Wednesday, July 31, 2013

To me no one is ever less than...

I heard this song today called " Fuckin' Perfect" covered by Boyce Avenue and I really liked it because of it's message. I like how it asks, no, almost begs people to never let anyone make them feel like they're not good enough.  Usually I don't like the idea of perfection so much, mostly because I figure that things wouldn't be as fun if everyone was perfect since there wouldn't be as many things to work towards or to learn. However, in the case of this song, it felt  right to include the idea of reaching perfection since it also talks about struggles people go through in their attempts to feel truly accepted. It spoke to me because at least to me everyone is of great worth. No one should ever feel "less than." If you're reading this and for whatever reason you're feeling like you're inadequate, please know that whatever it is you're struggling with, I am rooting for you through this blog! I keep posting on this blog because the idea that the things I write here might help people to feel good inside, matters to me very much. To me everyone is of great worth and deserving of a lot of happiness! I wish you all the very best now and always. :)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


I've recently made an extraordinary discovery. My phone has a ringtone that sounds like a duck! I think this is so exciting because when I hear ducks quacking it sounds to me like they're laughing. I've set my alarm ringtone to the duck sound just so I can wake up to hearing someone laughing. This makes me laugh too and is thus a lovely start to the day! After all, my day is better when there's laughter in it! Quack! 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Life is so much better when a little laughing and dancing is involved!

I heard this quote on the Ellen show which I liked a lot: "It's important to laugh at yourself and it's very important to dance " I have done a lot of laughing and dancing (both together and separately) many times in my life. One of my favorite instances of this was once I was listening to "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" by Jet and I just couldn't help myself, I just started rocking out to the music and dancing. As I did this I realized I'd forgotten to close my window shades in my room but then again I also realized I didn't really care, if people wanted to stand and watch and laugh, so much the better. In any case, I felt really good when I finished.  I think laughing is one of the best of things and it is even contagious. So even if you don't dance at all, I hope your day is full of a lot of laughter even if it is laughing at yourself in the best sense. :)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The innocence of youth leads me to believe there's hope for us yet

There's something about cards kids send out when something touches their heart.Today, I read an article on the Boston Globe's website about letters received by Boston's One Fund (a charity set up after the Boston Marathon bombings in April to raise money for victims and their families,) from children from all over the country. A letter that was described in the article that touched me the most was from a 9-year-old girl who wrote: "“I pray to everyone in Boston and especially the ones that are ingerd  [sic] and have past [sic] away.” These letters reminded me of a letter that was sent by a little girl named Virginia to a newspaper asking whether Santa was real. (Her father told her that if that particular newspaper said something was true, then it was indeed true.) The letter and the reply that someone from the newspaper wrote back to her stating that Santa Claus was real and that he exists in people's love and generosity, became famous and the letter's reply is the most reprinted editorial in the English language.  

Just as Virginia's letter was used to bring a bit more hope to Americans, I think that the letters to the One Fund bring hope  not just to the people directly affected by the bombings but also to people in general. If our society can produce children who feel so strongly about an event that it influences them to send their well wishes and even to raise and send money to the victims and families, I think it shows that in the face of unspeakable evil, there is still a lot of good in the world and a lot of hope for the future. :)

As I couldn't resist posting it, below is a picture of another letter sent by a kid to the One Fund. 

Photo from the website:

To read the article about the letters click here.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Shakespeare in the park

I always liked Shakespeare, I may not always understand the language of his plays but I still think the language sounds beautiful and I also like how the plays are so translatable that they can be adapted to any time period and still be relevant/interesting to modern audiences. Last night I was able to get a group of friends together to go and see the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company perform Two Gentlemen of Verona on Boston Common. What I felt was really cool about the performance was that it included references to Boston sports teams and  a live band and band music from the 1940s and 50s. I felt the musical addition was rather clever as I like songs from the 1950s. The band made the performance seem like a cross between Shakespeare and a 1950s musical, which I thought was a lot of fun.

The performance also involved an actual live corgi dog-that animal alone stole the show for me. At one point the dog barked as if on cue at a very appropriate moment and surprised the actors as much as the audience, I suppose the dog hadn't done that before. Spontaneous things like that seem to make such performances more interesting. The only other outdoor Shakespeare performance I've been to was to go and see Hamlet with my family. There's a storm scene in Hamlet and just at that particular scene the skies opened and it started raining. Not torrential rain, (thank goodness) but enough to get my brother to start whispering repeatedly and energetically to my parents that he wished my dad had taken him to see a football match instead. Despite all that, I think my brother, my sister and I still did eventually appreciate the bit of culture our parents tried to instill in us. I think if my parents had not exposed me to plays like that, I might not appreciate them as much and have as nice a time as I did last night!

Although it's really short notice, there's still time to see Shakespeare on the Common. The last performance is Sunday July 28th at 2 and 8 pm. If you go, please give a standing ovation to the corgi!

Friday, July 26, 2013

I love foreign music!

What prompted this post is my mum's friend from France and her really nice taste in music. She sent me a CD from a group called Coeur de Pirate which I like very much and it got me thinking about how much I like musical groups from other countries in general. I like French and Spanish music best  because I understand a bit of  those languages so sometimes I can sort of follow along to what's being sung. Really though, I just like the way the music sounds. Even if I don't understand what they're singing about (for all I know these singers could be really singing about how much they love sandwiches or how they just went to the supermarket and really enjoyed that outing,) as long as they sound nice musically,  I'd think the song was cool anyway. Plus, if I like a song enough it spurs me to try and figure out what it's really about. The song I liked best from the CD I mentioned, is called "Comme Des Enfants" and I like it because it sounds playful. The only word I understood out of the whole thing was "enfants" (children-I think!) but it's a start! (Also a signal I really need to learn more French!) In any case, listening to music in another language adds a bit of culture and spice to my life which is another reason to like it!  If you'd like to listen to the song, see below. I've also included a song in Spanish that I like very much as well. It is called Al Otro Lado del Rio from the movie "The Motorcycle Diaries." As far as I can tell it's about rowing down a river and seeing a light on the other side of the river. It's a nice image!

(Comme Des Enfants)

(Al Otro Lado Del Rio) 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Disability Strong!

I went with a friend to a celebration of the 23rd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), in Boston today and loved it! (The ADA is a civil rights law that mandates, among other things, that people with disabilities have equal access to buildings, jobs, and services. It also prevents discrimination against these individuals.)   There was music and food,  speeches by Boston's Mayor Menino and other dignitaries and even a flash mob. What I especially liked about the event was the t-shirts that were given out to everyone who attended. (After all, one can never have too many t-shirts.) These particular shirts (as you see below) had Boston Strong on them with traditional disability symbols. The words on the shirt seemed symbolic to me in that everyone I know who has a disability shows strength to me in facing each day head on and refusing to let anything stop them. The fact that the ADA exists to aid these people in living full lives testifies to how people with disabilities have more of a voice and can be more active now than ever before. It is true that there is always more that could be done to help people with disabilities to live life to the fullest. However, the fact that people in high places are willing to support people with disabilities through passing legislation and that events are held to celebrate and recognize people with disabilities' capacity to live full and active lives, is inspiring. It is yet another sign that people in Boston and indeed throughout the country have a lot of strength and I think what's really admirable about that is that there are so many who are willing to use that strength to help people in general and people with disabilities in particular. It is with all that strength combined that I believe contributes to making society as strong as it can be.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

How to get over a bad day-kids book character style!

So often it seems,  characters from kids books/movies come out with some lovely things to say that can help brighten anyone's day. So if you feel the need to be cheered here are some quotes that might help: 
  •  “Life Will Never Be The Same Because There Had Never Been Anyone Like You…Ever in the World.”- From: “On the Night You Were Born,” by Nancy Tillman.
  • "Be generous with your smile and try not to frown. And you will see my children; your smile will never let you down!" From:  "The king of Rhyme," by Benny Bellamacina
  • “And when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew. Just go right along, you’ll start happening too!”  From: "Oh the Places You'll Go," by Dr. Seuss
  • If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely! From: "Mathilda," by Roald Dahl
  • "You Are Braver Than You Believe stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and loved more than you’ll ever know.” From: “Winnie-the-Pooh,” by A.A. Milne
  • "My friend, the same wind that blows one door shut, often blows another open."
    From:  "A Single Shard," by Linda Sue Park 
  • "Inside all of us is a wild thing." From: "Where the Wild Things Are," by Maurice Sendak
  • "Everyone has bad days. Even in Australia." From: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day," by Judith Viorst
  • “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”  From: "Horton Hears a Who," By Dr. Seuss
  •  There are always scary things happening in the world. There are always wonderful things happening. And it’s up to you to decide how you’re going to approach the world…how you’re going to live in it, and what you’re going to do. From: "Countdown," by Deborah Wiles

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Michigan's clouds celebrate!

I love the picture of this cloud formation that someone took in Iron Mountain Michigan. (Quick geography lesson: Iron Mountain is in Michigan's Upper Peninsula on Michigan's border with Wisconsin.) Even though scientifically speaking these particular clouds are called mammatus clouds that can bubble underneath a larger cloud and sometimes signal a bad storm is coming, I still can't help liking them.  To me the clouds in the picture are like a bunch of party balloons-as if the sky itself is celebrating something even if a storm is coming. After all, what's a party without a little bit of a ruckus involved? It's kind of inspiring really, it shows there can be beauty in storms and finding that beauty helps me weather the storm!

Photo credit: Jeff Last-Twitter (#miwx

To read more about the clouds and the picture click here.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Because babies seem to be on the brain today... can't think why.....

A prince was born today! Hooray! I don't really know why I'm so excited about it except that babies always manage to make me feel good inside. Maybe it's because I'm a girl but I really think that (at least based off of what I've seen from everyone I know) babies for the most part have a keen ability to make people smile. I'm the oldest of three and so I have some memories growing up when  my sister and brother were really young. My sister had this walker toy that was basically a chair on wheels with a tray encircling it. When we'd put her in it, it would allow her to run everywhere even though she couldn't walk on her own yet. We'd play a sort of game where she'd chase me around and she could really move once she got started in that thing. I'd have to run so she wouldn't catch my feet in the wheels of the chair. It probably sounds crazy but it was fun. 

The thing I remember most about when my brother was a baby was his obsession with tractors I think one of his first words actually was "tractor" -maybe it was because we grew up in a  farming community so there were a lot of tractors around at any given time. Every time he'd see one I used to think it was really sweet when he'd point at it emphatically and shout "TRACTOR" like he was the first  person to discover the machine for the masses. Although he grew out of that phase quite quickly and has no plans to be a farmer, he still likes cars and things that go vroom in general.   

I know the newborn prince won't grow up on a farm and although he might get one of those walker chairs to chase his parents around the palace, I just hope he has as much fun as we did!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Results from Revere Beach Sand Sculpting Festival

Today the winner of the Revere Beach Sand Sculpting Festival was announced and a man from Montreal won $5,000 for his sculpture of an octopus that was called "Let me Spread Ink." (To see a picture click here.) I know that there probably are sand sculpting contests all over the place but this one reminded me of how as  a little girl I used to rather like building sandcastles when my family and I went to the seaside. I particularly remember going to beaches in Wales, UK which my mum described as "picture skew (meaning picturesque but somehow saying "picture skew" made my siblings and I laugh.)  It was like a ritual-packing picnic lunches and going to one of those shops that seem to always be beside beaches to buy buckets and spades.  I pretty much ended up making sand mountains. I'd keep piling up the sand just to see how high I could get the mountain to go. It rather annoyed me when the sand just slid right back down until I realized that water helped solve the problem by making the sand stick together. Even if it didn't win loads of money (or anything else for that matter,)  making sandcastles was always fun!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

watching a cartoon is so much funnier when watching it with a kid (not that the kid in me has ever gone away!)

Partially because it was so hot again in Boston and I wanted to be in air conditioning and  in part because I did actually want to go see it, I went out with a friend to see Monsters University at the cinema. Monsters University is a fun movie all about monsters learning how to scare kids (a premise which probably sounds anti-kid but it is really funny.) At one point in the movie when the action got quiet for a minute or two, all of a sudden a child in the theater roared just as the monsters in the film were learning such a technique. The kid's timing was perfect and it got quite a bit of laughter from the rest of the crowd. I'm glad I went on a night when a lot of families with children were there as well. There's something about kids' reaction to children's movies. They laugh at all the right moments and even though in other circumstances it might be annoying, the way they make their feelings known about certain scenes in movies that especially affect them emotionally, makes those scenes all the more interesting and fun. So if you go to see Monsters University I hope there's at least a small group of kids there as well so the inner child that is still in you can enjoy the movie even more because of their influence!

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Ice Bar cometh!

After enduring the hottest day in Boston on record, it was refreshing to hear that currently an Ice Bar is being built at Faneuil Hall! These types of bars originated in Scandinavia and are kept at a constant 21 degrees Fahrenheit because everything in it is made up of ice (bars, chairs, tables and all) - 50 tons of ice to be exact. It is going to be the world's largest ice bar. It is supposed to open next month so if there's a heat wave then  I guess we can all rush off to have an ice cap there. The idea of an Ice Bar would have seemed even more impressive to me if they could just have decided to have it open to the public today. Oh well, it's something to look forward to anyway. To learn more about the Ice Bar click here.

(Photo from website:

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Even if it's ruddy hot.....

So it's been a scorching 90 degree plus week and in an attempt to find something good about it, here are some things I thought about:
  •  Even if it's ruddy hot at least the sun is shining which makes things seem cheerful to me.
  • It gives me the opportunity (albeit by necessity) to wear sundresses which I like.
  • Ice cream and cold drinks (although pleasant generally) seemed even more pleasant this week.
  • I'm very grateful to the person who invented electric fans as I think I would have been lost/very sick without the help of my big electric fan this week!
  • Heatwaves (like all things) don't last forever, it's supposed to get cooler soon! 
Stay cool everyone!


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

If I could respond to spam mail...

My e-mail seems to get an inordinate amount of spam. While deleting the latest bunch of the inbox clogging stuff I got to thinking what I'd write if I actually decided to respond to some of these messages. Here are some of the things I might write back, just for the heck of it!
- Dear Sir/Madam-While I'm sorry if you're one of the many starving Sudanese refugees I'm still not sending you any of my money! ( Mostly because I don't believe you're a starving refugee as I doubt that refugee camps have enough Internet access for you to write to me!)
-Dear Sir/Madam- While a cruise might be nice, the horror stories I've heard about your company's cruises ( e.g. outbreaks of E. coli, sinkings, people mysteriously going missing etc) have made a land lover out of me. So no I don't want to go on  your discounted cruise.
-Dear Sir/Madam-I'm not a man so I really don't need or want your enhancement products for goodness sakes!
-Dear Sir/Madam- I'm allergic to cats so no I really don't want your year's supply of cat food however inexpensively you might sell it! 
-Dear Sir/Madam- I don't think I want to transform my lips with or without surgery. I think I have a nice smile as it is, thank you very much!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Here's to the T!

My experience of Boston's T
Want the experience of riding a train?
If you come to Boston you will see
How culturally stimulating riding a train (I mean the "T") can be!
It seems that every train I've ever been on here
Has people from all these places that I've never been

There I was on the train the other day
With a man who I think was from China
A bunch of students singing a Spanish song with a very loud refrain
And even an old lady reading something in Acrylic-I mean Cyrillic!
(Get it right, Maggie! Don't put your International Studies degree to shame!)

Anyway the T can also be 
A place with quite a bit of chivalry
As on more than one occasion 
I've seen men give up their seats
So women can finally rest their aching high heeled feet!

As much as I might get tired of waiting for a T
And even if the ruddy driver doesn't always wait for me,
I still take the train as it does get me from A to B 
And I must say at least  in terms of getting around Boston
The T is one of the best things that has happened to me! 

Monday, July 15, 2013

There's something about pajamas

If I had to pick a favorite type of clothing it would be pajamas. It's nice at night just to put on an oversized shirt and cotton shorts and chill out. It's interesting to me that I like pajamas but I can't seem to bring myself to wear them outside my apartment. 

In college I admired the spirit of people who could literally roll out of bed and go to class in pajama pants. ( I never did this as I felt if I always wore pajamas then they'd lose their appeal and I liked having that as yet another thing to look forward to at the end of the day.) I did actually wear my pajamas to elementary school once. Every year or so my school would have Spirit Week. Every day had a theme and as long as we wore something related to the  theme we didn't have to wear the school uniform. (This made Spirit Week more enjoyable although I still don't quite understand how not wearing the uniform increased school spirit.) In any case, I liked pajama day best. I think we were given a designated nap time that day too. (Goodness sakes I miss nap time!  I wish I'd appreciated the nap more because now there are days when I think being allowed to have a designated nap time would be lovely!) Anyway maybe  one day I'll get up and just go and walk around both in and outside my apartment in my pajamas, jut because I can! Ah! Yet another way for me to  rebel!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A salute to all those who are learning a language!

It's interesting to me that people are really only recognized for things after they've accomplished whatever it is they're recognized for. Since being recognized for one's work is a real boost to self esteem, I think people should also be recognized when they're in the midst of something and they're working hard. So today, I'm recognizing my roommate as she is here for the summer from Spain to learn English. She's working really hard to learn and even though I think her English is really good she always works harder to learn more. I admire this spirit because I think learning a new language is especially difficult. To be understood and to get around in a new country takes a lot of effort and I think it's really cool that my roommate (like so many people who are here to learn English) is willing to put herself out there, make mistakes and learn and do it all with a smile. Personally, I think I may be a bad influence as I keep trying to get her to speak some Spanish with me so I can learn something too. Most of the time we do speak in English  though, so I don't feel too bad about it. Anyway, to get to my point, I want to say hooray for Maria, and for all the people that are here to learn a new language, I salute you!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Oh to be a sunshine!

I was walking around Harvard Square today and I saw this window with its lovely sign painted on it.  I also liked the store in general because of its Curious George theme since monkeys  make me feel happy too. After seeing the monkey and the sign in the window I had this compulsion to take a picture of it all and post it here just so I can look at it on a regular basis just to remind myself of how nice it is to be cheery!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Maggie goes for a walk

I swore to myself today I was going to the gym and then I lost my nerve. I thought a walk seemed slightly less intimidating so I decided to take a walk and ended up taking a rather long one.(Well at least by my standards.) I walked about 3 miles. Ok, Ok, I know people run 3 miles or more on a daily basis but hey, I still think it's quite a good walk. I'm glad I went today because the weather was nice. I walked through Boston Common, down Newbury St. (shopping district) and down Commonwealth Avenue to my apartment. It took a bit longer than I estimated because I stopped on the Common to listen to some street musicians, watch a group of Morris Dancers dance a jig (Morris Dancers I'll have you know, are English folk dancers who dance with bells on their legs and sometimes holding swords or flags. I think they're fun!) I just think even though public transport is faster, it's amazing how much more there is to see when I take a walk. Therefore I'm really glad I live in a walkable city!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Even George Washington was/is apparently a sports fan

I don't really know if George Washington played/liked sports. He probably was a good hunter and may have done a fair bit of wrestling, but apparently his statue likes hockey! I really admire the person who ingeniously got the jersey on the Founding Father.  Even though one of  Washington's nicknames was "Town Destroyer" I'm guessing he didn't put up much of a struggle this time! GO BRUINS!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Make way for the everlasting (well 45-day lasting but who really cares) Twinkie!

Twinkies are coming back next week! Apparently, they last even longer now-45 days! If you're into science, according to the article I read about the Twinkie's resurrection, the sweet treat's long shelf life is due to the fact that they're made out of about 36 different preservatives with names like sodium stearoyl lactylate. (Personally, sodium stearoyl lactylate sounds like an alien substance out of a comic book to me but I guess if it helps keep Twinkies fresh for 45 days it serves a purpose!) I don't know quite why I'm so excited about Twinkies coming back as I have to admit that I've never had a Twinkie in my life. (Yes, I'm serious.)  I'm now considering doing a little experiment of my own by rushing out next week and buying a Twinkie and then waiting 44 days to see if it's still good! (I have this theory that on the 45th day it'll spontaneously rot as all the preservatives will of course stop working on cue.)   Although it might take some willpower to wait 45 days I'm going to exercise all my powers of restraint and be strong! To anyone interested, I'll keep you posted as to whether Twinkies truly last at least as long as the manufacturers claim or if it's all a big lie put out by advertisers to  make people like me buy them to see how long they really last! Stay tuned!
Picture from: Larry D. Moore CC BY-SA 3.0.

To read an article about the everlasting Twinkie;

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Classical music is classically beautiful

I always liked classical music and I think that started when I was very young. In my early years my parents tried to instill in me that the only thing on the radio was classical music and NPR -National Public Radio, for those who don't know. For the most part classical music was something I enjoyed listening to along with my parents. As I grew older and realized that pop music and rock music existed also, my tastes changed a bit but I still enjoy listening to Beethoven and Chopin now and then. It gives me peace when I'm feeling in need of a little relaxation. It gets me that great musicians like Beethoven are still remembered today, over 150 years after they died. Heck, even spell check recognizes their names! (That of course means they're really famous-after all, if you have an unusually spelled last name and spell check doesn't try to correct it, then of course you've really made it!) In all seriousness now, to me the fact that these musicians are still remembered and the music they created is loved by so many, reenforces the idea that music, like love, transcends time and still remains beautiful.  I heard this beautiful piece of music today by Beethoven which got me thinking about all the things I've written about in this post. The piece is called "Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat "Emperor" 73 - Adagio Un Poco Mosso. I thought I'd share it with everyone (see the clip below) as I felt it was too beautiful not to share! My favorite part of it starts at about one minute 30 seconds into the clip. Enjoy and be at peace!

Monday, July 8, 2013

The secret to living longer? Maybe the secret is just being nice!

Today I read about a woman named Susannah Mushatt Jones who has lived to be 114 years old and is still going strong. She is the second oldest person in the US and the oldest New Yorker. Her "secret" is that took care of children her whole life, ate a simple diet and stayed out of trouble (e.g. no wild partying!) What struck me about the article I read about her was something her niece said about the fact that she felt her aunt had lived so long in part because she treated everyone right. The article also had quotes from others who had lived to be in their 90s or older. All the messages really emphasized the importance of taking care of oneself and of others as the "key" and all of the messages were really insightful in general about how to live a good life.  The message I got from it was that if everyone took care of each other and stayed out of trouble then the secret to longevity would just be old news!


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Andy Murray Wins!!

In case you don't follow tennis, just to let you know that today ANDY MURRAY FROM SCOTLAND  WON THE WIMBLEDON FINAL! He's the first man from the UK to win a Wimbledon singles final since 1936 and he won all 3 sets of the match ( 6-4, 7-5, 6-4!) I'm excited about this because it continues to prove the point that persistence does pay off. (Along with hard work of course.) I think it's so nice how something really great and historic that happens to a sportsman can make spectators feel so happy and as if they won Wimbledon too. Heck, after 77 years I figure everyone who supported the UK in tennis and Murray in particular should feel like a winner! All I have to say is: hooray!!


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Bars don't serve strings!

Here's the joke for today, just to prove that strings (in addition to under 21-year-olds) won't be served drinks!

"So, there were these three strings standing outside of a bar. One string bravely decided to go in. The bartender says, "We don't serve strings here" and throws him out. The next string decides to give it a shot and saunters in. The bartender takes one look at him and says, "We DON'T serve STRINGS here" and throws him out. The third string thinks for a moment. He loops around and shakes out his scraggly ends, and proceeds into the bar. The bartender looks and looks, and finally says, "... Are you a string?" to which the string replies, "Nope, I'm a frayed knot!"  

This joke came from:

Friday, July 5, 2013

The quest to take a picture of a dog...

I'm always impressed when people can get a dog to stay still long enough to take its picture. I suppose it helps that Smartphones have cameras so it really only takes a second or two to get a good shot. Still, getting a dog to stay still for those two seconds can be a challenge. My friend Denise for example, wanted to get a picture of her dog holding an American flag in its mouth for the 4th of July. She said though that things didn't quite work as she had planned as once her dog Toby had the flag in his mouth he started eating the stick to which the flag was attached and then ran away with it. Denise had to run after Toby, get him to spit what was left of the flag out of his mouth and yet she still managed to get a picture of him!

Not to be outdone, I decided to see if I could get my dog Doogle to stand still long enough to get his picture. I managed this feat by acting as though I was about to throw him his Frisbee. When someone gets ready to throw Doogle a Frisbee, Doogle lies down and waits for it to be thrown and then he bolts and almost falls over himself trying to get it. Anyway, I managed to click the picture and throw the Frisbee before he could move. My reward: the picture below!

To me these pictures prove that dogs can be very photogenic-as long as you can get them to stay still long enough!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Things I like about the U.S.

Since it's a day to be patriotic, I thought it might be good to think of things I really like/am proud of about the US. These things include:
  • That it's a nation of immigrants which I think is something that makes this country more unique and colorful.
  • The fact that the right to vote is universal and everyone's opinion can at the very least, be voiced.
  • That people can practice any religion they want.
  • That people can protest. The fact that people can lawfully gather in groups holding signs and yelling about issues that tick them off and the fact that creating this ruckus can serve to bring about change is pretty cool.
  • That this nation gave the world Sesame Street and Disney. ( I think Big Bird is educational and fun and let's face it, life without Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck-my favorite, would be so much less amusing.) 
  • That the first chocolate chip cookie was made in the US!
  • The monuments throughout the country. My favorite is the Lincoln Memorial. When I visited DC-it has a great view of the National Mall and somehow it just seems peaceful to me.
  • That great musicians came from the US like Aaron Copland and George Gershwin.
  • That an American astronaut showed the world that it's possible to walk on the moon.
  • The belief in the US that you can be whatever it is you set out to be regardless of your background, as long as you're willing to work hard and not give up.
Finally, I think what I love best is that the US is my home and the place where most of my family live and I wouldn't have it any other way.  

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Black raspberry picking!

My family still live on a farm and since I've been visiting my parents over the holiday week, I have found myself spending more time in the outdoors. This morning I went out in the woods by my family's house with my dad and we picked some black raspberries which will eventually be turned into jam.  I've found that it's nice to get things from nature rather than a store. Not only can we get berries but my parents also keep some bees which means we have honey too. We don't have quite enough bees to make enough honey for commercial sale but we make enough for our own use. It beats Whole Foods hands down! Coming from a big city where green space is at a premium, being able to pick berries seems so much more fun. Although I do like living in the city  because there's always something happening, every so often I find I need to go somewhere that's quieter and greener just to remind myself that green spaces still exist and  that not everyone lives in apartments 2 feet from each other. Maybe there's a reason why people call nature "mother," I find that when I'm outside in parks or just open green spaces. I think of my family and so going to these places acts as a reminder that my home and my family are always with me.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Maggie's quest to make magical flakes more available to US citizens

A friend of mine was going to travel to the UK recently and among the things I told her she must do on her trip is to try a vanilla ice cream cone with a Cadbury chocolate "flake".  For those (unfortunate) people who don't know what a "flake" is, it's basically a bunch of chocolate shavings melted together into a stick formation. When inserted into a vanilla ice cream cone it is absolutely mahvelous dahling! Upon telling my friend about this, I wondered whether it was at all possible to get said chocolate flakes easily in the US. So today I went to my local supermarket that has an aisle dedicated to international foods and when I got to the UK/Irish section (yes there is a UK Irish section praise the Lord!) the damn section had no flakes! I was so disappointed! It got me thinking that the US really needs flakes as I couldn't stand the idea that little US children all over the place were missing out on their goodness! I was so bothered by this I went home and Googled "flakes" just to see where you could get them if you wanted them as badly as I do! Apparently, you can get them from (click here) and they deliver "fast"! Still,  I think they should be more apparent/available. So here is my appeal to Cadbury:

Dear Cadbury:

I love the flakes that people put in ice creams very much and I feel like people in the US would benefit so much from their goodness! Please don't let any more children be deprived of this goodness and sell more flakes to more US supermarkets. They're too good not to do this!

Thank you in advance for your help!


Self Proclaimed President of the Flakes are Fabulous Club

Monday, July 1, 2013

Happy 35th wedding anniversary to my parents!

I'm very happy and proud to say that today marks the 35th year that my parents have been married! My mum and dad actually met and got married in the UK as my mum is British. My dad was working for an insurance company in London for a while and at some point he lived in an apartment close to one where my mum's sister and her husband were living and they became good friends. Since my father couldn't go home to Michigan for Christmas, my aunt invited him to go with her and my uncle to her parents' house and my mum was there and that's how they met. The romantic side of me likes to think it was love at first sight but I feel like they're too sensible (in the best sense) for that!  When my mum and dad told my mum's parents they wanted to get married my grandmother turned to my mum and said, "why couldn't you marry a nice English boy?!" (My grandmother had already seen another of her children-my aunt, marry an American from Texas.) Despite this misgiving I think my grandparents quite liked my dad so it worked out well.  My parents have done a lot over the past 35 years, including: traveling all over the world together, remodeling a beautiful farmhouse where they still live, and raising 3 great kids together. They've had ups and downs but they've dealt with the ups and downs together and I think they came out stronger for weathering the storms. They still love each other very much and to me they've served as a great example of what a loving relationship is-nurturing, enduring, and most of all, fun!