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For Mom

May 8th, 2011 1 comment
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Pretty well all Moms are guilty of a bit of pack-ratting when it comes to their child’s artwork. My Mom was no different and recently I had the opportunity to scan in some drawings Mom had from us Kids over the years. Below are two drawings, about a year apart, that I did of my Mom. They’re funny for me to see, and it’s quite touching that Mom has these so many years later. I mean, it’s not like they were works screaming of a budding Picasso (okay, maybe that first one might qualify 😉 ), but to my Mom I’m sure they were THE best. That’s just how Moms are. A child can paint their Mom a picture as questionable as a Jackson Pollack and Mom will see a work as beautiful as the Sistine Chapel. Moms are the best because they inspire us to be better people and uplift our spirits with their unshakable belief in us. Cheers to my Mom who was the inspiration for more than just artistic pursuits and cheers to all the Moms out there who inspire you! Happy Mother’s Day! M. xo

It’s amazing the difference one year can make!

 

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So, you’re thinking about going back to school?

April 16th, 2011 No comments
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It’s been awhile since I perched here to chirp, but now that school is done and I’m finding myself with some free time, I’m sure I’ll be fluttering by these parts more frequently.

Speaking of school, I’ve heard of a few folks I know talking about returning to the academic world. I thought I’d write a bit about my experiences with returning to school. A bit of background could probably set the stage here.

Immediately after high school I entered college and pursued an Advertising and Public Relations degree. My thoughts, at the time, were that I wanted to make lots of money and I figured that something creative in the business world would allow me to fulfill my desire to make money, while pursuing something that didn’t bore me to death. I’m sure it was amusing for my then classmates to see me enter those business classes all decked out in my goth gear (yes, I was one of those). To make a long (and rather tumultuous) story short – I quickly realized that I wasn’t meant for the business world and left that two year program (after two years) by flunking out in my last semester (aside from the A I pulled off in Video Broadcasting – apparently I had a knack for film… go figure). So, there I was with two years of post-secondary education and absolutely nothing to show for it. It was what I dubbed, my “almost” diploma – sans four credits.

After several months of floating from retail job to retail job, I eventually landed in Toronto where an event registration company hired me. I quickly became immersed in the event marketing world and there I remained for almost 15 years. I spent numerous years working as a freelance event marketer and when the jobs started drying up, I started to think about going back to school. My biggest reason was because I honestly wasn’t happy “working for the man”. I felt stifled, bored and like I wasn’t doing something that was meaningful to me.

I started researching going back to school and I can say without a doubt that it was one of the most daunting experiences. It’s a lot of information to wade through and finding the answer to a simple question can be a frustrating endeavour. I eventually learned that it was much easier to find one or two key contacts in administration and just email them directly, instead of trying to decipher institutional lingo in pages and pages of documentation.

It was a long process, but after filling in all the application documents, contacting every school I had ever attended for transcripts and writing an essay about why I hadn’t successfully completed my Advertising & Public Relations program, I submitted my application and then waited.

The rest is history, as they say. I’ve been studying part-time, primarily through distance education (DE) for about seven years now. I completed my three year general psychology BA in 2010. I studied year round, one to four courses a semester, and managed to finish in a respectable amount of time.

So, how does DE work? First, most of your courses are available online, where you watch lectures, submit assignments, interact with other students, and take tests. Midterms and final exams are usually done at a school in your hometown on a given date or through a proctor you hire to supervise your examination.

It’s not a mode of learning for everyone. You have to have a lot of discipline to make yourself stick to a routine of studying and completing assignments. It’s pretty easy to get sidetracked. There’s also a huge social component that is missing. You don’t get the face-to-face interaction with professors and other students. Instead this is supplanted with online communication that can sometimes be hard to interpret. Group work is also a bit awkward because you essentially are working with other students who are on their own study schedules as well. So you are often waiting for days for a reply to a question that could be answered in 30 seconds in face-to-face meetings. Finally, the breadth of courses just isn’t the same for DE. You just don’t have the same variety. So, while registering you may see this really cool course that you want to take – but you won’t be able too because it isn’t offered via DE.

There are a number of benefits to DE. You get to study on your own schedule. So that means you can fit studying around work, family, and your social life – you just have to fit it in some time. For me, I’m a morning person so I spent every morning studying and then I had the afternoons to catch up on other things. I’ve known other students who are night owls and they study after putting their kids to bed. You also have the advantage of being able to pause, rewind, and re-watch lectures. When I first started I had no idea how to take notes during a lecture, and I often found myself pausing the lectures to frantically write down every word the lecturer spoke. Finally, you can study from just about anywhere. I can remember taking my school on the road numerous times. As long as I had an Internet connection I could get my studies done.

Oh, and for those of you wondering, a degree/diploma through DE is no different than one obtained from on-campus studies. In some ways, it’s more difficult to complete a program via DE because you are responsible for structuring your class time and study time. It’s an added component that many students don’t have to deal with when studying on campus, but it certainly allows you more control over your academic career.

I am a big advocate of continuing education. I also believe that it’s never too late. Here I am, a thirty-something chick who is still in school and I’m not sure when I’ll be done. I returned last fall to pursue a combined honours in psychology and religion and the plan is that I’ll make my way into a Masters program in religion. I still study online, but I also have to go on campus now because most schools have residency requirements for upper-level degrees. So, I’m combining the two, until they won’t let me any longer.

If you’re thinking about going back to school, I say go for it! It’s an amazing experience! It opens new worlds and changes the way your perceive the world around you. Happy Studying! Cheers! M. xo

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When pets live better than you do…

March 22nd, 2011 No comments
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I’ve always said that if I had to be reincarnated as an animal that I’d want to come back as one of my cats.  Why?  Mostly because I think my cats rock, but also because they are spoiled rotten (which I’m sure has something to do with the fact that we don’t have children and they’ve been relegated to our “fur babies”).

People love their pets and businesses know how to tap into that adoration.  Recently, while spending some time in the pet aisle at our grocery store (because I do spend a lot of time and money in that aisle) I stumbled across this tantalizing tidbit for my felines:

Needless to say I was quite amused, and immediately had to buy the treat for our kitties.  Seems despite having a background in marketing and psychology that I, too, succumb to the messages that my pet deserves the absolute best.

While I agree that we may spoil our kitties, we haven’t gotten to the point of investing in cat spas that boast chauffeur service, private verandas and bird watching or cat cottage retreats offering private suites, adjoining suites for multiple cat families, “extreme bird watching”, and organic catnip.  Maybe our cats do live a bit more of a humble existence than some with wealthier “pet parents”.  Certainly, they live more humbly than those cats and dogs who have the title of being Pet Millionaires.

Pets have steadily become a windfall for businesses capitalizing on our love for our furry family members.  It’s little wonder that in our consumer-driven society that even our pets are keeping up with the the furry Joneses next door.

I’d love to hear what the most extravagant gift was that you ever bought your pet.  Incidentally, ours was a 9 foot cat perch made from bamboo and rattan.  Quite impressive, and quite loved by our three kitties.

A kitty by any other name is still just as cute… cheers to our kitty families!


Osiris aka “Wusser-Si” aka “The Cat from Hell”


Buddy aka “Monkey Boy” aka “Boo Boy” RIP


Bijoux aka “Fluffernut”


Kalifornia aka “Kali” aka “Monkey-Bits”


KatStevens aka “Brat Cat”


Yums aka “Yum Yums” aka “Yummies” RIP


Miss Missy aka “The Real Miss Missy”


Valentine aka “Val” – honourary cat, and because she’s a jealous doggie…

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