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When you’re down, down low….

Weird. I have one of the Eurovision songs stuck in my head. I am down, down low. It’s been a rough, ROUGH week and I have little energy left. Or will to do anything, really.

How to cure the down, down low? Here are some of my tips:

1) Hug your kitty/ dog. They may have disgruntled faces (or are about to scratch you) but the feel of that soft fur will make you feel like the world is a better place.

2) Watch “Pursuit of Happyness”- when you realize Chris Gardner was homeless, with a kid, working like a maniac…. you realize you should probably get off your ass and be more productive.

3) Have a glass of wine. No, forget wine. Have a mix- maybe vodka and coke. Rum and coke. I’m not saying to drink your problems away, but sometimes alcohol can get you more relaxed.

4) Get your best friend on the phone. Or when you don’t really have a best friend, talk to your dog/kitty. They are great listeners, often better than people. And they will listen to your problems for hours.

5) Pet your dog/kitty for good measure. Again!

So that’s kind of what I do. What do you do when you have a bad day/week/month? Leave comments below :D

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P.S: Thank you to those who took advantage of the free promotion of my children’s book “Ginger’s missing glasses”– don’t forget to leave a review! :)

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When English is too difficult for the French highschool kid(s)

Ah, my dear France! My dear French people! English is really not that hard. I promise!

Today, a lovely article was posted on one of the French website (click here– but it’s in French)… a young high school kid decided to make a petition to disregard a certain question “M” on the BAC d’anglais (I guess kind of like SAT’s) because it was deemed too difficult for his young mind.

OK, OK. I get it. English even gets me sometimes. But, lets look at the questions. Could we possibly understand the two questions (from a French perspective) if we only used some logic? Perhaps language similarities?

Let’s see.

First question: “What are three of his concerns about the situation?” So, I am assuming he didn’t know the word “concern.” Because words like “what, are, three, his, situation, about” are basic English levels. Right? This boy is doing his BAC! He knows basic English! So let’s assume the word “concerns” was too difficult. Or perhaps he connected it to the French verb concerner (French for “relate to”). That’s after his first brain storming. But we all know, a word like concern cannot possibly be English. Come on, way too many nasal sounds! In fact, the word “concern” comes from a mix of French and Latin! From French concerner or late Latin concernere (in medieval Latin ‘be relevant to’), from con- (expressing intensive force) + cernere ‘sift, discern’. So you don’t get a pass on that first question, young boy. The word has French roots!

Second question: “How is Turner coping with the situation?” OK, again. Beginners English levels include the words “how, is, with, the, situation?) (oh, and btw, the word situation is the same in French!!) So the verb that is puzzling the young French boy must be “coping.” To cope( or cope with)- a person dealing with something difficult. Could the verb have any origin in French word or perhaps is, just by normal logic, easily related to French verbs? It turns out, the verb “to cope” comes “from Old French coper, colper”, fromcop, colp.” And as much as I admit, perhaps this is a harder verb to understand, it still comes from your own native language, French boy. So no need to complain, because, as it turns out, you fail in French!

What do you think? Leave a comment below :D

P.S: My children’s book “Ginger’s missing glasses” (beginners English *wink wink*) is free tomorrow on Amazon!

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Shinning bright on a Sunday!

It’s a great feeling when you have the writing fever. You stay up late, forget about eating, perhaps drinking coffee to stay up when your body is telling you to shut down.

I’ve been up since 5am and I can’t stop writing. I would like to share the cover of my new “Ginger’s missing glasses” children’s book. I am presenting the cover today, but it should be available on Amazon tomorrow. For FREE pre-orders, e-mail: leahrennes@gmail.com. DO IT! I want to hear your feedback!

I hope your Sunday is productive as well.

Love,

Leah

P.S: I also want to state that I have decided to do a so-called “LULU” pledge- meaning 50% of my profits will go to those in need. As you have seen in my log posts, I consider myself fortunate to have good opportunities in my life and I want to help those who do not.

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
Winston S. Churchill

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Male heros of children’s books

Children’s books are a special genre to write in. Not everyone understands the imagination children have or how they think. Or perhaps even what they find funny. Since I am writing my children’s book, I have- of course- done my due diligence to research the genre and not make any mistakes. Or, at least not as many mistakes.

What bothers me is that all this articles recommend using a male character. Little girls can better relate to male characters, while apparently vice-versa is impossible for them to do. I understand that probably a boy will not relate to a character of a ballerina (or will he?) but why can’t he relate to a bold, young girl who is seeking adventure? Or a young female scientist who is on the verge of a major breakthrough in dragon healing?

It is sad that even in children’s books there is sexism. By not including female characters or giving males main role, we are saying female characters belong in the background while the lead should be for men. It’s a disturbing thought! No one thinks about it so much, until actually faced with data (btw, here is a great article). Not all stories require a certain gender character, and sometimes one just wants to have a male character but the fact that writer’s are using male characters merely to increase sales is gross. Just gross. Our kids are the new generation of open-minded people, so start putting more female characters out there! Do it for the kids. If not for your sexist self.

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When it rains, it rains.

Whoever knows me well knows I am a SUCKER for sayings. They are kind of like an addiction of mine, as the wisdom (or sometimes stupidity) of our ancestors reveal in short, lovable sentences I can wittily use in conversations.

One that really gets me is the “when it rains, it pours.” I find it to be horrendously pessimistic and horrendously inaccurate. It is the generalization of the saying that gets me. There are so many rain types: light showers, baby drizzle, hail, ice pellets, or normal amounts of rain falling from the sky. Pouring is heavy rain, and it doesn’t happen most of the time. I guess it also depends on where you live. In Florida, where I live, it rains at roughly 5 o’clock in the afternoon every summer. Does it rain? Yes. Does it pour? No. It is merely a rainy storm passing by but it doesn’t mean that is raining heavily. Normally it is just a stupid shower.

What I’m trying to say is, every time I hear people use the saying “when it rains, it pours” I imagine them in a horrific thunderstorm, wet to the bones, shivering. But I feel like whoever came up with the saying was ridiculously dramatic and just hated rain. In real life, pouring down doesn’t happen that often, does it? Mostly the problems we see pour on us are really not that bad. In fact, they can be compared to some light showers and drizzle.

Which saying is your favorite/ least favorite? Why, why not? Leave a comment below!

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The old and sparingly, the young and wasteful

Recently, we had quite the generational battle in my family. We decided to renovate my Dad’s tiny little cottage house somewhere in Georgia. He used it for his getaways when he needed a break from life, but now, as my sister has children on her own…she wants to take them there, have them live in the wild, learn how nature works and expose them to other beautiful crude facts of life.

And so, the idea of renovating came about. Let’s turn Dad’s old, shabby cottage into a family den! I believe he hasn’t touched the inside for roughly 40 years…. the rugs were used up and damp, the walls have been crying for a layer of paint. The closets, drawers and other furniture was wobbly and almost shivered under the weight of Dad’s fishing/hunting gear and tools. For my youngest niece, walking into the place caused an immediate allergic reaction to dust. We knew it was a big undertaking, but my sister desperately wanted this. Little did we know, the easiest part would be loading up the broken things. For the fight began with things that were still sort of-kind of-just barely useful and looked terrible.

Our Dad started arguing how wasteful we were and that just because something is old and broken, it does not mean it cannot be repaired. Yada yada yada. The whole afternoon became about us, the young and wasteful generation which buys things when they break down instead of fixing them. He fought for every chair, every dresser, every drawer, every table. And I get it, I do. I am “old-school”, if you will, and all about savings things and fixing them up- but only if they still look somewhat presentable. But things that are on the verge of collapsing and possibly hurting someone? Shouldn’t we retire old furniture too? At what point do we acknowledge nothing is meant to be used forever?

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What about the young people, Europe?

Europe, the land of the kind socialists and good-hearted people, is exploiting its young work force. Every time I am done with my Skype session with my friends from Europe, I am astounded. Simply astounded. The stories they tell me….

Young, fresh out of college graduates cannot find jobs, for months, even years! Even in Germany, the amount of people seeking for jobs is so high that students are paying agencies to find them internships- INTERNSHIPS- which are UNPAID! They are willing to pay to to get a job and work for free just to get experience. Companies have young students, graduates and even those with work experience by the balls (pardon my French). And they are exploiting them just like cruel Americans make their people work. Before anyone goes on about American crisis, I assure you, it may have been bad a couple years ago but it has been picking up and my God you could at least get a job at Wendy’s.

Many in Europe complain about Americans…who “work hard all the time. No one has vacation, no break ever”- they say. “Your healthcare system sucks and you work like a slave.” But what happened to Europe I ask you? Why is Europe failing to see that the future is in the young, spirited and driven young workforce, and not the one that  has a degree but brings you coffee, makes copies for you and secretly hates you for doing it? And why are those lucky ones that find jobs significantly underpaid?

I leave you with these thoughts, those that have comments, type away in the section below…. ;)

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Forgettable Wedding Day

After ten years of marriage, Sally still had to think which ring went on her finger first- the engagement ring or the wedding ring? “Wedding ring is closest to the heart,” she remembered her Mother’s words and put it on first. She fixed her hair and went to the kitchen. Her cravings for a peanut butter sandwich were strong for some reason. Her thoughts continued to lead her to the past… to the day she said yes to Michael.

The memory of it was very hazy. She remembered Michael drinking a lot because he was nervous. Her nervously walking down the beach. Not being able to eat a whole lot because she wore a waist cincher. It seemed so far away, a remote event which only marked the beginning of the adventures her and Michael experienced.

For a second, it almost seemed irrelevant. Wedding day almost had no special meaning to her. The other ten years spent together.. that was more important. Thinking back on their wedding day, she realized how little she knew Michael and how little he knew her. How much they have changed since. How many better moments they had together than that one day on the beach. “Funny how no one tells you this,” she thought and bit into the sandwich.

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A female road runner runs down a road at dusk at Independence Pass.

Hate running and do it with a passion

Running doesn’t keep me happy. I don’t care if they have cute running clothes to make me look like I am dying less when I run. Nor do I care for the positive brain effects and endorphin that release as I run. Ok? I couldn’t care less.

I have no love for running whatsoever. I do it purely and solely because it is good for my health. There is no love relationship with it; I am not passionate for the sweating and the huffing and puffing I go through every-time. I am not a fan of having to convince myself from not stopping all the time. It is a constant mental battle and constant fighting with my body. Because, I guess, some people have bodies which are in dying need of running. My body is in dying need of couch-ing. When I run, I am like a nagging wife who constantly reminds her husband to do something. “Don’t stop, run faster, don’t stop, think positive, you can do this, don’t stop, pick up the pace, yes you can do another five minutes, don’t stop, didn’t I tell you not to stop?!”

But, as I tell all my friends who find running to be “boring” and hate to do it… You probably don’t like to go to work everyday either and yet…. you go. You make yourself do it. Why? Because you get paid. If you go running, you are compensated with good/better health. It’s boring, yes, but how many things in life are beautifully boring and yet a major part of our lives? So do it, be passionate about your hate for running and go sweat your butt off.

P.S: Thanks for reading my post, now share your thoughts on running with me :)

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Note to self: Be grateful. Be more grateful.

I like to think I am a grateful person, but perhaps I am not as grateful for things as much as I would like to be. As Jack Dawson said: “I got air in my lungs, and a few blank sheets of paper” (still one of my favorite quotes from Titanic).

I am healthy, I have a job, I get to find time time to enjoy my hobbies, I have David by my side. I have my wacky family by my side (for the most part). I live in the best country on Earth (‘Merica!) and I have food on the table. Above all, I get to write stories. I should be so grateful. So darn grateful. But I am not. I constantly want more. I want to sell more books, lose weight, travel more, upgrade my kitchen (it is so tiny!) etc.

So today, I acknowledge my blessings and I will strive my best to be better at stopping and counting them more. I am lucky. So lucky. How grateful are you for what you have?

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