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[Error: unknown template qotd]The Spitz-Holter shunt:

http://www.uh.edu/engines/epi2582.htm

Without it, I wouldn't be alive today.
nightshade1972: (Default)
[Error: unknown template qotd]"One Voice", Barry Manilow
"Home Sweet Home", Motley Crue
"Separate Lives", Marilyn Martin/Phil Collins
"It Might Be You", Stephen Bishop
"On The Loose", Saga

I trust that's a sufficiently varied list....

:-)
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[Error: unknown template qotd]Relatively few, actually.  I never dated in HS.  I dated a bunch of guys my freshman year of college, and then only sporadically after that.  The longest relationship I ever had, prior to meeting my husband, was one of the college relationships.  That one lasted about six months, until I was foolish enough to mention "the M-word", then he dropped me like a hot potato.  I'm 40 now.  I met my husband just prior to turning 32.  As I said, I didn't actually start dating until college, and I'd say altogether over the roughly 15 years between college and meeting my husband, I dated probably less than a dozen guys. 

A big part of that is the fact I'm disabled and can't drive.  Nobody wants a crip, especially one who's dependent on others to get around.  You know how they always tell you to use your own transportation, and meet in a public place so that if things don't go well, you can bail safely and on your own? Not so much when you live in a city with poor public transportation, you don't have your own, and you can't drive.  I always had the first meeting at my place--I felt a lot safer kicking someone out of my own place, if I had to, than going to the apartment/house of some guy I just met, especially if they didn't live on or near a bus route.
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[Error: unknown template qotd]Growing up in a very dysfunctional household has taught me how not to behave, and how to be a better person.

Having a congenital disability has taught me that children can be very cruel.  Many adults are no better.  It taught me self-reliance from a fairly young age.

Meeting my husband has definitely changed me for the better.  Hubby/inlaws have taught me that I'm worthy of unconditional love and support.  The last 8.5 yrs have been the happiest years of my life.
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That's a rather thorny question which can't easily be answered  with a couple of paragraphs, but here's my take on it anyway.

Tests can frequently be "skewed" in order to give the administrator(s) of the exam(s) the result(s) they want, which makes the supposed "test" effectively meaningless.

Some people are not "good" test-takers.  Intelligence/ability has nothing to do with it.  It's more an issue of "oh my god, I'm being tested on the stuff I just learned, but now I'm so nervous I can't remember any of it".  The Fraternal Unit, for example, doesn't lack for brains (his constant defense of the Maternal Unit notwithstanding), but you'd never know it from his standardized test scores.  Conversely, simply scoring 100 on a test doesn't necessarily mean you've "learned" anything other than memorization skills.  To really *learn* something requires comprehension of the subject matter.

Here in the US, the public education system has become so heavily bureaucratized and "dumbed down" that I take a rather dim view of the "exemplary" rating given to a lot of school districts.  This rating is based on standardized test scores.  Twenty years ago, the test they gave prospective HS grads in TX was called the TEAMS test, for TX Educational Assessment and Mastery.  I recall thinking it unlikely that a fourth-grader could fail that test, much less a 17 or 18 year old student.  Yet, several years after I graduated HS, they "dumbed down" the TEAMS because it was "too difficult".  Then came the TAAS, which was ultimately replaced by the TAKS.  Each reinvention of the standardized test  came about because previous iterations were considered "too difficult".

Therefore, it's unlikely the public school system will ever produce meaningful results, if the bureaucrats in charge keep turning a blind eye to the school administrators who hand-feed students the answers to the tests, so that the school can keep its Exemplary rating, and the money that goes with it, for another year.  Students won't get the education they need and deserve if a district's funding is tied so closely to test results that teachers are basically forced to "teach to the test".  Bright students shouldn't be forced to sit through a "dumbed down" curriculum.  Students who need extra help shouldn't be forced to try to keep up with work that's beyond them.  Helping less-capable students cheat doesn't "help" them at all.  If a student is ready for advanced literature, forcing them to sit through "See Spot Run" doesn't help them either.

That's why, in this day and age, I'm largely in favor of homeschooling.  With the internet and social media now so commonplace in so many homes, even if a parent doesn't have the complete skill set to, say, teach their child chemistry, that can be easily solved by field trips to local museums, obtaining the right materials from a teacher supply store, going online and finding a local homeschooling group where one parent's deficiency is another parent's degree/career, etc.  Homeschooling, when done right, isn't solely the purview of the religious wackjobs anymore.

To make a long story short (yeah, I know, so sue me already), while I think it's important to have some way for the public school system to measure the academic progress of their students, "standardized" tests are, and will remain, meaningless as we understand them now.  Educators have to be willing to do things right, even if it means they might lose funding because some students might fail.  Real progress can't be measured by spoon-feeding students the answers, or by making "tests" so easy that the "bell curve" becomes meaningless.
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I actually like my birthday quite a bit.  As it happens, because of the date (1/23), during my school years my birthday typically fell right around the split between first and second semester.  My parents usually let me stay home from school that day.  In college, xmas break was long enough that I usually didn't have to go back to school until after my bday anyway.

My birthday also has special significance for me because my 37th ('09) bday was the day I officially (in my mind, anyway, the Parental Units still don't get it) cut ties with the Familial Units.  When the Parental Units took me out to lunch, and it went off without a hitch, I didn't have long to wait for the other shoe to drop--it's maybe a fifteen minute drive from the restaurant back to my place, and the Maternal Unit complained about the Paternal Unit's driving almost the entire way home, which pretty much ruined that part of my day for me.  She's always had a gift for raining on everyone else's parade.  I've been significantly healthier and happier since I stopped speaking to them.
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If you're not actually married, with a piece of paper to prove it, it's not "cheating" if they go outside the relationship.  However, if you know he/she "cheated" on you, and you marry them anyway because "you can change him/her", you're more likely than not to be mistaken.  While it's true there are many instances where the "other woman/man" turns out to be That One Special Love You've Been Waiting For, and that feeling is mutual, it's at least equally true, if not more so, that "a leopard can't change its spots".  In other words, if you married a "cheater", that little piece of paper isn't likely to stop them.

"Cheating" can also be in the eye of the beholder.  I don't like or enjoy sex.  My husband knew this before we got married, and married me anyway.  I told him many times before, and many times since, our marriage that if he needed to sow his wild oats elsewhere, he was welcome to.  He shouldn't have to do without simply because I don't enjoy it.  So of course I would "take him back" in that circumstance, it would be extremely hypocritical of me not to.
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That Which Does Not Kill Us, Makes Us Stronger
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A temperate climate with four seasons would suit me just fine.  I miss Spring/Summer/Winter/Fall, but the humidity here (Houston, TX) plays havoc with my health, and very cold weather literally makes my joints lock up.  Hubby hates winters, and he doesn't want to live somewhere with a dry climate because he has dry skin, but can't be arsed to take care of it on a regular basis.
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The Maternal Unit seemed to get a great deal of enjoyment out of telling me what career paths I *couldn't/shouldn't* pursue, because I'm handicapped.

"You can't be an archaeologist, if you go into shunt failure in the middle of some Third World jungle they'll never get you to a good hospital in time!"

"You can't be a gymnast, because of your hydrocephalus you can't do tumbling.  You know that!"

"You can't be a police officer/paramedic/EMT, they'll never accept you for training because you can't drive!"

"You should be a writer or an English teacher."  To which end she deliberately thwarted my own college plans, but that's another post for another time.

Whether she was right or not isn't really the point.  But there's "letting someone you love down gently", and there's "telling them no in the most blunt and forceful way possible so they'll see how foolish their dreams are".

I learned two things growing up.  Not to have dreams.  And if I did, not to share them with the Maternal Unit.
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I can't count on my biological family for anything except emotional abuse/blackmail.  I can count on my husband, inlaws, and my MIL's extended family to lay down their collective lives for me if they had to.  That's all I could ever ask of anybody.
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"November Spawned a Monster", by Morrissey, came out when I was a senior in HS and I'd just had a shunt revision (www.hydroassoc.org).  The lyrics to the song are about a girl who's shunned by her peers because she's handicapped--"a symbol of where sex-mad lovers must pause and draw the line".  Every time I heard that song it made me cry.  Although I wasn't born in November, I had my shunt revision in November of '89, just after Thanksgiving.  I had few friends, and many students pointed, laughed at me, and mocked my gait.  That song just crystallized everything for me.

Lyrics are here:

http://www.songlyrics.com/morrissey/november-spawned-a-monster-lyrics/

Video (slightly different version of the song than the radio edit, but anyway) is here:

http://tinyurl.com/26nddgj
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Although I would *prefer* to live in a rural environment (rural San Antonio ranch country is so pretty! *sigh*), for medical reasons I need to live in the suburbs or city.  If I lived out in the boonies and something were to happen to me, it would take more time to either drive ourselves, wait for the ambulance, or wait to be Life Flighted than if we simply lived close enough to a major medical center that hubby could drive me himself.
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The Maternal Unit, for obvious reasons.

The guy I lost my virginity to, for telling me, a week later, "The only reason I slept with you was just to see if I could."
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I'm perfectly happy with my first name.  I'm not thrilled with my middle name, since it ties me too closely to the Maternal Unit's family for my comfort.  I'm quite happy with my last name.  When I got married, I changed my last name to match that of my husband.  I never considered keeping or hyphenating my maiden name.  As readers of my journal will know, I've had enough family drama (on my side) to last me for several lifetimes, so the more distance I can put between myself and my so called family, the better.
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I don't have a text plan on my cellphone anymore (thanks Paternal Unit...not).  And I hate calling people I don't know, or don't know well.  And it pisses me off that our landline answering machine message clearly states "we screen our calls, please leave a message"...yet most people don't.  There have been several numbers that show up regularly on our Caller ID, but without a corresponding message on our machine.  If they think I'm gonna call them back when I have no effing clue who they are, they have another think coming.

So anyway...I much prefer email.  With my neurological issues it can sometimes take me a bit longer than normal to find the words to express what I want to say.  With email, I can sit there and think about it until the right word comes to me.  In conversation, my friends are perfectly patient, and often they'll jump in while we're talking and say "Oh, you mean (word)?" and that's fine.  But in front of casual acquaintances/strangers, who don't know my situation, I hate looking like an idiot.  So email is by far my preferred method of communication.
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The Maternal Unit was born on Roswell AFB a year before the "weather balloon" incident.  Gram was secretary to the guy who made the "weather balloon" comment.  The Maternal Unit likes to say that the mother ship must have left her behind on their trial run.

I would tend to agree, but not for the reasons she thinks.

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