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I'm Peaceful; How about you?

You Are 80% Peaceful
You are a very peaceful person. All is good in your world, no matter what's going on. Occasionally you let your problems get to you, but you generally remain upbeat. Your inner strength is inspirational - much more so than you may realize.

From the Wall Street Journal: The Impoverishment of American Culture

And the need for better art education.

BY DANA GIOIA
Thursday, July 19, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

There is an experiment I'd love to conduct. I'd like to survey a cross-section of Americans and ask them how many active NBA players, Major League Baseball players, and "American Idol" finalists they can name. Then I'd ask them how many living American poets, playwrights, painters, sculptors, architects, classical musicians, conductors and composers they can name. I'd even like to ask how many living American scientists or social thinkers they can name.

Fifty years ago, I suspect that along with Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Sandy Koufax, most Americans could have named, at the very least, Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, Arthur Miller, Thornton Wilder, Georgia O'Keeffe, Leonard Bernstein, Leontyne Price and Frank Lloyd Wright. Not to mention scientists and thinkers like Linus Pauling, Jonas Salk, Rachel Carson, Margaret Mead and especially Dr. Alfred Kinsey.

I don't think that Americans were smarter then, but American culture was. Even the mass media placed a greater emphasis on presenting a broad range of human achievement. I grew up mostly among immigrants, many of whom never learned to speak English. But at night watching TV variety programs like the Ed Sullivan Show, I saw--along with comedians, popular singers and movie stars--classical musicians like Jascha Heifetz and Arthur Rubinstein, opera singers like Robert Merrill and Anna Moffo, and jazz greats like Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong captivate an audience of millions with their art.

The same was true of literature. I first encountered Robert Frost, John Steinbeck, Lillian Hellman and James Baldwin on general-interest TV shows. All of these people were famous to the average American--because the culture considered them important. Today no working-class kid would encounter that range of arts and ideas in the popular culture. Almost everything in our national culture, even the news, has been reduced to entertainment, or altogether eliminated.

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Tagged, Again!

 

I was tagged by Linda at Linda's Yoga Journey with this meme. It's a little different than the others I've participated in so I thought I'd give it a go.

FOUR JOBS I'VE HAD...
Budget Director

Writer (freelance)

Accountant

Cashier in a grocery store (first job)

FOUR MOVIES I CAN WATCH OVER AND OVER...
To Kill a Mockingbird

The Wiz

West Side Story

Waterproof

FOUR PLACES I'VE LIVED...
Tallahassee, FL

Miami, FL

DeFuniak Springs, FL

The others don't really count

FOUR PLACES I'VE VACATIONED...
San Antonio, TX

Jekyll Island, GA

Sandestin, FL

Las Vegas


FOUR FAVORITE DISHES....
Black-eyed Peas & Rice

Collard Greens

Fettucine Alfredo

Any salad with mixed greens, other veggies & fruit

FOUR WEBSITES I VISIT DAILY...
Tallahassee Democrat

Miami Herald

Black America Web

Wall Street Journal

FOUR PLACES I'D RATHER BE RIGHT NOW...
Brazil

Sandestin, FL

The Barbie Section FAO Schwarz in New York

Las Vegas

FOUR PEOPLE I'M TAGGING...
Not tagging anyone!


Reality Check Thursday

I worked twelve hours today. As I left my office building for the drive home I was somewhat frustrated by the number of tasks undone. I am trying not to get caught in the frantic desires of some co-workers to complete several tasks at once. One of my Dad's favorite sayings keeps darting in and out of my consciousness --- "Prior preparation prevents poor performance."

It's almost dark outside and I need to disconnect from the office. In front of one of the buildings I pass is a row of homeless people who appear to be settling in for the night. I also put the day in its proper perspective. I can't complain and I'm not frustrated; I am grateful to have a job. The sight of the homeless is such a dichotomy to the luxury condos being erected in the area. Please remind me that this is progress.

I also passed the remnants of a warehouse that started burning this morning. The huge fire started because of a spark from welding that was being done. An inferno quickly developed and residents living near the building had to be evacuated. When the roof collapsed, debris sprinkled the area resulting in damage to at least one woman's roof. A piece of concrete punctuated her roof and landed on her bed where she slept a few hours earlier. No one was injured but firefighters will remain through the night as water is sprayed on the smoldering flames.

I don't cook very often and tonight will be no different. I am too tired to stop at a restaurant so my dinner is a sour cream & chives baked potato and a side salad with Ranch dressing. After I post this, I must color my hair, give myself a manicure, pedicure and facial before going to bed. No problem, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Peace.

Smooches!...

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Weird Monday weather

The weather was very weird today. At about 8:30 this morning, it was so dark it looked like night time. Rain and thunder and lightning would continue for about thirty minutes. By 11:15 the sun was shining, there was no sign of the previous thunderstorm and it was as hot as Hades.

About 2:30 in the afternoon, the bad weather started again. It didn't get as dark as it had earlier but the weather alert predicted winds of 50 MPH, pea-sized hail, severe thunderstorms and flooding.

The rain subsided about a quarter to five. I walked to my car, not at all caring about the slight rain. I was tired and I wanted to go home.

As expected, I couldn't avoid non-functioning traffic lights and flooded streets as I tried short cuts and side streets. I miss my Explorer during times like these. Some folks still don't get it and try to drive through flooded streets at high speeds.

Ever since the neighborhood flooded about seven years ago and we lost a lot of things in our house, I am extremely uncomfortable when it rains too much. Anyhoo, when I reached my neighborhood, I met with tree limbs in the street from the high winds.

The damage in our area was very minor compared to neighbors ten blocks north. Downed trees had taken out electrical lines and they are still without electricity.

I remind my folks that it's hurricane season and we need to be prepared for anything. In the meantime, as soon as I finish this post, I'm going to prepare for tomorrow. We need the water so you get no complaints here.


The Best Laid Plans…

I returned home this evening to find the electricity off. What? I wanted to chill out for a moment in the AC and pop on the computer for a few moments before completing a project I must take in the office tomorrow morning. This power outage was not fitting in my plans but I learned many years ago that I'm not really in control of anything but my own actions and emotions.

As I went to my car to unpack items I need to complete my project, I saw a FPL (Florida, Power & Light) truck tooling down the street in my direction. I waved the truck down and found that the technician driving the truck knew my dad. After a couple of pleasantries, he assured me that he'd have the power back on. I thanked him and he went on his merry way. Within five minutes, the electricity was back on. I was grateful.

I thought about a couple of things during those fleeting moments. Number one, I still don't buy into the consciousness that allows electricity to be called power. It's electricity. The fact that one does not have it at any given time does not make one powerless. When we were without electricity for two weeks after Hurricane Wilma, I did learn the inconvenience of living without electricity but I was not powerless. When in conversation, I make a conscious effort to refer to electricity as electricity when someone else calls it power.

Secondly, I thought what a rewarding job that must be, restoring electricity to needy customers. Perhaps students not college-bound should look into the requirements for that job. I know that a person with a master's, doctorate or even a medical degree could not have brought me the joy that gentleman did when the lights came on and the cool air from the AC filled my home.

Thank you, FPL.


I need coffee and lots of it

My sleep schedule is off. It’s 3:35 AM EST and I have been awake for about four hours. I was so exhausted from work that I crashed when I got home shortly after 6 PM. I missed a few telephone calls and missed dinner also.

We’ve jokingly referred to the office as an emergency room. I guess the stress was more physically exhausting than I realized.

One crisis after another with one deadline after another, I’ve already figured a way to deal with the pressure better; I just need to be in a more relaxed state of mind before I roll it out with the rest of the team.

I’ll likely get sleepy again in another hour when it’s time for me to get up.

Today will be a long day. Because of various meetings, I’ll likely not get home before 7 PM.  Can I stay awake that long?


I've Been Tagged...Eight Random Facts You Probably Don't Care to Know About Me

THE RULES:

Post these rules before you give you the facts.
List eight (8) random facts about yourself.
At the end of your post, choose (tag) eight people and list their names (linking to them).
Leave them a comment on their blog letting them know they’ve been tagged!

I was tagged by JaniceNW... Here are Eight Random Facts About Me. (in no particular order):

1. I collect Barbie dolls. Yes, Barbie. I don’t track my collection the way I used to but I have more than 250. I like all kinds of Barbies but most of my collection is Black. Yes, Barbie went ethnic in a big way but many folks don’t know about it. I have the first Black Barbie…Bob Mackie’s Starlight Splendor Barbie and Fantasy Goddess of Africa Barbie…and the entire Byron Lars Runway Collection and Treasures of Africa Collection. The photo is of Mbili Barbie, the second doll in the Treasures of Africa Collection. My next addition is to have the hair re-rooted on my Brandy doll so that she has locks. Anywho, e-mail me privately if you want to talk Barbies.

2. I like ketchup AND mustard on French fries. What can I say, I like my fries this way. Try it with home fries not that fast food stuff…delicious. I don’t partake as frequently as I used to because too much fried food is just not good for our bodies. Let me know if you try it.

3. I am shy. This will surprise some who know me. Although I am very strong-willed and typically find myself in a leadership position at work or in civic organizations, I really am shy. I am passionate about issues that I’m passionate about. I don’t talk just to hear my self talk and I am bothered by people who do.

4. My daughter and I have the same birthmark. If you’ve been reading my blog for a minute, you know that my daughter passed away. After giving birth to her, one of the first things I noticed as the doctor held her in the air, was the birthmark just above her left knee…the same shape and location as mine. The only thing I could think was, wow, a miniature version of me.

5. My lips are freckled. Yep and I was teased regularly for it when I was growing up. As I have aged, it’s not as noticeable even when I'm not wearing lipstick and besides I really don’t care what anyone else thinks about it anyway.

6. I sleep with a television on. I don't know if it's the light, the noise or both but it's so difficult for me to fall asleep unless a television is on. Complete darkness and total silence kinda creep me out.

7. I  finished reading The Color Purple while waiting in line for the movie. My friends thought I was crazy but I wanted to read the book before seeing the movie. You know how important details can be omitted sometimes; I wanted to make sure I didn't miss any significant points in the movie version of the story.

8. I was a tomboy. I played sports better than all the boys in my neighborhood except one. I also did girlie-girl things but the boys seem to have more fun. I learned differently when I became a teenager.

I'm not tagging anyone else....Smooches!


Another Rainy Day in Miami

The weather was nasty this afternoon. After horrendous thunder and lightning, I arrived home to no electricity. Of course the first thing I did was check to see if my computer was still functioning. Secondly, I made sure all of the anumals were present and accounted for. We need the rain so I won't complain too much.


Changing My Mind: Windows Vista Doesn’t Suck!

I've been using Windows Vista and Word 2007 for a couple of weeks now. Initially, I was so ticked because I couldn't perform many of the basic Windows tasks without reading the menu options. OK, that may not be a big deal but when you're working under a tight deadline, well, it sucks.

After taking the time to explore Vista and Word 2007, I must say that there are a couple of features I come across that actually make it worthwhile.

One feature is blogging. There's a template that allows me to post to my blogs from Word 2007. Oh, yeah, I can use all of the typical features of Word like spell check, grammar check and formatting. What's also super-awesome is the ability to insert graphics into Word and have them uploaded right into the blog. I can actually publish from Word or Publish as a Draft. If you are a frequent blogger, that is definitely a plus.

Transferring files from my massive inventory of floppy disks to my hard drive and/or discarding them have also been a joy compared to previous versions of Windows. Vista makes adding and organizing files so much easier. I am de-cluttering my personal space and I'm so much happier.

I'll keep you posted on my other discoveries while exploring Vista. Oh, before I go, there is a huge drawback to Vista and that is the probable software upgrade/replacement required. Certain equipment and programs just don't work with Vista. I'm a bit peeved that I have to purchase new Adobe Acrobat because the 6.0 version won't work. I paid about $500 for that about three years ago and I just wasn't ready to make that kind of investment.


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