Tuesday, December 31, 2013

To All for 2014 - Thank you


What's with  New Year's resolutions? Maybe I don't care for them because I've never kept one throughout my life.  Why not do positive small changes that are obtainable, instead? The Huff Post had a decent article regarding this.  I don't know if I'll make a contract with myself but a few things I'll be doing this year is feeding my passion more - less goof off time, showing my appreciation for someone (especially family), write something I'm grateful for each day (hope I don't bore myself with any repeats lol) and to exceed my comfort zone.  I think these are doable.

What changes are you thinking of making?


                                                             #  #  #

According to Blogger, I receive views from all over the world. I kind of have my doubts about that because their stats never seem to match each other, but in case it's true, I want to thank all of you for visiting throughout the year and wish you a peaceful, happy, and enriching new year. Here's to a new start and better respect for each other and the earth which we depend on to live.

Wünschen Ihnen ein friedliches, glückliches, neues Jahr und bereichernd.

متمنيا لكم سنة جديدة السلمية، سعيدة، ومثرية.

愿你有一个和平,幸福和充实新的一年。

Ik wens u een rustig, gelukkig en verrijkende nieuwe jaar.

En vous souhaitant une nouvelle année paisible, heureux, et enrichissante.

Σας ευχόμαστε μια ειρηνική, ευτυχισμένη, και εμπλουτίζοντας το νέο έτος.

מאחל לך שנה של שלום, שמחה, ומעשירה חדשה.

आप एक शांतिपूर्ण, खुश, और समृद्ध नए साल की बधाई.

Ar mian leat go síochánta, sona, agus a shaibhriú bhliain nua.

あなたに、平和で幸せな、そして豊かな新年を希望する。

Życząc Państwu spokojny, szczęśliwy, i wzbogacenia nowego roku.

Желаю вам мирного, счастливого и обогащения новый год.

Le deseamos una pacífica, feliz y enriquecedora año nuevo.

Yang ingin anda yang aman, gembira, dan memperkaya tahun baru.

Желимо вам мирну, срећну и обогаћујући нову годину.

Бажаю вам мирного, щасливого і збагачення новий рік.

Toivotan teille rauhallinen, onnellinen, ja rikastuttava uusi vuosi.

Note: If I didn't give my wish in your language, I apologize. The Blogger audience list only goes up to ten entries and I can remember just a few of the others. If the translation came out wrong, it's Google's fault. It's suppose to translate into Wishing you a peaceful, happy, and enriching new year.  : )  ~ Donna




Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas


Just want to wish everyone a warm, happy, memory-filled Christmas.  Please be safe.
~ Donna

Sunday, December 15, 2013

10 Tips for Handling Holiday Stress




Ah yes, the Christmas season is upon us and as the hustle and bustle increases so does the stress. Most of the time we can handle it, sometimes we can't. When those times hit there are ways to combat them.  Here are a few of the several ways I found on Helpguide.org  that can be applied all through the year, not just during the holidays. 

First you must realize that "until you accept responsibility for the role you play in creating or maintaining it, your stress level will remain outside your control".  Know what you can and can't do.  If the church choirmaster asks you if you can make ten matching halos and wings for the children's choir and you really don't have the time.  Say no.  You won't go to hell for it.  If you’re child asks you to drive him/her somewhere and you’re really swamped with other things – say no. You won't be reported to the Child Protection Agency for voicing it.

Put the most important/necessary tasks of your to-do list on top and the least at the bottom. If it has very little importance you might consider not doing it at all. 
See if you can volunteer some of the others in your family to help with some of the special cleaning, decorating and chores that are a part of "getting ready".  I make a list of everything that needs to be done. I then tell my family members to pick a chore, put their name next to it and cross it off when it’s completed.  It works in my house, maybe it will it yours.

You don't have to be an angel, so if there's something bothering you, talk it out.  Don't let it come to a boil inside until it blasts out making you sound like a shrilling grinch.

Keep things in perspective.  If something is irritating you, ask yourself will it matter in a month?  A year? Is it really worth getting upset over? If the answer is no, focus your time and energy elsewhere.  

Think of things that are positive, that includes, besides rainbows, puppies and kittens; your own good qualities and strengths such as compassion, creativity, honesty, courage, and/or loyalty, to name a few. Also try to think more positively.  If you feel everything is going wrong, think, I can get through this if I take it one step at a time. Or I’ve been through this before, I can do it again.

No one's perfect, so don't demand perfection from yourself.  Even Martha Stewart makes mistakes, though she does use the word perfect a lot.

Don't try to control those things that you can't.  You can control how you will react but some things you don't have any power over, like Uncle Joe.

Get enough sleep. Studies have shown that people function best after seven to eight hours of sleep.

Try to exercise.  It helps to boost endorphins and reduce stress—and research shows that 20 minutes each day is all that is needed to experience benefits.

And lastly do something for fun once a day.  Throw in a CD or grab your i-pod and dance until you feel a smile coming on. Put together a puzzle with your family. Go to a park and take pictures. Do something silly either by yourself or with loved ones.

Another good site for tips is the American Heart Association


Hope this helps a little bit.  Have a wonderful and hopefully calmer holiday season.




Sunday, December 1, 2013

What IS Nora Roberts?



At our bi-monthly writing meeting, the discussion turned to the trials and tribulations, the angst, and the periodic hair pulling of putting together a story. Somehow the talk moseyed over to the topic of Nora Roberts. For those who don't know, Nora Roberts, with the release of Whiskey Beach in April 2013, has written two hundred and five books.  Thirty-seven of which were under her pseudonym, J.D. Robb.

"I heard she's not human," said Hanna, whose eyes were still red from her breakdown minutes before after telling us about the battle she's been having with her present work.  

She glanced around the cafe.  Her voiced lowered to barely a whisper as she leaned forward. "She's an experimental android spy made by the military. NORA is actually short for Natural Observational Robotic Agent.  But all her reports displayed such creative flair  everyone wanted to read them and were trying to sneak copies out.  Of course the military couldn't have that. "

"They tried reprogramming her, but it didn't work and decided to let her run on her own, monitoring how long she could operate before malfunctioning.  They never expected her to be this good for this long. Plus the Department of Defense gets a percentage of the book sales, so they're real happy."

"But she smokes.  She has to be real," said Mary.

"They added that for realism," replied Hanna.

"I don't think so." Mary continued, "I read Nora's an alien from a literary planet.  She has two brains that work independently from each other and has two sets of arms.  That way she can work on a couple of stories at the same time. She just picked up the smoking habit while on this planet."

"And where the hell did you read that?" asked Cyndi, whose voice whipped with disdain.

"From a reputable newspaper."    

"Yeah, well I wouldn't call The Backdoor Inquisitor a professional journalistic paper."

"I didn't say I read. . ."  

"Oh come on.  I  know you grab that rag every time you go shopping and that bit of info is just their speed."

Mary's fingers tugged at the buttons  of her blouse.

"Okay ladies, let's calm it down here," Keira, always the peacemaker of the group, said as she flipped her hands up in a crossing guard gesture to stop them. 

"You're both wrong," said Tawny.  "She has eight clones tucked away in a remote cabin, each turning out a different story.  Nora, herself, only writes one book every three years."

Cyndi quirked an eyebrow.

"Really! I heard it from a friend, who heard it from a friend, who was made privy to it by her  sister-in-law, who got it from her mother, who heard it from her hairstylist, who happens to be the same person Nora uses."

"Did you breathe at all through that whole sentence?"  Cyndi stifled a chuckle.

Tawny's eyes narrowed.  Her hands, resting on her lap, clenched into fists as she drew in a deep breath  through her nose.

"Admit it ladies, we're just jealous and wish we could be as prolific," Keira threw in before more could be said.  She sighed as she gazed at the sullen faces and nodding heads, then raised her coffee cup. 

"To Nora, whatever she may be."

We lifted our cups to meet hers.  "To Nora." 








Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Annual Thanksgiving Rant or What's Your Thanks in Thanksgiving?




Does the thought of stores open for business on Thanksgiving make you see red or at least a vibrant pink? Does hearing K-Mart will be open at 6 a.m., Walmart and Best Buy at 6 p.m., and Target, Sears, Macy's at 8 p.m., to name just a few, make you want to hand in your membership card to the human  race? Okay, maybe not to that extreme, there are far more important situations to hand in your card for but you get the idea. And I'm right along with you when it comes to these stores.

But I can't vilify and lay the whole blame on the retail sector.  Like the movie Field of Dreams, corporate America heard the little voice say, "if you open, they will come".  And the public did . . .  in droves.  Let's face it, if the consumers weren't there, the doors would stay shut.  So why? According to a RetailMeNot email survey one in five consumers said it gave people a fun activity to do on Thanksgiving.   They haven't talked to my husband. "Families often like to do more than just eat on Thanksgiving. Some go to movies. Some go bowling. Some go to football games or to restaurants," says Bill Thorne, senior vice president of the National Retail Federation.   They couldn't buy or borrow a DVD or play some games at home? It's not like there's not going to be another sale until Christmas! I just don't get it.

When I was a kid, the men would watch  football games, except for my dad who'd go down stairs to play pool with anyone who'd like to challenge him, and the mothers would congregate in the kitchen to help prepare the meal.  When everyone was gathered at the bountiful table, my grandmother would say a short grace that was followed by the noise of platters being passed around and requests for favorite foods.  Then came the silence broken by the clanks of silverware as we enjoyed the results of their labor.  Like a wave,  conversations would rise and fall throughout.  Afterwards, the adults would gather at the table and play penny poker while the cousins, all girls and most of us within four years range of each other, would talk and listen to music. 

Most of those adults have passed on now and the cousins are scattered across the US.  We'll never have those times again.  I miss them.  And I have to ask, what kind of memories are the families of these shoppers and workers going to have to look back on; laughter and sharing or long lines, fighting for a parking space and/or a missing family member at the Thanksgiving table?

Okay, if you feel stores should be closed on Thanksgiving, raise your left hand and  place your right hand on your credit/debit card or any thing else you use to get yourself into debt then repeat after me:

        I, say your name, solemnly swear not venture forth into any store, mall or on-line shopping site to make any purchases on Thanksgiving Day. I shall respect the ideals of Thanksgiving by spending it with family and/or friends and shall not force anyone to work because of my selfish wants.

Good for you.  Now please share what you're thankful for besides family,  friends, employment, health etc.  One of the things I, and this might sound a little strange, am amazed at times and grateful for the ability to turn on my faucet and have hot and cold, clean water whenever I want it.  So many people around the world don't have this simple feature.  We take it for granted like so many other things and we shouldn't.

May you have a wonderful, happy, and safe Thanksgiving.




Sources: Huff Post, USA Today,

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Black Thumb of Death




Thank God for supermarkets.  I mean it.  If my family and I were pioneers, we'd surely starve.  I'm not lying here.

A while back I blogged how I had planted ten strawberry plants.  With the help of the neighborhood feral cats and my own black thumb, they never took.  But four pumpkins plants popped up surprising me, giving me hope. (The seeds were from pumpkin innards I threw in the compost pile the year before.)

Then  the middle of summer came and so did powdery mildew.  The poor plants didn't stand a chance.  It was a pitiful sight. At the end, I solemnly stood by the row of withered vines and blew taps.

Before the demise of the pumpkins, I had bought a tomato plant, figuring we're only a family of three, how many tomatoes do we really need.  I planted it in a container so I could move it around to the sunniest spots in my yard and to be able to get it out of the way when my husband mows the lawn.

Well, that one plant produced one tomato throughout the whole growing season. Yep, one tomato. Disappointed?  Ooooh yeah.  When it became ripe, I picked it, and proudly announced, at supper, that the tomato in the salad was our own home grown. After some cheers and smiles from my family, mainly to make me feel good, we partook in enjoying the fruit of my labor.

Then the months turned to October and I thought it would start to die back.  But what should I see one morning?  The dang plant had a small tomato hanging off one of its branches and a week later another appeared.  What the hell?   Did it realize its biological clock was about to tick its last tock and decided to push out two more before winter?

 The nights are now about 35 - 40 degrees and most days are in the middle fifties.  Not exactly the best growing temperature.  But I'm determined to see these orbs grow to their potential.  The plant now resides in the shower of my smaller bathroom at night and if it's sunny and the temp. is in the higher fifties, I carry it outside.  Hey, if the plant is willing to try, so am  I.

I will be triumphant and the tomatoes shall be mine!

Has anyone else ever had a bad vegetable garden?  Tell me please, it will make me feel a bit better. : )

Monday, October 14, 2013

7 Reasons to open a book





"There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them." 
~Joseph Brodsky


As writers we hope everyone would pick up a book (especially our own), crack open its pages and find delight in its well chosen words.
                                               BUT . . .
In a Pew Internet report it states 19% of those eighteen years and older questioned didn't read, up from 8% from a 1978 Gallup poll. Those who read 1-5 books increased from 29% to 32% and those who read 6-10 and 11-50 changed little though the numbers in 2011 were a bit lower than 1978. It also stated "Our question was somewhat different from Gallup’s in that we asked respondents whether they had read any books in the past 12 months in print, via audiobook, or an e-book. We also asked 16- and 17-year-olds. Some 78% of those 16 and older had read at least one book in any format in the previous 12 months, compared with 88% in the 1978 Gallup survey of adults. 


In our December survey, looking at the general population, 72% of Americans age 16 and older read at least one book in the past year in print; 16% read at least one e-book; 11% listened to at least one audiobook. The figures for adults 18 and older in that survey were the same, except it was 17% who had read an e-book.

So what are some of these people missing out on but others are gaining?

Brain-stimulating activities, such as reading, at any age may preserve memory
In a Science Daily article it states in a study  published in an 
online issue of Neurology that "research found that people who participated in mentally stimulating activities both early and late in life had a slower rate of decline in memory compared to those who did not participate in such activities across their lifetime."


Reading can make you smarter

Non-fiction books offer an abundance of information without having to take courses. duh : }

Better verbal abilities

Though reading doesn't guarantee you'll be a communicator, readers tend to have a more varied vocabulary enabling them to express their feelings and ideas better.

It improves your imagination

When reading a description of a location or event, your mind creates an image in your head thus reinforcing its creative side.

Reduces stress

In a The Telegraph article it stated research  at the University of Sussex showed "subjects only needed to read, silently, for six minutes to slow down the heart rate and ease tension in the muscles, he found. In fact it got subjects to stress levels lower than before they started."

And here's two reasons for writers.


It inspires


Besides creating an image, as stated above, it can spur other thoughts and ideas.


Instruction


By reading you learn how to craft your story. By dissecting the work you can find out how the author created a scene that moved you in some way, how to move your characters through a plot and how word choices make a difference.


You probably read because of one or most of these reasons.   But just in case I missed  something, share why you read.  Thanks.


 "Every man who knows how to read has it in his power to magnify himself, to multiply the ways in which he exists, to make his life full, significant, and interesting." 

Aldous Huxley


P.S.  If you're considering participating in NaNoWriMo, check out Kristen Lamb's blog,
http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/fueling-the-muse-for-nanowrimo-part-one/
Fueling the Muse for NaNoWriMo gives great tips on structure by using movies as examples.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Make it Stop



Have you ever had a song stuck in your head?  I mean, REALLY stuck, like every blank moment is consumed by lyrics or you're thinking of something and realize there's background music so you tune into it and when it comes to the fore front you scream ACK, no, not that again! That's what has been happening to me for the past two weeks.  When I'm on the computer - it's there.  When I'm driving - it's there. When I'm cooking , at work, trying to write  - it's there.

Patsy Cline's Sweet Dreams, Loretta Lynn's Coal Miner's Daughter, Cher's Half Breed and Abba's Dancing Queen, all have taken turns to tilt me over to crazy. And it's not like it's the whole song, it's just the chorus or two or three lines played over and over and OVER again.  Some times I get a break and another singer gets a few moments but that reprieve doesn't last long.

I've had this problem before but not usually this bad.  What I do to counteract this is hum Schubert's Unfinished Symphony #8.  I hear you snickering.  Stop it. Hey, whatever works, right? The thing is,  I hum what was presented in an old Casper the Friendly Ghost cartoon; the section of music you hear when Casper first meets Schubert.  Okay you can laugh now. (I wanted to include the cartoon but it wouldn't let me load the video.   Here's the link.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbDqon8-804&list=PL25B80D600F5715C4 )
Go on , check it out, it's short.  I'll wait.  Hmm hmmm hm hm h  hmm

Oh good you're back. Isn't that a beautiful, catchy tune? It helps to block out the uninvited songs without getting lodged in my brain.

I know you probably have had a song that just won't let go.  What kind of tricks did you do to get rid of it? Tell me - please. Hurry, I hear Aretha singing R-E-S-P-E-C-T and Sly and the Family Stone is right behind witBaby baby baby light my fire.  Boom shaka-laka-laka Boom shaka-laka-laka.    Help!

PS. How many of you remember that particular Casper cartoon?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Whoa - Thirty Years!




It's amazing to think of being with someone for thirty years.  In fact it's longer if you count the seven years we were together before we married. We've had our good and hard times.  Times where you wish it would end and more times you wish it never would.  But that's what marriage is about.  It's about compromise and compassion; overcoming challenges; friendship and understanding, growing together, family and having love, like a silk ribbon woven through the different strands of life, bind it all together.

 Billy, Fred, Don, me, my sister Bonnie and Jeannine
(My  mother made the bouquets and the bride's maids head pieces.)

One of many candids capturing our guests enjoying themselves.
                                          
                  
               With love, to my husband, Don.  Happy 30th anniversary.


************************************************************
                          And now for something complete different.

You probably know I don't like to cook but I do like to bake goodies.  Debora Dennis, a LIRW member who writes romantic,sexy time travel, brought these delicious brownies to the meeting.  Everyone who tried them really liked them so I'd like to share the recipe with you.  Instead of making the brownies from scratch she got a mix, made that up and went on from step 3.  Hope you enjoy.



~*~Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies~*~

Ingredients...

BROWNIE:
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup butter, melted
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour

COOKIE DOUGH:
3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips

DRIZZLE:
1/2 cup semisweet chips
1 teaspoon shortening


Directions

1 Prepare the brownies: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 9x13-inch pan with nonstick spray. In a medium glass bowl, melt chocolate in the microwave in short bursts of 30 seconds; stir after each burst and remove from microwave when melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

2 In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the butter and brown sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and whisk those in too. Mix in melted chocolate. Whisk in the flour and mix just until combined (don't over-mix). Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake 25 to 35 minutes. Watch closely and remove from oven when toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.

3 Prepare the cookie dough: In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to combine butter, brown sugar and white sugar. Mix in milk and vanilla. Mix in flour just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

4 Spread cookie dough over the cooled brownies. Refrigerate until the dough is quite firm. It's okay to speed up the process and place it in the freezer too.

5 If you'd like to add chocolate drizzle on top, melt 1/2 cup chocolate chips with 1 teaspoon of shortening in the microwave; stir until smooth. Place chocolate into a zip baggie and snip off the corner. Squeeze the bag to drizzle the chocolate on top of each brownie. Sprinkle additional chocolate chips on top, if desired.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Aug. 26th - National Dog Day




In 2004, Colleen Paige founded National Dog Day as a way to show appreciation to dogs for their steadfast love and for all the ways they have helped us.  It was also "to encourage dog ownership of all breeds, mixed and pure - and embraces the opportunity for all dogs to live a happy, safe and ”abuse-free life”.

Having been adopted by several dogs and cats over the years (they always seem to find us and after awhile we can't let them go), I really like this idea.  There's too much abuse, abandonment and neglect. This situation should be continually brought to everyone's attention so a change might be possible.


Bonapart (Great Dane)and our daughter, Jennifer.  He was such a gentle, protective dog, who loved the couch. 



Cookie (Dalmatian) was sweet, smart and energetic.  Both dogs were adopted from the pound. 

I can't find the pictures for our other dogs, Shadow (Cocker Spaniel) and Penny (Beagle)  right now but we had taken them off the street, tried to find their owners but had no luck. They then became part of our family.   And there was also Barney and Brittany (mutts) who came as a package deal with my husband

What are some of your best memories with your pets?



Editors note: Colleen has also founded several other days including National Cat Day, National Horse Protection Day and National Wildlife Day.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

C'mon Pat, which is it?

By now most of you probably have heard or have seen the clip of Televangelist Pat Robertson telling a woman how she can forgive her cheating husband. He advises her to stop dwelling on the past deed and look for the good within him - the positive. And though I'm not a Robertson supporter, I feel, that's pretty logical advice 
if you're trying to forgive.

 BUT he drops the ball when he says "well he's a man" and "males have a tendency to wander a little bit". He states it like it's a plausible excuse and goes on citing all the salacious trappings that men can fall prey to. He also suggests women should "make a home so wonderful that he doesn't want to wander." Wait a minute , doesn't the Ten Commandments say Thou shall not commit adultery? I mean they are simple laws. Does that mean men get a little wiggle room because of their nature?   Ahhhh, I don't think so.


 Mr. Robertson speaks, in another segment, how God will punish the U.S. for supporting gay rights.  At the end of this clip he says,"This country can not continue to violate God's principles and to make a mockery of his laws and think we're going to get away with it."  


Who's making a mockery?  In a Huff Post article it states "Pat Robertson doesn't think General David Petraeus should be condemned for his affair with writer Paula Broadwell. After all, she is "an extremely good looking woman" and "he's a man."   (Again with that term.  Get a better writer, will you please).   And then he thumps on his Bible declaring it's against God's law for a man to lie with another.  Hey Pat, does that thumpthump infraction have more weight than breaking the laws given to Moses?     

I'm not trying to advocate any side of the gay issue.  My point is if you have compassion and understanding towards a transgression shouldn't all transgressions receive that same insight and if you were strident towards a violation of God's law shouldn't all violations get the same condemnation?

To me, if you don't, it's hypocrisy,that's what I see here and it's a shame he has so many people's ears.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Awww moments



If you're feeling a bit down or you just like sweet things, I hope these make you smile.  I know you have probably seen them before but it doesn't hurt to view them again.


                 
                                               I always love "Surprised Kitty"


                  A farmer made this in tribute to his late wife.  Touching.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/13/winston-howes-heart-shaped-tribute_n_1672218.html




Laughing baby penguin


Pyotr Pankratau,  a  Belarusian warrant officer, nursed a baby squirrel back to health.  Now they're friends for life.





Hope you enjoyed.  Do you have any others that are your favorites?  Do you frequent sites like these often? 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

40 years -can it be?

                                                        Some of the class of '73

Oh yes it can.  Our class reunion was held this past Saturday,  July 27th. Alas I was unable to go to the Friday dinner nor Saturday morning breakfast but I did meet with others for a tour of the old home town that afternoon.


As we walked down Merrick Rd (the main street) we played "what the hell use to be here?"  There were so many changes since we were kids/teenagers.


We also toured the small but nice historical museum. Later we had a dinner/dance consisting of all the classes that graduated in the '70's.

I know some people don't like reunions but I do.  I love the energy that bubbles through everyone.   I love how they smile and hug each other and how it's accentuated by squeals of surprise and delight. I love how they get up and dance, in couples or in groups so everyone can participate. I love how joy seems to permeate the air. You can almost feel its effervescence and breath it in.  I mean really, that's fun.  How can anyone not like all of that?


The only thing I don't like is they end.  You sit there the next day and say damn I should have gotten so and so's number and/or I wish I had talked to certain people more. Well you get the idea.  But it's still good.  And if I'm around for the fiftieth, I'll be there shakin' it on the dance floor (or at least trying to) and hugging my classmates. 

Do you like reunions?  Which ones have you gone to.  Do you feel there's a certain year to stop having them or to stop going to them?

Some of my classmates
Can  you tell Blogger wasn't cooperating with me on these pics. They're suppose to be side by side.

Note: I fractured my hand after I had come home from the reunion. (No, I wasn't drunk!  I'd been real good and had one drink for the whole night)  So, in the coming weeks, my posts will probably consist of more pictures or things I can copy and paste.  Sorry.

Monday, July 15, 2013

How Should We Talk to Little Girls?




How do you talk to little girls? According to Lisa Bloom, in a posting on The Blog (Huff Post), we should never compliment them on their looks.  Doing so teaches girls their appearance is the first thing you notice, establishing that looks are most important.  She states "that 15 to 18 percent of girls under 12 now wear mascara, eyeliner and lipstick regularly; eating disorders are up and self-esteem is down; and 25 percent of young American women would rather win America's Next Top Model than the Nobel Peace Prize". Because of society's emphasis on appearance, little girls are worried more than ever about their looks and suffering the consequences. 


What you should do is comment on something more meaningful, ask about their likes and dislikes and why.  For tweens and teenagers, you should ask their opinions on timely matters and what they think should be done. She states this helps to reinforce the idea that her intelligence is most important.  It makes her feel  her ideas have credibility and makes her think in different ways.


On the other hand  Carla Molina, thinks it's a load of "crap".  She feels girls don't have a bad body image because we compliment them on their appearance but it is the result of poor role models -women who are "obsessed in an unhealthy way about body image".   She says "I will not ignore their looks for the sake of making them feel smart. I do not believe brains and beauty are mutually exclusive. My girls can be both attractive and smart." She says complimenting a little girl doesn't have to be shallow if you do it in a constructive way. 

I can see Lisa Bloom's point.  An ABC news report stated that a "2009 University of Central Florida study found that nearly half of the 3- to 6-year-old participants said they worried about being fat".  That's alarming.  In my opinion, that idea shouldn't even touch that age group's minds. They should be more worried about whether they might not have the right color crayon to finish their drawing. 

Younger and younger girls are over occupied with with how they look.  This brings about peer pressure, who's "in" and who's "out" based on image and creates low self esteem.  It's definitely a problem - a big problem.  I think the media, advertising, corporations, and women who've bought into this are the biggest culprits and it should be stopped.  

However, I can also agree with Carla Molina. I believe both intelligence and beauty can reside side by side as long as the child relies more on intelligence as a measure of worth.   I don't think there's anything wrong with a simple compliment on a child's clothing, hair, eyes etc as  long as it's not the only thing you say to her. No gushing on and on about how pretty or cute she is or her  fabulous outfit.  Why can't you say they have a pretty dress, t-shirt, eyes or they look nice today and then go into a discussion of what they like, what they read, etc. or vice versa?  Does that hurt or undermine their value of themselves?  I don't know. I would think the longer conversation of exchanging ideas would leave a more lasting or better impression than the quick physical compliment.

What's you're opinion?  Should we or shouldn't we compliment little girls on their looks? How do you handle talking to little girls?


Monday, July 1, 2013

This ain't edgy

Sorry, I saw this on Buzzfeed and it wouldn't get out of my head.  After all these years of trying to get equality, of trying to achieve good role models, and trying to raise women above subjugation, I see this and have to ask how...why...what happened? I have so many thoughts and feelings about this, I'm finding it hard to write them down coherently. So bear with me, please.

How can these manufacturers think violence towards women would attract them to buy their products? How is this glamorous? They have the nerve to trash women then ask for their money.  Let's face it, they wouldn't dare put anyone of color or religion in the same situation because it isn't right and there would be such an uproar from around the world it would shake their walls down but yet it's okay to show a female in a degrading way.  

Oh, by the way, that Johnny Farah bag she has over her head costs $545.00. He demoralizes women then expects them to pay an exorbitant amount  for his damn handbag.



Notice the "relish it" in the lower right hand corner. Sickening,  Yeah I'm sure women would love to be brutalized and sexually manhandled.




Allowing this man to to kick or shove her shows women they should tolerate abuse.  Is this the lesson we want our children to learn?



This Dolce & Gabbana ad, suggestive of a gang rape, is tame compared to the October 2010 Calvin Klein (below) that was  banned in Australia.
  

It can be debated whether or not this type of advertising promotes violence towards women, but I feel it desensitizes society to these situations making it easier for them to happen and making it harder to report such actions.  Through these ads, the victimization of women becomes normal to both men and women.   The shock at such actions become dull.   It becomes accepted that men can do it and women have to take it.   

It shouldn't be that way.    It just shouldn't be.

Note: What we, men and women alike, should do if we ever see any kind of ad that victimizes women, go to that manufacturer's site and really bitch. Tell them you'll never buy anything of theirs until they get their act together and that you'll tell anyone and everyone about their disgraceful ads.

Monday, June 24, 2013

It made me do it





The human brain is incredible. It can take in data and process it at unbelievable speeds.  "In a study at the Children's Hospital in Boston,  "researchers were able to obtain data at extremely high temporal resolution – picking up signals as fast as 100 milliseconds after presentation of a visual stimulus -- and monitor activity in very discrete, specific locations". It's like a computer on steroids.  

But if it's so fast,  tell me how people can get into car accidents by listening to their GPS? Do  they blindly follow the instructions  without realizing what's in front of them or that something is wrong?  I guess so. GPS devices have caused an estimated 300,000 car accidents in the United Kingdom . (I was not able to find a number for the U.S.) People have driven onto train tracks, only to get stuck and have a train demolish their car. They've driven into rivers, bays swamps, made turns where no turn lane existed and driven down the wrong way on streets.  Why????  What happened to their logic, their common sense?  Their eyesight? Are they so ready to comply they hand over responsibility to someone else even if it's a sightless machine?   Then they blame the machine for their own lack of reason.


Jeepers. I read this stuff  and have to wonder what's happening to the human race?  Maybe one of you out there can shed some light on this 'cause, damn, I'm scratching my head over this.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Life's Little Surprises



Several weeks ago I purchased ten strawberry plants from my local home improvement store.   I diligently worked a bunch of compost into the dirt and lovingly planted each plant. Then gently watered them.  To be honest they didn't look great when they came out of the package but I had hope and visions of  huge, red, juice dripping strawberries nestled in rich, billowing whipped cream.

But reality hit when I came out to see how they were doing two days later, for it had rained during that time, and found that the local feral cats liked the nice soft soil to do their business in, unearthing my plants in the process.  So I cleaned out the mounds as best I could and replanted them.  Everything seemed fine for a couple of days, then it happened again.  Needless to say my strawberry plants never took. They were still  dried up, pathetic looking, blackened roots. Oh well.

I continued to have faith and checked on them a few days later to find something else had sprouted.  Pumpkins!  Yes, you read right, pumpkins. The seeds must have come from the pumpkin innards I threw in the compost pile back in October.  They were just waiting for the right combination to break free.

So I'll have to go to the farm stand or a U-pick for my luscious strawberries but now I can dream of carving home grown pumpkins for Halloween.


How's your green thumb?  Have you ever had something go wrong but something good came out of it?