30 Days of most favorites- Day 1

One of the biggest challenges I face every single day is limiting myself.  I use too many words, too many photos, to many colors in literally every single thing I do.  For the next 30 days I am challenging myself to express only one thought, one photo, one color, one something.. just one.  My caveat might be that my one photo will also accompany one quote or word or personal idea.  However, just one.  I hope you enjoy.

Day 1-  those grandkids

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31-days-of-randomness-personal-inspiration-28- Brush it off

In continuation of my 31 days of randomness  – Day 28 – Try and Try again.

This song applies in so many ways at so many different times in my life.  With work, with friendships and with love.  Most recently I would have to say it really applies with language. While in Korea I learned approximately 8 Korean words.  I spent 5 months learning Spanish and 2 years living in the country and still.. I struggle.  I will soon be spending 7 months learning Nepali for work and I have to tell you I am a bit nervous at my lack of ability to catch on to the nuances of languages.   So my inspiration for today and for approximately the next year is to just brush myself off and try again, try again.

I was inspired to write this blog by a very well written blog which I have cut and pasted below (I have trouble withe the “re-blogging” option.  I don’t like the format.  I wish I had read this blog approximately 10 years ago, it would have been posted in my bilingual 1st and 2nd grade classes, all of my Korean classrooms and subsequently given to all of my language teachers.

Looney Toon-y Advice for Speaking a New Language

Learning a new language can be tough, and learning how to get comfortable using that language is even harder!   After you learn how to properly pluralize toilet paper, you still have to gear yourself up to ask a stranger where the bathroom is.  Most of my relatives speak English as a second language, and it didn’t take me long to realize that Looney Tunes teaches you everything you need to know about being comfortable using a newly-learned language.  So here it goes, Advice from the Toons:

Porky Says :  Don’t Panic — If you can’t say it one way, say it another.

Porky the Pig is known for his stutter, but he compensates by replacing words that are hard for him to say with words that are easier.   It’s a simple technique, but an effective one.  Often times, new language learners get so focused on saying one word properly that they don’t just try to complete their thought in a new way.

For example: If you want to find the library, but don’t know the right word for library or don’t feel comfortable saying it, try asking where you can get or borrow a book.

Sylvester Says :  Over Pronounce — Don’t be afraid to over do it.

Sylvester the Cat is known for his spitty, overly pronounced word usage.  The truth is, most languages involve an emphasis that doesn’t come naturally to most new learners.  So whether it’s rolling an R, distinguishing between a B and V, or pronouncing a sound that you’ve never had to make before — just over-do it.  People will understand!

For example: Where I grew up, it’s common for people to drop the H from words that start with an H.  Like “heat” instead of “eat”.  But since you wouldn’t want someone to EAT THE PIE that you just asked them to HEAT, it’s important to over emphasize the sound you know you struggle with.

Bugs Says :  Get Visual — Use props and body language.

Bugs Bunny is known for references that his demographic most certainly does not understand, and using words incorrectly.  Instead of fretting over the incorrect word choice, though, Bugs just points to things around him, pulls out handy reference items, and uses body language to make sure the point gets across.  New language learners often forget to use the world around them as a tool!

For example: If you want to know if a dish on a menu is spicy, but don’t know how to ask– point at the menu and then make the universal gesture for “I just ate something hot!”.  (You know, wave your hand in front of your open mouth and bulge your eyes out a bit.)

Tweety Says :  Repeat — Repeat, repeat, and then say it again

Tweety speaks Birdy as a first language, so when he speaks in English, he often has to repeat what he said.  Sometimes in different ways!  Many new language learners feel embarrassed when someone asks them to repeat something — but remember that quite often, they just didn’t hear you, or maybe didn’t understand that particular phrasing.  Try asking the question in a way that repeats your questions as much as possible.

For example:  If you need directions to the supermarket say the equivalent of, “Can you help me find my way? I’m trying to get directions to the supermarket.  If I go left, will I arrive at the supermarket?”  rather than just “How do I get to the supermarket?”

Daffy Says :  Get Loud — Mumbling is for Natives.

Daffy has a lisp, but it doesn’t stop people from understanding him because he speaks loudly and clearly.  If you’re patient with your speech, assertive in your delivery, and loud enough in volume, you have much greater odds of being understood.  Many new language learners mumble because they’re afraid of making a mistake, but the safest bet is to speak loud enough for people to hear you.

For example: If you’re looking at your feet and mumbling when you ask where the bathroom is, people will probably rely on your body language to fill in the blanks that they didn’t hear.  They’ll assume they’re talking about your shoes, and you will get very confusing advice!

Pepé Says :  Be Proud of your Multilingual Abilities — Language is a beautiful gift.

Pepé is French, and isn’t trying to hide it.  If he doesn’t know the word in English, he says it in French. If he can say it best in French, then he does and explains why.  Language is about communication, and communication is a two-way street.  People are open to learning more about your language if your language gets the point across better.

For example: The French phrase “je ne sais quoi” has been nearly fully adapted into English because it’s simply the best way to say it.


In summary– don’t be so hard on yourself, and take it easy.

That’s all, folks!

This all started from a random site I found called thenester.com.  Apparently there is a group of people who have committed to posting a topical theme a day for 31 days.  31 Dayers 2012

31 days of randomness – Personal Inspiration 25 – Slacker

In continuation of my 31 days of randomness  – Day 25 – Short-timer’s syndrome and how you can Increase attention span and relieve some of your boredom.

I have just over a month left at my current job in Venezuela and I swore it would not happen to me but it has.. I have short-timer’s fever.  This is a disease (if you don’t know) that usually affects military members, government or humanitarian workers and virtually ANYONE who knows that they have very little time left in the position and place they are in.

Symptoms may include: lack of focus on tasks that still must be done, daydreaming about what you have planned, slackened punctuality or blatant tardiness, disinterest in office politics, a happier-than-should-be-allowed disposition, and any other traits that signify that someone’s time is short at a place or activity.

Now, right up with sense of humor and honesty I value work ethics. For this I am a little disturbed with myself.  Though I have only been experiencing a few of the more minor  symptoms I can certainly feel myself sliding towards all of them.  Sliding fast and sliding hard.  So my new inspiration is to avoid slacking and find a few things to amuse myself for short periods of time.  Times when I am in meetings and need to at least appear engaged.  Times when I am being forced to attend some random social event when I would rather be vegging on the couch or watching TV or anything but being at this event.  Times when I know I have something else that needs to be done but can’t focus long enough to get it done.

I actually found a great site which gives you great little 1-3 minute activities meant to relieve boredom and occupy your mind enough to re-engage yourself with the things you are supposed to be doing.  I’m including some of my favorite ideas with a link to all of the others.  Some of these ideas really do work.  We’ll have to see what happens when I am down to my last couple of weeks.  Wish me luck.

1. THINGS YOU CAN DO WITH ABSOLUTELY NOTHING                                        (Click here, I mean up there- those orange words)

Blink wildly and then close your eyes really tight for an interesting light show
(Amusement Potential: 1-5 minutes)
See a variety of blobs, stars and flashes. Try to make out shapes and see if your subconscious is trying to send you a message

See how long you can hold a note
(Amusement Potential: 4-20 minutes)
Not that much fun, but it sure passes the time. Play with a friend, or try to beat your own personal best. Inhale deeply and then try and make a noise for as long as you can. Earn extra points for making your partner laugh or ending on an amusing note.

Make prank phone calls
(Amusement Potential: 20-60 minutes)
Very entertaining, but requires discipline. Remember – vulgarities don’t make a call funny, but getting the other person to believe a ridiculous story will. Try seeing if you can get them to make noises to ‘test’ the line. One to get you started off: Call McDonalds with weird complaints about their food.

Try to not think about penguins
(Amusement Potential: 1-5 minutes)
This is especially hard, because by trying too much, you remember what you were trying to avoid thinking of. If you try too little, you end up thinking about penguins anyway.

Use your secret mind power
(Amusement Potential: 5-10 minutes)
Pick a passing by and try to use your mind power to command them do something, like drop their bag or knock into someone. The law of averages dictates that sooner or later one of your mind commands will come true, so you can convince yourself that you really have super human powers and waste even more time trying them out.

Scratch yourself
(Amusement Potential: 1-3 minutes)
Go ahead, scratch yourself now. Even if nothing itches, go ahead. Doesn’t that feel pretty good?

Pinch yourself
(Amusement Potential: 1-3 minutes)
What is pain? Why is it unpleasant? There’s nothing physical about it – it’s all in your mind. Plus, after pinching yourself for awhile, boredom will seem nice next to being in pain.

Try to swallow your tongue
(Amusement Potential: 1-2 minutes)
There’s not much to say about this one. It is possible, but really stupid.

Look at something for awhile, shut eyes, study after image
(Amusement Potential: 2-5 minutes)
Another great time waster. It takes about 30 seconds of staring to create an after image, and the image is then viewable for about the same length of time. Fun to combine this one with pushing on your eyes.

Get yourself as nauseated as possible
(Amusement Potential: 5-10 minutes)
Best achieved by looking straight up and spinning around. Try to be so dizzy you can’t even stand up. This is also entertaining due to the “makes boredom seem a lot better” effect (see “Hurt Yourself”).

Send spooky emails
(Amusement Potential: 15-60 minutes)
Look up someone’s CV on the web, do some research on them via Google and then send them an email full of personal references claiming to be an ex-work colleague who fell in love with their shoes. Or something.

See what’s in your neighbour’s rubbish/trash
(Amusement Potential: 20-30 minutes)
You can learn a lot about people by what they throw out. You might uncover some dark secret about them. Plus, they might be throwing out something with value that still works, like a VCR or some porn mags.

Now if none of these ideas appeal to you this website has more of these awesome ideas.  Now if none of the ideas appeal to you then look below and click on some of the related articles.. or lastly just leave this page quietly, shut the door quietly behind you and don’t look back.

This all started from a random site I found called thenester.com.  Apparently there is a group of people who have committed to posting a topical theme a day for 31 days.  31 Dayers 2012

31 days of randomness Personal Inspiration 14 – Freakn’ through

In continuation of my 31 days of randomness – Day 14 – Push it

With no internet for a day and not getting back from the airport until about 3 am.  I am very low in motivation to go to work.  Actually getting out of bed was a struggle. My inclination is to complain or call in sick.. I did in fact just write an inspirational blog about playing hookie.. but you see I don’t like being by myself when I’m cranky and tired.  I don’t like staying home if I’m sick.  Hookie is meant for special days.  Days of fun. This is not one of them so far. I have to options.  Complain and make my day ridiculous and probably ruin someone else’s day or just get through the day. Sometimes the only personal inspiration out there is “suck it up and freak through”.  I’m sure you all remember that post – Freakn through is just pushing it to get from one place to another.  I used to just call it pushing through until I read Beyond Paisley’s post explaining “Freaking Through”.

In order for me to Freak through today I needed a sound track.  I usually just turn on “Jango” an internet web-based personal music station.  It chooses songs based on your thumb up/thumb down responses.  I will share with you the first several songs on my soundtrack that just put me back in a good push through mood.  Enjoy.

This all started from a random site I found called thenester.com.  Apparently there is a group of people who have committed to posting a topical theme a day for 31 days.  31 Dayers 2012


31 days of randomness- Personal Inspiration 10 – Fish Philosophy

In continuation of my 31 days of randomness – Day 10 – Fish Philosophy – Live in the moment.

When I was teaching in California (and I believe that this happens at most schools), we were always required to start each year with some sort of inspiring teaching story or some sort of motivational activity.  I remember one year we started our motivational hour with a film called “FISH! Culture”  It was a motivational film really focusing on living in the moment.  It seemed like a somewhat hokey video at first but every time I see it I remind myself that these are principals that I try to go back to all the time and sometimes in the heat of each day and each moment I often forget that living in the moment is all you have.

The Fish Philosophy involves four simple principles:

Be There – When we interact with others, we need to really focus on that moment, with that person. We take responcibility for “being who we are while we’re doing what we’re doing.”

Choose Your Attitude – We can’t control what happens to us, but we do have a choice about how we respond. By accepting responsibility for the attitude we choose, we also empower ourselves to change it.

Make Their Day – Too often we ask, “What have you done for me lately?” instead of “How can I make your day?” If we turn the focus around and do little things to make others feel good, we can have a powerful, positive impact on the people in our lives.

Play – This does not mean goof off, but it does mean bring a light-hearted spirit to life. Think about how much little kids learn by exploring, experimenting, playing. Why shouldn’t we all approach life with the same curiosity and interest? Besides, it is more fun!

I wish I had the full video to share but all I could find is a trailer.  Enjoy!

This all started from a random site I found called thenester.com.  Apparently there is a group of people who have committed to posting a topical theme a day for 31 days.  31 Dayers 2012

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