Monthly Archives: June 2013

My Midsummer Gift to Moms

Today has been a stressful but still exhilarating day in our household – hot, steamy hot, kids somewhat “summer-bored”, bad news mixed with good news, and did I mention hot?

Well, I’ve just finished conversing with and tutoring my dear student from Martinique who downloaded my book the other day, and she says she’s already found some helpful advice (plus more idioms, of course). In honor of the pleasant-ish end to this stressful day, I am giving away free Kindle downloads of my book, “Real-Life Stressbusters for Moms on the Go” TOMORROW ONLY, June 20, 2013. (I wish I could do it tonight, plus throw in a glass of Merlot or a cup of tea, but Amazon won’t let me…)

Go to Hope it helps!

If you miss it, don’t worry. It’s only $1.99 anyway, and still free to Amazon Prime members. I’m updating it to 100 tips by the end of the summer, in any case, but be blessed by these 40. Some of us need them NOW…


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Posted by on June 20, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Private Lessons by Skype: Professional English (ESL) & Japanese

As always, I am offering private and group lessons in Intermediate and Advanced English Fluency (ESL – English as a Second Language), as well as in Beginning and Intermediate Japanese, including skills in reading and writing.

Just for your reference, I am a Princeton grad and language-lover with a master’s degree in Education and over 25 years of experience.  I am also bilingual in Japanese. Many years ago, I left the rarefied and exciting world of international business with its traipsing around Japan and Europe, and began to help care for my family by teaching others the “Way of the Wayfarer”, among other things.  What is the “Way of the Wayfarer”? A wayfarer is a perpetual traveler, and I have always loved to travel, to experience other cultures first-hand as a participant and not as a tourist.  Being multicultural myself, I have always stressed multilingualism in my classrooms, my workshops, and my home as a way for all of us to not only broaden our horizons, but to broaden our usefulness to each other as human beings. You know, to “be a blessing”.

Well, for the past several years I have incorporated Skype into my box of tools, including as a teacher for Livemocha (now part of Rosetta Stone), along with experimenting with WebEx and other platforms. For an even longer period of time, I have used Learning Management Systems (LMS) such as Blackboard Collaborate, etc. Sometimes I am happy with them, and sometimes these systems leave things to be desired.

In any case, I take my job seriously and, at the same time, inspire fun and fun and lively conversations on a multitude of subjects.  We will emphasize listening and spoken fluency, as well as idiomatic language and vocabulary.  Space is limited, as I still have my loyal students to care for.  It would be my pleasure to add a few more, however.  And they are affordable: Only $15 per 45-minute group lesson, and $20 per private 30-minute session with Premium Skype screen-sharing and instant messaging.  For more information, please feel welcome to contact me or leave a comment below and I will contact you shortly.  Looking forward to it!


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Posted by on June 19, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Cover designed by my daughter…who studies German, too.


Cover designed by my daughter…who studies German, too.

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Posted by on June 19, 2013 in Uncategorized


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“Real-Life Stressbusters for Moms on the Go”

The first edition-slash-preview download for mothers needing real-life solutions when stress mounts.  Extremely helpful, even if the table of contents is formatted incorrectly!  Oh well.  The 100-Tip Edition is on its way.  Free on Kindle for Amazon Prime members.  USD $1.99 otherwise on Kindle.  PDF version also available upon request.  Hope it helps!

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Posted by on June 19, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Father Tongue

Photo Credits at end of post.

Father Tongue

We know the answer to the question: What language do you speak as your native tongue?

We know that this “native language” is the one in which we cry the most stinging tears, argue the easiest, laugh the loudest and tell our jokes, and that we whisper the softest to our children as they sleep in our arms. In English, we call this language our “mother tongue”. It is the language used by our parents and teachers to nurture our emotions, develop our character and force our knowledge to expand.

Our rawest emotions come out in this language, and if we are bilingual, then our communications might just as easily see a few second-language words and idioms mixed in, but the framework and grammatical heart of what we say will STILL be in our mother tongue. It’s a primal thing.

So that brings another question: Why can’t we call it our “father tongue”? It’s something to think about.

Some might say that, because in English and many other languages – especially Latin-based (see “contrata”), we usually talk about our countries of origin in the feminine.  In English, this is a literary construct, but in Latin-based languages, it’s just the norm grammatically.  Life is in the feminine and masculine.  It makes things interesting, to say the least.

Some might say it’s because our “mother tongue” our most intimate mode of expression, and our relationship with our mothers is generally our most intimate relationship at the beginning of our lives when language is first formed.  We show our mothers our rawest emotions, our fiercest temper tantrums, and our strongest allegiances if she has done her job right.

But then, some might say that there are those of us whose most intimate beginning relationship was actually with our father.  And more cogent, some might argue that, although usually we first communicate with our mothers, it is often our expanded efforts to communicate with our fathers, for better or for worse, that actually stretch and develop our powers of language and all the nuances therein.

I don’t necessarily believe that completely, although at least some of this is true and great fodder for debate. What I do believe is that, for most of us, whether or not we have both parents in the home, an awareness of “Mother” and of “Father” plays an enormous part in the development of our language. When one of them is absent, the yearning itself provokes the need to communicate, if only with oneself.

In any case, these are just some musings and a desire to hear what others think.

In honor of Fathers Day, though, and in honor of the extraordinary love and sacrifice my husband shows our family, as well as the love my father still tries to show me despite that he was away for most of my childhood, today I will call English my “father tongue”.

I’ll revert back to “mother tongue” on Monday, Mom.  Don’t worry.  Pop won’t mind.

Thoughts, Readers?


Where I found these great images:

Tattooed Dad and Son

Daughter and Dad from India

Black American Dad

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Posted by on June 15, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Idioms and Motherhood and Stress in English


One of my Russian ESL clients is a businesswoman and the mom of a 15-year-old growing young man.  She also has a great sense of humor and an independent spirit, and we talked frequently up until her schedule became even more hectic than usual.  Knowing that I am also a passionate professional like her, and the devoted mom of many, she downloaded one of my books from a few years ago: “Real-Life Stressbusters for Moms on the Go” (, a book with 40 tips for stressed moms which I am in the middle of updating to 100 tips.

One of the most interesting things she said to me upon our very next Skype lesson was that, even more than the very helpful tips she was reading in English, she noticed right off that my book is full of idioms.  She began our lesson by pulling from me the definitions of this idiom and that, and I was so delighted to see my book through the eyes of a reader whose native language is not English.

I live idiomatically.  I speak and write and live my life through idioms, and I firmly believe that, once a learner has progressed to an advanced stage of fluency in any language, that learning the idioms of that culture is one of the last frontiers of fluency, a place of comfort and confidence in knowing that one is indeed solidly comprehending what is being said and expressed in a normal conversation.

In other words, idioms open a new window into a culture.  It might be a dangerous window, though, where falling off the ledge is just a matter of mixing metaphors or using the wrong word, but idioms are still extraordinarily worthwhile to learn, if you are serious about becoming fluent.

In any case, it was fun and rewarding to hear that, even though this first edition had formatting problems (the table of contents are labeled incorrectly), my Russian student felt edified by my advice AND found linguistic value all at the same time!  I was happy, to say the least.

Well, here’s the Amazon link to the first edition (free on Kindle to Amazon Prime members, and just USD $1.99 otherwise).  And to my readers who download the first edition – and who request it, I am sending the 100-tip version as a gift on pdf when it’s released.  (And if you don’t have Kindle and would like to receive a pdf file version of the first edition to your email inbox, please send me a message and I can send you a link as well for the same $1.99, payable by PayPal.)

However you choose to read it, I would love to receive more feedback, as well as your own tips to add to the mix.  Dads welcome, too!

The Link:

Happy Idiom-Hunting!

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Posted by on June 14, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Link to “Should I Raise My Children in a Language that is Not My Own?”

This is the article referenced in my post: “For Parents: Two sites for raising multiLINGUAL children“.  Enjoy!

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Posted by on June 14, 2013 in Uncategorized



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