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What's Wrong With Her? She's Gifted.

I was adopted anonymously by parents who wanted a normal, healthy baby.  For a while it looked like they'd got their wish, but by early elementary I started to show signs that something was wrong.  I'd had good grades briefly, then they had crashed.  I'd soon become inattentive and withdrawn.

In fourth grade, around 1975, the experts went looking for an explanation for my straight-D grades, inattentiveness, and poor social skills in school.  The suggestion that I might be gifted was made by my reading teacher, who noted that while I didn't pay attention in class and always had my head stuck in a book, it was a different book every day.

Her suggestion was met with universal derision.  How could a very smart child be such a failure?  But upon reflection it was decided that I might be retarded (the term was still used clinically at that time), and that I should be given an IQ test to see if I qualified for Special Education.  So I was abruptly pulled out of class and sat down at a bewildering exam the likes of which I'd never even imagined.

To the amazement of most, I barely squeaked in as "gifted".  Something had gone wrong!  I had cheated, or there had been a mixup involving the grading of the test.  So I was pulled out of class and given the test again, and the tester made to score the test on site in front of a committee of teachers.

But this time the test was not a complete surprise to me.  I had been through it once before, and knew what to expect.  This time I scored 20 points higher, over one standard deviation, easily clearing the "highly gifted" mark.

Oh, the consternation!  Such hooting, hollering, and carrying on you have never heard in your life!  I'm told the administration wanted to test me a third time with even more rigorous anti-cheating measures in place.  "You want to see how much higher she'll score next time?" snarked the gifted ed teacher.

(The answer, when another school system tested me four years later, was 30 points or 2 standard deviations higher than the second test.)

The testers tried to explain that only half of high-IQ students perform well in a regular classroom.  The other half become bored and disengaged.  That explanation only made the administration resent me for not being a team player.  However, with so much documentation staring them in the face it was felt that they risked a lawsuit if they didn't put in me in the gifted program (they didn't know my adoptive parents very well), so I was grudgingly allowed in on probation.

Of course, once I had access to people like myself doing things that actually interested us, school became a lot less boring and more engaging.  I paid more attention, and my grades improved.

It makes me angry that regional schools no longer have gifted ed programs.  Those schools have undiagnosed gifted children in them who are starving for the companionship of their peers and for an IQ-appropriate learning environment.  That doesn't do them any good, and by adding to their burdens instead of lightening them we take away their ability to do our country any good.

Running Up the White Flag

After almost a decade of fighting it, I finally got a Facebook account.   Y'all can friend me if you like.

Who knows, in another decade I might even make it to Twitter.

First Book

My husband and I have begun turning the material he worked up for his junior high and high school science classes into a curriculum. Here's the first e-book:

Earth and Space

This is nine weeks worth of lesson plans and quizzes. We're planning to put out something more comprehensive at a later date, but this was what we could get out right now.

If you're interested in this sort of thing, please look it over and tell me what you think.


There's been a breakthrough on finding my biological parents.  I don't want to say anything more right now -- I'm almost afraid to breathe for fear it will all blow away -- but progress has been made.

Right now I've got a whirlwind of emotions swirling around inside me.  I'm trying to process them now so they don't get in the way later on.  Cry now, be calm later.

Mardi Gras 2014

I got word that the DNA sample for my ethnicity test reached the lab today.  Yippee!  I'm so excited!

You can expect to receive your results in the next 6-8 weeks


And that's what I'll be doing for Lent sorted out.


Late to the Party, Brought the Jello

Among the foods Mom never made was anything fancier than plain Jello, and that was very seldom.  It made me uncomfortable to realize I was missing out on something.  Years later, when I was grown and everyone thought fancy Jello was just so uncool I was too embarrassed to admit that I had no idea what they were talking about.

But darn it, just because I missed out is no reason for my children to miss out.  Especially since when I was moving our dry foods to the new house I came across a small mountain of Jello I had stored back "for emergencies".  Time to experiment.

With the bigger kitchen I'm able to store the ice cream sundae glasses inside the kitchen (instead of in a storage building) where they can be pulled out and used much more frequently.  It turns out fruits and berries go down kids much easier when they're encased in Jello, topped with whipped topping mix, and presented in a sundae glass.  I bought some old copper-tinted molds at flea markets and started playing around with them, although so far nothing's come out perfect.

And for the first day of Spring Break, I've the makings of Blue Skies Jello set back.  Things are looking a bit jiggly right now.

House Update February 10, 2014

We installed the kitchen drawer pulls, drawer facings and the lower cabinet doors.  Yay, I have drawers now!  There's an actual place for cutlery, as opposed to the used plastic tubs it was dumped into.  With more room to spread things out we were able to put the dinnerware and silverware at preschooler height, and turn over the job of setting the table to an excited 5yo.  An excited 14yo got promoted to cook's helper/dryer, and a not-very-excited 12yo got promoted to dishwasher.

Now I can bring down some of our nonessential cookware, like the John Wright decorative cast iron muffin pans and cookie molds I bought at Service Merchandise (back when that store existed) 30 years ago.  After 3 years exposure to humid Southern weather, their Victorian-era curves were hidden under a thick layer of rust.  Repairing and re-seasoning them are giving my arms a workout.

I don't even know where you can get John Wright now.  Someone said Williams-Sonoma, but there isn't one around here.  I went in a Williams-Sonoma store once on vacation.  It reminded me that there is a dividing line between "elitist" and "snob".  My nose doesn't tilt high enough to shop there, and they didn't have any John Wright.

With a bigger kitchen I can also round out my Lodge collection.  Cooking just got a lot more adventurous.

Dh is building a table for the arts-and-crafts shop with built-in storage for oversized art papers.  After that it's on to the kitchen island.

Update:  Today also begins the pre-spring gardening, with moving a willow sapling that had grown up too close to a building to a boggy spot in the backyard.


Ulterior Motive

In order to understand my biological mother better I just got in a copy of The Girls Who Went Away:  The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children For Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v.Wade.  My 14yo daughter immediately asked to read it.

I can't imagine a better prophylactic.

Comfort Food

My emotional heart is undergoing surgery right now as ancient barbs are being moved about none too delicately and certainly not painlessly.  It's led to all sorts of misadventures, such as running out of the room and collapsing on the floor crying during yesterday's episode of My Little Pony (409).  One of the coping mechanism's that's come out is a mild obsession with comfort food.  Not so much eating it (although there's some of that) as making it for my family.

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April 2014


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