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I posted this on FB, but I wanted to share it with those of you only on LJ as well. The linked study is fascinating and revealing.

Who are Republicans? Evangelicals represent the largest group, followed by Republicans who identify with the tea party movement. “Moderates,” the third group, make up about a quarter of the party’s base, according to the pollsters.

The very best of dreams

(x-post FB)
Right before awakening this morning, I dreamed that I was flying* above, then below, then above vividly blue coastal waters. I felt an ecstasy that was a blend of freedom, pleasure, joy and beauty. I finally tired and dropped onto the beach to catch my breath. I rolled over, raised my face to the sun, and closed my eyes. That is when I woke up.

I wish I could have recorded this dream to pop into my mind whenever I need aboost, although I would likely get hooked on it.

*Swimming and flying are always the same in my dreams, with only my arms moving as if in a slow breast stroke.

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How this works: Comment with your favourite colour and I'll respond by asking you five questions so I can get to know you better. Update your journal with the answers to the questions. Include this explanation in the post and offer to ask other people questions.

I got these questions from shrijani.

1. What fictional character do you see as most like you, and why?

I recognize a lot of myself in Isabel Dalhousie from the Sunday Philosophy Club series by Alexander McCall Smith. She is insatiably curious, particularly about the wayward ways of human nature. She is always ready to find answers to questions and solutions to problems, even those that she should be leaving to the owners of the questions or problems. Her younger husband, Jamie, is forever encouraging her to stop worrying about others and let them lead their own lives. She does try but the temptation to interfere is often too much for her to resist and this gets her into trouble. She is also a romantic, a homebody who also loves to travel, and someone who is quite content to spend an afternoon pondering and observing the little wild world of her back garden.

2. In what fictional movie or television universe would you most like to live (as yourself, not as the fictional character from question one)?

It would be amazing to live in the world, or worlds, rather, created by Charles de Lint in his Newford books. I am very much attracted to magical realism, so worlds like the one created by Mary Stewart in Thornyhold or Alice Hoffman in Practical Magic, are very appealing.

3. David Sedaris once said that his memoir essays are 93% true. In general, what percent true are the stories you tell, when no direct witnesses of the actual event are present? Is there any difference when witnesses are present?

My own stories are generally true, although, admittedly, the details may be questionable. I've caught myself or, rather more embarrassingly, been caught by those who have known me forever blending multiple memories into one memory or leaving out relevant bits for various reasons (shame, effect, worries about the judgements of my audience, or just mis-remembering). Most of the time, though, these changes happen because of my perspective at the time and how I later interpreted what happened. Because I am aware of my tendency to blend memories and color in what I don't remember, I would say that I am likely to include less detail when there are witnesses present and, as a result, there tends to be greater accuracy. If I am passing on a story I have been told by someone else, I would say that my re-telling is probably the most accurate, since I stick pretty closely to what I've been told. Still, I am sure some interpretation seeps in over time. When I take all these instances, from the least to most true, into consideration, I'd say that my storytelling ranges from about 85 to 95% accurate, depending on the situation.

4, How honest is your answer to question three? Reply with a percentage. Just kidding. That sort of game could go on forever. ;) What do you think was the greatest advantage of your upbringing?

97.85% ;)

I was always encouraged, by example and by instruction, to explore and expand my mind and my horizons. My parents always found ways to encourage my curiosity and imagination and expose me to nature and culture. Even when we were at our poorest, they managed to turn a cross-country trip for a interview for a desperately-needed job into an opportunity for sight seeing, learning about history, and having fun. They taught me to never pass up an opportunity to see more of the world and I haven't. Well, actually, to up my truth percentile, I should mention that I did turn down the chance to visit Haiti with my roommate once as well as a cross-country camping trip with a boyfriend. There is such a thing as TOO much adventure! ;)

5. Rhapsodize about your favorite writing implement.

I have many different pens, each with elements of my ideal but all falling woefully short of it. To fulfill all my writing needs and desires, a pen should have an ergonomic barrel design of moderate thickness. It should have a grip wrapped in a soft comfort pad that is no thicker than the rest of the pen, allowing for ease of movement. I prefer a matte finish, regardless of the material from which the pen is made. The pen should be capable of producing clear, distinct fine lines that allow me to both write and later read the smallest notes in my appointment book without strain. Ideally, it would be retractable yet also have a cap to prevent unfortunate incidents. I have yet to find this pen, but if I do, I will let the world know of my discovery.

Edit: Okay, I trust James on this one (after all, he has known me better for longer than anyone else and has heard ALL my stories, god knows how many times); my memory and storytelling are probably more accurate than the percentage I gave. Still, I think I do fail at times when it comes to details. Of course, James DOES let me know when I do this. ;)

Hey, Lawrencians!

A message from the Douglas County Clerk, Jamie Shew:

Looking ahead to Tuesday, it appears there may be another snowstorm that could hit on Monday or even Tuesday. Our office is preparing emergency plans for Election Day. There is no provision in state law for postponing Election Day, our office does have plans for these type of situations and will be reviewing them today. As mentioned, there is no provision to postpone an election even if there is a declared state of emergency. We have plans in place that include utilizing area law enforcement for transportation and in extreme cases I can ask for National Guard assistance. We will do everything possible to make sure all polling places are open and ready all day on Tuesday but may have to adjust based off of the weather, etc. Our office is currently working on our staffing and transportation plans for each polling place.

Our best tool right now is to encourage early advance voting. Currently, anyone can vote at the courthouse until 5 p.m. today, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. tomorrow, and 8 a.m.-Noon on Monday. We are considering extending advance voting with more hours on the weekend, possibly on Sunday and will make the announcement later today. We can’t extend in-person advance voting past noon on Monday by KS statute. By law, mail ballot applications have to be received today. If anyone want a mail ballot, they have to fill out the application and send it to us either as a scanned PDF or fax 832-5192. The applications can be found on our website:

Jamie Shew, Douglas County Clerk

Medical Update

(X-posted to facebook)

After a severe bout of posterior pelvic pain that ranks up there with my ruptured appendix and trigeminal neuralgia, I finally went to the orthopedist.
I think that these may have been the most painful x-rays I have ever experienced and the hands-on exam/testing was toturous. Yow! I was in so much pain that I lost my usual cool stoicism. I was groaning, crying, sweating profusely, and was a general mess. I couldn't remember half of what I needed to tell the dr. and my SI story started with a fall down a well as a child, so there was a lot to forget, including the names of every dr I've seen about it except my GP.

Good News: My spine is a pretty young thing! (Okay, he didn't quite say that but he did say that it shows no signs of even normal aging, let alone anything abnormal.) This means that I made the right decision several years ago not having a bone scan of my vertebrae.

Bad News: My pelvic bones and joints don't appear to be the culprits either, although I do have something called a cam or pistol grip deformity in both hips joints. This means that some of my adduction and abduction pain may well result from this but that I also have a high risk of early onset OA in those joints. I will need to monitor any changes here so that I can have hip-sparing (instead of hip replacement) surgery when the time comes.

Ugly News: The torturous movements he put me through (see above for loss of stoicism) made it clear to him that the issue is, indeed, the complex of tendons and ligaments that connect the sacrum to the pelvis. Yes, folks, it does seem that this is sacroiliitis and that my iliolumbar ligament is almost certainly inflamed and likely torn. I will be getting a pelvic MRI next Thursday (James is calling is Most Romantic Imaging since it will be on V Day). Until then, I am hoping that I can get out to the warm water pool a couple of times just for some therapeutic floating and gentle movement.

I have been doing so well in terms of making it to the pool during the weekdays and eating healthfully, I don't want this setback to become a backslide. I have to admit, though, that I did seek pretzel roll comfort after coming home from the dr. I know that, after all these years of sacroiliitis and related problems, it is about time that I get a closer look at what is happening inside this pelvis of mine. I just wish it mean paying our full deductible of $2,500. The one advantage of having such a high deductible is that it is also our out of pocket max, so I will talk to the ortho about getting an MRI of my right foot later on this year. It has been nearly seven years since the last surgery and it would be good to see if there is anything that could possibly be done about the plantar tendon and fascia that are giving me such trouble. I may consider trying some of the newer treatments for plantar fasciitis as well. It seems that this will be the year that I need to set aside my fear and seek some medical attention, albeit not without caution.

To Snow or Not To Snow

After reading and hearing about the unbelievable amounts of snow that have fallen in the Northeast, I decided to look into our local snow history. The heaviest 24 hour snowfall ever recorded in Lawrence was 13.8 " in 1962. It turns out that this part of Kansas has only been intermittently snowy with the end of the 70s through the 80s being the snowiest period overall, with frequent, if not remarkably heavy, snowfalls. This would explain why I remember snow mountains in parking lots and by streets that would not melt for weeks and weeks when I first moved here in 1985.

(xposted to FB)

Stocks in 2013 (in ! Jan Money)

U.S. stocks are expected to grind higher in 2013, but don't expect another year of double-digit gains.

According to more than 30 investment strategists and money managers surveyed by CNNMoney, the S&P 500 should finish 2013 at 1,490, up 4.5% for the year. While that's not anything to scoff at, it's a far cry from last year's 13% increase.

Investors are facing a number of headwinds, not the least of which is the ongoing uncertainty out of Washington. But experts are primarily pinning their modest forecasts to a slowdown in earnings growth.

It's that very concern that's made ING Investment Management chief market strategist Doug Cote less of a bull going into 2013.

"I'm not predicting Armageddon, but I do think it will be prudent to take a more defensive position in the market this year," said Cote, who has a 1,515 year-end target for the S&P 500.

Related: Best performing stocks

While Corporate America reported year-over-year earnings growth for 11 straight quarters, that streak was broken during the third quarter of 2012. Overall, Cote expects earnings growth in 2013 to be flat to slightly negative.

"Negative earnings growth is a rare event, and it's a predictor of future negative earnings growth," he said. "This goes beyond the fiscal cliff. It's a signal of a real slowdown in the global economy."

For Cote, that means trimming back on stock exposure and adding to his global bond portfolio.

Related: Full survey results

The slowdown in earnings growth has made Ben Halliburton, chief investment officer at Tradition Capital Market, even more bearish. His 2013 target for the S&P 500 stands at 1,200, down a whopping 16% from the end of 2012.

Halliburton noted that over the past three years, companies have done everything they can to cut costs and improve efficiency, the combination of which has boosted profit margins near record highs.

"Everyone is already working with bare bones," he said. That means any additional weakness in the United States or the broader global economy will have a magnified impact on earnings growth, he added.

Related: Worst performing stocks

Though the majority of experts are forecasting single-digit gains, there are a handful of strategists who are a bit more optimistic.

Ryan Detrick, equity strategist at Schaeffer's Investment Research, is expecting the S&P 500 to rise 15% this year.

While he acknowledges that investors are approaching 2013 with caution and fear, much like they did 2012, he believes the market will continue to ratchet higher, just as it did last year.

"Market pullbacks are to be expected," said Detrick, "But the Dow and S&P 500 will take out their 2007 high in late 2013, as naysayers and underperformers finally buy into the bull market that has been in place since early 2009." To top of page

Other Views

I have posted my response to the killings at Sandy Hook elsewhere, but, at this point, the question remains:

What are we, as individuals, communities, and a society willing to do to prevent mass murders?

Will we change our gun laws to decrease the number and/or type of firearms generally available?
Will we go as far in the other direction as one photo I saw from Israel that showed a primary school teacher who had a rifle strapped to her back as she took her class on a field trip?
Will we make children virtual prisoners in their schools with each classroom a panic room, with bars on the windows and no outdoor recreation?
Will we begin mandatory mental health testing at young ages and, if so, what will we do with these results?

I am sad for those who are lost and those who grieve them, angry at those whose responses have been cruel and thoughtless, and worried about what all of this will mean for our future.

I also wanted to share this article, which was written by a researcher and author who spent two years studying rampage killings:

In addition, I think that this article, which deals with the rush to judgement concerning the role of mental illness and development disorders in this and other acts of violence, makes some very important points:


Last week's goals:
#1 - Do everything possible to heal the ulcerations on my tongue/throat (why I saw the dr on Thurs) including: low acid and spice meals, no alcohol, Tagamet twice daily(off-label use for any oral sores, I learned), brush and gargle with soothing Biotene products, and all the basic self-caretaking stuff. (Done although I have to do more since these ulcers were one of the symptoms of a peptic ulcer as well. Poopie.)
#2 - Swim three times. (Yep)
#3 - Make entries in The Body Journal as frequent and detailed as possible. (Check)
#4 - Trade haircuts with James. (Still shaggy.)
#5 - Create a soul collage for Samhain. (Yes)

I am facing considerable uncertainty about just about everything this coming week for a variety of reasons, so I won't be making any goals.