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WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: CALVIN AND HOBBES

OK, who didn’t just love the combined wit, perspective, adventure and love of the most adorable  boy and his ever faithful tiger?  I loved Calvin and Hobbes, my son now loves them, and soon – if I can pry my comic books from his hands – my daughter will love them.

Well in this town, when you have a passion for something, you make a film to pay tribute.  A friend’s husband is directing a film called dear mr. watterson and I can’t wait to see it because of the topic and because of the sentiment behind it.  I tend to prefer movies where I know the “back story.”  For me it makes it a 4-D film experience to know what went in to making it.

Check out their page, learn about the creators of the film!

Thankfully the comic strip has many adoring fans so the film is funded and under way. Heeding Calvin’s words: “As far as I’m concerned, if something is so complicated that you can’t explain it in 10 seconds, then it’s probably not worth knowing anyway;” I’ll simply ask you to wander along with me, check out the film website and eagerly await the film!

In the website’s words:
“This film is not a quest to find Bill Watterson, or to invade his privacy. It is an exploration to discover why his ‘simple’ comic strip made such an impact on so many readers in the 80s and 90s, and why it still means so much to us today.”

 

 

 

 

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LIFE LESSONS: MATH IS NOT JUST ABOUT NUMBERS

WTF? What’s the Formula?!

Working at a university I pick up tidbits of wisdom here and there.  One day in casual conversation, one professor said to me, “Math is not just about the numbers!”  At the time I just shook my head in agreement and wished him well on his way out the door trying to figure out math without numbers and dizzying formulas.

Suddenly, flash forward to my son’s pre-algebra homework and he, like me, is pretty quick when it comes to math and can figure out answers by looking at the problems.  His teacher sent back the assignment, however, saying that he was marked down for not showing his work. Out of nowhere, my lips were moving and I heard myself say “You have to take the time and effort to write each step.  Math is not just about the numbers!

Now, I’m not trying to imply that life is one big ongoing word problem (Collective groan!).  I’ve realized that math doesn’t just teach us how to figure out the great sale price of those adorable shoes times 5 different colors plus the 8.75% tax in our heads.  It is about the process and the planning, applying formulas and logic, then following the steps in order to find the answer.   It’s about documenting, double-checking and problem solving if it didn’t work out well.  These are skills that will come in handy for all kinds of projects!

Finally, one more mystery of me solved!  The sight of rows of numbers on a page truly makes my brain grow fuzzy, yet somehow, I was always strong with math.  Somehow my problem-solving and planning skills helped me stick out problems through the end.  Math! It’s not just about the numbers!

GEMS I STUMBLED UPON TODAY

“A river cuts through rock not because of its strength but because of its persistence!” –Jim Watkins

“Obstacles are those frightening things that become visible when we take our eyes off our goals.” –Henry Ford

Grand Canyon: Obstacles, what obstacles?
Think of the possibilities!
Photo by YoTuT

(thanks Karina Saenz-Gutierrez for dropping these two gems in my pathway today!)

SATISFYING MY HUNGER FOR A NEW SERIES

My inner tough-chick self hungered to see The Hunger Games to validate the feverish frenzy surrounding me. I loved the premise of kids sacrificing for another while making huge life-changing decisions towards their own futures. I got hung up on kids fighting to the death but went to see how this translated to screen.

WTF: With this, Fearless!

I gripped my seat constantly because the movie built upon itself so well. I found many great messages delivered by a great film with a kick-ass, intelligent, loving female character. I can’t wait to introduce her to my daughter later on.

May the odds be ever in your favor
This saying writes off most of the tributes saying, “You don’t stand a chance but we’ll pretend you do!” Katniss mentors teach her she’ll have to strategize and make her own odds. The saying reminded me of another famous saying but even the Force was of no value until Luke figured out how to manipulate it. She can’t rest on her laurels, nor rely on luck.

They just want a good show
Mimicking what we frequently see in the media these days, as long as good conflict and attractive players are involved, people become famous “winners.” While Katniss learned and followed the rules to ensure her victory, she did it her own way. Peeta stated, too, that were he to die, “I want to die as myself, I don’t want them to change me.” Turns out Katniss, who felt she was no good at playing games to win sponsors over, instead earned their respect.

WTF – Wearing the Flames
Photo Credit: Murray Close (C) Lionsgate

Hope… the only thing stronger than fear While Katniss may have been an underdog since she hailed from the poorest district that rarely produced winners for The Games, I never doubted she had the skills and ability to win. I only worried about the unknowns waiting for her on the battlefield. Still, she had hope and, even more powerful, love creating fierce determination to stay focused. Her power inspired the sponsors and worried the government. I loved that she appeared strongest when giving others hope.

What touched you? I know everyone else has seen this movie, so share!  Who’s ready to sign up for archery lessons with me?

WTF – With Two Fingers
Photo Credit: Murray Close (C) Lionsgate

MY FAVORITE FLUFFY FILMS

This week can’t end fast enough, yet, we could use a few more days. Nonetheless, we’re halfway and since we just started feeling that we may survive this week (knock on wood!), when the kids finally got to bed, I wanted to shut off my brain and just hang out while doing normal things like wash dishes, fold laundry! I called some familiar faces to make the mundane more enjoyable. Perhaps you recognize some… Click titles or photos to get your own copy – I can’t part with mine!

MELANIE CARMICHAEL: Look at you, you have a baby… In a bar.

Who’d you choose? Andrew Hennings or Jake Perry?
(C) Touchstone Pictures

SWEET HOME ALABAMA – FAVORITE MOMENT: Tough to pick just one, but when Melanie replaces all of Jake’s stuff, including putting chick food in the fridge. The bickering is a fun bumpy ride!

GEORGE DOWNES: Suddenly, a familiar song. And, you’re off your chair in one, exquisite movement… wondering, searching, sniffing the wind like a dapple deer. Has God heard your little prayer? Will Cinderella dance again? And then, suddenly, the crowds part and there he is: sleek, stylish… radiant with charisma. Bizarrely, he’s on [a HUGE] telephone. But then, so are you. And then he comes towards you… the moves of a jungle cat. Although you quite correctly sense that he is… gay… like most devastatingly handsome single men of his age are, you think… what the hell. Life goes on. Maybe there won’t be marriage… maybe there won’t be sex… but, by God, there’ll be dancing.

Seriously the size of the phones back then!
(C) TriStar Pictures

MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING – FAVORITE MOMENT: Restaurant Sing-Along complete with Lobster Claws!

MARTINI: Signora. Please stop being so sad. If you continue like this, I will be forced to make love to you. And I’ve never been unfaithful to my wife.

How far have you gone to find yourself?
(C) Touchstone Pictures

UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN – FAVORITE MOMENT: So many beautiful scenic shots! I could totally live in a village!

DUKE: I am no one special. Just a common man with common thoughts. I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten, but in one respect I’ve succeeded as gloriously as anyone who ever lived. I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul and for me that has always been enough.

Right before the swans! So peaceful on the lake!
(C) New Line Cinema

THE NOTEBOOK – FAVORITE MOMENT: Rainy kisses!

Share your favorite fluffy films!

#TheNotebook #NicholasSparks #MyBestFriendsWedding #SweetHomeAlabama #UnderTheTuscanSun #RomanticComedy #RomanticMovies

THE CLUTTER CONUNDRUM

For the past few weeks, leading up through this week, school report deadlines loomed over both my kids’ heads. Plus this week piled tournaments for my daughter’s softball team, my son’s mid-week baseball game, and I’m waiting anxiously to hear anything about whether or not my temporary position might convert to a permanent job! While carefully weighing, prioritizing and scheduling each valuable minute, my piles of paper grew into vast mountain ranges.

Work Grand Central Station:
2 school projects, camp paperwork, scout paperwork, etc…

Ask me for anything and I’ll find it for you in surprisingly little time… except tonight. We wasted our evening, designated for writing ¼ of a final draft, searching for my daughter’s project packet from her teacher. In my mind I kept telling myself I’d go “ape shit” (I don’t even know what that means?!) if we didn’t find it. While I didn’t say it out loud, my face must have communicated something similar because my kids kept looking.

It drove me crazy because I know exactly the last spot where I sat when I saw it. We turned over everything, every drawer, pile, backpack and even the recyclable bin trying to find this packet. Finally after my 3rd time through this house, I pulled the plug on the operation and pointed while uttering a few guttural ape sounds to send my child to bed. I then collapsed in the chair where I’d seen it last, and immediately turned around to the built-in shelves to find the packet in the “safe-keeping” spot – just inches past the table!

Anytime I put something somewhere for safety’s sake it gets LOST! I just told someone last Friday about how I used to keep my Social Security card in my wallet when I last temped for work. Someone lectured me on identity theft and scared me enough to put it away for “safe-keeping.” When I got a permanent job, I then had to order a replacement because I couldn’t find it!

I may not utilize the best system, or any system at all some days, which can drive me crazy! I know how to be organized. At work I’ve created systems and operations manuals, but at home, we have less time to do more. What about you?

INFJ – WTF!

Let me introduce you to Meyers & Briggs.  You may recognize the implication of these letters – to identify one’s personality type – even if you don’t know their meaning. While researching the colors of my parachute, I tested to see if my instincts and the experts agree about what I do well.  This stemmed from contradictions of getting high SAT math scores yet abundant budget headaches.  I felt I would thrive at job interviews presenting key words that effectively communicate my strengths.  What I found became an insightful window into my self!

I started with this easy to follow book.

I promptly popped strong, accurate keywords into my job-search cover letter. Next, I turned to the well-known Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator.   Employers trust this test to find quality complementary employees to build effective teams. I hesitated for a moment knowing tests may reveal things you don’t want to hear about yourself, but I prefer full-disclosure so I would rather know.

Definition:  Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging – Way Touchy Feely! 

Introverted (vs. Extroverted) doesn’t mean I am shy. More it that I need to recharge in between social events with some quiet time living alone inside my head for a spell. Some characteristics below have extroverted tendencies.

Intuitive (vs. Sensing) doesn’t mean I’m psychic or follow my gut well all the time. It means that I prefer an abstract big picture train of thought and letting my imagination wander for a while.

Feeling (vs. Thinking) doesn’t imply I never use my head, rather that I consider the impact that decisions may have on others with the goal of restoring harmony when possible.

Judging (vs. Perceiving) doesn’t mean I’m judging or diagnosing people, it means I try to control my environment to bring about closure.

Click here for a full explanation – it’s scary accurate!

Fun facts for INFJs –
Known as “the Confidant/Visionary”
Less than 1.5% of the population
Famous INFJs: Oprah, Gillian Anderson, The Tinman from The Wizard of Oz

I can’t wait to spend time with Google to learn more.  Note, I took the free test, not through M-B website, but I took two different free tests and they agreed… feels great to be understood.

What are your letters?

IF YOU COULD COMMISSION ANY LIVING WRITER TO WRITE A BOOK…

I’ve been asked where I get ideas for my daily blog. My better posts come from wandering after a train of thought intersecting my day. Some days I rely on prompts.

Keep conversations going and creative juices flowing!

Today a question leaped off the page at me continuing the train of thought for where ideas come from. I immediately had an answer that sparked music and daydreams woven with memories.

Stephen King! In school I obsessively read his books to drown out droning textbooks. His books strayed far from my day-to-day experience and blew the walls off of my imagination leaving me to wander through dark, scary gardens, creepy neighbors’ homes, even the degenerating mind of a rabid dog. I’d never read a book so frightening that I couldn’t finish until The Shining. I was its prisoner. While it panicked me, it hurt more to stop reading it!

I admit that I am not caught up on his works because in the role of fearless head of my family, I can’t be cowering in the corners under covers. Instead, I bought his book On Writing so I could sit a while longer with Mr. King’s genius. I’ve got a few books on writing but his was the first book from an author whose characters I was on first-name basis with. I loved following his train of thought and the realistic perspective he shared.

I would commission him to help me rewrite my horror film screenplay, “Mother’s Day.” I’d been curious about moms like Wanda Holloway who hired a hit man to kill the mother of her daughter’s cheerleading rival hoping the distress would cause the rival to drop from competition. I asked, “How far a mother’s love goes to ensure the success of her child?” Even more, “what if” the opposition came from within their family? I killed off the necessary players but wanted to spend more time with the psychology of the sub-plots.

Sadly, I checked his website, he doesn’t collaborate or even read and comment on manuscripts due to fear (Stephen King afraid?!) of plagiarism lawsuits. So with his books for inspiration and for pacing the story, I’ll give it another go on my own knowing Stephen has my back.

Photo borrowed from http://www.stephenking.com (C) Stephen King

“I get my ideas from everywhere. But what all of my ideas boil down to is seeing maybe one thing, but in a lot of cases it’s seeing two things and having them come together in some new and interesting way, and then adding the question ‘What if?’ ‘What if’ is always the key question.” –Stephen King

MONDAY CHALLENGE IN THE LAST TWO HOURS OF MONDAY!

At 10pm I received a Monday Challenge (reblogged below) to do something nice for myself.  Not one to turn down a dare, I felt ideas boiling immediately.  Truthfully, the thought of staring at Alex O’Laughlin for 2 hours made me blush like a crushing schoolgirl but I settled for celebrating the highlights of today, and defining one way to treat myself.

We're turning up the heat on Monday!

After spending Saturday and Sunday doing “Anything I Want,” I felt guilty dreaming of another day of self-indulgence! I, too, run constantly to make sure my kids get to sports, get homework done, play, read and get to bed on time before I crash and burn. Realizing that the change in perception matters most, today became a Monday like few others – holiday or not.

After ending the scramble to find childcare for my kids, I made peace with working today in order to stay home Good Friday – despite having my last day scheduled for the Monday before – good gracious! I celebrated that traffic rocked, hot coffee brewed at work saved me time and money, the executive brunch fed me without opening my wallet all day, I met a co-worker for lunch, that when I greeted with “Happy Monday!” I meant it.  I chuckled that other people barely growled coherently. Bottom line, I saw the benefits from allowing myself time to do anything besides what I should do!!

Besides blogging, reading remains my true rare indulgence. I’ve mentioned that I check out more books than I’d realistically read.  I especially love to read books about writers.

I love to wander and hop on their train of thought!

I’m not hoping to follow their money-winning plan word-for-word, just looking for the simple advice, for example E.B. White’s biography suggests to “write what you know” – a simple and common theme echoed by many. E.B. truly implemented the plan creating a masterpiece loved by generations.

Besides the gift of reading at least one chapter tonight, I will contemplate what “I know.” Notice I left off “better than anyone else.” It’s not important to prove to be the expert in the field, rather the expert of my connection to the subject, clearly communicating my observations and experiences. The luxury of the indulgence rewards me, but the magic happens with self-reflection.

Another great idea blooms!

RECOVERING PIXIE DUST ADDICT

The moment I entered the gates, the Magic drew me in. All five of my senses surrendered to the seduction. Delicious sweets and salty popcorn tickled my nose and taste buds, the carousel serenaded me, the ground shook as the slow horse-drawn carriage rolled down the street. I’ll never forget the first day I got sprinkled with Pixie Dust and instantly became hooked. As our exploration dove deeper, revealing special touches in the Park each purposefully placed by the creator, my head nearly exploded from the awe and admiration that I felt for his vision and delivery. I became the Happiest Employee on Earth.

Everyone should have one magic wand...

I’ve always retained hope for Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust – not just because my name means Princess. I even have a crystal magic wand issued from the magic manufacturers. Escaping from the real world while experiencing someone’s best day, got me hooked! Sprinkle pixie dust on crying kids and they instantly fell silent (or into shock). When couples in polyester costumes, that magnified girl’s shapes and eliminated mens’, fell in love that had to be Magic. When I participated in my international student neighbors’, first time trying it, as we climbed the hill to start their first-ever roller coaster ride the Magic sprang forth as they blurted out “Oooh, I’m starting to feel the pressure!”

Later, I went to work at Mecca – the Studios – again spending every day immersed in the Magic tapped from its natural source! Now one step removed, I found myself searching for people who believed and wanted to keep the Magic alive. Fortunately I found others and we became fast friends and more furiously fanatic! About that time, a magic wand spread a new Magical phenomenon as fast as a lightning bolt. I didn’t hop on that broomstick until much later, when I found myself later trying to recover from quitting Pixie Dust cold-turkey. Ironically, a statement from that enchanted creator caused me to conjure up enough strength to move beyond the magic.

A reasonable and wise way to say "Grow up!"

Now when I find myself reacting to the real world, I exclaim “Oooh, I’m starting to feel the pressure!” a smile spreads and that old black [mouse] Magic has me in its spell again!

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