Posts Tagged With: thoughts

Inspiration Tuesday

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This or That: Speak or Hear?

Would you rather have the ability to hear, but not be able to speak, or be able to speak, but not hear?  And what I mean is: would you rather be able to understand others but not be able to communicate (talk, write, etc), or be able to communicate but not be able to understand others (hear, read, etc)?

It’s an often talked about fact in the expat community, that you lose some of your speech while living abroad.  You stop using idioms, because they don’t translate in a different language (or because non-native English speakers (or whatever your language) don’t understand them).  You have to look up words in the thesaurus a lot more often (case in point:  I had to look up “translate” in the previous sentence because the only word I could think of to convey my meaning was “transmit”).  You start using words for things that foreigners use (car park instead of parking lot, baby cot instead of crib, take-away instead of to-go).  I often find myself struggling to find the right words for things lately.  The language barrier is compounded, for me, by not usually talking to more than two people most days, one of them being a 1 year old.

Being a writer, a lover of words, I find this development…somewhat disheartening, to say the least.  Words used to flow out of me, my mouth, my pen, my keyboard, but I’m having a harder time of late. I have a plan of action…if I could only find the time to put it in place…

So obviously speaking (aloud or in print) is important to me.  But what if I could communicate, but not hear/understand?  Well, that would suck, but at least then I wouldn’t hear the bullshit spouted by some people, the hatred, the bigotry.  But I also wouldn’t be able to understand my husband, or my baby, when they say they love me.

Interesting conundrum.  I feel like it’s self-centered to say that I would rather be able to share my feelings with the world, put my thoughts out there, than hear what they think.  But I would rather tell my husband and son I love them a thousand times and not hear that they love me, than to not be able to tell them.  And that seems a bit less narcissistic.  I hope.  🙂

So what about you?  Which would you prefer?  Everyone who comments on This or That in the month of June is registered to win a 4×6 print of this photoHouse by the Sea

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This or That: Cool Weather or Hot?

Which do you prefer?  In mid-June, would you prefer to live in a place where it is 50°F or 90°F?  In mid-January would you prefer it to be 30°F or 50°F?

This week’s This or That brought to you from 50° Finland.  (IOW, I want it to be summer already, damn it!!)

In case my position needs further explanation, I like heat.  I would far prefer to be in a warmer climate than a cooler one.  While I absolutely love the typical Finnish summer with perfect mid-70° days, I love a good 90°+ day (assuming you have working air conditioning to go along with it).  I love the feeling of being in a cold, air conditioned building (mall, office building) and walking out into the heat of the day.  I always feel like I’m thawing out.  I miss that feeling.  Although, I will admit that I don’t miss burning myself on the seat belt or the steering wheel…

So, what about you?  Let me know in the comments below, and you’ll be entered to win a 4×6 print of this photo:

House by the Sea

All comments for This or That in the month of June will be eligible for the giveaway!

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This or That: Luke or Han?

We finished rewatching the Star Wars trilogy, and I will say it again – there’s so much I didn’t remember, plot-wise. I did remember more about the third movie than the first two, for some reason. Ewoks are still so darn cute, I don’t care what you say!

Growing up, I seem to remember Luke getting a lot of love from the girls. Even though I didn’t remember the movies so well, I feel like I was more of a Han fan girl myself. Having rewatched the movies recently, I’m definitely a Han fan. Nothing quite like that bad boy with a heart of gold. I found Luke to be a whiny teenager, at least in the first movie – less so by the third, of course.

So I’m wondering, readers – Luke or Han? Who did you have a crush on growing up, and has that changed now that you’re older? Who did you idolize more? Who did you want to be more like?  Let me know in the comments below!

New giveaway rules – each comment on a This or That post in the month of June will be entered into a random drawing.  The winner will receive a 4×6 print of this photo:

House by the Sea

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Inspiration Tuesday


The Sugar Queen, by Sarah Addison Allen, available at

The Sugar Queen, by Sarah Addison Allen, available at

I recently started reading The Sugar Queen, by Sarah Addison Allen. I’m in Chapter 5 already (3 days in), so I would definitely say I’m enjoying it so far. I found it especially hard to put down last night, when the character of Chloe shows up. Chloe has a gift: whatever book she needs shows up when she needs it. As we’re introduced to her, she has kicked her boyfriend out for cheating on her, and the book that magically appears on her couch as she turns from the door is Finding Forgiveness. I’m waiting to see if she forgives the cheating bastard.

But it got me to thinking – Can you imagine?!

I mean, I love books, so I was instantly sucked into the idea that they can magically appear. Then I started wondering what would appear to me, right now? Probably Stop Making Excuses or some such title.

So, if books magically appeared for you whenever you needed them, what book would show up today?  What kind of inspiration do you need today?

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On vacation rentals, Baby J walking, and the need to forgive

I have spent the last three weeks looking at vacation rentals. Pretty much every nap time, plus an hour or more after Baby J has gone to sleep, I’ve been on rental sites weighing the amenities of hundreds of different rentals. I’m exhausted. But we’ve finally found a place that meets all our needs! So excited…

My mom, who was looking at rentals with me during this time (we’re meeting them for a family vacation), asked what I was going to do with all my time now that we’ve found a place. “Well, I still have two more vacations to plan this year, including one other family vacation (which means taking others’ opinions and needs into account), so….” Her response: ” OMG, I can’t imagine going through all that twice more!”


Regardless, I am determined to take a bit of time to get caught up on the blog. Get Inspiration Tuesday and This or That going again. Get three or four weeks of blog posts ready to go so I don’t get behind again.  And then when that’s done, get some journalling done. I’m so far behind on Baby J’s journal.  And I won’t even mention my “writing progress.”

So what’s been going on over the last month or so? Well, Baby J finally cut his first tooth, the same day he took his first steps! He now walks pretty much full time. I love it! I don’t get why people say, all dire-like, “Just wait until he starts walking,” like it’s going to be this stressful leap of skills. Walking is no more stressful than crawling. Which was a HUGE improvement from just laying there. I hated that part. I love that he’s mobile and can get himself to where he wants to be. Including following me into the bathroom!  I’ll leave the door partially open, and he’ll pull it open and peek around and smile at how cool he is for being able to find me.  What scares me right now is when he learns to climb on things.

We installed a baby seat on my bike, and Baby J loves going on rides.  Most of the time we’re out running errands, but hopefully as the weather gets better and his wake times lengthen, we’ll get out for a few joy rides.

A week or two ago, Stephen came home and was telling me about his day. He was leading a meeting, using his computer hooked to a projector, and his email alert popped up with something non-work related. No big deal, it’s happened to me, it wasn’t anything sensitive.  But it made me sit back and say, “I remember leading meetings.” Seems like it was such a long time ago.

For the first time in a very long time, I’m reading a book that I don’t want to put down. “Just one more chapter!” It’s nice to have that again.  It’s especially surprising because it’s in a genre that I’ve found particularly hard to get into over the last five years or so.  I don’t know what I’ll do when I finish.  😦

I’ve been a bit infatuated with a certain news story lately, one which I will not name here, because I don’t want to get into a whole discussion about it. What I would love a discussion about is the idea and merits of forgiveness. I find forgiveness to be overrated. I’m sorry, but there are certain things that are unforgivable, especially when the offender offers no contrition. A lot of people say you need to forgive in order to move on. I don’t agree. I think you can move on just fine without forgiving someone for something they did. It doesn’t have to stay with you or rule your life. The pain, the hurt, can fade, you can think of it less and less, without forgiving.

What do you think?  Is forgiveness necessary for a happy life, or is it overrated?

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This or That: Star Trek or Star Wars

You must pick one, and you must explain why.

I was late getting into the sci-fi geekery, so I never watched Star Trek or any of it’s affiliates.  I of course watched Star Wars, the first three (or the last three?), because they were pretty big hits – I don’t think Star Trek had a major popular movie around the same time.  So, up until now, I’ve been more a Star Wars fan.  I still have yet to really get into Star Trek, although I have watched a few episodes of TNG, and I fully intend to immerse myself in the franchise at some future date.  It may not be until Baby J is old enough to indoctrinate him, but eventually we’ll get there.  And maybe at that time I’ll be on Team Star Trek.  But for now, Team Star Wars.

What about you, dear Reader?  And what do you think of the new Star Wars trailer?  (Personally…it does nothing for me.  And from what I’ve seen on FB, I’m in the minority…)

We actually sat down and watched the original Star Wars movie last weekend – it had probably been 20 years since I had seen it.  And there was a lot I didn’t remember.  But that’s a topic for another post…

No giveaway this go ’round, mostly because I’m still trying to get all the already promised ones mailed out!  (This weekend, I swear!!)

Winner of last week’s This or That is H.B.!  H.B., please email me your mailing address!  (sara(underscore)sligar (at) hotmail (dot) com)

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Inspiration Tuesday

My heart is happy today, and it’s because of Facebook.

Go figure.

You see, as many faults as FB might have, however much people may hate it, it does manage to do one thing.  It helps you keep up with people you would otherwise lose touch with.

There are those that will argue that if you like the person enough, you would keep up with them.  But, come on.  That’s simply not true.

Look, there are plenty of people on my Friends List that I am not truly friends with.  People I haven’t seen in over ten years, people I’ve never even met.  People I would walk past and not recognize.  Most of these people, though, I still like to see what’s going on in their lives.  They get engaged, married, have a baby.  They get a new job, take up running, lose 80 pounds.  They go back to school, or realize a dream they never knew they had.

And I get to share in that a little with them.

There’s the sad, too, the loss of a parent, or a beloved dog, a house fire, or an illness that has a lasting effect.  But I’m glad to know those things, too.  Because these are people’s lives, and they matter.

What it comes down to is this:  I love seeing the people I know happy.  A friend who is so blissfully married it’s disgusting.  A friend who just finished a half marathon, and by the way, looks *amazing* (seriously, did you drop 30 pounds?).  A friend (or four!!) who have adopted and have the happy family they’ve always wanted. And today, a friend who got engaged.

My heart is grinning.


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Inspiration Tuesday

Castle Ruins

Ruins, Erice Sicily


Before moving to Finland, I had never been out of the US (except Mexico and a Caribbean Cruise).  Despite that, or maybe because of it, I’ve always had a fascination with ruins, particularly castle ruins.  Imagining what the walls and floor and ceiling used to look like, who lived there, how they lived, touching a wall and wondering how many other people had touched that same spot over the last five or six or ten centuries, who they were, what thoughts were going through their head.

A former beau told me this story from his visit to Rome.  His tour guide took the group into this back alley, nothing special about it, no signs or markings or anything.  There was a well there.  She showed them this smooth spot on the well, had them run their hand over it.  “Feel how smooth it is, how it’s worn down?  That’s because people for centuries have been coming here for water, and that’s where they rested their hand while pulling up the bucket.”

I love that story.  It’s so remarkable in it’s normalness.

Your actions, even the smallest, most common ones, can reverberate through time, into the future.  They can connect you to a stranger, make them feel something.  Inspire them.

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Inspiration Tuesday: Nine in the Afternoon

I’ve always wondered if the Panic! At The Disco’s song “Nine in the Afternoon” was inspired by the Finnish summer.

9pm on a summer day in Finland.  Yes, really!

9pm on a summer day in Finland. Yes, really!

And for your listening/viewing pleasure:

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