Have Americans Gone too far with Christmas Lights? #Christmaslightwars

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Image courtesy of creative commons license via flickr.com by terren in Virginia

I used to look forward to driving home from Grandma’s House at Christmas time when I was a child, to be able to see all the pretty Christmas decorations and lights on our way back home. I remember oohing and gaping every time we passed another decorated house. Nowadays, the homes are a hit or miss. They are either undecorated because no one can afford the light bill or they are over decorated and look gaudy awful and too bright for the eyes to behold.
For instance, in the article, Christmas Lights ‘on Steroids’ Bring Parking Headaches to Dyker Heights, parking is limited even more because of the draw the Christmas lights have on crowds to the neighborhood. (SCHWEBER, 2016) I wouldn’t want to live in a neighborhood where the annual Christmas light contest was taking place. First off, I wouldn’t want that light bill nor to waste that much energy on an over-decorated home. Christmas is much more than decorated homes with giant live Christmas trees. I also wouldn’t want to deal with the traffic or know that thousands of tourists are coming to my neighborhood to see a dazzling light display. The traffic is bad enough on my street, more cars and trucks mean that I would need to turn up my television so I could hear it over the traffic.
When we decorate for Christmas, we put up the yearly artificial tree. We did do the live tree for a few years, but then the cat discovered pine tea and knocked the tree over multiple times trying to get that last sip of water out of the bottom of the tree stand. When we switched back to the artificial tree, the tree stands unharmed.
Sometimes we put up a string of lights at the front door with a pair of candy cane lights. This year only the Christmas Wreath decorates our entry which does not mean I’m not feeling the Christmas spirit; it just says we intend to stay within our budget and finish the year on a positive note.

Reference

SCHWEBER, N. (2016, December 2). Christmas Lights ‘on Steroids’ Bring Parking Headaches to Dyker Heights. Retrieved from The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/02/nyregion/christmas-lights-on-steroids-bring-parking-headaches-to-dyker-heights.html

 

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Friday Write on my #PersonalValues #Challenges

Valued Blog Post of the Week!

I’m giving myself a writing challenge for the next three months. I will pick a personal value as part of a writing exercise as an experiment to see how the topic affects my daily stress level.

Friday write-in

 

Picking a personal value

 

“Pick one value and write about it for ten minutes. Describe why this value is important to you. Write how you express this value in your everyday life, including what you did today.”[1]

 

 

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Image courtesy of creative commons license via Flickr.com by Doe Zantamata and Unsplash

 

 

Challenge – a call to take part in a contest or competition, especially a duel, or calling for special effort.

Contest

Dare

Encounter

Provocation

Summons

Task

Test

Trial

We all have specific values that have become a part of our personality over the years. Those values are not something that I have given much thought to until recently. Another of my values is a that of a challenge.

I love a challenge but within reason. When I say this, I mean a problem that can be met within reason. If I were to stand no chance against the competition, I would give up trying before the competition would even begin. For example, I was never a long-distance runner; a marathon would not be a contest within reason. I know my limitations. But, if I could compete against my self for a better time in a marathon I would accept the personal challenge as a doable test to see if I could beat my best time. If I could beat that time, I would have a sense of accomplishment.

Earning my degree gives me a sense of challenge especially with the online courses since for much of the time, I must answer my questions through research. To top off my challenge, I have dared myself to get the best grades I can get with the hopes of acquiring scholarships to help pay for my education.

Challenges at work are keeping a machine running when the material is being problematic, which was my challenge for the day. Another challenge is meeting a shipping deadline at the last minute.

Setting goals is a great way to create challenges, but if the goal is set too high the challenge will never be met, and self-doubt will kill all effort.

Management professionals should give this some thought when asking employees to take on a new job function. If the initial production goal is at a reasonable level so that the employee can meet the goal, they will begin to develop confidence. Raise the goals slowly but never entirely out of the person’s reach, unless the manager does not want that employee to improve on the job and build on their confidence that leads to higher production and quality. I would hope that manager would not kill the development of a strong work team by making their workers feel inadequate to do the jobs asked of them.

People can be challenges. Understanding the different personalities, cultures, values, and morals. Everyone is raised differently and when there is a mixed culture in the workforce personality challenges can appear. Such a challenge can be overcome as workers begin to learn to accept each other’s differences and identities.

My favorite form of challenges is learning. Education comes in many forms. Learning is not just reading, writing, and arithmetic. There is learning a hobby. I’m a self-taught knitter, crocheter, quilter, sewer, and writer.

Most of all, challenges inspire me to be creative.

 

Reference

McGonigal, Kelly. The Upside of Stress. New York: Avery, 2016.


Notes

[1] (McGonigal 2016, 72)

 

 

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Friday Write on my #PersonalValues

Valued Blog Post of the Week!

I’m giving myself a writing challenge for the next three months. I will pick a personal value as part of a writing exercise as an experiment to see how the topic affects my daily stress level.

All are welcome to join in my weekly writing prompt experiment.

Friday write-in

 

Picking a personal value

 

“Pick one value and write about it for ten minutes. Describe why this value is important to you. Write how you express this value in your everyday life, including what you did today.”[1]

 

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/pictoquotes/21318580630
Image courtesy of creative commons license via Flickr.com by Unsplash

 

 

 

 

Acceptance – the quality or state of being accepted or acceptable

Recognition

Approval

Tolerance

Acknowledgment

Belief

Credence

Toleration

Favorable reception

 

We all have specific values that have become a part of our personality over the years. Those values are not something that I have given much thought to until recently. One of my values is acceptance. We all like to feel like we belong or accepted by our community, school, or workplace. If not, then questions begin to surface as to why we continue to engage in that setting. But why would I decide that acceptance is a part of who I am?

I have this habit, and I’m sure it bugs the hell out of my co-workers, where I will greet everyone I see no matter how many times we cross paths during the day. I can see the same person ten times within an hour and feel the compulsion to say hi or hello each time. Like I say, this has become more of a habit than a need and developed after working in the retail setting for over five years. The habit has become part of my nature.

Acceptance does matter in other ways. When I enter a room, it is nice to know that those who are there will acknowledge my presence and not completely ignore the fact that I exist. A simple hi or hello suffices.

But I am not without tolerance. I have a high tolerance level for most people, places, and situations which brings me back to acceptance. Accepting something is admitting the situation, person, or location can’t be changed and is beyond control.

So, if you don’t want to say hi, I can tolerate your choice and will accept that this is who you are and we both don’t have the same values.

Acceptance is more than a personal greeting. It is a belief in one’s self and approval for our actions, building on credence that leads to trusting of the self and others.

 

 


Note

[1] (McGonigal 2016, 72)

 

Reference

 

McGonigal, Kelly. The Upside of Stress. New York: Avery, 2016.

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Farfetched Story Sounds Familiar

 

Someone has been reading my short stories or so it appears.

An article was posted in the Facebook news feeds and I had to go and check it out. The story does sound a bit farfetched but hey, I suggested this in my short story that I wrote years ago, Bed Bug Ridden.[1]

Apparently, some woman decided to burn down her house because of a bad infestation of bed bugs. I wrote Bed Bug Ridden back around 2010 as a short story and you can read it in my Time Pieces Collection which has stories that are funny, simple, short and sweet with a touch of some suspense. There are 13 stories in this collection.


[1]  (Jennifer Baker 2017)

 

References

 

Jennifer Baker, Digital Content Produce. Woman trying to kill bed bugs accidentally sets multi-family home ablaze. December 9, 2017. (accessed December 9, 2017).

 

Ventura Inferno

California winds are at it again only this year, with all that rain they received the vegetation took off resembling the wildfire that is now devouring the state.

Residents are forced to flee a fire that is burning out of control while Firefighters battle the blaze that won’t go out anytime soon. The fire has claimed several racehorses and over 4 thousand acres of land in a short amount of time. People are being told to “get out” leave before the blaze reaches their neighborhood. [1]

That’s a lot of acreage and a lot of displaced people. Where will they find shelter?

322 Schools had to cancel classes on Thursday and Friday. The fire continues to spread property loss quickly keeps mounting. Residents need to pack up essential water and food while remembering to take crucial documents. Undocumented and legal immigrants will be hardest hit by this fire since most will not have fire insurance for their homes. Moises Rodriquez is one of those immigrants living in a trailer park that is threatened by the blaze. He fears his home will be gone when he returns.[2]

Because Mr. Rodriquez is an undocumented immigrant, he does not qualify for any federal emergency assistance to rebuild or replace his mobile home even though his four children are American citizens. Even though they are staying at a local shelter, Mr. Rodriquez has returned to work at the Cement factory where he fills sacks with cement.[3]

 

Suzanne White, a resident of Ojai, was interviewed, and she said that she has grown used to the constant threat of fire. But this year has been worse than other years, and the winds are making matters worse than usual. Another resident reported that the entire town of 7,500 people slept with one eye open as the fires came closer to the community.[4]

One of the most significant obstacles the firefighters have is the 70 mile-per-hour winds being driven by the Santa Anna winds. The air quality due to the smoke and ash is the biggest threat to the residents. With a scale of 1 to 500 with 100 being poor quality, the air quality in Ventura County has been recorded to be as high as 330.[5]

What I think

Between the abundant rainfall that created all the new vegetation in California and the coming Santa Anna winds that has helped fuel the fire that is kindled by the dried-out growth of the past summer the fire is more devastating than in the past. So far this year, more than a million acres have burned. And someone says there is no such thing as climate change. Maybe they will change their mind when the entire state of California is nothing but ash because the rains will return and bring the mudslides with them since the trees and bushes are gone. It is a cycle that will continue until everyone is forced to move out of the state because it will become too expensive to rebuild.


Notes

[1] (Medina, Jordan and Smith 2017)

[2] (Medina, Jordan and Pérez-Peña 2017)

[3] (Medina, Jordan and Pérez-Peña 2017)

[4]  (Medina, Jordan and Pérez-Peña 2017)

[5]  (Laffin 2017)

 

References

 

Laffin, Ben. “California’s Fires, by the Numbers.” The New York Times. Los Angeles: The New York Times, December 2017.

Medina, Jennifer, Miriam Jordan, and RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA. Wildfire Threats in Ventura and San Diego Counties. December 7, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/07/us/california-fire-ventura-county.html (accessed December 9, 2017).

Medina, Jennifer, Miriam Jordan, and Mitch Smith. Southern California Fires Live Updates: ‘We’re Not Out of the Woods Yet’. December 9, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/08/us/california-fires-ventura-los-angeles.html (accessed December 9, 2017).

Medina, Jennifer, and Jack Healy. ‘It Burns and It Keeps Burning’: Scenes From Southern California’s Wildfires. December 7, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/07/us/southern-california-wildfires.html (accessed December 9, 2017).

 

 

Focus is the Key to Time Management

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Image courtesy of Creative Commons liscense provided by Robin Sharma via flicker.com

Time Management

Everyone struggles with finding enough time to do the things that need to be done. I know I have had my share of scraping blocks out of my daily life to work full time, be a full-time student, interact with family members, add quality time for my pup, and find me time.

Time management is all about discipline and setting priorities. Some ask me, how do you do it?

My priorities are set by what is most important for me to do on the list.

  1. Work. I must go to work every day to earn that paycheck so I can afford to eat. This means that I have blocked out a minimum of 9 hours out of each day to accommodate this priority.
  2. School work is the next item. I schedule a minimum of 4 hours a day dedicated to reading assignments and homework. This is where the discipline comes into play. If I slack, the grades may slack.
  3. Family time is spent while having dinner at the dinner table. I try to use this opportunity as a quality time to catch up with my loved ones.
  4. Keelaa demands her time too. She will come in little bursts of tail wagging glee to see me and look for that treat or scratch on the back.
  5. Exercise takes place mostly at work while dashing about to keep the machines running. Calling my work exercise also makes it more enjoyable and productive.
  6. Reading personal choice books are only allotted a short time frame of maybe an hour or two each night.
  7. Free time for writing is next on the priority list. I have accepted that I might not get another book out in the next few years, but there will come that day when school will be done, and writing will reclaim that time slot that is allocated for school work.
  8. Last on the list is free time in general. I could place my video gaming in this slot, or any other of my many hobbies like crocheting or knitting.
  9. I do have a cutoff point where time runs out. When the batteries drain sleep is a must to stay healthy, happy and wise.

 

How do you manage your time?