50 women who have inspired me? How about 20?

The other day I came across a blog called Some Kind of 50. To be more precise, I came across the most recent post in this blog, entitled ‘50 Women Who Have Inspired me’. I was instantly intrigued by the challenge of trying to identify 50 – count ‘em, 50 – women who have inspired me. This isn’t women who you admire or women who you find inspiring in general, but women who have actually inspired you personally. Inspired you to try something new, or reach out to others, or take up a new cause, or pursue the path you hadn’t been sure you’d be able to succeed at. Women who in some way or other have encouraged you to be a better, different, and/or stronger version of who you might otherwise have been.

This challenge isn’t quite as hard for me as for those of you who are younger, because I’ve had so many years to encounter women who might inspire me. But this challenge is difficult for all of us for a simple reason that becomes obvious as soon as you start thinking about it: until very recently, women weren’t allowed to play any public roles in, well, anything, or, if they did, there was usually a man who was given credit for it. Therefore, many lists of influential women are composed primarily of film and music celebrities, not because women aren’t capable of succeeding in every imaginable walk of life and leadership role, but because they have been kept from doing so for centuries.

So, this challenge really made me think. I’ve had a lot of men who have inspired me and mentored me, especially in the male-dominated world of computer science that I spent my life in. But what women have inspired me through my life and why? Fifty was way too many for me, but I have settled on a list of 20 (well, really 22 but I made two pairs so as to have a list that was divisible by 10!). There are many, many women I admire. Women like Gabby Gifford and Malala Yousafzai and Michelle Obama. Women like my daughters-in-law and other young female friends and former female students who do such an awesome job of balancing their own careers with raising busy families and having solid marriages. Women like my female friends who have started and successfully run their own IT companies, and my friends who get up and get to the gym or the community kitchen while I’m still deciding if it’s really time to get up. However, that admiration hasn’t translated into inspiring me to try something new or do what I already do with more confidence. This list is about women who have inspired me personally. Continue reading

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Senior Living

As a 70+er with kids of an age similar to Liette (at blog A Sassy Lifestyle), I was taken by her honest and heartwarming analysis of aging, in this case of her parents and their friends. A nice read for those who find themselves in this exalted phase of life and also for those of you whose find your parents in that exalted phase of life! Btw, for the interest of fellow Maritimers, Liette’s parents life in Moncton. She lives in Las Vegas! 😊

A Sassy Lifestyle Blog

Senior Living

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a senior citizen? Neither had I. My parents have been in a seniors apartment building for the past five years or so. I would visit and say hi to the “old” people in the halls, but I always seemed to be in a rush; rushing in and rushing out.

Then something happened, my dad go sick; at first, when I would travel back, I would spend a few nights with my parents; they set up a bed for me in my dad’s TV room, but I would eventually end up in a hotel or at a friends house.

This last time I was home, I could tell they really wanted and needed me to be here with them. So instead of rushing in and rushing out, I stayed.

Here are my observations; I don’t think we give “older” people…

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Our increasingly technologically-driven world needs humans at the helm, and not just techies

We keep being told that automation is going to impact virtually everything in our lives. Work, shopping, communicating, driving, health care, you name it. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and biotech are going to become the foundation for pretty well all we do, and even who we are.

Can this really be true? Is it inevitable? Does it matter to us as individuals? Should we care? For a teaser as to what is currently happening at edges that don’t impact too many of us directly (yet), read the following passage and see what you think. Continue reading

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Walls or Bridges? — the circle of life

This story – or parable – about a very wise carpenter is worth sharing. Food for thought. Thanks to applehillcottage.org.

I used to tell a story in my days working in libraries with kids, and its been on my mind lately. I know reading is not the same as hearing, but do your best to hear it being told… Once upon a time there were two neighbors who were also farmers and friends. They’d been […]

via Walls or Bridges? — the circle of life

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A Message For All Women — Eclipsed Words from Aishwarya Shah

This message from Eclipsed Words is worth sharing with all women who relate to (at least occasional) concerns about lack of self-confidence – that’s about 99% of us.  There’s some very good advice in what Aishwarya suggests. If either of these two cartoons resonate with you, you will enjoy her post.

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Guadeloupe: there’s more to sun destinations than just sun, especially learning about new places

When we tell people that we’ve just come back from a week in Guadeloupe, it’s surprising how often the response is, “Where’s Guadeloupe?” It’s right in between several other popular Caribbean winter getaways that we northerners seek out – even the most winter-hardy of us – with Antigua, the British West Indies, and the Dominican Republic just to the north and west of Guadeloupe and St. Lucia, Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago just to the south of it. And, it has a robust tourist industry to boot.

So why is this gem of a sun destination so little known to many of our friends and acquaintances? Because it traditionally has catered to tourists from France. Nearly 84% of tourists to Guadeloupe are from France, 10% from the rest of the EU, 3.5% from the U.S., and 1.5% or so from Canada. Wow. And why would that be??? Because Guadeloupe (and Martinique and Dominica) are part of France. And they’re not overseas territories of France with some partial status, they are full-fledged departments (like provinces) of France. A visit to Guadeloupe is not just a marvelous place to bask on white sand beaches, eat delicious French and Creole gastronomic creations, and learn about their history and varied geographic landscapes, it’s also the perfect place to practice your French! Continue reading

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A couple of questions

Jo Robinson has got me thinking. She is one of the first bloggers I ever followed, some 7 years ago. She lives in South Africa (and was in rural Zimbabwe when I first encountered her in the blogosphere, which fascinated me), where she writes books in the realm of fantasy, science fiction, and other genres. I knew that Jo was not into limiting herself to one art form, but it still came as a surprise to me when she posted a few years ago that she was about to be published not as the author but as the illustrator of a children’s book. Now that’s broadening your scope! And the author of this children’s book, Myrtle the Purple Turtle, was a Canadian writer, Cynthia Reyes, who has also written adult books that I have enjoyed immensely. Their long-distance collaboration is about to produce a third book in the charming Myrtle series.

As announced in her blog post yesterday, A couple of questions and a cover reveal, Jo is now completing a non-fiction book, to be called The Secret Life of People. Her post included a list of questions she put to her audience, inviting her readers to share their responses and thereby provide further input to her final chapter. The questions intrigued me enough to think it would be fun to share them. I will include my own initial responses within.

  1. Do you believe that you are living a fulfilled life?

Yes, and I feel lucky that way.

  1. Do you think that people have a purpose, and if so, do you know what yours is?

Yes, but I’m going to have to think hard about what my purpose is, a quick answer would be too pat. However, this is one of the questions that drew me in to thinking hard about these questions.

  1. Are you satisfied with the way the world and your country are governed?

Canada: Not completely for sure. However, compared to nearly every other country I can think of, Canada is reasonably well governed.

World: Less and less so at the moment. One can only hope that a longer view can provide some measure of hope.

  1. Do you think that civilised societies today are on the right track?

In a few ways they are; human rights have made some headway in some places, although vigilance is needed even in those places in which headway has been made. On the whole, it feels like in the past few years western democracies have struggled to maintain the concept that everyone deserves a fair shake. Inequality levels have risen and public civility – even a veneer of civility – has diminished. Compassion for anyone outside one’s “tribe” seems to be in distressingly short supply. Once again I will try to take the long view and hope that this is just a bump in the road towards a kinder world.

  1. If you work, are you happy with your job?

I’m retired now, but, yes, I was very happy with my job. I was lucky that way.

  1. If money was no object, what would you do with your days?

I’m already in that position, since I’m retired! What do I do? Write, read, exercise, visit friends and family, travel a bit, think, contribute to my community in various ways, write some more, think some more. Oh, yes, and sleep in as often as possible. 🙂

  1. Do you believe in life after death or reincarnation?


  1. Do you believe that there will be consequences for good or evil acts?

If this question is related in some way to #7, then no. Consequences within societies come from that society, for better or worse, and/or come from within the person/people committing the acts. This is another of the questions that intrigued me enough to stop and think about it. A full response to this question needs a lot more thought!

  1. Do you or someone that you know have problems with anxiety or depression?

Yes. I can’t imagine that everyone doesn’t know someone with problems with anxiety or depression, although they may not be aware of it. More awareness in needed.


Jo asks her readers to send her their responses to these questions if they’re willing, to help provide context to the final chapter of her book. If you’d like to help her out, click on the link to her blog above.

If you’d like to share your thoughts here on these questions or my musings about them, please comment away below! Feel free to disagree at will, although agreement is also welcome! 😉

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