Monthly Archives: January 2011

Human Nature or Habit?

Ed and I went to breakfast this morning at the Snooty Pig in Argyle.  Yes, that’s really the name of the restaurant and the food is good.  I can’t say much about their coffee but I have found few items on the menu that I don’t like, plus the people are great.  If you’re on a diet, don’t go there.  The temptation is too great to get chicken-fried steak, homemade biscuits, old-fashioned meatloaf, french toast, chicken and dumplings … you get the idea, don’t you?  Comfort food, at its best.

Usually we get a booth in our favorite section.  If we must, we’ll take a table in that section, just to get my favorite waitress.  I sit facing the kitchen; Ed sits facing the front door.  That’s just habit, I know.  We’ve always sat in those seats and I don’t see a reason to change now.  I just didn’t realize how much of a habit it had become.  It felt strange facing the front door.  For someone with ADHD, it was VERY distracting.  Not just people coming in, there were staff members flitting around, refilling coffee, removing plates, checking people out at the front desk.  But there are also cars driving by in the parking lot.  Across the highway, there are trains going by.  That is a BUSY place!

One thing I noticed also is that most couples sat the same way we did.  Women facing the back and men facing the front door.  The place was full but there were only 2 couples sitting reversed.  What does this say about the genders.  It’s got to be something retained throughout the millennia in our genetic makeup.  The men face the door to watch for signs of approaching danger?  The women face the kitchen so they know when the food is on the way and they can prepare?  I honestly don’t know the reasoning, but from now on, I do know I will be watching to see if this was just a fluke.  When you go out to eat, watch and let me know what you find.

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Ambidexterity

Are you ambidextrous?  No???  Really?  I bet you can write with your non-dominant hand.  Yeah, I bet you can; don’t shake your head no.  It may not be nice and neat but you can do this.

What is one recommendation on the development of human potential?  When asked that question, Professor Raymond Dart, anatomist and anthropologist, said “Balance the body, balance the brain.  The future lies with the ambidextrous human!”  Coordinating the two sides of the body, in essence, should promote the coherence and balance of the two hemispheres of the brain then.  Easily said, huh?  Lol.  Well, Leonardo da Vinci believed it and astounded people watching him paint when he regularly switched hands while painting the Sistine Chapel.  So how do you become ambidextrous?  You practice, of course!

Start doing things that you normally do with your dominant hand with your non-dominant hand.  Open doors, brush your teeth, and eat with the “other” hand.  Interlock your fingers and cross your arms and legs in reverse of your normal way.  Wink your non-dominant eye.  It may feel strange for a while but you can get used to it.

Write your name with your non-dominant hand on a piece of paper.  Can’t do it?  Does it look crappy?  Try writing it on a whiteboard instead and write rather large.  Is it readable?  It may not be but it should be easier to read than the writing on the paper.  Why?  Because it is easier for us to control our larger muscles than our smaller ones.  Writing on paper uses the smaller muscles in your hand.  Writing large on a whiteboard typically uses your arm muscles instead and they should be easier to control.

Now write your name with both hands at the same time.  Yeah, that’s more difficult but it can be done.  You can also learn to write simultaneously, the dominant hand writing normally and the other hand writing in mirror image.  That is actually easier to do than you might think.  Concentrate on your dominant hand and just let the other hand follow along in the opposite direction.  It really does work but it takes some practice.

Now look at what your other hand just wrote.  That’s a mirror image of your name.  Don’t believe me?  Hold a mirror up beside it and you can read your name.  Once you get used to reading in mirror image, then you can start writing with your dominant hand in mirror image.  Here’s an example that I did last year.

Mirror-Image Writing

This is the way that Leonardo da Vinci wrote his journals.  Why?  Who knows!  Some say it was a privacy issue but others say that it was just easier for him since he was left-handed.  Being right-handed, I have no idea.  I just know that it’s pretty fun to do.  I can do it now easily on a whiteboard but I have yet to try writing mirror-image on paper.  I’ll get to it one day.  Meanwhile, here’s the same picture flipped.

Flipped Mirror-Image Writing

Now it’s your turn.  Have fun and send me a picture!

Freedom of Speech

What happened to our freedom of speech?  Are we supposed to curtail what we say so that some madman won’t go on a rampage and kill people?  Are we supposed to hide who we are so that we can stay safe in today’s society?  Well, I sure don’t, otherwise I wouldn’t be as open as I am in this blog.

A few days ago, Democratic U.S. Representative Steve Cohen compared the Republican attacks of the health care repeal to Nazi propaganda advanced by Joseph Goebbels.  Republicans, almost immediately, jumped on this analogy as inappropriate.  Cohen is Jewish.  Excuse me, but he seemed to be trying to make a point relative to something that was meaningful to him. 

At CNN, John King apologized for a guest who had used the term “in the crosshairs” during a discussion about the Chicago mayoral race.  King said that they were trying to get away from that language.  Excuse me?  He apologized for a guest???  Has “political correctness” gone way too far?

I understand the influence of speech.  Stick and stones sometimes CAN cause violence but I don’t think it should ALWAYS be blamed on the person speaking.  It should always, however, be blamed on the one who does the violence.  We have choice.  We all have the freedom of speech in this country, at least for today.  But there is a difference between fomenting violence and a figure of speech.  There is a difference between calling names in anger and trying to explain who a person is or a situation.  Fomenting violence should be prosecuted.  Opinions should not.

Regardless of how people hear the speech, I do not believe that we should lose the freedom of speech, nor be edited in how we feel and how we talk.  Once we start down that path, I don’t think we would get true freedom of speech back again.  Now that’s a scary thought … losing what is truly an American trait and right.

Goals

It’s been a long time since I’ve written and I feel SO guilty!  No, I haven’t been that busy.  No, I haven’t been traveling.  I thoroughly enjoyed being snowed in and I have gotten lazy.  Yes, LAZY! 

Actually, I have had no goals and that’s the problem.  I have lived with goals throughout my life.  I have none now.  I have all the time in the world to do what I want to do.  And you know what?  It’s boring!  I look around the house and I see all the things that I want to get done but do I get up and go do them?  Hell, no!  I have been keeping up with what has been going on in the national news but I have not been keeping up with what has been going on in my own city, my own house.  That’s just wrong.

Well, this week, I have looked around the house and I do NOT like what I see.  No, I’m still not in a hurry to get anything done but I see what needs to get done now.   I feel a little overwhelmed, to say the least.

We had to have the foundation leveled and the front deck is partially gone, which is fine since it was rotted and falling down anyway.  I can’t do anything about that yet.

Because our waterbed broke and we had to have the foundation leveled, we had moved everything in the bedroom out into the dining room, the atrium, the living room; everywhere except the bedroom!  Most of it was still sitting there, just waiting to be reviewed.  Reviewed???  Yes, reviewed!  Just because it started out in the bedroom, that didn’t mean it HAD to be returned to the bedroom.  Some of it has gone to Goodwill.  Some of it was thrown away.  Only part of it was returned.  This has actually been a great exercise for both Ed and me.  Some of that stuff was 37 years old, some was broken, and some, neither one of us could remember where it came from and we never used it.  Yet some of it had sentimental value.

I cleaned out my closet a while back.  That was fun.  Now it is Ed’s turn.  Going back through those clothes and getting rid of things I don’t like, I’ll never wear again, that was like taking a weight off of my shoulders.  I’m not sure why but I really like not having so many choices of things to wear.  Used to, I had casual clothes, work office clothes, traveling clothes, and nice clothes.  These groupings each had their own section in my closet and my closet isn’t big enough for all of that!  Nowadays, I have casual clothes and nice clothes, clothes that fit.  I wish I could explain how free that one action made me feel.  I accomplished something AND got rid of “stuff” I didn’t need. 

Now I’m looking at the rest of the house through the same eyes.  Goodwill is going to hate seeing me in the near future!  I’m ready to get started.

Hate

I am SO tired of hate.  Hate in politics, hate in the media, hate in the general public.  Hate with violence is the worst.  What could’ve been so horrible that made the Tucson madman hate people so much that he wanted to kill them, starting with Gabbie Giffords?  With the current times and economic problems, it seems like none of us are safe anymore when we are in public.  Why?  Because we are not teaching the Rules of Living in Society anymore.

Do we have more people who do bad things than we used to have?  Or is our media just publicizing them more?  Or do we just have virtually instant communication?  I believe it is a combination of all those things.  As a nation, we have been so concerned with everyone’s rights and being politically correct that we are not safe anymore from the madmen, the terrorists, and the basically evil people in our world.  Most of us don’t want to hurt anyone.  All of us want to keep our families and friends safe.  But how do we accomplish that without taking away everyone’s rights?  Enforce the laws.  Enforce the laws equally.  Hold individuals accountable.

Yes, our jails are overflowing.  The courts are swamped.  Bureaucracy moves as slowly as molasses on a cold, winter day. What about those who threaten others?  What about those who incite others to riot?  … What about taking responsibility for our own actions instead of blaming others?

In elementary school, I learned quickly that it was wrong to threaten someone, it was wrong to lie, it was wrong not to do what your parents and teachers say to do, and it was wrong to cheat.  I had rights taken away, both in school and at home.  I got a spanking.  (Yes, I did)  I learned and I learned well.  But kids today are not learning that lesson in elementary school anymore.  By middle school and junior high school, bullies are learning how to get away with taunting and threatening others, and the parents and teachers and school administration are allowing it.  These kids are learning lessons they will use for the rest of their lives.  They’re not madmen.  They’re not evil.  They definitely are not terrorists.  They are just mean, taking advantage of adults, and they have not learned how to live in a congenial society.  It seems many people have not learned to take responsibility for their own actions.  “It’s not MY fault!”  Either that or we have become a nation of lazy, bureaucratic adults.

Do these kids deserve to be locked up with killers, madmen, and terrorists?  I don’t think so but what do you do with them until they learn their lessons?  I think they do deserve to lose their freedom, their rights, for a time but is jail the best option?  To start with, how about teaching students, starting in the first grade, the cause and effect of their actions?  Then hold EVERYONE accountable for what they do.  Personally, I don’t care if someone is a madman, a terrorist, evil, or just dumb.  The only question should be where to send them after they have done something wrong, according to the laws of our states and the federal government.  They should start learning the Rules of Living in Society in elementary school and should learn to abide by those rules their entire life.

Granted, at first, the jails would be even more packed, but over time, most kids would learn what they shouldn’t do in life.  Then, hopefully, only the mentally ill and the evil would be incarcerate long-term.

But who should come up with those rules?  Huh?  We might start with a cheat sheet of our laws.  Then again, there are so many of them, I don’t think it could be called a cheat “sheet,” anymore.  And you can’t legislate ethics.  We have tried to do just that through our laws but that hasn’t worked either.  So, any ideas? 

I’m so tired of hate but I don’t hate hate.  I’m so tired of listening to hate speech, but I don’t believe in repealing the Bill of Rights.  I am responsible for my actions.  I can turn the TV and radio off whenever I want to.    I can refuse to listen to those who want to get me riled up and I can refuse to repeat it.  So can you.  Without ratings, the media will lose out, not you and me.  But it takes all of us to make a difference.  Think about it, then let me know what you think and what you think we can do.  I’m really interested.

Waiting for the Snow

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I am waiting for the snow.  I kept waking up all night, looking out the window, anticipating those little white flakes falling from the sky.  I’m still waiting.  Ed is still asleep.  The dogs are still asleep.  I’m sitting on the chaise lounge in the bedroom, watching the news on the shooting in Tucson, grieving for all of the victims, and listening to the rain fall outside the window right behind me.  I’m still waiting.

Why is it that we get so excited when it snows, especially in the DFW area?  It would be simple to say that we get excited because it snows so rarely down here but that’s not it, I don’t think.  When it snows, kids are outside playing in it, parents are taking pictures, the dogs are racing through it or maybe just sitting in it wondering what it is.  This happens all over the country, not just here. 

My favorite thing, at my age, is to sit and have a cup of coffee and to just gaze on the wonderful white display.  Yes, I too get the camera and take pictures of the dogs enjoying the snowy wonderland.  Little SoLow had to jump like a rabbit in the last snowfall we had, which was absolutely hilarious to watch, especially when Stephi and Sam just walked like normal.  I wonder if they were laughing at SoLow in their own way? 

Right now, the girls are sleeping and don’t realize what is coming soon but I can anticipate for them.  Every time that the rain slows down, I twist around to see if it has started yet.  I gotta watch that so I don’t get a crick in my neck before it even starts.  Man, does that hurt and really throws off the fun of the day!

I think part of the reason that I love the snow is that I won’t go anywhere when it snows.  Yeah, I know, it’s safer to drive on the snow than the ice but usually around here, there is ice just under a thin layer of snow.  That’s because it usually was fairly warm the day before and the snow immediately melted when it hit the ground but then froze because of the cold and wind chill.  I may go outside and walk in it but I won’t drive on it.  That means a day at home, relaxing, probably curled up in bed with SoLow, facing the windows.  Ed will probably be watching the football games today, reading the Sunday paper, and it will be a wonderful day. 

I hope you have a wonderful day today also, relaxing with your loved ones, and grinning from ear to ear all day.  If you do have to go out, please be careful.  Drive and/or walk safely.  Bundle up.  Cover your head and ears, protect your hands and feet, and, if you live in Texas, remember it could be worse…it could be a hot, humid August day and you could’ve just gotten into an enclosed car, waiting for the A/C to kick in, drenched in sweat.  Yeah, maybe the snow is pretty good after all, at least for us.

P.S.  IT’S SNOWING!!!!!  Gotta go get coffee and the camera!!!

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2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health: The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow. Crunchy numbers A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. … Continue reading