2014 in review

Thanks so much to all visitors and fellow bloggers for taking the time to visit my blog. A special thanks goes to my most interactive and frequent comment makers: D’aller Naturel, Levi Thetford, connorphoto, Viktoryarch, and ubecute. Your constant support is invaluable to me! May I continue to bring you solid and entertaining content in 2015!! 🙂 🙂

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,300 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 22 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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A Good Connection

Everything in life has a connection, or so it seems. There is a link of some kind that binds and bonds all things and people together. But is that connection only as good as the link that brought those people and things together in the first place? Interesting question you might say.

For instance, nothing is more infuriating than a bad connection when you’re on an important phone call, right? The person on the other end is speaking but they can’t hear you or vice versa. Who or what is to blame? Is it the other person’s phone or service that is at fault or is the issue on your end? Who’s to say in this day of modern technological advances? You would think in this day and age that achieving a good connection would be effortless. Yet, these problems still exist in spite of all of the upgrades and savvy options that are available to us.

How about those times when you’re out and about and you run into an old friend? The two of you used to be very close and once stayed in touch.. However, over time, you have drifted apart like two water-logged barges that have lost their way, while wandering aimlessly through murky waters. You go through all the niceties, embracing and mutually expressing how good it is to see each other. You exchange contact information and vow to stay in touch…for sure this time. But as is often the case, neither of you make a move to reach out to the other. So, where does the ‘weak’ link lie? Was this a bad connection or one that simply did not exist in the first place? Or are you both simply ‘weak’ links?

Then, there are those rare instances where you connect with someone whom you’ve never met before. You’re at an event, and just seem to naturally gravitate to each other. You exchange contact information and have good intentions of staying in touch. To your amazement, you answer each others emails consistently, plans are made and kept. This new person appears to be just as excited as you are about the new connection. The most remarkable thing of all is that this person doesn’t even live in the same city or state that you do. She lives thousands of miles away and visits here only on occasion to see about her mom. How good it feels that someone thought enough of you to put aside time to get together with you, in spite of a busy schedule that allows little time for anything outside of its parameters. It makes me think about all the people that I’ve known most of my life, that live in the same city as I do, but have chosen to disconnect and remain disconnected. No reason in particular…at least none that I am aware of. I don’t know why this happens, but it does. Evidently, some things are not meant to be and should be left as is.

With that being said, I was in the right place at the right time, thankfully. As a result, I have come across a new friend and it seems that we share an awesome connection. Interestingly, she used to live here many years ago, but now lives in Nevada. We had the opportunity to have dinner last night. She was hoping to go some place that had a bit of history that she could hold on to and take back home and reminisce about. I suggested an artsy, open cafe’/restaurant with a warm and friendly atmosphere. This place had no shortage of comfy sofas & cozy chairs, fancy wooden tables, and diner style seating that ran along side of the widest open windows, which provided a great view of all the adult Halloween participants carousing about in the damp night air. The high ceilings were mesmerizing along with the art-deco style walls. I was happy to inform my friend that this cafe’ had once been a car dealership back in the day. Incidentally, it was where I bought my very first car.

Needless to say, we were both very satisfied with the choice. Our similar interests helped draw us together which made the brief time that we spent effortless. We found ourselves sitting and chatting for hours, as if we’ve known each other for years. We even shared some great laughs as we took in some people proudly sporting full Halloween costumes. Unfortunately, my friend will be flying back to Nevada later this afternoon. But the fact that we live so far apart, only fuels our anticipation for our next visit which won’t be until next summer. But no worries. We have both agreed to keep this ‘friendship’ train on the track and moving. Priceless in my opinion and a good connection indeed.

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Still…I Write

Writing is truly a gift that I have been blessed with. I say that because sometimes I am amazed at the onslaught of words that come to me. Sometimes, in such abundance, that it’s overwhelming. I can only conclude that these colorful expressions must come from God above.

From as far back as I can remember, I have loved everything about writing. As a young girl, I would take a book and copy the pages, word for word, just because I loved to ‘write’ and the whole writing process. A pen and paper – two best friends; like peanut butter and jelly. They just go together and one without the other simply doesn’t work. I enjoyed the way a pen and pencil felt between my fingers and the magic I could create with these instruments.

I learned early on the value of words and all the different meanings one can express through their creative and intellectual usage. Little did I know at the time, that I had a whole lot of things to express from within, some from pure imagination, while other thoughts were to be born out of sheer life experience. 

I will admit that there are some days where as much as I like to write, I simply don’t always feel up to it and  often feel guilty as a result. It seems I can’t squeeze out one consonant, vowel, syllable, fragment, phrase, sentence,etc. It seems impossible to make even one participial phrase dangle or one subject and verb come to an agreement. I often wonder why if I enjoy ‘writing’ so much, are there times when I don’t have any interest in putting my pen to paper or my fingers to my laptop keyboard? Sometimes, it feels like not a single creative thought is anywhere in sight. So, I often look back at things that I’ve written previously and try to take my mind back to where it was when I wrote those pieces. It’s almost like an out-of-body experience because on the days when creativity seems to escape me, I wonder how and if I can find it again!

So what do I do in these instances? I muddle through and write anyway; even in the midst of a seemingly blank canvass. I release that first drop of ink, that first keystroke onto the fresh white space that is just waiting for me to fill it with substance.  Even when my heart doesn’t seem to be in it….still, I write. When the ‘word well’ seems to have run dry…still, I write. When creativity and imagination seem to have taken an unexpected vacation…still, I write. Pen and paper come together again to form the bond that can only be created by their melodious union…kind of like that peanut butter and jelly that forms a perfect partnership! What’s your take?

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Image: Free google images

 

Cursively Speaking….

 

       

 

The Daily Post recently shared an article called The Lost Art, where it discussed that many people have learned to disconnect from technology’s magnetic pull to reconnect and interact person-to-person. It’s a shame that something as natural as communicating with each other verbally, has fallen under the realm of ‘lost art’. Things have more or less reversed, with non-verbal interaction becoming the rule and not the exception. Text messaging,social media, emails, etc. have all contributed to the building of this wall that now exists between people who now rely mainly on these forms of communication.

Personally, I feel these forms of interaction encourage distance between people. For instance, if you are a person who does not use the internet or use it on a regular basis, than you will surely be lost in technology’s ever-thickening sauce, if you will. Have you ever paid attention to your interaction with people whom you haven’t seen in a while? You both agree to exchange contact information, but it’s no longer phone numbers that you swap. You now exchange email addresses, website links,etc. If you don’t communicate using these technologies, your phone number may be accepted. But did the person ever follow through and call you? I’m willing to bet, probably not.

Communicating face-to-face can definitely be considered a ‘lost art’, especially when one has to disconnect just to reconnect. Readers of this article by the Daily Post were asked to comment on what they felt could fall under the umbrella of ‘lost art’. In response, I shared what I consider to be a ‘ lost art’ that is very near and dear to me; one that took a great deal of my adolescent and adult life to master. My contribution to the conversation of  ‘lost art’ is cursive writing. I commented on my disappointment in finding that this form of writing has pretty much been done away with. Where I live, children are encouraged to print as their main form of writing. The teaching of cursive writing is almost non-existent. Someone else commented and added that cursive writing is mandatory in India and is still very prevalent. I only wish I could say the same for my little corner of the world. There are many reasons why cursive writing, in my opinion, should remain a critical form of writing. For instance, what will happen later in life, when a person has to sign important documents? If a person doesn’t know how to write in cursive, how will they sign their name? Surely printing one’s name will not be an acceptable form of writing in this instance, being that it is not considered a signature. There’s a reason why it’s called a signature. It’s authentic and identifies each individual; a person’s footprint more or less.

I received several replies to my comment. I further stated that cursive writing reflects an individual’s personality as each person’s style of writing is so different; one of the things that make cursive writing a beautiful form of art. I recall when I was in 7th and 8th grade, a classmate of mine had the most beautifully artistic handwriting style. She was left-handed and turned her paper almost upside down with her wrist crooked in the most awkward position. It was amazing that she could produce such artistry with that kind of hand position, but she did. Her handwriting was truly a beautiful thing to see.

Do you remember a time when you had to practice your handwriting on a daily basis? It was most likely one of your consistent homework assignments. I think this may have contributed to the phrase, “practice makes perfect”. There was special paper that had 2 solid parallel lines that ran across the page with a single dotted line that ran between those 2 lines as seen in the picture above. I was taught to allow my lower case letters to touch the dotted line and then come back down. Uppercase letters, you would have to take the letter up to the top solid line and then come back down; you used all 3 lines for these letters. I used to enjoy that so much. How about you?

Recently, there was an issue that I needed to dispute. I was asked to write a letter outlining the situation. Being somewhat bamboozled by the technology blitz myself, I asked, without even a second thought, for an email address that I could email the letter to. I was promptly informed that I needed to send a handwritten letter to this establishment. Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised and more than happy to do so. I can’t remember when I’ve been asked to send a handwritten anything anywhere. When you think about it, anyone can compose a letter via text document and sign their name to it. The only personal touch in this case, would be the person’s signature. Handwriting  or cursive writing an entire document breathes life into the words, while allowing you to virtually feel the individual’s personality. You can sometimes tell if a person was angry when they wrote something. The strokes will be very sharp and jagged and the writing seems to scream off the pages at you. If the writing is very neat and legible, you might conclude that the person took care when they composed the correspondence. If the handwriting is fancy and artistic, it may be concluded that the person is creative and expressive and spent considerable time on their presentation in order to get their point across.

All I can say, is that cursive writing doesn’t have to be a ‘lost art’. And if you look hard enough, you will find that it’s alive and well; just waiting to be rediscovered. I enjoy writing in cursive and hope that those that decide on what the teaching curriculum will be, realize it’s value and importance. Cursively speaking… I have a feeling the same people that make these crucial decisions, use cursive writing themselves!

What do you think about this unfortunate loss of artistry?

 

Images: Free Google images

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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