Sunday, June 29, 2008

Johari Window of Communicaiton

The Johari Window.....fascinating. I have loved the idea of the Johari Window since my early days studying communication. 4 quadrants, each one explains what is known/unknown to others and/or to ourselves. One quadrant in particular fascinates me - the "blind" quadrant. The blind quadrant is NOT known to the self, but IT IS known to others. In recent interactions with people, this quadrant has become amazingly obvious, or I guess I should say, seemingly obvious. I assume that there are communicative processes that people are unaware of in themselves (and some more so than others).

Let's get this out of the way right now - I know that I have qualities in this area, everyone does. I am constantly asking myself questions like: How am I perceived by other people? What do they think of a particular interaction? How am I coming off to others? Etc. It's amazingly hard not to think about these things being a college instructor. You are in front of people everyday who are reflecting back to you in different ways multiple times a week. So I am constantly getting feedback, I think, more so than a lot of other people. Simple interaction with people is not enough to get this feedback. I interacted with people for years (11 to be exact in a work setting before becoming a college instructor and have 31 years under my belt in other interactions) and NEVER received this kind of feedback before. Just this week I had 16 interesting conversations with my students about who they thought I was at the beginning of the semester versus at the end. Their feedback was invaluable. Getting back to my point.....

There are 4 windows included in the Johari Window. The unknown to self, but known to others is amazingly interesting. What is it about you that other people see that you don't? The is the interesting aspect of this concept is this: If it's know to other people and not to you, then how will these things come into the light and become known to you so you can improve upon them and change them? Feedback from other people right? But are people really receptive to hearing things like - "you know, you make things about YOU quite a bit even when they clearly aren't", or "you come off really mean sometimes", or "you talk way too much and need to tone it down a little", or "you tend to police social situations which makes people not want to be around you", or "you interject ridiculous things into conversations which highlights your immaturity, do you realize that?". Of course these are very harsh ways of saying these things, and for those TM alumni out there who read this, would never ever fly in a 'care enough to confront' situation. But really, do you tell people these things or hope and pray that they figure them out on their own, which most people don't without repeated negative interactions? What do you do? Or is it even your responsibility to say anything even though someones communicative behavior obviously violates every unspoken, or spoken for that matter, social rule that exists?

I come into contact with different groups of students every 7 weeks or so right now because I teach fast track classes and come across A LOT of different personalities. I am constantly analyzing people - and I have quite a bit of time to do that since I drive an hour each way to teach on a normal basis. And to tell you the truth, the analysis goes way beyond my students. I sit back and observe people constantly, and interestingly enough, the Johari Window has been crossing my mind quite a bit. Are particular things people do and say obvious to them? Or are things people do, say and act upon simply blind to them? Or, let's go even further, was it acceptable in your family? And is that particular thing not acceptable in other situations? What is blind to you that others can see? This is part of my quest - what is blind to me that others can see? I can assume, I can guess, I can try and learn from others reactions - but will I ever really know unless someone confirms it?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Ridiculousness of Weddings

When Shawn and I got married we knew we didn't really want anything too traditional. If we had it our way, it would have been a Farscape wedding (seriously - dressed up in the costumes and all). But, since we actually invited people, and they were expecting something halfway traditional, we did some things that we along with tradition - though not much. I DID NOT have something old/new/borrowed/blue. We didn't save the top of our wedding cake (we tried, but then we moved and that all went out the window). Our wedding was not in a church. We did not have a traditional reception. We did very little when it came to tradition - for good reason. Shawn and I have always known that tradition is based on something from the past right? Take diamond rings for example - where did the idea of having that perfect diamond ring come it? I can go into in depth, but let's just say that it is rooted in marketing and marketing alone back in the 1950's (thank you De Beers - because you know what poop-heads, a diamond isn't forever)! As a side note, I am not sure I will ever buy another 'real' mined diamond again unless it's classified as a 'safe' diamond. I am heavily leaning towards man made diamonds (identical chemical make-up, just made in a lab) for reasons I will not go into here. Back to my point - Shawn and I chose to do things very non-traditionally because we simply can't stand being another lemming. And, for those that are reading this that did have a traditional wedding - that's awesome, for you! And I'm glad that worked for you. But the more I study where these ridiculous traditions came from, and how many of them are rooted in marketing and/or some whim of a trend that simply stuck around, the more I am glad I bucked the whole idea a few years ago. Plus, I couldn't see putting my new husband through something like that. I knew him well enough early on in our relationship to know that he would have done it JUST FOR ME. And while that is sweet, it was his wedding too. So, we got married on a cruise ship in Southern California - I did have a white wedding dress, though it looked more like a party dress than anything - Shawn did wear a tux (and he looked mighty fine if you ask me) - we did exchange rings etc...... But like I mentioned, there are LOTS of things we did not do. No garter toss, no bouquet toss, no traditional reception and the ceremony lasted 10 minutes or so by request.

You are probably asking why I am bringing this up. Well, I just came across an article on that talks a bit about where some of this ridiculous tradition came from which affirmed what I have believed all along. I have posted some below, but you can read the whole article HERE!

Like I tell my students, critically THINK about why you are doing something. Is it because someone else expects it? Do you really want to do it? Is it because you want to conform? Is it because you want to belong to some inner circle of the "I did it so I can now brag about it" group? Do you wear 'what you do' as a badge of honor? There are tons of other questions that belong here, but I will stop. Do not conform simply for the sake of conforming (insert Romans 12:2 here). Do whatever it is you want to do because you have thought about it and that's the decision YOU want to make. If that means a traditional wedding, then so be it - good for you. But for heavens sake, please think about the why! Here's what said:

Saving the wedding cake

Why do couples eat freezer-burned wedding cake on their one-year anniversary? To answer this, we must look to the lyrics of a schoolyard classic: First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage! It used to be assumed that when there was a wedding, a christening would follow shortly. So, rather than bake two cakes for the occasions, they'd just bake one big one and save a part of it to be eaten at a later date when the squealing bundle of joy arrived.

Eventually folks warmed to the idea of giving the poor kid his own, newly baked cake, but the custom of saving a portion of the wedding cake far longer than it should be saved and then eating it and deluding oneself to believe that it actually tastes good is one that persists to this day.

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue (and a sixpence in my shoe?)

A common theme that you've no doubt noticed throughout this post: humans used to be a superstitious bunch. This rhyming phrase neatly lists a number of English customs dating back to the Victorian age which, when worn in combination, should bring the bride oodles of fabulous good luck.

The something old was meant to tie the bride to her family and her past, while the something new represented her new life as the property of a new family. The item borrowed was supposed to be taken from someone who was already a successfully married wife, so as to pass on a bit of her good fortune to the new bride. The color blue stood for all sorts of super fun things like faithfulness, loyalty, and purity. The sixpence, of course, was meant to bring the bride and her new groom actual, cold, hard fortune.

Just in case that wasn't enough, brides of yore also carried bunches of herbs (which most brides now replace with expensive, out-of-season peonies) to ward off evil spirits.

Garter and bouquet toss

This pair of rituals has long been the scourge of the modern wedding guest. What could possibly be more humiliating than being forced out to the center of a parquet dance floor and being expected to demonstrate your desperation by diving for flying flowers?

How about grasping in the air for a lacy piece of undergarment that until moments ago resided uncomfortably close to the crotch of your buddy's wife? At any other point in time, that would make you seem wildly creepy. So why is it acceptable at a wedding?

It used to be that after the bride and groom said, "I do," they were to go immediately into a nearby room and consummate the marriage. Obviously, to really make it official, there would need to be witnesses, which basically led to hordes of wedding guests crowding around the bed, pushing and shoving to get a good view and hopefully to get their hands on a lucky piece of the bride's dress as it was ripped from her body.

Sometimes the greedy guests helped get the process going by grabbing at the bride's dress as she walked by, hoping for a few threads of good fortune. In time, it seems, people realized that this was all a bit, well... creepy, and it was decided that for modesty's sake the bride could toss her bouquet as a diversion as she made her getaway and the groom could simply remove an item of the bride's undergarments and then toss it back outside to the waiting throngs to prove that he was about to, uh, seal the deal.

The white wedding dress

Technically, today's wedding gowns aren't white. They are "Candlelight," "Warm Ivory," "Ecru" or "Frost." But there was a time when a bride's wedding attire was simply the best thing in her closet (talk about "off the rack"), and could be any color, even black.

To convince her groom that she came from a wealthy family, brides would also pile on layers of fur, silk and velvet, as apparently grooms didn't care if his wife-to-be reeked of sweaty B.O. as long as she was loaded.

It was dear ol' Queen Victoria (whose reign lasted from 1837-1901) who made white fashionable. She wore a pale gown trimmed in orange blossoms for her 1840 wedding to her first cousin, Prince Albert.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Top 10

Top 10 signs you have too much zucchini......

10. Your neighbor finds them every morning in his mailbox.

9. You are eating it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, snacks too. (now, that's not so funny!)

8. You have a flute made out of a Zucchini. (It's actually been done!)

7. The stores pay you to take some off their shelves.

6. Even the field mice stop eating it.

5. You till under the Zucchini plants, but still have more today than you had yesterday.

4. Nightmares about a giant Zucchini wakes you in the night.

3. Your kids are using it for building blocks.

2. You spray your zucchini plants with sugar water to attract insects. But, they won't bite.

....and the Number One sign that you have too much Zucchini is:

1. The President of the U.S. declares Zucchini growers to be terrorists.

Monday, June 23, 2008


I've been feeling discombobulated for a couple of weeks now. Can't handle it - not even a little. 'Out of sorts' = not good. 'In sorts' = good. I need some 'In sorts' please. If you know of where I can get some, please respond.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

This just in.....

Bush Says Dems Share Blame For High Gas Prices

Urges Congress To End Ban On Offshore Oil Drilling

POSTED: 8:48 am PDT June 21, 2008
UPDATED: 9:33 am PDT June 21, 2008
President George W. Bush said Democrats in Congress keep blocking his energy proposals, and so they share some of the blame for high gasoline prices.

In his Saturday radio address, Bush urged Congress to end its long-standing ban on offshore oil and gas drilling. He said offshore drilling could yield up to 18 billion barrels of oil over time, although it would take years for production to start.

There are two prohibitions on offshore drilling, one imposed by Congress and another by an executive order from Bush's father in 1990.

The president also wants to ease the regulatory process to expand oil refining capacity and lift restrictions on oil shale leasing in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. Oil shale is a type of rock that can produce oil when exposed to heat and other processes.

In response, Democrats said opening more land to drilling is not the answer to high oil prices.

West Virginia Congressman Nick Rahall said America can't drill its way to energy independence.

Rahall, who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee, gave the Democratic response to Bush's radio address Saturday. Bush said Democrats in Congress deserve some of the blame for high prices because they're too stubborn when it comes to new energy exploration.

Rahall said a substantial amount of federal land is already available for exploration and drilling, but sits unused while the industry enjoys record profits.

He said Republicans seem more interested in continuing to line the pockets of big oil.

I just read this on I am SO glad Bush is finally speaking out about gas prices and who is to blame. So many people want to pin this on the President. Well, he's not the one making all of the decisions. I have to send this article to soooooo many people now. Gotta go!

Friday, June 20, 2008

You can always tell.....

Oh yeah, this is my motto. I would love to live in a 'model home' where everything is in its place all the time, no clutter, no dust, no wires hanging from the ceiling, but alas, I do not. During the winter months we have a bed in the living room because that's where the heat source is in our house. During the summer we live downstairs, except to sleep (most of the time anyway) and that can get kinda cluttery. Almost always there is a pile of mail sitting somewhere simply because I HATE OPENING THE MAIL. In short, our house is fairly cluttered on most days.....well, almost most days.

You can always tell when I have a big project pending - - - - - - the house gets clean. I have to develop two online classes, which I am getting closer to doing. I have the major projects finished, well, 90% finished and one of my schedules planned out in my head but not on paper yet. All in all, the brainstorming phase of my classes is complete. As I get closer to actually putting everything on Blackboard (software for the online classes), I am getting antsy. There can be no dishes in the sink, which I just did, I finished all of the laundry today finally, I purged clothes in my closet that I haven't worn for a long time and ultimately made it pretty, and tonight I may put the spare bedroom back together in case nobody ever comes over someone stops by and needs a place to sleep. Additionally, when I have big projects pending, I tend to workout more. I almost feel as if one area on my life is getting on track, I'd better get the other areas back in line. So, in short, in about a week or so, my house should be clean, and in two weeks, the classes will be developed. I am excited for the coming semester. I already have 12 people in my UPPER division class, two of them are graduate students, so it should be a really challenging semester which I am looking forward to.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Fun Discoveries

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to save money. Now, I must point out that saving money IS VERY DIFFERENT from being cheap. People can tell when you're being cheap (which I have been guilty of on many occasions, but try my hardest not to be), but people can't tell when you are saving money. I posted a number of months back that Shawn and I got a wonderful KitchenAid mixer (professional version thank you very much) for less than the price of a 'normal' version. We love it! But that's not the point here. The point is, and this is linked to the picture above, is that I am a discount grocery shopper when I can be. I have discovered that the grocery stores in our area discount meat that needs to be used OR freezed by that day or the next day. As a result, I go shopping early in the morning for meat - they discount it early in the morning and there's generally nothing left by late morning or afternoon. Today I picked up 2 - 20oz packages of ground turkey (for my awesome stuffed zucchini), 2 whole chickens because they were on sale (those are for Tess), a 5 pound package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (those are for us and should last us a couple of months), and a 3 or 4 pound package of pork ribs (Shawn loves those). I have to freeze most of the meat tonight, but it was worth it. All of the meat was 50% off. Bargain shopping makes me happy.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Recipes

Stuffed Zucchini

1 large zucchini or a few small zucchini

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ - 1/3 cup salsa (any commercial salsa will work)

½ onion chopped

1-2 cloves of garlic minced

½ to 1 tablespoon of spike

1 to 1 ½ cups cooked rice

10 oz ground turkey

1 cup cheddar cheese (½ for mixture, ½ for top)

Cut zucchini lengthwise and scoop out middle with a spoon or melon baller. Take care not to scoop out too much, the zucchini must have walls to hold in the filing. Leave walls on all sides so the filling stays in. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add the ground turkey and cook. Add the rice, spike, salsa and half of the cheddar cheese. Mix everything together until warm and the cheese has melted. Place mixture equally into zucchini boats. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes at 350 until zucchini are a bit soft, but not too soft. The zucchini should still be quite firm but cooked. Add cheese to top once cooked and melt cheese on top.


1 can Organic Muir Glen Fire Roasted Salsa

¼ cup cilantro

¼ Vidalia onion chopped or other mild flavor onion

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 serrano chili

1 jalapeno pepper

juice of ½ lime

In a dry frying pan, place the whole Serrano chili and whole jalapeno for approximately 5-10 minutes tuning every minute so the chili’s are browned/blackened and steamy on the inside. Let them sit on the counter for a few minutes to cool. Cut off the tops and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and veins (do this if you don’t want the salsa too spicy. If you want more spice in the salsa, leave the veins and seeds in). Chop into small pieces. Add all other ingredients into a food processor and blend well – until desired consistency. TIP: Wear gloves if you are working with chili's. The heat of the chili's will make your hands burn for a day or two if you don't - and that's not comfortable. :)

Friday, June 13, 2008

2 recipes coming...

At some point tomorrow I will be posting 2 recipes. One is for my friend Annie who I have known now for, gosh, 12 years. We were in Kazakstan together......Annie, was I your MA on that trip? I can't remember now. It is a fire roasted salsa that is blended together (in honor of my husband who doesn't like chunky salsa like me). It's not an awesome recipe, but it's good enough and easy enough to post.

The other is an awesome recipe that I just came up with on the fly tonight. It is a stuffed zucchini recipe. I thought it was going to be an ok recipe, but it turned out pretty good. So, there you have it - 2 recipes by Carol. That's right, I came up with them all by my lonesome. Until then......

Textbook Hell

I am teaching 3 online classes next semester through San Jose State (and two in person at Sierra College in case anyone is keeping track). I am extremely excited to have an opportunity to teach online and can't wait to get the classes developed. In the meantime, I am in the middle of textbook HELL!!!!! I have never read so many textbooks in my life. Since graduating, I have read numerous textbooks on the field of Communication Studies. Right now I am reading two, one of which is above "Thinking Through Communication" (thank you Sarah Trenholm for making my summer reading something to remember). It's interesting to say the least. I am also reading another one on Public Speaking......let me say that again......I am reading another Public Speaking textbook. I have read wwwaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy too much on Public Speaking!

I actually have the opportunity to teach an upper division class. I am excited, no, wait, I am pee my pants excited to teach an upper division class. This means that I actually get to instruct a class that has students in it who are forced actually want to take the class. It is an upper division elective, meaning, it's not required by the university, but it does count towards a person's major. Let me interpret this for you.......the students choose the class. They aren't forced to take it like Public Speaking (which is a GE requirement). I actually get to have intellectual conversations with folks who are genuinely interested in Communication. Yeah!!!!

I have taught a couple other classes that have been elective classes, but not upper division. I feel a bit intimidated, but I think I can handle it. I still can't believe I get to teach college classes. I have said this before, I still feel like I'm 12 (12 with a house, a mortgage, bills and all of the responsibilities that come along with it) - but 12 nonetheless.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Windows and recipes

This morning I must wake up the husband earlier than usual so we can measure windows. We have old casement windows in our 'built in the 1960's' house, and they MUST go. We ordered one and have already replaced it, but now it's time for the rest. We have 14 windows total in the house, that is not counting the HUGE window in our living room that we are going to replace with French Doors, including side panels thank you very much. The window is going bye bye and there will be HUGE doors to open up to the outside deck (once we rebuild it). The time has come to stop hearing the children in the daycare across the street, the freeway traffic behind our house and the summertime noise from the shopping center down the hill from our house. When we are downstairs the noise is virtually impossible to detect, but not upstairs. Since we live on a hill, any noise from down the hill travels efficiently up and into our house. New windows will cut down that noise considerably, which I am excited about. I love the peace and quite. The next house we buy, in like 15 years I'm sure because of the current housing market, will be one out in the middle of nowhere. Until then though, new windows will do the trick. They will also help with the heating and cooling in our house. No noise and a cool house, what more could a girl ask for?

I am also working on a new recipe. Yep, that's right - me, developing a recipe. It's a salsa
recipe that uses fire-roasted tomatoes from a can. I know I know - true salsa does not come from a can! But, if I get it right, it will be a great 'throw it together at the last minute' salsa. It's going to take me a few tries to get it right, but I am sure it will come out great. I already tried once, and Shawn liked it, which is saying A LOT because that boy is picky. Once I get it right, I will be sure and post the recipe here. All the ingredients are the same in most salsa's, but it's the amount and technique that count. Do you roast the chili's? Keep them raw? What kind of onion do you use? Vidalia? White? Spanish? And, do you roast those or keep them raw too? Do you blend the salsa completely (like Shawn prefers), or do you keep it kinda chunky? Do you use fire-roasted with garlic, or without? These are all the things I am trying to figure out.

So, these are my two recreational goals over the next few weeks. Windows and salsa.

Monday, June 9, 2008


Last year our zucchini was cross pollinated so it didn't produce anything but two funny looking zucchini that were as hard as a rock. This year however, we are bursting at the seams with zucchini. I have picked 5 so far, and there are still about 20-30 on the plants we are growing. I must say, fresh from the garden zucchini is amazing. They taste a bit sweeter than what is sold at the stores, but the store version is still quite acceptable (not like the difference between home grown tomatoes and store bought ones). I am looking for zucchini recipes so we don't have to give too many of them away. The night before last I made zucchini sauteed in a little bit of olive oil. Last night I made zucchini spears baked in the oven so they would be like the zucchini sticks that are deep fried at every restaurant in America. I made two different types, one with Shake n Bake believe it or not which came out really good. The other ones I made were a mixture of flour, corn meal, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, Italian spices and salt (can't remember if I added anything else). Both came out great. Tonight, well, I have no idea what I am going to do. Maybe I will make zucchini chips or something so we can dip in marinara sauce. It's essentially the same thing as the spears, but the breading is a bit different. If I find any overwhelmingly great recipes I will be sure to post them here.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Cheddar Dill Scones

I spent the morning making these......

Oh yes, these are AS good as they look. They are flaky, buttery, dilly, cheddary and all around awesome. If you like dill and cheddar cheese, you are ABSOLUTELY going to love these. This recipe is by the Barefoot Contessa a.k.a., Ina Garten. Shawn's grandparents gave me her cookbook for my birthday this year, and I decided to make these for them. :) I did make one simple change to the recipe, I made 36 small scones instead of 16 LARGE ones. Large scones don't appeal to me because it's too much bread, and simply has too many calories - approximately 400-500 per scone according to the recipe if you make only 16. Without further ado, here's the recipe.

Cheddar-Dill Scones
4 c. (plus 1 T.) all-purpose flour
2 T. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
3/4 lb. cold unsalted butter, diced
4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1 c. cold heavy cream
1/2 lb. extra sharp cheddar, small-diced
1 c. minced fresh dill
1 egg, beaten with 1 T. water or milk, for egg wash

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine 4 c. of flour, baking powder & salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add butter and mix on low, until the butter is in pea-sized pieces. Mix the eggs & heavy cream together & quickly add them to the flour & butter mixture. Combine until just blended. Toss together the cheese, dill & 1 T. of flour - then add to the dough & mix until they are almost incorporated.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead for 1 minute, until the cheddar and dill are well distributed. Roll the dough 3/4 inch thick, cut into 4 inch squares, and then in half diagonally to make triangles. Brush the tops with the egg wash. Bake on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet for 20-25 minutes, until the outside is crusty and the inside is fully baked.