It's good to have a camera around

Wantage Chamber of Commerce celebrated its Summer Social in our garden and in our neighbours' house so it only took me a second to grab my camera and make a little keepsake from the night. You can often hear those musicians playing in our Market Square on Saturday morning so I am glad I can have this video memory of them. I hope you will enjoy it too. 

Discomfort of life

Do you feel unsettled? Do you always feel like you are not enough and you would like to dive into life even more? Because I have this pain most of the time and if I do not work really hard on writing it out, taking photos, transmedia reporting or running projects I am driving my family and friends mad! So when I see documentaries like the one you are about to watch here at least I can say that I am not alone. I hope one day my works will be at least tiny bit as good as the photographs of Cory Richards!  

Time to Act with ActionAid UK

It is time to act, always. There will never be enough of work done in this area. Women in conflict experience so much horror that we do not even want to talk about it. We have to though! Every change starts with the fact that a story becomes important and is on the agenda of those in power and those who can work towards cultural and social changes on the ground. 

I am writing this just to express my gratitude to ActioAid UK team for inviting me to the End Sexual Violence in Conflict Summit as a blogger - it was a privileged to be able to access the event in media capacity and I really wish I could have been there on all days. I only managed to get away from my every day work for a day, but what a day it was! I think I will blog about it all throughout the summer, if not longer, but for now let me direct you to my first reactions here, here and here, on my Twitter and Instagram accounts, and kindly ask you to support ActionAid UK in their work now, this month - simply because if we do it before the 25th of June our donations will be matched! 

Thank you again to the ActionAid UK team, to all bloggers who attended and met up with us and to the organisers. important, impactful and life changing event. 

Stay tuned for more updates on their work and on the topic! 

To lean in or not to lean in?

'If we truly want gender equality, we need to challenge the assumption that more is always better, and the assumption that men don’t suffer as much as women when they’re exhausted and have no time for family or fun. And we need to challenge those assumptions wherever we find them, both in the workplace and in the family.'

David Beard posted those words in his article criticising Sheryl Sandberg's 'Lean In' theory (and book) encouraging women to work harder and make their points stronger if that is what is required for their success. And I feel that even if Sheryl is often be right, David makes some good points too - maybe not so much in relation to feminism itself but to family in our times. 

I still struggle and work really hard to work out the roles in my family, you see, even though I share my life with a man who is very patient, respectful and just. We both come into our marriage with our own luggage of habits and views. We both treasure peace and mutual understanding. We measure our choices from point of view of all three members of our family. And still our lives often put us in front of choices that are simply difficult to make! We both would love to work from home, run successful business. We both would love to have time for our son, ourselves, our dog and home. But all of this is not possible all at once so we can only do our best in each moment of our marriage and choose the leading individual and adjust accordingly - sometimes it was me, nowadays it is him. But we talk about it and respect each other for the jobs and roles we perform. We make mistakes and we learn. 

But having lived with a controlling mother and later a controlling man too, I know for a fact that Sheryl's book is needed and I am happy that it made so much noise. I am actually really, really happy to see just how much criticism it has provoked too - if it would be ignored we would not have an issue, right? 

But Beard is right - for those of us who are fortunate enough to live a fairly harmonious lives the issue of long working hours, commuting and isolating kids in the meantime is pretty serious. Only that I do not think it is necessarily the other side of Sheryl's 'coin' - it applies to both men and women, to all couples who decide to build a family and get at least one more job - path to their own, individual success outside of their family. It is not easy and I do agree that the right balance is the key. I just wish the issue of work-home balance and and women's path to success where not in the same pot anymore...

Minecraft and science

Minecraft is great for teaching kids science and I am ever so happy that my son gets to live the times of this game! The below embedded video is just one of many examples of scientific inspirations for young geeks.

Our son spends hours designing his Minecraft contractions, learning basics of architecture, physics, chemistry, sometimes even history - and then, when his gaming time slot arrives (usually during weekends) makes the most of the time within the game. This semester, in advance of their new topic - the Romans - his project allowed him a lot of freedom in choosing how to deliver it and so he has created his own Roman villa in Minecraft. Why not? If we want kids to make the most of tech, why not for a useful purpose? 

I just hope more and more parents and teachers will see it this way;) 

We are all but works in progress

"Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they're finished" - said Dan Gilbert in his TED talk on end of history illusion - our present image of a definite individual not a fluid person exposed to factors of change. 

I think I have suffered a lot in recent years from the disparity between my ability to predict many results of changes happening to me right here and right now and reasoning of people and sources of factors causing those changes. I have seen my present self just as clearly as I can see today my future self - based on the here and now of course as I cannot predict what else awaits me. I am fascinated to see that the academic research is tapping into those so far rather unknown territories and I hope that we will all learn to handle the current changes better, as they happen, before it is too late to reverse them or before we fail to enjoy their positive impact on our very own selves. 

Images from our childhood

boyanddog

I like when people like my content posted in social media. I like to see that just like with poetry or events in the past, today it's my social updates occasionally connect me with others and we look in the same direction sharing similar thoughts and feelings. This photo of my son, his dog and his bike out on the Ridgeway (local ancient Roman route, our usual weekend destination) did just that - opened little gates to our childhood for me and my very good friends. Some of them smiled, others simply emailed me to say that it made them feel about their own childhood moments, most of them liked it on Facebook etc. In any case I am glad that we live the times when our little moments captured on a photograph can travel so fast, reach so many and have this tiny but important impact. Social media allows us to give away virtual likes, hugs and gestures - we look the same way and find similar meanings, thus finding similarly minded people fast. Aren't we lucky?