Archive for the General Category

Thanksgiving

Posted in General with tags , , , , on 28 November 2008 by Maggie

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends.

It is a quiet day today. Because of an odd turn of events, I am not going to my daughter’s, after all. This is okay. We’re going to have a combination Thanksgiving/Christmas over a four-day period in December…the 11th through the 14th.

You must understand that I am not particularly fussed about the tradition of Thanksgiving. No one really remembers why we have the holiday in the first place, or the history of it, or how it came to be that we have it on the fourth Thursday in November. It’s an illogical choice of days by historically meteorological standards, and if you don’t believe me, look it up. If you have trouble finding the information, let me know.

The essential thing about the holiday, however, is that you get an entire day off in which you can reflect on those things, people and memories for which you are thankful. Here’s a basic list of those things for which I am thankful on a personal level:

I am thankful for the atmosphere in which I was raised. I came from an old-money family on my mother’s side, full of artists, musicians, ambassadors, diplomats, politically powerful people. I learned an appreciation for the fine arts, protocol, professionalism, the letter of the law, an intolerance for ignorance, and the importance of building a network that supports you in exceptional circumstances. I came from a long line of missionaries and charity workers on my father’s side. I learned how to handle myself in third-world situations…and about compassion, patience, understanding, the essential goodness of the human condiion, and the effect of outside forces on that human condition that create the human experience.

I am thankful that I was raised to fully appreciate my Scottish and Belgian heritage. I credit my great-grandmother with teaching me the importance of understanding where you came from in order to understand where you are going. She is also responsible for my great love of archaeology and anthropology.

I am thankful I was raised to appreciate the role of belief structures and culture in the world around us. I credit my grandfather with encouraging my search for answers to the questions I asked when I was eight years old. He taught me respect, and to resist closing my mind. After more than 45 years guided by the echo of his voice, I think I have resisted well.

I am thankful for my children, and I am grateful for the adults they have become. I couldn’t be more proud of each of them. They will make a terrific mark in this world in their own ways.

I am thankful for friends and acquaintances who have brightened the nooks and crannies of my life. Each of them, whether we have remained in contact or not over the years, have had an impact on my experiences and helped shape who I am today.

I am thankful for the men who have loved me, and who I have loved, over the years. I battled hard against the lessons these relationships tried to teach me. This year, I have finally learned how to handle the undercurrent of my own stubborn fears – fear of sharing, fear of closeness, fear of pain, fear of emotion, fear of singular devotion – all of those things that caused me to run. It has been a long road, but as Edward Albee once wrote, “Sometimes you have to go the long way around to come back the short way correctly.” I am no longer stubborn. I no longer fear. I am cautious, but content in the knowledge that loving and being loved is still a part of my future, as is one good and strong lasting relationship. It’s right in front of me. I just need to take it easy, take it slow and let it happen the way it should.

And that gives me hope – something for which I am also thankful.

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On Snatching Children

Posted in General with tags , , on 31 August 2008 by Maggie

www.realitycharity.com/quenton

A friend of mine wrote a blog on Netlog about his missing son.  Someone complained when others picked up the message and continued to post it in the hopes of getting others to help, as well. 

Netlog called it spam and not only blocked the running blogs, but also blocked the accounts of everyone involved.

Imagine that.  When people take up the call to retrieve a snatched child, it’s called spam and you are shunned.

I don’t think so.

Thank god that is not the case on MySpace or here on WordPress. 

Here’s the original appeal written by my friend, but please don’t stop reading.  There’s more:

For the last month I have been trying to get my son home from a visitation with his mother. My 12 year old son was supposed to be returned on July 28th 2008. On the 27th my ex’s mother called me and asked me to let him remain in Indiana and I stated at that time it wasnt in the best interest of my son, then I recieved a call from her new husband with the same request, again I said no. Finally my Ex wife called and asked herself and again the reply was no, she then stated she couldnt afford to send him home , at which point I bought a ticket to for him to be flown home.

She didnt put him on the flight and refuses to send him home still. She has been court ordered to send him home and still refuses.She has violated several laws in Florida as well as Indiana in reguards to custody and will be charged tomorrow in Florida with felony Interference of custody on 2 counts.
 
Legally I have custody per the divorce papers, this is the second time she has tried not to return him. Thankfully last time she was still on house arrest. For selling drugs among many other charges. I believe that they will most likely have my son (law enforcements hands) in the next couple of days.

Parental child abduction is a major problem in the US and a growing issue I am only writing on here to ask if ANYONE knows where to go for financial aid in recovering my son from Indiana. This ordeal has left me broke to begin with trying to get him home with the wasted plane ticket previously and attorney’s fees.
If anyone knows where to go for help please left me know ASAP.

Damon
 
PS
 
Take even idle threats about keepin your child or taking your child from you very serious.

This cuts me to the quick in ways that I cannot even express, but for a couple of different reasons.

First, as a non-custodial parent whose children were raised by a very good father, this is inconceivable.  I could not imagine taking Matt, Diana, and Stephanie away from their father for any reason.  I credit him with the fact they are good world citizens, and this is why I have written a Mother’s Day blog about him every single year.

But, then, I am not a drug addict with an arrest and conviction record as long as your arm.  Damon’s ex does.

I am also not in Indiana and my ex in Florida, which is how she is getting away with not having an “interstate flight with a minor” charge against her.

Another reason this cuts me to the quick is because of how Dave was treated when he and his first wife divorced.  At the time, his son was old enough to make his own decision as to who to live with.  His daughter was not.  There’s a reason Dave’s son opted to live with his father.  Dave should have also, by rights, been given his daughter.  The woman called Dave’s son and told him he was a bastard and he could never come to see her again because – in her self-centered modus operandi – if he would choose Dave, then he was a pretty lousy child, anyway.  She took the daughter, left the area, and that was the last either one of them saw of her.

Imagine losing your child in this way.  Imagine having your child snatched from you.  Imagine living in desperate worry for the health and safety of your child and it seems you can do nothing about it.

Since Damon first wrote his blog asking for help, he has found an attorney who will take an IOU.  The fact of the matter is, he doesn’t have the ability to pay for this.  It is expensive to get your child back, no matter how illegal the situation.  You get zero help from the government.  You fight these things on your own and this all gives the appearance that your love and dedication to your child is dependent upon the amount of money you have. 

This has been a horrendous struggle for him.  This is one time I can at least pass the world and hope others can help.  Damon has an account set up at Realtiy Charity for this.

www.realitycharity.com/quention

If anyone can help by contributing even the smallest amount, it will be helpful.

Dave and I will be contributing.  We’re hoping word gets around.

Damon’s son Quenton is a beautiful boy.  I hate to see him get caught up in a very bad situation living with his mother and her new husband.  Besides, the law is the law.  Damon is the custodial parent.  In this case, I will honestly say he is like my ex – a very good father.  The sun rises and sets in Quenton, as far as he is concerned.  He needs all the help he can get to bring his little boy home.

I have more information on this case beyond what I’ve disclosed here.  If you would like to know more, just ask.

If anyone can help, thank you.  It means alot to Damon and Quenton…and it means alot to me and to Dave.

Thank you.

www.realitycharity.com/quenton

 

I’m a registered member of the “No Party” party.

Posted in General with tags , , , on 31 May 2008 by Maggie

I renewed my drivers license last summer here in Iowa.  The woman at the counter asked if I wanted to make sure my voter registration was current.  I said yes – which was folllowed with “Republican or Democrat?” 

“Neither.  I’m Libertarian.”

She wrote down “NP” which means “No Party”.  Not Independent, mind you.  Definitely No Party. 

I asked her why she registered me as “No Party”  Her response was that I didn’t have a “real” party affiliation.

I told her I didn’t like being railroaded like that.  She gave me a blank stare, batted her eyes, and said sweetly, “We just don’t have a place here for your Libertarian Party.”

I eyed the collar of her Department of Motor Vehicles uniform, looking for a Swastika pin. 

When the government, even on a loca or state level, refuses to acknowledge the existence of third party thinking, you have this:  a choice of two candidates or a real fight on your hands.  I live in an area steeped in political tradition.  As far as they are concerned here, there really are only two parties, and the jury is still out on “them liberal radical Democrats.”  

People in the rural Midwest won’t get behind a third party like the Libertarian Party.  It’s not because they think it wouldn’t have enough power.  It’s not because they don’t already believe in its platform, because they do, whether or not they’ve actually read anything about the Libertarian party.  They discount their own thought processes in favour of the traditional two-party system.  Their party right or wrong.  That’s the crux of it.  They won’t change because their daddies and granddaddies for more than 100 years all voted the same way.  They may dress as if they’re part of at least the late 20th Century, but their mindset is definitely Civil War.  Of course, we all know you can’t continue to play out the Civil War unless you have just two sides.  It just won’t work with three or four.

We can’t blame the media for this entirely.  Yes, American media is slanted, but when it comes to people like the ones in my community, it’s all about the Civil War.  The Great Divide will continue to exist unless future generations not only think for themselves, but talk about it out loud, in front of their families, in front of their communities, and in front of the nation.

Where I Stand…

Posted in General with tags , , on 25 May 2008 by Maggie

Apparently in order for me to become “validated” with the beta “Where I Stand” social networking thing, I have to bury some icon in a blog or somewhere else.  While I really don’t take to social networking very well, this seems like a viable and interesting way for your blogs to be read.  Hence, I must stick this bit of HTML in a blog on here and *poof* it is acknowledged.

So here it is.

 msgrant729 - whereIstand.com

How cute, eh?  I’ll sort out how to put it on the page later, but I’m up to my eyeballs with work, have had another request for the next in the Burma series and an encouragement to get the darn Bhutan series started.

Off I go.  Have a good weekend/holiday/vacation.

Thoughts on Aperger’s Syndrome, IQ, and Social Networking

Posted in General with tags , , , , on 18 May 2008 by Maggie

I was warned long before I even joined MySpace several years ago that I would end up hating social networking because of the combination of my high IQ, Asperger’s Syndrome, and how I was raised. I have tried for a very long time, but they were right. Out of every one of these I’ve joined, I’ve found a core of maybe 10 to 15 people with whom I can talk, enjoy company, and have reasonably intelligent discourse. For a site like MySpace, that is an incredibly small number, and for a purportedly adult site like TeeBeeDee, it is disappointingly few.

My friend Steve crunched some numbers a few years ago and came up with the notion that the odds of finding a group of people who think on the same level is proportionate to the percentage of people in the world with your same IQ. As I am in the 99.99 percentile, that doesn’t leave much space. He said it wasn’t necessarily that they have the same IQ, but that they think like you do, and therefore you would be comfortable with them. In my case, in the world there are 68 people, as the world population is just over 6.8 billion.

That’s kind of small.

The interesting thing about including the autism spectrum range is that I’ve found it to be true that any friends I’ve made think outside the box in very non-neurotypical (non-NT) ways. It takes a little study to figure out how that works, especially with the number of adults in particular who have not been diagnosed and/or who have no clue what really makes up the world of autism. But it also is a factor in how the synapse of the brain works, the random deletion of genome order at birth, and accounts for the IQ of many people with Asperger’s. Not everyone with Asperger’s is incredibly intelligent, but it is interesting to note that many of the great minds of our time have IQs over the 99.9 percentile and have some form of mild autism/Asperger’s.

Throw in the fact I’ve worked and associated with many cultures all over the world, trying to find people with an expansive worldview is equally difficult.

No wonder there are only 68 people who think like I do.

Unfortunately, if you did not have your IQ tested before the age of 12, you will never know your true IQ. After that age, it simply becomes a measure of your ability to retain knowledge, not your ability to learn.

If you know your IQ, do the math. If you don’t know where it falls on the percentile, here’s a ballpark chart. Mine is 167, which puts me at 99.99 on the chart.

65 – 01%
70 – 02%
75 – 05%
80 – 09%
85 – 16%
90 – 25%
95 – 37%
100 – 50%
105 – 63%
110 – 75%
115 – 84%
120 – 91%
125 – 95%
130 – 98%
135 – 99%
151 – 99.9%
167 – 99.99% 
183 – 99.999%

In doing some calculations of my own, it shows that the lower the intelligence factor, the wider the group of people with which others can associate, or get along.

So when you wonder why you can’t see eye-to-eye with most people and it seems so few people understand you, keep in mind that you are special in so many ways, and that specialness – which people in power with lower intelligence have tried for ages to eliminate – is worth cultivating in your awareness of the people around you.

 

Social Networking Sites

Posted in General with tags , , , , , on 18 May 2008 by Maggie

At some time or another, a good analysis of social networking sites was in order for me.  I’ve become increasingly disappointed and restless and unsure of my place in any of them.  I’ve made some good friends, adopted new family members, and found a forum for my articles outwith the usual places overseas.

It’s been several years now.  I’ve been on many social networking sites, including the “big ones”.  I’ve seen some unsettling things that, in a civilised world, should never happen.  I’ve seen people do some of the dumbest things on the face of the earth because they couldn’t do something as simple as google for information.  Besides this, I’ve seen many others who refuse to listen to logic and reason because they’d rather “play a game”.  That’s not ignorance.  That’s just plain stupidity.

The sites themselves don’t help.  When it is easy for someone to hack in and write an application that can suck the information from an account holder, including everyone on their friends lists, or you try to block an application and you cannot, even when it says you can, or people start thinking it should be okay to take the piss at other people in very illegal ways just because it’s the Internet and supposedly the US has no laws governing such a thing (sorry, but they do), then I think it’s time to cash them in and call it a day.

Tonight I question my participation in any of them.  I’ve already dumped my accounts at MySpace, Facebook, OK Cupid and Eons.  I have two left:  Teebeedee and Netlog.  I suppose it comes down to what you’re willing to put up with.

Me, I’m not willing to put up with any of it.

My articles are seen in 25 countries and translated in 10 different general languages, besides.  Why do I need to network through social networking sites?  Why should it matter to me what people in the US in particular think in regard to the issues about which I write?  They don’t, for the most part, and I am up to here trying to educate the thickheaded in social networking forums.

I’ll sleep on this and think about it further in the morning, but something tells me that social networking and I will never see eye-to-eye and I’ll end up pitching them all.  Or I’ll just keep Netlog which has, up to this point, been the least offensive.

In the meantime, I’ll just keep on writing here…and sending my articles overseas…and running my publishing company…and somewhere out there someone will learn something.  I just won’t know who.

Why go home again?

Posted in General with tags , , , on 12 May 2008 by Maggie

I do not have fond memories of my childhood that are related to the community in which I was raised. We could have lived in Timbuktu, and as long as I had my maternal grandmother, my paternal grandfather, and my father, the good memories would have continued to exist.

This is not a complaint about the community. This is just to say I didn’t need them, and as time has gone by, it is very clear to see they didn’t need me.

I’ve been reclusive in nature all of my life. I did only what I was forced to do in associating with people, and a few things that I felt were expected of me. I didn’t make any lasting friendships, except with people that my grandmother knew outwith that area – people like Eugenie Anderson, who was ambassador to Denmark…and Ethel Guenther, who was with the UN and spent most of her time in the Middle East…and Arthur Rubinstein, one of the greatest pianists the universe has ever known.

When I say I come from a family of ambassadors and diplomats, I wasn’t kidding. Beyond the ones you already know, one grandfather was a missionary in Japan before and during World War I. One of my great-aunts was a diplomat in Europe between World Wars I and II. At least three great uncles were involved in places in Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, South Africa, and the former U.S.S.R.

My view of everything has been coloured by the sense of logic and fair play these people instilled in me, as well as an understanding of variance in culture that I really value. Perhaps this is why I find no reason to “go home” again.

In order to need the community in which I was raised, I would have to think the way they do, and I do not. This community thrives on the word “assume”. It is a word that comes out of their mouths more times in one conversation than with any group of people with whom I’ve associated over the years. From what I have determined from the use of that word in most groups over the past few decades, it is a mark of willful ignorance.

I would have to be attached to material things that had to do with the community, too, but you know…I am not. When I was there taking care of my father’s will last week, I drove around, saw what I needed to see, found out one of my sisters has photos of my grandmother’s house and the house in which I spent most of my childhood, and understood there was nothing more there that could possibly draw me back to the area.

It is time to get back to writing about things that are important. This small town in the U.S. and its attached behaviours do not fit into that scheme. It never has.