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Throaty goats!

April 10, 2014

I’ve got nothing, even prompted. ‘Tis the way when I’m working on articles.

So have some goats singing the Game of Thrones theme.

School Daze

April 2, 2014

Today the Daily Prompt asks us to discuss the subject that gave us the most trouble in school.

For me that would be geometry, hands down.

Maybe it was the way geometry was taught in New York at the time, or where it fell on the continuum of math education, sandwiched between algebra and trigonometry, but after zooming through algebra, getting a 98 on the algebra Regents exam, and dabbling in trigonometry just for extra credit on algebra tests, all in ninth grade, taking geometry in tenth grade was like being dumped in another country and not knowing the language.

For one thing, memorization is about the worst way to get me to learn anything, and those proofs had to be memorized.

What’s that you say? If you understand the proofs, you don’t need to memorize them?

Yeah, well, I didn’t understand them, either. The teacher would ask me to prove the Equilateral Triangle Theorem, which says that all equilateral triangles are also equiangular, and she would expect something like this:

Instead, I would say, “Okay, so in an equilateral triangle, all the sides are the same length, right? And you want me to show that all the angles are equal, too, right? Okay, hold on.”

Then, using a ruler to measure my lines, I would draw a triangle on a piece of paper. Each side on the triangle would be two inches long.

“Okay, so these are all the same length, right?”

Then I would get out my protractor and measure all the internal angles.

“See? All the same size, 60 degrees. Seeing is believing.”

And my teacher would:

Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully in The X Files.

Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully in The X Files.

I barely passed geometry in two of the quarters. How I got an 80 on the Regents exam that year is beyond me.

Even worse, I barely passed the first quarter of trigonometry the following year, and flunked the second quarter entirely. The lowest the computer would go was 55, and I got a 55. Had I taken trigonometry right after algebra, I would have aced it, but the math part of my brain was so pickled by geometry that it simply shorted out by my Sweet 16. Not wanting to wreck my transcripts completely as I applied for college, I dropped trig. So much for getting a Regents diploma in math, as that required passing three math Regents exams. Instead, I got mine in French. Now if you were to ask me to prove a theorem, I would just look at you and say, “C’est vrai.”

From blue to yellow.

March 28, 2014

Ah, the blues. We all get them, but shaking them off can be a challenge. Today’s Daily Prompt asks bloggers to share one tip that always helps to lift their spirits.

My solution is to get out of my own head for a while. Here are a few of my suggestions:

Exercise. I do plyometrics and cardio-kickboxing. I’m not the most athletically graceful of women, so I have to concentrate on executing the moves correctly. I can’t exactly ruminate on what saddens me when I am in immediate danger of falling on my face. Bonus: Endorphins. They say exercise is the most underused antidepressant, and I believe it.

Be one with nature. I take walks nearly every day, and while I’m outside, I stop and study birds, trees, grass, flowers, puddles, rocks, clouds, sunsets, footprints, pawprints, squirrels, bunnies, and the cat who hangs around the leasing office. It reminds me that there is life all around me, and the fresh air helps clear my head.

Fid time. In my case, “fid” means “feathered kid,” but other pets, “furred kids,” will do. Anyone who has one can probably vouch for the emotional benefits of just hanging out with a non-human critter.

Get lost in fiction. I’m currently working through Nurse Jackie, and while it definitely has its sad and profound moments, it also has a lot of brutally funny snark, and that’s right up my alley. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much because of a TV show, actually. I keep wondering what would happen if Jackie Peyton and Gregory House had a kid. I’m also reading The Drowning Guard. It’s not an uplifting story, as it’s about an Ottoman princess who seduces a new man every night and the guard who murders said man the next morning, but dang, it’s a good yarn. If Disney movies are more your speed, go for it. As long as the plot distracts you and doesn’t make you feel even sadder, that’s all that matters.

Be a friend. Reaching out to others who need compassion and support does a world of good for everyone involved. My friends and family know I care, and there is real joy in helping someone else. Same goes for volunteer work, which can provide a sense of perspective. When speaking to someone who has no home and nothing to eat, your problems might seem pretty minor in comparison.

“Happy.” I cannot help but feel buoyant after hearing “Happy.” For me, it conjures a bazillion memories of  sunny days and fun-filled summer nights. There are several hour-long videos of the song, which are taken from the 24-hour version. Pick one, and watch for a while. You’ll see people from all walks of life, and the dancing is quite entertaining. Thank you, Pharrell Williams.

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