Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Leap Day!!

Marilyn Monroe
Barbara Ann Scott
Audrey Hepburn

Gene Kelly

Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire

Monday, February 27, 2012

Dyslexic and Proud

Tucker Nichols
For most of my life I've struggled with dyslexianot just because of the challenges it caused for me in school, but because of the perception most people have of dyslexia. So, I think it’s time for me to speak out and maybe, in my small way, I can help educate people about dyslexia.

In elementary school, when I was first diagnosed with dyslexia, I had many teachers who treated me like I was stupid and the other students teased me. In high school, I was singled out and made to attend a study hall for “learning disabled” students for one of my class periods. This meant I didn’t have time in my schedule to take the fun/useful electives other students did, like home economics or typing. I was not allowed to take advanced placement (AP) or “gifted and talented” science classes, even though my test scores qualified me for them and I had a love of science. The school administrators explained that I could not be both “gifted and talented” and “learning disabled.” If I took AP science, I’d no longer be eligible for the extra help I needed as a dyslexic student. I was also told that college was not in my future and directed to peruse the less rigorous 21 credit high school diploma not accepted by most 4 year universities.
Now I am consistently hearing similar stories from other dyslexicsand sadly, dyslexic students are still treated this way in many schools around the country. Even some of my closest friends have looked at me like I just told them a horribly embarrassing secret when I reveal my dyslexiaas if I should be ashamed I’m dyslexic. Many people seem shocked I would expose such a “defect.” I believe this is because of misinformation and backward ideas about dyslexia. So, let me clear a few things up.  

Dyslexics are not stupid, dimwitted, or slow. In fact, most people with dyslexia have higher than average IQs.

Dyslexics are not lazy. Most people with dyslexia are bored in school because they’re brighter than average and/or the information is being presented in a way that is not understandable or interesting for them.

The term “learning disabled” is misleading (and offensive, in my opinion). The fact is dyslexics are not disabled at all. Our brains simple absorb and process information differently than others and because of this, conventional education and teaching methods do not help us learn. They can, at times, hinder our success.  

The fact of the matter is that individuals with dyslexia have some advantages (you might even say gifts) that “regular” folks don’t have. I recently read an interesting New York Times article on the subject. The article, by Annie Murphy Paul, revealed some of these advantages.  One such advantage is the ability to absorb the “visual gist.” In other words, “see the bigger picture” and not get lost in the detail – allowing for more rapid absorption of all the information in a scene.

One of my favorite passages from the article discusses one of two studies preformed by astrophysicist, Michael Schneps (you really should read this article):

“In the second study, Mr. Schneps deliberately blurred a set of photographs, reducing high-frequency detail in a manner that made them resemble astronomical images. He then presented these pictures to groups of dyslexic and nondyslexic undergraduates. The students with dyslexia were able to learn and make use of the information in the images, while the typical readers failed to catch on.

Given that dyslexia is universally referred to as a “learning disability,” the latter experiment is especially remarkable: in some situations, it turns out, those with dyslexia are actually the superior learners.”

Dyslexics can also see patterns, connections, and similarities more easily than others. We are highly creative and often possess superior reasoning skills. So, I guess my point is – We’re not stupid or mentally challenged.  We just absorb and process information differently. We even possess some extraordinary skills. Maybe it’s time to stop treating dyslexia as a disability and find ways to unlock and celebrate the hidden potential of today’s dyslexic students.

Here’s a great video about famous people with dyslexia including Albert Einstein, Charles Schwab, Henry Ford, and Richard Branson:

Other famous dyslexics:
Steve Jobs
Erin Brockovich
Thomas Edison
John Lennon
The list goes on and on...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Beans' New Hat

Beans just got an adorable new hat!! I ordered it from Beantown Handmade - one of my very favorite Etsy shops.  The shop's owner, Anne Burton (check out her blog), named Beantown after her Boston, who is named Bean (no 's'). So how could I possible resist ordering Beans one of her fantastic crocheted creations. But alas, Beans hates the hat...well at first she did, anyway. She's always enjoy sweaters and costumes in the past  -- she gets so excited when I pull one of her sweaters out of the closet. So, I thought for sure she'd take to the hat immediately.  But as you can see from the photos she wasn't the happiest camper at first.

She went from embarrassment (you can tell from the low slung head)....

dog clothes

 and shame....

to sadness (sigh)...

to resignation... 

But she sure looks adorable!! I think in the end she liked it OK. And when it's really cold out side I think she'll like it even more. Beantown has some pretty great sweaters time I'll get her one of those.

Check out this fun video about Anne, Bean and Beantown:

Handmade Portraits: Beantown Handmade from Etsy on Vimeo.

Monday, February 13, 2012

dear golden | vintage: a kiss is a (vintage) kiss

I don't really believe in Valentine's Day and Charley and I agreed early in our relationship not to celebrate it. It seems to me that it's just a holiday that either leaves you feeling disappointed (that your partner didn't make a grand enough gesture) or lonely (because you're single). But I'll put aside my cynicism for a minute so I can re-blog this delightful entry from one of my favorite blogger/vintage clothing retailers, Dear Golden Vintage. I just love these vintage photos of kisses...especially the last one. Happy Valentine's Day.

dear golden | vintage: a kiss is a (vintage) kiss:

Friday, February 10, 2012

Dear God, I’d like a New Body. The One You Gave Me is a Lemon

Seriously. My body is a broke down lemon. I’d like to trade it in...

I have a very strong immune system. I hardly ever get a cold or the flu. But every other system is bunk and it seems like one thing after another is breaking down

First, I suffered with undiagnosed Endometriosis for 7 years. By the time I was diagnosed, I had a large endometrioma (tumor) on my ovary.  That diagnosis lead to the discovery that I had a bifurcated uterus. Result: Surgery

Next, my gallbladder went kaput. For 6 month I was horribly sick and unable to eat – I lost almost 15 pounds. Result: Surgery

Now, my brain is broken. For the last few months I’ve been have terrible and frequent migraine headaches. It had escalated to the point that I was having some amount of head pain about 75% of the time – so I went to the doctor. She diagnosed me with hormone related migraines, but sent me for an MRI to rule out tumors, MS, and aneurysms. Unfortunately, one of those things was not ruled out.

I have two small aneurysms in my brain. Apparently, they are very small so they are not likely to require any radical treatment, like brain surgery. But it’s still very freaky – that’s my brain! My doctor referred me to a neurosurgeon, so I’ll know more after I see him. For now I just have to stay calm and not run a marathon – or participate in a weight lifting competition. Oh well.