Did You Know?…(5)

Did you know….

    • It is estimated that 10% of all humans are left-handed. Interesting tidbit: 50% of Cats are left- handed. Who knew?
    • Lefthandedness tends to run in families. The British royal family has several lefties which include: the Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, and Prince William.
    • You are 50% more likely to be a ‘southpaw’ if one of your parents is left-handed.
    • Men are more likely to be lefties.
    • Left-handed people are more likely to have an IQ score above 131 and are more apt to be the genius in the family. Lefties are often known to be math wizzes. The Neuropyschology journal published in 2006, indicates that left-handed people process stimuli faster than right-handed people. The Australian National University(ANU), conducted research that supports earlier studies that demonstrate left-handed people use both hemispheres of the brain to process language, whereas, right-handed people tend to primarily use the left hemisphere. Further research supports the hypothesis that people who write using their left hand, most likely have brains that are better suited to bi-hemisphere, simultaneous processing of information.
    • Lefties are said to be better at competitive sports. The Puzzle of Left-Handedness created by Rik Smits, implies that this is because left-handed athletes receive more chances to practice with right-handed opponents.
    • The last 3 out of 4 commander in chiefs are all left-handed: George Bush, Sr., Bill Clinton, and current President Barack Obama.
    • August 13th is Left-handers Day and was launched in 1996.

I am not left-handed, but all of these points are very interesting to me. Especially, considering my son is a leftie. I’m sure he will find this information encouraging to say the least. How about you?

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

 

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In-toxi-cation…

 

Everyone knows or should know that there are more ways than one to become intoxicated. Fresh air can be stress-relieving and wonderfully intoxicating. Then you have the obvious toxins that come from air pollution, chemicals emitted into the air from companies, vehicle emissions, alcohol consumption, some medications, etc. We breath in toxins every day and there’s not much we can do about it. Surely, no one wants to stay in the house day after day, in order to avoid breathing them in. For most of us, this isn’t even an option. But aside from the obvious toxins that we know of and take in daily, where else would you think we are exposed to toxins?

I was hesitant to believe it until I found out firsthand for myself. Some of the most debilitating in-toxi-cation can come from other people. Yes…our fellow acquaintances, friends, strangers, passersby, etc. The thing that drove this point home so hard for me was when these unforseen toxins began to affect my health in very negative ways. You see, when you continue to expose yourself to others who are very ‘toxic’, it begins to have adverse affects on you as a person. You become in-toxic-ated without even realizing it. The problem is that we don’t usually become aware of it until the toxins have really gotten under our skin and into our essence.

It’s bad enough to have one in-toxi-cated person in your life, wreaking mental and emotional havoc. But when you have a handful of these individuals in your circle, the results can be life-changing. These people bring all of their baggage and emotional luggage to your life and promptly set it down, to take up residence. Surely, had you seen the heavy load he/she was carrying, you would have ran for your life! I can recall having several toxic people and situations in my life over a period of time. But again, if you aren’t aware of toxicity and the issues that come with it, then you continue on with these people, never realizing the negative affects their ‘toxicity’ sets into motion until something bad happens. You’re basically a sitting duck, unknowingly waiting for the bottom to fall out. And what a ‘fallout’ that can be!

I realize it probably wouldn’t be fair to blame adverse health issues on any one of these individuals, but I do believe that each and every one of them helped to plant the seeds that set this toxic roller-coaster in motion. It seemed as though where one person planted a seed and moved on, another picked up where that one left off and so on and so on. These toxic seeds were cultivated over and over again until eventually, their poisonous crop came to fruition.

I’m not just talking about intimate relationships. So-called friendships, workplace relationships, family, etc. The toxicity came in all sizes and forms. I had to learn the hard way. My body presented signs, plenty of them, but there was always a self-diagnosis to explain them away.  As a result of my own personal experience, I can strongly urge that we listen to our inner voice and our bodies when things aren’t as they should be. Perhaps a harder look can be taken as to who we allow in our personal space and what affects, if any, we notice after we’ve been exposed to them. You might be surprised to find that you can become in-toxi-cated without ever taking a drink!

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

 

Going Harder to Go Longer

 

  

I’ve been noticing something lately; something that’s very disappointing to realize. You may agree. It really hit home for me today. As I attended my physical therapy session, I noticed so many more ‘mature’ people in the facility, who were trying to work on whatever body part was ailing them. This isn’t the first time I witnessed this, but for some reason today, it stood out to me like a sore thumb.

I observed one man who was walking laps around the track, but was carrying an oxygen tank with him which was attached to clear tubing that ran up to his nose. I saw another person, a woman, who walked so slowly, I didn’t see how she would ever get to her destination. The therapist assigned to her had to dramatically slow his pace just so that this poor woman would not be left in his ‘youthful’ dust. I couldn’t imagine what exercise he would possibly recommend for her. Another man had so much pain, that the exercise he was performing on a machine, had to be interrupted several times as he grimaced in discomfort. He walked with a distinct limp and even that looked painful. My heart went out to these people. I don’t know what their individual circumstances were for being there, but they all seemed to be there for a common cause; to try and get better and to be better.

Some could have been there because they just wanted to have more mobility and get around better. Others could have been there because they need to keep working, even though they have reached their respective ‘retirement’ age(s), but sadly, that means little to nothing in many instances. It was beyond sobering to really pay attention to what I was seeing around me. It’s so easy to get caught up in the run-of-the mill day to day activities while seeing things, but proceeding on, never really stopping to pay attention to what is really going on. Some realities are truly shameful; which leads me to the reason for this post.

I guess I’m disheartened, disappointed, and downright disgusted at the way the elderly seem to  have been demoted to the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to the way they are treated. They’ve worked most of their lives or a great deal of their lives, helping to build this country and this is what things have come to; working well beyond the retirement age. As a matter of fact, what is the retirement age now? The age requirement seems to keep getting bumped further and further out, forcing many to ‘go harder to go longer’. Is ‘retirement’ even something to revere and look forward to in today’s world?

The nation’s economy has become so dismal that working at one place for several years and retiring from that place, has almost become a non-existent occurrence. A person can have several jobs throughout his/her working life. The high degree of job loss compounded with the difficulty in finding new employment, has made anticipation of retirement almost seem like a thing of the past. If you can’t keep a job due to high turnover and company layoffs, and you can’t find another job, how are you ever supposed to rebuild in order to have something to put aside in lieu of any kind of decent retirement? Can retirement ever again be a coveted event, as it once was, that can be revered and looked forward to with anticipation in the midst of these chaotic economic times?

What about the elderly people who find themselves laid off after having been employed with a company for years and years, only to then experience a lengthy period of time before they are able to secure employment? Then there’s the whole issue of ‘age’ discrimination that this sector of the population has to deal with.  Unfortunately, as a result of these circumstances, people sometimes have to tap into their retirement savings, take out 401k loans, etc. to help them get through those dark periods of unemployment. Then, once they find employment, the pay is often insulting; much less than what they were making prior to their unemployed status. So, now you have a person that is used to making x amount of money, but now finds themselves in a situation where the pay is considerably less. How would that person ever be able to pay their bills, not to mention having enough money to sock away and/or rebuild?

It’s interesting how the price of everything has been going up, seemingly 10-fold. But where are the cost of living increases to help people keep up with those rising costs? On the flip side, when a person secures new employment at a considerably lower rate, why is there nothing in place to ensure that people are not forced to accept meager wages to support their former lifestyles and high cost of living expenses? The expenses don’t disappear and they certainly don’t get reduced in light of a person experiencing an unexpected hardship. As a result, more and more people are working 2 and 3 jobs to try and make ends meet. Sometimes, that’s still not enough! It seems the nation has created a situation that has forced its people into a rat race that can never be won, unless something is done to stop this vicious cycle.

It’s horrible to think that some of the elderly population is faced with working well beyond a reasonable retirement age. Working multiple jobs is not a viable option for many of these valuable contributors to community and society and frankly, it shouldn’t be. Why should this population of seasoned individuals have to even consider working more than one job? If they could retire at their designated age, further employment would not even be an issue, unless he/she just wanted to work to keep busy and occupied. And what will happen if health becomes an issue and a person finds themselves in a predicament where he/she can’t work at all? I can honestly say, on one hand, I wasn’t ecstatic to see all of these ‘mature’ individuals trying to get on top of their body’s functionality because I sensed that a lot of these instances were out of necessity; for sheer survival. But I was happy that they were at least there, trying to make the effort. At the end of the day, do they really have a choice?

 

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

 

How Do I Do It?

 

I posted a piece during the wee hours of the morning on June 17th 2014 called, “When Silence Isn’t Golden”. Believe it or not, I contemplated for quite a while on whether or not I should share this article. I wondered if it was a bit too much and I certainly didn’t want to offend anyone. After much thought and consideration, I decided to share it, and I’m glad I did.

A ‘Twitter’ friend of mine read my post and posed a few very interesting questions to me. Firstly, he asked why I didn’t mention anything about the struggles of the African American Woman as a single mother? My friend spoke of his disgust and anger at the prejudice that is so rampant and that seems to always boldly point in the direction of the African American woman; which led him to his next question. He wanted to know how I, an African American woman deals with all the negative push-back and resistance on a daily basis? In his words, “How do you do it, Sylvia?”He pointed out the double whammy situation that I’m in; not just being a woman, but an African American woman. Thirdly, he wanted to know why the many defining characteristics African American women share collectively, are not highlighted in a more positive light?

As I read all the great points he brought up, I could only shake my head. I wish I had all the answers but I don’t. I would be happy to have even 1 answer. Thanks to my friend’s prompting questions, I am now going to attempt to respond to all of them as best I can, though I can and will only speak for myself. So, please bear with me as I try to paint a picture that will hopefully shed some light on the struggle I experience regularly as many African American women do; single motherhood. Here it is…

Why didn’t I include in my post, the issue of single motherhood as it pertains to the African American woman? In all honesty, it never occurred to me to include this aspect in this piece. Not because it wasn’t or isn’t important. It most definitely was and is. However, I wanted to focus on the main issue that I was dealing with as an African American woman at that time. Unfortunately for me, it was a time of hopelessness and despair, as I tried to fit in to a world where I was not wanted; the corporate world. My fitting in or not, determined whether or not my livelihood would exist or cease to. It became the primary focus of my attention. Being a single mother, I was the sole bread-winner. I put up with a lot of nonsense in order to keep food on the table.

How did I and how do I deal with all the negative push-back and resistance that I face daily as an African American woman? At the time I was dealing with the workplace situation, I continued to go to work, even though I knew I had to fight and that I was in it alone. I was not at liberty to quit, so it was a no-brainer. No work – no food, no home, etc. I was responsible for my son and myself, so I had to go on. Looking back in retrospect, I now know that I stayed in that situation much too long. Now, when faced with the in-your-face boldness of prejudice and racism, I stand firm in knowing that I have just as much right to work, to play, and to simply ‘be’, just like anyone else. I guess you could say, I’ve found my voice, and I’ve learned to use it. Maturity has provided me with a very thick skin that helps me to deflect the many bullets I often have to dodge. I never know where they’re going to come from. But instinctively, I know that they will.

Lastly, why are the attributes and defining characteristics we share collectively as African American women, not highlighted in a more positive light when they should be? I revert back to that old adage: “You can bring a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink”. We as black women can only continue to be the strong, resilient, intelligent beings that we are. Others recognize our strengths and talents, but until there’s a general consensus if you will, or willingness to support and include African American women in every way, the question(s) will always remain, “why?”

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

 

When Silence Isn’t Golden…

 

How many people can go to work daily and face the kind of adversity that the African American woman often times experiences on a regular basis? Not many I predict.  As if it isn’t enough, to have to be two and three times better than her white counterparts – but to also have to prove herself, over and over again, is beyond comprehension. Then comes the ultimate slap in the face. All of her hard work was done in vain, because there really was no plan to promote her, the African American woman. There wasn’t even a vague promise of being elevated to the next level for fear that she, might take it seriously and hold ‘the powers that be’ accountable to an expectation they never had any intention of fulfilling.

What is the ‘woman of color’ to do when she finds herself bound by the tight reign of a corporate arena that neither accepts nor acknowledges her intelligence? It seems apparent that the corporate world would rather give up a third of its wealth than to share it even remotely with a woman of ethnic heritage. All this while knowing full well, that she has everything it takes to be an asset to the company, while enhancing its overall image and bottom line.

Where does this kind of disdain and resistance come from? It might be easier to solve the problems of the nation’s economy, rather than tackle the long-standing issue of differential treatment; a problem that is so prevalent in today’s workplace setting(s). The reasons for this behavior could stem anywhere from unfounded insecurities and preconceived notions to outright racism and indifference. But, no matter what the reasons are, the problem is alive and well and needs to be addressed.

How long is the ‘woman of color’ supposed to suffer in silence for fear of retaliation from those who have contributed to her present state of mind? Should she wait for change that may never come? Should she give in and grovel in hopes that a few pebbles might be thrown her way? If she stands strong as only she knows how to do, what will be the fallout of that stance? These are just a few of the things that the African American woman faces daily, in addition to all the other curve balls that life throws her way.

Thank heavens she’s a good catcher, this remarkable woman that seems to have eyes in the back of her head! How is it that she can instinctively duck without ever seeing the curve ball come her way? How is it that she can sense danger long before it reaches her front door? Why is it that she, more often than not, seems to know when something just isn’t right? It could be because, the African American woman has a built-in radar that is crucial and very necessary for her daily survival. Thankfully, these skills of ducking and dodging bullets are naturally ingrained within her, because there is always something she has to watch out for.

That is why exhaling is something the African American woman often finds so hard to do. Can she ever truly relax, when dropping her guard would only leave her wide open to being pelted relentlessly with life’s many unpleasantries? For her, this is risky business; a chance she would rather not take. So, she has to walk through life with shoulders that are strong and square; able to sustain the weight of the world while wearing a smile, dodging a bullet, and ducking a curve ball, simultaneously. What an extraordinary woman that can master all of these things while maintaining an air of class, dignity and grace.

Is it just easier to disregard the African American woman and dismiss her as expendable? Or would it be a display of humanity to just give her the respect that should come naturally and effortlessly? It is amazing what some will expend energy on, especially when it comes to negativity. You might be wondering how I know all these things? Well…I am that African American woman!

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

 

In Good Company

 

 

Have you ever come across someone you just seem to click with? You say something first, then the other person chimes in and says that they were just thinking the exact same thing. How about when you are pondering whether or not to give a friend a call and the next thing you know, your phone is ringing and who is on the other end? That friend who was so heavy on your mind. It’s like the two of you have some kind of telepathic connection. You are kindred spirits. This kind of connection doesn’t come in droves, and that’s probably a good thing. Can you imagine having a strong link like this with many? Somehow, I don’t know if the connections would be as sacred as that with that one key person who seems to understand you no matter what is going on in your life. Please correct me if I’m wrong. The uniqueness of the bond is what helps to create that special relationship where you can commit your undivided attention.You can share your deepest thoughts with the ease of knowing that your secrets are safe with this person.

 

On Sunday June 1st, I got an early start on the celebration of “me”. Yes, my birthday is quickly approaching…this Sunday June 8th to be exact. I share the exact same birth date with a mutual friend of mine and my sister. Normally, we all celebrate over dinner together almost every year. However, my sister canceled due to a conflicting schedule. I thought to myself, it sure would be nice if the party could still go on. After all, it was our birthday. I didn’t want to present the idea because I just felt it might be overstepping my bounds. You see, my sister and this person were friends first. Yet, her and I have always clicked and found that we have a lot in common and think the same way about a lot of things. Nonetheless, I opted to leave the envelope where it was and not push it.

 

A couple days after my sister canceled our gathering, I got an instant message from our friend. She wanted to know how I felt about keeping the plan to get together for a pre-birthday celebration in the name of us. I quickly accepted and was pleasantly surprised that once again, we were on the same page. We met for dinner at LongHorn’s Steak House. At first, we were a little taken aback because the place was almost empty. We wondered where everyone was. We stood out in the lobby and debated where we would go next if we did leave. Finally, we decided to stay there and give the place a chance since it was where we had already agreed to go. It certainly was beautiful inside and out and had an inviting ambiance that could not be ignored, even though the place was scarce at the moment.

 

I’m thrilled to say that the evening was a huge success. But was that any surprise? Hardly. We ate great food, we laughed, we sipped lovely berry filled Sangria wine. We brought our like-minds successfully to the table….literally. We must have sat there talking for hours, but the greatest thing was that neither of us had to rush off to be some place else. We had no curfew and had no other place to be accept right there where we were, enjoying great food, outstanding service, but most importantly, we were in good company.

 

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

 

Some Inspiration for the “Writer” in You

 

   

Images: Free Google images

 

As I surfed the channels for something interesting to watch on Thursday evening, I stumbled across a program called “Bookmark” which showcases phenomenal writers, both well known and the up and coming. One of the writers featured in this episode was Nora Roberts. If you are familiar with her, then you already know that she is quite the accomplished writer, and that’s putting it mildly.

I really enjoyed the segment on Nora Roberts. I only wish the interview would have been longer but the advice she gave was priceless. She said that she works every single day on her writing, at least 6-7 hours and was very honest in saying that it’s not always a pleasant process for her. However, she never allows these intermittent unpleasantries to take away from her passion and love for writing. An important point to remember when you run into that lull or block that keeps you from moving forward on your writing project(s). She insists that you must write every day!

Even though some of Nora Roberts words in this interview were humble, her accomplishments scream to the masses just how huge her talent really is. Ms. Roberts has written 204 books (and counting) and has sold more than 289 million copies. At one point, she was producing 5 books per year! She even has eight books that have been made into Lifetime Movies:

 

Tribute – premiered on 4/11/09

Highnoon – premiered on 4/0/09

Midnight Bayou – premiered on 3/28/09

Northern Lights – premiered on 3/21/09

Carolina Moon – premiered on 2/19/09

Blue Smoke – premiered on 2/12/07

Montana Sky – premiered on 2/05/07

Angels Fall – premiered on 1/29/07

 

You might wonder how a literary agent keeps up with the pace of a writer such as Nora Roberts who seems to produce novels with as much ease as some people hold a conversation. In spite of her agent’s failed attempts to inspire her interest in other activities, Ms. Roberts simply cannot abandon her writing, not even for a minute. According to her, she is addicted and has to write! What a lovely addiction! I can think of far worse things. Couldn’t you? It is to our advantage that she has such a love for writing and creating these fabulous stories with the most interesting and oftentimes sarcastic characters.

Fans of Ms. Roberts that were briefly interviewed for this segment, all agreed that each and every book that she produces, is completely different from the last. You don’t see a repetitive style in her writing because the stories are all fresh; like each new day that she sets about the business of creating the exciting worlds that we, the readers, are going to no doubt become completely enveloped in, as she weaves us into her tangled web(s). I would just like to know how she keeps it all straight?!

So, are you impressed, overwhelmed, or both? Well, there’s still more. Nora Roberts also writes under a pen name: J.D. Robb. She started using this pen name in the 1990’s when she developed a mystery genre series called In Death! I don’t know about you, but I am completely taken aback, and in a good way! I am so glad I accidentally came across this program. I haven’t read anything of Ms. Roberts in some years, but I now know I need to revisit her very entertaining world. So, if you take nothing from this post, please use it as a spring board to inspire you to write, each and every day, as if your life depends on it. I definitely plan on doing just that.  Maybe if we all practice this, we too can ignite the literary flame that is waiting to explode within us.

 

 

 

 

A Corporate Challenge….

 

 

       

Images: businessinsider.com and free google images

The annual J.P. Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge takes place today in Roc City, a-k-a Rochester New York (Upstate) on the RIT Campus(Rochester Institute of Technology). Amazingly, this crowd-drawing occasion is in its 24th year! The event donates a large portion of the proceeds raised to the Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection. There are 460 companies participating this year; a new record for this event. There’s also an astounding 10,600 runners who are on their marks, waiting to begin the race for this very worthy cause. Runners are expected be out of the starting blocks at 7:00pm.

I used to participate in this well-known community affair. As a former employee with J.P. Morgan Chase, I proudly participated along with friends and co-workers. There was nothing like the feeling of pride I felt in participating in such a high-profile event; one that donned the name of the very company I worked for. I wore my Corporate Challenge t-shirt and assigned race # with elation and satisfaction. It was such an awesome sight to see so many companies taking part with their employees representing them and also sporting their company’s respective  t-shirt(s).

There were numerous tents set up throughout the grounds with all kinds of delicious food and beverages. Seeing fellow employees outside their usual work zone was refreshing and provided an opportunity to see another side of people. There’s a certain type of buzz  that was present when I attended the ‘challenge’. Excitement, anticipation and comradery, all filled the air amidst the laughter and chatter of people who came together for a common cause. Solidarity is a powerful thing and it made and continues to make this cause a highly successful one!

Now, I need to be perfectly honest with you, the reader. I was no runner, but I did speed walk the 3 1/2 miles that this race consists of. I felt just as accomplished when I walked across that finish line as those who had run the race! I felt exhilarated – I had done it! In my opinion, it doesn’t matter how you get there, just as long as you do!

Sundae, Fun day on Sunday Marks Memorial Day Celebration!!

This is an awesome post from my friend lucylula who is new to the blogging world. This is a beautiful piece that commemorates the Memorial Day holiday! Feel free to welcome her and show her some love by commenting. Enjoy!

Lucy Kool!!

Image

Correct me If I am wrong but I always remember that Memorial day was the last day of the Month. This year 2014 marks Memorial day to be celebrated on the third week of May. A little confusing I must say. Although I know what Memorial day represents, I admit I do take if for granted as much as a majority of Americans do,I suppose. If it weren’t for a Facebook status I created on marking Sunday as fun day to enjoy and have as the name implies, a delicious Sunday,fun day, sundae I would have truly not thought of the true meaning of Sunday or any other day of the week for that matter.

A friend replied with a  comment on my status stating  the following message:” Don’t forget to take a moment to honor those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom to allow us to have a sundae on…

View original post 1,079 more words

Ribs Rally in Roc City

 

 

The Roc City Rib Fest 2014 is on and poppin’ again and runs from May 23, 2014 – May 26, 2014. Charlotte Beach had been the home of this festive occasion. However, since the festival has grown so much, it has been relocated and will now be held at the Genesee Valley Park in Upstate Rochester New York. The sweet smell of success and bbq is definitely in the air!

 

This event proudly hosts one of the largest and most professional barbeque competitions in the country! Not bad Roc City! Unbelievably, tickets are more than reasonable with adult pricing for ages 12 and older only $5.00! There are no parking fees or activity fees for children. But it doesn’t stop there – there are no premium band tickets! This is definitely the place to be where you can eat,drink, and be merry; all while listening to great music. Yes, this event definitely covers all the bases!

 

You may be wondering how a festival of this kind came to be. Evidently, it came into being by way of Avon, New York in of all places….a corn field! A group of family and friends wanted to get together and have some fun, so they organized what then was a small bbq festival and rib cook off that was held on Labor Day Weekend in 2008. Seven teams later and 1,000 plus festival attendees, it was unanimous….the people were hooked! Ever since then, the festival competition has been exploding on to the scene yearly and has swelled to 100 teams and an astounding 30,000 people!!

 

Not only is the Roc City Rib Fest a fantastic place to meet and mingle with family and friends, and even make new friends, but is also focused on giving back to the surrounding community by donating a major portion of the festival’s proceeds to its main charities: The Children’s Hospital at Strong and the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester New York. The economic impact of this event is unmistakable as it draws thousands from all over the country putting Roc City in Upstate New York on the map once again.

 

I know…..this is pretty late notice for such an awesome event, but I was reminded of it earlier today when I caught a blurb on an advertisement. There’s still one day left – tomorrow, Memorial Day! If you don’t feel up to pulling out the grill and all the clean up that’s involved, this may be the place to be!

 

 

 

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