Thursday, April 29, 2004


Tuesday, April 27, 2004

learning disabilities

I just copied supplemental material from some follow-up testing my kids had, right after reading about some interesting research on Wampum. What struck me in the research is that it was the first thing I had seen that might explain why my son turns his head away when doing close work. But how can he at the same time be an extremely fast reader, with reasonably good comprehension? I have wanted at least to find a pattern into which my children fit, but perhaps that is the wrong impulse. My kids don't fit the standard pattern of ADD and phonological problems and so I look for alternative patterns. But my experience has not been of finding patterns that can tell us what help will make a difference. Instead, what we have found is some activities that somehow myseriously work (like piano lessons for my son starting at age 6) and some things where the child somehow mysteriously finds a way (like my daughter going from fairly severe dyslexia to a reading fluency score over the 99.9 th percentile). I think there isn't an answer, only the willingness to keep trying and openness to whatever seems to work.

Monday, April 26, 2004


Classes are done, though I have exams to give and grading still. My son has gone on a field trip, getting back Friday morning on the overnight train, so I don't have to leave the house at 7:30 to drive him to school. I got some rest over the weekend, though I didn't sleep well again last night. I feel in a better place in the work with C., though that only means in a better place to face what is deeper.

Friday, April 23, 2004

the rocks balance again

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

the fifth sentence

Shelley inspired me:
  • Grab the nearest book
  • Open the book to page 23
  • Find the fifth sentence
  • Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions

  • "Law, who sat in the nose of the rocket wearing goggles and what appeared to be a leather football helmet, announced that he intended to fly to 3,500 feet and then bail out."

    The rocket in question contained 900 pounds of gunpowder--it exploded but Frederick Rodman Law was thrown clear and survived to continue his career as "The Human Fly." This happpened in New Jersey on March 13, 1913. The book is William E. Burrows, This New Ocean: The Story of the First Space Age (New York: Modern Library, 1998). The story of the meme is

    Tuesday, April 20, 2004

    Seneca, SC

    Friday, April 16, 2004


    I've always been troubled by the interpretation of the story of doubting Thomas that says that Thomas didn't need to touch Jesus's wounds (the text doesn't say one way or another). I feel so strong that Jesus would have wanted his wounds to be touched, would have wanted that human caring. Only on a few special occasions can we literally touch each other's wounds. I was once blessed to literally touch a friend's scars as she struggled with shame about selfinjury. Yesterday C. said he wouldn't touch my tear. We actually found a good alternative, but it still feels like such a strong turning away from the deep, wet, dark world where the pain grows.

    I want to tell the story of the Frog Prince as I heard Robert Bly tell it almost 25 years ago. For some sense of that, see Anne Sexton's telling.

    Wednesday, April 14, 2004

    three questions

    I took up a challenge to ask three questions, so I will answer them myself.
    Are you happy?
    Yes, despite everything I am struggling with, I am.
    Do you think NASA should have a program to send human beings to Mars?
    I can't justify it, but I do.
    How long do you want to live?
    90 years. No more than that.

    Tuesday, April 13, 2004


    I took my son for an evaluation by an orthodontist. He wasn't quite as bad as the chiropractor I saw last year, but there was some of the same kind of disguised hard sell of standardized solutions. I kept trying to separate the cosmetic and the functional issues and the orthodontist wanted to keep them lumped together, only he never used the word cosmetic, but rather said aesthetic. He carefully showed me the improved profiles on before and after pictures of some patients. I'm going to get a second opinion, not because I doubt the treatment choices but because I just feel so uncomfortable with the orthodontist. I still don't know whether to do it at all--my son's problem is mild. It would take full braces for two years to treat it because all the teeth need to be shifted a little.

    Monday, April 12, 2004


    For the first time, my church did the Great Vigil of Easter at 6 am on Easter instead of Saturday evening. Amazingly, I got both my kids there (kids were invited to come in their pajamas, and they liked that idea). Once we were settled the lights were turned completely off for the kindling of the new fire (with a flint) and then the readings from the Hebrew Scriptures were done by candlelight. When we got to sunrise, the black paper was removed from the windows and we all said "The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!" (The lights were also turned on--the church unfortunately faces west and it was a cloudy day.) We had small bells or chimes to ring every time we said Alleluia. Somehow those bells took the joy inside me, not in any dramatic way, but a seed. When my kids went out after communion (it was a 2 1/2 hour service) I had two sets of bells and smiled whenever I rang them.

    Friday, April 09, 2004

    Good Friday

    But there are no exceptions.
    We can lay it down or have it
    wrested from us.
    We are almost there already.

    Barbara Crafton

    Thursday, April 08, 2004

    Maundy Thursday

    I heard yesterday that Maundy comes from commandment, the great commandment to "love one another as I have loved you." This is the one extra service my kids usually want to go to, because at our church we wash each other's feet. They think that is cool. I signed up to keep the vigil at the cross tomorrow from 5 to 6 am. It is an intense time for me.

    Wednesday, April 07, 2004

    letting go

    The larger scene is here.
    Oh God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our heats; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne: through Jesus Christ our Lord.
    That was the confession used in the service at Christ Church, Greenville, today. The priest said it is used at the altar of nails at Coventry Cathedral in England. We each held a nail as we said confession and received absolution, then left our nails on the altar when we went up for communion. I saw the dove nesting on the cross when I went out into the graveyard after the service.


    What improved my view of the world yesterday was fighting with the lab to get lab results that my doctor hadn't received. The lab wasn't organized to give the results to me despite the doctor writing "please release results to patient" but I did succeed. I went to church at 5:30 and the gospel was Jesus throwing the moneylenders out of the temple. Nice to know that anger is godly.

    I recommend real live preacher's raccoon stories (thanks to My so called lesbian life).

    Tuesday, April 06, 2004


    Still fighting limits that hinder my journey, and learning that I can't win. Hurts a lot. Walking through holy week feeling the pain.

    I had an annual physical today, and the funny thing was that after I told my doctor I have so much more energy since I have been carefully controlling my blood sugar, she told me my iron was significantly low (10.2 where normal is 12-14). I needed a lot of iron supplements during pregnancy and they didn't cause me any problems, so it seems easily fixed.

    Friday, April 02, 2004

    something I needed to hear

    Maya Angelou said:
    'You did what you knew how to do, and when you knew better, you did better...'


    Today is my daughter's 11th birthday. It feels like a milestone because she is growing up so fast, but it is also hard to meet birthday expectations. She told me last night she wouldn't come out of her room until 6:30 this morning so that I would have time to get her presents ready. She thoughtfully requested a flourless chocolate cake for dinner tonight, which fits my way of eating a lot better than other kinds of cakes, so I got that made last night after I got home late and tired and drained. (I halved the recipe so the ingredients were 4 eggs, 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, and 1/4 lb. butter--I figure 16 grams of carbohydrate per serving.)

    Thursday, April 01, 2004

    letting go

    I released my small wooden duck into the river today. Three times it came back to me as I walked along the shore, and three times I threw it back in.


    I went to a lecture yesterday that talked about pro-anorexia web sites. The speaker, who is an English professor, talked about the rhetoric of the sites. What she was seeing was the authors of the sites claiming the right to define themselves and control their own bodies. But she couldn't bring herself to say that was a good thing, as feminist as it is.

    I have followed web pages by people with multiple personality who choose not to integrate (an example), which also goes against standard medical/psychological advice. As I have followed some of these pages, such as Magdalen, I have been struck that a number of them have come to integration after all. They just went by the route of empowering themselves rather than following the guidance of therapists. I did ask a question about that and the author of the paper said that she has seen that happen with pro-an web sites too.

    I don't feel comfortable drawing a conclusion either.