• DH’s mom is scheduled for surgery mid-January (there are preparation appointments before then).  Her meeting with the surgeon just after Christmas was really hopeful, and he seemed very optimistic and calming about everything.  Over Christmas she seemed really energetic and like her usual self.  That is all very hopeful.
  • My SIL has a lot of artistic hobbies that she starts up and somehow masters over the course of a year.  Her most recent is knitting—she went from no knitting at all to impressive-looking sweaters and cardigans.  I knitted for years as a kid and never really mastered scarves.  She’s also got an impressive yarn collection which is a reason I no longer knit (knitting gets to be an expensive and space-needing hobby)… (that and not really needing scarves in our climate).
  • Her previous hobbies include water color, drawing, novel writing (she still does this and self-publishes—they are very good), calligraphy… I’m not sure what else.
  • My hobbies are this blog, reading novels, and watching YouTube videos.  I guess the blog is creating.  But really I am more of a consumer.
  • I’m not jealous but I am a bit in awe of people who can create.  DC1 composes and that blows my mind.  I don’t have the expertise to judge but I really enjoy hir music and it seems super impressive to me.
  • I’m not sure I have much of an imagination (it seems to be mostly used up in determining probable future scenarios and how to plan for them).  And I know my fine motor skills aren’t great.  My difficulty with left and right probably doesn’t help either.  Perhaps with practice and free time I could do something but there are so many people who can do so many amazing things that I’m happy to be a consumer of art rather than a producer.
  • DC1 added more schools to hir college list.  By the time this is published hopefully all applications will be in, including the music supplements.  We will see what happens!
  • Also turns out DC1 has been living a secret life where zie has been creating online games with other people online.  That has been turned into several college essays and an extracurricular line.  DC1 reports that the outschool essay person said it was, “unique” but wasn’t sure if she meant that in a good “interesting/breath of fresh air” way or a less good “maybe don’t” sort of way.
  • A lot of these essay questions are about how people with different viewpoints have changed the way you think about things.  DC1 has a lot of stories zie can tell, about friends and relatives with autism, blindness, amusia (“that’s interesting! I hadn’t heard of that before,” said both I and later the college essay person), as well as a trans best friend from elementary and middle school, in a state where it’s dangerous to be out.  But DC1 says that zie feels uncomfortable centering hirself as the protagonist in what are really other people’s stories.  (I was like, that sounds great!  You don’t have room for it in your Pomona essay, but you can add that as a first paragraph to your Williams essay! Question the question and demonstrate you do listen to diverse experiences but are a level beyond the question! But DC1, who is genuinely a good person, just narrowed hir eyes at me and said nothing.  Then added humor to make up the additional 50 words.)
  • Macalester wants 500 words on why St. Paul/Minneapolis is such a great place to live.  I think it’s a brainwashing technique and wonder how successful it is.  Also, now I kind of want to go to St. Paul because there’s an ice cream place there that gets its ice cream from the Wisconsin-Madison dairy and has turtle sundaes.  (We don’t have turtle sundaes in the South.)  Though really, there are other places in the Midwest we could go to to get them (like, maybe, Wisconsin-Madison itself). There are also at least 17 poke-first restaurants in the MSA and many other restaurants that also have Poke on the menu.
  • I’ve been having odd cravings for boba tea that aren’t sated by actually getting boba tea.  Too bad tapioca doesn’t have the same nutritional profile as gelatin!
  • I think I may have the most fun at conference meals when I don’t know many of the people and I don’t think I will likely meet them again.  I think the last part is key– I like meeting new people but I have enormous social anxiety, which isn’t there if I think it’s just a one time thing.
  • DC1 has gotten a lot better writing college essays since we started.  I really hate the early decision process– not that I think the outcome would have been better if zie had waited to apply to HMC regular decision, but zie still would have put hir best foot forward, instead of hir best foot from before the process started.

18 Responses to “RBOC”

  1. Coree Says:

    I’m pretty extroverted but like you, I’m great when I don’t know people! I’m chatty, funny, ask lots of questions, have a nice time, and then quite happily never see the person again.

    I love the idea that Macalester is in cahoots with the local tourist board.

  2. Chelsea Says:

    Sometimes, when my oldest son, who is autistic, is really mean to my middle son, I whisper, “One day he will be great material for your college essays.” (I should mention that they see a lovely family therapist, so we are being proactive about DS#2’s mental health.
    But still, having an autistic brother seems like hitting the admissions essay jackpot).

    Babcock ice cream (the UW-Madison dairy store) is so so so so so good. They also have the best chocolate milk on the planet. I think most of the protein that went into the development of DS#2’s brain came from Babcock Hall chocolate milk :).

    Finally (and then I need to stop procrastinating, lol) – was DC1’s handwriting on par with hir math/verbal skills when ze was grade skipped? My DC#3, who just turned 5, has made the reading/math leaps the middle one – who is bright but basically “normal” – made at 7. However, he still has the handwriting of a 5-year-old. This is to say, he can write all his letters and numbers but they are slow and messy. Although, minus the handwriting, I think he’d probably do very well skipping K, grade skipping is a huge “no way” in our district, so we are supplementing at home. Anyway, I was just curious if your DC#1s handwriting was as ahead as hir other academic skills at that age.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      DC1 went to a private school k-4 and they focused a lot of handwriting so it was actually pretty good k-4. Now it’s cramped and sloppy and looks pretty much like DH’s did in high school, but smaller, which is not great and mostly only legible to hir. DC2’s is more legible, but that’s because zie has worked on it (a current hobby is calligraphy).

      My handwriting was no good (I have elementary school report cards that prove this) until I started math classes in high school where it was vital for me to be able to tell numbers and letters apart from each other, so I have very nice printing. My standard cursive is still legible only to me. This took a LOT of practice on my part and recopying things in “neat” copy before handing them in.

      I get a lot of formerly gifted kids who are adult college students with terrible handwriting, even women! It’s really something that you have to put time into if you want to have it be readable.

      Both my kids are extremely good at touch typing, even though DC2 doesn’t actually take a touch typing class until this summer.

      • Chelsea Says:

        I guess I was asking about handwriting before starting elementary school vs what was learned during it. I thought DC#1 went straight to 2nd grade rather than doing K or 1st, and so I was asking if ze could write like a 2nd grader as well as read and do math like a 2nd grader when ze started. Sounds like he either was able to or caught up quickly.

        I think my DC3 writes totally normally for a 5-year-old (can hold a pencil and write simple words from memory) but it’s definitely not on par with his reading or math skills. Even if we could skip a grade, which we can’t (though part of me wishes we could), I would be concerned about the handwriting thing *for him* when he started (I assume he would learn just fine once he was there).

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        DC1 did K and 1 concurrently. Most kids don’t start k with writing at all! In terms of the kindergarten readiness test DC1 had to take to start K early, the only below average item was scissors skills, but zie soon made up for it and got high marks for scissors. But I don’t think writing was even tested. It’s not expected for 5 year olds. I would not be concerned about handwriting, especially with boys because (most) teachers don’t care at ALL if boys have cruddy handwriting. You might have to do exercises outside of class if you ever want him to have legible writing.

  3. CG Says:

    I mean, Minneapolis IS a fantastic city, so…
    Also totally agree with DC1 about the ickiness of using other people as plot devices in your own story.

    When DC1 has completed hir college admissions journey, I’d love to read a sort of wrap-up post of your major takeaways and lessons learned from the process. DH and my knowledge of what one should do when applying to college is literally from a different century. We each applied to three or four colleges, got into some (in my case) or all (in his case), picked one, and went. I did an east coast college tour with my mom (probably fall of senior year, but I’m not sure) and got into one of the schools I visited but not the other. I did a visit to a particular department at another school in the Midwest but then applied to a different program and they told my mom later that they didn’t view my earlier visit as demonstrated interest (which I hadn’t realized). I didn’t get into that school. DH thinks he may have only done a visit to the Ivy he eventually went to after he was admitted, but can’t remember. I suspect my essays were all a painful combination of generic and earnest, but I can’t remember a thing about any of them. I don’t even remember writing them.

    Anyway, we have no clue how we should be advising our oldest and all his friends are oldest kids, too, so no one knows what they’re doing. I’d also be very interested in your experience with the essay person or if you know people who have hired consultants. One one level that seems insane to me, but given our lack of knowledge (see above) maybe it would be a good idea and take some of the stress out of it.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      From my understanding there’s also a big Covid blip that will hopefully have finished once DC2 is up. I think we’re in a transitional period right now both because of kids who took gap years starting college and the test-optional thing being pretty universal at this point.

      Things may be completely different again in 5 years!

      I am maybe regretting a bit that I didn’t ask my friend at Harvard for contact info for the consultant her kid used last year. But also that seems anathema to my values. The outschool person literally just helped DC1 brainstorm and pointed out areas that needed work and provided info on how to improve general things like transitions and answered specific a/b questions DC1 had. It felt very ethical.

      I’ll throw all this up as an ask the grumpies sometime in March or April when I know what our outcomes were. I also have info on all the kids from our district who got into ivies last year, and boy has it gotten difficult to get into MIT which seems crazy. And I talked to an undergrad at Stanford in the fall who told me the sketchy things his posh school counselor said to do to get into Stanford (but they worked).

      I just can’t think that getting into an ivy is worth all the effort it takes, not for us at least. But DC1 is at least guaranteed a spot at the state flagship so…

      • CG Says:

        I think we are 2 years behind you so we’ll see if the covid disruption shakes out by then. I like the idea of the outschool helper. DH has a very wealthy and ambitious colleague who will stop at nothing* to get his kid into an ivy (kid is one year older than our oldest) so we are learning from him what some people do. But we do not necessarily want to do the things he’s doing.
        *By “stop at nothing” I don’t mean anything illegal, but more like just obnoxious.

  4. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    Also: Based on last year’s experiences I am partly convinced that the ivies are acting as a cartel. The top student got into Harvard and MIT and nobody else got into Harvard (these were EA1(MIT) and ED2(Harvard) so I don’t think zie applied to other schools). Every other Ivy + Stanford (other than Cornell which accepted a few people) accepted exactly ONE person (and Stanford only accepted a star football player with ok academics). It seems a bit too sketchy to really be how things shook out given that other than the Harvard decision (and likely the Stanford was an athletic recruit) these were all regular admissions.

  5. loribeth61 Says:

    Chuckling over your post — as someone whose knitting skills are even less developed than yours, lol — and also as someone with Minnesota roots. Several of my grandfather’s cousins attended Macalester — probably about 100 years ago now (!) — and I remember that whenever we went to the Twin Cities to visit my uncle, my mother would always insist we go out for turtle sundaes at particular ice cream parlour. I don’t remember the name though (must remember to ask her next time I call her…!). Hadn’t thought about them in years — and now, of course, I’m craving one…!

  6. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    I have had very similar thoughts about creators/consumers. I frequently enjoy all my consumption but occasionally I wish I had the ability to create too. It seems like fun.

    My social anxiety does recede when I know / think I’ll never see the person again. I don’t know if I’m more or less myself in those moments, though. Am I just being more chatty because I normally wouldn’t be or am I just being the me that I would be if I were less inhibited?

    Funny, handwriting seems to be a topic all this week. I tweeted about it and Abby mentioned it as well. My handwriting is legible half the time but it’s never consistent and it irritates me a lot.

    I was going to look up turtle sundaes but realized that I shouldn’t discover yet another thing to crave that I can’t get XD

  7. Matthew D Healy Says:

    DW is doing a lot of knitting now, including hats and scarves she gave as Christmas gifts. She started during recovery from eye surgery when she couldn’t read or use a computer but she could knit, and liked it enough to keep doing it after she had her ability to read back.

    For a while I had to do things like read her email messages to her and type the replies for her.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: