Friday, November 30, 2012

Six Word Saturday

It's the end of the year?
No, it can not be yet?
It seems that it just started.
In a year of substantial change -
Time has moved at record pace.
I did not get to stop.

But I am looking forward to -
experiencing the adventure that lies ahead!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Friday Fragments & Four Fill In


Thanks to Hilary for hosting. This week’s statements:

1. I have always dreamed of visiting a South Pacific Island.

2. My word is my bond.
3. I love to XXX when I YYY.
4. I will never forget the Match Game with blanky blanks.

Mommy's Idea

Thanks to Mrs. 4444's for hosting...
  • It was bitter sweet seeing the graduating students today... I will miss many of them but I wish them the best of luck in their post graduation life.
    • On a related note: I now only have a month left on my Sabbatical.   Oy vey!  I have enjoyed the freedom of the sabbatical.  I am not really looking forward to going back to 11+ hour days in my office...:-(  I love my job but sabbatical has been a very nice break.
  • Send Heather on get well wishes.  She has a head cold combined with losing her voice.  The kids do not know how to handle not being yelled at...
    • On a related note: Is there anything a husband can say when their wife loses their voice that will not get them in trouble?
  • Heather has gotten into the series Rules of Engagement.  I will admit it is actually cute at times but she is almost through six seasons in about three weeks.
    • On a related note: I got Erik into Transformers (the kiddie version - no violence).  They are more than meets the eye don't you know. He loves the transforming sound.  He thinks it is funny.  Now all I have to do is get him into comic books so that I can relive my childhood without feeling like a total nerd.  

  • Heather and I broke a record this week for the most people linking up with our Wordless Wednesday!  I am thinking we are going to try for over 100 link ups this week.  Hope we get there.  Why don't you drop by on Tuesday/Wednesday and help us out with reaching this record?
    • On a related note: Check out Heather and I's Monday Quiz About Me and Thursday's Thirsty for Comments memes as well.

Graduation Advice - Fall 2012 Edition - Keys to Happiness

My apologies for going off prompt this week but in our department we have a tradition that every semester we have an end of term party for our graduating class.  As part of the event, every professor in the department gets to say a few words of advice to the graduating class.  Today is that day and I post the words I am to share here...

This has been a year of change for me personally.   As a result, I have taken much time to reflect on what is truly important in life.  To all of you I wish all of you to find happiness in life. How is happiness achieved you ask? Well we all have our own paths to choose but there seems to be some common threads with the people I know.  They all seem to live by the three 'L's' - live, love & laugh.

Most people who talk about living take a 'carpe diem' approach. That you live everyday as your last.  In my experience that approach gets burnt out.  The key to living 'happy' is moderation and incremental personal growth.  It is about learning how to balance fun with responsibility.  It is about keeping ones emotions on an even keel.  For the most important part though, it is about driving yourself to become a better spouse, parent, friend, coworker and community member.  I challenge you to look in the mirror each morning and ask yourself honestly, "am I a better person today that I was yesterday."  If you are being truly honest you will have several days where the answer is 'no' but that will drive you to have more days when the answer will be 'yes.'  If you can make that happen you will continue to grow personally and professionally which will result in a life of fulfillment. This approach will take time but with diligence, vigilance and dedication to personal growth - it will lead you towards happiness but you can not do it alone.  You will need others support along the way and that brings me to the second 'L' - love.

Love comes from displaying compassion, possessing empathy and demonstrating respect. One truth that has come to me through the years is that caring for others brings its own rewards.  Compassion is about wanting to be there for others.  It is about being understanding and willing to give.  Empathy is about understanding others.  True empathy is trying to see from others perspectives their word and views.  It does not mean you have to agree but by trying to understand others one opens themselves to really learning about and knowing others.  The final ingredient of love is demonstrating respect for others.  By demonstrating these characteristics you will find that a lot of people come to care and love you.  This is important because life will kick you in the teeth at some point.  You will have series of moments that will test you.  By surrounding yourself with love, getting through those moments and passing those tests will become much easier because you will have others to lean on and help you.  Which leads to my third point.

When life throw absurdities at you, sometimes, you just have to laugh.  Laughing is a good way to ensure happiness.  To be able to laugh one needs to have humility,  a willingness to be open and a positive outlook.   Humility is knowing in your heart that you are human and fallible as anyone. By being humble it leaves one with the ability to be open.  This means be willing to listen to others, take in knowledge and use the information in a positive manner.  A positive outlook leads one to look for ways in which makes the world around them better.  It is about being willing to open oneself to a world of possibilities and to keep moving forward as a result.  Being being positive and moving forward one will have many good and rewarding experiences as a result.  This means, you will have a lot of opportunities for laughs - Take, enjoy and relish them.

I wish for each and everyone of you happiness.  While we all have our own paths to follow, there are a core set of values that seem to share.  Think carefully about these three 'L's' and what you can do to foster each one of them.  Happiness comes from within.  It come from feeling and knowing one is a good person who is trying their best to grow and flourish in this world.  Your beliefs, values and actions shape the world in which you live in.  Each one of you has the ability to be happy by creating positive environments around yourself.  My advice?  Take initiate and responsibility for your own happiness by being the best person you can.  That is the true key to happiness.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thirsty for Comments

Welcome to Thirsty for Comments

Hosted by Acting Balanced, Silver Faeries and Dragonflies, Thoughts 'n Such, Touristic and Crazed Mama

Grab our badge for your sidebar or post:

This week's featured blogger is:

In Him We Live

What is Thirsty for Comments?

This is a blog hop dedicated to giving good comment - please, when you are visiting, actually READ the post that is linked and make a thoughtful comment!

This is NOT a hop for "I'm here from the hop, follow me back" comments!

Link up your ONE SPECIFIC POST that you'd like comments on - remember - no giveaways!
The rules are simple -

1. Link up ONE SPECIFIC POST (NOT just your blog URL) that you'd like to have more comments on - NO GIVEAWAYS or OTHER BLOG HOPS - they will be deleted

2. Visit AT LEAST THREE other blogs and READ the posts and then comment thoughtfully on the post.

Wednesday Hodgepodge & A Pouring of My Holiday Heart

Thanks to Joyce for hosting. Here are the questions,

1. Which do you prefer-pretty gift wrap with a bow or a pretty gift bag with/without a bow? What percentage of your holiday gifts are currently (as in right this very minute) wrapped in some form or fashion?

I wrote about my Grinch-ish attitude about Christmas yesterday - check it out.  Personally, I will go with bags because they are reusable.  Gifts bought = 0 there gifts wrapped = 0.

2. What is one item on your Christmas list this year?

Absolutely nothing that I do not already have - (see my rant below).

3. What makes a home?

One part comfort, two parts love.  Mix in a sprinkle of shelter and security.  Stir together to create home.


As Pumba elegantly says, "Home is where you rump rests."

4. Motown founder Berry Gordy celebrates his birthday on Hodgepodge Day-November 28th. Are you a fan of the Motown sound? If so, who's your favorite Motown artist and/or song? Here's a list in case you're stuck. 

I do like me some Motown...

5. Red or green-which one is more prevalent in your closet?

Red because it is the one of the colors of...

6. True or false-bacon makes it better? If you answered true, what's your favorite dish made with bacon? 

False.  Bacon can be over done.  There are places it doesn't need to be.  Like when it is clogging my arteries.

7. Share a favorite holiday memory. 

 This is my dad every Christmas now.  Driving in a car with him is pretty funny - lots of double takes.

As for a more specific memory, I always enjoy a Charleston Christmas on the beach...

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

 I do not often mix up meme's but today, I break that rule today with a

Pour Your Heart Out Entry...

entry mixed in.

This has been a good year for me.  I have a happy and healthy family.  I earned tenure and promotion at work.  Heck, I even lost almost 30 pounds.  This run of good fortune though has got me thinking.  What is the key to happiness?  Lately I have been listening to the ads and looking around my house which has lead to to think to myself, does any of this stuff really make me happy?  The answer is no.

Real happiness is found in the people that surround me.  I could be living in a one room hut and be happy with these people.  It is the love and respect of those around me which bear the juiciest fruit of happiness. So why are we so concentrating on stuff during this holiday season?  I have to decorate the house, I have to buy presents, I have to...  No, you and I do not have to.  What we should want to do is spend time with the people we cherish.  That is where the real happiness comes from. I will fully admit I am a Grinch when it comes to the crass commercialism that goes with this season - I believe it is the antithesis of what it should really mean.  So this holiday season, I am concentrating on what I feel is truly important and forgetting what others tell me what should make me happy and worrying about spending my time on things that actually do make me happy.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Edisto Beach State Park

These are from Edisto Beach State Park.  Remember to link up at the bottom!

Coffee Chat - Christmas too early?

Thanks to Leslie for hosting.

I fully admit it.  I am a Christmas Grinch..  I do not enjoy the holiday and the hubbub around it.  I do not like the crass commercialism that surrounds it (see Friday, Black).  Generally, if I want to buy a present for someone, I will do it when I see something special - it doesn't matter what date the calendar says it is.  I like the spontaneity of gift giving rather than as a social protocol (I also do not like giving birthday gifts for the same reason).  Further, I try to spend quality time with the people I care about year round.  I do not need a special day in order to do so.  If I wanted to spend time with you, I will make time to do it.

Onward in the description of my Ginchiness - since I am not religious, I feel no otherly reason to celebrate this season over any other.  Personally, this is a time of year where religion can create more conflict that it promotes peace.  Why is Christmas more important than Hanukkah or Ramadan or Diwali?  Why do we get days off for Christmas but not those holidays?  How many arguments have arisen out of which celebrations get the most attention?  How many Happy Holidays versus Merry Christmas debates must I endure?  Personally, I would rather take religion away from the equation and make a bigger deal out of a non-secular holiday like Thanksgiving (although it has religious undertones too).

On a less Grinichy side I do like decorations but why only contain beautiful lights and cheery sights to one time a year?  Shouldn't the spreading of  goodwill, charitable giving and the message of peace be a year-round endeavor?  I do not need a holiday to remind me of what should be a daily expectation of humanity.  In total, I do not like the crass commercialism of the secular component and do not feel a religious need to celebrate - therefore this is not a holiday for me.  With this state, I am fully aware that yes, I am indeed a Grinch.

P.S. I didn't even get into my rant on lying to children about a certain fictional character but that would be really Grinchy of me.  One does realize that a certain sleigh would have to travel 650 miles per second, 3,000 times the speed of sound to make a run on a certain evening delivering gift.  Further, the math indicates that a certain person would require to be carrying around 300,000 tons of gifts.   If flying reindeer are ten times stronger than normal reindeer that would mean he would need over 200,000 reindeer to get the job done.  Further, even if that all managed to happen, thanks to the good folks at Stanford we have learned that, "353,000 tons [of gifts] traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance - this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as spacecraft re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy. Per second. Each. In short, they will burst into flame almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them, and create deafening sonic booms in their wake... [The driver of said sleigh], meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500.06 times greater than gravity. A 250-pound [driver]...would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force."  Is this the science we want to teach our kids?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Music Monday - Inspiration...


Thanks to XmasDolly Conductor of this musical trip along with co-conductors Callie ofJAmerican Spice, Stacy of Stacy Uncorked, Cathy of Cathy Kennedy's Blog and the Honorary Co-Conductor this month is Lucy from Lucy's Reality for being great hostesses!

This weeks song are ment to be inspirational!

There is no better tune than...

"On The Turning Away"

On the turning away
From the pale and downtrodden
And the words they say
Which we won't understand
"Don't accept that what's happening
Is just a case of others' suffering
Or you'll find that you're joining in
The turning away"
It's a sin that somehow
Light is changing to shadow
And casting it's shroud
Over all we have known
Unaware how the ranks have grown
Driven on by a heart of stone
We could find that we're all alone
In the dream of the proud
On the wings of the night
As the daytime is stirring
Where the speechless unite
In a silent accord
Using words you will find are strange
And mesmerised as they light the flame
Feel the new wind of change
On the wings of the night
No more turning away
From the weak and the weary
No more turning away
From the coldness inside
Just a world that we all must share
It's not enough just to stand and stare
Is it only a dream that there'll be
No more turning away?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Monday Quiz

Welcome to Monday Quiz About Me - hosted by Acting Balanced and Touristic

Here are FOUR QUESTIONS that everyone can answer and then you have the option to add a fifth question of your own for those who are visiting your blog to answer in the comment section, along with commenting on the four standard questions you answered! Grab the badge for your post if you like:

Acting Balanced

A Named Listicle

The best part of having a kid is naming them...unfortunately Heather would not let me sell naming rights to any of the kids.  Pepsi Smith would have potentially been a great name!  Set straight by the boss while we were naming Erik - this is a post I wrote about my rules for names...

P.S. Heather wanted me to add that I had to do this one because I am not living in this century as I do not own nor care to own a cell, smart or otherwise communicative device.

Top Ten Baby Names

10.  I have always loved the name Akbar.  Whether it was getting my geek on from a Star Wars reference or just the thought of naming a child 'great.'  Unfortunately, Heather kibosh-ed me on this one.  She though Akbar Smith just didn't work.  Kill-joy.

9.  Ursula - Heather has called me her bear since we first met.  She thinks I am temperamental like one.   It was also the name of one of Heather's grandmothers'.  It was so in the running.
8.  Sheldon - Sheldon Cooper Smith.  Don't think I would not do it. 
7.  I have always like the name Sara(h) but I didn't know how to spell it correctly...
6. Charles - especially since we live in Charleston.  Once again Heather overruled me.  Think of it, when you want to go classy - break out the Charles.  When you want to just be one of the guys, who is a better buddy that Charlie.  It is a great name all around.
5. Rebecca - see explanation above.  Professional time you are Rebecca and fun time you become Becky.  Perfect.  Plus Rebecca Romijn played Mystique.  How can one not look at this picture and not fall in love...
4. Caleb - A name I always liked.  Don't know how I came to know it, don't know where I got it from but it is very cool!
3. Robyn - no, we didn't name her but it is works for her.  A beautiful name for a beautiful young lady!
2. Erik - Named after the great Norse leader, Erik the Red, boy did we get this name right.  Our Erik is indeed a person of free spirit and exploration with a nasty side at times.  
1. Liam - We named him before the name got 'hot' - hence once again proving that Heather and I are indeed trend setters.  Actually, we were actually going to name him William but I remember that Will Smith became known for this...  
So I wimped out and went for the Will derivative Liam.  I so like the idea of my son being named after a derivative (one again proving my geekiness).

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sundays In My City - Edisto State Park

Thanks to the Unknown Mami for hosting Sundays In My City.  This was our Thanksgiving Day walk at Edisto Beach State Park.

Come back on Tuesday/Wednesday to see the scenery pictures from this walk.  My link up will go up at 10:00 AM on Tuesday.

Unknown Mami

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Starry - Six Word Saturday

A silver thorn, a bloody rose

Starry, starry night 
Paint your palette blue and gray 
Look out on a summer's day 
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul 
Shadows on the hills 
Sketch the trees and the daffodils 
Catch the breeze and the winter chills 
In colors on the snowy linen land 

Now I understand what you tried to say to me 
And how you suffered for your sanity 
How you tried to set them free 
They would not listen, they did not know how 
Perhaps they'll listen now 

Starry, starry night 
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze 
Swirling clouds in violet haze 
Reflect in Vincent's eyes of china blue 
Colors changing hue 
Morning fields of amber grain 
Weathered faces lined in pain 
Are soothed beneath the artist's loving hand 

Now I understand what you tried to say to me 
And how you suffered for your sanity 
And how you tried to set them free 
They would not listen, they did not know how 
Perhaps they'll listen now 

For they could not love you 
But still your love was true 
And when no hope was left inside 
On that starry, starry night 
You took your life as lovers often do 
But I could have told you, Vincent 
This world was never meant 
For one as beautiful as you 

Starry, starry night 
Portraits hung in empty halls 
Frameless heads on nameless walls 
With eyes that watch the world and can't forget 
Like the strangers that you've met 
The ragged men in ragged clothes 
A silver thorn, a bloody rose 
Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow 

Now I think I know what you tried to say to me 
And how you suffered for your sanity 
And how you tried to set them free 
They would not listen, they're not listening still 
Perhaps they never will

Four Fill In Friday


Thanks to Hilary for hosting the Four Fill In Friday...

This week’s statements:

1. I put ketchup on a hot dog
2. When it gets tough I get going.
3. If my house was clean then I would be able to more guests over.
4. If I was getting married tomorrow I would budget differently so we could spend differently now.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Post Thanksgiving Friday Fragments...

Thanks to Mrs. 4444's for reminding me to stuff the leftovers in the fridge so that I can serve them up to you today...

  • I can not believe one of the local radio stations have already gone to all Christmas songs.
    • On a related note: I actually hummed along to Michele Buble - I am so depressed...
  • For a Canadian living in America, it is still strange to see how big Thanksgiving is...for many this holiday is bigger than Christmas.
    • On a related note: Robyn and Heather have gotten into the tradition of Black Friday shopping.
  • I am tired and we did not even have turkey.  
    • On a related note: Tryptophan is a blessing in our house...Thanks to all of those Turkeys who have given up their lives to help my boy and thus me sleep.
    • We went for a great walk at the Edisto State Park today...Please drop by on Sunday and again on Tuesday to see the photo evidence .  
  • On a related note: I also want to remind you Heather and I host a meme on Mondays (Monday Quiz About Me) and Thursday (Thirsty for Comments Thursday).
  • It has been fun having the kids home all week...
    • On a related note:  It will be even more enjoyable for them to go to school on Monday.
    Mommy's Idea

    Pondering Disaster


    Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends.  Hope everyone gets lots of turkey fun today.  Brenda however, told a story of have some trouble preparing that Thanksgiving feast.  So she asked us to Ponder whether if we need to have some perfect to say it is good enough.

    This is a tough subject for me.  I personally think that one of the biggest problems in North America is the it is 'good enough' attitude.  Too many feel that doing the minimum to get to 'good enough' is acceptable.  This attitude is related to laziness and in reality shuts down innovation and growth.   It is particularly irksome in education where students work to a rubric.  It encourages students to work to the minimum.  

    On the other hand, if one does decide to innovate and grow, failure is part of the process.  The best lessons sometimes are those that require struggle.  As a researcher, I have a problem with 'good enough.'  The whole point of research is to innovate and gain new insights.  It is about moving forward.  I acknowledge however, that if one has exhausted their efforts of the moment - the results then have to be pushed forward as part of being productive.  This is when 'good enough' has to be just that.

    So in response to Brenda's query.  'Good enough' is based on effort and innovation.  I will gladly eat something not perfect if it is made on the path of innovation.  

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

    Thirsty for Comments

    Welcome to Thirsty for Comments

    Hosted by Acting Balanced, Silver Faeries and Dragonflies, Thoughts 'n Such, Touristic and Crazed Mama

    Grab our badge for your sidebar or post:
    This week's featured blogger is:Jack's Paper Moon

    What is Thirsty for Comments?

    This is a blog hop dedicated to giving good comment - please, when you are visiting, actually READ the post that is linked and make a thoughtful comment!

    This is NOT a hop for "I'm here from the hop, follow me back" comments!

    Link up your ONE SPECIFIC POST that you'd like comments on - remember - no giveaways!*****************************************The rules are simple -

    1. Link up ONE SPECIFIC POST (NOT just your blog URL) that you'd like to have more comments on - NO GIVEAWAYS or OTHER BLOG HOPS - they will be deleted

    2. Visit AT LEAST THREE other blogs and READ the posts and then comment thoughtfully on the post.

    Tuesday, November 20, 2012

    Wednesday Hodgepodge - Turkey Edition

    Thanks to Joyce for hosting the Hodgepodge.

    1. Turkey-love it or leave it? White meat or dark? What's your favorite thing to make using leftover turkey?

    I am a fan of turkey, especially the white meat with a little bit of pepper and cranberry in a bowl along with some stuffing.

    2. Gotta burn off all those carbs the day after a holiday feast so which would you rather do-run a 10K or climb a mountain?

    I would rather climb a mountain because I love nature but my natural abilities say running a 10K is more plausible.  I have a really weak grip.  Guess I didn't strengthen my wrist and hand enough as a teenager.

    3. Do you feel like social networking has made your relationships better or worse? Explain.

    Neither really.  No one I hang or am friends with take it all that seriously.  It is a tool, nothing more/ nothing less.

    4. How do you find and express gratitude for the hard things in your life?

    I say thank you a lot.

    5. In the US, the day after Thanksgiving has been dubbed 'Black Friday'. Is most of your holiday shopping done live and in person, or is it done more through the magic of the Internet? How do you feel about stores opening at midnight Thanksgiving night? Will you be out amongst the masses on Friday?

    No, I will not be among any shopping crowds on Black Friday, White Wednesday or Maroon Monday.   Heather and Robyn however, have a tradition of going out at midnight on Black Friday though.  I plan to be fast asleep.  I feel bad for the employees if they are not getting overtime to be there.  That would stink indeed.  I would however, volunteer to work for double time pay.

    6. Speaking of the color black-which black item in your wardrobe would you say is your favorite?

    I like my black bow tie.  I feel James Bond-ish in it.  Perhaps I should rephrase that.  Nah, too funny of a pun.        

    7. What do you appreciate about your life today?

    I have it very good.  I live by the motto happy wife, happy life.  Seriously, I am healthy and happy.  My family is healthy and happy.  I have the ability to make the world a slightly better place for others.  What more could I ask for?

    8. Insert your own random thought here.

    Wordless Wednesday - Congrats Cougars Volleyball!

    Congratulations to the College of Charleston Volleyball team on winning the Southern Conference Championship last night! 

    These are a set of pictures taken by Dr. Henry Xie from a game earlier this season.  Please link up below!

    Please link up here: