August 5, 2009

Shatner Does Palin

My husband found this very funny clip well worth viewing.

July 6, 2009


This film was riveting -- like a boxing match that recalls Ali's "rope a dope" approach.

May 14, 2009


Here is an amazing story about identity that I read about in this morning's NYTs.

May 7, 2009

Identity & The Family

I’ve recently been doing searches for audio and video clips to use for my upcoming family identity course this June. Here are a couple of fun You Tube videos I found:

I also found this NPR audio clip with director, Adam Egyoyan, talking about themes of “loss and identity” in his recent film “Adoration.”

It occurred to me that I should have named the course, “Identity & The Family” instead of the incredibly embarrassing name I gave it. At the time, I thought it was so clever, but now…?

April 30, 2009

A Former Student

I got a letter today from a former 6th grade student of mine from the Vientiane International School (VIS) – a school I taught at for two years in the mid-90s in Vientiane, Laos. Out of all the places I’ve lived, Laos was one of my favorites because of its unspoiled beauty – evident in both the landscape and the people. I had an amazingly challenging 6th grade class due to the dizzying array of performance levels – reading levels ranged, for example, from 1st grade to 12th grade. This former student who recently contacted me has stayed in touch over the years to let me know about her progress and growth. About 2 years ago, she graduated from Stanford and is now teaching 5th and 6th grade composition. She is also considering MFA programs in Creative Writing for the coming Fall – having been accepted to several programs throughout the country. She is a remarkable young woman and the connection means a lot to me. I am amazed that she has kept in touch with me for so long.

I didn't even know that the school had a website until now. After visiting the website, I also learned that they continued to publish a school paper, Dragon Tales, that I started with the same 6th grade class this former student of mine was in; I have a copy of the very first edition. I even remember the school-wide vote to select the name. I wonder if my former 6th grade student knows the newspaper her 6th grade class started lives on today? This picture of the school below doesn't quite capture the surrounding beauty.

VIS panorama2.png

April 28, 2009

Genograms & “Rachel Getting Married”

I did a guest lecture last Tuesday evening in an undergraduate Family Psychology course on “The Clinical Use of Genograms.” After a brief introduction to Bowenian family systems theory and the feminist Bowenians, I used a recent film directed by Jonathan Demme, “Rachel Getting Married,” to build Rachel and Kim’s family diagram together as a class.

Using selected clips from the film, we slowly learned more about Rachel and Kim’s family – adding to the family diagram with each progressive film clip. It was a great film to use to illustrate some of the salient themes in intergenerational family therapy using a feminist family therapy framework. Doing the lecture made me realize just how much I miss my clinical work. I really hope to get back to it at some point. At the end of the lecture, I asked the students to write down 1 to 3 famous families to use for my upcoming Family Identity summer course. I was glad I took this opportunity to learn from them because they came up with families I would have never thought to use: the Obamas, the Osbournes, the Jacksons, the Jolie-Pitts, and the Hiltons. A couple of students also suggested the Clintons; they were the only family on my list that I was planning on using. What a great way to get at family identity – through famous families in popular culture.

April 27, 2009

The Hype About Skype

It has taken Skype to get me to write another blog entry after several dormant weeks. Since hearing about Skype from my un-official co-advisor/mentor last summer, I have thought about downloading it yet never managed to do it. Yesterday, however, I was at a good friend’s house -- she was using Windows Live Messenger (WLM) to make some video calls. Inspired by my friend, I finally decided to download Skype (WLM is already on my Mac – as well as a built-in camera). We received our first Skype call and talked with my husband’s family. What a blast! I wasn't sure I would like it, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to connecting with others via Skype or WLM. It also provided a nice diversion from my work. I finally get all the hype about Skype (and WLM). What’s next? Facebook? Twitter? I’ve been resistant to both, but who knows what the next diversion will bring.

March 13, 2009

Hope & Fear

My good and dear friend sent an essay from the March 2009 issue of the Shambhala Sun, “The Place Beyond Hope and Fear,” by Margaret Wheatley – at a time when I find myself marinating in the space between hope and fear.

Here are excerpts from the essay that really resonated with me:

“The present moment is the only place of clear seeing unclouded by hope or fear. The nineteenth-century Tibetan master Patrul Rinpoche stated this perfectly: “Don’t prolong the past, don’t invite the future, don’t be deceived by appearances, just dwell in present awareness.” Of course, trying to be present when everything around you is crashing down is not easy, but then, nothing is these days. It takes enormous effort and discipline to keep recalling ourselves back to the present moment…”

“Yet only in the present moment, free from hope and fear, do we receive the gifts of clarity and resolve.”

© 2008 by Margaret Wheatley

February 27, 2009

Hope & The Fragility of Life

Nearly one month later, hope lives on in more personal aspects of my life. We recently had a family emergency that reminds you of the fragility of life. Fortunately it was only a scare; it reminds you not only of hope, but also of life's priorities.

January 22, 2009



January 18, 2009

Presidential Advice

Here is some great advice for the president-elect (source NYT's):


Here is a great portait of the president-elect by Michelle Benetiz, age 7 (source: NYT's):


For more great advice from other children or to view portraits of the president, see Jory John's op-ed column in the NYT's "Dear Sir Obama: Presidenital Advice."

January 16, 2009

1988 and 2009: The Hudson River and Kowloon Bay

There are some eerie similarities between yesterday’s US Airways plane crash and a Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) plane crash on August 31, 1988 in Hong Kong (en route from Guangzhou). Although the circumstances of the two crashes are different (e.g. the 1988 CAAC plane crash happened upon landing; there were 7 casualties, etc.), the visual images of the actual crash in this video are eerily similar. Looking at the CNN video transports me back into history: mute the sound and it is as if I were looking at Kowloon Bay rather than the Hudson River. Regardless of similarities and/or differences, both are miracles.

January 6, 2009

Ordering from the Seniors' Menu by 2012?

We recently went out to breakfast with some friends who were in town over the holidays when we realized that some members of our family (no names mentioned) will have the privilege of ordering off the seniors' menu by the year 2012. How can we calmly ring in 2009 when more exciting things are coming our way in a mere three years? Whoever said, "60 is the new 40" hasn't updated menus in the Twin Cities area -this particular menu counts seniors as 55 years and up.

Happy New Year!

December 7, 2008

The Miro Quartet


One of my daughter's vioin teacher's told us about this amazing quartet. It has recently replaced a Glenn Gould recording of Bach - a family favorite - as the most listened CD to in the house. Since my daughter started playing the violin, I am getting back to my love for classical music. For the past eight years, classical music has been upstaged by another genre, hip hop.


November 26, 2008

The First Recital


After being holed up on Missing Data Lane, tonight's recital was a wonderful diversion. My daughter played in her first violin recital since starting violin this past summer. It was quite an exciting musical night for us all. The night was pretty amazing because of the caliber of performances, from my daughter's "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" to Sibelius' Violin Concerto, op. 47, allegro moderato. We also finally got to see a good friend of ours play (he played Mozart's Violin Concerto in A, #5, last movement). One of the greatest moments, however, was when my daughter made a mistake in the middle of her performance and looked straight into the audience with a wide and bright grin and said, "oops." On the way home, my daughter said now she understands why she has to practice every day. She also said she wished she had practiced more; I think she might have the performing bug. After she performed her two songs, she was just beaming and didn't seem to want to leave the stage. I kept thinking of "The Sound of Music" when a Frauline was awarded a prize and she kept bowing until they escorted her off the stage.