We have baby sign

Went to my prenatal exam yesterday. Troy came, too, even tho he wasn’t sure at first that it was necessary. But…

So the nurse-midwife came in and started poking around on my abdomen and then she gives me this bemused kind of look and says, ‘it sure seems like that baby has grown a lot in the past month. Is there any history of twins in the family?’.   Uhhhh….

So I tell her ‘no’ but she decides to do a low-level ultrasound just to make sure. While she’s out getting the cart, Troy suddenly says, ‘well, there are my twin cousins’. Uh.  Now he tells me!  No, I say, I’m sure it’s through the maternal line.  But we tell the nurse/midwife when she gets back anyway and she says it’s not likely that that would be a factor but it could be.  So she fires up the ultrasound and takes a look but there is only one baby. (Kind of disappointed because w/ twins you’d get your whole family in one go and not have to worry about another pregnancy, which is an issue as we are not getting any younger…)  It was quite an active little squirt; looked like it had the hiccups and kept squirming around. it even sucked it’s thumb for us.  I bet it knew it was being observed; probably it will go on the stage when it grows up.

Anyway, that was a happy bonus that we didn’t expect. Quite frankly, I have not felt pregnant or into this whole baby thing at all. This week I was even wondering if I really WAS pregnant!  So it was good to see some action at last.  Helped me feel a little more into it.

(click on the thumbnail for a bigger view. Looks like your typical ultrasound pic, tho^^)



Angry Brain vs happy brain

I found this great article called Angry/negative people can be bad for your brain and recommend it highly. Basically it gives words to what I’ve (we’ve all) intuited about the glass being half full or half empty.  And the idea of ’emotional contagion’, how true is that?  We’ve all experienced it, I just didn’t know there was a technical term for it, and such a fulfilling one, too. ’emotional contagion’.

Here are some of the highlights:

Mirror Neurons

Mirror neurons activate in the same way when you’re watching someone else do something as they do when you’re doing it yourself! This mirroring process/capability is thought to be behind our ability to empathize…We learn from watching others.

We learn from imitating (mirroring) others. The potential problem, though, is that these neurons go happily about their business of imitating others without our conscious intention.
[for example]: How often have you found yourself sliding into the accent of those around you?
When we’re consciously aware and diligent, we can fight this [mirroring tendency].
Unfortunately, negative emotions exert a more powerful effect in social situations than positive ones, thanks to the phenomena of emotional contagion.”

Emotional Contagion

“Anger and resentment are thet most contagious of emotions,” according to Stonsy. “If you are near a resentful or angry person, you are more prone to become resentful or angry yourself.
…while we all have a lot of respect for physical biological contagions, we do NOT have much respect for physical emotional contagions. (I said “physical”, because science has known for quite some time that “emotions” are not simply a fuzzy-feeling concept, but represent physical changes in the brain.)
Emotional contagion is considered one of the primary drivers of group/mob behavior, and the recent work on “mirror neurons” helps explain the underlying cause.

Happy People

…idea seems to be that “happy people” implies those who are oblivious to the realities of life, in a fantasy of their own creation, and without the ability to think critically. The science, however, suggests just the opposite.
Neuroscience has made a long, intense study of the brain’s fear system–one of the oldest, most primitive parts of our brain. Anger and negativity usually stem from the anxiety and/or fear response in the brain…In many ways, fear/anger and the ability to think rationally and logically are almost mutually exclusive.
Happines is associated most heavily with the left (i.e. logical) side of the brain, while anger is associated with the right (emotional, non-logical) side of the brain.
“Furthermore, studies suggest that certain people’s ability to see life through rose-colored glasses links to a heightened left-sided brain function. A scrutiny of brain activity indicates that individuals with natural positive dispositions have trumped up activity in the left prefrontal cortex compared with their more negative counterparts. ”
In other words, happy people are better able to think logically.
And apparently happier = healthier:
“Evidence suggests that the left-siders may better handle stressful events on a biological level. For example, studies show that they have a higher function of cells that help defend the body, known as natural killer cells, compared with individuals who have greater right side activity. Left-sided students who face a stressful exam have a smaller drop in their killer cells than right-siders. Other research indicates that generally left-siders may have lower levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.”

… the Dalai Lama has this to say:
” This world is not perfect. There are problems. But things like happiness and unhappiness are relative. Realizing this gives you hope.”
The American Psychological Association has this to say on anger:
“People who are easily angered generally have what some psychologists call a low tolerance for frustration, meaning simply that they feel that they should not have to be subjected to frustration, inconvenience, or annoyance. They can’t take things in stride, and they’re particularly infuriated if the situation seems somehow unjust: for example, being corrected for a minor mistake.”
…there’s a Grand Canyon between a happy-person-who-gets-angry and an unhappy-angry-person….Happiness is not our only emotion, it is simply the outlook we have chosen to cultivate because it is usually the most effective, thoughtful, healthy, and productive.
…psychologists say:  “Psychologists now say that [saying anything you want to say when you are angry] is a dangerous myth. Some people use this theory as a license to hurt others. Research has found that “letting it rip” with anger actually escalates anger and aggression and does nothing to help you (or the person you’re angry with) resolve the situation.It’s best to find out what it is that triggers your anger, and then to develop strategies to keep those triggers from tipping you over the edge.”

And finally, another Ghandi quote:  “Be the change that you want to see in the world.”If the scientists are right, I might also add, Be around the change you want to see in the world.

I have a drinking problem

Yes, I have a drinking problem which will probably only get worse with time. I don’t know how it happens but sometimes, well, whatever I’m drinking, it just comes out a little too fast. It dribbles down my chin and onto whatever I am wearing or is even in my general vicinity.

This, of course, is embarrassing but since I, similarly to Alice, usually manage at least 10 embarrassing things before breakfast, I am quite enured to the shame.

I think I need a bib.

Nat’l Geo tidbits

From the March 07 issue:

Living in a sprawling suburb vs. a compact city can add 6 pounds to your weight

The size of an average American home has increased 63 percent over the past 3 decades (kudos to us who don’t live in new-builds!  You know how I feel about them)

Americans spend the equivalent of 10 working days a year commuting to work (and some of us don’t have any commute so if the average is 10 days, i shudder to think how long some people travel!)

According to health department records, sharkes bite fewer people each year than New Yorkers do.

You are far likelier to drown in you bathtub or be murdered by your spouse than you are to die in the jaws of a shark (well, I can’t believe that one. I have a great fear of sharks! I know they are out to get me!)

Remember the elephant blog (well, about Asian in touchness w/ the earth)?  Here’s how to help: Wildlife Conservation Society and the African Elephant Conservation Fund


totally forgot about engrish.com.  It’s worth a look right now, won’t them?  thanks to Sharon for reminding me!

No Show

Dear Student,

You wrote to me TWO WEEKS after the end of the class, quite desperate to make up the final because obviously if you didn’t, you don’t pass the class. So I arranged to meet you last evening at 6 p.m. down at the school, which is 40 minutes from my house, after I worked all day.  There was also a teacher’s meeting scheduled for that time, not that I was required to go, but I thot that if I had to meet you, it might as well be good to kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

So why didn’t you come?  You had seemed quite sincere when you emailed me and quite grateful to have a chance to make the test up.  I’m certainly glad I didn’t make an extra trip just for you because would it have ended up the same?  I even checked my email before I left home to make sure you hadn’t cancelled.  I had to SIT THRU THE ENTIRE MEETING with its obligatory PowerPoint presentation and weak jokes!

I thought that you were a nice guy but that is really rude behaviour. I hope you feel ashamed of yourself. YOu have certainly taught me again the fact that being too nice really gets you nowhere except getting taken advantage of and having to endure boring meetings that are not relevant to you at this point in time.


Your Former Teacher

Better Welfare, my Ass

This from a Chungbuk Province document:

We have…built a more stable welfare system for women through a greater participation of women in the workplace.

Just becuase more women are in the workforce doesn’t mean it that life is all that much better for them. Because in traditional places like this province, the women may work all day but they will also be expected to shoulder ALL the duties of the home: cooking (from scratch people; Korea is not a casserole or can-of-soup kind of country), cleaning, shopping, laundry, child-rearing, etc. Hubby is not expected to help out, at least by society.

It could be that this pattern is changing w/ the younger generations. Let’s hope so. But it is definitely a man’s world in traditional rural Korea.

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