ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] peoriapeoriawhereart tipped me to this video of karate in a Victorian dress.  Among the interesting points: skirts and corsets can cause problems, but apparently the sleeves are worse.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
There's a lovely little e-newsletter with links to new articles about gardening for wildlife

"Growing a Better Birdfeeder" discusses the importance of using native species of caterpillar host plants, not just to benefit the insects, but also to attract more birds.  Someone is building a database to list plants by the number of caterpillars they host. This is a level of sophistication that not even I had thought of, which doesn't happen much anymore, so I am really geeking out about it.  :D  I waaaaaant that list.  I looooove not having to make the damn thing myself.  And they're building to run on your zipcode so the plants will automatically be local-to-you.

EDIT 5/3/17: [personal profile] ari_the_dodecahedron found the image-hidden link to the plant database.  \o/  You can look up plants to see what butterflies and moths they host, or look up insects to see their host plants.

Be a Butterfly Hero!  Because butterflies need saving too.  And these ones don't sting.  ;)

"Weedy to Wonderful" has ideas for making a wildlife garden look nicer.  Yes, we bought a sign for exactly the reason listed.  Also my favorite tip is to put your caterpillar host plants in a less-visible spot if people will be annoyed rather than excited by holes in the leaves.  Me, I see chewed plants and think, "Aww baby butterflies!"  But then I am weird.  When planting herbs beloved of the winged peoples, I plant extra parsley or dill for them and just move the caterpillars there.
ysabetwordsmith: Text -- three weeks for dreamwidth, in pink (three weeks for dreamwidth)
Climbing trees is a fun activity, but not everyone knows how to do it. The two no-gear methods of climbing are scrambling and shinnying. Scrambling means using your hands and feet to go up a tree with branches. Shinnying involves wrapping your arms and legs around a narrow tree without branches, and ratcheting your way up. Of the two, scrambling is much easier, thus generally the best way to start. Climbing with gear tempts people to ascend to great heights, and you have to understand your equipment. It is therefore best left until after you have mastered the basics of freehand climbing of small trees.

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ysabetwordsmith: Text -- three weeks for dreamwidth, in pink (three weeks for dreamwidth)
Shock can take physical or emotional form. Both can pose significant dangers. Although physical shock tends to be more serious in the short term, emotional shock can easily turn into chronic conditions such as PTSD or depression which can kill later. Also, either version can feed into the other. Responses to trauma vary along a spectrum of severity. Acute stress reaction is a normal response to abnormal situations which exceed the victim's coping capacity. Symptoms typically subside within a few hours or days. This is best treated by Emotional First Aid unless symptoms pose a threat to self or others, or interfere with everyday life, in which case professional care may help. Acute stress disorder spans a period approximately two days to one month after trauma, with symptoms serious enough to upset ordinary functions that aren't healing or seem to be healing slower than expected. Treatment at this stage may reduce the chance of developing post-traumatic stress disorder, a chronic form of trauma reaction. It is important to distinguish between normal response (which heals on its own), disordered response (which may need a little extra support), and a disorder (which typically requires professional care). Just like physical injuries, mental injuries can be mild, moderate, or severe and need different levels of attention.

Local-American advice is not to seek hospital treatment for emotional shock; the facility is not equipped to provide the soothing atmosphere needed for trauma survivors or people with a loved one in the hospital. In many situations, little or no treatment is available for mental issues at mild or moderate levels. People can only get help for severe problems. Unfortunately this has much the same effect on mental injuries as on physical ones: ignoring them increases the chance they will not heal cleanly and that serious complications could develop.

Terramagne does have a Shock Room alongside the Emergency Room at most hospitals. The SR provides a clinical setting for Emotional Trauma Care, just as the ER treats physical trauma. They have an assortment of private and ward therapy rooms for techniques that help traumatized people feel safe or let them burn off excess energy after a trauma. Some are like industrial-strength quiet rooms; others are padded rumpus rooms. Therapeutic video games such as Tetris help process experiences into new memories in a healthy way. A small hospital might have only a few treatment options, while a large one has many, just as they expand support for more types of physical complaints. Specially trained therapists provide immediate comfort care, followed by assessment and then arrangements for long-term care if needed. (Doing the assessment first, while the person is still overwrought, can make matters worse.) They can also teach people about self-care following a trauma. This helps tremendously in preventing the initial upset from crystallizing into long-term damage. Sometimes it works amazingly fast, although most of the time it takes longer.

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ysabetwordsmith: Text -- three weeks for dreamwidth, in pink (three weeks for dreamwidth)
Emotional First Aid (also called Psychological First Aid) minimizes the lasting harm from traumatic events by treating it immediately. This is greatly preferable to ignoring the harm until it festers into a serious problem. Basic EFA may be taught in schools and community classes, with more advanced versions covering things like bereavement, sexual assault survivor assistance, etc. In Terramagne-America, an Emotional First Aide is roughly equivalent to an Emergency Medical Technician and they are often deployed in an ambulance, firetruck, or other first response vehicle. Many instutitions such as schools or malls also keep someone trained in EFA along with a nurse at the first aid station.

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ysabetwordsmith: Text -- three weeks for dreamwidth, in pink (three weeks for dreamwidth)
Slightly belated, I'm doing [community profile] three_weeks_for_dw again. I'm pulling together some useful resources. This one is a party monitor kit, inspired by several of my characters in Polychrome Heroics who are or have been party monitors.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Bad things can cause the brain to start looping, endlessly repeating the same thought or memory. This is fundamentally a failure of the sorting-filing function of the memory processes. When it gets stuck long term, that's post-traumatic stress. So the way to fix that problem is to get the memory filed properly. Some things that people have found useful include...

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I was talking with someone about hair as gender expression, and I happened to list a bunch of ways to explore this. I thought other folks might find this useful.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
There's a new Molly Beans strip, called "Mollyworld." What this really is: a discussion of who should pay the spoon for that conversation. Greg finds vocalization easier and more rewarding, while Molly prefers typing.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Someone asked me how to help an online friend through a difficult time. All the advice, of course, is aimed at helping friends in meatspace. Considering how many of us have online intimates, this is not helpful. Here is my effort to fill that gap.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
One of the most famous psychological tests is the Rorschach or inkblot test.  It's very controversial, with some people arguing it's pseudoscience and others saying it gives valuable insights.  Actually, they're both right.  It has no objective basis in that different people will score the same response in different ways, and that's before  accounting for cultural differences. However, any kind of symbolic material can serve as inspiration for useful conversations.  The problem comes when someone makes binding decisions based on these test results -- that  is the pseudoscience.  It penalizes people for not doing what someone else wanted.

I've been watching this for a long time, and finally found where someone scanned the images online.  Previously you could only find vague replicas.  This page has the full-color cards along with instructions on what the tester wants to hear.  Some of its observations (sexual imagery will get you in trouble, positive interpretations score better than negative ones) apply across many psychological tests.  By memorizing these, you now have two options: tell a tester you're already familiar with the test, which invalidates this and most other psych tests; or cheat on it by telling them what the handbook says everyone should see (or whatever other image you may wish to project).  That's very useful if, as is often the case, the test is being used against you and against your will.  (It's commonly used in contentious legal cases such as divorce or abuse, and sometimes in employment.)  In particular, note that this article highlights the type of lying ubiquitous throughout psych tests: falsely telling someone they can "do anything" or "it doesn't matter" when in fact everything is being scored and difference from the center of the bell curve is heavily penalized.  You really can't rely on anything they say unless you have read the instructions and scoring rubric (if there even is one) for yourself.

However, if you have a psychotherapist you like -- and you really need someone with a high level of experience for this, most counselors won't be able to follow it -- then you can get into awesomely deep territory by discussing symbolism back and forth.  Rorschach cards are great for this kind of exercise.  But so are most types of abstract art, and any kind of symbolic art such as Tarot cards.  If you study the symbolism of colors, shapes, etc. across cultures then it becomes even more illuminating.  Dream dictionaries are great for this because they give you a ton of ideas what things could  mean. You just have to account for the fact that symbolism always includes both a universal and an individual aspect.  Butterflies always have an element of transformation due to their metamorphic biology, but to an individual they might be very sad due to seeing butterflies at a grandparent's funeral.  Plus when you look at the different possible meanings, you can gain insights into how other people think, or spot parallels among several related symbols.  One Tarot card may have 12 possible meanings, but if three other cards all have one overlapping interpretation, that's the one active in this reading. Some branches of psychotherapy are really into this symbolic stuff, and it's ideal for handling some types of problem that don't lend themselves well to logic.  Or just for fun.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
While talking with one of my readers, I got to wondering if there are any cookbooks for the blind. Ideally I'd want something with unique skills to overcome vision handicaps, not just a transliteration of a regular cookbook into Braille.  Turns out, there are both.

Regular Cookbooks in Braille
http://www.braillebookstore.com/Cookbooks

Stir It Up! Recipes for Young Blind Cooks -- probably a great place to start
http://www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/STIRITUP.html

In Touch -- a cookbook of easy-make foods with tips on cooking while blind
http://articles.latimes.com/1988-03-17/food/fo-2126_1_blind-people

Good Smells from the Kitchen -- Turkish cuisine with blind-aware descriptions
https://www.rotary.org/en/rotary-project-creates-cookbook-visually-impaired
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Someone asked me about emotional first aid for adults, so here are some ideas about increasing access to that ...

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Occupational therapy is one of the very few branches of health care that I have frequently seen putting out fantastic material. Here is an example of things occupational therapists have thought of for conserving energy in self-care.  The whole point to this field is enabling people to do things, by finding new ways to do stuff when the old way doesn't work anymore.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I posted this to Dreamwidth, but it's not talking to LiveJournal again.  Have a big Bucket'O'Cope.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Some friends of mine have asked about resources for self-care, so here are some of my favorites in a big Bucket'O'Cope:

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I've been seeing "Remember: Resist" in a lot of places lately.  Okay, let's work with that.  Resistance is all about obstructing the flow of energy.  What is the purpose of resistance in activism?  It makes the opponent exert maximum effort for minimum return.  It wrecks his EROEI.  Being in a racist (classist, sexist, etc.) society doesn't make you racist, anymore than standing in a pigpen makes you a pig.  Sometimes you can stop bullying by being an upstander.  Even if you can't stop the problem, by providing resistance, you can slow it down.

I propose making jewelry out of resistors.

This lineart version would work on a button, a t-shirt, a patch, any craft that could be made with a grid chart, etc.

Now get out there and chant Ohm.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 [personal profile] rix_scaedu tipped me to this page about coping with traumatic news.  It's an illustrated guide, but they get bonus points for inclusivity because the written instructions appear in text below the pictures.  \o/  This ties into the excellent advice from Mr. Rogers, "Look for the helpers."

Newspaper and news broadcast sites in Terramagne-America customarily have some kind of EFA section like this, and video instructions are often tacked onto the end of reports about a major tragedy.  They have more materials though -- theirs is usually broken down into subsections like "I am upset by a tragedy," "I don't like the politics," "I am offended by a scandal," "I am scared of a soup incident," etc. with a general "I am unhappy about the news" for everything else.  Under the symptoms and basic coping skills is a set of tips on how you can help.  For instance, the tragedy section would have information on aid organizations, fundraisers, volunteering, etc. while the scandal one would have stuff about virtues and gossip.  This modular format makes it easy to add individual pages for current events, like folks did with the Berettaflies in Easy City, which is how they managed to raise money and acquire butterfly-indifferent plants so quickly.  Then all they have to do is link the individual pages at the bottom of the topical pages under "Current Events." Citizens always know where they can go for help on these issues; it stays in the same place and format so it's easy to find.

This concept is replicable here for anyone who works with a vulnerable population easily upset by distressing news, any large organization that has a public relations office, any kind of emergency response organization, etc.  If you deal in things that upset people or people who get upset, then it helps to have a resource for healthy coping.  This can greatly reduce the amount of time you have to spend repeating the same information and the amount of stress caused by people freaking out.  It also engages one of the most important resilience factors: restoring a sense of control.  Helplessness causes traumatic stress.  Giving people a gentle nudge toward self-help and citizen response materials will get most of them moving forward again.  The ones who don't budge are the ones you really need to worry about, and you'll have more resources to handle the one or two people who flip into acute stress disorder if you've successfully routed the others into solving their own problems.

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