Tuesday, 30 October 2012

What do women and tea bags have in common?

I recently found this quote and love it!

'A woman is like a tea bag. It's only when she's in hot water that you realise how strong she is.' (Attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt and Carl Sandburg)

Monday, 22 October 2012

A Sorrowful Day for the Scarf Lover

A sad day has arrived....as of this weekend, it is now unbearably hot and thus, the scarves have to be packed away. For a passionate scarf lover like myself (anyone who knows me will attest to that fact!), this is indeed a sad day. No longer will my neck require warming, the lace will now only itch (or become terribly annoying), the silk will not flow, rather it will stick, and the flowery and frilly ones will not ripple, but droop. 'Tis a most tragic occurence and it will be many months before it is again scarf weather. All of my scarves, many of them treasures from my travels afar (from Prague and Berlin in particular) are each cherished for their own particular qualities. Either for the pretty floral pattern, or the gorgeous lace, or beautiful fabric, they all completed an outfit or two! Alas, they are no more (until next year when I can rejoice and drape that simple piece of fabric or lace around my neck once more!)

(Don't get too excited-these are not all my scarves-only half belong to me! This was taken in Prague after my travelling buddy and I had been scarf shopping and we decided to lay out all our scarves and were astonished to discover that they completely covered a bed!)

Friday, 19 October 2012

If only we learned from history....

I'm in a philosophical mood and my mind is prone to wander.
On reflecting on the week gone by, I am reminded of a conversation I had with a few of my students. A student of mine is researching Anne Frank for a presentation and is therefore learning about the Holocaust (allowing me to combine my teaching areas and talk about history in my English class!). As she was reading, she asked me if I thought 'people could ever be that horrible again' (referring to the Holocaust). This was quite a pertinent question, especially as I am currently reading a novel entitled 'Exodus' by Leon Uris which is about the Jews post WWII and their attempts to return to Palestine/Israel. This question sparked a good discussion in my class and we decided that people would always be cruel and horrible to other people and would always attempt to justify it using whatever means they could (one only has to look at recent events in the Middle East, Rwanda, Somalia etc. to see that the human race has not learned from history). This discussion left me rather disillusioned with the human race and feeling rather hopeless and forlorn, but it also reminded me of why I majored in History as well as in English, because it is my job to teach the next generations about the events, successes, acheivements, failures and disasters of the past, and it is my job as a teacher to inspire hope in the next generation (that seems like a big mission!) and on a personal level, to seek out the good in humankind.
Here are some quotes from historical figures that we can learn from. It is here that I will end my philosophical ramble (for now).

History does nothing; it does not possess immense riches, it does not fight battles. It is men, real, living, who do all this
KARL MARX

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.
MOHANDAS K. GANDHI

And a piece of advice to end with:
“Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
DESMOND TUTU

As always, your comments and input are welcome!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Why read the classics?


I recently read an article in doing some lesson preparation about why we should still read the 'classics' as the canonical works of literature are known. The article started of with the scary statistic that "according to a Jenkins Group survey, 42% of college graduates will never read another book."
As an English teacher, this prospect terrifies me! We cannot let the art and science of reading simply die out. And we cannot let the classics simply gather dust on the shelf until they themselves turn into dust. The article then gives 10 very good reasons for why we should read the classics, some of the reasons are obvious, others, a little more obscure.
Here is my summary of the reasons:
Firstly, reading the classics expands your vocabulary, which then sets you apart from the average speaker and allows you to communicate more eloquently. Secondly, your own writing improves by reading the works of some of our greatest authors. This improvment in your writing then improves your speaking because your command of the English language has been expanded. You are also inspired with new, creative ideas and fresh perspectives on issues by reading the ideas of people who lived in a different time from yourself. Fifthly, you gain a historical perspective on events and opinions, rather than solely surrounding yourself with contemporary opinions. Sixthly, it is simply enjoyable and mentally stimulating-you will be entertained. Next, you gain an element of sophistication. If you can quote a line from one of these books, you will in all likelihood win that argument and have the knowledge of a book that will continue to be talked about for years to come.
Three more points to go. Number eight, you become a more selective reader. If you expose yourself to good writing, then you continue to select good writing and don't waste your time on the trash. Ninthly, your own voice as a writer is developed because of the good writing you read. Last, but certainly not least, you learn timeless ideas about themes that will never die. These books are classics because their ideas still resonate with readers today.

So, there you have it-read the classics and you will be a better person for it! If you want advice on a book to start with, I would be more than willing to offer you some friendly advice.

If you would like to read the original aricle, here is the link to it:
http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/improve-your-mind-by-reading-the-classics/

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

The Magic of Books

This one speaks for itself, and it's brilliance needs no other introduction.


Monday, 15 October 2012

Doorways and Windows

I love doors. There's something about the mystery of not knowing exactly what you will find on the other side, the anticipation of the unknown, the scope for the imagination of what lies behind the door. When I travelled earlier this year (and my travelling buddy will attest to this) I was fascinated by the doors I found in Europe and (rather stalkerishly, I will admit) I took countless photos of doors that I found particularly intruiging for one reason or another. Whether it was their shape, size or colour, here are some of my favourites:
A cute one
A colourful one
A quaint one
A big one
An old one

There is a line in one of my favourite musicals (The Sound of Music) that goes something like 'When God closes a door, he always opens a window' and coincidentally, I also love windows!

I could leave you with some high-handed metaphorical advice here about doors and windows in life and the opportunities we have and the decisions we are faced with....but I won't....at least, not this time!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Moments

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away. (Anonymous)