Learn something everyday

I have been asked to introduce myself this semester, yet again. I use to hear that phrase and grimace as I passive aggressively moaned. I have changed, I just realized that as this task was assigned I didn’t grimace nor did I moan. I simply began thinking about how I would do it differently this semester. Here it is. 

I am in my final semester at Hillsborough Community College. My plan is to relax this summer before I begin Fall 2018 at the University of South Florida. When I entered HCC, it was with the idea of becoming a counselor and work with addicts. At the end my first semester I realized I had no desire to work with addicts, I wanted to write. I believe I have a book in me desperate to be written. I want to focus on the art of writing and follow a path to public relations. I believe it is plausible to do both. 

I am ‘owned’ by Lucy the cat. I use to say I had a cat. She has made me aware, it is the other way around.  I work for an Alcohol and Drug Recovery Program and have for the last 9 years. I enjoy it but, it is not my passion. I enjoy travelling, movies, learning and growing my own herbs. I would enjoy growing a lot of my own food, but think the apartment complex where I live would frown upon it. 

To say “I love my life” would not be exaggerating in the very least. I make it imperative to learn something every day. Try it, it promises to be enlightening. 


Turkey at Denny’s

I normally spend Thanksgiving with anywhere from eight to 10 of my friends at Thanksgiving. However, this year I chose to spend it with my son and boyfriend. We had decided early on we would go somewhere for a meal and then catch one of many holiday movies. Thinking not that many folks would choose to go in that direction, no plan had been made as to where to eat. I am certain you know where this is going by now. Mistake! A great many people apparently do not want to cook, clean or host that large turkey meal either. Any place that was open was packed and a line wandered the length of many parking lots. We settled in at Denny’s and in actuality, it wasn’t a bad meal. More importantly though was the three of us enjoyed the afternoon, left the waitress a large tip and who knows maybe we will do the same next year.

World Health Organization Says Stop!

According to Newsy the overuse and misuse of antibiotics in animals and humans is contributing to the rising threat of antibiotics resistance–stop-unnecessary-use-of-antibiotics-healthy-animals/.

I happen to be a vegetarian, have been for 17 years. My decision was made purely because of an incident with steak. I made a decision for my family that we would adhere to strictly poultry and fish. My husband’s birthday was approaching and he asked for a meal of char-grilled filet mignonette and whatever else I chose to serve. I had not had a piece of red meat for 90 days. My husband and son had, as they would often sneak (or so they thought) out to Checkers for a burger and fries. The repercussion of that three ounce filet made me nauseous, gassy and absolutely miserable for three to four days. It was then that I made the decision that no animal meat would ever be on my meal plan again.

Since that decision I continue to read about the ills of the farm animals and what the meat industry is willing to do to increase their profits. The use of antibiotics being unconscionable for one. The industry treats the food that they feed the animals with antibiotics, not for the health of the animal, but for the ability to increase the animals’ weight. What this does to the consumer, in turn diminishes human resistance to antibiotics.

I am glad I made the decision years ago, now I hope to influence others.


The Meaning of Newsy

What is not to like about Newsy? It is a product of news except it has multi-perspectives. So, you get an equal amount of CNN and then Fox. What would you not totally enjoy about that? There’s a fair amount of hard line news and you get a soft lining so to speak. Isn’t balance what we all wish we could get more of? I know I practically beg for balance in just about every aspect in my life. I have found myself talking back at the television. It could be Fox or CNN, neither one balances in the middle with the truth.

I think Newsy may well be on to something. Multi-sources, multi-perspectives it is the best of both worlds. Allow people to hear all the news and formulate an opinion of their own. Not what one news personality thinks. We shouldn’t believe what is said by the station ownership, nor the spokesperson. We should judge the news and information on the merits of what it means. It’s multimedia journalism at its best!

As I looked over the current staff of Newsy there weren’t all these ‘pretty faces’ that they put front and forward. They are real people, that is what is needed. Get rid of all the pretty people and have real people put out real news. It quite possibly could legitimize the news. I for one have had it with all the air head, nonsense we have had to listen to for years.

I like the idea of getting real. There was a tagline used that I like; ‘context with convenience, making you smarter, faster’. Yes!

In a Word, Local

The concept of hyperlocal news seemed so small to me. Before I took on the task of reading and deciphering at least three hyperlocal news sites, I thought it best to determine what exactly is hyperlocal news.

Well folks that is exactly what hyperlocal is. News and information oriented around a well-defined community with the primary information directed at that community. It is your local community paper.

With my need-to-know satisfied, I began as suggested with Chicago Journalism Review. I  listened to some well choreographed podcasts, read some interesting articles. Nice work! I moved on to find some hyperlocal news sites.  I checked out Net News Check, which is all about hyperlocal sites all over the country, more like an information site about hyperlocal news sites and journalists. Then I read Patch. The AOL spin off, after it spun out, burned out and crashed because it was just too big to support itself. Though, some of the journalists that were laid off and/or fired went back home undefeated with a new idea. Start their own hyperlocal news sites. I read several of them and they were good, fun and informative.

I understand how it would be difficult to make a great deal of money by operating a hyperlocal news site if it were going to run like a large newspaper. That is just the ‘thing’, it cannot be. It is back to the ‘mom and pop store’ concept. A few good journalists and a revved up local sales executive who knows how to talk to the community. Hyperlocal news is the direction of your local News at 6 with whomever. Perhaps those big corporate run papers will soon be obsolete. Hyperlocal news just may be where we get all news, all the time. In a word, refreshing.

Sunday Brunch with the Monks

Rarely would I be this excited about a photojournalism piece. The reason, the words that accompany journalism is photo, otherwise known as photographs or pictures. These words immediately cause me to raise my left brow or sneer, sometimes both, at the same time. The why, my father. He decided upon retirement he should have a hobby, he chose photography. I was his chosen lackey. Many a Saturday morning I was roused from my cozy bed at 4:00 a.m. and I lumbered out of the house with camera bags, tripod and all his amassed camera paraphernalia. Looking back, perhaps this is why I am now the one behind the lens.

This is a whole new adventure and I am inspired. The Buddhist Monks at Wat Temple live on a beautiful piece of land just off Palm River Road. On Sundays there is an open-air market and anything Thai you might enjoy eating is prepared, served and sold by any one of the many vendors. There are vendors that sell plants, herbs, orchids, spices and a bottled drink for a mere dollar. The market alone is worth the trip.

The piece de resistance is the Wat Mongkolratanaram, also known as the Thai Temple, Wat Temple or just the Temple. On Sundays, from 12:00 p.m. until 12:45 p.m. a speaker gives a mini Buddhism overview, participants are encouraged to ask questions. This takes place just prior to the 1:00 p.m. service. During this service  the Monks chant, meditate and recite in Thai their prayers.

In actuality you cannot have brunch with the Monks,it is a sacred time. As a matter of fact, so much so that they are forbidden to make their own meals. Various groups of practicing Buddhists in the bay area volunteer to bring meals to the house where the group lives, it too is on the Palm River property. My cat Lucy must be a Monk because she too has her meals prepared for her and she doesn’t care to have spectators either.

If you ever wondered about Buddhism, or you are simply curious about what a Buddhist Temple looks like,  I will do my best to tell the story in picture. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.


Aromatherapy: Healing or Hoax

Since as early as 2000 BC, the ancient Egyptians had an appreciation for essential oils in every aspect of their lives. They utilized it for both beauty, healing and in death. The story of Cleopatra cannot be told without discussing her narcissism, as she believed she was one of the most beautiful women, if not the most beautiful woman in Egypt. Her beauty was attributed to her use of oils. When an Egyptian was prepared for burial they were wrapped with linens soaked in expensive oils. When King Tutankhamen’s tomb was discovered there were alabaster jars full of various oils, though some had already been emptied. There must be something to it, the thieves left the gold.

Not to give Egypt the spotlight.  Greece famous for Hippocrates, the Greek physician, advised many that consulted him for healing, “The way to health is to have an aromatic bath and scented massage daily.” He probably could afford the expensive oils and had concubines to perform the massages, right?  India is known for the term Ayurveda, Sanskrit for ‘life knowledge’. The Vedas, India’s sacred book mentions more than 600 different herbs and aromatics.  The Romans used aromatics to extreme decadence and as many know the Chinese have been using herbs, plants and oils as their healing essentials since the Ruler Shennong, the “Yellow Emperor” ruled in the 27th century BC.

So where am I going with this, you may be asking. I am going to delve into the health or hoax of what has been going on since Adam and Eve. Yes, even the Bible has references to aromatics. As the story goes the three kings of the Orient brought frankincense and myrrh. Join me on this journey, it should prove interesting.