Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Dealing With Critical People

 

Let's face it, we all know someone like this, someone who seems to find something wrong with everyone around you and often questions why you even bother with "your friends"… sometimes they might even criticize you.

 

Why do they do that? Some of these critics are really very nice and intelligent people so is it really their own low self-esteem that makes them this way as was suggested by a few mental health reporters. How do you deal with their constant barrage of insults and complaints?

 

First LISTEN to what they are saying. I am not saying take it to heart, as a matter of fact you shouldn't take any of their words personally. Some of these people are actually well meaning and seeing the world only they way the want to see it — so they are trying to help, maybe even teach. This doesn't mean you should stay quiet and let their barbs land on you, but don't argue. Tell them calmly that it doesn't make you feel very good when they always criticize you and ask them if they would take the time to explain what they see. Especially if hey are professional in some field that they are referring to  they might actually be helpful.

 

If however the individual takes this as an invitation to berate you even more, then you know they are just "happier" being miserable. And you don't have to put up with that. Tell them firmly, still not angrily, that you will not accept their insults or condemnations. There is a story about Buddha that you might even take to heart:

 

Buddha was well known for his ability to respond to evil with good.  There was a man who knew about his reputation, and he traveled miles and miles and miles to test Buddha. When he arrived and stood before Buddha, he verbally abused him constantly; he insulted him; he challenged him; he did everything he could to offend Buddha.

Buddha was unmoved, he simply turned to the man and said, “May I ask you a question?”

The man responded with, “Well, what?”

Buddha said, “If someone offers you a gift and you decline to accept it, to whom then does it belong?”

The man said, “Then it belongs to the person who offered it.”

Buddha smiled, “That is correct.  So if I decline to accept your abuse, does it not then still belong to you?”

The man was speechless and walked away.


If this person is simply being critical with no attempt at helping or teaching you, or if they are generally critical about everyone they speak about, be kind. Yes it sounds more like they are sensitive about their own performance, or the way they are seen be others. Without being effusive or phony, find something encouraging to say about them… admire an achievement, sincerely ask for their help on something, thank them for their suggestion. It's quite possible you might even see a change in their manner of speaking to you. Still though, if you need to, gently remind them that they may have hurt you with the way they've said something.

 

In the long run you might find even more of a friend than you thought you had before. And, if it doesn't work, then minimize the time you spend alone with this person. It's worth a try.



Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Giving the World Just a Bit of Yourself

I'm a former (volunteer) EMT and, at least in the state I was certified in, the training for volunteer and career was the same (although the hours were, of course, far different). This was a time of my life that I still take a lot of pride in, almost 30-years' worth of pride. Actually, there were several members of my immediate family who either volunteered or worked in the EMS field. I stopped riding several years before the COVID nightmare and I can't even imagine the stress of the past year-and-a-half; still have active EMS family who did see COVID and its devastation.

 

My "other" career, far longer than my EMS involvement, has been that of a writer. In part a novelist (spicy romantic suspense) and in part a journalist. I enjoy the times I get to write about EMS and especially when I must learn something new about the field in order to properly present it. I write a monthly column in an EMS trade paper and occasionally get to cover, or report on, education and events in emergency response. I enjoy those times I get to immerse myself in a class or discussion, I love hearing about new techniques, protocols, findings and more. I guess Emergency Medical Services has remained a part of me and something that I will never emotionally leave.

 

Both by ZOOM (mostly due to the pandemic), I had the wonderful opportunity to sit in on two different and comprehensive EMS Conferences. It was thrilling for me to listen to the newest advancements and to understand the EMS community a little bit more. I loved hearing about Community Paramedicine, record keeping, stress of the job, and even newer equipment to help make the job "easier". It's true that this time in my life has completely changed me forever — I feel pride, accomplishment, understanding, what it means to be a part of a team, and especially about human emotions from birth to death, quite literally.

 

EMS was not the first community organization that I ever volunteered for, as a young adult I devoted four-and-a-half years with the Auxiliary Police in the city I grew up in. I felt a lot of pride there too, and again I wasn't the only member of my family; I had followed my dad's lead… and as a bonus, that's where my husband and I found each other! Although in this case the training was nowhere as comprehensive and disciplined as the employed law enforcement, it was still pretty thorough for the duties we were trained to assume. It was a very rewarding experience to give back to the community where I grew up.

 

While I certainly don't expect everyone else to have had the same passions as I did, I do respect EVERYONE who have given, and possibly still do, of themselves and their time to better their communities and help their neighbors. Can you imagine a world where everyone took a part in making it better, safer, happier? Can you imagine the fulfillment those people feel when they see a child that they tutored make Communion or their Bat Mitzvah? Imagine the happiness of seeing a family hug each other after a daring rescue? Or imagine seeing hope on an old woman's face as you take the time to sit with her as she eats her very welcomed dinner?

 

Everything someone can do for their neighbors, their country, and their world makes such a difference for both the recipients of their kindness and for the giver himself or herself. If we all found SOMETHING to do, to contribute and to feel pride in doing, it is worth more than any dollar figure or bronze statue. Sometimes it doesn't take a whole lot of effort, an extra grocery bag dropped off at a food pantry, a committee member who makes sure that shut-ins know about useful programs, an interested adult who coaches children in softball… so many things we can do for others and, in the long run, for ourselves.

 

Kudos to ALL the volunteers. THANK YOU!



 

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Writing Your Story

You live as long as you are remembered.
~ Russian proverb

 

My mind has "run the gamut" of emotions these past years. With some (extended) family illnesses, and then with my sister (only sibling) passing away, it is hard NOT to think of mortality. What struck me very deeply was that when my sister passed, I became painfully aware that I was the last one left of my nuclear family (our parents died in 1977 and 1979 respectively); every family story, our very own history, it's only mine to tell anymore.

 

There are so many little snippets of my life, some funny, some sad, that I want to live on even past my own life's run. So, I began to write "The story of Chelle". This is not a memoir, certainly not one meant for public consumption, however it's my sincere hope that each one of my FUTURE family will get to cherish some of these stories and perhaps pass them along to their descendants. It's mere snippets, little memories, that have given me moments to chuckle, to remember, to know how many of these memories have made me who I am today.

 

It's been said that, just like DNA, all our ancestors live on inside us. I believe that is so true even when we haven't really known the folks who passed some traits down to us. Ironically, I met a distant cousin from a branch of my family I never even knew existed. It all started with a bit of (excuse me) spit… and the results of my DNA turned up a long list of potential relatives. Surely, I wasn't going to explore each one, but one profile popped up that intrigued me.

 

Turns out this gentleman and I are distant cousins on my paternal grandmother's side of the family. He connected me with another relative (unfortunately the DNA services do NOT share with each other so we may only find relatives through others). My new-found relative, and at this point a very dear friend, is a second cousin. We are quite close in age, and if you didn't know differently you might think that we grew up together because we share so many similar values and traits.

 

I am not looking for immortality, or maybe in a way I am? I just want some of my memories to live on for my children. As a writer maybe it is not unusual for me to take to writing these thoughts and memories down but considering my ego, I am just recording these memories for my family. When I recently told my daughter about my project, her loving quip was that I had an advantage… I could tell everything from MY personal standpoint since there was no one left to counter. Yep, she's got a point, LOL.

.



Wednesday, September 29, 2021

A NEW BEGINNING

 

In the Hebrew calendar we are celebrating Simchat Torah, the time when public Torah readings in synagogues worldwide is complete. What is important is that we begin again… from the beginning. (The Torah, aka The Pentateuch, are the first five books of the Hebrew bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy).

 

It is, in its own way, a NEW BEGINNING, and it comes just two weeks after the Hebrew New Year. The significance of this never-ending cycle is a very comforting thought — life continues, it goes on. And the repetitive readings are like watching a favorite movie over again and finding new meanings and seeing something that you missed last time. With each reading comes a new understanding, a new theory, and a new way of looking at things.

 

It really doesn't matter what faith you are, what you do or don't believe in. Just comfort yourself with continuation. Even in your darkest days, the sun does rise tomorrow (Okay, unless you're in a place where the "Polar Night" lasts all winter, LOL, then you might have to wait several months). Wherever you are in the world, the Earth does revolve and except for the areas close to the Polar caps, we enjoy nearly equal parts of sunlight and darkness. Maybe that is a metaphor for life itself?

 

Sometimes things change, drastically, and yet while there may be adjustments, you continue. You eat, you sleep, you work, you laugh, and you cry. There is no denying that this never-ending cycle is called life. And even when your own life comes to a close (hopefully not for a while), life still continues for those around you. Maybe they look at life a little differently, but life goes on. And for all around you, there are riches and well as tears, smiles and frowns, and perhaps even a little adventure thrown in that never-ending future.

 

We have to embrace each day and take from it what will nourish us and enrich us. We have to teach our loved ones to do the same whether or not we share each day with them. Generations of humans have accomplished this, and hopefully many, many future generations will do this as well. Each day is a gift, get excited as you unwrap it. And just like those who start at the "beginning" again, make your own interpretations and get something more out of each reading and experience again.

 

Grab onto and enjoy each day in this never-ending thing we call life.

 


Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Regrets, I've Had a Few…

I don't believe any one has gone through life who hasn't wished they could change something in their past. For me the most dangerous time to think about the things I WISH I could re-do differently are the quiet hours of the night when I can't sleep and I am alone, IN MY HEAD, to think and dwell… and sometimes cry.

Was I a good daughter? My parents died so early into my adult years that I've had a lot of time to wonder about that one. Every child and parent has squabbles over, what now seems many years later, to have been inconsequential matters, things that have no importance now. I know that as a fully grown adult and a parent myself — and yet, in what I refer to as my "Dark Hours" I keep wondering if I spent enough time with them, made them proud of me. Maybe I shouldn't have waited to help them fulfill a "dream' they both had of a renewal of wedding vows before a Rabbi (they had been married by a Justice of the Peace) – I was waiting for another milestone anniversary, but my dad died before their 32nd anniversary and my mom less than two years later.

Was I a good mom to my own offspring? Could I have set a better example, spent more time with them, helped them with their homework more? I worry, and yet both our daughter and son grew into incredible human beings despite me. Have I been a good wife to my husband? He's been my best friend since our marriage, actually before, almost 46 years ago and we say "I love you" to each other more than once a day. Yes, we've had spats, but… Again, in my "Dark Hours" I fret.

Yet, there is nothing I can do to re-do or un-do my yesterdays. Ironic that the expression some use is "You've made your bed" when that is exactly where I am lying and TRYING to sleep next to my slumbering husband when I have my "Dark Hours". Sometimes I will lie awake for hours just dwelling on all the things I cannot change and all of my uncertainties surface.

In the morning, however, I wake (sometimes after very little sleep) to face a new day and I actually feel ready and capable to tackle it. After all, TODAY is the ONLY day I have some control over. As Mother Theresa said, "Yesterday is gone, tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today, let us begin."

I wish you few "Dark Hours", many restful nights, and the happiness of a promised tomorrow.

 


Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Worth…

Several years ago, I had a rather ugly argument (one sided, really, HE was arguing) with someone I once thought rather highly of.

 

He was a veteran, and I certainly gave him kudos for that, but we were talking of some people we knew who, by choice or providence, did not join the military. This individual was very irate and insulting to some people I knew — in this specific case, a couple of first responders. His attitude was that they had "no value" compared to him and his fellow vets (yes, those were his words). 


I was annoyed and said (not verbatim) that our military defends our shores, but that EMS, firefighters and police were our first defense in our cities.

 

His statement was ironically that these people wore Halloween costumes to make themselves feel important!

 

I would never dismiss the heroism and sacrifice of our military members (which I am proud to say I am related to several from past to present). But if these past few years (actually since 2001) haven't proven the value of our EMS, firefighters and police (as well as healthcare and other security details)… Wow! (Ironically the above-mentioned argument took place AFTER 9/11)

 

Our country lost more than 400 emergency service members at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. In 2005 thousands of first responders went to New Orleans and other areas after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the city. And these past two years our EMS, FD and police forces and hospital workers country wide have worked around the clock to try to save Covid victims, often at great personal risk to themselves, many dying.

 

Not everyone can save peoples' lives, fight fires, or fight in a war. But EVERYONE can do something to help enrich the lives of the people in this country and the world. Everyone has WORTH in our society when they help others; Sunday school teachers, Meals on Wheels drivers, youth group leaders, volunteers (and employees) at animal shelters, volunteer readers at the library, fundraisers for charities, and more. If you are doing something to help others, 


YOU ARE WORTH SO MUCH TO THE REST OF US. Everybody should do what they are able to for their communities, for our country, and for our world.

 

Thank you to all who put yourselves out there for others.


.



Saturday, September 11, 2021

2996 HUMAN BEINGS

 September 11, 2001, 2996 people lost their lives.
the youngest was only 2 years old,
the oldest was 85.

There have been innumerable losses since due to injuries and exposure to the toxic dust at Ground Zero.


As a former Rockland County NY resident, I have always listed those
local residents that we lost on 9/11/2001

Ø Janet M. Alonso 41 Stony Point NY
Ø Calixto Anaya Jr. 35 Suffern NY
Ø Japhet J. Aryee 49 Spring Valley NY
Ø Richard E. Bosco 34 Suffern NY
Ø Sgt. John Gerard Coughlin 43 Pomona NY
Ø Welles Remy Crowther 24 Upper Nyack NY
Ø John D' Allara 47 Pearl River NY
Ø Bernard D. Favuzza 52 Suffern NY
Ø Thomas Foley 32 West Nyack NY
Ø Andrew Fredericks 40 Suffern NY
Ø Robert Joseph Gschaar 55 Spring Valley NY
Ø Dana Hannon 29 Suffern NY
Ø Capt. Frederick Ill Jr. 49 Pearl River NY
Ø Farah Jeudy 32 Spring Valley NY
Ø Joseph Marchbanks Jr. 47 Nanuet NY
Ø John Marshall 35 Congers NY
Ø Patricia A. McAneney 50 Pomona NY
Ø Robert Garvin McCarthy 33 Stony Point NY
Ø Robert William McPadden 30 Pearl River NY
Ø Luke G. Nee 44 Stony Point NY
Ø Gerald O'Leary 34 Stony Point NY
Ø David Ortiz 37 Nanuet NY
Ø Lt. Vernon Allan Richard 53 Nanuet NY
Ø Thomas G. Schoales 27 Stony Point NY
Ø Mohammed Shajahan 41 Spring Valley NY
Ø Gregory Sikorsky 34 Spring Valley NY
Ø Catherine T. Smith 44 West Haverstraw NY
Ø Robert W. Spear Jr. 30 Valley Cottage NY
Ø Loretta A, Vero 51 Nanuet NY
Ø Benjamin Walker 41 Suffern NY
Ø Weibin Wang 41 Orangeburg NY
Ø Steven Weinberg 41 New City NY
Ø Capt. David T. Wooley 53 Nanuet NY


It is so hard to realize that 20-years have passed since that dreadful day. 

My husband and I were home that day, together, when my sister called me. She had been watching television when the news broadcast came in that a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center Towers. Ironically my husband had been working down there the day before on an Audio-Visual event, it was scheduled for 2-days, but one of the presenters had a prior commitment, so it was scheduled for the 10th and the 12th instead.
Two planes had crashed into the North and South towers of the WTC. A third plane crashed into the Pentagon. A fourth plane crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania after passengers tried to take the plane back from the terrorists behind this horror. There were 19 terrorists on the 4 planes in this suicide mission.
I remember the panicked calls from my son, in high school at the time, and my daughter, away at college. They wanted to know where their dad was.
Being members of our local ambulance corps in Rockland County NY, we responded to the building. No one knew what to expect next. There had been futile hopes that there would be many survivors who needed medical help and our local ambulance corps made preparations to help unload victims for transport to local hospitals. Sadly, that need never came to be.
Rockland County ambulance corps sent rigs to the scene that evening to try to help. My husband was on one of those rigs. Our son, a youth corps member at the time, helped to stock the truck and watched as his dad and crew drove away. My husband returned home very early the next morning — there had been no survivors to treat or transport. He cried at what he had seen.
Our daughter came home from college to help in the ambulance building. We did have several local residents walking around dazed, some of them were still hoping to hear from loved ones who had been in the buildings. They came in for comfort, for blood-pressure checks, and just to be able to sit and cry.
Rockland County had lost more than 30 souls that day, I knew a few of them, and I knew a few of the families. Some who died had been at jobs, some were passengers on the ill fated flights, others were 1st responders, firefighters, police and EMS, who tried to save as many as possible. Even days later, no one was able to fathom what had just happened. 
Over 40% of those who died that day have yet to be identified even 20 years later. There have been more than 1500 deaths from various cancers among Ground Zero responders and those who lived or worked in the area. Many more are fighting  Certified WTC-related illnesses.
Today, September 11. 2021... the heart still aches for all we lost.


... 20-years later.

9/11 Memorial "Tear Drop"
in Bayonne New Jersey

Pentagon 9/11 Memorial
Arlington Virginia


Flight 93 Memorial
Shanksville Pennsylvania











Wednesday, September 8, 2021

CHILDHOOD MEMORIES

Recently a question was asked on Facebook, "What do YOU remember from your childhood that children today would not?"

 

It was very interesting to see some of the answers, which included: The Flintstones TV Show; Lite-Brite; 45rpm records inside books; rotary telephones; The Andy Griffith Show; Howdy-Doody; Captain Kangaroo; Tinker Toys; Slinky; and several more.

 

I remember the metal TV Dinner trays (this was WELL BEFORE microwave ovens). In my house my parents would allow us to pick our favorites and once a week or so we were allowed to eat our TV dinners in front of the television (well, they WERE TV dinners!). My mom called it our "Dining at the Movies Night". My dad's favorite was either the meatloaf or turkey and stuffing, mommy liked the Southern Fried Chicken. My sister and I always tried to choose something "exotic and different" than our normal fare… after all, it was like a night of dining out and watching (mostly) comedies. Nowadays there are so many choices of quick, easy, pop-in-the-microwave meals, it has lost its novelty.

 

Drive-in movies! Yes, that was always special — especially since my folks rarely got babysitters even when they wanted to go out. My dad would put a board across the back seat and pad it with a big sleeping bag, then my sister and I would bring our pillows, blankets and favorite stuffed animal and we would go to sleep in the back while our parents had their "date night". (I got into trouble when my mom found out I was often peeking at the big screen instead of actually sleeping, LOL). I remember the particular drive-in theatre my folks went to the most, there was a playground and my folks always managed to buy us hot dogs for dinner and then let us play on the swing sets until we changed into our PJs and bunked down in the back seat.

 

My dad worked hard to make a living and when they could afford it, we always went to a motel called the Jolly Roger outside of Atlantic City, LONG BEFORE it was a casino mecca. His vacation was always the last two weeks of August and I remember many, many summers where we spent a week meeting the same group of friends and going to the boardwalk, swimming in the ocean and playing at the motel's mini-playground and pool. That was where I learned to swim, it was unintentional… I FELL into the pool. My dad had been relaxing on a lounger and my sister and I weren't allowed in the water without him, I still used a swimming tube. But I saw him peeking at us as we played, and I decided to tease him by running to the diving board and jumping on it. He sternly told me to get off and I realized he was serious, but when I jumped off the board I tripped and fell into the deep end of the pool. Desperately trying not to sink, I managed to swim underwater towards the nearest ladder. My dad was pretty quick, he was in the pool and swimming towards me and pulled me up just before I actually reached the ladder — he was both relieved and angry. I was just happy to hold onto him.

 

What are the things you remember from your childhood? When I spoke to my own offspring about some of my memories, they had NO IDEA what I was talking about. Maybe one day they'll get the same quizzical looks from their own offspring when they talk about their recollections.






Wednesday, September 1, 2021

OMIGOSH… SUMMER IS ALMOST (OFFICIALLY) OVER!!!!

 

Okay, it's official, three more weeks until Autumn begins. Where has the summer gone?

 

Sunrise, sunset,
Sunrise, sunset,

Swiftly flow the days.

Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers,
Blossoming even as we gaze.

Sunrise, sunset,
Sunrise, sunset,

Swiftly fly the years,
One season following another,
Laden with happiness and tears.

 

This song (from Fiddler on the Roof) is often sung at weddings when parents marvel at how fast their children have grown. But these specific lyrics keep running through my head as I look back on how fast the seasons change.

 

Okay to be honest my summer was a bit of a bummer anyway, starting with my sister's passing and then my recuperating from a nasty cold and cough (yes, I am vaccinated and still took a Covid test — negative thank goodness!). For both reasons I never even got to go swimming this year  😢 (yes, all things considered, that is a minor loss).

 

It seems like soooooo loooong ago that we were all carefree WITHOUT the need of masks or vaccinations; and while 2020 certainly did drag on unbearably I look at all my loved ones and see how many years have passed so quickly.

 

In my mind I can still see my children as adorable babies who clung to me and begged to be carried everywhere. And now I look at my fully grown ADULT offspring and see them as wise and decent human beings with responsible jobs, loving life partners, capable of taking care of themselves and others, and sometimes even taking care of their OLD parents. They grew up so fast!

 

The seasons just keep rushing by!

Next week is Rosh Hashanah… it is so early this year (in the Gregorian calendar). Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, it is time to reflect on all that has gone before and all that we look forward to. It is a time for all of us to reflect on WHO we are and WHAT we have done, apologize (SINCERELY!) to those we have wronged, and forgive those who have wronged us. It is a new beginning, in a way. But even with a new beginning, there is no way to go back and steal some yesterdays to relive.


In such a period when we are encouraged to examine what we have done and possibly change what we should do, it is even more obvious how time has flown by.

 

It is just three weeks until the official end of summer




 

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

FACTS AND MORE FACTS

As a journalist I depend on others to fill in facts and figures; fiction is so much easier, it just has to SOUND right! (just kidding)

 

That's why I will often send queries to actual, formal Press Offices, because I want to know that what I am writing is accurate. I don't know why but especially in the more recent years I find that Press Offices don't always bother to return a response. I would even appreciate a "Sorry, we can't release that information…" or "We don't have the answers you are looking for…". It's frustrating to wait on an article simply because the experts you went to have decided to remain quiet.

 

Yeah, I am complaining. With all of the misinformation that gets spread around lately, I really would like to know that what I am typing at least borders on the truth. I never quote a particular source unless I receive permission to do so — so there shouldn't be a reason to be afraid to answer. I just want to be sure that if I am, let's say, giving a step-by-step of auto repair, that I am actually getting it right. (I would hate to refer to "the thig-a-ma-jig" just to find out that the car doesn't even have one!)

 

We all, myself included, have complained about journalists who can't seem to get their facts straight. Well maybe this is part of the problem, the folks we turn to for information are not at all forthcoming. Now I won't tell exactly which sources haven't bothered to respond, but I will say that at least some of them actually have the words "PRESS OFFICE" in their titles. It would seem to me that if a reporter needs information, a Press Office should be a good place to start.

 

Okay, enough complaining… I have to start writing an article on very little confirmed information. I will do my best to research other sources and will strategically use terms such as "it appears to be" or "a few sources intimated that it was". I will do my best to inform as honestly as possible.



.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

WHAT ARE THEY THINKING?!

 

All the junk e-mail we get sometimes crosses the line of ridiculous offers. It is a well-known fact that SOME of the links we get in junk e-mail might be dangerous – possibly to malware or even just getting your name/e-mail on yet another junk mail list. And yes, it is very annoying.

 

But then… then you have the totally obscene junk e-mail with, of course, links to click on. These are the ones that are peppered with 4-letter profanities in the heading, or vulgar description of body parts and what "someone" would like to do with said body parts. Or there will be an offer to help make your "appendage" sooo much bigger!

 

Call me naïve but I don't see the point in many of these emails. And even if I weren't already wary of clicking on unknown links, I would NEVER, EVER click on links in one of these uninvited and unwelcome solicitations — and I am sure that I am far from the only person wary of such unknown links.

 

So, what is the purpose, really, of these e-mails? Is someone somehow getting their jollies from sending such obvious filth to unsuspecting individuals. I'm not stupid enough to believe these are offensive to everyone or gullible enough to think that NO ONE ever clicks on these, but I honestly can't see how anyone can truly expect a high rate of success with such emails?

 

By the way, if you hover your cursor (on your computer) over these links you will often see the places you would be sent to — just DON'T click on it. Many of the alleged emails are disguised to bring you to unsavory URLs. So even IF they seem to have authentic and recognizable logos, chances are the sites are as phony as that 15-inch long ### they are promising you!

 

Even if you get a sudden e-mail about winning a contest you've never entered, be very wary. Don't click on links. Don't fill in your personal information. Don't download mysterious offers. Just delete, delete, delete if you don't recognize the sender, if you find a phony link, if it's smut, or if you have to download your "offer" just to find out what it is.

 

It's sad, but it is so much better to be cynical and protect yourself and your computer.



Wednesday, August 11, 2021

CONNECTIONS

Our always-on-social-media, while there are downsides, has the ability to reach out and communicate at a needed time. Sometimes it may not mean much for someone to have a virtual stranger wish her a Happy Birthday, but then maybe it just might be the lift she needs to get through today.

Scroll through platforms like Facebook and people share heartaches and disappointments, brag about accomplishments, offer condolences, share jokes and any myriad of emotions. Users announce the loss of loved ones, and ask for prayers, or say thanks for being there when you were really needed.

PEOPLE NEED PEOPLE. We all need interaction with others. We need to vent, to ask for advice, to offer and accept virtual hugs, to complain about the weather, and so much more. Especially after this past year when so many were in near complete isolation, social media and visual apps were the things that helped to keep folks in touch with others.

It may not seem like much when social media acquaintances post a GIF or Meme to help cheer you up, but it does have the ability to make you feel as if someone cared. Many of those who post condolences, encouragement, congratulations or support may only be expending a few moments and a few keystrokes — but they are spending those few moments ON YOU. Someone took the time, their precious time, to let you know that someone is out there.

Next month is National Suicide Prevention Month. There are several reasons why some attempt, or unfortunately succeed, at committing suicide. Among the reasons for suicide, loneliness is one of the major factors. Whether you pay a visit, make a phone call, or simply make it a point to remember someone on social media, you could make a crucial difference in their feelings of loneliness and of being forgotten.

You may be that person’s reason for getting through today and hopefully tomorrow.

If you ever feel the need, or know someone else
who is contemplating suicide,

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-8255

OR

Text GO to 741741 to reach a trained Crisis Counselor through Crisis Text Line, a global not-for-profit organization. Free, 24/7, confidential.

 


 

 

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

ONE BAD APPLE

 

What does 'One bad apple' mean?

Meaning: The full form of this proverb is 'one bad apple spoils the barrel', meaning that a bad person, policy, etc, can ruin everything around it.


Unfortunately the human tendency is to see THAT ONE BAD APPLE and assume that the entire barrel is ruined. Even if there are no other bad apples visible, it leaves a negative feeling. Marketing experts will tell you that ONE NEGATIVE can spoil so much of the good that has come before; they go on to explain that, on the average, you need TEN positive impressions to erase that one bad one.

I read a newspaper article the other day where a volunteer fire fighter was arrested on SUSPICION of theft in his department. Every so often we hear of such accusations... please bear in mind that many of these accusations never reach indictment much less conviction. (Yes, sadly there are some that do).

Of course the townspeople start wondering how "honest" all of the members of their first response agencies are; they ask pointed questions about previous fund drives; they wonder how safe it is for a volunteer first responder to enter their homes. And no matter the result of the investigation, the next needed fund drive is severely depleted.

Understand that First Responders are usually the FIRST people to show up and give needed aid when someone dials 911. Also understand that there are many, many First Response agencies that are VOLUNTEER organizations and this means that the people who run to your aid, giving up their own family life and sleep, and often putting themselves at risk, are not doing this for pay or other benefits — most of them are good hearted people concerned about their neighbors.

According to a February 2020 report there are approximately 750,000 VOLUNTEER Fire Fighters, some of whom are also EMTs and Paramedics. New York State alone has more than 65,000 EMS providers consisting of many volunteer and paid personnel. The training to become an EMT, or any of the other steps in EMS ARE THE SAME whether the individual is a volunteer or paid service member. Obviously the numbers are astronomical and the FEW cases of accused wrongdoing are a mere percentage of all the honest people out there.

Definitely someone who is found guilty of criminal misdoing needs to be brought to task. But please do not judge a whole department based on what may be an unproven act — let the authorities investigate properly and take whatever necessary actions are appropriate. But PLEASE do not condemn a whole agency or field because of that "one bad apple". Your First Response agencies, especially the volunteers, need your support so that they can be there when you need them.

You can help all of the volunteer emergency service agencies by volunteering and making donations for their vital operations.





Wednesday, July 28, 2021

YELLOW JOURNALISM

 

I work as a part-time journalist as well as a romance author and am I aware that scintillating stories and descriptions allegedly sell books and papers… but I totally detest the concept of “Yellow Journalism”.

 

Yellow journalism and yellow press are American terms for journalism and associated newspapers that present little or no legitimate, well-researched news while instead using eye-catching headlines for increased sales.[  Techniques may include exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering, or sensationalism.” (Wikipedia)

 

I want to read or watch the news for facts, details and not just to see people crying or in misery. The recent tragedy in Miami was used by media to attract viewers and readers. It is horrible and sad news about all the people who perished, but very little, if any, news was shared about the heroes who combed through the piles of what was once a building to rescue LIVING beings. Crews came from many places in our nation, they combed through the rubble for, in some cases, people they had never even heard of. Others provided food and shelter to those who lost their home.

 

We heard very little, if anything, about the efforts of rescuers, those who came to offer aid, and tales of families who were fortunate enough to be reunited. I scoured several articles and while I know I didn’t get to all of them, there wasn’t a single mention of the people who were actually saved by heroes. Yes, the tragic facts were that people died, it was unexpected and heartbreaking and by all means important. BUT people also survived and helped others to survive and that is news too.

 

How many times have TV reporters shown up, reported on the “story” and then lengthened their broadcast by thrusting the microphones at crying witnesses and simply asking, over and over again, “How do you feel?” As a former first responder I can tell you that seeing someone die in a tragic accident NEVER feels good… so why keep pressing those who are emotionally hurting to boost ratings with their despair? Stick to the facts, good and bad, to me that’s news.

 

A few decades ago my husband was working as a news photographer for a local newspaper. Part of his job was to listen in on emergency channels and photograph news events as they were happening. There was the one day he came across a devastating house fire. The family, including children and pets, all made it out alive thanks to the heroic actions of the responding firefighters. The house and everything they owned, in the material sense, was gone. 


Mark took dramatic photos of the parents hugging their children with tears running down their faces. He had shots of firefighters covered in soot and still entering the house to save whatever and whoever they could. When he got his photos back to the newspaper editor, the first question the man asked was “Did anybody die?” Mark answered, “No the firefighters saved them all.” The editor gave a simple answer which absolutely stunned my husband, “Too bad. That won’t sell.”

 

Please, News Editors for newspapers and TV media, give us news and facts, not sensationalism. We have enough soap operas and TV dramas to fill our appetites for scandals and tears. Let’s celebrate some of the good that happens, the heroes that come through for us, and the tragedies that “could have been worse” if not for the quick actions and selflessness of others.