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SusanDolphinDelaney

Healing and Empowerment for Women

Category Archives: Nerd

Fifty three years ago, I was a senior at Bladensburg Senior High School in Maryland. I was a rising star in the science world and in the science fair world. I was Photography Editor of the yearbook.

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I had been a scientist, in my soul, since childhood. I came from a family of photographers and had worked in the darkroom since I was 7. My dad was the Medical Photographer at George Washington University Medical School in DC and I had gone to work with him often, on Saturdays, all through grade school. I had hung out with medical scientists when I was there.

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My success and my gender were apparently too much for my high school Physics teacher and the Photography teacher. Sadly, their classrooms were across the hall from one another and  they were best buddies. This allowed them to gang up on me more.

I was the only girl in my “Double Physics” class. Back in the day (1964-65) we didn’t have AP classes. Serious science students could sign up for classes like Double Chemistry, a two hour class which I had taken the year before. Now I was in Double Physics, another two hour class, this one with a total of 12 students.

The Physics teacher would have been fired the same day if I’d had an iPhone and had recorded his daily, sexist, misogynist remarks to me. “There is only one thing a woman can do that a man cannot do, and she needs a man to help her do it,” he said one day.

By some miracle of grace, I paid him little attention in these attacks. I was there to continue my science education by learning Physics.

Only two of us in the class took the Science Talent Search exam. Only one of us was named to the Honors Group. That would be me.

Only one of us would earn a slot in the International Science and Engineering Fair. That would be me.

The Photography teacher was the yearbook advisor I had to work with. And of course, I had to use his darkroom, right across from the Physics classroom. I had worked in darkrooms since I was seven. I really had no questions for the Photography teacher, I knew what I was doing and did it quickly and efficiently.

The Photography teacher was actively hostile to me, every day, for no reason. The two teachers were “best buds.” Neither touched me. They just tried to shame and discourage me.

It didn’t work. I was respectful to both of the teachers, and held myself aloof from their cruelty.

I was able to exact revenge on the Physics teacher twice.

The Maryland Academy of Sciences chose to honor me at a special dinner in Baltimore, 38 miles away. Your science teacher was to accompany you. I told my Physics teacher of this requirement. He suggested that my old Chemistry teacher do it instead. I replied that they wanted him to be there. I could have asked my Chemistry teacher, who had moved to another school. He would have been glad to support me, but I wanted my Physics teacher to have to drive me there and back, and to sit beside me and watch me be honored.

The second “revenge” came twelve years later. I knew that the Physics teacher had always wanted to go to medical school and had not been able to get in.

When I graduated medical school, I had already earned a MS in Human Physiology, I learned that my Physics teacher had retired. I called the office at the Prince George’s County School Board and spoke to the woman who sent out the checks to retired teachers. “Oh,” I said, “he will be so thrilled for me. If I mail you a copy of my graduation announcement, would you mail it to him for me.” She readily agreed. I sent it.

Of course, I never heard from him.

I am writing this today because I read an article in the Washington Post about a math teacher who tried to tear down female students. I am here to say that teachers like that have tried to tear us down for a very long time.

It is my understanding that both of my former teachers are deceased. I leave their names off out of respect for their families. I am sure that both men did good in their lives, although not to me.

An organization, Stop Sexual Assault in Schools, created the hashtag that leads this post.

Here is the link to today’s WP article:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/in-a-prestigious-high-school-math-and-science-program-alumni-say-metoo/2018/03/01/b17f68ac-f1b6-11e7-b390-a36dc3fa2842_story.html?utm_term=.8b9e7ac9a8d3&wpisrc=nl_mustreads&wpmm=1

*The portrait of me was taken by my brother, Stephen C. Delaney, who was the photographer for the EPA for its first 25 years. The second photo was taken by my dad. I am standing with my uncle and grandfather.

Susan Delphine Delaney MD, MS

Doctor Delaney was honored by the Prince George’s County Regional Science Fair; The Westinghouse Science Talent Search; the International Science and Engineering Fair; The Washington Academy of Sciences: The Maryland Academy of Sciences. She is a 1969 Graduate of the University of Maryland in Chemistry, in an American Chemical Society accredited program. She worked as a Chemist, wrote operating systems for large scientific computers and did hospital data processing. She earned a MS in Human Physiology in 1974 from the University of Wisconsin. She earned her MD from the University of Wisconsin in 1977. She is a 1981 graduate of the Menninger School of Psychiatry. She was a Staff Psychiatrist at the Menninger Hospital and taught in the Menninger School of Psychiatry. She is the author of two books. The first won a Gold Medal for Health Communication from the American Association of Medical Writers. She is the author of two nationally distributed columns and many magazine articles. She has given presentations at the UTSW Medical School and at several Dallas area colleges.

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In 1969, when working as an Adhesives Chemist, a male co-worker was resentful that as a degreed chemist, I made more money than he.

One day I found a huge p*nis made of black mastic lying in the crease of my lab notebook. Mastic is a black putty-like adhesive, still used to fix down linoleum floor tiles.

I pulled off the tip of the p*nis and fashioned a tiny p*nis from it and laid the tiny one in the crease of his lab notebook.

I laid the mutilated one beside his notebook.

That was the end of that.

He never bullied me again.

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Our individual snowflakes, our pushbacks, have become an AVALANCHE of justice for women.

Good on us!

 

(Note: the painting at the top of this page is one of mine.)

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Each month earring artist Erin Prais-Hintz of Earrings Everyday challenges us to create earrings based on a prompt. This month her prompt was a film showing a kinetic sculpture “Breaking Wave” by Plebeian Design. You can see this amazing sculpture prompt at http://www.earrings-everyday.blogspot.com.

When I was a girl, growing up in DC, Mother would pack me a sack lunch and pin two car tokens to my blouse collar and off I’d go to the museums on the National Mall. Natural History was my favorite. I stood at the rim of the Foucault pendulum and watched it for a LONG TIME as it traced its mark in the sand on the floor below it.

I made these earrings to honor that experience. I hung Swarovski crystals from thin gold-plated chains. I created a Damascus cane from many shades of faded denim to echo the pendulums tracings in the sand. The Damascus cane is modeled after a Japanese sword makers technique.

These earrings will be listed in my new Etsy shop SusanDolphinDelaney on January 1, its grand opening!

In SusanDolphinDelaney I will offer earrings and earring components made me by from my polymer clay opals and from my polymer minerals.

My interest in minerals developed, as you have already guessed, during my childhood solo trips to the Museum of Natural History in DC. The Hall of Minerals was a place that I spent HOURS as a girl. In fact, my interest in crystals, fostered there, inspired the science fair project that led to the scholarships that allowed me to go to college!

Now that I have completed my degrees in Chemistry, Physiology and Medicine, I can take the time to study Geology and make wonderful earrings and earring components for you.

COMING SOON

The background of the photo above is taken from one of the polymer clay opals I made:

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My shop will have a selection of polymer clay discs in my Monet series:

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Some discs made from my Madam Pele polymer clay, which glows from across the room, just like real embers:

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There will be pocket-sized touchstone goddesses like this Madam Pele one:

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And finally, more discs from opal clay:

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The first pair of earring components is made from shimmering peacock opal clay. The second pair from a stunning mixture of white, black, gray and violet opal clays. It is fairly translucent. The third, a set of disks I made from a mixture of three yellow opal clays, white and a tiny bit of black opal clay is wonderfully translucent. I plan to pair it with some leaf charms from Suburban Girl Studios on Etsy.

If you want, you can hop over to my empty Etsy shop now and favorite it, so that you can revisit it on January 1, the grand opening. http://www.susandolphindelaney.etsy.com

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I found this ladder at a garage sale in Madison, WI in 1976, during medical school.

It was oak, very well made, and already gently worn.

During my internship, in 1977, I added a hook and eye and a handle, to allow me to carry it easily. I placed the handle, which I took from a screen door, at its balance point. The hook and eye, from the same screen door, kept it closed when I carried it by the handle.

Life went on. In 2000, when I began to joyfully consider how much better my life would be if I were single again, I painted it white and, in the Christmas season, strung it with white lights.

In 2001, I filed for divorce, and that Christmas, again strung it with white lights.

In 2002, my freedom regained, I painted it hot pink, with sea blue “olives” with magenta “pimentos”, after a Mexican folk art design I admired. I strung it with pink lights under the eaves of my new house.

I did so every year.

Unfortunately, one year not long ago, I left it out in the rain and its “feet” rotted.

I was grief stricken.

Fortunately, my son-in-love came to the rescue. He cut off the bad parts and reset the braces. I am so grateful.

I have a kit to repair the wood rot, but for now I have strung it with hot pink Christmas lights.

It is in my sunroom, just off the kitchen, where I can enjoy it safe from the elements.

I am so grateful to have it!

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My post for the Earrings Everyday Challenge is just below this one. As you scroll down, check out the glow-in-the-dark earrings in this post.

Ginger Davis Allman of http://www.thebluebottletree.com challenged polymer clay artists to create new polymer objects with an eye to their reactivity under UV light. When she revealed that white Premo clay glowed under UV light, I was IN. I already had a cane, “Blackberry Flower” and had planned to make this pendant for a friend who loves pink. I made it, with faith in Ginger’s statement about the white Premo, even before my black light flashlight arrived. The beaded beads are from DiacopeSupplies on Etsy. Sonia made them for me. When my UV flashlight arrived, I took this photo:

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The translucent clay making up the flower petals glowed blue under UV! And the background, which had white Premo in it glowed white. The friend who I made this for is a nerd like me and likely will never wear the pendant under UV light.

I was on a roll now. I had long admired the bioluminescent algae Noctiluca scintillans, which inhabits shorelines and glows when waves disturb it. I made a cane resembling the cellular structure of Noctiluca, incorporating some glow-in-the-dark clay.

This picture shows the earrings I made, which are translucent, with light passing through them:

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I photographed the earrings in darkness, to show their glow-in-the-dark properties:

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How cool is that?

Next I photographed them under UV light (which was the challenge after all):

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I hope those photos tickle you as much as they tickle me.

I made up a batch of my Pele opal clay last weekend. I made some of it into a Pele goddess. Pele is the Hawaiian goddess of volcanos. I love that way she turned out:

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I decided to see how she looked under UV light, just for fun. Under a mix of incandescent and UV light that she looks like glowing embers:

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I thank my friend, Ginger Davis Altman, a fellow scientist and nerd, for this challenge.

I had a blast with it.

You can see the other challenge pieces at http://www.thebluebottletree.com

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