Sunday, 31 March 2013

The State of Kerala

All right, the  inspiration for this post arose from a  Facebook post from +The Economist on  Pope Francis's statements on The Shroud of Turin.  "Making sense of a mystery"  "Hence, perhaps, the cautious but far from anodyne words of the new pontiff, who draws some unexpected conclusions from the Shroud, almost implying that it does not make any difference whose visage appears on the cloth. "This disfigured face resembles all those faces of men and women marred by a life which does not respect their dignity, by war and violence which afflict the weakest… And yet, at the same time, the face in the Shroud conveys a great peace; this tortured body expresses a sovereign majesty."
Since I read several articles which are attached to the link, I was pleasantly surprised to read 

"Mixed fortunes for the daughters of Travancore"

"Modern Kerala is still often upheld as India’s best state for women. It has the country’s highest female literacy rate at 92%, with only four percentage points’ difference between male and female rates. In Rajasthan, a large northern state, only 53% of women are literate: almost 30 percentage points behind their male counterparts. Nationally, only two-thirds of all women can read and write, versus four-fifths of men. Kerala also has India’s lowest rates of maternal mortality as well as a population of 1,084 women per 1,000 men, which makes it the country’s most female state. India’s national population has 940 women per 1,000 men,as couples selectively abort female fetuses or neglect daughters. Haryana, another northern state, has just 877 baby girls per 1,000 boys. Families there have in recent years started sourcing brides from Kerala."

Managing your Food Choices - Update

Greek cuisineComing out of Lent, and trying not to jump back into the "old habits" so that the old life resumes, I decided to review some of the changes which I had made in Lent and try to continue them. This was seen as a worthwhile choice for several reasons, a) a few days ago I saw a "Greek diet" which was based on eating in a certain way for 200 out of the 365 days in the year. The 200 days was based on the recognition of the saints being honored on those days. I now have to pull out my Catholic Calendar and select my saints.  b) is based on an article in our local Catholic News which more or less asked us to take the lessons learnt in Lent and go forward with them. The plus side of this is that I now have to come up with something different to do next Lent.
On checking +Google, I saw the Greek Diet as listed above with the link below and this was seen as the easier option. . However for those who may want to try the "stricter 200 days Greek diet, here is the link to the article as outlined in the article  by +Elena Paravantes RD of +The Huffingtion Post:
"Greeks basically followed their religious fast for those 200 days. While the word "fasting" is usually associated with liquid-only diets or other strict ways of eating, this type of fasting is a bit more lenient and tasty. The Greek fasting practice is unique in that you can actually eat real food. The basic rules are pretty simple: No animal products with the exception of animals that do not contain blood, such as octopus and squid.
Use these rules as a guide:
Allowed: beans, vegetables, bread, fruit, honey, nut butters, rice, pasta (no egg noodles), cereals, octopus, squid, olive oil, honey, and basically anything that does not contain animal products.
Not Allowed: meat poultry, pork, game, fish, dairy, eggs, butter."

Litany of the Saints:

The Litany of the Saints is one of my favourite prayers, after the Our Father. No I am not sexist nor do I believe that women are superior to men, although that is something of a challenge on many days. What impacts on my beliefs are the interactions of humans, especially those who cause us to pray.  On a more serious note, the Litany of the Saints has order (read structure), documents the changes in the belief of the church over time (through the recognition of those who contributed to the continuation  of and change within the church), and promotes inclusion of all persons wherever you may live or have lived.
According to wikipedia:
"It is a prayer to the Triune God, which also includes invocations for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Angels and all the martyrs and saints upon whom Christianity was founded, and those recognised as saints through the subsequent history of the church. Following the invocation of the saints, the Litany concludes with a series of supplications to God to hear the prayers of the worshippers" 
The litany is published in five sections. The first contains a short series of invocations of God, beginning with a threefold Kyrie, followed by invocations of God the Father of Heaven, the Son who redeemed the world, the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Trinity.
The second section lists the saints who are to be included, given in the following order. Within each category, men are listed in chronological order, followed by women, also in chronological order. Distinctive names are given in brackets so the cantor knows which saint is intended, but a directive notes that the bracketed names may be omitted when the Latin is sung. Additional saints, such as the patron of a place or the founder of a religious order, may be inserted in the appropriate place. The official list of recognised saints can be found in the Roman Martyrology. The Virgin Mary and the Angels: Mary is invoked three times, as Holy Mary, as Holy Mother of God and as Holy Virgin of Virgins; the following invocations are: Saints Michael,Gabriel and Raphael; all holy angels.
Patriarchs and Prophets: Abraham; Moses; Elijah; John the Baptist; Joseph; all holy patriarchs and prophets.
Apostles and disciples: Peter and Paul; Andrew; John and James; Thomas; Matthew; All Holy Apostles; Luke; Mark; Barnabas; Mary Magdalen; all holy disciples of the Lord.
Martyrs: Stephen; Ignatius (of Antioch); Polycarp; Justin; Laurence; Cyprian; Boniface; Stanislaus; Thomas (Becket); John (Fisher) and Thomas (More); Paul (Miki); John (de Brebeuf) and Isaac (Jogues); Peter (Chanel); Charles (Lwanga); Perpetua and Felicity; Agnes; Maria (Goretti); All holy martyrs.
Bishops and Doctors of the Church [popes are not listed distinctly from other non-martyr bishops]: Leo and Gregory; Ambrose; Jerome; Augustine; Athanasius; Basil andGregory (Nazianzen); John Chrysostom; Martin; Patrick; Cyril and Methodius; Charles (Borromeo); Francis (de Sales); Pius (X).
Priests and Religious [without further distinction between priests, deacons, and lay religious]: Anthony; Benedict; Bernard; Francis and Dominic; Thomas (Aquinas); Ignatius (Loyola); Francis (Xavier); Vincent (de Paul); John-Mary (Vianney); John (Bosco); Catherine (of Siena); Teresa (of Avila); Rose (of Lima)
Laity: Louis; Monica; Elisabeth (of Hungary); and all Saints of God.
Note that certain names are grouped together by the litany itself (e.g. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael; Francis and Dominic); in the list above a semi-colon always indicates the next line of the litany. Note also that Catherine of Siena and Teresa of Avila, the first women to be named as Doctors of the Church (in 1970) are nevertheless grouped with the Religious, not with the "Bishops and Doctors".
The Litany of the Saints is used: 
  • At the Easter Vigil
  • At Infant Baptisms 
  • At the Election of a New Pope 
  • In Other Ceremonies

Saturday, 30 March 2013

I was reading: Research Centers & Partners - UD

I've been reading about the University of Dayton (UD) and Duquesne Unvieristy ( Duquesne). Each university's style of giving seems to differ based on what I have read so far. I do not know if I am comparing apples with oranges or if  I am jumping to conclusions.  Duquense's giving is partially linked to access to scholarships and there is also a variety of Research and Development areas. UD's  research and development areas are also widespread and it appears that they can also link up with other major donors/ projects such as Samaritan Purse for two way linkages, or with  Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation  However those questions are for strategic planning sessions; where entities assess where they are in relation to where they would like to be given the environment in which they operate.

Our excellence in research isn't limited to just the sciences. We also feature centers that connect the campus community in a common goal—the search for knowledge. The International Marian Research Institute and the Business Research Group are prime examples—and there are more. Across all disciplines, the University of Dayton continues a tradition of leadership and excellence.

The various institutes and centers you'll find connected to the University of Dayton work to advance social justice issues, business leadership practices and ethics and service opportunities for all. By bringing the larger community together to face today's challenging questions, students are exposed to more influences and ways that will ultimately allow them to better adapt in an ever-changing world.

These centers and institutes also enable us to constantly expand and strengthen our community and our intellectual curiosity, helping us to bring innovative solutions to problems of all sizes, all around the globe. Here is a bit of info on some of the institutes and centers which are associated with UD:
Connecting researchers, students and servant leaders, our centers and institutes unite campus in a multicultural environment to advance social justice issues, business leadership practices and ethics, and service opportunities for all. That's just the beginning of the work done by our pioneering institutes and centers.

Located in the heart of the University neighborhood, ArtStreet is not a residence hall or an academic building. This innovative multi-arts facility and residence connects living and learning through the arts. Explore.

An interdisciplinary cooperation between students, staff, faculty and community partner organizations, the Rivers Institute is focused on building community around our watershed — and preserving and protecting its resources.

International Marian Research Institute:
As one of the most renowned international centers of study and research about Mary, the mother of Christ, the International Marian Research Institute serves researchers and students from around the world who come to study and use the collections of The Marian Library, home of the world's largest collection of printed materials on Mary. Discover this world-class resource.

 Fitz Center for Leadership in Community:
The Fitz Center builds partnerships, arranges service-learning opportunities and addresses societal problems ranging from predatory lending to child abuse, among a host of other initiatives. We believe that people working together can transform society. Be a community builder

The Curriculum Materials Center is a lending library of professional and practical teaching materials in the School of Education and Allied Professions. Our extensive collection includes many educational materials for use by teachers-in-training in their classrooms, including books, educational audio and video recordings, educational kits, transparencies, charts, models and other teaching aids. 

Center for International Programs
The Center for International Programs supports a diverse and multicultural environment on campus and beyond - whether for students from other countries, students going abroad, faculty members conducting research or staff members planning to volunteer elsewhere in the world. Enrich your education. Expand your borders.

Center for Leadership: 
The Center for Leadership partners with leading organizations and top thought leaders in executive development to provide customized educational programs. We're your partner to develop leaders.

Friday, 29 March 2013

GE set to expand research

General Electric said its $52 million center on the University of Dayton campus means something unprecedented for the company and the airplane manufacturing industry.

Instead of waiting for an airplane company to throw a design its way, GE intends to get more involved earlier. This will change the way the company designs, tests, engineers and builds aircraft electrical systems. The idea is to assemble a close consortium of engineers to collaborate throughout the process.

That’s not exactly how it’s done today.

In an exclusive tour Thursday of the facility now in the last phases of construction, the Dayton Daily News got a first look at the cavernous Electrical Power Integrated Systems research and development center, or EPISCenter, off Dayton’s River Park Drive. For more info check:

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Admissions & Aid - Duquesne University

In trying to practice the art of sharing without expecting a return,  I decided to search for information on areas which may benefit others. What's in it for me? I keep learning:

"Our Approach and Commitment

Our staff carries out Duquesne’s mission by helping you learn about and pursue all avenues of financial aid and/or scholarship support for which you may be eligible.

Duquesne University is seeking talented undergraduate and graduate students interested in applying for prestigious national scholarship and fellowship opportunities. Successful candidates are typically in their junior or senior years of study and have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher. Most successful candidates for these outstanding opportunities also have a record of achievement in service, organizational leadership, or scholarly research and publication. The process of competing for these scholarships and fellowships also offers the students a great personal and professional developmental experience. If you fit this profile and would be interested in talking to Duquesne’s scholarships and fellowships coordinator, please contact Dr. Kathleen Roberts by email at"

Featured Scholarships include:

The Rhodes Scholarships are the oldest and most celebrated international fellowship awards in the world. Each year 32 young Americans are selected as Rhodes Scholars, through a decentralized process representing the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Applicants from more than 300 American colleges and universities have been selected as Rhodes Scholars. In most years, even after a century of competition, a Rhodes Scholar is selected from an institution which has not formerly supplied a successful applicant.

The Marshall Scholarship:

Marshall Scholarships finance young Americans of high ability to study for a graduate degree in the United Kingdom.
As future leaders, with a lasting understanding of British society, Marshall Scholars strengthen the enduring relationship between the British and American peoples, their governments and their institutions. Marshall Scholars are talented, independent and wide-ranging, and their time as Scholars enhances their intellectual and personal growth. Their direct engagement with Britain through its best academic programmes contributes to their ultimate personal success .......
The Truman Scholarship
For those who want to make a difference in Public Service

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry M. Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years of service in the U.S. Senate.

The purpose of the Foundation is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in these fields.

Scholarships are offered in any of three categories:
  • To students who have demonstrated commitment to careers related to theenvironment including policy, engineering, science, education, urban planning and renewal, business, health, justice, economics, and other related fields; or
  • To Native American and Alaska Native students who have demonstrated commitment to careers related to tribal public policy, including fields related to tribal sovereignty, tribal governance, tribal law, Native American education, Native American justice, natural resource management, cultural preservation and revitalization, Native American economic development, and other areas affecting Native American communities; or
  • To Native American and Alaska Native students who have demonstrated commitment to careers related to Native health care, including health care administration, social work, medicine, dentistry, counseling, and research into health conditions affecting Native American communities, and other related fields.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

My world today

Currently I work at an instituiton which is Catholic in origin. This institution offers programmes at the undergraduate and post graduate levels. The undergraduate programme is actually a Bachelor of Education with Honours programme with a choice of five (5) specialisations, which are geared towards needs of persons from pre school to pre adolescent or leadership in our primary school system.  Thus if your  aspiration is to become a school principal, then a specialisation of Educational Leadership may be your choice within the Bachelor of Education with Honours.
Our Masters programmes (post graduate programmes) are offered in collaboration with  two  universities  which are also Catholic in origin. These programmes are geared towards persons with a desire to further their education in the field of teaching and this may take the form of a Masters in Educational Leadership, or Master of Science in Educational Studies  ( There is also a Masters in Theological Studies with UD).
Image of statue of St. Joseph, outside Humanities buildingHere is a little about the University of Dayton and their philosophy, followed by a bit on Duquesne University:
"The School of Education & Allied Professions merges critical reflection with fostering a learning community that focuses on educational theory and practice.  The philosophy and practice of the School of Education & Allied Professions is grounded in the Marianist heritage of the University of  ayton. What distinguishes us is our constant seeking of truth and knowledge in our overall mission to improve the world. As Marianists, we lead and we serve because we believe that the more people we help to develop compassionate hearts and critical minds, the better our world will be.."

"Service is Spirit in Action
Students' service experiences provide them with a new perspective and make an impact in communities close to home and far away.

At Duquesne University, our faculty, staff and students share a deep commitment to making our world a better place. Through Spiritan Campus Ministry, community service projects, and service-learning courses, the Duquesne family has the opportunity to participate in hands-on outreach that makes a real difference right here in Pittsburgh or as far away as Africa."

Be a Part of Something Bigger

Whatever your interest, you’re sure to find a fit with our variety of service and outreach opportunities. You will find fulfillment in helping others and making an impact on the world around you, whether you’re:
Tutoring inner-city youth through the Duquesne University Volunteers
Spending your spring break in Florida assisting migrant workers throughSpiritan Campus Ministry, or
Creating and implementing a marketing plan for a struggling local library through service-learning.

Like Nothing You've Ever Seen Before
America's longest-running multicultural song and dance company, the Duquesne University Tamburitzans is a unique ensemble of talented young folk artists dedicated to the performance and preservation of the music, songs, and dances of Eastern Europe and neighboring folk cultures.

The performers are full-time students who receive substantial scholarship awards from Duquesne University, with additional financial aid provided by Tamburitzans Scholarship Endowment Funds. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., the Tamburitzans houses one of the world's finest collections of international folk artifacts and library resources.

The Educational Studies Program

The Educational Studies program is a 30-credit hour program that leads to a Master of Science in Educational Studies from Duquesne University. The program provides considerable flexibility for qualified individuals from a variety of professional backgrounds who seek professional credentials in education. Our graduates come from diverse backgrounds and are engaged in a wide-range of professional careers across the nation and around the world.

The moral of the story? There are many choices and sometimes doors open in unexpected ways...

Concerned about the Cypriots and others

Last night on television, there was a short clip on young and mature Cypriots, some were having a peaceful walk, (read demonstration) letting persons know about their concerns with regard to education, jobs and their economy. The news reporter spoke about the the possible loss to the country of a generation should these  young persons have to leave the country  to fnd jobs elsewhere; the  interactions of the country with the European Union (EU) and the likely actions which would take place over the next few days as well as possibly medium term, such as the banks would re - open, there would be a reduction in savings, some businesses may close.

While this may seem to be a repeat of what happened in Greece a few months earlier and  this may be a common sight over the next few years as economies struggle with changes, the struggle to change things may always seem overwhelming in that how do you tell persons who have access to the internet where downloads can  happen instantaneously, that one of the lessons in life that you may need to learn is that you may need to look at diversifying and become partially self sustaining, no matter what you do. One way to diversify is to  grow vegetables and other types of short term crops using whatever means available, whether it is earth or water ( (hydrophonics).  (Yes, you may say, the soil is barren and scarce, the water is salty, and we know nothing about recycling or coping with change.)
The importance of this  diversifying lies  in "tomatoes make a sauce for pasta in Italy' and "choka" which goes with rice or bread or  dumplings in Trinidad.  Eggplant can be cooked in many ways also. Moral of the story, think creatively outside the box, life does not always come prepackaged, you  may always have to learn to make things wherever you are, whether it is through cooking or woodworking. This may be what may be comforting and self sustaining in life. Yes, some persons may not attend University, and some may not graduate from Univeristy, however there will always be a point at which you can attend university and graduate and in the concept of Joyce Meyer "it may happen someday". For some attending university will happen now, whether it is through part time or full time study, because that is their greatest need and  for some, their greatest need  may be their need to adapt.

To conclude, in one part of the clip, the reporter showed  persons supporting the local food places which support the economy, which in turn created some sense of continuity, stability and hope for the future.  I have hope that  we will share ways to survive, yes economically we may focus a fair amount on the economy of our country and just as after the World War II, there was the United Nations to help nations rebuild, there will be the continuation of organisations which will help nations rebuild in whatever form necessary.

You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement.
You are here to enrich the world.

~ Woodrow Wilson

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Round the Savannah ~ Queen's Park Savannah

Band stand  opposite to the Savannah
Recently I started exploring another area of the Savannah. It started with wanting to  introduce exercise in my life and I decided to start  walking at another point  to where I usually interact with the Savannah and see how far I could go. Luckily for me, there was lots of activity which allowed for an easy change in the plan and I ended up walking through the Savannah instead of around.  First there were the Moko jumbies, listening to a talk on the history of the Savannah. 
Moko Jumbies
"At first it was used as a vast cattle pasture in what was then the town's suburbs, but by the middle of the 19th century it had become established as a park. Until the early 1990s, horse racing was held frequently at the Savannah race track, and it also contains several cricket, football and rugby pitches. Apart from a ring of trees round its perimeter, the Savannah was never really landscaped, except for the small area in its northwest corner called the Hollows, a former reservoir now drained and planted with flowering  shrubs. 
Moko Jumbies

View looking out of the Savannah from one angle

Today I am thankful for:

Today I am thankful for:
  • Completing the day ~ What makes this day so special? Well if I were to  rate today  on a scale of what I accomplished in the grand scheme of things, the achievements would be the size of a pin prick. If I were to rate it from a view of gratitude, then I would be thankful to all  those who worked on different goals, all with  the possibility of something good  coming at a future date,  for those willingly accepting additional responsibilities for the greater good, for the unexpected challenges which were dealt with. 
  • Coming home ~ In reaching home early, I am able to take a mental break from my day. I can  undertake creative activity so that my brain becomes recharged for tomorrow. I am able to just be there. I may not say a word, but I can give a hug, share a meal.
  • I can reassess my first impression of  today, either allowing my opinion to become better through acknowledging things that I did not realise that I accomplished or contributed to or accept that these things did not go so well and work on making them better.
  • Being able to acknowledge that there will be many days like today, because there are things that we have not been able to change permanently, but for some persons, there are sufficient changes  in today to allow them to  change things going forward.
  • For those who are willing to challenge their assumptions.
  • For those who are willing to listen to possibilities and contribute to something which makes a difference in the lives of others.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

The Golden Rose

File:NationalShrineOfTheImmaculateConceptionGoldenRose.jpgThe Golden Rose is a gift granted by the Pope to nations, cities, basilicas, sanctuaries or images. It is personally blessed by him on the fourth Sunday of Lent, anointed with the Holy Chrism and dusted with incense. This Rose consists of a golden rose stem with flowers, buds and leaves, placed in a silver vase lined on the inside with a bronze case bearing the Papal shield. Pope Leo IX is considered as the originator of this rite in the year 1049.
Miracle of Our Lady of Luján at  Zelaya

File:NS Aparecida.png
Our Lady of Concepion, Who Appeared

  ( In the Americas, the Rose has been given to Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico, to Our Lady of Aparecida in Brazil,  ( and on June 11, 1982 John Paul II personally bestowed one on Our Lady of Luján, Patroness of Argentina. Most recently, Pope Benedict XVI bestowed the Golden Rose upon the Immaculate Conception, Patroness of the United States, at the National Shrine in Washington, DC during his 2008 visit.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

I've been thinking

I've been thinking about skipping  mass on Holy Thursday and  the Easter activities such as the Good Friday walk in favor of some other  types of activities. But then, my "motivational side" starts to kick in and I hear a little voice saying:

  • How will you miss Freddie's buns? Not have any at all? If you can pass on Freddies, how about Linda's or Tru Valu's? (Usually we do taste tests which involve eating several buns from different bakeries and trying to decide which bakery produced the best set of buns)  Well, there is a bakery near to where I work which has been producing buns which look semi decent so I can have my fill of buns before Easter which seems to be a good alternative!
My second how will you miss, involves the donation of groceries to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, which happens on Holy Thursday..... This one is a bit trickier and will require some working out.....

The truth is that I have been thinking about going to Curacao for Easter, however the reality is that, that may happen in another year. This expression  is all coming from a Joyce Meyer show where she said, something to the effect of " don't limit yourself in what you are saying, say it in a positive way"  When you find a positive way to say something, such as "that may happen in another year", you allow yourself to reassess your choice at another time and the answer may be to reassess that choice again....

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Developing Skills

I have touched on this area from many angles, such as under Corporate Social Responsibility, Returning to the Job Market to name a few, however here is another angle to developing skills. When you hold a job or a position, there are certain skills which a person will develop, either through exposure to certain activities, or an inclination towards tasks which produce a reward which may be linked to feedback or urgency and there may be skills which do not get developed. Awhile aback while working in an audit environment,  there were certain skills and competencies to which I was exposed. Growth from earnings was extremely small and given long hours combined with studying for a qualification, there was little chance for development in areas other than the those which came with the job... I had the opportunity to learn a lot, as I was shifted to different departments where the deliverables were not the same and hence the work experience was different, so I was extremely grateful for that opportunity.  What was not forthcoming from the experience was personal growth or financial growth as well as the chance to leapfrog in the company. All along I had been saving small amounts, every month there was an amount put aside to a separate account, not an astronomical amount as there were monthly commitments, but a small sum which grew..... At that time, the rate of interest was high and the returns were paid quarterly so there was compounding of interest, which made my little nest egg grow.  While this may be one aspect of the scenario, what actually happened was that I researched the investments in the market taking into account the following:

  • Investments/companies which did not involve current clients, (this was a conflict of interest)
  • Required little monitoring (I had little time)
  • Was independent to my current bankers (I needed to diversify, it made me feel like I was being prudent  and my current bankers did not have this product at the time).
The willingness to invest made me commit to certain activities, which developed a set of knowledge.  That initial type of investing led to other types of investing, practical experience which while it did not fall into the category of skills, was a type of development.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Nature 2013 Part 1

There are lots of flowers in this tree.
 Sometimes the day starts  and for some reason, you decide to not let opportunities pass you by, so you start capturing images, so that you can share them, hold on to some moment of beauty..  See if you can see the blue flowers in the tree. This  tree is located on the compound of a school which is quite old. One of our former prime minister's attended this school.
The perfect moment

Notice the area under the tree, where the flowers are spread. This is typical of the Poui tree.  See the Northern Range in the background. The characters are remnants from Carnival, paying tribute to "Old Mas" and the evolution of Carnival. Yes, it is a busy morning on this side of the Savannah.

Changes in Expectations

There are many things which we long for and to be, for some of us it is  to fit into that navy skirt on the left, it is the epitome of style... the color, the texture, the pattern. For some of us, it is the one on the right which we long for ... never mind that it is sheer, however it is the color that brings happiness into our minds, our eyes, our beings.... And some of will realise that neither of those skirts suit us and we may prefer a top in either color or both, whatever the style.The  realisation that we can select another article of clothing instead of the usual one can bring about a sense of accomplishment and growth as we are now content with who we are, accept that we are in transition and move along. This may seem silly and facetious, but there are many times when we may not realise that we have been wearing skirts when we should have  been wearing some part of the fabric as a top (read shirt, tunic)!
Another type of expectation deals with providing for ourselves. Many of us have been fortunate to have either had the expectation of a decent pension as we have religiously contributed to the plan, with the hope that the employer contributes on time as well. However with the downturn in the economy, there has been a decrease in the return on assets which support the plan. Accompanying the decrease in the return could be a major decrease in cash flow as the investment income becomes less. With the contributions remaining the  same, whereas before the surplus cash for the year could be invested in a number of high yielding assets, there are fewer choices available now!!!! Well the first step is to recognise that the return on assets has changed and try to build your cash reserves so that you have a shelter..... Start looking at the assets which you have and decide if you need to downsize and which asset it is better to sell now rather than later!..... It could be that the car may yield a larger inflow of cash, which can be tucked away or maybe you can keep the car and make another change. It is all about taking a good and hard look at your expectations and whether you can or will change them. Not easy thoughts!!!!!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

It is all about how you view things

Many times in life, it is about how you view things, the layers or the levels. Sometimes the conversation is innocuous and sometimes the meaning can be clear. I remember a client who listened attentively, asked questions and seemed open, everything about him was sincere and seemed to be in agreement, till one day he said  "Until I say I am in agreement, you do not have my agreement". Talk about the ouch factor! Now we say, "are we in agreement" or  "do you agree"?  One would think that having learnt my lesson, I would ensure that every conversation has a "are we in agreement", however  you can learn that some persons  disagree quite  accidentally and  you go along until one party decides to broach the subject, when the non agreement starts to be dealt with...

 On  a pleasant note, here are three photos, which show different angles of the same scenes in different lights. In  the first one, the evening light shows the tree as being stark, with only the sky to offer some form of color. In another the trees  appear to be in the distance with clouds in the sky and the sky is still bright. In another, the early morning sun shows the flowers in the trees, which are complemented by the sea and the sky.  Moral of the story: There will always be angles and scenes and sometimes you have to decide how many of each you want to have.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

What would you do?

What would you do when it seems that your world is falling to pieces, do you do like Christopher Columbus and attempt to sail to the New World  or do you  sail like Vasco da Gama  from Europe to India?

What do you do when your your faiths seem to be in conflict when in reality it is how you chose to settle your conflict is the challenge to your faith?

Siege of Acre.jpg

What do you do when you think that you are devious, only to wonder who is more devious than you are?
Catherine Parr

Catherine of Aragon

Anne Boelyn

Catherine Howard

Anne of Cleves
Jane Seymour

Customer Service & Knowledge of the Business

There are several concepts which are used interchangeably with Customer Service and Knowledge of the Business and these ideas may have been around for  a lengthy period of time. Training may have been provided through various Sales and Marketing Courses or other forms of developmental sessions to assist in the development of this area. Sometimes we review Customer Service through evaluation forms based on experience or marketing surveys or sometimes when we are in tune with the business we can move with the flow and adjust our needs according to our expectations and review the results.  Sometimes persons study the results and plan for "unforseen" needs. For example a person who has clients on certain days may check the list of public holidays and schedule appointments to recognise that persons may not want to have certain types of sessions the day before a holiday or they may want to cover certain items at their locations so that it may be near impossible for them to meet appointments set for those dates so that if your expectation is that a certain number of visits will be met over a period of time, then you may not meet those deliverables. Some other examples of good customer service are the items which a supermarket will place on special the week of a holiday as well as  their adjustment of working hours at Christmas time. Where persons may not have had to deliver or be assessed on customer service to a whole organisation due to the organisation being large, then in a smaller entity where there is the expectation of adaptability and willingness to change this person may be seen as non performing or not a good fit.
Knowledge of the business can be tied in to Customer Service in that this can be developed through attempting to serve customers or it can be developed through formal knowledge. In organisations which are in the developmental stages, acquiring the formal knowledge may take years as this is built up along the way, through trial and error. Some persons compare this acquisition of knowledge using the example of formal eduation versus work experience.  With formal education, one learns through courses and programmes written, while acquiring knowledge through work experience one learns through doing. In learning through doing one may  learn based on the speed and complexity of the task, the dexterity of the teacher and may learn to take into account  factors such as the weather as well as other things which may affect the outcome. With formal education, these may not be considered in the lesson plan.

Growth in the time of Multi Media

Growth or growing can be observed or fostered through different media. For example in following the election of the Pope, there are many things which we are learning which we previously did not have access to. For example there is the "Adopt a Cardinal where you are randomly assigned a cardinal based on your registering to pray for a Cardinal who may or may not be elected as the next Pope.  Information on the Cardinal is being provided. For those of us who do not necesarily have Cardinals within our geographical reach, and for whom our "highest" form of contact is the Archbishop, this is an eye opener as we would not necesaarily Google "Cardinals in the vicinity" with this not being a very popular topic may yield results of ' narrow the definition please, or a link to wiki.
Photo: Preparing the Sistine Chapel for the conclave. There are images of the Sistine  Chapel where the conclave is being held, suddenly being available online. If  you ignore the seriousness behind the election of the Pope, the beauty of the Chapel is something which is not readily available for viewing or viewed or which persons would have learnt about unless their line of study included this information. Many persons would not go to Rome to view the chapel or understand that this was visual representation of Catholicism, or early advertising of Catholicism in an age far removed. There are also images of the urns which are being made ready for the votes to be placed in. Also persons and entities are sharing images of the sacred, which is inspiring and thought provoking, especially in this time of Lent.

Photo: Mary's Miraculous Medal, Sanctuary Church in Buenos Aires-Argentina.
Mother, pray for us.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Our Sympathy

There are many ways to express sympathy, just as there are many ways to have an opinion on the state of the economy and how things should be fixed. If you visit a foreign country and you strike up a conversation with the taxi driver you will hear about the leader who got the country into debt, and how things have changed as a result. Sometimes you hear the anger in their voices and you wonder about the choices which were made and the impact which those choices actually had on the individuals. So here is my two cents on the death of Hugo Chavez.
Having worked for many years  in a building which was located to the back of the Venezuelan embassy prior to and subsequent to the rise in power of Mr. Chavez  and seen many Venezuelans who acted with dignity day in, day out, as well as  the newspaper articles which highlighted the  cultural aspects of Venezuela which were shared generously with us as a people, I say "my sympathy goes out to you! There are many of you who shared a much bigger picture of your country and the impact of Mr. Chavez on it, by your grace and actions! In other words you were still the same graceful, caring, polite persons. I never wondered how you felt working amongst us and for that I am sorry. Forgive me for being naive to the conditions which so many persons feel compelled to speak about, I always wondered about the depth of their anger and the source."
In times of death, there are many uncertainties and there will always be persons who will be vocal in their opinions. I pray for you and your countrymen and women in your  time of grief, there are many of us who grieve with you. I pray that a spirit of calm will enter those who are angry and who are left with unresolved matters. There will  be a need for be a lot of work  to be done to get those persons to a state of betterment, emotionally and physically. For those who grieve, my heart is with you, it is rare that someone can stir so many emotions in the Americans and for that  loss I grieve as well.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Moving On

Having witnessed many farewells over a period of four years which ranged from the joyous of "I am so excited to be moving to a new position coupled with this is a good offer"  to the quiet departure of realising that  this did not quite work out the way we planned, I had become attached to the expression  "I realised that I needed to grow and this move will allow me the opportunity to do so". Almost everyone expressed appreciation of the opportunity to work with the company and the people, the belief and expression that all will be well with both the individuals and the company.

With each departure, we looked at the organisation with which we were engaged  to determine where was it heading, what were the signals which were being given. Granted  that those with access to finance either on a big scale of several clients or those who worked on a client with a large fee would understand the timing in which fees were collected, the probability of fees being received in a month and how this impacted on the volume of additional work which was required in terms of follow up with clients.

In most organisations, it was rare that  there was sufficient succession planning to allow for upward movement internally, either with the move allowing for a change in style of management  or to meet the changing needs of the organisation. Some years ago, in a meeting with a Finance Director which was supposed to be an interview but which turned out to be a conversation, we talked about selecting a successor to the position which was held and I stated that a person will tend to select someone who is not much different to "themself" because they would not believe that there was anything "wrong" with themself. Of course this was said in jest, as one would not say that to someone whom they were expecting to be hired by. However in reality that may be the concept underlying interviews for certain positions being conducted by the members of the Board as usually there are internal views which may be predisposed towards certain candidates and the selection may need to be based on where the organisation needs to move towards.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Continuing Professional Development

Continuing professional development (CPD) or Continuing professional education (CPE) is the means by which people maintain their knowledge and skills related to their professional lives.  Here are some of the professions which require continuing professional development.



Since accountants and auditors are not included in the list, here is some information on my understanding of the need for CPE/CPD:

For accountants, continuing professional development should be relevant to the practice which you are currently engaged in. Thus while you may undertake all types of professional education, application of the training adds value in that you use the training and develop professionally. I guess that is key to understanding the reason underlying the need for  continuing professional development.
I am not sure if this requirement is to widen the scope of work which can be undertaken by the professional as there are different areas in which to develop while working to obtain membership in the association, such as tax, accounting and auditing. After obtaining membership, unless you are great with research, or willing to work extremely hard to develop knowledge outside of the area of expertise which was initially obtained,  becoming functional in any of these areas takes a fair amount of work.

Managing your food choices

Coming out of the economics of managing your money, comes managing your food choices. I have been making an effort to change my eating habits.
Choice #1 Fruit
Realising that fruit spoils quickly and it is not something that can be purchased for the week at a time unless you develop planning skills, I decided to use  understanding and knowledge to incorporate several types of fruit in my diet. Thus, bananas are easy to consume,  they last a few days and does not require refrigeration. Check. Other types of fruit such as papaya or pau pau, will take some planning between purchase and eating. Then there are the seasonal fruits which you try to get for free, which you sometimes end up buying, these also require some planning between buying and eating as there is time for ripening. I have also been consuming the individually wrapped cartons of fruit cocktail.. Very expensive, I know, but at that serving size, I do not worry about the calories and it is wonderfully cool when the day is hot or everyone else around is suffering from a sore throat and the flu seems to be heading our way....
Choice #2 Vegetables
Another easy choice is frozen vegetables, semi steamed, flavored with chili pepper, parsley, herbs de provence and a drizzle of oil in a deep dish which has been covered with foil. The steam created by the depth of the dish and the covering of the dish with foil, seems to cook the vegetables faster, while the seasonings add flavor effortlessly.  Actually an old school friend told me about the brocoli with chili peper and the drizzle of oil. Of course she is rail thin.......
Choice #3 Soups
 I realised one evening, when I was feeling fluish, that the soup in the cup, where you add  hot water can be quite good.  After not following the instructions and cooking the noodles in water thoroughly, I added ginger and garlic and discovered I had  "home made chinese soup" for a fraction of the price. The next day my throat was fine and I was happy that I could "re make something".  I will confess that my other  'start from scratch soups" have been  eaten on day 1 under the threat that they will be the main meal of the next day.


Sometimes when it is difficult to identify exactly what your current status is,  either you are unwilling to arrive at a decision or adding the label changes things in your mind, you may instinctively deal with things in a certain manner. Note that the title to the blog is "Remincing" as I am not dealing with reality or rarely current events...
For example some years ago, after deducting all of my commitments from my earnings, I realised that the portion for food and entertainment was extremely small in comparison to the other commitments. I also understood that there were habits that I could not commit to, such as buying groceries for the month after I tried it for month one and two and most of the items were unused. It was not for lack of trying, or not recognising the economics behind buying in bulk, however for some unfathomable reason, I would not cook or use the groceries which I bought. There were a few items which I used and I decided to build my list of consumables around those. More importantly I realised that there were times in the month, when having cash was important to my psyche. Thus came the plan of action, break down the food and entertainment budget into weekly amounts to be spent and purchase items needed out of that allowance. Needed became based on what I liked. Thus milk was a staple, hence there were times when because of other needs, I realised that there was no room in the budget for purchasing it in this week, well it became a stretched item, which did not finish in this week  as it had to last until the next week when there was sufficient cash to purchase it. On thinking back, there was no entertainment in that budget, it covered food. The moral of the story is that over time, you will realise that there are things which you enjoy  and which you think that you cannot live without, however sometimes there are economic realities which may necesitate a change in thinking and it may be up to you to change your feeling towards it.

Friday, 1 March 2013

I am

"I am working on today, because I know how I want tomorrow to be!
I plan my today as best as possible to have a good tomorrow
It is not, that I am not trusting in the Lord, (for him to provide or that I am vain and conceited abut my abilities or my independence,)
But that I am trying to build a future where I can provide for others!"

St Joseph

One of my working on todays, is to start a Novena in honor of St Joseph, who I believe was one of  the saints in whose honor my father was named. Maybe he got a lot of his characteristics from St. Joseph as he never saw himself as Christlike. However just for this period I am going to acknowledge the Saint called Joseph. Another reason for the Novena is that I was educated by nuns in a school dedicated to St. Joseph.

The Memorare to Saint Joseph is one prayer that can be used for the Novena:

Remember, O most pure spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, my sweet protector St. Joseph that no one ever had recourse to thy protection or implored thy aid without obtaining relief.
Confiding therefore in thy goodness, I come before thee, and humbly supplicate thee.
Oh, despise not my petitions,foster-father of the Redeemer, but graciously receive them. 

St Anthony

I am also going to start a novena in honor of St. Anthony for all the pregnant persons and for clarity of mind for those with whom we interact. The beauty of the Novena to St. Anthony is that I know it  has worked in the past with pregnant persons. The good part is that  you give a donation at the conclusion of the Novena. If I have to say this Novena repeatedly from now till June, something good will happen, either I will change or something else will.  I may end up with patience which St. Joseph is known for....

The Responsory in Honor of St. Anthony

If you ask for miracles,
Death, error, all calamities,
The leprosy and demons fly,
And health succeeds infirmities.
The sea obeys, and fetters break,
And lifeless limbs thou dost restore;
Whilst treasures lost are found again
When young or old thine aid implore.
All dangers vanish at thy prayer,
And direst need doth quickly flee,
Let those who know thy power proclaim—
Let Paduans say—these are of thee.
The sea obeys, etc.
To Father, Son may glory be,
And Holy Spirit eternally.
The sea obeys, etc.
Pray for us, blessed Anthony,
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray:
Almighty God, you have given St. Anthony to your people as an outstanding preacher and a ready helper in time of need. With his assistance may we follow the Gospel of Christ and know the help of your grace in every difficulty. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Prayer of Thanksgiving

St. Anthony, God has helped me abundantly through your prayer and has strengthened me in my need. I thank God and I thank you. Accept this prayer and my serious resolve which I now renew, to live always in the love of Jesus and of my neighbor. Continue to shield me by your protection and pray to God for the final grace of one day entering the kingdom of heaven to sing with you the everlasting mercies of God. Amen.
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Behold the Cross

“Behold the Cross of the Lord! Begone, you evil powers! The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered. Alleluia!”
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Novena to Saint Anthony for Any Need
St. Anthony, you are glorious for your miracles and for the condescension of Jesus Who came as a little child to lie in your arms. Obtain for me from His bounty the grace which I ardently desire. You were so compassionate toward sinners, do not regard my unworthiness. Let the glory of God be magnified by you in connection with the particular request that I earnestly present to you.
[State your request here.]
As a pledge of my gratitude, I promise to live more faithfully in accordance with the teachings of the Church, and to be devoted to the service of the poor whom you loved and still love so greatly. Bless this resolution of mine that I may be faithful to it until death.
St. Anthony, consoler of all the afflicted, pray for me.
St. Anthony, helper of all who invoke you, pray for me.
St. Anthony, whom the Infant Jesus loved and honored so much, pray for me. Amen.