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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Just read: The Kite Runner

I love graphic novels.

Khaled Hosseini had adapted his  international success into a comic book - a graphic novel - which took me two hours to read. This format of a story which takes on many issues and struggles of war, prejudice, honour and violence which have torn at Afghanistan for generations. What sets this apart from the novel and from the movie are
the hundreds of excellent illustration, drawn by Fabio Celoni and Mirka Andolfo.

The images tell the story in a way the movie could not - if you've read the novel (I hadn't) you still have your own imagination to draw from. The story is a condensed version with minimal text. Great for those of us with compromised vision. limited attention spans and need more than seven days to finish a book. I feel like I have lived a lifetime after reading a graphic novel in a single afternoon.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What's up, Tolkien?

"Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens."  --J.R.R. Tolkien

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Dear Youngest, Please Don't Grow Up

Each year, we anticipate the new year approaching. You were born at a friend's house, January 1, 2000.

 Many make plans to celebrate. We like to stay up late. Set off sparklers outside and revel in the festivities in our hood. We don't have to go further than the front porch to see the action.

For us, though, this is your birthday; which makes you twelve years old. I know, duh momma. Now that you're twelve, you're looking towards the future. Your whole life is ahead of you. I know, whats the big deal, momma. It's not so easy, but keep your positive attitude: What's the big deal?

It gets harder to say 'what's the big deal' because we make a big deal, these things that happen, the things people do and the things that they say; or things happen unexpectedly with those that you love; learn to let go of the negativity and take responsibility for yourself; decide to make your happiness an option for you to choose, so when things aren't going so well, you have a direction to take. And yes, I support your current ambition to be a WWE wrestler. So for now, stay twelve...because thirteen is another ball of yarns.

“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands.”
If I only knew you were trying to tell me then, that you want a piano. Stat.
― Anne Frank

When you were born, it felt like I was born too. I became the mother to a daughter for the first time.

Where ever did the time go? From 2000 to 2012, it's been somewhat of a blur. Holding you on my hip, checking the mailbox and opening the letter right there in the street, you were this old when I received my acceptance letter at Western. Suddenly, I went from stay-at-home mom to three university degrees while working, volunteering, single mom-ing and reading anthropology, linguistics and library science books to you as bedtime stories. Your favourite books and movies are mysteries, historical fiction and the countless stories and movies you've created. One of my favourites is an animated segment you produced when you were eight using Movie Maker and Microsoft drew each picture and figured out how to make the character look like she was speaking - adding emotion and animating her eyes and expressions. You added her voice. A few days of working on this and a few seconds of a movie were complete:

Brava, bella!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Currently Reading...

Week of Feb 13, 2011:
Love You More by Lisa Gardner
Who do you love?

One question, a split-second decision, and Brian Darby lies dead on the kitchen floor. His wife, a state police trooper Tessa Leoni, claims to have shot him in self defense, and bears the bruises to back up her claim. For veteran detective Warren, it should be an open and shut case. But where is their six-year-old daughter?

It begins with Brian's death, details, accuracy, stats, arrival of police investigators and then...I sneeze. Uneventful of course; but the unexpected spray of blood all over the pages raised the drama to inimitable  levels of hysterics; an oh shit!  awkward moment of silence with sound; a laughscream of sorts. By golly - I have a nosebleed. Yet another reason for boxes of tissue as I read.

Monday, February 13, 2012

You killed it, Adele!

Add caption

Adele wins six Grammys, February 12, 2012. I heard that your dreams came true!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Facebook Parenting: For the troubled teen.

Stanly, NC.
viewers of the video called with concerns about his actions.

Amazing Videos of Earth at Night from Space

While you’re curled up comfy in your bed each night, the crew of the International Space Station is getting unrivaled views of our planet. For anyone wishing they could see what the astronauts see, here are recent videos of the Earth at night taken from space. These spectacular videos feature city lights piercing the darkness like shining beacons announcing the extent of human habitation. But they also include incredible natural phenomena — such as ethereal auroras, shimmering lightning, and the silvery Milky Way — which surpass anything created by man.

appleonia - precious

Jessica Chapnik Kahn fell off an apple tree and became appleonia...

This was the first technical test experiment for appleonia's music video 'It's not so precious'. Clearly, there was a fair way to go...

Friday, February 10, 2012

Negotiating Parental Power Struggles with Adolescents

The child looks up to parents and their wonderful powers and idealizes who they are. The adolescent looks down on parents and their unfair authority and criticizes who they are. The young adult looks at the hit-and-miss child raising job parents have done and humanizes them as well-intended but imperfect people.

Negotiating Parental Power Struggles with Adolescents | Psychology Today

"Although my job is not to control your decisions, it is my job to inform them. This means I have a parenting responsibility to let you know when and why I think the decision may not be in your best interests, and what a better one might be. And of course I have my own choices about responding to whatever decision you are free to make."

Teenager: "Huh?" 

Facebook Parenting. For the troubled teen. 

Children need love most, when they deserve it the least.  

A Woman of a Certain Age (Subjective)

Imagine my shock and dismay. I strive to be a lady, a woman of a certain age. I've cut my waist-length blonde highlighted hair to just below the shoulders, dyed it brown. I carry myself like the mature woman that I am. What follows is insanity:

Sales Clerk: "Excuse me, do you have ID?"
Me: "What?"
Sales Clerk: "ID, you look underage".
Me: "LOL you're funny thanks for the compliment" I start to 11:00 a.m. too early for vodka?
Sales Clerk: "I'm serious kid, where's your ID?"
Me: "Really?" I think I'm having a debonaire wtf moment because she's serious.

This female clerk looked about 30 years old and was searing my eyes with sternness. I felt like I should look in the mirror to make sure I hadn't turned into a child.  Never take things for granted as being the same as last time you checked...

I appreciate what I have and I feel fortunate to a certain point. But whats wrong here - I carry myself in a mature way and act my age. I dress modestly. I have no piercings nor tattoos. I'm not skinny. I make eye contact.

Her: "What?"
Me: "I might be older than you"

I find my health card and proudly show her my year of birth. 1971. I listened to Zeppelin and the Who and Cat Stevens. I wore pantsuits circa 1976 and was a teenager in the 80's.

Elderly lady behind me: "You don't show your age, dear"
Me: "Thanks, love..I inherited some good genes."

I pat her arm and she smiled. I leave the store. What just happened?

I realise this shouldn't be a problem and I appreciate this as a gift which I gratefully accept. But come on, what is it? - I'm not short and I don't own a pair of jeans, I don't follow fads or trends. I don't own an iPod and I drive a Buick. I can only see out of one eye for crying out loud. I'm a bloody cyclops.  Am I really failing fortydom?

My battle scars are all internal.  The wisdom is, at least there is no pity.

'Is Marriage for White People?'

An author and law professor speaking in Toronto on Friday says black women should consider marrying outside of their race instead of feeling forced to wed unsuccessful black men.

'Is Marriage for White People?' author on Metro Morning - Toronto - CBC News

He's quoting a grade six-er by the way.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

10 Things I Believed When I Was A Little Kid In Order Of How Embarrassing They Still Are When I Remember Them Today

Yes, I should've been more bright. 10 things; lets start with number 10:

10. If I crossed my eyes for too long, my eyes would get stuck that way.

 9.  If I swallowed my gum, it would take SEVEN YEARS to digest.
          ...or it would turn into a tree. Imagine my grief...

 8.  A strange fear that the eggs in the refrigerator might hatch.
          ...thank you, Kids Help Phone for clearing that one up.

 7.  If my school bus went over a speed bump too fast it would explode.
          ...the things kids say on the short bus to daycare. 

 6.  North was literally 'upwards' therefore Canada was literally above the USA.
         ...I used to argue this point and use the map of the world to prove it.

 5. That my name (Jenny) was unusual because I didn't know anyone else named Jenny -
        ...until I went to kindergarten and learned I was just one of many.

 4. A hundred dollars was an unimaginable amount of money.
        ...and cleaning the house for 25 cents was a good deal.

 3. I went to a wedding where the groom and groomsmen were all dressed in pretty much identical tuxes, and I thought the ceremony was for the bride to choose her husband from all the men up there.
        ...I still believe this on some level.

 2. All grownups started their days with screwdrivers at breakfast.
        ...moving right along....

 1. I removed all of the tops from the year's supply of glass Coke bottles to lift up the seal inside the top to see if I'd won the car, compromising the carbonation of 30-something bottles of Coke.
        ...It seemed to be worth the trouble.

        ...unfortunately, this one is brought up often so it's number one ^_^

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Why The Planet Doesn’t Care About Your Eco-Friendly Lifestyle

 from co.exist

 We know that infinite material growth on a finite planet isn’t possible. By some measures, we are already using 1.5 planets or more to support our current lifestyles--and that’s in a world where billions still live in abject poverty. So yes, dematerialization is the word of the day.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Cat on the pitch at Anfield

A cat walks on the pitch during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield in Liverpool, northern England February 6, 2012.

You can follow him on Twitter @Anfieldcat

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Only an aunt can give hugs like a mother, 
keep secrets like a sister 
and share love like a friend. 

I absolutely adore these two.  We were reunited recently at my cousin's wedding. Alison took this photo of us; she also managed to walk away with the wine bottle. I managed to join her table and represent Germany and Scotland among the Ukrainians. The last wedding attended was hers.

Ever wonder what people with MS feel?

Multiple Sclerosis. What is it? I've reduced it to two words:
Friendly fire.

The immune system attacks important components of the CNS (central nervous system). What do people with MS feel?

I found this humorously realistic.

The larger issue: Medication. There are pages of side effects. Let's not go there. Anyone up for volleyball? Hey! Smear your glasses with vaseline first. ^_^

Business Leadership in the 21st Century - Classes Without Quizzes

What are the current leadership challenges and what does the future hold? Carol Stephenson, Dean of Western's Richard Ivey School of Business, discusses findings from the School's ground-breaking research on leadership failures and successes relating to the recent financial crisis and why character, competencies, and especially commitment, are critical for the leaders of today and tomorrow.