Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Creativity

In response to this blog post "3 Ways to Increase Your (and Your Child’s) Creativity", I commented:

I never told my parents this at the time, but I gave up on being artistic in kindergarten. We made "Indian" clay pots and to my eyes, my little pot was misshapen and ugly, while it seemed that everyone else's pots were delicate and lovely. I felt that I could not ever catch up, so I gave up.

I'm still trying to overcome that.
It's been 47 years and that self-doubt, that self-criticism, still holds me back.

I try to get around it. I have scrapbooked, both physically and digitally. I have used Photoshop and Illustrator to create and manipulate images. I used to draw, a little, back in high school, but would never show it off. I have written (well, you know that, you are reading my blog) fiction, nonfiction, columns, blog posts, talks that I have given at church, a eulogy for my mother.

And yet I still don't feel good enough to say "I am creative."

If you tell yourself something for decades, it's hard to get out of that mental rut.

Yet, that's exactly what I must do. Especially considering that Mom died of Alzheimer's.

I can't afford not to use my brain in every way possible. I have to keep trying new things. I have to keep learning. I have to stretch my brain cells because that's my best way to avoid or stave off mental deterioration.

I guess my point is that there are things out there that people can do, and if they don't get them right the first time, don't give up. Keep trying. You will find something that you can do, or you will learn to do something better than you did it before.

And for inspiration, watch this video, because not only can you be creative, you can learn new things in a reasonable amount of time:


The video is "The First 20 Hours - How to Learn Anything": Josh Kaufman at TEDxCSU. I love TED talks - they are usually inspiring, and even ones I don't necessarily agree with will make me think.

So I'm going to try this. I haven't yet decided exactly what I will do for my first 20-hour experiment. I have been thinking about NaNoWriMo again, although I'm not sure how writing a novel fits with the 20-hour learning. But that method of breaking things down into easier parts should be applicable to the novel-writing process.

So, we'll see. I will try to learn a new skill, or write a novel (which could be a learning process).

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Good intentions

I'm at my most productive when I'm doing something else.

Actually, that should read I intend productivity when I'm doing something else.

In practice, that means that at 8:30 on a Tuesday night when I'm close to being done with work, I start thinking of all the productive things I can do at home, once I get there.

In reality, once I get home, it's off to the time vortex that is Facebook, games, emails and other time wasters.

I know I should cut myself off from these things, but I can't. Because they are useful. Even the games, in moderation.

But especially for doing family history and stuff like that.

So I need to retrain my brain, I guess. Start timing my unuseful Facebook time and get started on those projects I'm behind on.

Right after I catch up on my games ...

Sunday, September 1, 2013

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate?

You can read my post here or choose to go to Married to Medicine: Vaccination: A Layperson's Perspective. My post is my opinion,facts I found through Google, personal knowledge and a bit of family history. Married to Medicine has more facts and photos of actual people (mostly children) who caught diseases that could have been prevented, plus links to scientific articles about vaccination. To me, it's more important that you be fully informed (and hopefully more likely to vaccinate for your kids' safety and the safety of others) than whether you read my words or someone else's.

I chose to vaccinate my kids. I feel that the risk of a reaction from the vaccination (particularly since we don't have a history of problems) is much less than the possible risk of the actual disease.

I butted heads with a mom blogger a couple of months ago over her anti-vaccination stance. She recently posted in favor of no-peanut policy in schools because *gasp* allergic kids die of exposure to peanuts.

According to my brief research on Google, about 200 people die in the U.S. every year due to food allergies (not just peanut).

Here's what the WHO says about measles: In 2011, there were 158,000 measles deaths globally – about 430 deaths every day or 18 deaths every hour.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asks What Would Happen If We Stopped Vaccinations?


According to the CDC, before vaccinations were widely available, about 2.6 million people died each year from measles.

I'm not saying that peanut allergies are inconsequential. There's a kid in my ward (church) who has a peanut allergy. We are all aware of it and keep an eye out. But an unvaccinated person who brings a disease into an unvaccinated group of people has more chances to kill by accident than a peanut butter sandwich in the wrong hands.

I worked as a secretary in a bank in Chicago in the 1990s. One of my co-workers caught whooping cough from another co-worker and her baby caught it from her, and ended up in the hospital. It was incredibly bad timing - my co-worker came back to work after her baby was born but before the baby got the Tdap shot.

My great-grandmother Augusta Meyn was 2 when her sister, father and two brothers died in about a 3-week period of diphtheria in 1879. There was an epidemic in the area.

We think that things like this don't happen any more in this modern era, but they do happen all the time, in places that don't have widespread vaccinations against the diseases that can be conquered.

There are those who say that the risk of vaccination is worse than the risk of not being vaccinated. I don't believe that. (Go back and read the CDC article about What Would Happen If We Stopped Vaccinations?) There are those who say that faith in God is all you need to stay healthy. (There's a megachurch in Texas holding vaccination clinics now because of a measles outbreak, but apparently they have been saying that all you need is faith.) I say that God gave people brains in order to figure out how to do things, such as scientists who research how to prevent diseases.

I'm done with my rant for now. It may not be my last word on the subject (or will if you are lucky). But we have the opportunity to learn from the past, and it's a shame if we don't take that chance. Vaccines save lives and save people from worse suffering from diseases that they don't have to catch.

Adding a few links I've come across lately.
Anti-vaccine body count
Penn and Teller on vaccinations (language warning)
Growing up unvaccinated
The toll of the anti-vaccination movement, in one devastating graphic
The Extent of America's (Totally Unnecessary) Whooping Cough Outbreak
I've Got Whooping Cough. Thanks a Lot, Jenny McCarthy.
Woman with flu miscarries, battles for her life