Friday, December 28, 2012

Bless the Beasts and the Children, Putin and Adoption

Toys, toys and toys.  I am pre-Barbi, I admit, so the toys I remember were stuffed animals, a small table and chairs, and books.  Walking into IKEA, I always check out their children's department.  This time, in their stuffed animal area I saw this wonderful spotted Leopard Seal and baby.  How do they do it?  Boris, the Leopard was an earlier purchase (see previous blog).  Their designers must study photographs of these animals to get the shape just right.  There is a whimsical side to their designs as well when you see a stuffed snake with a real rattle in its tail, a rabbit with a back pack and a small rabbit peeking out, finger puppets, hand puppets and all kinds of pretend play items.

I think that we all should make our young children's lives as magical as possible.  What children really want is your time with them, but not parked in front of a video screen.  Reading to them is special and there are so many beautifully illustrated books out there, stories from all over the world, and libraries where these books can be checked out.  Ask your adult kids what they remember from growing up. You may be surprised.

When I taught in Los Angeles, I would buy Dr. Seuss books for the expectant mothers I had in my class.  They were always puzzled by the gift.   "This is for you to read to your child," I said.  Then, after a pause, "Didn't anyone ever read a book to you when you were little."  No answer, just a shrug of the shoulders.

To segue  into my next point about caring about children everywhere, this morning in the "Wall Street Journal" was an article that Vladimir Putin, in retaliation for political decisions that we enacted which included restrictions against Russians who were accused of human-rights violations, will sign a bill that bans U.S. citizens from adopting Russian children. This includes adoptions already in progress.  Many American families request adopting children with special needs.  Russia has 120,000 orphans, with fewer than 20,000 Russians listed as prospective adoptive families.  Russia does not have the facilities to help many of these special needs children.  And so, political pawns are made of these Russian orphans.  Many kids do not have the advantage of caring parents.  This has to be very sad news for the prospective parents who are waiting and the kids who are hoping, hoping, hoping, to be adopted.  Perhaps Putin, with international pressure, will change his mind.

I am adding this website from a couple who adopted a child from Russia.  It is heart-wrenching, but a tribute to a couple who cared enough to adopt a special needs child who would had died without their help.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cat Condos and Boris

I am excited since this is my first post.  I am a leopard, adopted from IKEA, created in China, with relatives in Russia -- think Snow Leopards.

Boris and Cat Condo
Notice this wonderful condo, which I want for myself.  Yes , I know, I cannot fit into it, but it is perfect for viewing from the roof.  Tasha made it for her son and daughter-in-law's cat, Lola, and sadly this is my last day to have it, as the condo is going to its new home.  Tasha wanted me to tell all the cat people out there that this is a Martha Stewart design for which you can get directions on the web.  Cats do love it -- they can enter through the door, climb to the second floor and look out from the roof.  It is a great gift and only takes three boxes, a glue gun, and an Exacto knife.

So with great sadness, I will share this picture with you.  No more cat condo for me unless. . .I can talk Tasha into making anther one.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas from Hobbes, Molly and Boris

Merry Christmas from Hobbes, the stuffed lion puppet,; Molly the American Girl Doll; and Boris the Leopard and of course, Lover of Words.

These three will be my guest bloggers from time to time in 2013.  Hobbes the lion is a published author; Molly is an American Girl Doll, circa, 1940's who is a fashionista; and Boris, a stuffed leopard recently adopted from IKEA, whose family comes from Russia, will all be writing their opinion on various topics.

To all the writers and readers out there in cyberspace, our wish for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and, as Tiny Tim says in A Christmas Carol, "God Bless Us Everyone."

Saturday, December 22, 2012

How to Beat the Holiday Humbug and. . . .

Two blogs that I would like to recommend: and

Lori wrote: "How to beat the Holiday Humbug" a few weeks ago and the John Tesh radio show noticed it, decided to highlight the article and interview Lori live on their show, part of  It was also one of their favorite holiday interviews this year and she will link to the interview on her blog on December 22.  Her blog is always positive, upbeat and has as its theme: "How to Simplify, Connect and Enrich Your Life."  Lori has so many ideas on her web-site.  How she finds time to write, work, be an amazing step-mom to my two grand boys and a wonderful wife to my son, I have no idea, but I am so fortunate to know her.

Lori chooses to be public, but my next recommendation does not, so I will not use her name.  She writes a blog called, 

Her writing is witty, sometimes acerbic, but never dull.  If you have young children and sometimes get frustrated with the day-to-day happenings in your life you will be able to relate to her blog.  Not only does she write a blog, but she has written a book called, Mom's Had a Rough Day.

I count as my blessings these two amazing and talented women in my life as I raise my glass in a cyber toast to them.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Celebrate the Introvert!

"A shy man no doubt dreads the notice of strangers, but can hardly be said to be afraid of them.  He may be as bold as a hero in battle, and yet have no self-confidence in the presence of strangers."
                                                                    -- Charles Darwin

There is so much to the book, Quiet by Susan Cain, that to summarize key points is difficult.  She discusses everything from genetic differences, how different cultures have an "extrovert ideal,"  when to act more extroverted than you are, "how to encourage quiet kids in a world that cannot hear them," to the difficulty in getting an MBA at Harvard if you are an introvert.  The last section:  "How to Love, How to Work," is worth the price of the book.

Ms Cain's end-notes are long and extensive for those wanting to read more about this topic, (a trait of introversion, by the way).  Introverts, no matter what degree, will celebrate their uniqueness after reading this book.

So now when my sensitive personality reacts by flinching at unexpected loud sounds, cannot read books or see movies that are too violent, worries about Africa, is moved to tears by music or art, and gets my feelings hurt much too often (this trait I do not like), I understand why.

My guess is that out in the blogosphere, there are more I's than E's. . .are there?  The blog community is perfect for I's.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Introvert or Extrovert and "Know Thyself"

Have you ever read a book that gave you instant insights about yourself and people you know?  Quiet by Susan Cain is such a book.  A friend or husband reluctantly agrees to go to a party or dinner with you and leaves before the dessert course, leaving you surprised, hurt, mystified, puzzled, angry or all of the above.  Embarrassed, especially if is your husband (or ex-husband as it was in my case). You smile and leave later still smarting over what you consider was a deliberate rejection.  This, and similar scenarios was my experience. The telling sentence I remember was:  "I don't care what you do, just don't include me." Assuming it was all my fault, we never worked out our differences and divorced.

Another example, as in the case of friends, you ask and ask a friend to go somewhere with you, perhaps to an event, and are turned down, more than one time.  Why, you ask yourself, as you perhaps wrongly assume that the friend just does not want to be with you.
Book recommendation

In Ms Cain's book, she explains the introvert personality through history, science and research. True introverts are not good at making small talk; it makes them uncomfortable --  parties and large groups may be too much, and even having to endure a long dinner with friends where everyone just talks, is difficult.  Or large, noisy crowds where extroverts are energized by people, introverts are drained by them and have to leave to re-group.  It is almost physically painful, which explains the sudden departure.

There are degrees, of course, on the spectrum of introversion and extroversion.  Introverts are the best listeners.  They do not feel that in social situations they have to talk all the time.  Observing the scene is their preferred method of participation.  Introverts enjoy and thrive in their alone time.  This is where they work best, writing, thinking, reading, planning, creating, enjoying their inner world.  But in our have-to-be-extroverted society, introverts are often misunderstood in many situations like school and work, and in school situations, especially before college, have to be "fixed" by parents and teachers who don't understand.

And of course, I am not talking about ignoring a child who is depressed and having real problems at school.  Imagine a a child who is quiet, loves to be alone much of the time, likes to read, work on projects, is happy, has a few good friends, gets good grades, but. . .the parents are worried.  Why doesn't he/she like play dates, going to social events at school, or talk much?  What is wrong?  He/she will never be a success in college or in life unless he/she becomes more outgoing, more assertive, think the parents. 

Consider a few examples of introverts who have changed the world:  Albert Einstein, Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Rosa Parks. . . .

Can an extrovert and introvert be married to one another and be happy?  Yes!

To be continued. . . .

Thank you to whomever was my two thousandth visitor today, 12/03/12.  I wish I could thank you personally.