Samara O'Shea

Archive for November, 2010

Endangered Arts

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

In the December issue of Psychology Today there is an article entitled “Endangered Arts.” Below you will find the four endangered arts that the magazine names and my comments on each. (Statuses determined by Psych Today):

1. Meaningful Conversation
Status: Threatened

The good news is, if you want meaningful conversation then I believe you can still find it. Most of us treasure significant discussion and recognize that it strengthens all types of relationships. The bad news is we don’t know whether or not this will be lost on the younger generation. Hopefully the boys I saw playing basketball over the weekend (see blog below) are also learning the art of conversation.

2. Letter Writing
Status: Near Extinction

Ah-ha! Our beloved topic. The article sites that in 2009, mail sent through the U.S. Postal Service dropped to its lowest level ever. Of course I fear for letter writing (that’s why I write about it!), but I thought it was on its way out long ago, and it’s still around. I’ll believe it’s gone for good when Hallmark no longer carries greeting cards.

3. A Do-It Yourself Mentality
Status: Staging a Comeback

The other day my sister said, “Do you notice that all the parents stand with their kids at the bus stop?” It’s true. The parents in our neighborhood and other neighborhoods, I’m sure, walk their kids to the bus and stand there until the bus arrives. This is odd to us because we walked ourselves to and from the bus stop since we were in first grade.

My sister and I credit this small act of walking to the bus station sans adult with giving us the independence we have today. Once college came, we were out of our parent’s house for good.
We rarely borrow money, and if we do we pay it back.

I realize that Psych Today isn’t necessarily talking about a “sense of independence,” they’re talking about knitting, cooking, gardening, and refinishing wooden door frames. However, I think that the two go hand in hand. Having a strong sense of independence makes those DIY tasks even more satisfying. When I first moved into my house, I cut some lilacs from my lilac bush and put them in a glass vase. As I placed them on the table I felt an overwhelming sense of satisfaction. In that moment, I realized that I owned the home, I owned the lilac bush, and I was taking simple pleasure in this experience that I earned.

If you’re used to having others do things for you, then doing anything yourself seems like a chore. And thus, I encourage parents, living in safe neighborhoods, to let their children walk to the bus station. (You can watch from the window.)

4. The Renaissance Personality
Status: Threatened

I don’t really have a reaction to this one. Psych Today laments that “We are more educated than ever, but we’re not sure what’s worth knowing and why.” They refer to the era when all students could speak several languages, play the piano, and recite poetry after dinner. I think what we lack these days is the self-discipline to learn to do all those admirable things.

Boys Will be Boys

Monday, November 15th, 2010


The weather in the Greater Philadelphia area this weekend was divine. It required me to wear my favorite clothing combination—jeans and a sweater. The air was crisp and the foliage put its best foot forward. The leaves on the Japanese Maple tree in my front yard turned such a rich red they looked velvet from a distance.

This was the first weekend in two weeks that I wasn’t traveling, thus I enjoyed simple things—walking around and sitting on my front step with a cup of tea by my side. As I walked I saw something that surprised me: boys playing basketball in the park. Not a strange site I realize, but with all the talk of teenagers spending too much time on the computer, I was happy to see it. I also saw three boys on skateboards and three more on bikes. This gave me renewed hope for the Facebook generation. They do breath fresh air and get exercise. Carry on youngins!

Updated Vintage Commerical

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Look! Same commercial (as below) with much better graphics. I still have a nostalgic soft spot in my heart for the old one though:

Vintage Commercial

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

I meant to post this on Halloween, but it slipped my mind. All the Tootsie Pops I saw reminded me of this classic commercial. I love YouTube—through it I can access my childhood on a regular basis.

The Divorce Vertical

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

This year The Huffington Post has taken to adding many new verticals (the name for their sections). They’ve added a Travel vertical, Food, Health, and Religion. All very exciting and relevant verticals. Earlier this week, however, they added a Divorce vertical. I was caught off guard. Is there really that much divorce news in the world? Other than the reality that it keeps happening, what is there to say?

I said to my friend Lexie, “They added a Divorce vertical!” And she said, “Well maybe that’s to help people through the process.” A good point. I’m sure that’s what it is, and that’s all well and good. In that case, how about having a Marriage vertical as well. To help people through that process, too, and (ideally) prevent them from having to click on the Divorce vertical.

UPDATE: Here are Arianna Huffington’s thoughts on the new Divorce vertical. She says, “I’ve always thought that, as a country, we do a lousy job of addressing how we can do divorce differently — and better. Especially when there are children involved.” I agree. But I still think a marriage page would serve a poignant (and more optimistic) purpose.

Paper Mates

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Greetings everyone ~ Happy November!

The lovely Sara from Ventura, California wrote me a few weeks back saying, “I am being lovingly persuaded by my husband to downsize some of my immense stationery collection and I am currently making up ten parcels to send out. Would you like one?”

Sara is a fellow paper lover with a visually inspiring blog. Kudos to Sara for recycling her stationery, and another kudos to her husband for making his request “lovingly.” A joyous package arrive at my home a week or so ago . . .


And I am now the proud owner of a portion of Sara’s unique stationery set. Thank you Sara!


In other news . . . I bought these bookplates from Sarah + Abraham (a different Sara). I’m so excited to give these to my friend Tom (for his little girl Finley). There are a wealth of wonderful, reasonably priced gifts for children at S + A if you find yourself looking.