Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Surprise … things I thought I loved (or should)

Posted in Uncategorized on January 5, 2009 by barbararuth

1. Live music concerts. This is a hard one to admit. I saw the Grateful Dead over 200 times, which is  a huge part of my self-concept. What I’ve realized is that I loved the community, in that case, enough to overcome what tends to keep me away from concerts – aversion to loud noise and overstimulation in crowds.

2. Political activism. I simply don’t have the patience. I care deeply about a lot of causes but think more religiously than politically about how to effect change.

3. Cooking. The hippie in me would love to fit that earth mama thing, but, if I could afford it, I’d have a full-time, live-in staff!


Solar Panels at Stanford Synergy House

Posted in Methods, Uncategorized on November 16, 2007 by barbararuth

I found a very cool site about the solar panels installed on Synergy House at Stanford. I was (am?) a member of the cooperative group but lived in a different building, one which was razed after the 1989 Loma Prieta quake. The tradition of exploring alternative lifestyles … environmental, vocational, intellectual … lives on!

Solar Panels demo

The Secret Life of Introverts

Posted in Essays, Uncategorized with tags , , on November 3, 2007 by barbararuth

A friend pointed me to Jonathon Rauch’s article, “Caring for Your Introvert.”

I sighed a heartfelt Amen! One additional thought on being an introvert:

Career counseling books often suggest that introverts make good therapists and counselors because we enjoy substantive, one-to-one conversations. In my experience, this was not the case. As Rauch describes, I absolutely need time alone to think (worth noting, writing is a form of engaged thinking for me, to an even greater degree than it is a form of communicating.) I can give a presentation without anxiety. There is nothing I love more than an opportunity to share ideas with an interesting person, friend or stranger. Counseling didn’t quite fit the bill.

In some ways, working as a counselor felt like engaging in small talk. The job involved taking in the raw content of someone else’s head and helping that person piece it together.  My impulse for helping people who are working something out isn’t to listen to them or talk to them — or even to write to them. It’s to hand them something to read, that is, provide them with some refined thoughts they can use to process their raw ones! I benefitted from therapy myself — largely thanks to one therapist who assigned me reading materials (usually theoretical and academic essays on the issues I was struggling with) and another who gave me inquiries that I could go home and process by myself. The latter therapist even let me hand her pages of writing, the contents of which she would read and work into our discussions.

Psychotherapy today, I think, is an extrovert’s game; the conventions are firmly based on the cultural expectation that “talking things out” is the healthy, normal approach.

Rachel Carson

Posted in Uncategorized on May 25, 2007 by barbararuth

In this centenary year, Rachel Carson’s admirers and detractors are at the keyboards. The New Yorker piece lauded her work and legacy. Most interesting to me was the statement that, as a child, Carson “fell in love with the sea without ever having seen it.”

Silly Post About Gilligan’s Island

Posted in People, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized on May 9, 2007 by barbararuth

As someone who grew up watching a lot of TV, I am always intrigued to discover the perspectives of early TV stars who grew up without it. I love their sense of wonder about something that is for me so mundane. It is corny and sweet, but I am touched by it. From the personal site of Russell Johnson:

“I have received mail throughout the years from young viewers from all over the
world, year after year, who were so influenced by the Professor’s smarts that they
became science buffs and are now Real Professors, Doctors and Scientists.
It makes me proud . . .

Believe it or not the cast of Gilligan babysat some of you, many a time in your
lives. The little boys and girls that we, the cast, baby sat are now serving our
country, putting their lives on the line for us everyday of their young lives.
Makes me proud of you . . .

Now, many of you with children watch Gilligan along with them. You laugh together.
All of it fills my wife Constance and me with major affection for you.
I am delighted to be a part of all your lives.”

I think it must be pretty nice to look back over your 80 years and feel that you were part of something new in the world and that made a lot of people happy, even a little happy.