Saturday, December 21, 2013

Brains —It's what's for dinner

Intelligence is not defined by one's educational level, but by one's own actions, awareness, ability to work through problems, and much more.

Ok, so this post isn't about eating brains for dinner, but it is about intelligence and a little self-discovery in the brain department.

My mother was a very intelligent woman, but had to leave school in 9th grade to take care of her mother who was bed-ridden for 36 years. My mother took care of her, her first two children, her first husband and held a job as a waitress.  Amazing woman.  She continued to be amazing with her second marriage as well as me (I'm the baby of the family and her third child and the only child to her second husband.)  And in her 60's, she went on to become a Certified Nurse's Aide (CNA) and we were all so proud of her.  Yet, unfortunately, since she had never made it through middle and high school nor received a diploma, she thought she was stupid.  I told her over and over again that she was very smart and that just because she didn't have the "book smarts" that she thought she needed; that didn't mean she wasn't smart.

She was the one who taught me long division when my father, who was an electrical engineer, had me on page 3 of a division problem and still didn't have an answer!  Brilliant man with absolutely no common sense whatsoever.

My Mom was the one who helped me through mathematical word problems, history books, studying for spelling tests, etc.  She was more than book smart, she was amazing!

Why am I rambling on about my mother when it's not even close to Mother's Day?  Well, today's Google page is celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Crossword Puzzle.  Well, my mother used to do the crossword puzzle in the paper every week and did it IN PEN!  And she never made a mistake!  Ok, well, maybe once, but that's it.  I'm working on Google's crossword puzzle and I've gotten 11 so far that I think are correct.  And I cheated on gave up on two more.

My disastrous attempt at this crossword puzzle has made me realize just how smart my mother was and how much I've let myself go —mentally, that is.  (Ok, truth be, I've let myself go physically as well, but that's a whole other comparison to my mother, who was in tip top shape until I came along.)

So now what? I have a BA in English, yet I can't finish a simple crossword puzzle. I have been reading on the web about proper grammar and have found many things have changed and there are many things that I –have forgotten.  There's the -hyphen vs the –en dash vs the —em dash, comma splices (which I am dreadfully guilty of,) the Oxford comma, leaving one space after the period instead of two (that's new and very hard to get used to doing. It's more like 'space space backspace RAWR!' It nearly kills me to only do one space after 40 years of knowing it's supposed to be two spaces, which is what I learned back in the day,) and many more grammatical rules to learn and relearn.  Not to mention my loss of spelling ability.  I used to be amazing in my spelling abilities.  Even words I had never come across I could usually guess correctly.  Now, if it wasn't for auto-correct, and that ugly squiggly red line on the computer screen, I would make even more of a fool out of myself than I already do. (Ugh, see, there's that stupid single space that makes my hands nearly convulse.) But times change and I suppose I need to change with them.

So, many of the grammatical advice I've recently received has been from The Write Practice, which is, in my opinion, a wonderful site that has certainly shown me my terrible ways. I'm not sure how I like some of it, such as the single space vs double space after a period, or the comma splice theory, but I do like the blog and enjoy relearning my grammar and they also have wonderful writing prompts and helpful information on honing your craft as a writer. Of course, if you're not into writing, then you might not care for the site, but if you enjoy writing in any form, then I would suggest checking it out.

There's also Lumosity to help my brain out. I enjoy the site, but can't afford to pay for it, so I just visit once in a while (when I remember... ha! ironic, isn't it?) and get the few free activities it will allow. It helps to get the brain going again —or at least, that's what I tell myself.

With the new year coming so quickly, I find myself wanting to make tons of resolutions, but I know they won't last very long. (And I'm sure I'll be doing a New Year's Resolutions post soon.) Which leads me to the need to prioritize my hobbies, my goals, my dreams, etc.. (Does that get a second "." after the "etc."? Hmm, I think so, but again, there's my brain not remembering.)

Many times, I just feel like I'm overloaded and over-worn. Too many hobbies that I want to enjoy, too much housework, then there are the kids, the husband, the... everything! And no time to do any of it. Oh, I get a few things done, but between my two little ones always tugging at my, climbing on me, wanting me to hold them, etc., I don't get much done. And I'd rather enjoy time with them than worry about the dishes. Know what I mean?

So, what's the point in my rambling on in this blog post? Well, the new year is approaching fast. I want you to join me in prioritizing your New Year's Resolution list. We all know we won't keep them —at least, not all of them, but let's see who can keep the most the longest! A challenge. Let's make our lists and meet back here at the first of the year to share them. Then, at the end of the year, let's see who had kept any. Maybe we'll even meet up in the middle of the year and do a "list check" and see what we've accomplished and what we may need to re-try. It's never too late to start again. My mother getting her CNA license in her 60's was proof of that.  And I need to start getting my brain back into shape, before it's not worth anything —except maybe dinner for zombies!

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