In my research and experience as a teacher educator, I have found social studies curricular materials (textbooks and state standards) routinely place indigenous peoples in a troubling narrative that promotes “Manifest Destiny” – the belief that the creation of the United States and the dominance of white American culture were destined and that the costs to others, especially to indigenous peoples, were justified.
“Learning to write about trauma helps you to process the painful experience, and gives you the life skills to overcome it”
When I went back to school for my Ph.D. in psychology, I studied life stories. One aspect of that topic is how writing about negative life experiences can help us overcome the pain, grief, or anger we associate with them. This article offers some advice on how to do that.
“Thanksgiving’s most unexpected legacy is heating up again”
If, like me, you grew up in the 1950s and early 1960s, you probably remember Swanson’s TV Dinners. Here’s a brief history of how and why they came into being.
I have fibromyalgia. One symptom of this and other autoimmune conditions can be periods of “brain fog,” a fuzzy feeling of being not quite fully present in the world, of being not quite fully in touch with reality. Researchers are now finding that patients who have long-term COVID-19 symptoms sometimes experience this same feeling, a symptom often dismissed by doctors.
for millions of other people with chronic illnesses, some of which seemed to have began with infections, constant brain fog is already their reality. Now, they’re hoping that this global pandemic will draw attention to a condition that has so drastically affected their lives.
“The creator of ‘The Twilight Zone’ dramatized isolation and fear but still believed in the best of humanity.”
You remember The Twilight Zone and Rod Serling, right? “The show ran from 1959 to 1964, and by the time it went off the air the phrase ‘twilight zone’ had entered the language as a kind of shorthand for whatever feels eerie or strange.”
Andrew Delbanco discusses The Twilight Man: Rod Serling and the Birth of Television by Koren Shadmi.
It’s hard to find good news amidst rising virus spikes and perilous pandemic predictions, but here’s a little bit.
He was an American paratrooper. She withstood bombing in England. 75 years later they remember love born in wartime
And here we are back to life stories. I’m always on the lookout for good stories like this one, which appear most often in local publications. The best such stories, like this one, are full of scrapbook memories.
© 2020 by Mary Daniels Brown
Click on this link to see the photo, even if you don’t read the article.
“After an operation that looked like a cross between a lunar landing and a low-budget sci-fi flick, entomologists on Saturday suctioned away the first “murder hornet” nest found in the United States.”
The first nest of the invasive Asian giant hornets was found and destroyed in northern Washington state. It’s an interesting article, with a lot of photos.
Reading comprehension, defined as the “ability to process and retain information from texts,” is something we usually think of as happening to children in their early years of school. But here Christine Ro reports on some recent research into enhancing reading comprehension for adults and offers some suggestions for doing so.
Unsurprisingly, some of her suggestions involve slowing down while reading and actively engaging with the text, for example, by annotating, all examples of slow reading.
As holidays near, the coronavirus is spreading rapidly, putting families in a quandary about celebrations and travel
Amidst all the discussion of pandemic fatigue, many families are wondering if they’ll be able to celebrate together this fall and winter. This article indicates that Barbara Alexander, a physician and the president-elect of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, will not attend the annual Christmas gathering of about 35 people at her parents’ farm this year.
“the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] is acknowledging that even brief contact can lead to transmission. Specifically, the new guidance suggests that those spending a total of 15 minutes of contact with an infectious person over the course of a 24-hour period should be considered in close contact.”
Here’s some more information if you’re still making up your mind about attending family events this holiday season.
In normal times, Dr. Vin Gupta would be spending more time with his family and less time on national TV.
But since the world is battling a pandemic — and a flood of conflicting information — pick any weekday and you’ll likely see Gupta, a critical care pulmonologist and an affiliate assistant professor at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, on at least one news show on either NBC or MSNBC as a medical contributor.
Many of the first cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. appeared in Washington state. Here’s a profile of a physician from the University of Washington who has emerged as one of the experts seen most often on news coverage of the virus.
One of the worst things about growing old is the social isolation caused by the loss of friends and family members. This year the viral pandemic, with its enforced isolation to suppress the contagion, has been especially hard on older people, particularly those in nursing homes, where strict regulations prohibiting visiting have been necessary to control the spread of the disease.
The article explores how some facilities are addressing the seemingly contradictory requirements for both physical distancing and personal human contact.
I always watch the World Series, even when, like this year, none of my favorite teams is one of the last two left standing. But I turned the TV off after the announcement of the Series MVP (Corey Seager of the L.A. Dodgers) and didn’t learn until the next day that Dodgers’ player Justin Turner, who had been pulled late in the final game because of a positive COVID-19 test result, had come out onto the field to celebrate the victory with his teammates.
While I can certainly understand his desire to celebrate, I was incensed and disappointed by his action. In many of the photos he’s not even wearing a mask.
What do you think?
Should Turner have been allowed to leave the room where he was isolated and mingle with his teammates on the field?
© 2020 by Mary Daniels Brown
From Mayo Clinic News Network
Heading into a contentious national election with an ongoing pandemic and racial unrest, many people are experiencing tension and stress.
More than two-thirds, approximately 68%, of American adults say the 2020 U.S. presidential election is a significant source of stress in their lives, according to a recent survey by the American Psychological Association. In comparison, only 52% said the same before the 2016 election.
By almost any measure Cascadia—a term born of the 1970s environmental movement to describe the Pacific Northwest’s geography and cultural identity—is a strange and beautiful place.
But just offshore from the postcard-worthy landscapes is a seismic threat as catastrophic as any on earth.
Yes, there’s a lot of talk around here about “the big one.” This article focuses on four people who are working to understand the CSZ (Cascadia Subduction Zone) and inform the population about what to expect.
What’s the scariest novel set in your state?
For us here in Washington, it’s The Good House by Tananarive Due, a haunted-house tale about “racism, greed, separation and communication breakdowns,” according to this article.
When COVID-19 first hit the U.S., most people were eager to follow the recommended safety guidelines. Fear sparked the hoarding of toilet paper and hand sanitizer. But now that fear has abated, and we’re hearing a lot about pandemic fatigue.
Public health researcher Jay Maddock, professor of public health at Texas A & M University, explains the psychological reasons for pandemic fatigue and offers some tips on protecting both mental and physical health.
And here’s some more help, from CNN’s Sandee LaMotte, on coping with the current pandemic, which shows no signs of going away any time soon.
Jeannine Hall Gailey, who previously served as the second poet laureate of Redmond, Washington, describes how reading has been a lifeline in helping her cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.
So, can reading really address the state of anger, despair, and confusion so many of us are in? I can only say that books (along with gardening, cats, chocolate, and phone calls with friends) definitely helped me hold on to not only sanity and hope, but also serve as a reminder of why we continue to act to address injustice instead of just saying “that’s the way it’s always been.” Reading also provided a useful context to talk with family and friends who were also experiencing anxiety about politics, race, class, and fear of illness and death. Discussing books — even on social media — seems safer and more enjoyable than merely doomscrolling or rehashing whatever the day’s traumatic news cycle had revealed.
© 2020 by Mary Daniels Brown
In 44 states and the District of Columbia, voters can keep an eye on where their ballot is through systems that track when a ballot is requested by, sent to and returned by the voter.
Source: How to track your mail-in ballot
One of the most painful experiences, for me, of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been watching the formerly revered CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) cut its own throat. I fear it won’t recover in the remainder of my lifetime.
I still remember where I was when I heard that Janis Joplin was dead. But I don’t remember hearing about this:
When Janis Joplin died of a heroin overdose on October 4, 1970, she left behind a will that included an offbeat, albeit totally in-character, stipulation: $2500 of her estate should be dedicated to funding a hard-partying wake in her memory.
Today something like this would be big news, all over the internet, but times were simpler back in 1970. So we’ll have to content ourselves with reading about it here.
I always enjoy reading about accomplishments of older adults. In this interview Louis Glück says, “Aging is more complicated. It isn’t simply the fact that you’re drawn closer to your death, it’s that faculties that you counted on — physical grace and strength and mental agility — these things are being compromised or threatened. It’s been very interesting to think about and write about.”
All of my life I had a troubled relationship with my mother. When I took my aging mother on a long trip to visit, for probably the last time, her aging sister who had dementia, my aunt talked about some long-ago family events that involved me as a child. I learned just enough to wonder if my mother, if she developed dementia, would fill in some of the blanks—secrets never talked about—of our lives.
My mother did develop dementia, but hers was marked my aphasia, the inability to put words together to express complete thoughts. If you asked her if she was cold or hungry, she could answer either yes or not, but she couldn’t say more than two or three words. As her physical condition worsened, we went to visit her in the memory-care facility where she spent her final months. When she saw me, her eyes lit up, she smiled, and said, “I want to tell you . . .”
Those five words were all she could manage. I’ll never know exactly what she wanted to tell me. I know what I want her to have wanted to tell me, but I’ll never know what was on her mind. That’s why this article caught my eye. Ina Kjøgx Pedersen of Copenhagen, Denmark, was able to talk with her mother as her dementia deepened. She was fortunate: “At last I got to know my mother as something other than just my mum, and saw the contours of the strong-willed, vibrant and incisive person she might have let out if she hadn’t experienced so much personal tragedy so early in life.”
Perhaps if my mother had been able to talk through her dementia, I would have learned a similar story
Deaths from dementia during the summer of 2020 are nearly 20% higher than the number of dementia-related deaths during that time in previous years, and experts don’t yet know why. An estimated 61,000 people have died from dementia, which is 11,000 more than usual within that period.
Geriatrician Laurie Archbald-Pannone, Associate Professor Medicine, Geriatrics, at the University of Virginia, examines some of the possible reasons for this increase and offers some tips for caregivers.
When I was a kid, my favorite treat was a Hostess Twinkie. If you remember this cloyingly sweet treat, you might be interested in this story.
© 2020 by Mary Daniels Brown
More than half of all clinical trials evaluating vaccines and potential treatments for COVID-19 are “at high risk for excluding older adults,” according to an analysis published [recently] by JAMA Internal Medicine.
And here’s why we should care about this:
“My biggest concern is that without clinical trial testing, older adults will ultimately be denied treatments and vaccines — as a result, equitable distribution to this population will not be possible, and this will be an egregious oversight,” said [study co-author Dr. Sharon] Inouye, director of the Aging Brain Center at the Marcus Institute for Aging Research in Boston.
Here’s one of those heartwarming stories often featured in the weekend magazine section of local newspapers. It’s too good not to share.
The older I get, the more I appreciate stories like this. How about you?
Older people like President Trump are at more risk from COVID-19 because of how the immune system ages
It didn’t take long into the COVID-19 pandemic for the date to start to accrue indicating that older adults are at higher risk than younger people from this particular disease. Here’s a good explanation of why that’s true and how we can take appropriate action to protect ourselves.
“By closely describing the inner lives of older people, Ms. Williams altered legal regulations and clinical standards applied to nursing homes.”
Although I didn’t know anything about Carter Williams before coming across her obituary, I now know that we all owe her an enormous debt of gratitude.
Ms. Williams, a social worker, amassed hundreds of accounts . . . for the National Citizens’ Coalition for Nursing Home Reform as it lobbied for legislative change in the 1980s. And they proved influential as the group helped shape the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, which required skilled nursing facilities to maintain the “physical, mental and psychosocial well-being of each resident.”
Celebrate her achievements, which benefit us all, by reading her life story.
As the social lockdown has gone on since March, I’ve felt for the younger people I know who were having to shuffle times and locations for their own work-from-home requirements along with their children’s remote-learning activities. I realized quite early on that, with little day care available, their lives had become a pressure-filled chaos that I’m not sure I could have handled.
Even though I’m in the older demographic most at risk from COVID-19, I’ve been grateful all along for being retired. Sure, the pandemic means that we can’t eat at a restaurant or hold our weekly social get-togethers, but other than that, my life hasn’t changed much from what it was like before March. Or at least the logistics haven’t significantly changed, even with the increased anxiety and existential dread of the whole situation.
In fact, I’ve even been feeling a little guilty about how relatively easy my pandemic-constrained life has been. I was therefore relieved that I’m not the only one feeling this way. According to Daryl Austin in the Washington Post:
The emotional toll of the coronavirus pandemic is steep for most everyone, but it turns out that one group is handling it better than the rest: retirees.
That might seem counterintuitive, since the virus is more dangerous for older people, but studies looking at mental health in the pandemic show that retirees who live at home are free from two of the stressors that are squeezing their younger counterparts — job security and parenting children as they navigate at-home learning and isolation.
How about you?
© 2020 by Mary Daniels Brown
How exactly do we remember John Lennon? In recent years, the legacy of this revered icon has gotten more complicated, and more problematic. This season will be presenting us with multiple opportunities to assess his current reputation: October 9 would have been his 80th birthday, with a tragic twin anniversary just a few months away, as this December 8 will mark forty years since Lennon’s murder. Alan Light unpacks Lennon’s legacy, which has only become as complex as it is staggering.