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January 2016 (30 Day Blogging Challenge)
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January 14, 2013 at 10:59am
January 14, 2013 at 10:59am
Persuade me why you appreciate verbal arguments or disagreements.

Verbal arguments, in my opinion, are the foundation for intellectual growth as well as the most effective way to communicate the difference of an idea.

A verbal disagreement is a strong way to present your ideas, defend them and possibly even to change someone's opinion. It gives you the opportunity to look at an idea from a different perspective and to learn more about that perspective. When two people are passionate about their opinion, they are usually better educated on their side and are able to bring up valid points.

Let me try to persuade you by considering a lack of verbal debate. How would we come to consensus? How could we engage confidently in compromise? How could we even challenge ourselves intellectually? How would we understand empathy? I believe verbal arguments promote this learning.

Let me provide a demonstration of the success of verbal arguments. Several years ago I had a brilliant consultant working for me. We were on a $2M project and vastly disagreed with the proposed data model. True he had the technical talent, but I had the business mind. We gathered in a private room to discuss. He could have simply said "you are the boss, you win" or I could have easily said "I don't know data modeling so you win". Instead we discussed our reasoning for our solution. At several times, the conversation was heated and we both raised our voices. After two hours, we had manipulated our approach, brainstormed on new ideas and had a plan for the best solution. We learned from each other, were inspired and corrected by the comments and eventually compromised to the good of the project. After the yelling and arguing, we left that room and went for a cocktail after work *Smile*. I loved the exercise and we were all well compensated for the solution.

I am not alone in my thinking. Consider the following: Presidential Debates, Sunday morning pundit shows, college group projects, high school debate clubs. Each of these events/groups promote the exchange of controversial comments or more optimistically put, they promote the sharing of information.

I do however have several concerns about the continuation of intelligent arguments when I think about the current "pull" technology we enjoy on the internet. Let me explain. Pulling refers to a users ability to select what information he/she desires where as a push refers to information that is presented to you. We need both but it is discerning to think how people will be able to choose what they want to see and only be exposed to information that either supports their current positions or agrees with their opinions. What happens when I minimize my world view? Do I begin to think that everything and everyone thinks like I do and should continue to do so? I understand that this is an extreme case, but it is not unreasonable. I guess that is my plug for expanding your horizons on a regular basis.

I have one caveat for verbal arguments and that is that all participates must practice respect and refrain from personal attacks. Idea exchange should be free from derogatory comments and putdowns.

January 13, 2013 at 6:33pm
January 13, 2013 at 6:33pm
Tell us about your week. Include your favorite blog entry from your fellow challengers from the preceding week, and, most importantly, why.

This has been such a busy week for me and I honestly have not kept up with alll the terrific entries and comments. However the ones I have managed to read have been stellar.

My favorite this week would have to be ember rain's entry on jan 10th... "Invalid Entry. It is a heated topic but ember was able to bring fact, passion and personal experience into it. It was not "preachy" but it was honest, heartfelt and compelling. I find ember to be a very talented writer and respect her honesty and ability to share. Nicely done.

This week I am committed to work hard to stay on time in this this challenge by making it more of a priority. Here goes.
January 13, 2013 at 6:29pm
January 13, 2013 at 6:29pm
A day in the life of a blogger.

I am not too sure that I am a typical blogger or what a typical blogger would do in a day. However I am happy to share my Saturday through this blog.

Wake up at 4:30am. Think about checking writing.com but need to straighten up the house. Unload dish washer, fold blankets in tv room. Go through yesterday's mail and pay some bills.

Time to let out the dog, make a pot of coffee and finish my Spanish homework. Think about checking writing.com but after homework is finished.

Husband wakes up, we walk dog, get newspaper and plan our day over coffee. He goes to work, I take a yoga class. On my way out I run into my son's room, kiss him on the head and wake him up. I am thankful for every minute with him...maybe I should blog about gratitude.

Back home I take down the laundry, have breakfast with my baby and check writing.com. Time to think about my blog for the day. Jump in shower, get dressed, remind kid to study for midterms and leave house to run errands. Think about what to blog about in car while listening to one station after a disc after the iPod, after another station. Music and lyrics could be great blog fodder.

Drop off prescription, get gas, get car washed, pick some groceries, get gift for party tonight, pick up hosiery for other party tonight. Call mom to confirm our son's spending the night, return home. Think about what to write in blog. Could be bizarre people I ran into at pharmacy, could be reasons why I love the car wash, could be personal comments on people who walk through stores with no consideration for other shoppers. Choices are limitless.

Change laundry, pack for weekend trip, answer emails, load car, drive to parents. Think about what to write. Possibly how fortunate I am to be close in mind and location to my mom and dad. Maybe write about how two retired people insist on cleaning their basement all the time.

Leave for weekend trip. Get coffee on road. Spend next 2 hours debating gun control, kids college options and diet problems with hubby.

Stop at first party. Provide house warming gift, tour house, catch up with old friends. Next party...have cocktail, wish good friend happy birthday, look at some old photos, leave for hotel. Should I blog about the strength of friendships or maybe how much people can chance in two years.

Hotel is so much better than expected. Room has two balconies and is huge. Shame we only have 45 min to get dressed and get to my work party. Maybe I should blog about my inability to chose a dress and the necessity of bringing two cocktail dresses, two pairs of stilettos, two sets of jewelry accessories and two bags.

At the party, I engage in major small talk, ensuring I greet every member of my staff while commenting on each of the partners individual prowess to their spouses. I give speech, have a cocktail, continue to parade husband around room. It is exhausting but my smile remains. Should I blog about the different types of party goers or the inability of some people to engage in social conversation?

Say our good byes, go back to hotel, sit outside around fire with nice glass of wine and unwind, hubby and I go back to our room. Guess I will post my blog entry late because I am no longer thinking of anything but my hubby.
January 11, 2013 at 12:03am
January 11, 2013 at 12:03am
When was the last time you remember laughing so hard your sides hurt, your smiling muscles were sore, and your eyes were tearing up? What were you laughing at?

It appears my funny bone was broken in my son's accident. Just not feeling funny yet and cannot really remember last time I did. So I respectfully sit this out.
January 10, 2013 at 10:19am
January 10, 2013 at 10:19am
Gay marriage? Yes? No? Do you care? Why?

I feel very strongly about gay rights. We are several close friends who are gay and it offends me that they are treated as anything less because of their sexual orientation.

It is my belief (based on scientific fact and psychological research) that homosexuality is not a chosen lifestyle but a biological decision. If you accept that premise, you cannot possible deny any rights. Discrimination based on gender, race, or ethnicity is no different. It is wrong.

I believe part of the problem is the introduction of religious belief into governmental rights. As a strong proponent of "separation of church and state", I am adamant about keeping religion out of our legal system. You can choose to follow whatever religion you like, you cannot choose what laws to abide by.

Probably the most practical reason why I believe in gay rights is because of money. Spousal benefits are a major financial consideration for a couple. If a committed couple cannot be considered spouses, the surviving person would not be entitled to any financial benefits. That is completely unfair to me. Additionally, medical considerations are forefront. Many times only a family member can be allowed to see a critically ill or dying individual.

I could go on but I will finish up here. The pretense of some people to believe that their lifestyle is better or right is very upsetting. We are human beings who should be allowed the same and equal rights. NO one group should be allowed to consider themselves above the rest.
January 9, 2013 at 10:47am
January 9, 2013 at 10:47am
Do you belong in this day and age? Do you feel comfortable being a citizen of the 21st-century? If you do, explain why — and if you don’t, when in human history would you rather be?

I do truly feel that I belong in this day and age. There are three categories that prove my "good timing" in human history.

1) State of Women today. I don't know if I would go so far as to call myself a feminist, but I do belief in the complete equality of women from choice to profession to pay. Although there is still a way to go to break down the glass ceilings and eliminate gender bias, we are in a much better spot than ever before and I feel I am in the position to keep driving that cause.

2) Technology. My profession is technology. I was fortunate enough to be a partner in a company during the dot.com rage but unfortunate to still be in that position during the dot.bomb. None the less, I am a tech geek and love the gadgets for convenience and pleasure. I don't think I would fare that well without all my "toys".

3) Global Access. I have lived in many different states and love the mobility I currently have in terms of location, knowledge and awareness. Most countries are open to us to visit, to learn about and even to influence.

It is a terrific time to be alive for me. I feel we are experiencing incredible inventions, discoveries and pools of knowledge. The world is our oyster as they say!
January 8, 2013 at 11:49am
January 8, 2013 at 11:49am
If you were told to "Leave town" tomorrow and everything you left behind would be taken care of for the next month, where would you go and why?

The thought of leaving town for a month without worrying about what is left behind, is a regular fantasy for me so this prompt is an easy one. I would be off for a Yoga Teacher Training session in Costa Rica (although the Bali and India options would also be acceptable).

I started doing Ashtanga yoga about 8 years ago and have been practicing on and off, working with different styles and approaches. Currently I do Bikram (hot yoga) but certainly not as regularly as I would like. There is a feeling that I get from doing yoga that cannot be described or compared to anything else. If possible I would go daily but at this point in my life I simply do not even have enough time to participate weekly.

This fantasy is not that far off from becoming reality. You see I have a very support and loving husband. Recently we have been discussing our next "life" step once our son goes off to college. Granted he has another 18 months or so but we need to be ready for the change in our relationship. Max has been our main focus for 16 years, once he leaves the house we need to learn again how to relate. So back to the point. I mentioned that I would like to make a career change. Currently I am in the business of IT consulting. It is stressful and time consuming; not your typical 40 hours a week job. I'd like to give it up and become a yoga instructor with the hopes of opening my own studio and then a multitude of studios. With our son going to college, I do not feel right giving up a lucrative career to make almost nothing as a yoga teacher, but I can start the process. After college my earning potential will not be as important as it is now. My husband is all for it.

AS for the location choice, we have housed several Costa Rican exchange students and our son has spent time there. I would love to visit the families of the kids we housed and this would be a great excuse to schedule a family vacation on the back end of the training retreat. Plus we all love the beach, and Costa Rica is rumored to have some of the most beautiful.

I look forward to making this fantasy a reality very soon.
January 7, 2013 at 12:51am
January 7, 2013 at 12:51am
Although my preference is sunny and 70 (something seldom seen in Buffalo during the winter months) I love a rainy day and a rainy Monday is my favorite of all.

Sure many people complain about the weather when they awake to see grey clouds, puddles and a sure sign that their hair will be a mess by the time they get to work. You must remember your umbrella and raincoat while refraining from silk or linen. But think of the pleasures of a rainy day.

Everyone knows the cathartic effects of rain. With the cleaning of your sidewalk, comes the cleaning of your mind. I feel my mistakes are washed away and my slate has been renewed. Like a tall glass of water the rain quenches the thirst I have to start anew and I am satiated. What a way to start the week.

From a more physical perspective, the rain is a circus for our senses. I love to listen to the drops hitting the chimney and the ting it makes outside my window. It's a soothing sound even during a storm. I love watching the way the rain distorts your view, looking through the water prism gives a blurry perspective. Many times I will open the window or door just to get a whiff of the freshness rain brings. The air is moist and the smells are clear. As a kid I would open my mouth wide to taste the falling drops and to this day I am transported back to my childhood whenever I sneak an open mouth, head tilted to the skies. Mostly I like the feel of the drops on my body...light pressure, cool and wet.

The anticipation for the end of the rain storm is also what makes such a day special. The hope of a rainbow and the freshness of a newly cleaned world brings hope and clarity!
January 7, 2013 at 12:51am
January 7, 2013 at 12:51am
Although my preference is sunny and 70 (something seldom seen in buffalo during the winter months) i love a rainy day and a rainy Monday is my favorite of all.

Sure many people complain about the weather when they awake to see grey clouds, puddles and a sure sign that your hair will be a mess by the time you get to work.
January 6, 2013 at 7:00am
January 6, 2013 at 7:00am
It has been quite a week. Let me start with reflection on a post and then comment on the events forming my days since the New Year.

I cannot choose a favorite entry from all the thought provoking and entertaining posts of this week. Therefore I will choose the one that resonated most with me and that would be Wyrd_Naos and "Clarity between the lines..

The entry hit home because my son was in a car crash the weekend before Thanksgiving. He walked away but the car was totally. I wake up every morning in tears of gratitude that it was not worse but fear for what could have been. It has been weeks and I am not close to getting past it or even ready to talk about it. Laughter should help at some point. Wyrd's entry described what I am going through. My heart aches for your dad.

I enjoy reading Wyrd for several reasons:
- the vocabulary and style is sophisticated and precise
- I like the way I feel I am working out the writer's issues and thoughts with him/her ( sorry could not tell)
- personal and deep without being flowery

Thanks Wyrd - looking forward to your next entry.

As for my week, it was tough getting back to work. Procrastination prior to the holidays dictated late hours. January is usually a busy month for me and 2013 shows no difference. I am embarking on a few new projects which will take me to Dallas later in the month and will keep my days full. Personally, we planned a scuba vacation for Spring Break, we have numerous house repairs / enhancements that need to be addressed, I started a new fitness routine with my trainer ( my glutes are killing me right now) and our social calendar is filling.

This month my baby celebrates his 17th birthday so we are looking forward to that as we work with him to determine his college plans. SAT, ACT, essays, tours and tons of decisions are causing a bit of stress in our household. He will get through it and our baby will be on his way to a wonderfully successful, independent life.

Oh did I also mention my husband and I have signed up for Spanish classes?

Should be another incredible yet busy year!

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