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Monday, October 31, 2005


Narrative Greed

I heard somewhere, "The material world is infinite, but it is a boring infinity". I understand what prompted this statement - I took invertebrate and vertebrate classification in university. There are so many different forms of life, one could use up all one's time just in learning and remembering all the subtle differences. The course was taught by one such man, who loved his work, getting great satisfaction from mastering an enormous number of details. Yet I search for a different type of knowledge entirely.

I love learning about big ideas, sweeping theoretical paradigms that change the way I look at the world. I want to know about new ideas and ways of being. Luckily, there is an endless source of new ideas all around me.

Each person is not just a physical individual, but they are also a seperate psychological creation - by which I mean everyone sees themselves and their world in a unique way. It's fascinating to hear people's stories and find out how their views shape their actions. I love to read biographies and autobiographies, especially of gifted people, to find out how they met the daily challenges of living in a non-gifted world.

We all carry a story in us about our past and what's possible for us in the future. For those who feel stuck, changing that story can change their life. I am intrigued by the possibilities of this ancient art for healing, so I'm reading and researching and learning as much as I can. I need to learn how to use story responsibly and to maximum effect. It's a powerful tool.

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Thursday, October 27, 2005


Money Conundrum

With the help of my wonderful coach, and Success Team, and Buddy, I've come to realize that the gremlin I most need to deal with at this stage in my business is Money.

It's really hard to uncover your own gremlin, especially if you have the kind of brain that is excellent at rationalizing things away. The Coaches Training Institute uses the concept of gremlins to talk about shadow beliefs that we hold which in turn hold us back. Once I've rooted out one of them, though, I love the technique of personifying it and then banishing it!

Money's a sneaky-type gremlin for me that's been around for a long time. It gained strength from my parents' totally different perspectives on Money, what it was for, and what it could do. Neither of their perspectives is comfortable for me. I got a big boost from Morgana's philosophy about treating money as I would treat a person - making my life a great place for money to hang out, rather than yelling at it for being too late and a dollar short! Now, I welcome Money, give it interesting and important work to do, and we have a lot of fun together!

Yet there's still a part of me that is terrified of having no money, and no ability to get it. According to a friend in the gifted world, becoming destitute and/or insane are the top two fears of gifted people. Rationally I know this is never going to happen, but emotionally the fear is still there. I'm getting annoyed with it because it's stopping me from enjoying the rich creative experience of building a business. Any suggestions gratefully accepted!

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Out of a need for self-protection, I don't watch the news on TV or read any kind of daily news media. I choose not to subject myself to the negative energy, it pings my emotions too much. I usually hear a 30-second news spot on the radio at some point during the day, and that's about it. So I only just heard that Rosa Parks died.

This is a person who inspires me by her dedication to human rights causes. She's a role model for me as someone who saw a problem and just rolled up her sleeves and did what she could to help. The trickster inside me loves that she just got fed up one day and decided she wasn't going to obey some archaic and ridiculous rule. I can really relate to that feeling!

She represents for me the power of one person performing one small act of defiance that starts changing everything. One person with a vision can make a difference for millions. What a great role model for all of us!

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Discovering The Truth

When I first found out I was gifted, and that was what was "wrong" with me, I was absolutely furious. I just couldn't believe that no-one had told me! I was 25. I screamed and ranted and cried for about 2 straight days - pity my long-suffering dog. I felt so wounded by this act of concealment that had caused me to question my sanity and ability on numerous previous occasions. Why, why, why?!!

After I had calmed down a bit, I grieved for a long time, getting depressed and disengaging from life. I was in a space where everything was "if only...". I reviewed my life to date and could quite easily imagine that if I'd known, everything would have been perfect. But, dreaming aside, now what?

Pulling myself together, I started to research what it meant to be gifted. I read everything I could get my hands on, asked lots of questions on message boards, and started the long search for a helping professional familiar with the special needs of the gifted. This phase provoked a lot more bursts of anger and mawkish weeping, as I discovered more things which now needed to be grieved in light of my new information. For those familiar with Dabrowski's theories, it was a classic case of positive disintegration.

Slowly, I realized that the reasons I hadn't been told were many-layered and complex, mixing family, cultural, social, and gender stereotypes. Compassion dawned as I understood that the people in my life were trying to protect me, as well as themselves. Not knowing anything about the special needs of gifted people, they just didn't realize how much ignorance of my IQ was hurting me.

Why do I blog about this now? I know gifted adults all over the world are having the same revelation at various ages and being thrown into the same emotional storms. Just knowing that you are not the only one to go through this turmoil, and that it does calm down eventually, might be useful to someone out there.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Getting What You Want!

The more I work with gifted people as a coach, the more suspicious I get about the whole idea of goal-setting in this population. Having singular goals seems to be almost impossible, because of the constant personal growth that characterizes lifetime learners with a huge tolerance for variety and change. How can I set a long term goal, not knowing what's going to happen, who I'm going to be, what I'm going to want?

Goalsetting can feel like a terrible imposition, as if I am setting up something that is bound to fail. It's like predicting the weather - the system is simply way too complicated to commit to anything but really short-term goals or the most general long-term dreams. And knowing the tendency of many gifted people toward perfection, the last thing we need is another reason to beat ourselves up.

The trouble is that a rigid goal can take on a life of its own, becoming some kind of imaginary authority figure. Gifted people are notorious for finding ways around the rules, and it's no less true for the ones we make for ourselves! The whole thing works better for me, and some of my clients, by bringing active awareness into the moment of decision instead of deferring to an all-powerful goal.

Remembering that each choice is small and experimental helps. And also, it allows me to take care of myself better, letting me modify my big dreams as I learn and grow. Increasing awareness of my choices makes me feel in control of the process and quells my rebellious side yet still lets me achieve my ever-evolving dreams.

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Monday, October 24, 2005


Finding Friends

As a followup to my last post, I thought I'd answer another common question which comes up when I'm talking about my work. If IQ doesn't have all the answers, then how do we know whether someone's gifted or not? If we're all hiding our talents to fit in, how will we find each other?

As I've mentioned, the gifted are often very guarded because they've had their reality denied so many times. Yet they can show their real brain power by their sentence structure, vocabularly, leaps of thought, or ability to hold conflicting points of view concurrently; even if English is not their first language. Most people move step-wise from one thought to the next, on a clear and logical path. They tend to have a fixed opinion, or no opinion as yet. Their jokes are easy to follow.

Gifted people tend to have a more kangaroo-jump approach - the connections between their thoughts may not be clear, even to them. Their opinions may change from minute to minute; if they don't have one yet, they will make one up on the spot, or start grilling you on how you got yours. They are most disconcerting to argue with because they may start agreeing with you at any time. Their jokes may be unintelligible to anyone without their particular background, or they may be hilarious and incredibly insightful. And most gifted people get terribly excited if they meet someone else who gets it.

On mailing lists I've been on, identifying other gifted-in-hiding has come up many times. Look for analog watches, tags torn out of clothes, and people hiding in the bathroom/library/anywhere with books. Some people say there's a special sparkle in the eyes! Most agree that they are adept at recognizing the people who are gifted in their same way. It's a little harder if you don't know their talents from the inside.

There's another way I do it - my intuition. When I'm talking to someone, I'm listening with all my might to what is said and not said. I don't want to sound too woo-woo New Age about it, but I sense a kind of calm space, an observer who is watching the whole thing. Occasionally I will drop a depth-sound type comment or joke, playing simultaneously on the level of small-talk and something a bit more meaty. If I get anything but polite laughter, I know I'm on the right track - even when the reaction is negative.

I would like to say, if you're hiding, come out and play, but I know that's just not possible for lots of people. The amount of suspicion and prejudice against giftedness is truly amazing. But if you sense someone trying to get through, take a chance, and throw out a line. The research is clear - we need each other!

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Saturday, October 22, 2005


IQ - what is it good for....

Almost everyone knows about the IQ test, and I often use it as a reference point when explaining what I do. However, there is so much misinformation and baggage attached to the results of this one test, that at times I think talking about it does more harm than good.

There are people far more qualified than I to discuss the actual testing process, the merits of different tests, the things they miss, the biases, the meaning of the scores, etc. It may surprise you to hear that I don't know my own IQ. I've been given lots of tests and told it's high, but never given a number. I'm a member of Mensa and that requires two IQ tests, but they just say yes or no. I've been offered an individual test by a professional with a high profile in the gifted community, but I don't really see the point. The subtests scores might give me some new information, but the number itself is useless to me.

The important thing for me is knowing that I'm different, not crazy! The reason I don't make sense to a lot of people is clear - my brain works in an unusual way. I speak an esoteric language, with lots of words and questions, and I experience the world more intensely. I have strange enthusiasms. I need mental stimulation like I need air. Now that I've done the research, I can use the information as I please. My IQ was just the clue that led to this discovery.

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Friday, October 21, 2005


Talk to Me

Thanks to smarts for sparking today's post (and for your kind words!)

When I first heard about coaching, I knew immediately that this was a "helping" model that would allow for deep communication and also respect the uniqueness and beauty of each gifted individual. On further investigation, I found out that most coaching is done over the phone.

This caused conflicting feelings in me. On one hand, I was thrilled to learn that I was not limited to being of service only to people in my local area - and on a business level, it's a much more workable model. Gifted people are a relatively rare breed, so having a world-wide market (for English speakers, at least) means my business is far more viable.

On the other hand, it's generally easier and faster for me to make a deep connection when I can see the other person and read their physical analogic language, in addition to their digital words. I was sceptical that I would be able to do the kind of work I feel called to do over the relatively narrow band that telephone communication seemed to provide.

What I have found is that the phone offers clients a level of comfort that I hadn't anticipated. There is a measure of safety in being in your own space during a coaching call. Having control over how much to reveal of yourself can be especially important to gifted people, who are often defensive because they are so used to being misunderstood. The phone allows them to relax and not worry that they are sending messages unintentionally through body language.

My intuition works just as well over the phone, as I bring the same quality of attention to clients no matter how we are coaching. And there's a surprise bonus - somehow, having to verbalize thoughts clearly lets clients to crystalize their intentions and goals in a very powerful way. Having coached both ways, I find I'm comfortable offering both. I even have one client I coach through MSN Messenger (with multiple emoticons!) and I'm all set up to do video coaching, too. I love giving clients the choice - it's our first decision as a new team.

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Thursday, October 20, 2005


Career Options

A common issue that arises for gifted people is their need for mental stimulation. I have had jobs where there was lots of busy-work. I had trouble staying awake to do stuff that required me to pay attention to get it done, but was terribly repetitive and boring. Accounting positions tend to have this effect on me.

Better jobs are those that require little to no thought, like sweeping or cleaning or baking bread. When I'm doing manual work, my mind is free to work on anything. Usually a good book, read on breaks and during lunch, will give it enough fuel to keep it humming along until the work is done.

Best jobs are those that actually require firing on all cylinders, intellectual and creative and any other talent area that needs expression. These are the kind of all-consuming job experiences that only "just happen" to a lucky few. Most of us spend a long time figuring out what exactly that might look like, because we have a unique constellation of talents and interests.

But I'm here to tell you that it's possible; it's out there, whatever "it" is for you. A coach can provide a sounding board for experiments in occupational joy, and look for themes in your choices and actions. By exploring the values that are most important to you, coaches can help you build "it" from the inside out. So get your motor running!

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005


When To Jump

Life is like a hurricane - an endless series of tiny decisions that add up to a big effect. For example, right now I am writing this blog. I could be sleeping, running, walking the dog, surfing, reading business literature, writing my book, developing my newsletter, making calls - the choices are endless.

Sometimes I get stuck in a choice loop - I can't make a decision, because it seems like every one will set me on a different path. My imagination gets triggered, and I start to create wild scenarios about the consequences of my choice. If the store clerk knew what happens in my head when she asks "Paper or plastic?" she'd think I'm nuts! Knowing a little bit about chaos theory only compounds this effect. Yet, not making the decision is still a choice, so how on earth do I get myself moving every day?

Breaking through the requirement I put on myself to make the right choice is easy if I just view my life as an experiment. I'll jump this way, based on what I know now - if it's wrong, good experimental data. I can make a new choice, any time.

Gifted people can spend so much time mentally rehearsing possible consequences that they never take action. As a coach, I help people bring awareness to their choices and be concious of the effects of the choices they make by talking to me about it regularly.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005



It's a beautiful sunny day here in Vancouver, and the steam is starting to rise off all the wood sodden from five days of rain. It makes me feel that anything is possible - today's rain is tomorrow's sun. My favourite attitude is that there is no good or bad, everything is an opportunity for us to learn, but I'm pretty bad at holding that attitude consistently.

My dream is that my work will be useful to gifted people and increase the general level of acceptance of them at school, in the workplace, and in relationships. This is my touchstone and keeps me focused on only those things that will help this goal. Going after a dream is not easy; it's hard work, especially when it's something ephemeral and extremely long-term. A touchstone is necessary to remind me when I feel like giving up or selling out.

The support of my family and friends carries me through the hardest parts. I have a couple of internal obstacles I'm working on right now. I'm not a planner by temperament, I prefer to feel spontaneous and free. So a business plan feels like a straitjacket! At the same time, I adore my routine and the structure it gives my life. So making changes can cause a lot of stress, pinging my overexcitable nature in unforeseen ways.

What I'm trying to say is, reaching for a dream is natural and easy, but doing the footwork to get there can bring up some serious gremlins. That's why coaching helps me so much; it reminds me to listen to, and work from, my deepest drive.

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Monday, October 17, 2005


Great Question

Thanks to Erin for today's question, "Why do you do it?" Deep, deep stuff for me. I've been thinking about how to answer it.

The best I've come up with is, because I am the person who sees the problem. I empathize with the pain that gifted people feel in situations that would be perfectly acceptable to the majority of the population. I dream of a better world, a better life, for all; but I can't help everyone. I'm not a politician, or a agriculturalist, or an engineer - my contribution to that enormous goal is not going to be the same as theirs. There is a tiny segment of the population that I can help where most other helping professionals can't, so that is where I put my energy and time.

And I can be the one who stands up and says, I am gifted! It's fantastic and wonderful and awful and devastating, all together. I can identify as a gifted adult to the gifted kids I work with, and mirror them on those levels that aren't usually acknowledged. I can educate and inform and debate and try, try, try to get out the message that people aren't superhuman just because they have an exceptional mind. They need special help and care. They aren't getting it - because too many of them end up misdiagnosed with mental illness, or dead, by suicide or through substance abuse. I am called to make a difference in their memory and for those who come after us. I believe that is my purpose, my special mission this time around.

I've finally found a way to live with this world, and I want to walk with others as they do the same. I know what it's like because I live there 24/7. I've had experiences of genuinely concerned people doing their best who just make things a lot worse and increase the sense of isolation that is part of being a gifted child/adult. I want people to know that informed help is out there and they are not alone. I want to spread hope, joy, and provide a safe space for people to develop.

Thanks for asking, Erin. It's a great question and I will continue to explore my answer.

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Bright Horizons

The conference was a big hit! I met people who got up really early and took the first ferry over from Vancouver Island to attend. I spoke to many parents and kids who were very happy just to talk to other parents and professionals who were experienced in dealing with giftedness. Both parents and kids were exchanging emails and promising to keep in touch. I saw the value of a support network as it was created before my eyes.

Lots of people entered my draw and were kind enough to fill out my survey, meaning I can create workshops and seminars that address the great need that is out there. It's made me excited to attend more events, even though at the end of the day I was totally exhausted! I think I'll create a seminar on managing energy.

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Friday, October 14, 2005


Gifted and delicate

Tomorrow is the conference and I'm so excited! This afternoon I was suddenly hit by a headache, nausea, and bout of narcolepsy - I slept an extra 5 hours today. I'm convinced the two are connected, but I really wish my body wouldn't protest in this way. I feel like a fragile nymph. It is most inconvenient! I will have to get up super early and rush to Kinkos. Thank goodness for Kinkos. Excuse me, I have to google Kinkos now...

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Thursday, October 13, 2005


So What Do You Do?

People often ask me this question. Believe it or not, it is extremely difficult to answer! Think about your own job or business - can you describe it succintly without using your title, or the name of your product? Using those words is a kind of code that only insiders will understand (for me, other coaches or people in the "gifted world") and so it's not helpful when I meet someone without that background.

Here's what I say, at the moment: "I help smart people leverage their talents so that they can have more happiness and success. I'm part of a network of over 4,000 coaches helping groups and individuals all over the world. I work with people of all ages, usually at times when they are going through changes. Do you know anyone who is unhappy in their current job?"

This gets the conversation going, because everyone seems to know someone who hates their job - or they are that person! Yet it is a poor reflection of the actuality of what I do. It's a serviceable "elevator pitch" but it doesn't fully answer the question. I hate not answering the question in full and lavish detail! However, if I start bandying around words like "gifted" or "advanced development" or "overexcitabilities", I can see the whites of their eyes as they panic and try to think of a polite way to get away from me.

So it's time to get over it, because if I just say the above, it's reasonable and non-threatening. I can trust that the people who need to know more will ask more, and we'll get to an understanding in the end. I don't need to give them the whole feast in 20 seconds, just an amuse-bouche.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2005



I am so enthusiastic that it overwhelms people. I get excited about the smallest things, like discovering free lectures at the library, and a dance floor under the street at UBC Robson Square. I love it when I walk down the street smiling and someone smiles back. I adore coaching appointments and the energy my clients bring to the process.

Life is so good right now, I am so grateful for the opportunity to really be who I am when I'm working. This is right livelihood. Here's some MacNeice, just because he says it so well:

World is crazier and more of it than we think,
Incorrigibly plural. I peel and portion
A tangerine and spit the pips and feel
The drunkenness of things being various.

- from "Snow"

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Meditation is like TV

I meditate as much as I am able, meaning it is a priority for me that sometimes gets overlooked. I seem to go through cycles of going to the gym, meditating, eating right, then falling off the wagon for a couple of days, rinse, repeat. I know how vital it is to my wellbeing yet somehow I am thrown off track by the real world. I am seduced by the fun and excitment of life, the shiny objects that crop up all the time as a small business owner - get more clients! learn to invest! network with other professionals!

Anyway it occurred to me today that meditating as an experience has some similarities to watching TV. I just reread that sentence and it sounds totally insane! Let me try to explain. For me, both are immersive experiences, meaning I can get lost in them, losing my sense of where I am, while at other times they are just part of a bigger event. I go away in a sense, exploring, asking questions, creating story, making connections, experiencing something outside myself. The reality-shift that shaman and storytellers have been using since the beginning of human history can be induced many ways, and I believe TV qualifies. However, on TV I will get pulled out of it every 8 minutes for a commercial break.

TV and meditation both offer break from the everyday physical reality around me and offer a more intense experience of life. I am glad for TV as it gives a respite from our own internal dialogue. Meditation does the same thing, teaching me how to move my attention away from my "monkey mind". The big difference for me is that in meditation I am much more of a participant, a cocreator. And I am in touch with something that cannot really be symbolised through moving pictures and sounds. But perhaps my generation's fascination with the medium can be leveraged toward a bigger spiritual goal. I can see the marketing campaign now!

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Monday, October 10, 2005


Pecan Pie

I'm everlastingly grateful to my dog. She makes me get up, get out, and walk around in the world no matter what - which has such a positive impact on my mental state. We wander around, meeting the neighbours, smelling the bonfire-tinged air.

It also keeps me in touch with the seasons. The graceful sweep into a Vancouver fall is so comforting and at the same time astoundlingly beautiful, like a great piece of music. The trees on my street rain leaves onto my car, so that when I drive away, I create my own parade! And on the hill, the nondescript dark green trees suddenly reveal the city gardener's inspired vision as they burst scarlet into a rain-grey sky.

The stores are full of yams, pumpkins, and Halloween candy, dressing them orange. I found a chocolate and pecan pie yesterday that was so good it is probably illegal in some US states. This time of year blesses me with its variety.

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Thursday, October 06, 2005


Brain Melting

There are some days when I feel as if all my creativity and "punch" is slowly dissolving into a puddle at my feet. Getting no sleep tends to increase the frequency of these moments.

I've read often that gifted people need less sleep than normal, especially as children, but I'm definitely not one of them. Generally, the more sleep I get the better I look, feel, and behave. Sometimes I can get involved in a project or reading a book and keep going for hours and hours getting lots and lots done. But I always, always pay for it with melting brain for the next couple of days. Finding a balance has always been a challenge.

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I wrote a terribly witty and erudite post yesterday, went to publish it, and couldn't because Blogger was down. So this is a memorial for my missing post. May it rest in peace out there in the blogsphere, wherever it is, amusing and entertaining the virtual ghosts in the land of unpublished works of greatness.

Goodbye sweet post. We will not try to hold on to what is gone, but instead turn our faces into the wind and blog anew.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Gifted + Rear-Ended = Existential Crisis

Maybe I should just give up the whole idea of driving! I got rear-ended yesterday in the courtesy car - brilliant sunshine, dry pavement, mid afternoon. *What* is the universe trying to tell me? Or am I trying to make a meaning where there is no meaning to be made? Why am I here, anyway, and am I doing what I'm here to do?

Talking with my mentor yesterday she said that all of the things that are happening and all the actions I am taking just sound like the birth of a business. In other words, this blend of stress and elation is totally normal! It really helps to remember my mission - to use my gifts to release the gifts of others.

I am setting up gifted teen improv workshops to start in the third week of January. The space is really important - it must be clean, bright, and have good vibes - don't know how else to talk about that indescribable "hit" I get when I know I'm in the right place. I'm very excited about the possibilities of this project and looking forward to telling people about it at the GCABC conference. If you live in Vancouver, come say hello!

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Monday, October 03, 2005



What happens when you take your car in to get fixed, they give you a courtesy car, and then you break the courtesy car? The power steering pump on it is making a very nasty noise. Hopefully they won't make me pay for that repair too or I will just have a heart attack and everyone will get their money because I died.

Yes, I'm a bit cynical this morning. It is Monday, after all.

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Sunday, October 02, 2005


Here comes the rain - again

Feeling a bit desperate today. It's rainy and dark, outside and in. It's hard to stay with myself when I'm in the downswing of a creative burst, but I know from experience it's temporary and I just have to work through it.

In some ways I don't want to blog at all, as I'd like everyone to think I am unfailingly positive with the sunniest of dispositions. However I know that other gifted people will recognize themselves much more easily if I can share the down times too.

In this type of mood, watching the news at all is a terrible idea. News seems like something designed specifically to bring me down, especially now when I'm feeling a bit powerless over my car's critical need for a new transmission and my complete lack of resources to make this happen. Today, I just want to curl up into a small ball under the covers and forget about everything. Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to look at it more as a juicy problem for my creative, gifted mind to solve. Oh boy.

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