Tag Archives: mystery

Bewilderingly watching the 2016 American election

Hillary vs. Donald. It may be my outsider’s view of the 2016 American election, but how is this even a contest? What rational, informed person would ever think that Donald can even hold a candle next to the qualifications, significant achievements and abilities of Hillary? She has spent her entire adult life advocating for others and only slightly fewer years in public service. He only ever had interest for himself and his businesses until he started his run for president last year.  Ugh, should I even attempt to write a blog post about my bewilderment about the 2016 American election happening south of our border? The whole thing is disheartening.

But, I love puzzles and mysteries. I get a real satisfaction from thinking through a puzzle and coming up with an answer. And so, I’m following the election with the kind of perverse interest and investment of time, because feels like there will be the big plot reveal come November 8, 2016. I have clues and strings of narrative in the jumbled ball of information stuck in my head.  The following is an attempt to lay out these clues and muse about what it might mean for the outcome.

Globalization of goods, people, capital, and information

Just think of the advances in technology in the last 40 years in transportation (airplane travel, cargo shipping), communications (cable television, cellular telephones, internet, social media), and computing power (calculators, personal computers, smartphones). The rate and distance of “things” moving now from one place to another is staggering compared to 40 years ago. With this movement comes change. And we humans don’t typically like dealing with change because it means we have to recognize there is a change, and then make the effort to change ourselves.

The rapid pace of change unmoors us from feeling secure

We derive a sense of ourselves by a)the families and communities we belong to, and b) the benefit to our society through the work we do.  Continue reading Bewilderingly watching the 2016 American election

E1- a budding Sherlock Holmes in the house

The days of me thinking that I can fool my girls is clearly in the past now. Here’s a story about E1 – a budding Sherlock Holmes in the house.


Me: “Ooh, girls. I got a text from Daddy and I think Daddy is going to come home with a surprise. I bet you’ll never guess what it is.”

E1: “Oh! Is it another bike?”

Me (chuckling): “No, it’s not another bike. But considering the past few weeks, that’s an excellent guess.” (In reference to the one day at the beginning of November where we came home to find that he has bought a new road bike for himself, and then picked up two girls bikes that were sitting on the curb in the neighbourhood with a “Free” sign on them.)

E2: “Is it dinner?”

Me: “Hmm. Another good guess, especially since we are getting hungry. But no, that’s not it.”

E1: “New winter boots for us?”

Me: “Hmm, we do need to get you those. Sorry that’s not it either. I’m telling you, you’ll never guess what it is.”

The girls kept guessing during the walk home. They were unsuccessful in guessing correctly, as I predicted.

We got inside the house and were taking off our shoes when E1 looks up at me with a spark in her eye. “Wait! You said that Daddy texted you. I can go upstairs and look on the tablet to see what Daddy said to you.” She took off up the stairs. A minute later I hear her talking to E2. “Oh! I think Daddy got a new car!”

Me and E2: “Whaaaaaaaat?” We were shocked for different reasons.

E1: “Yeah, Daddy wrote something about a Lexus, and I think that’s a type of car.”

Me: “Yes…uh, you got it, sweetie! How, um, did you figure it all out?”

E1: “Well, I remember sometimes when we’re on the tablet watching Netflix or playing a game, i sometimes  see the messages you and Daddy send to each other on Hangout. So I tried to find it.”


This kid blows my mind. Critical thinking skills = +20. Thinking back, I look all the pieces of information she assembled in that 7-year old brain of hers:

  1. Realized guessing blindly was not getting her anywhere, so she thought of an alternative method to get more clues.
  2. Picked up during our conversation the information that Daddy sent me a text message
  3. Remembered that she has seen our text messages on the tablets at home, in addition to our phones
  4. Remembered the name of the app that holds our messages, and how to find it on the tablet.
  5. Somehow remembered that Lexus is a manufacturer of cars, even though noone in our family, or our extended family, owns one (until now, that is).

So she’s on a good track to becoming a world-renowned  consulting detective, right? Or a super spy? I just hope she uses her powers for good, and not evil.

~Jen

The Mystery of the Blue Hand: Scene from a household

It likely will be the enduring mystery of 2015 for the Toh family: The Mystery of the Blue Hand. Continue reading The Mystery of the Blue Hand: Scene from a household

Serial—Seriously addicting

I know I’m coming to the Serial podcast party 11 weeks late, but better late than never, right? And after listening to just the first podcast, I know I’m hooked.

What is Serial? From its website:

Serial is a new podcast from the creators of This American Life, hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial will follow one story – a true story – over the course of a whole season. We’ll follow the plot and characters wherever they take us and we won’t know what happens at the end of the story until we get there, not long before you get there with us. Each week we’ll bring you the latest chapter, so it’s important to listen in order, starting with Episode 1.

Continue reading Serial—Seriously addicting

Book review: Death Comes to Pemberley

Jacket cover for

I do love a good mystery. I thoroughly enjoy Jane Austen’s novels as well. P.D. James has gone and put the two together in Death Comes to Pemberley, and does an astounding job of it. This really is a murder mystery done in the tone and style of Jane Austen, using the familiar characters from Pride and Prejudice. It would totally be believable as a shocking sequel to Pride and Prejudice if Jane Austen a)were to write any sequels and b)were to write something as gory and ugly as a murder.

I admit that I didn’t remember all the characters that had already been introduced in Pride and Prejudice (ahem, Captain Denny, the poor victim), but it was kind of delightful “catching up” with these characters six years after the events of P&P transpired. Indulgent, sure, but it definitely enables James to easily establish our sympathies for these characters, their actions and their motivations without having to spend a lot of time with backstory. Continue reading Book review: Death Comes to Pemberley