days, and we spent the week quietly reading and eating chicken noodle soup.

One thing about being bedridden for more than a day or so is that you have plenty of time to surf the web and read blogs. Last week’s blogosphere has gotten me on a home improvement rampage. I can’t even manage to keep my laundry kept up, but for some reason, I am ready to plant a patio garden, create built in bookcases, install a new sliding patio door, install wardrobes in the bedroom, and replace my bathroom vanity counters.

Where should I start? How about small. A trip to Target so I can buy the picture hooks, bedsheets and a few accessories to brighten up my immediate world, while I put together my scheme for taking over the larger world. Going to Target before you’re finished with your pain medication is a delight. Examining every item in the store was a real thrill, and my short list of 5 items turned into a $200 basket full of …. what? I can’t even remember now. But somehow it was all worth it. Every piece of whatever it was got used or put into its new home, so it must have been stuff I needed.

My manic Saturday made Sunday truly a day of rest. And it’s amazing what 20 hours of sleep can do when you are ready for your first day back in the office. It’s good to be back, but I have to remember to take it slow. After a normal Monday, I’m zonked again on Tuesday. What will Wednesday bring?

Posted July 13, 2010 by Shannon Schumann in Uncategorized

Your biggest virtue is your modesty.   Leave a comment

Yeah,  sure. If I were modest, would I have made this blog public?

I think I have plenty of false modesty, and it has never gotten me very far. Holding back in meetings at work only allows others to get their ideas in before me, and makes me look disengaged and dull.

Feeling disengaged and dull today, this is all I have to say!

Posted January 16, 2010 by Shannon Schumann in Uncategorized

You will make change for the better.   Leave a comment

Sorry for being gone so early in this project! Out of town guests kept me busy for the past week.

In my last post I wrote about doing good vs. saying good. Overall, I think that my evaluation of my life is an attempt to answer the question, “did I leave the world in a better place than I found it?”

The Dalai Lama says that the purpose of life is to be happy. Think of it: even an amoeba wants to be happy as it moves toward food and away from  harmful stimuli. That’s all we want, is happiness. Finding out what happiness really is, though is a toughie. Many people mistakenly confuse happiness and pleasure. But we all see situations where pleasure can lead to unhappiness down the road. When we’re happy, it’s for the long haul – even longer than our own lives. And that’s where making change for the better comes into play.

I’ve comfortably into middle age, with no children. It’s time to think about my legacy. I’ve published some papers, and had plenty of students, mostly who I think I’ve influenced positively.  What is next for me?

Posted January 15, 2010 by Shannon Schumann in Uncategorized

Well done is better than well said.   Leave a comment

In my sweetie’s family, “Good Job” is a common exclamation. We say it for big things, like graduating from college, and for little things, like not tripping over the bathroom rug. It’s said with love, and even when said with humor and irony, communicates that we care for and support each other.

My sweetie and I are at the ages where people begin to look back on their lives and try to find meaning in everything we’ve been through. Both of us started off life with oodles of education and promise early on. We’ve done all right for ourselves through our careers, but neither of us followed the standard trajectory to material and career success that we could have gone after. What we’ve done is not what we’ve said we’d do. I am satisfied with the path I took, and he certainly has accomplished enough to be proud of his path. At the same time, when we hear about our classmates, it’s hard not to second guess ourselves. What is the measure of a good job?

It’s not that we planned this – somehow, we see ourselves in much different places than we imagined we would be at this time in our lives.  In my case, I left a secure academic post to pursue the arts for a few years, and failed miserably at that. I am back in the academic scene, but in a much reduced capacity. I gave up the prestige of doing mathematics research for the satisfaction of making a difference in my students’ lives. I think I’ve done a good job.

Posted January 6, 2010 by Shannon Schumann in Uncategorized

It’s time to get moving. Your spirits will lift accordingly.   Leave a comment

Although it’s being discredited, the common knowledge about learning is that we all have different styles, and that when we can match our mode of learning to our style, we can learn more efficiently. Some people are visual learners, and gravitate toward images to help them learn, some are auditory, and so on. I think that I use all styles when I learn. It makes sense, and there is good evidence to support this, that we really learn best when we can use more than one channel to reinforce what we are learning.

Nevertheless, we do seem to gravitate toward certain styles. I know that when I think about abstract mathematical ideas, that I feel certain muscles contract through my body. Although I have never thought of myself as a mover, or a shaker (sorry, bad pun), I think that most proponents of learning style theory would call me a kinesthetic learner.

Moving was never important to me when I was young. I was clumsy, and so focused on developing my mind at the expense of my body. It wasn’t until I was in the Navy that I began exercising regularly, and even then, it was grudgingly. During graduate school I started hiking, biking, and skiing, and a joy of movement took over my life.  Movement made me happy, and happiness made me move. I moved closer to wholeness (holiness?) when I started moving.

Although Descartes’ contributions to science and philosophy are nothing to sneeze at, it appears that he was all wet when he taught us about dualism. We easily see how the mind affects the body through somatic illness and the Positive Psychology movement. Even more surprising to Westerners is something that has been known by Buddhists for centuries: that the body and mind are inextricably tied together, and that mind can affect matter in much more direct ways than what we see from merely a positive outlook. Although neuroplasticity, the study of the mind-body connection, is in its infancy, the hope it gives us as we look at what we could become, if we’d only think it — or move it, is astonishing.

Posted January 6, 2010 by Shannon Schumann in Uncategorized

Your talents will be recognized and suitably rewarded.   Leave a comment

What do we deserve in life? For the first three quarters of my life, I tried to be the good girl who deserved to be loved:  the girl who makes no demands, but who is recognized and appreciated for her goodness. I think this is something that many women buy into. What we need to do is to toot our own horns like the boys do, but we often can’t bring ourselves to do that.

A coworker exemplifies this. She does good, careful work, even creative work, and expects to be recognized and appreciated for that. She has tried for a promotion, but she’s consistently passed over. It’s clear that the reason is related to her belief that talents will be recognized and suitably rewarded. She even says that putting her successes forward feels like cheating!

It’s not wrong to take steps to get what we deserve. As long as we’re not actively sabotaging another person, we owe it to ourselves to act the part and put  ourselves forward in the workplace. This is easy for us to swallow if we have families to support, but is no less true if we are on our own.

Two books that have helped me are Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide, by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever, and Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office, by Lois P. Frankel. Both books address the things that men do naturally, so that women can consciously adopt these behaviors to level the playing field in the workplace, and any other place where we have something to gain — or to lose.

Posted January 5, 2010 by Shannon Schumann in Uncategorized

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