Rising in Beauty

Rising in Beauty
Sky over North Park

Just Learning

Just Learning
Kitchen Studio

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Books I'm Reading/Recently Read

The Bag Lady Papers/Penney
The Future of Islam/Esposito
Making a Literary Life/See
The History of Love/Krauss
All I Want for Christmas is a Vampire
Blade Dancer/Viehl
Becoming Naturally Therapeutic/Small
Visibly Muslim/Tarlo
The Hypochondriacs/Dillon
Art: A Crash Course/Freeman
Huntsman What Quarry/Millay
Edvard Munch/Gossett

NPR provides me with some eclectic book recommendations. Some of these I read in depth; others I read the introduction, one or two chapters of interest, and skim the rest. When my sister the English professor recommends a book, I usually find it and read carefully. Some books I've owned for decades and continue to hold my attention.

Friday, January 14, 2011

There's More Where That Came From

On one street corner in one city in the USA on a Saturday morning in front of a supermarket, a group of caring, devoted, committed people were assaulted while conducting the most basic business of citizenship and daily life. We can't afford the loss of these folks.

Yet, it heartens me that those who were harmed, and those who responded to help them, represent the people of my country. Thousands and thousands of parents are raising ethical, intellectually curious, proactive, loving children. In our millions, we try to live kindly, devotedly in family and work lives. We most emphatically give a damn!

There's more goodness, more willingness, more love where these indispensable people came from.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Shifting Perspective

One's greatest weakness can also be one's greatest strength. The reverse also holds true. Last night KPBS aired a program on attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. What stayed with me was the emphasis on playing to one's strengths, often creativity and thinking outside the box, risk-taking, entrepeneurship. These strengths can be supported by finding ways to deal with impulsivity and distractability. They recommended a book by Katie Kelly, "You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid, or Crazy?" I was surprised to see how many books appeared on Amazon for adults with ADD as well as for parents of children with ADD. I was also surprised at the strong assertion that Ritalin is not harmful over time - WHEN PROPERLY PRESCRIBED - with history from 1937 to the present. It was stated that ADD is a brain-based disorder related to a particular gene. By the end of the program, I thought they shouldn't call it a disorder, but simply a variation. Still, medication allows people to concentrate, and one has to have an identifiable medical condition to be prescribed medication.

People spoke of "Soaring and Crashing." They described functioning superlatively well, then being unable to hold things together. One middle-aged man said he started three successful businesses and "ran each of them into the ground." On medication as an adult, his performance is more consistent.

It was very sad to hear of people, "leaving a trail of lost jobs and broken relationships." The behavior described sounds similar to that of bipolar disorder, for which it is often misdiagnosed.

Diagnosis involves a thorough investigation of one's life-time behavior, with the help of professionals who really know the subject. Self-assessment questionnaires are part of the process.

A strong indicator: A person often starts a task, decides a different task is first required, and goes on to a chain of tasks he/she hadn't intended to do, usually ending up never getting to the initial task.

Another indicator: Experiencing a life-time of scoldings: You could have done better. You're not trying. You failed because you just didn't pay attention. You spent too much time on (electronic games)(goofing off)(you name it). You're lazy, stupid, rebellious, ungrateful, crazy...

BUT: The cure for resulting low self-esteem? SUCCESS! Which is really possible. It's even possible to live without the gnawing anxiety over whether you can ever do it again, over feeling like an imposter. That calls for daily attention to the things that help. And a sense of humor.