What’s in store for 2016

A goal as defined by Webster’s Dictionary is a reward, or the result or achievement toward which effort is directed.

A resolution on the other hand is an expression of opinion or the intention to do something – in this case perhaps, reach that goal.

The idea of making New Year resolutions has never appealed to me. It’s not enough to just express what you need to aim for.  It seems you have to work at it if you want to achieve it. By  announcing our resolutions, we put ourselves under scrutiny and are forced to accompany our words with uncharacteristic and inappropriate actions.  We are then placed in a position of having to follow through, just to show that we can keep up with our resolutions.

A frequent sight are the people who decide that following the holidays they want to lose weight, so they embark on crash diets that are so absurd they wish they could die instead.  Then there are those who take up space at my gym after the New Year, hogging the machines and lunking  so loudly while they work out, they’re absolutely disgusting to listen to.  But take heart my gym buddies, they never last more than a month. They’ll go back to their old habits before long and we’ll have the gym to ourselves!

So my preference is to set goals -and not brag about them- that I know I can fit into my list of activities like a Culinary Fair performance which I plan to attend each year and never get around to; or volunteer for a charitable cause if even for a day; or the elimination or an item on my bucket list –  like a trip to a spa, resort or foreign country.

How about you?  Is there something you plan on doing this year that would enhance/meet a goal in your life and make you feel good at the same time? Something you’d like to share with someone special who you think would appreciate the gesture.

I’d like to hear about it.  Please tell me if this is the year for a grand celebration you’ve been planning for years and finally going to fulfill, or perhaps your dream of seeing your kids/grandkids, a loved one who lives faraway. Perhaps you want to share your success at having your art exhibited in an art gallery.  Please feel free to share your story.

WELCOME TO 2016

As far back as I can recall, I have enjoyed journaling events of my life.  Growing up and listening to tales of my parents’ generation in the Caribbean was so fascinating, that I wanted to be a part of the stories they told. That was not to be, as we migrated to the U.S. and I became a citizen of a different country with a very different culture, leaving that part of my life behind.  I attended Fordham University and NJIT where I graduated with a B.A. & M.Sc. Degrees respectively, that allowed me access to Fortune 500 companies.

Throughout my working career which has been in the Information Systems environment, I continued to write articles for our company’s newsletter and helped inform coworkers of progress in our field through technical bulletins.  There has always been a yearning in my personal life  to spend time being more creative.  This has taken several forms.  Photography, music and art appreciation, growing orchids to name a few. In addition, I have been an advocate for the mentally ill and worked as a volunteer with non-profits helping to educate adults.

Recently I started writing short stories and one or two found favorable audiences.  This motivated me to try working on a manuscript.  I’m still in the process,  and in the meantime using what little spare time I have to develop a platform of readers.

I hope I can make this blog about all aspects of life.  My fiction is about life and what we can all relate to in our complicated lives.  Making this blog relatable and engaging is my goal and I intend to learn all that I can about how to enhance the written word and make it attractive to my readers.

You will find some of my musings at https://elivingnews.wordpress.com

 

Phalaenopsis (pink)

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Generous Giver or Over-Giver, which are you?

       It’s the season for giving, so without much thought you plunge head first into a crowded mall, possibly running a red light just to get the nearest parking space to your desired entrance and grab the last shopping cart, leaving some poor, less fortunate soul to fend for herself while she waits patiently for the next person to return their cart. You must get on with the urgent need to express your over-zealous generosity – for the holidays!

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DUMBING DOWN OUR STUDENTS CAN RESULT IN DUMBING DOWN OUR DOCTORS

In a recent article, the Asbury Park Press explored the effect of Digital tools on the way our students “write, spell and use proper grammar.” Text-messaging tools and the abbreviated informal language of the Internet filled with emoticons, are producing students who turn in papers incapable of expressing good grammar, displaying critical thinking skills or making a persuasive argument. Without spellcheck or Wikipedia, there is an inability to distinguish when to use “their” and “there.” Too much reliance on Siri or Google for answers has warped their ability to think actively and organize material for various audiences, resulting in plagiarism and fair use. Fair use of course, refers to the use of another person’s work, for instance a few lines of a Bob Dylan song or a poem being used to add value for a new audience. The same would apply to an article on cancer taken from a medical report.  The original author does not have to give his/her permission.

Some teachers now advocate that students use handwritten rather than copied notes from their laptops for their papers as a way of making them better able to express their own opinions later on.

THE OTHER SIDE

To be fair there are benefits to digital technology:
The ability to make a strong argument.

To work as a team and use collaborative-editing tools such as Chromebooks and GoogleDocs for Projects.

To read and digest longer and more complicated texts.

To understand and consider multiple viewpoints, sometimes on a global scale on a particular issue or topic.

To give constructive feedback on other students’ work.

The National Asessment of Education Program writing assessment in 2011-12 has found an overall 64% of teens admitted incorporating informal styles from their text-based communications into their writing (smiley faces) and another 38% used shortcuts like “LOL”or “laugh out loud.” R u still wth me?

My biggest concerns manifested themselves recently when I visited my doctors. More than one expressed their frustration with their failure to find new hires who are literate enough to type proper grammatical English, so each doctor has to take face time away from patients to record patient information for OBAMACARE. The patient cues that doctors would otherwise observe, the questions that would be asked are lost for the sake of bureaucracy. As I see it, even if they wanted to hire someone for the position, emoticons and informal language wouldn’t go over well with bureaucrats. Or maybe that’s coming in the next roll-out. Stay tuned!

Polite comments are always welcome.

POTATO LAND

THIS POST IS DEDICATED TO MY DEAR LITTLE AVA:

ONCE UPON A TIME ON A POTATO FARM IN BRIDGEWATER, MAINE, THERE WAS A POTATO WHOSE  NAME WAS LITTLE ELBA.  SHE LIKED THE SUNSHINE THAT SHE SAW WHEN SHE CAME OUT OF THE GROUND.  SHE HAD BEEN GROWING IN THE GROUND FOR TEN WEEKS.

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VACATION on your mind?

 

COME WITH ME……. to an Island I know you will enjoy!  The trip will only take you four hours by plane from Miami, so pack your lightest clothing, a few swimsuits and sandals; and oh, don’t forget a straw hat and suntan lotion as you’ll be perfectly tanned before it’s all over.  We’re off to Trinidad & Tobago, but before we leave I have to give you some history and background.

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APRIL

  If you’re still not sure what books to take to the beach this summer, one of my recommendations is “The Monuments Men” by Robert Edsel. It’s an engaging and suspenseful account by Robert Edsel of the activities of the monuments men during World War II. The Monuments Men were 345 volunteers from the 13 Allied countries, who tracked and protected monuments and cultural artifacts from destruction, and in the years following the war, located and returned more than five million pieces of art stolen by Hitler and the Nazis.

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