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How lovely that the first lady carries the banner high – save our children through nutrition, and deliver it through public schools.

How lovely that the United States as a whole and a first lady in particular can plead for the  health and future health of children in a world dominated by politics and commercial interests that are simply not assailable with idealistic claptrap.

We may have actually achieved an amazing amount in the past few years, on this incredibly difficult task. Guess who has been saying, for a couple of years now, that any attempt to reform school lunches is in trouble?  Coca-Cola, and other large food companies that make things like frozen pizza a French fries. Read more on School Lunches Are A Mess…

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My preceptor in child psychiatry at the University of Kansas (Wichita) was easily the most respected psychiatrist in the region. Former chief of the residency training program, he was not at all the fanatically-publishing academic type I would find in psychiatric departments elsewhere.

He was eminently practical. Nearing retirement and clearly at the top of his game, he was known to be someone who really did straighten out troubled kids.

Me, there were times he gently chided me because of my theoretical and academic concerns which were not always of practical use. Read more on Responsibility for Veterans…

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I don’t think we plan what our real specialties are going to be.

I frequently tell patients I am an expert on getting through menopause now that I have been able to come through my own relatively unscathed.

I became somewhat of an expert on Asperger’s because I diagnosed many elements of it in my father and just about all criteria in my brother.

They both carried additional diagnoses of bipolar (a.k.a. ‘manic-depressive’) illness.  Neither one was in any way typical.

Both surely had their problems in life.  My father was assisted considerably by his domineering mother who gave him lots — I mean lots — of direction.  She even helped him choose a wife — my mother — who took care of the things in life that were difficult or even impossible for him. Read more on From Sandy Hook to Santa Barbara — Asperger’s Syndrome And Violence…

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Many years ago, Paul J. Fink, M.D. was head of the American Psychiatric association, and made a remark in a speech which I have never forgotten, although I can’t find the text of the original speech.

He said something to the effect that prostitution and psychiatry had the same problem — the amateurs think they are as good as the professionals.

I can’t give any kind of a reasonable assessment of how this would apply to professional prostitutes.  It seems to me as if there is a tremendous amount of information available to anyone who seeks it with assiduity.  Besides, I am unaware of structured training, university degrees, or licensure or any kind of proof of skill for professional prostitutes.

As for psychiatrists, I am constantly amazed by how many people are unaware of what we really do.  Misinformation abounds in the media, films especially. Read more on Leave Medical Comments Out Of Politics…

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In 1932, my paternal Grandmother-Of-Blessed-Memory bought the house where my father and aunt – and eventually my brother and I — grew up.  Until her passing while I was in medical school, she was the undisputed queen of the castle.

As a stereo-typical Jewish Mother, she was in constant competition with my mother in the kitchen.  My mother always tried to act pleasantly, but between her father driving in from two hours to the west and arriving at 6 am on Sundays to tell her she was too fat, and my father’s mother besting her in the kitchen, she was generally miserable and had little ability to hide her misery from me.

My father did not show my mother any affection where I could see. Read more on The Power Of Silence…

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I was so well-behaved and knowledgeable in elementary school that the only times  remember being reprimanded, even gently, was when I was told to let other students answer questions occasionally.

I was pretty much always teacher’s pet.  Even at gifted children’s school.

John Holt visited my fourth grade class once a week.

He had no pet. Read more on Circles — Sacred and Scientific…

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Once upon a time when I was a humble resident at the outpatient clinic of the University of Kansas School of Medicine, Wichita, Kansas, I shared a patient with a psychologist in private practice.  He was Jewish, of eastern seaboard origin and training.  He asked me for a date, and we dated a few times.  Dr. C. was really smart, and was a top-notch therapist who knew plenty more than a lot of the university types. After four dates, he did not even try to kiss me — not even a chaste peck on the neck — nothing, really. I liked him.  He was a puddingy guy, in both body and disposition — no athlete, not a heartthrob, and I certainly could not motivate myself to kiss him first.  But I really did like him. I asked him, as gently as I could, if he wanted to continue to hang out, because it was plain to me that this was not going anywhere.

“We got no limerence,” he told me. He was a little disappointed that I did not know the meaning of the word.  I shrugged my shoulders; this was psychology, not psychiatry, and I knew plenty of stuff, but not this. He told me that when he looked at me, he saw the tiny piece of food stuck between my teeth.  Besides, I was a “larger” woman and he preferred shorter. He was really saying I was too heavy, which I would have been for lots of folks at that time. I thanked him for his candor. I saw him next at a local film series with his date, a very thin woman with crooked teeth, who did not seem to have any food stuck between them. He was right.  We had no limerence. As far as I was concerned he didn’t find me in any way “sexy” and didn’t want to try and that was just fine, really.  It was all cordial and we continued to share patients. Curiously enough, I was friendly with his family. The idea of a psychiatrist and psychologist being married and practicing together was financially seductive to his family.  It was easy to stay with them when I was invited East to present a paper at a conference. I told his sister-in-law, after a warm greeting, that love was not going to happen and certainly not marriage but I needed friends and I was only a resident so not very rich could I stay with them anyway?   She laughed and then so did I. All of this has been good. I now have love and limerance and a thousand other delicious things with my beloved husband. Still, I checked up on Dr. C’s use of the term “limerance,” and it was accurate. Read more on Limerence And Love…

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When I was very itty-bitty and went to synagogue, there were certain moments when I felt the presence of the Deity so clearly and strong that my eyes and ears would be fixed on the events on the pulpit and I would tremble. This happened at the point in the liturgy when the Cantor held the Torah over his head. The Torah is the set of scrolls that contain the first five books of the Old Testament, hand copied onto the parchment in Hebrew. This alone was a marvelous achievement for this man with a deformed hip who did not exactly look as if he pumped iron.  He sang majestically, and the whole congregation knew this tune cold. Everyone also knew the words.

The words were those of Proverbs 3:18. “It is a tree of life to those who hold it fast….” As a child I regularly visited the cemetery with my family.  My Father-Of-Blessed-Memory would speak the prayers for the dead for the whole family, as my mother did not know how and my brother was too young and I probably believed I was, too — except really I was too female, but not yet in any way ready to deal with that fact. Many graves had the shape of — or at least a drawing of — a tree of which the trunk or a major branch had been cut.  For a child in a sunshine-filled cemetery, the idea of death being like a pruned version of the tree of life was accessible and acceptable in the context of nature. Read more on From Trees To Networks…

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I was a neurosurgeon in training in western Canada when I decided I need to buy myself a typewriter.  I know that I reveal my age when I describe it as typing only on the piece of paper inserted into it.

I reveal my age even more clearly when I admit that I read the classifieds in print in the local provincial Canadian newspaper.

I drove to the modest apartment of a family somewhere in the wilds of Alberta, Canada.  The typewriter was nearly new with a “standard” keyboard such as the one I had learned touch typing on at the Beaver Country Day School.  Typing was supposed to be a skill a woman could “fall back on” in case high-falutin’ plans like specialized medical training did not work out. Read more on Salespeople, And Used Cars In Particular…

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Mostly everything that comes up and hits you in the teeth about the current controversy around “core standards” seems to be more political than born of actual knowledge.

This no surprise, really, since this is the reductionistic American mentality that makes it difficult to have meaningful conversations with the American Public without making them sound a lot like radio talk show rants.

With customary naiveté and sheer guts, I made the decision that I could not have an opinion about it without knowing what it actually was. Read more on Core Standards For Education – Political Grandstanding?…

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