99 Problems our country is facing - with links

Man, sometimes I don't know why I read this stuff, and some days it gets me amped up to keep working for change and progress on the issues that we are facing. Take a look... Orwell would be really proud of some of these. "Very low food security." Uh-huh.

Seriously, though, I think this list gives a great overview of why there is no such thing as "just politics" - politics affects every aspect of our lives - where we live, what it costs to live there, how our food is grown, how our water supply is handled, our environment, educating our children, health care, our interactions with the rest of the world...


The stigma of thinking faster, feeling deeper

I found this to be a very interesting set of articles, much of which I find that I identify with. And then I wonder if I'm just being conceited (which is something they mention in the article, lol). If you have thoughts on this, I'd love to hear them.

Things from the articles that I identify with:
-learns new things rapidly
-grasps mathematical/scientific concepts readily, advanced comprehension, insightful
-avid reader
-runs mind on multiple tracks at the same time, fast thinker
-highly sensitive
-passionate, intense feelings
-aware of things that others are not, perceive world differently
-can see many sides, considers problems from a number of viewpoints
-perfectionistic, sets high standards for self and others
-very curious, desire to know
-outrage at injustice or moral breaches, good sense of justice
-strong moral convictions, integrity, honesty
-loves ideas and ardent discussion
-cannot stop thinking
-questions rules or authority, asks embarrassing questions, non-conforming
-feels different, out of step with others, sense of alienation and loneliness
-very compassionate
-empathy: feels along with others, helps them understand themselves
-My nervous system is easily aroused, and I am able to discern the slightest changes in my environment (aromas, shifts in light, etc.) or detect irritants (e.g. scratchy sweater label).
-I am deeply disturbed by inequity, exploitation, corruption, and needless human suffering.
-I can and do work myself to exhaustion.
-Some people think I'm too serious.
-I have always been interested in social reform.
-I value and will defend diversity.
-I have a strong need to "make a difference."
-I can and do ignore my own needs for the sake of others.

In the classroom, a gifted child's perceived inability to stay on task is likely to be related to boredom, curriculum, mismatched learning style, or other environmental factors. Gifted children may spend from one-fourth to one-half of their regular classroom time waiting for others to catch up (YES!!) -- even more if they are in a heterogeneously grouped class.

As a highly gifted 12 year old described it: “A real friend is a place you go when you need to take off the masks. You can say what you want to your friend because you know that your friend will really listen and even if he doesn’t like what you say, he will still like you. You can take off your camouflage with a real friend and still feel safe.” (This is why John is not only my husband, but my best friend.)

Characteristics: Highly curious. Many interests.
Possible problems: Starts many projects - perhaps does not finish them when the concepts have been drained and the work becomes tedious. May not work well in a group.

Characteristics: A high degree of Norm-referencing. That is the act of comparison of oneself to others. (Um, only all the time.)
Possible problems: May become arrogant or élitist if not giventhe opportunity to mix with intellectual peers. Over inflated self esteem. May be intolerant of others and call them stupid. Alternatively, may down-grade performance in order to fit in or simply hide abilities. (YES)

Characteristics: Generates original thought.
Possible problems: May be argumentative, oppositional to other's set ways of thinking. Resents conformity. (Gets in "trouble" at work for this, lol)

There is indirect evidence for atypical brain organization and innate talent in gifted children: Many gifted children and savants have enhanced right-hemisphere development, language-related difficulties, and autoimmune disorders. (Really?)

It is NORMAL for Gifted People to:
Have complex and deep thoughts. Feel intense emotions.
Ask lots of questions. Be highly sensitive.
Set high standards for themselves. Have strong moral convictions.
Feel different & out-of-sync. Be curious. Have a vivid imagination. Question rules or authority. Thrive on challenge.
Feel passion and compassion. Have a great deal of energy.
Have an unusual sense of humour. Feel outrage at injustice.
Look for meaning in life. Feel sad about the state of the world.
Feel a spiritual connection to life.
© The Gifted Resource Center and Lesley Sword, Ph.D

Hrm. Maybe I'm totally normal for a group I didn't know had been "normed." Interesting. So much of that, I can relate to SO much. The first time I remember being bored in school was 1st grade, when my teacher assigned me the task of helping my table-mate work on his reading. Fourth grade, when I got in trouble for reading under my desk while we were learning long division - I already knew how to do it. Fifth grade, when I got told to go sit back down and read the chapter again, because the teacher was not yet done reading it, so there was no way that I could be. The list goes on, those are the earliest concrete memories I have of it.

Work wants to use me as the standard for the timelines they're developing for the new type of project we're doing. I just did the first one. I already told my boss, and my previous boss already told my boss, that that's not a good idea. I feel so conceited having to bring that up, but I know I'm not a good standard.

Fun is. :)

Watch this video...

This brought me to tears:

"Here's a radical idea - how about a President of the United States who actually believes in the Constitution?"

John Edwards - of the people, for the people, and if it's gonna happen, BY THE PEOPLE.


What if

What If by Shel Silverstein

Last night as I lay thinking here,
Some Whatifs crawled inside my ear.
And pranced and partied all night long.
And sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I'm dumb in school?
Whatif they've closed the swimming pool?
Whatif I get beat up?
Whatif there's poison in my cup?
Whatif I start to cry?
Whatif I get sick and die?
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
Whatif I don't grow tall?
Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the fish won't bite?
Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
Whatif they start a war?
Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late?
Whatif my teeth don't grow in straight?
Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?
Everything seems swell, and then . . .
The nighttime Whatifs strike again!

Tonight, the whatifs are gnawing at my brain.

What if all the signs pointing towards fascism are right?
What if we don't get out of the country in time?
What if work won't let me transfer?
What if we don't have enough money saved?
What if once we leave, we can't come back?
What if we don't make friends?
What if we have to watch our loved ones suffer through the downfall of America?
What if global climate change causes us to revert to much more primitive means, and I can't hack it?

Basically, what if I am faced with the kind of suffering that so many people on this planet are already faced with? Intellectually and emotionally, I don't feel ready. I'm sure no one feels ready, you just do what you have to do each day to keep surviving. Just, some days, the not-knowing really gets to me...


A PSA from John to any geek guys out there...

You may think you want a geek wife, or a geek girlfriend.


When you end up spending an hour explaining computer intricacies to her, starting out with basic drive structure and file systems for both Linux and Windows, and winding up at D-Flip Flops, with a lot (um, a LOT) of detours on the way...

You just might wish her love were for the pink, sparkly kind of flip-flops. :P

Um, I'm just sayin', an all.


Things I meant to write.

So, um. Many things, that I've been meaning to write about, the last two weeks. Obviously, none of that writing happened. So, to play if-I-remember-it catch-up, in no particular order:

1.) How shitty the media coverage of Edwards has been. How the fact that the day after the Iowa caucuses, when he'd come in a surprise second place after being outspent 6 to 1, he was mentioned LESS in the news. Because, you know, Hillary vs. Obama. The End.

It's bullshit.

2.) How there's a video up on YouTube showing how Fox News used the same (presumably paid?) actor in two different "focus groups" 4 months apart, in two different states. That's bullshit, too. How many times do we have to show Fox News making shit up before people will start to believe that it's NOT REALLY NEWS, PEOPLE. Damn.

3.) Warning, graphic. Things that you don't want your 5-year-old to accidentally see. Especially when said 5-year old is very empathetic and you're not fond of lying to her. So we got to talk about how yes, that really was a real boy, and his blood was coming out because he got hit by a bullet, which is a thing that comes out of a gun when you pull the trigger. And they are hard and go very fast and can hurt and kill you. And what a war is, and why there are people dying. And what a government is. Oy.

4.) There are a million pics I want to post that I haven't resized or uploaded yet. Mainly, this is owing to the fact that I haven't had a day off from work since the 2nd, and I've put 97 hours into this 88-hour payperiod, three days before the payperiod ends. Eek. I've pretty much been working, doing dishes, eating or sleeping. Oh, and I went to clogging class with Aubrey Atwater, which is fun, but ow. My shins and knees do not thank me. Still, it had the effect of preventing me from thinking or stressing about work for 90 minutes, so that is excellent.

5.) Lately, I both love and hate Anja's imagination. It's so fascinating to me to see what's going on in her head, but sometimes the lack of discernment between reality and what's going on in her head is... a little frustrating. Still, it is what it is. In the last week, we've had 4 imaginary sisters, one imaginary brother, and Puff the Magic Dragon. Who showed up when we played his song, and now has an imaginary bed with imaginary blanket in the corner of our kitchen. Today I served snack to Anja and the Prince, and tonight I laid with Anja while she went to sleep, and told me all about Puff's dream where he blew fire on the bad guy who was trying to kill her, and the bad guy died. Wow.

6.) It's fascinating to see all the things she's learning at school and the ways she applies her brain. Two nights ago in the bath, she was showing me her bruise on her knee and telling me about all the "many many little guys who live in there and then are hurt and dead and that makes the bruise." Cellular biology? And then later, how she and Dylan were in the car and then one her-and-Dylan went one way, and one her-and-Dylan went the other way. Quantum physics? And later about how they used to make coats out of saber-tooth cats... history. And at one point she was in the car and wanted to compare the song they were listening to (classical) to the Pines of Rome (the whale song from the newer Fantasia) but she couldn't remember the word for melody. So she told him about it, but described them as being similar the way that the ABC song is like Twinkle Star. So they got to talk about the concept of melody. So fascinating.

7.) Last but not least, Ventriloquism can still be funny, if you don't mind a little crass humor. :)


The Great Couch Demolition.

First, apologies that all the pics in this post are not behind a cut. I was working on how to do that in Blogger - apparently, it's nowhere near as easy as it is on LJ or similar. I need to modify the template for the page, putting one of two blocks of HTML into a place I can't identify (no "style" tags in the template I'm using - any help out there?) and then add something to the posting template, and remember to remove it if I don't want a "read more" link, etc., etc. Too much work for tonight. Ah well, maybe I'll work on it tomorrow. For today, you get stuck with a giant, slow-loading page. Sorry :(

On the upside, I made myself a new PhotoBucket account just for blog pics, so everything won't just be gone the minute we no longer use Charter... so yay.

Anyway, the couch demolition adventure, with before, during, and after pics. And of course, commentary. Wa-hoo!!

Before pictures

View from the front entryway

Another view from our room

From the kitchen


John has a stab at it. Crowbar, handsaw and box cutter, while good tools, are not the right tools for the job...

Sawzall works better (man, my hair looks like crap... I was wearing a hat until about 30 seconds before John started taking these pics, lol)

Man, we're gonna need to vaccuum...

After pics

Couple pics from our Winter Party... not great, but you get a feel for it a little...

General pics from a few days before Christmas...

This frog looks awfully lonely up there by himself, now. Not sure what to do about that...

All in all, I'm really happy with it. I still need to make the cushion covers, a nice brown fabric with a paisley texture, and we have a bunch of junk in there right now from Christmas and my mom's house, which means it's not as cleaned-up and nice, but that will change. I love not having to walk around that chair every time I leave or enter our bedroom. Never realized that, but it's really nice. It's going to be so spacious once our tree isn't up anymore... (though it's a Frasier Fir, so that could easily be February... LOL)