Mermaid’s November 2018 WordPress Tea Party

Saturday‎, ‎September‎ ‎05‎, ‎2015

“Tea parties” have been at the forefront of The Little Mermaid blog the last five months.  These are blogging challenges that span the entirety of each month.  These are free and encourage participants to blog on a specific theme along with the rest of those joining in.

This month The Little Mermaid has asked her participants for their thoughts on travel.  Where have you traveled? the Little Mermaid asks.  What’s the best part?

What’s the worst part?  What tips might you offer up to someone grappling with wanderlust?

The furthest-reaching of my travel experience was done in my life in the nineteen nineties.  I have traveled to the United States, to the United Kingdom, to France, and to Belgium.  These are the countries where I have gone, done in my adolescence and later in my early twenties.

The best part was the excitement of going to locations completely new.  For example, when I was going to the United States, passing through Detroit, seeing Walt Disney World in Orlando (and cheating a touch by going through Universal Studios, too).   Spending a little time in Chicago, staying with family in Nashville, visiting a friend in Portland, Maine, lodging in a traveler’s stop in Memphis, visiting New Orleans, visiting New York, all this was great.  I was seeing a little more of the world.

One of the happiest times in my life was my twenty-first birthday, an important birthday if you are an American, in Memphis, Tennessee.

I would say I was taking a “walkabout” on that birthday, and it made for several nice weeks.  My father’s brother-in-law thought of the label for what I’d done.  He mentioned it to me at the wedding of one of my cousins, at the reception.  The gentleman, my godfather, mentioned to me what he said was spoke about by aboriginals in Australia, a country I’ve never seen.

Years earlier, spending days at Walt Disney World in 1991 was a fine time. The members of my particularly as my immediate family went aboard “Star Tours,” an interactive cinematic ride like being in a Star Wars spaceship.

It was very exciting as come 1987 I’d got to VCR-record a tenth-anniversary television presentation of Star Wars on Fox. At that age, ten, Star Wars was my favorite film.

The worst part of travel, I’d offer to say, is the end of the “moment” when the time for travel ends, as it generally does, and it becomes time to return to more ordinary things wherever you are spending your life.  For me, I live life in the gritty small town of St. Catharines, in the Canadian province of Ontario.

What I know at my age, which is something like an unfulfilled forty, is that if you are in the midst of wanderlust, you should listen to the word itself and observe what is the best part of life in most circumstances–the people you meet and how they take to you.  I know I have not had the luckiest of experiences in my travels.  I felt unprepared for Nashville, my handsome friend in Portland eventually killed himself, I believe, despite his promise and ambition as a musician, the lodge in Memphis finally burned to the ground, where I’d left friends behind, my idea to hustle in New York led to me being escorted out of a nightclub where I had thought to pose as an NYC resident.

These weren’t great times, especially when I returned to St. Catharines from New York and my girlfriend was angry with me when I told her how it had gone.

When I saw London, England, though, in 1999, when Y2K was only months away, it was exciting, but even with my experiences in America under my belt, I felt quite the novice with only a little money in my pocket and quite clearly to locals a foreigner.  My embarrassment deepened in Paris, the City of Lights, when I realized I was in my youth and seeing the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile.  I knew it would never come again, and I’d been learning French since the third grade and could barely communicate in it–it was as if my aspirations were quickly coming to naught, and I was overwhelmed by the absurdity.

Dimensions: 4525 x 3699
Photographer: Bruce Mars

I didn’t spend much time in Belgium, but I liked it a little better than France, enjoying chocolate and also seeing grim war trenches from World War I when Belgium soldiers defended their nation from Germany.

Eventually, my younger sister married a Belgium gentleman.  That was a nice occasion.  Here is a photo I took at the wedding ceremony.

Saturday‎, ‎September‎ ‎05‎, ‎2015
My sister’s wedding

The photo of myself I am showing is of a time in 2003 in a hotel in St. Catharines. I was meeting up with the friend who had introduced me to MySpace (before it blew up to become entropy) and speaking, as intended, of American writer Charles Bukowski, the beauty of whose work she wanted to impress upon me.

She and her boyfriend were gracious visitors.  It was, again, a “moment.”

2003
Image: Julie Rippl

I am grateful to The Little Mermaid for thinking of these tea party posts that are interesting for me and for other bloggers on WordPress to organize new blog posts.  If you are a touch keen on this, feel free to “like,” to follow, and/or to comment.  I wish you well if you travel yourself, and, what’s more, I wish you luck if you have a blog.

All the best.

Mermaid’s September 2018 WordPress Tea Party

Thanksgiving Monday

Updated October 8, 2018

The Little Mermaid is an inspired blogger who has an interesting WordPress event which she organizes.  Over the last several weeks she liked occasional comments of mine.  The Little Mermaid warmed to comments I was leaving on the Beauty Beyond Bones blog.

That’s another blogger’s work, the author of an interactive journal leading with frank writing about anorexia, who is recovering and blogging.

https://beautybeyondbones.com

Consequently about a month ago I looked at what The Little Mermaid was doing in her blog, and for September 2018, and the two months before it, The Little Mermaid busily has organized tea parties.  These are exercises for bloggers, formulated by The Little Mermaid.  I try to take an interest, at least occasionally, in bloggers who express appreciation for my own blog.

The Little Mermaid has organized her third tea party.  Her theme for September 2018 is food.

https://thelittlemermaid09.wordpress.com

Although initially I thought I would feature grocery store items in my refrigerator freezer, I made the decision to shoot a photo of my mom and dad’s kitchen, where they are putting together a few grocery items for me.  I work with my dad at a not-for-profit endeavour, unrelated, but which you can find out more about here.

Food for me is an important privilege and one that’s essential.  To survive is to have grocery store items on hand, I feel,

Thanksgiving Monday
My dad after dinner on Thanksgiving Monday in Canada

For the most part, I divide my food into eating I do at home and also two or three times a week a supper with my mom and dad.

It is considerate of my parents to include me, although of course, I’m family.  Those meals can be quite good.  While typically simple and inexpensive, it is also a meeting time for family information, which is good as otherwise, something important could have missed me.

I appreciate the opportunity to draw attention to bloggers who help me feel inspired, such as The Little Mermaid and Beauty Beyond Bones.  I like guidelines that spur on a concept, as in for example a specific theme.  That is what these WordPress tea parties are about, I think.

I enjoy making the effort.  Thank you for reading.  You’re welcome to “like,” follow, and/or comment as you please.

How Struggles Can Make You Sick

Abandoned supermarket cart

Too much stress, “bad” stress, can weaken you, deplete your resources and waste scarce time if you are not dealing with your lifestyle well.  Everybody endures stress.

 

Getting older, I believe that lifestyles of Generation Z are significantly common, but I am from a small town.  It is important to obey the Biblical commandment, to honor thy mother and father.  As the father did before you, if you are of a certain age, you too need to heed that you are following appropriately in his steps.

 

That being said, there is lightness.  I think with a touch of envy of the comparative ease of the generation of young people often collectively referred to as Generation Z.  That doesn’t mean that I can compete with the energy of the young and of the attitudes which characterize them, different than for someone my age.

 

Someone like me, I feel, is part of a culture that values stress, that putting a great deal of work into a lifetime is a necessity.  There’s nothing wrong with that.

 

Abandoned supermarket cart
Shopping cart

However, it means fulltime people endure an enormous amount of stress.  The more hours of work we take on, to make ends meet, the more stress we cope with.

 

I believe stress can easily bend one to its will rather than the other way round.  It is all very hard to manage.

 

In the film sequence preceding the climax of the 1978 feature film Superman, Lex Luthor conquers Superman with a chain of Kryptonite, until Superman makes a personal promise to Luthor’s beautiful assistant in order that she remove the powerful amulet–but a promise that puts at risk the woman who has his heart, Lois Lane.  All in all, it is an excellent film.

 

What I did, in my life, is an irregular passage through the years.  In 2008 when my employer closed its doors, I went on to work a part-time job while reflecting on what to do with my future  Then I went full time on government disability, as it was felt that I’d been “compromised” enough to give up on making a living through the avenue of work.

 

I had been reading some books on self-management and I didn’t think the stress of a new workplace was going to benefit me enough to do it.

 

A few years later, my father, perhaps frustrated by my reluctance, had an idea.  He was retiring from many years with a municipal cemetery, where he’d helped manage it from its offices.

 

A small cemetery in our town was searching for new operators.  It attracted him, and the trustees of that property were pleased to turn it over to him, so that he could direct it, pleased to have a focus in his retirement.

 

To my surprise, my dad invited me to help handle the operation of the cemetery.  We commenced in 2011.  The church at the cemetery, formerly of the United Church of Canada, had disbanded in 2006.

 

Headstones under repair
Important headstones of family generations in Maple Lawn Cemetery

We maintain the property ourselves, and work in the interior of the church in dire weather, setting our sights on attending to the cemetery once a week.  We made a not-for-profit out of it.  While I am junior, and there is no certainty how matters will proceed, in the seven years or so, lucky seven, that we’ve handled the cemetery, it has been a luxury of time and experience for me and an opportunity to enjoy the company of my father in his golden years.

 

We have had outside help from brothers of my father, my uncles.   On a few brief occasions we have talked about growth, but I don’t know if I can turn this venture into something in which I can continue in the long-term.  This post is intended to be expository writing, but working for a not-for-profit, when financial gains are generally hard-won, can lead to burnout, and to a minor degree that is what I am experiencing.

 

You see, I contribute several hours a week of work to the cemetery, and as my dad has spoken reassuringly of the flexibility to set our own hours, I have lately started to reduce my workload to a four-day week rather than a five-day.

 

I can’t help, for example, but want to relax on Saturday.  I think the decision to work less on Fridays is somewhat deleterious in that if you want to get ahead, you should probably be hustling with the same energy on a Friday that you do on a Monday.

 

I couldn’t help, in the past several weeks, to admit that the stress of putting nonprofit work at the center of my life, was making me feel a touch sick, by which I mean I was experiencing burnout.  I am sure this is common.

 

Dimensions: 5456 x 3632
Photographer: Ylanite Koppens

Whether this transition, to four days of focus on the cemetery rather than on each and every business day, will contribute to a soul-searching decision by my dad to relieve me of my work, I don’t know.  I think what will determine my chances of staying on are the quality of work I can produce in the time I devote to the not-for-profit.

 

How this has me feeling, perhaps, “sick,” is that I do care about working and I do feel some prestige enjoying the privilege of doing work that is shaped by our own efforts.  This is in contrast to working for a firm that is structured in predictable ways, with employee equity and positions and demands which could easily contribute to a high-stress load.

 

I am taking this risk because I believe I can do better work if I make strategies to cope with the burnout before there are related consequences.  I am counting on my own experience and abilities to do the same quality of work in a four-day structure than I would be getting done by committing the entirety of the work week to headway and progress.

 

I am sick to think of losing what I have worked for, and I am sick to think of bringing shame onto my father if the quality of my work does suffer because I am having trouble being afield of all that we do.  I feel like I should write something about feeling troubled by what I have to do to manage my role as operator, and maybe even think on how I could express an appropriate apology for how I am feeling.

 

Writing is the act of discovery. – Natalie Goldberg

 

Dimensions: 4635 x 3090
Photographer: Freestocks.org

If my father does finally decide, which I know he won’t do lightly, that I should be dismissed, it will be a sad day and for that, I will pay a price, of having the failure on my shoulders.  If that scenario comes to pass I will take time to mend.  It may be a self-centered attitude, but the best that can be done in the face of failure is to learn from what happened.

 

Everyone has experienced failure, and usually many, many times, sometimes with adverse consequences.

 

If you have never failed, you have stayed well inside your comfort zone.  Life needs to change and grow.

 

If my role in the not-for-profit does end in failure, I will at least have work experience.  I think I can draw on the time spent at this to draw conclusions that will inform my life in the future.  The situation that I think could result, however, is not going to be completely ideal.

 

It will be back to being “sick,” resorting to making ends meet with the help of a pension for disability, and with the support of my mom and dad.  Ain’t no one got time for that.  I will have then have the opportunity to look for a job if I feel I can weather the stress, or return to freelancing and try to find my niche doing that.

 

Dimensions: 2500 x 1995
Photographer: Rawpixel.com

Many members of Generation Z work as freelancers in the digital economy, and I would be competing with all of those people, which is daunting.  That being said, there are a few paths ahead for me to take and I will have to ask for guidance from fate and the intentions of The Lord.  I know I shouldn’t emphasize feeling sick about all this and I know I shouldn’t take on a job post that gives me more additional stress than I can handle.

 

For now, I will bide my time–for as much clarity as I can muster.

 

You are welcome to like, follow, and/or comment if you have feedback.  Lately, the blog has been fairly quiet, in terms of visits it receives, but you never know when some I’ve published here will pique the interest of a reader.

 

I appreciate the time of those who are visitors.  I have been tying my blog to the not-for-profit, and also trying to be jovial as I know it is as yet an amateur effort.  I feel blogging will continue to play a role in the time I have to write, as it is a splendid little spot of fun that has a pragmatic purpose.

10 Guidelines for Charitable Giving Facilitated by the Government

2018-06-17

October 17, 2018 International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

“let us remember that ending poverty is not a matter of charity but a question of justice.”
UN Secretary-General, António Guterres

A few weeks ago Facebook faced a big data breach, which isn’t helping, I understand, in efforts to keep people’s trust invested in the social media platform.

 

I probably shouldn’t have overlooked the existing structure for receiving donations when I published this post this summer.  I meant to say that the volunteers who run Maple Lawn Cemetery, where I work, don’t presently ask for donations on Facebook, because we are only a small page and we don’t have the budget with which to work.

Facebook’s Big Data Breach Could Benefit These 3 Companies

Perhaps in the future, but admittedly unlikely, we could bring onboard someone younger to help with carrying out our operations with the help of Facebook, but at the present I am aware of the mess Facebook has run into owing to its exposed dealings with Cambridge Analytica and what that has done to Facebook’s credibility as a social media platform and to its use for small business (and in recent news the data breach).  I want to give Facebook the benefit of the doubt that they will continue to improve their situation and remain effective as a tool for small business.  I am optimistic that it will remain a good idea to publicize our work on Facebook.

 

Now is almost certainly not the best time to try to begin raising funds on Facebook, as the bad publicity is undeniable, I feel, but with Giving Tuesday still ahead in November I do want to keep my hand in the game in case the situation changes for the better.  A little more money could certainly serve our needs.  I am more concerned that Facebook will continue to grow to mean that the business page for our not-for-profit remains useful… https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited

Source

Facebook Fundraising Tools Now Allow Monthly Giving

Dimensions: 5000 x 3334
Photographer: Rawpixel.com

I am involved with a small business.  We operate a cemetery which otherwise has no one to care for it.

 

This blog is nominally tied to it.  I believe blogging is an opportunity to be involved with others who are similarly inclined to write blog posts.

 

I am the junior employee, and I help with grounds keeping.  I also assist work inside the disbanded church which is on the grounds of the cemetery, and provide some of the cemetery’s presence on the Internet (on Facebook, and also here:  www.maplelawncemetery.org).

2018-06-17
Peter and Linda

The senior employee is Peter.

 

Occasionally volunteers lend a hand with the maintenance work.  We have had work done by my nephew Mack, by family friends Bill and Gerard, and by my father’s brothers Paul and Dave.

 

We began in 2012, six years after the church closed its doors for the last time.  The cemetery is small.

 

To write this post, I researched federal Canadian controversies over nonprofits.  LIVE WELL, DO GOOD‘s David McConkey has provided specifics about giving or receiving charitable donations.

What he is saying on his website inspired what I thought about making donations.

 

  1. One of the reasons that we see ourselves a little like volunteers is that, although typically we would accept donations, we are not a registered charity.  In Canada, it is my understanding that only donations to registered charities qualify for an income tax credit.  This means that there is less incentive for parties interested in what we do to bestow us with any kind of gift.

 

  1. This isn’t a big problem, as there isn’t a lot of overhead to go with maintaining a cemetery of this size, but it does make campaigns such as November’s annual Giving Tuesday affair somewhat troubled waters.  We can’t return the favor of a donation with an income tax deduction.

 

  1. Statistics Canada has found that almost everyone (ninety-four percent of those fifteen years old and older) makes charitable donations.  Sometimes these can be valuable art items.
2018-06-13
Abstract expressionism
  1. Despite not being able to provide a tax break, I imagine we would consider accepting donations.  While we are a touch cautious about the possibility of a federal audit, I will probably make some noise again about Giving Tuesday come November.

 

  1. I don’t like to spin my wheels, but nothing good comes easy.  Perhaps by repeating an interest in Giving Tuesday, I will start to unlock chains that keep us out of what works about Giving Tuesday.  We’re working at a cemetery, which demands solemn thinking and which is literally a retreat for visitors who miss their loved ones.

 

  1. Statistics Canada has found that donors who plan ahead give more than others.  As we are involved year-round with people choosing their final resting place or the resting place of their loved ones, perhaps this is something we could investigate if we were looking at how to raise funds for the cemetery.  That being said, to date we have not had a problem caring for the church and cemetery, so we are not under any pressure to need to strenuously keep up the maintenance of the place running smoothly.

 

  1. CanadaHelps.org is a registered charity that facilitates online donations.  They work with thousands of charities.  They issue receipts and forward your donation to a charity you specify, less a three percent transaction fee.

 

Source

Charitable Donations: Top Ten Canadian Tax Tips

 

David McConkey found inspiration in the pages of Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World, by Bill Clinton.  Three points specifically raised that David McConkey emphasizes are explained below.

 

  1. Most people on Earth live in a democracy.  Bill Clinton emphasizes that involvement in civil society is quite accessible to more people now than ever.

 

  1. Globalization and technology have made the fortunes of powerful millionaires and billionaires, Clinton writes.  These same individuals are frequently prominent philanthropists.

 

  1. The Internet is certainly steadfast in the opportunity to make civil action. Together, small donors can have a huge impact.

 

Source

Review of Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World

 

Although my dad is a senior citizen, I can foresee us working until any set point in the future.  I really don’t know at this time how far into the future we should project, but as helping with the cemetery is the best bet I have for autonomy and independence, I will do the best I can to keep working at caring for the cemetery and for the disbanded church.  I also intend to keep an active presence on Facebook, and here on WordPress.

 

Bill Clinton’s book helped inspire David McConkey’s thoughts on income tax credits and how to take advantage of them.  I invite you to visit us on Facebook.  You may also ask any question you might have of me here on WordPress, over on Quora, or on Twitter.

Dimensions: 5304 x 3531
Photographer: Ylanite Koppens

If you have a question which I might possibly be able to answer for you, I would be glad to help.  I appreciate that you took the time to visit.

 

To visually illustrate this post, I have included a couple of shots taken myself, and in addition a couple of stock photos intended to better illustrate some of the information, without being verbose.  Thank you for bearing with me.

May 30 Weekly Photo Challenge: All-Time Favorites

Saturday‎, ‎August‎ ‎24‎, ‎2013

Like everybody else participating in the weekly photo challenges from WordPress, I also got the word that the challenges are finished.  Naturally, people reacted.

It was part of my day-to-day life.  I was drawing quite a bit of inspiration from the weekly essays intended to spark inspiration for bloggers taking photos.

I looked through photos I’d taken and picked a few favorites.   It is the very last challenge.

I liked to write something to go with a photo.  The photo challenges have been served up since 2011.

I only made it a hobby in the last few years.  It has been fun.

I am sure others were far more dedicated to the hobby, but I am pleased I did as much as I did.

It was worthwhile to join in while the fun lasted, I think.  It provided a little joy to be part of something like that.

I am not sure what to do next, but I know I will think of something.  I’ve written it before, but my blog is tied to the operations I do at a local cemetery in a not-for-profit capacity.  It is chiefly a hobby, but I am aware many businesses of all sizes utilize blogging to publicize what they do.

One photo I took, that I always liked, is a photo I took August 24, 2013.  I haven’t shown it much at all, but it is the interior the church as it stood in the first several months we were working there.  I liked how it turned out, and I haven’t taken that many inside the church proper.

 

Saturday‎, ‎August‎ ‎24‎, ‎2013
Louth United Church and Maple Lawn Cemetery, Saint Catharines, ON

Another photo of the interior of the church I took October 11, 2013.  There was something soothing about the peace of the church, and these two photos are the ones I like best of the ones I took there.

 

Friday‎, ‎October‎ ‎11‎, ‎2013
Louth United Church and Maple Lawn Cemetery, Saint Catharines, ON

The cemetery where I work has a small Facebook page.

www.facebook.com/LouthUnited

 

Some of the photos I took where with done with the possibility they would fit into the space we have on Facebook for the not-for-profit.  I learned photography “on the job” as I carried out my photos on a “trial-and-error” basis.

The end of 2017 I capped the experience I gained with the free ten-day Developing Your Eye I.   The course suggested ten days of photos on specific themes, similar to the weekly photo challenges, which I was already pursuing.

Expertise is a hard road to master, and I learned a little about photography and a lot of what doesn’t work.  Still, enough of the photos were pleasant such that they merited a look, I feel.

The Developing Your Eye I course helps break you out of your comfort zone, a touch, and teaches a little more clarity about the matter of taking photographs.

As I got the weekly photo challenges tackled I got included in posts curating people’s output for the photo challenges en masse.  There were dozens of links to bloggers demonstrating photos put together by people who wanted the best out of their participation in the photo challenges.  That was always a pleasure.

Some very talented people participated in the photo challenges.

I’d say I’ve been left better by the experience.  It was a surprise to see this week that the challenges have ended.  it is nonetheless interesting to possibly view the change as an opportunity to do something new that was never anticipated at all.  I guess time will tell.

Thank you for showing support to this endeavor.

It was, I suppose, bittersweet to read this week’s photo challenge by Krista Stevens

The Good, The Great and the Ugly

Assigning guilt:  I think of an enforcer.

 

Today’s WordPress prompt is the word guilty and it is enticing because so many concepts of “guilty” can be elaborated upon and it is a theme that affects everybody who is human.  I mean guilty in the sense of bearing an emotional hardship.  That is, the state of mind that can afflict one after a wrongdoing.

 

When my maternal grandmother was alive, in her golden years, her daily ritual was to rise at seven in the morning and to read the local paper.  If she hadn’t been able to sleep enough, she rose at that hour regardless, not one to shirk from duty.

 

She said my late grandfather often told her she had a “guilty conscience,” that was keeping her from a good night’s sleep, but, she said to me candidly, there was nothing she’d done to be feeling guilty.  It was a joke between them.

 

You might think of guilty thoughts for not showing enough kindness to your mother, for example, or for acting in a manner disconnected from your values or moral code, if you have such a thing.

 

Dimensions: 5184 x 3456
Photographer: Daniel Petersen

My favorite ideology of the “guilty” is the enforcer’s code of pursuing the guilty, as in the police procedural shows on television and which find people who cross the line of good conduct into being “guilty” of wrongdoing meeting unforeseen fates, typically in handcuffs.

 

It is curious to look at “guilty” in that sense of having done wrong defiantly, for gain, as it was for my grandmother to watch evening television of that kind, the actors playing enforcers and criminals together, unfolding typically in the course of one evening of entertainment.  It will always be a choice pastime, I believe.

 

Today’s WordPress daily prompt is a gift, I think; there are simply so many ways to explore the weight of being guilty that I should think there will likewise be a wealth of posts highlighting the idea.

How Is It We Came Across This?

Today’s WordPress Daily Prompt is the word awkward. Here are a few words to the effect that being caught awkward is a compelling reason to rush a catch-up.

What catches me most off guard, most frequently, is the “brain fog” I get from being overwhelmed with too many new facts and figures. It is always a hard measure to make that new information could require a say so, or if it is better to sit back and let the storm take it course.

Dimensions: 4813 x 3213
Photographer: Nao Triponez

That’s the essence of demonstrating research skills–judgments about the usefulness of info that is easy to slip up on when nothing but smooth sailing was expected. It can resemble trial by fire.

The most significant decision is whether the new info is only a time waster, or if it does benefit you to react. Coming up with an appropriate reaction is the hardest decision to make in the whole process. It’s awkward because sometimes there is a sense of damage having been done.

When new facts are discomfiting, while I surely believe that a lot of people get angry in the face of trouble, I don’t find matters to be very easily resolved by simply getting mad and responding with contempt. It is necessary to see a positive in every negative scenario.

I belong to a not-for-profit operated by family and in the course the work I do occasionally experience unexpected problems which demand physical, real-world responses. The trouble of the “data science” variety feels a bit slimy in that you don’t know if the impact of what’s become apparent is going to have a measurable impact on your efforts. I am trying to candidly address the problem of being found awkward in the professional sense and to give a few thoughts on handling it.

Those are the most stressful times I encounter. Prompt is the word awkward.