Language and the Cerebellum

Is Your Inability to Learn a New Language Your Fault or Are You Cerebellumly Challenged?

Years ago baby experts told everyone it’s good to teach your child a second language, and start early too. Most of that is true but now researchers know that when a child has a firm grasp on a base language first and then learns a second language, the child’s vocabulary in both languages are better.

Have you ever been impressed while listening to someone else speak a foreign language? I have and I often thought, “I wish I could do that.” A few years later, some college classes and trips, well I picked up Spanish. My parents also spoke learned languages aside from English, my mother learned French and my father was a military man, he spent a lot of time in Turkey so he picked up the language. Have you ever heard someone say, “there’s no way I can learn a foreign language?” It might be true!

Different parts of the brain control different parts of what we all do. From seeing a butterfly zip through your back yard noticing it’s vibrant colors, to smelling all the flowers around you and feeling the warm sunshine on your body, your brain of course makes all of that possible as it does with your ability to learn a new language. Researchers have studied the area’s that control our language on folks who speak one language compared to those who speak a dozen or more, apparently some people can learn and some can’t.

Had I have known interesting things like that in grade school, I could’ve gotten away with a lot more just “acting” stupid because I could have blamed it on my brain!

All jokes aside, it is really interesting, we’ve always known that our brain is in control but sometimes it’s really hard to associate or give our brain credit for in all, controlling us. In one of my language classes there was one guy, who despite his whole hearted attempts just could not learn the language. He probably tried harder than anyone else! He ended up joining the services and now he’s an airplane mechanic……… no one said he was stupid, he just couldn’t learn Spanish but I’m sure I can’t learn how to work on an airplane because I’m just not good at mechanical workings. I can speak some jam up Spanish though!

There are two reasons why I’m not bad at learning Spanish. One is that I dose up on a drug called Optimind – it’s a bit pricey but it promotes concentration, focus, and memory – sound like it might help you learn a language? Damn spiffy! Reason number dos is that I have a Mexican girlfriend. I’m not sure she’s teaching me the most useful words though…

It just amazes me how our brain controls our language, I don’t want to get too technical but the cerebellum is one massive control switch, which most thought before wasn’t as astounding as other parts of the brain. Technically speaking the cerebellum is a part of the hindbrain, which is basically an extension of the spinal cord. It is said to control finely coordinated movements and store information from learned associations involving any type of movement.

A good example would be your ability to close your eyes and touch the tip of your nose with the tip of your pointer finger. If anyone asks you to do that, it could be part of a field sobriety test! Alcohol really jiggles up the cerebellum and fogs your ability to some of the most common of movements. However recent work on studying the functions of the brain have come up with some new ways to think about what the various parts of the brain can do. One perspective, coordinated movements could be thought of as simple motor functioning but what about sequencing and timing?

When speaking we sequence a series of words, we even time them when singing or even while reading. Our mind shows us commas, periods, exclamation marks, questions marks and our brain takes in that information, in turn what comes out of our mouth is a product of how well our parts of the brain including the cerebellum react. If something is broken, so to speak, with our sequencing of words then stuttering could be an end result. There’s no doubting that some people have a larger area in the brain for languages than others but this can be looked at in several ways and not just in comparison to learning languages. A friend of mine is a poet, she can come up with a verse in a flat minute, while I … I just can’t do it!

Maybe one day researchers will find some kind of a natural who knows what, that most of us lack or have a smaller supply that could better explain why some people’s brains just do more than others. Then it would be cool if they could mass manufacture it so the rest of us who want to learn languages or write a poetic verse. The mysteries of the brain, the cerebellum or of the great deep blue sea may never be discovered in our lifetimes, but in the mean time it’s fun to explore!

Fogless Shower Mirrors

What Is a Fogless Mirror?

One thing we find vital for taking care of ourselves while we’re in the shower is a fogless shower mirror. Hubby shaves his beard, number 1 son shaves his head, and we ladies do our legs. One or more of us is shaving in the shower on a daily basis.

The glass on the mirror is cold, and we love our warm showers, so the result is condensation and hundreds of wasted pounds as we stay in the shower wiping the mirror clean. The solution was simple – a shower mirror that doesn’t fog up!

They’re super cheap and you don’t need a plumber to install them. Some come with special glass, some have unique tricks to keep them viewable in the warm, damp shower air.

You might still need a cloth to wipe it down, but that’s more to do with the moisture than the condensation.

Fog Free Shower Mirror Benefits

There are 4 main advantages to these nifty devices:

  • They’re easy to set up. Most have powerful suction cups that simply attach to your bathroom tiles. It’s a matter of moments to get it in place.
  • They really are fogless. I mean, that’s the whole point, isn’t it!
  • Cheap. Even the most expensive one is about the price of a few coffees.
  • Long-lasting. As there’s nothing to corrode or degrade, these will last years.

Choosing the Best Fogless Shower Mirror

There are some factors you should consider before buying a fogless shower mirror:

  • Price. Some fogless shower mirrors are dirt cheap… and useless. You might want to pay a bit more to get more features and better quality. Beware crappy plastic rubbish and spend an extra fiver for something that’s better value for money long term.
  • Installation. Read the reviews to see how well the suction cups work in the real world. Not all suction cups are created equal! If you want something more… permanent… there are special adhesives that can fix things in place for years.
  • Size. These mirrors are often quite small – just big enough to shave. Don’t expect floor to ceiling mirrors! Also consider the shape – some are circular, some are rectangular. Depending on where you put them they will work worse or better for various tasks, for various people.
  • Storage Space. Some of the best ones aren’t just mirrors – they’re also added storage. Pop in some shower gels and shaving foams! Bonus.
  • Lighting. A few premium models and a couple of cheaper ones have lights around them – which is obviously useful if you like your showers thick with steam.
  • Which Anti-fog technology. There are units that have warm water inside to counteract the effects of condensation – it’s a simple solution but does mean a tiny bit of work on your part. Other methods for defogging are making the mirror out of the right metal, or covering the surface with a special coating. On cheap models that coating can erode over time.

32 Things From My 32nd Year

 

So to wish 32 well and send it on its merry way here’s a snippet from my 32nd year. Probably the year with the most change in my whole life. Some good, some bad. I don’t keep a journal but thought this would be a great way to sum up my year each birthday and to look back and reflect.

Thanks 32 – you were pretty epic. Or, to coin my husband’s fave word at the mo, there’s a whole lot of ‘epicicity’ there.

  1. We celebrated our first wedding Anniversary
  2. I launched The Moss Letter Company
  3. My amazing Nanny passed away 🙁
  4. Stitch and bitch was born – crafting with my Aunties, lots o’ stitchin’, not much bitchin’
  5. I was made redundant
  6. I looked after my brothers dog Gizmo for 3 months – I love him like a child
  7. I shaved the side of my head
  8. We went on our first cruise around the Med
  9. I baked my first loaf of bread (I think)
  10. I launched a blog
  11. I joined Virgin gym
  12. My friend’s baby Reuben was born – whole lot of gorgeous
  13. My friend Beth got pregnant with her first baby
  14. My friend Amy moved to Australia 🙁
  15. I missed out on Glasto tickets again!
  16. We stayed in a caravan in Tenby and I drew a massive bee in the sand that could be seen from the cliffs
  17. We stayed in a floating log cabin in Essex
  18. I learnt to knit, crochet and use a sewing machine
  19. I ate what I wanted after starving myself for my wedding the year before and paid the price!
  20. I graduated from the blogcademy
  21. I climbed trees at GoApe
  22. I went to two weddings
  23. I watched Salad Days at the Bridgewater theatre with my oldest buddy (long-standing friend, he’s not 90)
  24. I had an Easter Egg hunt in my garden for all my family
  25. I got a cold that kept me in bed for 5 days
  26. We got a Nissan Qashqai – it has a see-through roof!
  27. I didn’t paint a single painting
  28. We paid off our wedding debt
  29. We ate at Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall’s restaurant – heaven on a wooden plate
  30. I bid farewell to Dexter after 8 seasons – what a joyless end. I wanted the serial killer to have a happy ending 😉
  31. I reconnected with my childhood friend Daniel (the one who’s not 90)
  32. We went to Italy for the first time – pepperoni pizza to die for

Until tomorrow…

The Moss Letter Company

33 Is the Happiest Age to Be

or so I read this week, according to a study by Friends Reunited.

Last Monday when I turned 33 my initial thought was ‘what a dull number’. I like even numbers and that’s a whole lot of uneven. My date of birth is 28/10/80, my Wedding Anniversary is 04/08/12, my numbers on the roulette table are always 2, 8, 10, 22, 28… so 33 wasn’t that welcome!

But then I learnt that 33 is the happiest you will ever be and it gave me hope (ignoring the fact that this may mean it’s all down hill from here!). This is my peak apparently, in more ways than one. Allegedly, I have a strong sense of self and hope. My sex life is meant to be at it’s best as I now know what I want. Us 33 year olds are supposedly aware of our strengths and talents and can look at our younger self with a happy nostalgic wry smug titter of ‘wasn’t she cute and naive bless her’, rather than beating yourself up for past choices.

I think there is something in it. I do actually feel pretty happy. Am I happier because I am now doing the job I always wanted, doing the things I always wanted or is it because I am 33 and happy with myself, which is then setting my frame of mind to achieve these lovely things.  Who knows? Who cares?! Lets just embrace 33 and own the happiness we are statistically meant to be feeling.

My thoughts on why we might be feeling our happiest;

  1. Your instincts are strong and you see through more bullcrap and can separate the wheat from the chaff
  2. The friends in your life have hopefully, like mine, been pretty life long so you have an immense ‘strong foundation’ support system
  3. You have found the balance between glamour and comfort!
  4. You know what you are into and aren’t ashamed if it’s a bit lame or embarrassing
  5. You know that good self-esteem doesn’t come from others but from yourself
  6. You know about self-preservation – avoiding things that hurt or asking questions you don’t actually want to know the answer to
  7. Your family relationships become more like friendship
  8. You aren’t so afraid to say no
  9. You are also less afraid to ask for stuff!
  10. You are far more aware of and live more solidly by a ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’ approach
  11. Every Sunday isn’t wasted by a hangover but is more productive and/or fun
  12. You’re less self-conscious to say ‘I love you’, ‘You are amazing’, ‘You look fab’
  13. Your concept of ‘old’ jumps to at least 75. At least!
  14. You enjoy nature, a nice view, the scenic route, a nice wine just that little bit more
  15. You realise being grown up doesn’t mean acting ‘grown up’

Why do you think we are happier at 33?

Until tomorrow…

The Moss Letter Company