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The Idle Parent, by Tom Hodgkinson

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Some time ago, I read and thoroughly enjoyed (and reviewed!) Tom Hodgkinson’s The Freedom Manifesto. I loved the way that Hodgkinson wove philosophy and humour, and created what is actually a very inspirational read, while informing me that I need to quit my job, plant a garden and take up the ukulele.

So, when I saw Hodgkinsons’ latest, The Idle Parent, on our shelf of new books, I couldn’t wait to tear into it. And what a treat it was!

Hodgkinson implores us to quit bothering our children and to leave them well alone, if we want to ensure they are self-reliant, creative, well-adjusted individuals. Throughout, he offers insights into why children whine (spoiler alert: it’s because they’re powerless), how they can contribute to the household, why they should be taken out of school and away from glowing screens, and how parents can do a lot for their children by doing nothing.

This book is not an endorsement of neglect; the idle parent is not a reckless, irresponsible one. Rather, the idle parent is one who does not seek to control or mould children. The idle parent realizes that children are people, and need to pursue what it is that people were created for: to enjoy a pleasurable life.


by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

My favourite 18-letter word!

I had lunch today with an old friend. He works as an elementary school teacher, and gives piano lessons in the evenings. Another close friend works with developmentally delayed adults, and offers one-on-one fitness training in his spare time. I work at the Calgary Public Library, and teach ESL on the side (we sometimes study the idiom “under the table”).

If you dream of self-employment, it can be easier than you realize. First, consider your talents and skills. People are willing to pay for just about anything – whether that’s a product, service, or instruction. Next, explore the market. Who offers a similar product / service / instruction, and to whom? What are their rates, and hours of service? Then, make a business plan. Who’ll be your customer, and where will expansion lead you? Are there niche markets that still remain untapped? Finally, set up shop and count that hard earned cash!

Am I over-simplifying? Yes. But entrepreneurialism is something that can be achieved in less time and with less effort than you may suspect.

Visit our Small Business Fair and speak with a variety of people who can help you start your own business. Chat with knowledgeable library staff. Ask us about business licenses, lists of competitors, market share reports, and current statistics. Make contact with Calgary agencies who serve entrepreneurs – valuable contacts to have in your network! Finally, meet real entrepreneurs who have become successful here in Calgary. Attend lectures and ask them your questions!

Register for the Small Business Fair and all of our programs.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (Redux)

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

I recently had dinner with a family friend. Originally from Africa, he’s had a long and interesting career with the British Royal Marines and as an independent counter terrorism advisor. “Lieutenant-Colonel Thorpe” (although he didn’t make us address him that way!) was born in Nairobi, Kenya, and is fluent in Kiswahili. He’s worked on the open seas, and in the darkest heart of Africa.

While he was visiting, it occurred to me that our dinner party was like an updated version of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. This time, however, rather than shattering stereotypes about what black people are and are not, my stereotypes about white people were shattered! The African born, Kiswahili-speaker is Caucasian!

When I think about racial stereotypes and racial profiling, I always think about the “other”. I happen to be Caucasian, and so I tend to think about how racism and stereotypes might affect non-white people. I’ve never stopped to consider what my stereotypes about white people are, or the fact that I have them at all!

My uncle loves to tell a story about the Lieutenant-Colonel’s brother, with whom he used to jog. These men were hulking, slow moving joggers – each hovering near 240 pounds. Nevertheless, they were decent athletes. When the Lieutenant-Colonel’s brother competed in a triathlon, a group of skinny black runners passed him and mentioned (in Kiswahili) something about a “whale”. Clearly, they too didn’t expect a heavy-set white man to be a Kiswahili speaker! What a surprise to find out that the whale could understand every word!

If you’ve never seen the classic film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, then catch it at the John Dutton theatre on November 4th. It’s part of our “Thursday Afternoon at the Movies” series.

Finding that Perfect Phrase

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

I remember being a little girl and learning what the word “euphemism” meant. From then on, I recognized euphemistic descriptions all around me. Modern life is characterized by constant communication, but not all of it is tactful or diplomatic. Indeed, some of it seems wordy but still meaningless.

If you need to know what to say or how, then look no further than our Perfect Phrases series. I love these little books, and I’m always sure to mention them when I lead our Career Tours.

Perfect Phrases is just that: a series of phrases for when you need to send careful, well worded messages. Whether it’s for a cover letter or resume, a document you need to prepare, or even a message you need to deliver, Perfect Phrases gives you examples that are concise, deferential, and easy to understand.

Check them out, today! Here are just some of what's available:

Perfect Phrases for:

  • Customer Service
  • Dealing with Difficult People
  • Effective Managers
  • Executive Presentations
  • Law School Acceptance
  • Letters of Recommendation

The Business of Bikini Boot Camp

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

I operate a (very!) small business, and so I’m always interested in what other entrepreneurs are doing. Although no job is perfect, the idea of self-employment is appealing for so many, because it typically allows for lots of flexibility and freedom. You can be master of your own destiny; you can pursue a dream; you can sleep in.

As part of our upcoming Small Business Fair, we’ve got a special treat for you: A lecture by Lindsay Nealon and Dawn Koloski, of Bikini Boot Camp.

Bikini Boot Camp began in the spring of 2004 with 1 program and 8 registrants. It currently boasts over 70 programs, in 9 cities and 4 provinces!

Join us at 6 PM on Wednesday October 20th, and find out how this local small business became so successful! Don’t worry – no bikinis required!

Register for this program and tons of others in the branch of your choice, online, or by calling 260-2600. Then, drop and give me 20!

Whence the Jack-o-lantern?

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Why the Jack-o-lantern, and how did this custom come to be? Where did Halloween first start to be celebrated, and what’s the connection between Pagan festivals and corny costumes? Your library has the answers!

Borrow books and magazines from our collection and find inspiration for Halloween crafts, parties and costumes. (Hint: Martha Stewart reigns supreme!)

Explore World Folklore and Folklife Today on our e-library. Find comprehensive information about rituals, customs, beliefs and stories. A great source for research papers and class presentations!

Bring your little ones to Babies Go Boo Storytimes. Register here.

I love Halloween! A night of inhibition including risqué costumes, alter-egos, bad clichés, and too much chocolate! What more could you ask for?

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