Wednesday, December 26, 2007

You snus, you (maybe) -don't- lose...

While I have not been formally diagnosed, I suspect I have COPD. Got a cold this autumn with significant bronchial effects... and the bronchial effects have never quite gone away. Frustrating, since at my absolute worst I've smoked -maybe- 3/4 of a pack a day... but there it is. So it's more than obvious that it's time to quit smoking.

This should be easy. I have always resisted acknowledging the fact that I smoke at all. And for several years it was truly only 'social smoking'... I could go for months without a cigarette without noticing it. But over the last five or six years it's definitely progressed to true addiction. That said, I've always been neurotic about not smoking around any non-smokers (most especially my kids!!!), never smoking indoors or in any enclosed area, washing and brushing my teeth afterwards... So this seems like it shouldn't be as tough as it is for some people, right?

Mmm. Nice theory. Too bad it doesn't work in practice. :(

So there are all these NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy) products out, right? So I should use them, right?

Have you seen the PRICES of these things??? Makes me think no one is serious about wanting to help people stop smoking, because otherwise the NRTs wouldn't be four times as expensive as smoking. (Ok, they'd probably be cheaper for the several-packs-a-day folks, but they are NOT for me.) (And -how- does one smoke two or three packs a day anyway? I can't figure out where anyone would have enough -time- to smoke that much. But that's a different subject.)

In addition, NRT products are designed to deliver a constant low dose of nicotine. When you smoke, you get a much stronger hit. That's the other reason why NRTs have pretty poor success rates: they don't actually replace the experience you get with the original delivery system.

But then I ran across information about smokeless tobacco. Specifically, Swedish snus. Turns out, they're discreet, don't require spitting, don't have all the 'lower-class' connotations that "chew" has here. The Swedes have used them for years... and DRAMATICALLY reduced deaths from just about all smoking-related mortality. It appears that the risks and problems caused by nicotine itself is no more than the risk for any other stimulant (caffeine, for example). And that when you don't burn it, tobacco has perhaps some small risk factors, but not significantly more than just about anything else in this day and age... and again, dramatically less risk than smoking. Seems that almost all the awful parts of smoking are caused by the inhaled smoke. If you can take that out, but limit the nicotine withdrawal, you can get many, many, many more people to quit smoking than you do with other methods. (And yes, the ideal situation is that you quit completely. But hello... it's called an addiction for a -reason-. If it were easy to just quit, wouldn't most of us have done that by now?) And the snus deliver nicotine in a method much more similar to the pattern of delivery provided by a cigarette, which makes them more effective at controlling cravings.

There is a version of snus being test marketed in my area right now, that is not catching on at all, which makes me wonder if they'll pull it off the market.

And one of the reasons it's not catching on? In the US, you can't say that it's much less harmful than cigarettes... EVEN THOUGH IT IS!

On the tin of snus that I have here with me right now, it says "Warning: This product is not a safe alternative to cigarettes." Doesn't that make you think "well, I might as well smoke?" If that was all the data I had, I'd sure think that. But fortunately, I have the Internet. Yay Internet!

And the data I've found says something very different than that which is implied by that warning. If you want to wade through it yourself, take a look at this report by the UK Royal College of Physicians: as well as data found here: Or, for a shorter overview, try this NYT article:

Is it totally safe? No, probably not. Is it notably, significantly, dramatically more safe than smoking cigarettes? Absolutely -- especially when viewed in relative terms. But heaven forbid we should be able to say this in this country. Oh, wait... there are large companies making a lot of money on NRT products, aren't there? Large companies that tend to spend a lot of political money? Gee, that couldn't have anything to do with effectively suppressing this data, could it? (And interestingly, the RCP data comes from a country where snus are banned. Cigarettes aren't banned. Other forms of chewing tobacco that are not nearly as safe are not banned. But snus are banned. Hmm...)

Anyway, right now the snus are available to me here, and are indeed helping me quit - I've smoked 3 cigarettes today, and only have one left, and don't intend to buy any more when this is done. (I'll make no promises, but that's my intention.)

But I wonder how many people could be helped by knowing this, and who are turned off of these new smokeless products, because we're so busy pushing abstinence that we don't provide accurate data about safer alternatives.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ah, the life of a consultant

Things have been very (VERY) slow at my work the last couple weeks. I was getting nervous. So, I threw some resumes out, and got an offer for a short-term contract starting January 2. Talked to my current work, and sure enough, they agreed there wasn't enough work here for a full-time writer (which makes me suspect that after the holidays I was going to get an unpleasant surprise. Well, not totally a surprise, because any time a consultant is twiddling her thumbs, she knows it's time to start looking...).

So, it's job-switch time again. But at least it's a pay increase, and will mean I won't pay to park downtown anymore. (That right there is a significant savings!)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

At last! The mystery solved!

Ever get caught in one of those "mystery jams" on the freeway, where you come to a complete standstill for absolutely no reason? Well, this discounts my friend's theory that "traffic ghosts" stop cars. :)

Monday, December 17, 2007

What is remembered, lives

We lost Dan Fogelberg this weekend.

What a shame. I love his music, as well as his philosophy on the environment. And SO YOUNG. (Amazing how young 56 is to me now. Perspective, I guess...) (And guys, note the warning he gives on the above website about prostate cancer screenings...)

To quote from one of my favorite of his songs, "Ever On":

May the trail rise up to meet you
May your heart rejoice in song
May the skies be fair above you
As you journey ever on...

What is remembered, lives...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Observe the snow...

Ok, we only got about 4 inches (margin of error +/- 1 inch - I don't guestimate measurements well). But I guess I'm just not mentally prepared for snow until January. (Or perhaps I'm mentally preparing to move to Texas eventually. I will say, I used to claim that I would be miserable if I didn't live somewhere where I could experience all four seasons. But as I get older, I notice that I enjoy the experience of winter far less each year...)

Anyway, it seemed a good time to share a link from a Cecil Adams "Straight Dope" column that makes me laugh every time I read it:

"Observe the snow. It fornicates."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Checking the personality test again...

I did come out ENFP, but only by the skin of my teeth - my "E" preference is only 1%. That's about right. Sometimes I am energized by contact with other people, and sometimes I really, really need alone time. Pretty much every question about interacting with other people, I want to answer, "It depends." :)

But this description is so accurate it is almost frightening:
Idealists, as a temperament, are passionately concerned with personal growth and development. Idealists strive to discover who they are and how they can become their best possible self -- always this quest for self-knowledge and self-improvement drives their imagination. And they want to help others make the journey. Idealists are naturally drawn to working with people, and whether in education or counseling, in social services or personnel work, in journalism or the ministry, they are gifted at helping others find their way in life, often inspiring them to grow as individuals and to fulfill their potentials.

Idealists are sure that friendly cooperation is the best way for people to achieve their goals. Conflict and confrontation upset them because they seem to put up angry barriers between people. Idealists dream of creating harmonious, even caring personal relations, and they have a unique talent for helping people get along with each other and work together for the good of all. Such interpersonal harmony might be a romantic ideal, but then Idealists are incurable romantics who prefer to focus on what might be, rather than what is. The real, practical world is only a starting place for Idealists; they believe that life is filled with possibilities waiting to be realized, rich with meanings calling out to be understood. This idea of a mystical or spiritual dimension to life, the "not visible" or the "not yet" that can only be known through intuition or by a leap of faith, is far more important to Idealists than the world of material things.

Highly ethical in their actions, Idealists hold themselves to a strict standard of personal integrity. They must be true to themselves and to others, and they can be quite hard on themselves when they are dishonest, or when they are false or insincere. More often, however, Idealists are the very soul of kindness. Particularly in their personal relationships, Idealists are without question filled with love and good will. They believe in giving of themselves to help others; they cherish a few warm, sensitive friendships; they strive for a special rapport with their children; and in marriage they wish to find a "soulmate," someone with whom they can bond emotionally and spiritually, sharing their deepest feelings and their complex inner worlds.

Idealists are rare, making up between 20 and 25 percent of the population. But their ability to inspire people with their enthusiasm and their idealism has given them influence far beyond their numbers.

(another test is at

Friday, November 09, 2007

Hmm. I see a purchase in my future...

Whoever designed this has definitely dealt with ADD themselves in the past:

What a great idea!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Make what jokes you will...

...But I went out to play with the geneology database again (working backwards from Anna of Saxony, my link into European royalty... and a crazy woman to boot... why does this figure??? :) )

Anyway, I discovered I'm also related to the Patron Saint of Poland.

Make what jokes you will!!! :)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Found an interesting site:

Here are my results for their 'hope tests'. I find it interesting, but not surprising, that my high scores are in the spiritual realm, while my low scores are in 'trusting the support of other people' realm...

Results of your State Hope Assessment
This part of the hope test addresses your current experience of hope. It reflects your conscious state of mind over the past two weeks. The red number is your score. On the line following your score, we have listed the average score as well as the lower, middle, and upper ranges of our obtained distribution (i.e., those we might label "low", "medium" or "high" scores). Following each row of scores is a description of each scale.

Ultimate Gains
Your Score: 11 [Average=12; Low(0-10) Med(11-12) High(13-16)]
Unlike "wishes", the goals of hope are not "garden variety" or "pedestrian". Theoretical accounts of this dimension of hope include philosopher Joseph Godfrey's "ultimate hope" as well as psychologist Paul Pruyser's distinction between "hopes" and "wishes". Psychologist James Averill's empirical research has also demonstrated that hopes are more likely to derive from an individual's "core values".
A High Score suggests that you believe that you are making progress towards important or "ultimate" life goals.
A Low Score implies that you are not making enough progress in terms of your major aspirations.

Supported Strivings
Your Score: 12 [Average=12; Low(0-11) Med(12) High(13-16)]
Your hope for success is a joint product of inner mastery and external support. The philosopher William Lynch described hope as a process of "collaborative mutuality." The psychologist Paul Pruyser wrote that when one is "immersed" in hope, the ego is not experienced as an isolated center of power.
A High Score suggests that you feel able to rely on outside help to achieve your goals.
A Low Score indicates that you are more likely than others to be struggling on your own to realize cherished hopes and dreams.

Interpersonal Bonding
Your Score: 9 [Average=14; Low(0-12) Med(13-14) High(15-16)]
Hope is about love and attachment. Western culture frequently overlooks this fact, putting more focus on the mastery aspects of hope. In contrast, many people in the world derive their greatest sense of hope from relationships with others, a higher power or the forces of nature. The philosopher William Lynch reminded us that hope is "not a private resource" created in isolation.
A High Score suggests that you feel closer, more loved, and more connected to other people and forces than the average person taking this test.
A Low Score indicates that you feel more lonely, more isolated, and more disconnected than most people who have taken this test.

Trust Experiences
Your Score: 5 [Average=9; Low(0-7) Med(8-11) High(12-16)]
Trust is a core element of hope. A sense of trust is sustained by acts of disclosure, meditations upon recent encounters with confidantes, and perceived opportunities for further sharing.
A High Score suggests that you have been able to disclose to one or more confidantes and/or that your trust has been safely maintained.
A Low Score implies that you are lacking a trusted confidante and/or that your trust has recently been violated.

Fear Reduction
Your Score: 8 [Average=11; Low(0-9) Med(10-11) High(12-16)]When individuals feel "hopeful", they secure a sense of peace. In contrast, Aquinas, Spinoza and Pascal all agreed that the "opposite" of "hope" was "fear". In this sense, "hope" consists of a felt capacity to handle threats and stressors. At the physiological level, "hope" is associated with a "balanced" nervous, meaning a proper mix of sympathetic (activating) activity and parasympathetic (relaxing) activity.
A High Score suggests that you are capable of reducing your fears and remaining emotionally "self-regulated".
A Low Score implies that you are struggling to control your fears and may be finding it hard to stay calm, particularly in stressful situations.

Liberation Experiences
Your Score: 5 [Average=11; Low(0-9) Med(10-12) High(13-16)]
Hope may be engendered when an individual senses there is a way out of an unpleasant or dangerous situation. Psychologists Shlomo Breznitz and C.R. Snyder both emphasized this aspect of hope. Breznitz labeled this dimension "the work of hope" while Snyder referred to the "ways of hope". By comparison, an experience of hopelessness engulfs the individual who feels trapped and cannot envision "an exit" from an intolerable situation.
A High Score suggests that you feel a sense of actual or symbolic liberation.
A Low Score reveals that you may feel struck or trapped in one or more areas of your life.

Interpersonal Assurance
Your Score: 12 [Average=13; Low(0-11) Med(12-13) High(14-16)]
In difficult times, many individuals rely on other people to secure a measure of hope. They are assured by the positive acts, thoughts or expressed emotions of friends and loved ones. Philosophers Gabriel Marcel and Joseph Godfrey elevated this notion of interpersonal assurance to a quasi-spiritual level with the phrase "I hope in thee for us". From their perspective, "true hope" includes a deep faith in one or more "buffering relationships", involving friends, family, and/or one's community.
A High Score indicates that you currently feel securely embedded in a protective network of relationships.
A Low Score suggests that you may be lacking in the area of emotional support.

Spiritual State Scales
Spiritual Inspiration
Your Score: 12 [Average=7; Low(0-3) Med(4-9) High(10-16)]
Psychologist Kenneth Pargament described the control-related beliefs of many religious individuals in terms of a perceived "working alliance". Rather than believing the locus of control for determining important outcomes is completely internal (self) or exclusively external (higher power), such individuals believe it is a collaborative venture. " Hope-based "spiritual inspiration" is essentially the same thing, derived from a sense that one's dreams and aspirations are being "blessed" or otherwise aided by a higher power.
A High Score suggests that you feel "divinely" or "spiritually" inspired in your work.
A Low Score suggests that you do not believe that you work is blessed by a higher power.

Spiritual Presence
Your Score: 12 [Average=7; Low(0-3) Med(4-9) High(1-16)]
For many people, hope is intertwined with spiritual beliefs and experiences. Depending on your particular background and beliefs, a spiritual presence may involve a personal god, a higher power, or contact with the forces of nature. Some scientists believe that we may be genetically wired to have such experiences. Of course, this also leaves open the possibility that we were wired by God or a supreme power to connect with this higher reality.
A High Score suggests that your recent exposure to spiritual experiences is greater than 2/3 of those who have taken this test.
A Low Score indicates that, compared to most people who have taken this test, you have had less exposure to spiritual phenomena.

Spiritual Assurance
Your Score: 12 [Average=6; Low(0-2) Med(3-8) High(9-16)]
Since the time of the Neanderthals, human beings have relied on spiritual beliefs to provide them with a sense of protection from harm and loss. As the saying goes, "there are no atheists in the foxhole". "Spiritual assurance" follows from a deep faith in one or more "centers of value" that represent salvation of one form or another. Along these line, the mind-body literature suggests that individuals with deeper spiritual beliefs are less likely to suffer from such stress-related disorders as hypertension or cardiovascular disease.
A High Score suggests that your spiritual beliefs are providing you with a feeling of security and wellbeing.
A Low Score implies that your spiritual beliefs are not providing you with a sense of safety and security. Alternatively, you may feel safe and secure but attribute this to non-spiritual factors.

Your Overall State Hope Score
Your Score: 98 [Average=101; Low(0-90) Med(91-108) High(109-160)]
This score represents your total level of current hope (recent and conscious hope).
A High Score means that you are experiencing more hope right now than most of the people taking this test.
A Low Score indicates that your current hope levels are lower than most of the people who have taken this test.

-=Test #2=-
Trait Hope Scores
This part of the hope test addresses your deeper reservoir of hope traits and skills. In a sense, this is your hope foundation. It includes three aspects of your "Hopeful Core": the Attached Self, the Empowered Self, and the Resilient Self. This hope foundation is the result of your entire developmental history. Nevertheless, it can be changed if you are motivated to make it happen.

Ultimate Ends
Your Score: 8 [Average=9; Low(0-8) Med(9) High(10-12)]
Hope goals tend to be transcendent or value-based. "Ultimate ends" refer to the long-range investments that can sustain a sense of hopefulness for years or even decades. A number of concepts emerging from work in "positive psychology" intersect with this conceptualization of hope goals. For example, psychologist Robert Emmons has written of the motivating force of "ultimate goals".
A High Score suggests that you are sustained by the successful pursuit of long-range, life-defining goals.
A Low Score suggests that you have not developed long-range, life-defining goals, or do not believe they are attainable.

Supported Mastery
Your Score: 8 [Average=7; Low(0-6) Med(7-8) High(9-12)]
Hope is about positive goal expectations. However, unlike the narcissist or blinded optimist, the hopeful person realizes they move forward with the help of others. From a hope and mastery perspective, a key developmental achievement is the establishment of a "self-object bond". Coined by psychiatrist Heinz Kohut, the "self-object" is an enhanced sense of self derived from an intense bond with a powerful other (e.g., between a small child and his or her "all powerful" mother). An effective parent, a wise coach, or a good friend shares their power, allowing an individual to absorb and merge with their energies and skills.
A High Score suggests that you can rely on others to support your plans and goals. In short, you feel empowered by supportive attachments.
Low Scores: Compared to other test-takers, you are less likely to feel that you can depend on others for help in achieving important life goals.

Basic Trust
Your Score: 8 [Average=10; Low(0-9) Med(10-11) High(12)]
Hopeful individuals are open and have the ability to trust nature and themselves as well as other people. The great developmental psychologist, Erik Erikson, presumed that hope was the first virtue to develop in the child and that its precursor was basic trust.
High Scores: Compared to most of the people who take this test, you are more likely to have people in your life who really listen to you. You also trust that if the need arose, they would drop whatever they were doing to help you.
Low Scores: Compared to other test-takers, you are less likely to have trustworthy friends and confidantes. Research shows that the presence of at least one confidante can buffer individuals from a variety of illnesses. In addition, the data indicates that the health benefits increase as the number of confidantes grows.

Your Score: 11 [Average=9; Low(0-7) Med(8-9) High(10-12)]
Unexplored aspects of the self are a rich and untapped resource. William James wrote about "the more", a mysterious spiritual reservoir in the deeper realms of the psyche. Paradoxically, one experiences "the more" as both a part of the self and as part of something outside of the self and greater in scope and strength. Likewise, Carl Jung implored humanity to make use of the ancient wisdom stored in such hopeful archetypes as one's "inner child" and the "wise old man". The philosopher William Lynch wrote the following about hope, "The further it would soar, the deeper it must plunge."
High Scores: Compared to most people who take this test, you are more likely to be in touch with the deeper and more spiritual aspects within yourself.
Low Scores: Compared to other test-takers, you are less likely to make contact with deeper elements and forces within your psyche. On the positive side, you may have strong defense mechanisms that shield your conscious mind from painful aspects of inner and outer reality.

Personal Terror Management
Your Score: 6 [Average=8; Low(0-7) Med(8) High(9-12)]
Hope is about self-regulation. The hopeful person is able to manage their fears and successfully confront the stresses of life. They can "self-sooth" rather than relying heavily on sources of "external tranquilization" such as inordinate use of alcohol, addictive painkillers, or a co-dependent relationship. In the Oxford English Dictionary, you will find that one definition of hope dating back to the middle ages is "an island in the middle of an wasteland." The hopeful person is an island of comfort, albeit with many bridges to nurture the spirit and psyche.
High Scores: Compared to most people who take this test, you are more capable of self-regulation and terror management.
Low Scores: Compare to most people who take this test, you are less able to manage personal fears and worries. This is an area you should target for self-improvement, lest you find yourself continually dependent on external sources for stress-management.

Social Terror Management
Your Score: 7 [Average=10; Low(0-8) Med(9-10) High(11-12)]
The hopeful person finds assurance in close relationships. Developmentally, this capacity to trust in the goodwill of others comes from having your safety needs met in childhood. In contrast, many childhood trauma survivors struggle to gain a basic sense in the safeness in the presence of other people. Survival-oriented trust may well be one of the factors that link social support to healing. For example, following a heart attack, individuals who report having at least one confidante are far less likely to have another attack. Similarly, women with breast cancer live longer if they participate in a support group. The hopeful person is able to recruit care. This is a product of many factors, including their belief in a benign universe and their openness towards other people and the world in general. In addition, the hopeful person is a good judge of character (they know whom to trust). Research by psychologist Gina O'Connell Higgins has demonstrated that resilient children and adults have a knack for extracting a lot of support from a thin outpouring of affection.
High Scorers are more likely to believe they can rely on others, including family or friends, for aid in times of need. High scores are also good "care recruiters".
Low Scorers may feel unsupported or left to their own devices in times of difficulty. They may also find it hard to recruit care from others.

Positive Future
Your Score: 8 [Average=9; Low(0-8) Med(9-10) High(11-12)]
Hopeful individuals have faith in the future. They see the future as another resource, ripe with gifts and possibilities. The more hopeful person also believes they have a say in their future, believing they can and will play an active role in shaping its development.
High Scores: Compared to most people who take this test, you are more likely to view the future in a positive light.
Low Scores: Compared to other test-takers, you find it more difficult to envision a future that is controllable, loving, or safe.

Spiritual Trait Scales
Spiritual Empowerment
Your Score: 10 [Average=5; Low(0-2) Med(3-6) High(7-12)]
Hopeful individuals often feel their efforts are blessed by a higher power. They see their actions as a part of a larger mission that has been spiritually sanctioned. In the New Testament, St. Paul states "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Likewise, in the Koran it is written, "He will send you the skies pouring abundant rain and add strength to your strength." Tibetan holy men encourage their followers to consider the wisdom of depending on a greater power, noting, "a drop of water is a little thing; but when will it dry away if united to a lake?"
High Scores: Compared to most people who take this test, you are more likely to feel empowered by a spiritual force or higher intelligence to achieve your life goals.
Low Scores: Compared to other test-takers, you are less likely to experience a source of power that is spiritually based.

Benign Universe
Your Score: 10 [Average=7; Low(0-5) Med(6-8) High(9-12)]
Hopeful individuals believe there is goodness in the world. In fact, this the underlying message in all of the great works of art and literature; there are forces of light that can override any form of darkness. The psychologist Paul Pruyser associated hope with the belief that "there is a positive force somewhere in the universe."
High Scores: Compared to most people who take this test, you are more likely to hold a positive view of the cosmos.
Low Scores: Compared to other test-takers, you are less likely to view the universe in a positive light and more apt to believe that evil predominates in the world.

Spiritual Openness
Your Score: 12 [Average=6; Low(0-4) Med(5-7) High(8-12)]
The hopeful person is open to spiritual input. In fact, every major spiritual tradition includes some type of ritual that is designed to foster greater openness towards a higher power. In the west, there are confessions and appeals for grace. In the east, palms are turned upwards to the heavens. The Australian Aborigines transform their ordinary state of consciousness into a fluid spiritual receptacle through endless hours of dancing and rhythmic chanting. The Ifa of Western Africa direct a spot on their foreheads towards Orisa. Many Native Americans place special furs and feathers under them as they pray, hoping to solidify their bond with the spirit world.
High Scores: Compared to most people who take this test, you are more likely to invest in a spiritual life and make efforts to allow experiences of this kind into your life.
Low Scores: Compared to other test-takers, you are less likely to believe in the possibility of spiritual contact. Consequently, you are less likely to make time for spiritual exercises such as meditation or prayer.

Mystical Experience
Your Score: 11 [Average=6; Low(0-4) Med(5-8) High(9-12)]
Hopeful individuals enjoy a sense of connectedness with a higher plane of reality. This "greater realm" may be religious or spiritual. It might involve a vision of God, a bond with a loved one, an indescribable feeling state, or more simply a feeling of oneness with the rest of humanity. Rumi, the great Middle Eastern poet, called the mystical state a "portal of hope."
High Scores: Compared to most of those who take this test, you are more likely to experience the presence of a spiritual force or a sense of connection involving a loved one. At times you may even feel as if you are being guided or directed by this presence or power.
Low Scores: Compared to other test-takers, you are less likely to experience a communion with forces, spirits, or a higher power. Perhaps you are a nonbeliever or a believer who nevertheless has trouble reaching this level of spiritual experience.

Spiritual Terror Management
Your Score: 10 [Average=6; Low(0-3) Med(4-7) High(8-12)]
The hopeful person is at peace. They are comforted by a set of transcendent values that make up their personal faith system. Theologian James Fowler has referred to these beliefs as centers of value. In the power of Myth, Joseph Campbell also affirmed the ancient wisdom of staying "centered". He described the folly of trying to ride the wheel of fortune, sometimes you are riding atop the wheel and sometimes you find yourself at the bottom. However, if you stay grounded in the middle, regardless of how the wheel turns, you will always be at the same place, "centered".
High Scores: Compared to most people who take this test, you have a stronger set of spiritual beliefs for coping with adversity.
Low Scores: Compare to most people who take this test, you are less likely to rely on spiritual beliefs in addressing important life challenges.

Symbolic Immortality
Your Score: 12 [Average=7; Low(0-5) Med(6-8) High(9-12)]
The light of hope is forever. Many of the hopeful are buffered by religious beliefs that promise a benign afterlife. Christians, Jews and Muslims look forward to heaven. Native Americans, the African Ifa, and the Australian Aborigines await a reunion with the spirit world. Hindus expect to be reincarnated. Some Buddhists prepare for a cycle of rebirths while others envision a heaven of indescribable beauty. Even the hopeful humanist or scientific atheist may presume the spirit lives on in some form. The psychologist Erik Erikson believed that symbolic immortality was at least possible through acts of "generativity" (participation in people and things that will outlive the mortal self).
High Scores: Compared to most of those who take this test, you are more likely to believe in some form of immortality. This does not necessarily mean that you believe in a religiously grounded heaven or hell. However, like the narrator in Thorton Wilder's Our Town, you believe there is "something eternal about human beings."
Low Scores: Compared to most of those who take this test, you are less likely to believe in the immortality of the soul or spirit. You may hold strong atheistic beliefs or view yourself as a hard pragmatist.

Spiritual Integrity
Your Score: 9 [Average=10; Low(0-8) Med(9-10) High(11-12)]
Psychologist Paul Pruyser once noted that hope is less about "having" or "getting" and more about "being". In this sense, hope can never be taken away from an individual, regardless of life circumstances. Hope as a way of being in the world implies a sense of "spiritual integrity". This virtue derives from crafting a life of meaning and purpose. Both the atheistic Erikson and the Christian writer Rick Warren have argued that a "life mission" is critical. Spiritual integrity can also be related to the Hindu call for each individual to "uphold the world".
A High Score indicates that you have forged a "mission" and derived a sense of meaning and purpose in life.
A Low Score suggests that you have not developed a "life calling". As a result, you may be vulnerable to feelings of meaninglessness and purposelessness.

Your Overall Trait Hope Score
Your Score: 130 [Average=109; Low(0-97) Med(98-121) High(122-168)]
This score reflects your total reservoir of hope-related traits and skills, providing an index of the strength of your Hopeful Core (your Attached Self, Empowered Self, and Resilient Self.)
High Scores: Compared to most people who take this test, you are generally a more hopeful individual who is solidly attached, sufficiently empowered, and relatively skillful at regulating your responses to stress and loss.
Low Scores: Compared to other test-takers, you may be lacking in supportive attachments as well as feeling less empowered or supported in your goal pursuits. In addition, you may also have a relatively lower threshold for managing stress and loss.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Yay my daughter!

Who is doing quite well in her first time on stage. Not the world's greatest show, but sure better than the junior high productions I remember being student director for! And seriously, my daughter's doing great, and that's not just me being a fond mom, that's me being an ex-theater-geek. :)

(And PS, thanks to my Cali. family for the flowers! Since I know you found out about the show by reading this, I assume you'll get the thank-you if I post it here as well... :) She was really touched!)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

SO glad I was not born with a "Y" chromosome...

...Because when someone bets me 10 bucks to eat a combination of mayonaise, applesauce, ketchup, and chocolate milk, I don't feel the need to accept the bet.

And then I don't spend the afternoon throwing up so that my mom has to pick me up from school.

Unlike my son.


And to finalize the punishment that Mother Nature began, I told him, "Hey. 10 bucks will just about cover the gas money to get to school, and having to pay a second time to park (the joys of working downtown). I think that's mine now!"

I also suggested that when he's feeling better, he might want to look up the word emetic... :)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Tricksy hobbitses...

A new species of human was discovered a couple years ago, and the title link shows some new details about the discovery. What I find interesting was that this was a three-foot tool-using hominid that apparently existed alongside Homo Sapiens, not so very long ago in cosmic terms. Sure, this has just been discovered in Indonesia right now... but could this species have existed elsewhere? Like, perhaps, the British Isles? And if so, could this be where the legends of elves came from? Just a thought...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ancient Geekery

Well, in thinking about the First Smiley, and thinking back to my BBS-ing days [insert quavery voice here: "You young whippersnappers are spoiled by all these graphics! In my day we had amber screens and 300 baud modems and were HAPPY about them, I tell you!"]... I found this site:

What's scary is how much of this stuff I -remember-.

no, NOT the cracker/phreak stuff. Surprisingly, I did not have any friends who were into that at the time. I suspect I saw most of the files from the 'occult' section in close-to-original postings, though...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Happy birthday to :-)

So if the first emoticon was created 25 years ago, what system would that have been on? The article just says an "electronic bulletin board system." CompuServe, do you suppose? Or something like FIDONet? Was FIDONet around 25 years ago? Now I'll have to look that up...

(of course, the fact that I remember ANY of this identifies me as (a) too much of a geek, and (b) Way Too Old. :-) )

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Okay, someone 'splain this to me...

A town in Germany is trying to reduce accidents by removing all traffic signals, lights, etc:
Say what?

How does this reduce accidents?

I'm not saying I know anything at all about this... just, it defies common sense.

(not that I have so much of that, now that I think about it...) :)

edited to add the Wikipedia link that explains the theory - not that it helps me understand it much...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Woad Warriors?

I work in downtown Indy, and for a moment, I got all excited while walking in to work...

...But then I realized the blue paint on the guys' faces was NOT woad, and the guys were Colts fans, NOT Celts preparing for battle. :)

It's NFL kick-off time, and in typical Indianapolis style, we're making a big fat hairy deal of getting to be the season opener. "Oh my gosh, Indianapolis is going to be on national television! We'd better try to make it look good!" So there's a free concert on the Circle starring Faith Hill, Kelly Clarkson, and Hinder, and home-grown John Mellencamp is performing in the Dome (I still call it the Hoosier Dome; I don't care how much RCA spent to get their name on there...) before the game.

And, I work one building south of the Circle, on Meridian Street. So there is security everywhere, and all the local news channels have been broadcasting from in front of my building. It's been an insane-a-thon all week.

But hey, I got to hear Faith Hill yesterday, right next to me. Well, she SOUNDED like she was right next to me. She was rehearsing at about 4PM. Because they have set up gi-normous speakers for the concert, I can sit here in my office and hear perfectly, as if I were right on the stage next to 'em. Fortunately, our office is closing before the actual concert today, or we'd never get out of our building.

That, and every time someone plays a strong bass note, it VIBRATES THE WHOLE BUILDING. Somehow I wouldn't be surprised if we have broken windows before the night is over. Just hope not the one right next to MY computer! :)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Ok, someone explain how this can be true...

From the National Weather Service website:

A total lunar eclipse will occur during the early morning hours on Tuesday. The eclipse will begin at 4:51 am EDT, with the total eclipse beginning at 5:52 am EDT. The end of the entire eclipse will occur at 8:22 am EDT but will not be visible in Indiana, as the moon will set at 7:14 am EDT. Interestingly, sunrise will occur at 7:09 am EDT, so both the moon in eclipse and the sun will be in the sky at the same time. (Note: Times referenced here are for Indianapolis. The time may vary slightly for other Indiana locations).

I like to think that I'm somewhat scientifically astute. But how can totality not end until 7:22 am (per the graphic on the link above)... AFTER sunrise? Wouldn't that mean that the sun and moon are not in a straight line from our perspective, if they're both in the sky? And if so, how can the eclipse still be total?


Now here's a useful service...

The last time I used "411" on my cell phone, it cost me over $2. Google is doing a beta version of a FREE phone information service.

From their website at

Dial from any phone 1-800-GOOG-411(1-800-466-4411)

Using this service, you can:

  • search for a local business by name or category. You can say "Giovanni's Pizzeria" or just "pizza".
  • get connected to the business, free of charge.
  • get the details by SMS if you’re using a mobile phone.Just say "text message".

And it's free. Google doesn’t charge you a thing for the call or for connecting you to the business. Regular phone charges may apply, based on your telephone service provider.
Note: Google Voice Local Search is still in its experimental stage. It may not be available at all times and may not work for all users. We’re fine-tuning the service to get better at recognizing your requests. It’s currently only available in English, in the US, for US business listings.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I'm the mother of a queen!

Well, of a girl who's playing a Queen... my daughter got the role of Queen Aggravain in her school musical, "Once Upon A Mattress." They're doing a junior version of the show, which means Lady Larken isn't pregnant, and the "Man-To-Man-Talk" is completely cut out of it. But I guess that's better than having a couple parents horrified that anything remotely referring to sex is happening on stage.

So, this is my Mom karma. Because my mom spent my entire youth listening to me quote lines and hauling me to and from rehearsals... so now I get to do this with my daughter. :)

Actually, I'm looking forward to it. And very proud, as the standard wisdom around school was "sixth graders are never cast for big parts" (it's a 6-7-8 middle school).

So maybe I should listen to people and take her to Hollywood someday after all? :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I knew this would happen someday...

Back in my MUSHing days, I said, someday computers would be fast enough that there would be a graphic version of a MUSH, and would suck braincells out of lots of people. I haven't explored Second Life, but... it's he-eere!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Be careful with your kids around my blog...

At least, according to this, my blog is rated "PG":

Mingle2 - San Diego Singles

Monday, July 30, 2007

I am in love with whitewater rafting now.

One trip, and I am hooked.

Went to southern Kentucky and took a raft trip on the Cumberland River this weekend.

It POURED down rain on Friday, and a decent amount of Saturday. Which at the time I was upset about, because it made driving down a PITA, and limited hiking on Saturday, and made the moonbow at Cumberland Falls almost invisible Saturday night. (I -think- I saw it. I wouldn't swear to it. The full moon was out, but slightly cloud-shrouded, and it really takes a fully clear night to see it. I have seen it once before, but the friend I was with had not, and I would have loved to have seen it again. Ah well, another trip.).

But I should know that what happens is always for the best. Because the lovely 'beginner' level class 3 rapids... were now up to class 4's. And one of them was a 5! (Unfortunately, they didn't let us go through that one, much to the chagrin of our very-experienced guide who wanted to take us. I was ready to go!)

I fell out of the boat once involuntarily, when an eddy tilted the side and surprised me. Not a big deal... they had us in seriously strong PFDs (personal floatation devices) and helmets. You go in, you bob up, you swim to the boat, they pull you in. (I'm still getting used to this concept that I am a strong swimmer. I've been swimming a lot this summer and something has just 'clicked,' and now people comment on how good my form looks. Completely unimaginable to me.) (And I clarify 'involuntarily' because I went in a few times just to swim, when they said it was ok.)

GREAT fun. Why do I live in Indiana where there is little water, few natural recreational opportunities, and no mountains? I'm starting to wonder about this...

Monday, July 16, 2007

Someday, I will post something that's not a comment on a news article...

...But for now:

Judge OKs clergy abuse payout

As usual, it's a line within the article that is blowing my mind:

"The deal settles all 508 cases that remained against the archdiocese, which also paid $60 million in December to settle 45 cases that weren't covered by sexual abuse insurance." [italics mine]

There is such a thing as sexual abuse insurance now???

Is that, like, something you can take out on your kids if you're a Catholic parishioner? Or if you live too close to Michael Jackson?

Monday, July 09, 2007

Well, -this- is getting people stirred up...

"New law eases up on teen sex" -

I'm reading the Star forums about this article, and am amazed at the number of people who think this 'sanctions' teen sex. Do people really so blindly follow their government that they believe that a law 'sanctions' activities? Maybe -that's- what's wrong with our country in general.

Personally, I'm glad of this. The issue is not whether teens should have consentual sex. The issue is that, if they do, it shouldn't make one of them registered as a sex offender for the rest of his/her life.

To me, complaining about this law is, once again, wanting the government to make up for lack of parenting. Frankly, I don't trust the government to guide a snail, much less my kids!!!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Ok, which is more bizarre about this story...

Just read this news story: "11-Year-Old Girl Charged With DUI After 8-Mile Police Chase". Note the last line in the story.

Which is more mind-boggling, that an 11-year-old girl got DUI? Or that there is a legal limit for minors? Does that mean it's not actually illegal to drink if you're 11, as long as your BAC isn't over 0.2???

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Make love, not war!

Apparently, someone in the Air Force tried to take that catchphrase a little TOO literally:,2933,281217,00.html

Friday, June 08, 2007

Wait... what???

From Fox News: California Woman Fakes Abduction to Get Out of Date

As if it isn't mind-boggling enough that she dragged 60 police officers away from real work to hunt her not-really-abducted butt DOWN... the last line of the article is what got me:

White, who spent two nights in jail after her arrest Monday night, said she feels bad about lying to the police. Her engagement is still on, and she plans to get married in April.

Um. Married to the guy who she met in the chat room, who she got 'abducted' to avoid? Or married to someone else? In which case, via national news, he now knows she was a) going to go out on him, and b) thought that lying like a psychotic madwoman was the appropriate way to deal with this. And yet he's still marrying this chick?????

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

How very appropriate...

...Except I am NOT a gossip, thanks.

No, really.

Which Muse Are You?
You scored as Thalia, You are Thalia, the muse of comedy. You are constantly finding the humor in every situation. However, you are a gossip, and you love to revel in other people's torrid affairs.



















Which of the Greek Muses are you?
created with

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Blimey, Mate, that's one bonzer rabbit!

Okay. I would never have imagined that you can have a PET KANGAROO in Indiana without a permit. But apparently you can.

I'm sorry it died. But the part of this article that is making me ROTFLMAO is this line, about the escaped kangaroo:

Neighbor Jim Greider saw the kangaroo hopping toward his son's graduation party Friday night and thought it was a huge rabbit.

I, of course, find myself speculating that the neighbor might have had a few "Fosters: Australian for beer" before that incident!!!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Today, the Claddagh was slooooowwww at lunch...

…And its staff cannot count, as they originally tried to put 19 people at a table set for 14 (that could actually hold MAYBE 12, if they were very well acquainted)

It’s also far less fun when you can’t have Guinness. Or Irish Coffee.

But hey, when I get to have lunch paid for by work, to celebrate a co-worker leaving, whom I only worked with for two or three days... I guess I shouldn't complain.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

My morning song

I bought a John Denver cassette for 50 cents at Half Price this weekend. (Ok, ok, so I'm a nerd; you all knew that already, yes?) But it had a song I'd never heard on it, that I listened to on the way in to work this morning:

by John Denver

Silently the morning mist is lying on the water,
captive moonlight waiting for the dawn.
Softly like a baby's breath, a breeze begins to whisper.
The sun is coming; quick, you must be gone.

Smiling like a superstar the morning comes in singing,
the promise of another sunny day.
And all the flowers open up to gather in the sunshine,
I do believe that summer's here to stay.

And do you care what's happening around you,
do your senses know the changes when they come?
Can you see yourself reflecting in the seasons,
can you understand the need to carry on?

Riding on the tapestry of all there is to see,
so many ways and oh, so many things.
Rejoicing in the differences, there's no one just like me.
Yet as different as we are, we're still the same.

And oh, I love the life within me,
I feel a part of everything I see.
And oh, I love the life around me,
a part of everything is here in me.
A part of everything is here in me,
a part of everything is here in me.

Just impossible to not have a good day when it starts with something that appropriate and profound...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

OMG, my 'horoscope' in ENGRISH

Here's the link to it. English is obviously not this site's first language. Or second, or third...

Updated avatar pic, courtesy of portrait illustration maker. I don't think THIS looks like me either, but it sure looks closer than my OLD one!

Yay, I are a technacle writr now!

Employed again, at least for the next few months, as a tech writer for a small software firm downtown. Pretty cool, really; for all the user documentation and such that I've done, this is my first formal "tech writer" gig. And since I'm truly an independent contractor for this one, I guess I can claim it as my first Achievement Engineering gig. So if anyone's near the circle, let me know; we can do lunch sometime!

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Bored, restless, but still alive

I know, I know, long time no post.

Well, I'm no longer at Clarian. I'm on a short-term instructional design contract at Schwab that's great, as I'm doing a project all by myself start to finish... but it's only short-term. Wish I was doing this as my own company (a la anyone know a company who has training they need developed, but they haven't had time or resources to do it themselves?

Tonight, I'm bored and restless. Don't want to work on my business, don't want to do anything constructive. Want a group of friends to go hang out with tonight, and I don't know anyone who's available. Figures; I'm busy 95% of the time, so it shouldn't surprise me that no one is around when I'm not!

So what's up with everyone out there? Or is anyone still out there, given how rarely I post nowadays???

PS I have SO got to change the avatar I have posted on this account. I haven't had hair that short for over a year!!!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I'm baaack!

Happy 2007!

I'll still post personal things here (that is, if I ever have a personal life again to POST about)... but in the meantime, for wisdom, inspiration, and whatever else pops into my head that seems good to share, PLEASE VISIT my new blog, Inward Musings. (Looky. I figured out how to install Wordpress!)

Speaking of that... we changed the name of the business from Achievement Engineering to Inward Quest. I did a community fair this summer and spent WAY too much time explaining, no, we're NOT an engineering firm! Therefore, time for re-branding.

And we've got FREE workshops coming up! Please stop by and see us there!