Monday, March 23, 2015

Fictional Personality Typing: Anne of Green Gables

After reading MotherSytles and thinking obsessively about my personality type and those of my acquaintances, my mind wandered into the realm of fictional characters.  Anne of Green Gables for instance.  I have always felt that I could be Anne in real life, baring the unfortunate lack of red hair.  In any case, I believe she is a kindred spirit, my fictional soul mate.  Perhaps I have felt this way because we have similar personalities?  I decided to do a little fictional personality typing.

I: I think we can all agree that Anne is an introvert.  She takes long, solitary walks.  She immerses herself into books.  She always is described as just having a few close friends.  These characteristics are classically introvert.

N: Anne is not into the mundane and the nitty gritty.  She is the type of person to get swept away by the chariot race in Ben Hur and ignore geometry.  She needs places that have "scope for the imagination."  She will make a fine plum pudding sauce, but forget to put the cheesecloth on top because of her day dreaming.  She is also more inclined to see the big picture: cow in the cabbage patch.  And not the details: not her cow, Dolly.

F: Anne is definitely an F.  She is a sympathizer.  She makes decisions based on her feelings and of those around her.  There is a section in Anne of Avonlea where Anne, Jane and Gilbert talk about discipline:

"I could never whip a child," said Anne with equal decision. "I don't believe in it at all. Miss Stacy never whipped any of us and she had perfect order; and Mr. Phillips was always whipping and he had no order at all. No, if I can't get along without whipping I shall not try to teach school. There are better ways of managing. I shall try to win my pupils' affections and then they will want to do what I tell them."

Anne also likes to "fly on the wings of anticipation" and wallow in the depths of despair.  She has a hard time keeping composure when teased about her hair and, out of the blue, breaks her slate over Gilbert's head.

P or J:  Now this is the tricky letter.  This letter has to do with how to one likes their outer world structured.  The problem here is the lack of data from the novels.  A J likes organized day-to-day living, structure, smooth-running household, etc.  P is spontaneous, process- and experience-oriented, relaxed about clutter, disorder, chaos, relaxed about plans going awry, etc.  Among the internet, most people have classified Anne as a P.  I tend to differ, but of course I have an ulterior motive here (my thesis being that she is my personality twin.)

When we look at Anne as an adult, we see that she has help running a household from Susan and things run smoothly.  (Smoothly enough that it doesn't warrant a comment in the novels.)  Is this because of Anne or Susan?  In the earlier years, a couple of instances are mentioned in the books about Anne running late due to distraction.  (I.e. getting Mr. Hammond his lunch and so he gets himself into a rage and dies.)  These appear to be isolated events however, and not a character trait.  We do know she does chores on a regular basis (her inclination or Marilla's, we don't know.)  She always is able to keep herself more or less on task in terms of school work, employment, etc.  These points lead me to say she is more likely to be a J than a P.  (Most likely she falls someplace in the middle of the J and P spectrum.)

So there you have it.  Proof (ha!) that Anne is an INFJ just like myself.  No wonder I feel so connected!

Turns out, fictional personality typing is totally a thing.  A brief internet search has found the following INFJs:

Christina (Divergent)
Obi-Wan Kenobi (Star Wars)
Remus Lupin (Harry Potter)
Hermione Granger (HP)--(I actually don't agree with this one.  I think she would be more S than N.)
Jane Eyre
Kermit the Frog
Galadriel (LOTR)
Frodo Baggins (LOTR)
Albus Dumbledore (HP)
Yoda (SW)
Harry Potter
Nancy Drew--(Maybe this is another reason I read so many Nancy Drew novels as a child?!)
Elizabeth Bennett
Indiana Jones

Of course you can find a number of other sites having those same characters typed as something else (see chart below).  It is a fun, albeit rather pointless, pastime.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

MotherStyles: Using Personality Type to Discover Your Parenting Strengths

I previously viewed personality typing as something moderately interesting and perhaps vaguely useful, similar to having one's colors done (supposedly, I am a Winter, but I have never actually used that information.)  However, when Amy over at Sunlit pages mentioned that she no longer feels guilty about not holding non-family birthday parties and that this book will validate any mother, I knew I needed to check it out pronto.  I too, am plagued by guilt over our lack of birthday celebrations, along with a slew of other parenting decisions I make every single day.  What parent doesn't need validation?

Of course there are limits to personality typing and it wasn't spot on about everything, but parts of the book were like glimpses into my soul.  Other people thought that way?  This is a thing?

Turns out I am a INFJ: Introvert, Intuition, Feeling, Judging.  Each letter corresponds the following questions: Where to I get my energy? (I)  What information to I attend to most? (N)  How do I make judgements/decisions? (F) And how do I like my outer world structured? (J)   I knew I was an introvert.  But the other letters were more illuminating.  Also, the interaction between the different letters gives even more insight, which is covered in the book.

When I have taken similar type tests before, it was difficult to determine where I fell.  (My scores for N and S are very close, for example.)  In previous exams, I felt the questions were more geared towards a professional setting and that influenced how I answered them.  For example, I would feel like I should be more rational in my decision making versus being influenced by feelings, etc.  The questions in MotherStyles, however, were based on everyday decisions/actions that I make in response to my family, and so it was easier to tease out my natural inclination.


A number of the introvert struggles rang a bell with me: Struggling with handling large family or large groups of people.  Finding the energy to maintain the pace of active young children and adolescents.  Responding to "on the spot" to questions.

Introverts can also be drained if they are also an N by keeping on top of all the Sensing (S) details of caring for children.  Also, If Judging (J) drains the battery too due to the chaos of children and family life.

This means I am basically drained of all energy all the time.

I felt like I had a number of Sensing strengths but all of the struggles of the Intuitive.  Ie: living in the here-and-now, keeping things simple, not starting a project because I can't get it all done, etc.  I am pretty evenly split between the two groups.  What clarified things for me were the tips at the end of the section.  For sensing moms, "taking care of me" meant feeding the senses as too much dullness and sameness is draining.  You can take care of yourself by getting more sensory experiences.  For the Intuitive, "me time" meant giving myself a break from reality by watching a movie, reading fiction or pursing a new interest.  That was a bell ringing loud and clear for me, since that is exactly how I recharge.

I had to laugh at one section where it talks about not wanting to start a part of a project you can't finish.  Mr. F. had recently given me a "you are crazy" look when I went off about not wanting to clean just the toilets when the whole bathroom needed to be cleaned, but I didn't have the time for that large of a project.

The strengths and weaknesses of the Feeling mom hit home: being responsive to my children's needs and struggling with multiple wants and constant demands.  Also struggling with separating my feelings from those of my children's.  I have a hard time remaining cool and rational when my children are spewing fire, so to speak.

I was pretty clear cut on my I and J.  I have strong preferences towards those.  I would love to be spontaneous (P), but I am not.  I really am a lot less anxious if I know what is going on.

According to the book, some types are less frequent in the population that others.  INFJ is one of those.  That can make one feel even more of an "oddball."

There is just a lot of information in this book.  It really is illuminating.  There are some people (E), who are energized by having kids!  This is mind-blowing to me as I find parenting to be so exhausting and draining All The Time.  But, now I know that it is a function of personality.  Some people just love all the details (S) and the chaos (P) and the interaction (E).  And it feeds their soul while it conversely drains mine.  The book also mentions working harmoniously with the different personality types in your own family.  My kids are a bit too young, but I can still see preferences starting to make themselves known.

I feel like everyone should read this book and then let me know what their personality type is.  I found myself guessing some of the personality types of my friends.  There is one mother (a mother of 8) who is so reasonable and unruffled when disciplining/raising her children that it makes me think she must have a strong T preference.  Another mother I know is always volunteering to take children for the day etc., and is completely unfazed by the ensuing chaos.  I am pretty sure she would be an E.

Finally, (I know.  This is a killer of a post), I love the tips, permissions, etc that the author gives.  You can embrace who you are.  You can say "no" to things that will over-extend you and negatively influence your family.  You can actively protect the activities that will recharge you.  I feel like I have been given some concrete data which shows that 1) people are different and 2) that differences are o.k. and 3) you can act on said data and not feel (as) guilty.    

Monday, March 9, 2015

Sewing: Little Red Riding Hood Cape

Having spent so much time on the cape, I think it deserves it's own blog post.

The cape had a two scissor rating, one of the more easier patterns from the book, "Little Things to Sew".  According to Oliver + S, two scissors indicate an Advanced Beginner: someone who has sewn from a pattern before or has taken a few classes and completed several projects.  I thought that it would be a fairly straight forward sew.  I felt pretty confident in my sewing abilities to tackle that pattern.  And while there wasn't anything intrinsically difficult about the pattern, it wasn't trivial.  This was my first time working with a lining.  I loved that it was fully-lined, but that doubled the amount of fabric pieces.  The three-dimensional hood was a bit tricky too.  I messed up attaching it to the main part of the cape.  I had to unpick and hand-sew a small bit.  It all came together, but it reinforced that idea that I am still learning and very much a beginner when it comes to sewing.

That being said, I can't say enough awesome things about the pattern.  I had heard that Oliver + S patterns (or Lisette patterns in general) were the cream of the crop in terms of attention to details and construction, etc.  They are written really well and are very instructive.  It is nice to learn the correct way of doing something versus the slap-dash method found in other patterns or online tutorials.

For the fabric, I used Kaufman 21 wale corduroy in red for the main and Art Gallery Rapture Butterfly Bliss Aqua for the lining.  I ordered both from  I was hoping the the reds would match well enough since I couldn't see them in person.  It is always a bit of a gamble when ordering fabric online, but luckily, both of them were perfect.

Cost Breakdown

Pattern: Little Things to Sew Book sold on Amazon for $19.01 but used gift certificate.
    Main: $14.22 @ $9.48/yd
    Lining: $14.93 @ 9.95/yd
Thread: 4.00?
Buttons: Grandmother's button box

Total: $33.15

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Enna at Two

People!  My family and I are stuck in this vortex of sickness.  I honestly can't remember the last time all of us were well.  Enna usually falls sick first, followed in a few days by Finn, then Mr. F. and I fall victim.  The whole process is then repeated.  I thought perhaps we might have a break after this last bit (Mr. F. and I are still hacking, but health could be a possibility soonish?), but Enna is again running a low-grade fever and is congested.  This has been our life for the last month or two.  I am sick of the cold, sick of being sick, and sick of our house.  Spring and health can't come soon enough!  This is all to say: here is a birthday post a few weeks late.

Head circumference: 48.5 cm (75%)
Height: 33'' (25-50%)
Weight: 22.3 lbs (< 5%)

Enna turned 2 on Valentine's Day.  People are always remarking on her size.  "She's so petite!" While she isn't breaking any records for size, she isn't too far off others her age that we see.  Instead, I think people comment because they mistake her for being older.  People have asked me if she was starting preschool next year when she wasn't even two.  Enna is very self-possessed, and I am convinced she thinks she's four.  She doesn't understand why she can't attend preschool with her brother, when she obviously knows she is completely capable!  She is also quite verbal and lacks the puffy diaper-bum sported by her contemporaries (we potty-trained at 21 months like we did Finn).  All those characteristics combined make her seem much older than her age.  Even the pediatrician commented on it when we had her well visit.  (The pediatrician said she acted like a 3.5 year old.)

We are still nursing, but celebrated her birthday (ha!) by cutting out her last remaining night nursing session.  Now we are down to morning, nap, and bedtime.  I never would have pegged me for an extended nurser, but, there ya go.  I am still enjoying those quiet bonding moments.

Enna likes to: run so fast, jump off pieces of furniture with no fear, play with her brother, read books, cut paper, color with crayons and markers (left handed!), play in water, quote sections of books, be silly, play outdoors, give love to stuffed animals, and whine like a siren.

We celebrated by eating birthday pancakes, opening gifts, and having a special dinner of cream of tomato soup (her favorite) and grilled cheese (Finn's favorite) with dessert being vanilla pudding (wasn't a fan) and gingerbread cookies (was a fan).

We gave a number of homemade gifts this year.  I made a felt crown (using this pattern), a Red Riding Hood cape (from Little Things to Sew), and a latch board.  Plus she received a number of books from us and the Grandparents.  Truth be told, only the books have been much of a hit so far.  (Although Finn really loves the latch board.)  I am thinking she might grown into the cape and crown as she grows older and is more inclined to pretend play.  (Something I think she might do more than Finn--who just doesn't show much interest in that sort of thing).

Needless to say, we love her to death and are inclined to keep her around.

More photos to be found on my Flickr photostream.

Friday, January 30, 2015

4/52: Collection and Friday Flashback

This is my grandmother's button box.  She kept it in her bedroom.  I remember taking it out of its place on the shelf, sitting on the floor, and spending many minutes, perhaps hours, enjoying the sensation of sifting through the buttons with my hands and letting them fall between the cracks in my fingers.  I would sort through them, picking out those that were more interesting: glittery, flower-shaped, leather-tooled, wooden-carved.  Some, I tried to rig onto bobby pins and or attached to strings so that I could accessorize the outfits of the equally antique dolls she had.

When my grandmother passed away, I went with my mother to help decide what should be done regarding her belongings.  There were a number of pieces I wanted to keep so they would stay in the family: cedar chests, the cherry wood bedroom set complete with vanity, the barrister bookcases, and the family photographs.  However, there was one thing I wanted just for myself: her button box.  My memories of visiting my grandmother were inexorably linked to that humble, practical item.

The button box was stored for many years in my parents' basement along with a number of my childhood artifacts.  Due to a great cleansing and moving, I was re-gifted all of these long-forgotten items a little over a year ago.  When I cracked open the button box after not seeing it's contents for a decade or more, I was greeted by friends.  There were so many buttons that I remembered with such fondness.  It was a joy to rediscover them again.

The box symbolizes my grandmother's personality.  My grandmother reached adulthood just as the depression was starting. (She graduated college in 1929).  The saying, "use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without" was emblazoned on every action she performed.  Frugality and thrift weren't "good ideas" but a way of life.  The box is a gentle reminder to me to choose a different path: Mending vs. tossing.  Creating vs. buying.  Simplifying vs. cluttering.  

Monday, January 26, 2015

Chocolate chip cookies: gluten-free, reduced sugar

I just typed that title and had to chuckle, because who would find that appealing?  Yes, some people might need to eat gluten-free, but reduced sugar?  What, pray tell, is the point of eating cookies?  The truth of the matter?  Cookies are just too sweet for me these days.  The sugar goes straight to my brain, and I get a headache.  So, yeah, I am looking for something sweet, but not "make me ill" sort of sweet.  I reduced the sugar by a third.  I would like to do it by a half, but then you start changing the cookie texture--the cookies start to end up looking like round little cakes.  Somedays I don't mind that, but other days I do.

If you want the unadulterated version of this cookie, you can find it two places: Smitten Kitchen and Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  Both have named it one of their favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes.  They are almost identical except for slightly more flour in Mel's version and slightly more vanilla in Smitten's.  I bastardized this version even more by reducing the number of chocolate chips by half.  Two cups seems obscene to me, like, how is there even enough dough to hold that many?

Now that I have disinterested everyone, here is my version.

Chocolate Chip Cookies, gluten-free and reduced sugar

9.6 ounces all-purpose gluten-free flour (I use this one).
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
12 tablespoons butter, melted and slightly cooled
7 ounces of sucanat
1 tablespoon of vanilla
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Make sure an oven rack is in the center of the oven.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and xanthan gum. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sucanat together until well mixed. Add the egg, yolk, and vanilla. Mix well until the batter has lightened slightly in color, about 2 minutes. Add the dry ingredients and chocolate chips at the same time. Mix until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.

Form dough into tablespoonful-sized balls and place on parchment or silpat-lined cookie sheets. 

Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until the edges are set and just lightly browned. Don't overbake. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sewing: Finn's quilt

I made this goal to learn how to sew clothes, and then I go and start a massive project like sewing a quilt.  I guess I have a bit of ADD when it comes to sewing; I am easily swayed by new, shiny things or ideas.  It took me just over a year to make this--with long periods of inactivity.  Finn kept asking, "when are you going to work on my quilt?" And, "when will my quilt be finished?"  You know, just to add to my guilt at taking so long.  Initially, I thought I would have someone else quilt it, so that it would actually get finished.  But I just couldn't stomach to price tag, especially as I wanted the quilting to be simple, straight lines to complement the top.  That decision meant I had to pin the blasted thing together (with some help), and quilt it on my machine.  It is a twin size, which is about the largest size I would want to quilt on my machine.  It was awkward to handle that much fabric.

The pattern was this free one I found online.  I was looking for something that was visually appealing to me and dead easy.  The pattern fabric was the "Friendly Seas" line by Robert Kaufman which I fell in love with and scoured the internet for.  It is backed in green flannel.  I love having flannel as the backing.  It makes it just so comfy to cuddle up in.

I plan on making up the same quilt for Enna, but with different fabrics--one with cute Russian dolls and churches on it.  I have all the fabric (except for the flannel backing which will be yellow), however, I am going to give myself at least a year if not more, before I tackle another quilt.  I have a number of smaller sewing projects that I want to finish--many of them clothing.  Here is hoping to a year of sewing accomplishments!


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