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Posts Tagged ‘Abby’

Trigger Warnings

Trigger Warnings are Controversial

A University has now come out with the official statement that the movement to request trigger warnings in schools is an attempt to limit academic freedom.  Neil Gaiman (whom I adore) has publicly mocked the idea of trigger warnings, explaining that being shocked by things is a really important part of life.

They’re missing the point.

The idea of a ‘trigger’ came out of the study of PTSD.  Over 10% of the US population has PTSD at some point in their life.  If you have PTSD you can often function, more or less normally, until something triggers you.  Sudden, unexpected exposure to a trigger might produce flashbacks and/or some kind of psychotic break.  Triggers are very specific to an individual, there is no such thing as a generic trigger, any more than there is a generic trauma.

In many circumstances it is possible for a patient and doctor to figure out a list of things which might trigger someone. If someone (for example a student) has a list of known triggers which could produce serious symptoms, and they go to a person in authority (for example a professor), and explain the situation it should be common practice to get warnings when triggering images will be presented.  If an unreasonable number of people make this request (which seems very likely) it would be logical for the authority figure to ask for some sort of proof of diagnosis, such as requiring the request to come from the individual’s physician or other qualified professional.  At that point, a refusal of the request is basically a refusal to make reasonable accommodation (because what is being requested is a warning, not a substantial change, because modern technology makes it trivial to provide that warning in a timely manner without affecting the environment of others – a text message warning the individual the day before isn’t asking much).  So refusing to provide real trigger warnings, when they are requested, is probably a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Having said that, if we’re talking about general things which might make someone uncomfortable, or even give someone nightmares, that’s not just unreasonable, it’s asking the impossible.  There is no way to label everything which might make someone uncomfortable.  I mean, one of Dottie’s college roomates gets the heebie-jeebies every time she sees a frog.  It really ruins her day.  That’s unfortunate, but it’s not disabling enough to make a focused trigger warning reasonable, nor would a general .’trigger warning’ policy on campus do her any good at all.

People have always wanted to not be made uncomfortable, and I can only guess that the existence of trigger warnings as a ‘thing’ has made many people feel that they want them too, because if someone else gets them it’s ‘only fair’.  I get that as an impulse, but not as a matter of course.

When Abby was a sophomore in High School she tore her ACL.  She was on crutches during the school year, so she had another student carry her books and she got to take the elevator.  That didn’t mean the entire student body did. Yes, the entire student body wanted to have an elevator pass.  Yes, it would have made their school day easier.  It made Abby’s school day possible.

Another example.  Abby has a serious fear (not quite a phobia)  of spiders.  She was required to take an entomology class for her major.  On the syllabus there was one lecture scheduled for arachnids.  She, very sensibly, planned to skip that class and get the notes from another student. The professor ended up moving the schedule around and she ended up in that particular lecture.  So she kept her eyes averted from the overhead, was very uncomfortable, and got through it.  She was confronted by her fear unannounced, but no consequences were triggered.  She would have appreciated a warning that the spidery lecture had been moved, but she couldn’t have gotten a trigger warning because no symptoms were triggered.

So yeah, trigger warnings are a thing.  Those who need them should get them – it’s important.  Those who don’t should be educated on what they are, and re calibrate their expectations a little bit.

Because I’ve picked on Abby enough in this post, there’s a creepy clown behind the cut.  You might not want to look.  It’s your choice, and you have been warned.

(more…)

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Poetic Spam

The following appeared in my Akismet spam queue.  I was tempted to let it go through, because it’s so gosh-darned poetic it’s almost cute.

What is a defense test and do? As it’s, The category is hellbent on facilitating crimes that barefoot running has metamorphosed ideas to begin making users on the other hand together with the pitch almost dependent. They can undertake big; They can not discuss cheap. That they are unable to decant even about the qb

Then again… no.  Friggin’ spammers.

The Job Hunt

So far in August I’ve applied for 13 jobs and had 4 interviews (for three jobs).  This is a lot better than July’s totals, and I have to say that the Maryland Workforce Exchange really showed me how (and why) to target resumes to a job.

One interview (face to face) was with an employment agency, for general Admin work.  The jobs I’m in line for are all very local,they know I want temp to perm,  and they have my resume and vitals on file.  It went well, but I haven’t had a call back.

Two interviews were for a Regulatory Affairs Assistant position.  I expect that it sounds dreadfully dull to 90% of my readers.  Regulations are nobody’s favorite thing, but…  BUT…  it’s research regulation.  These particular dotted i’s and crossed t’s are all about advancing science without allowing the next Tuskeegee experiment (or MKUltra, or some outbreak of GM E coli).  The people were all very nice, from the receptionist on up, and I think I would like working there.  Actually, I am ridiculously excited about the possibility of getting this job.  Not at all excited about the commute, though.

The final interview was for a help desk position for employees of  a company which provides video content.  It was a video interview.  I found it an interesting experience, but not as satisfying as an interview with back and forth.  Fortunately, they’ve asked me to come in for a face-to-face interview on Tuesday.  I’ve read up on their website, and I think I could become ridiculously excited about this one, too (I’ll know more once I’ve actually spoken to employees).  I’m already excited about the commute.  I could take the bus in and walk home, if the weather is nice (depending on the hours I might be willing to walk both ways…  I might do a test walk this weekend and see how it goes).  Maybe I could even get the bike fixed up and cycle in to work.

Obligatory Bragging About the Girls

I know I should shut up and let them toot their own horns, but they’re both doing so amazingly well.  Abby sounds like she’s thoroughly integrated into her village (though she’s very modest about it).  Dottie has been specifically invited to apply to a prestigious paid internship after she graduates.  Exciting stuff.

They’ve also both coming to the conclusion that feminism is ‘a thing’ after all, and not just some hippie nostalgia Mom hangs on to.  It’s a bit disconcerting that there are parallels between the norms and expectations for women and marriage in rural Senegal and rural Ohio.

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Current Crafting

This was going to be a regular WiP Wednesday post, but my WiPs aren’t drastically different than two weeks ago (given the intervening FO Friday post).  I have started one new project, a hat.  Abby tells me that it’s customary for men in the village to wear knitted hats to keep the sun off their heads, and she thinks it would be nice if I were to knit some for her local family.

New WiP

Let me repeat that – knit hats.  In equatorial Africa. I have been asked to knit hats for people living in equatorial Africa.  I…  can’t… even…

Anyway, I started this hat.  It’s got a herringbone stripe, which I’ve never worked before.

Helical

It doesn’t much look it, but it’s actually a lace stitch – decreases are K2TogTBL, and increases are also a TBL.  The result looks very much like a line of knitting perpendicular to the wales.  The thing is, it’s also helical.

Helical Crafting

It’s worked very much like the Guinan hat was worked (in knit rather than crochet).  In that case I crocheted 1/4 of the way around the hat, held the loop in place with a stitch marker, and picked up the previous loop in the contrasting color.

Guinan Spiral

The principle is the same with the knitting, only no stitch marker is needed.  Just pick up the color and knit to two before the next strand was dropped off, slip some stitches, and pick up the next strand.  It’s rather fun to work such a similar technique in both crafts.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win either PhatFiber giveaway.  I’ve entered two new (non crafting) giveaways.  The Smithsonian has a quize giveaway of a tote full of cool sciencey things (2 September), and Smart Bitches Trashy Books is giving away a Kate Spade bag and a gift card to the bookstore of your choice (26 September)

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In yesterday’s post I told you that Abby would introduce you to a scholar if you donate to the Michelle Sylvester Scholarship fund. Since she was still in the Peace Corps Regional House when I let her  know I had she was able to reply right away to tell me who my $20 would be sending to school for a year.  Here’s what she had to say:

This is Aminata Sow!

Aminata speaks Pulaar and lives in a compound with 30 other people – including her cousin, Hawa Ba, who is also an MSS recipient this year. Aminata is a great student, she’s very outspoken in class and is an active member of the English Club. In the future, Aminata wants to grow up to be a flight attendant. She likes math, and wants people who live in other countries to know that Senegal is a very peaceful country, that values “solidarity”. Whenever I stop by her village on my bike, Aminata always insists that I come by to see her family and have some tea.

I feel like I know this girl already. (And I asked Abby to tell her “No ngoolu daa”, which the Interwebs tells me is “Hello” in Pulaar) Notice that there’s no age given?  That’s because, apparently, not all Senegalese keep track of things like age.  I don’t think that’s particular to girls, but it may be.

If you’re interested in donating to the scholarship fund, you can use this form.  The directions say “*Under “Please use this box if you want to send a message of encouragement to this project’s volunteer” please enter “MSS Fund” followed by any encouragement you would like to pass along to the Volunteer”.  If you give her you email address and tell her you would like the bio of your scholar, she’d be glad to send you one.  Or if you leave a comment here with contact info I would be glad to send it along.  Just know that she doesn’t get to the Regional House every weekend, so you might wait a little while for your bio (but it will come).

If you’d like to find out ore about what it’s like to be a Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal, you can visit Abby’s blog, or her friend Emily’s “slightly more socially conscious” blog.

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I received an email from Abby today, about the Gender and Development fund she’s representing.  I want to share part of the email with you:

Anyway, I’m just writing because the gender and development organization that I’m a part of is sponsoring scholarships for 9 girls from my local middle school – girls attendance in schools drops off exponentially after primary school so there is a HUGE gender gap in school attendance. In my village, not a single one of the girls goes to middle school. Schools here aren’t free, so the Peace Corps has a Michelle Sylvester Scholarship fund (she’s an old volunteer who started the program back in the 90s). Each girl gets 10 mille, which is the equivalent of $20 per girl to go to school and get school supplies for one extra year. Our fundraising efforts are REALLY behind this year, and each volunteer only needed to raise $180 ($20 per girl, 9 girls total). I always feel really weird writing fundraising e-mails (especially because, due to how the grant is set up, I have actually no idea who has donated money), but if you wouldn’t mind sending this on to other people who may donate -in your offices or book clubs or whatever, that would be really awesome! And if you’ve already donated, THANK YOU! I love you all so much, and I wish I had a way to thank you more for everything.

*Under “Please use this box if you want to send a message of encouragement to this project’s volunteer” please enter “MSS Fund” followed by any encouragement you would like to pass along to the Volunteer.

Please consider donating.  If you like, leave a message here, and if you attach your email address Abby said she’d send a bio of the girl you’re funding.  I’ve funded one, and will share the bio here if she says it’s ok.

 

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A Quick Post on Everyday Life

Cars

My daughter’s purse was stolen yesterday, out of a locked car.  She and her friends left their bags in the car when they went on a hike and someone smashed in a window to get them.  Fortunately, she has her passport so replacing the driver’s license should be easy. Also fortunately there was someone in their group who had his phone on his person, not in the car, so they reported it to the police immediately.  She’s stopped the credit cards and I cancelled the phone service.  It could have been a lot worse…  Still, not what anyone wanted to happen.

I just heard a car story about my Mother in Law.  It happened the week before…   My M-i-L is snake phobic, to the point where just last year she refused to leave her house for two days after seeing a snake crawl under the stoop.  So when her neighbor saw a large black snake crawling across her yard he and his son tried to kill it (yeah, I know, but…)  The snake then slithered under her car and didn’t come out.  That’s when the neighbor told her about it.  She handed him her car keys and asked him to move it away from her house, and he did.   They watched it for a couple of hours, and never saw the snake leave.  My Mother-in-Law had an appointment she had to get to so she got in the car and went.

OK, I’m not phobic, and I don’t have any problem with snakes, so I’ll never really get it. Given how scared she was last year, even I get that it took a HUGE amount of courage to do that.  She didn’t even call me at the time.

Anyway the point is everyone is fine.  Moving on.

Cats

Less scary (but possibly not for the squeamish) I found a new design of cat brush, and the critters really seem to like it.  It’s called Zoom Groom (and there’s a version made for dogs too).

Zoom Groom

That ball of cat hair was from a few minutes of brushing – yikes!  No wonder cat hair gets all over everything.  Yes, I keep thinking that it wouldn’t take a long time to get enough fur to spin, but the staple length is really short.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I haven’t heard about the Loopy Ewe giveaway, but I assume I didn’t win.

I entered a drawing for a skein of yarn from Agrestal Yarn a new show which specializes in ‘all natural’ Canadian sourced yarns (5 June). I found a cool crochet design game giveaway called “Secrets of the Pyramid” ($50 prize, 31 July deadline), but my system is too clunky to run it.  You might want to check it out though.

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So Very Proud!

My eldest daughter, Abby, graduated from the University of Delaware yesterday.  I can’t possibly say how proud, and how overwhelmed, I am.

Baby Blue Shoes GraduateShe graduated with honors, in the top 5% of her class, with a Bachelors of Science degree in Environmental Science from the University of Delaware.

The sash represents her supervising a group of volunteers for the Alternative Break program over spring break.  This involved traveling to Florida and doing landscaping and yard work for seniors and those with disabilities.

The cord represents honors in French language.

The shoes are the ‘reveal’ that she’s been the schools ‘junior’ mascot, Baby Blue, for the last three years.

Abby and Parents  Here are Steve and I with her.  That glow is as much from our pride and joy as it was from the beautiful (but really hot) day.

Congratulations Abby!  You’ve done a great job, and have a great life ahead of you.

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