Tuesday, 31 August 2010

37 Things You Should Never Apologize For, by Scott Ginsberg

I think that apologies are always important. However, it does often happen that there are times when people apologize for things they don't need to. There are also people who "over" apologize. It seems that they are always sayingn sorry, even when it is completely unnecessary. I know that I am one of those people who seems to apologize too much. There's nothing like being called on it when you're in the middle of an apology. And while they are right it's sure hard to stop mid-stride.

It is important for those of us who do apologize too much, to acknowledge that the very act of giving an unneeded apology can often actually be insulting. I think that knowing that has helped me to recognize when I am apologizing too much.

A friend recently directed me to the site of Scott Ginsberg and his post:



37 Things You Should Never Apologize For (And Why)
1. Never apologize for acting on your instincts. Listening to your body – then taking action on what you hear – is the hallmark of heroic people.


2. Never apologize for all the tears you’ve cried. Crying cleanses the soul. Shoot for once a month. Even if it's just a brief mist at a tender moment in a sad movie.


3. Never apologize for anything in your portfolio. If you feel the need to do so, it probably doesn’t belong in your portfolio in the first place.




4. Never apologize for asking for what you need. The answer to every question you DON’T ask is always no.


5. Never apologize for asking questions. When you stop asking questions, you don’t just run out of answers – you run out of hope.


6. Never apologize for asserting yourself. The word “assert” comes from the Latin asserere, which means, “to claim, maintain or affirm.” And that’s exactly what you’re entitled to: Your opinion. Your belief. Your say. Let nobody take it away from you.


7. Never apologize for being a health nut. Next time someone says, “What are you, on a diet or something?” look them straight in the eye and say, “Yeah – you got a problem with that?” Then, when they back down, you go right back to eating your tofu


8. Never apologize for being a newbie. Everyone great chess master was once a beginner.


9. Never apologize for being early for an appointment. In the history of Corporate America, no employee has ever been fired for consistently arriving ten minutes early to every meeting.


10. Never apologize for being funny. The world is too damn serious. We need you. Seriously.
11. Never apologize for being human. Once you do, you’re no longer human – you’re a cyborg.


12. Never apologize for being passionate. Unless you’re passionate about stabbing strangers with broken Coke bottles.


13. Never apologize for being smart. That’s the ONE thing the government, the media (and every other entity that’s trying to control you) is terrified of: Smart people who take action. Be one of those people.


14. Never apologize for being the age that you are. It’s just a number. “A chicken ain’t nothing but a bird,” as my Grandpa likes to say.
15. Never apologize for breaking a rule that isn’t really a rule. Be proud of yourself for being a rule breaker. Then go break another one.


16. Never apologize for calling bullshit on someone. Especially when nobody else is the room is going to do it and this person REALLY needs to be taken to task.
17. Never apologize for demanding respect. If you’ve demonstrated that you deserve respect by giving it to others first, you’re good to go.


18. Never apologize for disagreeing. Especially if you do so respectfully. On the other hand, if you’re disagreeing for the sake of disagreeing, or because of your pathological need to be right, that’s a different story.


19. Never apologize for expressing yourself. That’s all “leadership” is: The full, free expression of your truth. Don’t say you’re sorry for that.


20. Never apologize for falling in love. Your heart’s calling the shots.


21. Never apologize for falling OUT of love. Your heart’s still calling the shots – even when you throw up an air ball.


22. Never apologize for getting something off your chest. That which you suppress will find a home in your body. And then it will trash the place.
23. Never apologize for giving it your best shot. As my Grandpa also reminds me, “You do the best you can with as many as you can.”


24. Never apologize for growing up privileged. As long as you scrap the entitlement attitude, remain grateful for everything you’ve ever been given and respect the life situation of those who are less fortunate, it’s all good.
25. Never apologize for having an overabundance of love in your life. Instead, circulate what you’ve got. Pay it forward. Share it. People need it. Especially St. Louis Rams fans. God we suck.
26. Never apologize for lack of experience. Instead, share your Learning Plan; demonstrate your dedication to lifelong learning and practice becoming the world’s expert at learning from your experiences.


27. Never apologize for lack of information. Ignorance is acceptable. Staying ignorant, however, is stupid.


28. Never apologize for liking stupid movies. Movie snobs annoy me. Some of my favorite movies are among the most ridiculous films ever made. So I love Road House. Sue me.



29. Never apologize for living your truth. Few things in the world are more important.

30. Never apologize for looking out for yourself. Self-preservation is a primary driver of human behavior. It’s how we’re wired.


31. Never apologize for loving yourself. If you do, you probably don’t love yourself as much as you thought.


32. Never apologize for making a decision from the heart. Remember: It’s not thee truth – it’s YOUR truth.



33. Never apologize for needing alone time. Solitude is soil. Solitude is medicine. And if you don’t get your fix every day, your life will suffer.


34. Never apologize for needing to use the bathroom. Yesterday a girl in my yoga class walked out of the room and actually said to the teacher, “I have to pee, I’m SO sorry.” Unbelievable.


35. Never apologize for not being there when someone called. You have a life, too. People can’t expect you to wait eagerly by the phone all hours of the day.


36. Never apologize for not embracing someone else’s agenda. Especially if that agenda robs you of your true talent.



37. Never apologize for occasional absentmindedness. Everyone’s brain farts.


What do you refuse to apologize for?




* * * *



Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
Apparently there is a second part to this post. If I can, I'll post it too. I'd also recommend checking his site. Hello, my name is Blog! The Brain of Scott Ginsberg.

Back to School

It's back to school season!

In my almost 47 years, I have returned to school as a teacher or student for approximately 38 of those years.

In late August I am inevitably drawn to the office supply section or store, even if I am not going back to school. I seem to still need to buy a fresh supply of pens and pencils. I walk up and down the aisles and look at the assortment available. Do I need coloured pens? Might I need a new highlighter? Should I buy a new eraser even if I have a bunch already in my desk drawer at home? What could I put into a new portfolio or report cover?

As I search for that elusive new writing utensil that will mark that back to school feeling, I find myself smiling as I listen to a small child talking about the new school year with absolute joy. I chuckle, but also feel some empathy for the harassed mother of a teenager who is not pleased by anything. And, if I catch her eye, I give her the comiserating look of a mom who has been there.

When my kids were preparing for school each fall, I don't know if I sang the catchy Christmas song and advertising jingle of Staples, "It's the most wonderful time of the year," but if I had it would have been with a combination of feelings. I'd be thinking "Finally, the kids are bored and they need to get back to school!" But, I'd also be thinking "Yay! I get to buy new school supplies!"
 
This is one of those falls when I'm not going back to school. I must admit I no longer have that melancholic feeling as I witness my teacher friends starting their new year. I do miss teaching and the learning that comes with it, but I don't miss the marking and the push and pull of planning, extra curricular activities, and meeting my own and my family's needs. However, I do miss the need to go to pick up new supplies, and the purchasing of new textbooks for myself. The promise of new learning, the crisp feel of the pages of the new book...

I guess that's why I found myself in Staples last week, buying new pens, pencils, highlighters and post-its. 

Monday, 30 August 2010

Eston, Saskatchewan

Photo from the River Trek website
I'm travelling to Kelowna, B.C. First stop: Eston, Saskatchewan.

Eston has been the home of many of my relatives over the years. Two of my relatives have been the mayor of this small community.

Eston is located at the junction of Highways 44 and 30 in West Central Saskatchewan. It is surrounded by some of the most productive farmland in the world; however, while the rain has been abundant this summer, the sun hasn't been. It's August 30th, and the crops still aren't ready.

The town of Eston has about 1,000 people. They have a pool, a community centre, restaurants, pharmacy, grocery store, churches, schools, senior's home, hotel, museum, bible college, and a health centre amongst other businesses and attractions. The town is really close to the South Saskatchewan river, which also gives them access to another pool, the Riverside Regional Park's golf course, campground and cottages. A Gopher statue sits at the end of Main Street to celebrate Eston as the Home of the World Gopher Derby.

Eston is also close to the mini-badlands that are "South of Gap," a location recently used for the filming of The Englishman's Boy.
 
I've spent much time in Eston over the years. It may not be the biggest town, but it has a lot going on. As kids, we would explore the town always knowing we would be able to find our way back to my grandparents', since they lived near the water tower.
 
I also remember the year I was 16, and walked to the fair grounds with my dad. Everyone  seemed to know him, wanted to see how he was doing, and many mistook me for my mom. At that age, I felt pretty special to be seen as so much older... and I think my mom didn't mind the complement, either!
 
More recently, besides relatives, it's been the Eston River Trek, that has drawn us there. The Trek, born out of my father's many ways to raise money to keep the recreation centre going. Each year, people register to join in the trek as part of a team, or individually. The goal is to cover 40 miles over the course of the day. As teams people walk different sections of the trek from Eston to the river and back again. If you are my brother-in-law, you walk/run the whole thing in only about 7 hours.
 
I've managed to walk 20 plus miles twice, but I need to get "practicing" for next year!
 
I haven't spent as much time in the town as I'd like over the last few years. It was great to be there this weekend.

Imagine Leadership

From YouTube: Nitin Nohria and Amanda Pepper of Harvard Business School's Leadership Initiative collaborated with XPLANE to create this video in order to generate a discussion of the value and importance of leadership to address some of society's most pressing problems.


"It is my desire to inspire people of all ages and social demographics to think about leadership on a broad level, contemplate what it means to them and what individual impact they can have when it comes to leading," says Nohria.

The Book of Awesome, Neil Pasricha

Neil Pasricha created a blog 1000awesomethings.com. With over 10 million hits and the blog has become a book: The Book of Awesome.

I like the front leaf of the cover: "The Book of Awesome reminds us that the best things inj life are free (yes your grandma was right). With laugh-out-loud observagtions from award-winning comedy writer Neil Pasricha, The Book of Awesome is filled with smile-inducing moments on every page that make you feel like a kid looking at the world for the first time."
I think that says it all.

Here's just one of the awesome things in the book:
"Finally remembering a word that's been on the tip of your tongue for so long.
It's like throwing a pail of cold water on all your smoking inner head parts. Gears unjam, lines start rolling, and you settle back in the restaurant booth with a satisfied smile on your face and just blurt it out. 
"Parcheesi, that's what it was called."


AWESOME!"
Some others:
  • Getting something with actual handwriting on it in the mail.
  • The smell and sound of a campfire.
  • The shampoo head massage you sometimes get at the hairdresser
You get the point. Those everyday happenings that we often fail to appreciate or even notice.


It's a nice book, and it does make you smile!

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Pearls of Wisdom from the Universe

A NOTE FROM THE UNIVERSE:

For all the reasons
that you might draw someone into your life...
one would never be, to find their faults.


© http://www.tut.com/

I like these bits and pieces of wisdom...

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Habits

"We first make our habits, and then our habits make us." ~ Stephen R. Covey

The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton

I just finished The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton.

The story is one of a woman, Nell, who has discovered she had been abandoned at 3 years of age and subsequently adopted. Nell's search for her roots and the reasons she was abandoned is cut short when she takes on the care of her own granddaughter, Cassandra. After Nell's death, Cassandra discovers her grandmother's secret and decides to set out to uncover the puzzle of her grandmother’s heritage.

Morton's story is written beautifully, and the story is unforgettable. The book is a fantasy mystery that moves between the past of of the early 1900s, the 1970s and the present. The story also takes the reader on a journey from Australia to London, and on to the cliffs of Cornwall; from a shipworkers humble home, to the poor streets of London, to a large manor house with a small cottage that has its own hidden garden.

It is the cottage on the Cornish coast with its secrets that brings Morton's story and its span of time together, uniting three generations of women, despite the decades and oceans that separate them.

I also enjoyed Morton's writing style. There is a whimsical use of fairy tales, within the novel, that are written by one of the story's featured characters, Eliza Makepeace. With her mix of fairytales, memories, journals, and imagination, Morton creates fantasy in her mystery and her character, Cassandra works to fill in the past and to find out why her grandmother was abandoned.

The Forgotten Garden is Morton's second novel. Like her first novel, this one also made the New York Times Bestseller list.

The following is an interview by Morton, discussing her book.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

What is Leadership

Watch this....


What is Leadership from Steve on Vimeo.

Friendships

This came as an email. I can't find out if it is a true story, but what I do know is that it makes a lot of sense.
"She wrote................. I just finished taking an evening class at Stanford. The last lecture was on the mind-body connection--the relationship between stress and disease. The speaker (head of psychiatry at Stanford) said, among other things, that one of the best things that a man could do for his health is to be married to a woman whereas for a woman, one of the best things she could do for her health was to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends.
At first everyone laughed, but he was serious.
Women connect with each other differently and provide support systems that help each other to deal with stress and difficult life experiences. Physically this quality girlfriend time helps us to create more serotonin--a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression and can create a general feeling of well being. Women share feelings whereas men often form relationships around activities. They rarely sit down with a buddy and talk about how they feel about certain things or how their personal lives are going. Jobs? Yes. Sports? Yes. Cars? Yes. Fishing, hunting, golf? Yes. But their feelings?--rarely. Women do it all the time. We share from our souls with our sisters, and evidently that is very good for our health. He said that spending time with a friend is just as important to our general health as jogging or working out at a gym.
There's a tendency to think that when we are "exercising" we are doing something good for our bodies, but when we are hanging out with friends, we are wasting our time and should be more productively engaged--not true. In fact, he said that failure to create and maintain quality personal relationships with other humans is as dangerous to our physical health as smoking! So every time you hang out to schmooze with a gal pal, just pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself for doing something good for your health!

We are indeed very, very lucky. So let's toast to our friendship with our girlfriends. Evidently it's very good for our health."
Friendship is grand. And, if you take a walk with your friend, while you visit you get double benefits!

Monday, 23 August 2010

An Attitude of Gratitude

Learning to Dance in the Rain is a lovely movie from Simple Truths about Gratitude. It certainly gives a unique perspective.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Choice

"Between what happens to us and our response is a space. In that space lies our freedom to choose our response." ~ Anonymous

The Sun Came Up Today

You are the reason

the sun came up today.

Believe it.
© www.tut.com
Sign up for Michael Dooley's quotes. They're wonderful

Friday, 20 August 2010

The Streets of Madrid, Spain

When I travelled to Madrid I spent a great deal of time walking in the city. It's amazing to visit a large city, such as Madrid, and to just simply explore. It's fun to listen to the other languages, mostly Spanish, as they float along the wind while people walk by.

It's so much different than walking down the city streets of my home town. My city is beautiful in its own right, but it is so much smaller and so very much younger.

In Madrid the buildings have centuries of history. They are artistic and colourful.

Almost every day I would wind up walking into the centre of the city. 

In the centre of Madrid lies Puerta del Sol, the "door of the sun." It is located just a short walk from the Plaza Mayor. It was originally the site of one of the city's gates, which faced the east. The name comes from the gates which had an image of the sun on them. 
















Near it is kilómetro cero. "Kilometre zero" is a plaque on the ground directly north of the Post Office serving as the symbolic centre of Spain. It is also the base of the numbering system of the country's roads. The plaque that marks this point was turned around 180 degrees in 2002, because the map of Spain depicted on it was upside-down in relation to reality.

These are some of the pictures I took when in Madrid.

Painting the Dog, Leon Rooke

Leon Rooke is a Canadian writer, he has written six novels, including Shakespeare's Dog, which won the Governor General's award, and A Good Baby, which was made into a feature film. He has written a number of plays and a whole host of short story collections. He also writes reviews for U.S. newspapers, including The New York Times.
Leon Rooke is one of Canada's preeminent fiction innovators, a master of the short form, and a literary godfather to scores of writers. Here, for the first time, is the quintessential selection of his best short fiction, culled from a prodigious career and 15 story collections. In these beautiful affecting stories, both bittersweet and hilarious, Rooke mines the rich and often turbulent field of domestic life, of relationships between men and women, and of the fragile dislocations of young children. Included are classics such as "The Birth Control King of Upper Volta", "The Women's Guide to Home Companionship" and "Early Obscenities in the Life of the World's Foremost Authority on Heidegger". Always fresh and original, these timeless stories push the boundaries of the traditional short story form. "Painting the Dog" is vintage Rooke: 17 highly original tales brimming with whimsy and wit, pain and poignancy, and the author's endlessly astonishing and electric imagination and riotous humour. Amazon
 My favourite story in Painting the Dog is "A Bolt of White Cloth." The story is crafted as if it is poetry. It is completely unique and it captures the imagination. Some critics suggest that the bolt of white cloth represents happiness. That interpretation makes me smile. I like that vision.

When I first read "A Bolt of White Cloth," I saw the cloth in a different light. Interpretation is in the eye of the beholder, after all. Regardless, the story itself without any symbolic interpretation is beautiful and elegant, a definite must read.

The other stories in the book are also good. They're all well-written and beautiful.

Dogs who Hug

Does your dog hug?

I think ours does. Take a look at her front legs wrapped around her 'baby.'

This is Cheeky's standard pose for 'nap time.' When she was a new puppy, her toys would be unstuffed within minutes.

She hasn't unstuffed a toy for  years. Now she hugs them and eventually when she gets tired her head will drift down to rest on her toy. She may also take its snout in her mouth and fall asleep with it in her mouth....you'd almost think it was a soother.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Roasted Garlic and Wild Rice Mushroom Soup

Roasted Garlic and Wild Rice Mushroom Soup

I really like mushroom soup, but most recipes have cream or milk added, which I can't have. Rather than substituting the milk with Soy, Rice, or Oat milk, I've been experimenting to make my own recipe. I start by roasting garlic.

I like using roasted garlic in recipes because it tastes buttery and smooth. When I roasted the garlic for my soup, I followed the directions that I saw on a recent Rachel Ray show.
  • Peel off most of the outer layers on the garlic bulb (not all)
  • Cut the top off of a bulb of garlic and put it on a piece of foil.
  • Drizzle olive oil over the garlic
  • Sprinkle on salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • Wrap the garlic in the foil
  • Place in the oven at 425 degrees for 1 hour
For my soup recipe I actually used two bulbs of garlic. The garlic will be browned and softened when cooked enough. Wait for the garlic to cool and then squeeze out the cloves. Mash the garlic into a paste and add to recipes as needed.

Roasted garlic is not as strong as raw garlic, so you tend to use more in a recipe. It still tastes delicious.

The SOUP
  • Put 1 - 2 tsp of olive oil in a large skillet
  • Throw in one large diced onion and
  • 2c diced celery.
  • Add about 6c chopped mushrooms
  • Cook the vegetables on a medium high heat.
  • Let them sweat and release their juices and begin to brown. Once they have reduced and cooked through,
  • Add the roasted cloves of garlic,
  • Add 2 cups of red wine,
  • Stir to pick up the bits of vegetables that may have browned on to the pan.
  • Simmer to reduce the red wine.
  • Once the wine has reduced, place the mixture into a large stock pot on high heat.
  • Add 12 cups of chicken, beef or vegetable stock.
  • Add 2 cups of wild rice
  • Allow the soup to reach a boil, then cover and simmer for 1/2 to 3/4 hour.
  • Stir in fresh chopped basil and parsley to taste.

This soup freezes and reheats well. It is really hearty and nutritious, with lots of yummy goodness.
Enjoy.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Effectiveness

"Efficiency with people is ineffective. With people, fast is slow and slow is fast." ~ Stephen R. Covey

Monday, 16 August 2010

The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin

Here's a book I'm planning to read. I just ordered it and as soon as it arrives, it's my next read. I've heard about this book from a number of people and it's really sparked my interest. Gretchen Rubin created this book out of her own personal "Happiness Project."

I find her writing really interesting. I am now following her blog titled.... The Happiness Project, and find her regular articles to be good reminders. Lots of times she talks about those things we already know...but need to be reminded about.

I am looking forward to reading the book. I'd love to know if you've read it and what you thought of it!

What if?

What if the coolest person on the planet didn't know they were the coolest person on the planet? Just because of a few self doubts, a few trace fears, or the occasional twang of inadequacy. Or because they somehow thought fame, or wealth, or popularity mattered. Or because they just didn't know the effect they had on others.
It would be a pity, huh? An absolute travesty. And of course, telling them wouldn't achieve much because they'd never believe you. Never. They'd be too modest to accept it. Too naïve to believe it. And too cool to think it mattered. So... well... ah... let's just leave it at that -

© http://www.tut.com/ take a look.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Balancing Rocks

I just found this video. It may not be everyone's idea of art, but it sure is interesting. I'd like to try it sometime. For me, the soothing sound of the water and the balancing of the rocks would be quite meditative.

There was a news story about this activity. Kent Avery apparently balances rocks in Vancouver's Stanley Park as a frequent activity. I couldn't find a clip of the news article, but did find this post about him on Keep it Surreal.

By coincidence, I also found this video on Youtube. It's also about Kent Avery.

Enjoy

Thursday, 12 August 2010

The Test of Three

Socrates came upon an acquaintance that ran up to him excitedly and said, “Do you know what I just heard about one of your students?” “Just a minute,” Socrates replied. “Before you tell me I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Test of Three. “The first test is Truth. Are you sure that what you will say is true? “Oh no,” the man said, “Actually I just heard about it.”
“So you don’t really know if it’s true, Socrates said. Now let’s try the second test, the test of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my student something good?” “No, on the contrary..” “So,” Socrates interrupted, “you want to tell me something bad about him even though you’re not certain it’s true?” The man shrugged, rather embarrassed.
Socrates continued. “You may still pass though, because there is a third test, the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me at all?” “Well it ..no, not really..” “Well, concluded Socates, “If what you want to tell me is neither True nor good nor ever Useful, why tell it to me at all?” The man was defeated and ashamed.
This is the reason Socrates was held in such high esteem. It also explains why he never found out what Plato was up to.
Thanks to A Parenthesis, the blog that had this as well as other jokes on the site!

When I was a kid my mom used to say "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." I'm sure this is a refrain that has been heard by many children over the years.
image via wdavidphillips.com

You may have also heard, or said yourself, that "Kids can be really cruel. Sometimes they say the most hurtful things."

Does any of this sound familiar?

What I wonder is why that lesson we learned when we were children seems to disappear from many adults' rules of etiquette?

How many times have you had a 'friend' tell you something...that goes something like this: "Lisa, you wouldn't believe what (insert name) has been saying. She/He is telling people/saying that you ....." and so it goes. Or worse, in that very moment they choose to tell you that someone is talking about you, they also choose not to tell you who has been saying these horrible things, just that they are being said.
Essentially it is a supposedly well meaning colleague or friend who feels it is necessary to tell you about something they've just heard someone else saying about you.


And guess what? I've done it too! I've thought that it was crucial that the person know what someone is saying about them. Luckily, in the last few years, I've finally begun to get 'mature,' and rethink that attitude.


If the information is something that will only hurt the person, there is nothing they can do about it, and if the only purpose that is served by telling someone is that they are hurt and confused, I choose not to share. It's weird, but sometimes I feel like I am not being a 'good friend' and I am keeping a secret. But, if I'm really such a good friend, maybe I don't need to disclose everything?

Now, I'm not prepared to get into a debate about other issues, like seeing my friend's husband out with another woman. That isn't a hearsay kind of event. I'm talking about those things we hear second hand and feel that we need to share.


So, I'm glad I found this humourous post on A Parenthesis. Even is it is a joke with a punchline, I think I'll do the Truth, Goodness and Usefulness test next time I'm not sure. I've been doing fairly well, but I can always use a little help on my path to 'maturity'!

Quick and Healthy Snack

Here's a snack that is healthy and light in calories.

It's great for making sure you get your servings of fruit. Kids like it, it's a good in your lunch, and it's pretty fast to pull together.

All you need is one apple and one orange, some honey and cinnamon.

Cut the apple in bite sized pieces
Peel the orange and cut into bite sized pieces
Toss in 1 tsp (or less) liquid honey and 1 tsp (or more) cinnamon.

ENJOY!

Honey and cinnamon are also good for you.

You don't want lots of honey, but a little isn't bad for you and it's also known to be an antioxidant.

As for the cinnamon, I like to use more than 1 tsp, but some people like less. Cinnamon is known to lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, and aids digestion.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Vision

"Gather in your resources, rally all your faculties, marshal all your energies, focus all your capacities upon mastery of at least one field of endeavour." ~ John Haggai

The Barmaid's Brain; and Other Strange Tales from Science; Jay Ingram

Jay Ingram is the co-host of “Daily Planet”, the hour-long prime-time science program on Discovery Channel, which he helped to design and launch 15 years ago. He has worked in almost every mass medium. He hosted CBC’s “Quirks and Quarks” for 12 years, freelanced for CBC’s “Morningside,” and hosted two CBC radio documentary series. He was contributing editor to Owl magazine for five years, he wrote a weekly science column in The Toronto Star for 12 years, and is now involved in web-based shows, outreach events, and podcasts. He has written ten books, and received numerous accolades and awards for his outstanding contributions to the popularization of science. He has received five honorary degrees and was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2009. Bio from The Banff Centre.

A number of years ago, when Ingram was still hosting “Quirks and Quarks,” we began 'collecting' his books. He is a good writer who really gets you interested in unusual scientific facts.

The Barmaid's Brain is a collection of essays about unusual scientific facts and theories written by Jay Ingram.

Psychology Today's website has this short review:
Ever wonder how some waiters remember numerous food orders, without the helpof a memo pad? In The Barmaid's Brain (Freeman, $23.95), Jay Ingram, co-host and producer of @discovery.ca, the Discovery Channel's daily science program, ponders this and many other science mysteries in a series of eminently readable essays. Although the topics cover the full spectrum of science, at least half of them bear directly on psychological puzzles, including why we laugh, the role fungus played in Salem witchcraft, whether or not Joan of Arc was mentally ill, and, yes, even how barmaids remember a dozen orders at a time.
It is simply a fascinating book. This particular book brings a number of historical events into a different light as other possibilites for the events are examined. It also discusses such things as why we laugh, why moths fly to light, the possibility of humans once being aquatic, a discussion on Cystic Fibrosis and other subjects mentioned in the review above.
 
If you ever get a chance, try this book.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

The Days are Long, But the Years are Short

Gretchen Rubin wrote The Happiness Project, a book that I have heard about from a few people, and that I plan to read. Her book was born out of her blog which recorded her year of personal research about happiness.

I will write more about the book, her blog and other things later, but here's her blog The Happiness Project, if you're interested. She has some great ideas and articles.

She also has two nice, short movies she's created, they're nice reminders about how we choose to spend our time... Here are their links:
"The Days are Long, But the Years are Short"
"The Secrets of Adulthood."

Monday, 9 August 2010

Success

"The first law of success is concentration - to bend all the energies to one point, and to go directly to that point looking neither to the right nor to the left." ~ William Matthews

Breakthrough with Anthony Robbins

I've never read a book by Anthony Robbins, I've never watched him speak, nor do I know much about him. I understand he is a terrific speaker and coach who has written many books. I have also read that some people think he is not really authentic. Other reviews say he is an aquired taste.


I'm not sure what I think of him, yet. What I do know is that he has a new TV show on NBC that I find fascinating. 


His new show on is called Breakthrough. In each episode he works with people to help them overcome difficulties. The first show I caught featured a husband and wife that experienced a huge tragedy on their wedding day. He dove into a pool and broke his neck and since then he has been in a wheelchair. They love each other and their lives are good, but the tragedy has changed the 'way' they are married. The new bride became care taker, the new groom became dependent upon his new wife. In a matter of minutes the promise they had begun their lives together with, vanished.


Sometimes in any show where a family has experienced a tragedy money is given; people's lives are 'changed' through the payment of their vast medical bills, scholarships for their children's future education, mortgage payments, etc. Whether the show is Oprah, Extreme Home Makeover, Ellen, or some other show like that, people's lives are 'fixed' or made better with these gifts.


Now, I'm not saying that I wouldn't appreciate getting our bills paid, a special holiday, a new car, etc. Nor do I begrudge their good fortune. I've been known to shed a tear in response to such events. I find it very touching and frankly nice to see people's lives made better.

What was interesting, when I saw this show was the new perspective. This is a show about people finding their answers from inside. No one is really getting a special prize to 'fix' their lives. In the show, Anthony Robbins puts the people through a series of activities that builds their new perspectives.


Obviously most of do this every day, without the aid of a tv show. I'm a bit sappy and love a real story about success, so I enjoyed the show. As one of my relatives has said, "there are a number of us in the family whose bladders are close to their tear ducts." We leak REALLY easily.

A couple of the things that stood out for me while watching the show. One is that I liked the comment he made numerous times on the show: "We are more than what happens to us."

I also like the challenges he gives people when they are willing to make a change:

Step 1: Change your environment
Step 2: Confront your real issues
Step 3: Expand your limits
Step 4: Change your perspective
Step 5: Own the lesson
Step 6: Design a compelling future
Step 7: Own your breakthrough

The attached video is a preview of the first show.


Saturday, 7 August 2010

How do you prepare? Daily wisdom from tut.com

Here's some daily wisdom from tut.com


If someone wants "A" to happen, yet they prepare for "B," they will always get "B."
Prepare for "A" -
Actually, if "B" includes marshmallows and a fireplace, we may have a win-win. But still, if it were me, I'd prepare for "A."


If you've never visited the website, http://www.tut.com/, you should. It's pretty inspiring.


poster from MoBuck.com

PS. I found the poster pic; it probably isn't the type of image you'd find on TUT.

The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley

One of the first gifts I received from my husband was The Mists of Avalon. Marion Zimmer Bradley wrote the book in 1982.


It is the story about King Arthur, from the point of view of the women of Avalon. The usual cast of characters are present in the novel; Arthur, Gweneviere, Merlin, Morgana, the Lady of the Lake, and others, including the sword Excalibur.

Some reviewers call this a femnist book. There is also the conflict between Christian and pagan points of view that many are drawn to. In the reviews I've read people seem to love or hate the book. The fact is, I loved it 100%. The story, itself, is well-written. The point of view from the women's perspective is unique and interesting.

One review by Beth Derochea calls it "one of the more controversial books in Arthurian fiction."
The book has since been made into a tv movie. This is a link to the tv movie site with various pictures and a synopsis that is quite good, with lots of pictures from the movie. Actors such as Julianna Margulies, Uli Edel, Mark Lewis Jones, Caroline Goodall, Michael Byrne, Michael Vartan, Hans Matheson, Joan Allen, Samantha Mathis, Anjelica Huston, Clive Russell, and Edward Atterton  are in the movie. The movie trailer is linked here.

As a big fan of all things Arthurian, I found this book and its different perspective really intriguing. I loved it all of those years ago, and still love it now. I've recently reread it and still find it interesting.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Mallorca, Spain

The island of Mallorca is the largest island of Spain. It is in the Mediterranean Sea and I had the pleasure of spending a couple of days there with mom, when we travelled through Spain.


We visited Mallorca in the early spring, so we didn't enjoy really hot temperatures, but is was still lovely.

The capital of Mallorca is called Palma. The city was founded as a Roman camp called Palmaria. The city was conquered by Vandals, Byzantines, the Moors and then claimed by Spain under James I's rule.

To get to Mallorca, we travelled by boat from Alicante. It was a large boat, but I can apparently get sea sick!

We arrived in Mallorca late in the day, making it somewhat difficult to locate our hotel. Once there we rested and began our explorations the next day.
Some of the architecture of the island was modern, but many buildings also had some qualities of what you might see along the Mediteranean coastline, the stuccoed white buildings with deep walls, red tile roofs and earth colours. There were arches and big windows, while the roofs were often flat. Many buildings, especially homes, had columns, the doors were often carved, and most residences boast a courtyard.
Palma de Mallorca, viewed from a hilltop

Catedral de Palma

Palma de Mallorca