Monthly Archives: July 2013

Black or White – We are the Same

I was brought up in an inter-racial neighborhood.   My grandparents were Italian immigrants and in those days, so were immigrant Irish, Jewish and other ethnic groups.  We understood prejudice because we were prejudiced against, too.   Our street was primarily black and white families.

Our family had many close ties with the other side of the street.   Everyone did, because it was a long narrow street and in many ways, we all depended on one another. For example, my mother got a part-time job and left the key to our house with Mr. Wind, one of the kindest black men on this earth.  Mr. Wind was there every day sitting on his stoop with his dog, Blackout, when I returned from school, with the key in his hand to our house. This was very comforting to a nine-year old who worried she wouldn’t be able to get into the house if Mr. Wind for some reason was not there. Mr. Wind was always there. He was a gentleman and I loved him like a grandfather. So did my family.  My family may have been imperfect, but their love and respect for our neighbors left little room for prejudice. I am grateful that love prevailed and prejudices got blotted out.

The main attraction for me was a family who lived diagonally across the street from us. They had a daughter – among a handful of children just like our handful of children – and she was my age.   Frances also had the same name as me  and when my mother called out for me, both of us showed up at the door.   Usually Frances got there first, and I remember my mom saying, “No, not you, ..the other one”.   And they would laugh.  It became a ritual and game between them.

I knew Frances from when we were toddlers. Although we were the same age, she was always bigger than me and the first black person I met in my life.   I thought and still do that she was the most beautiful person I had ever seen. She was athletically and majestically built, at least a head taller than me, and carried herself proud like a gazelle.  She also was the darkest black person I ever saw – like an onyx jewel.   What I remember about her the most was the big smile she alway had that lit up her face.

When I had to wear a patch due to a lazy eye, it was she who stopped alI the sing-song name-calling from the kids (One-Eye Frances) that was so hurtful.  It was understood in the neighborhood (and in school)  that Frances was my protector since we had the same name, were the same age and in the same grade and school. Frances came by every day to ‘pick me up’ and we would walk the 6 blocks to school. And return the same 6 blocks every afternoon. Safely.  Nobody ever challenged her.

One of my earliest memories of Frances was one extremely hot summer day (no air-conditioning in that neck of the woods), my mother called the littlest ones together and said she would hose us down in our backyard. All the other five year olds scampered like crazy, flinging off their clothes and whiggling around in the cool, refreshing water. Except me. I was shy about being with all these kids and getting naked. But I really wanted to be part of it. Frances came bounding over like a stallion as only Frances could, and tore off her clothes and jumped around, and said, “Come on, it feels so good!” And I just kind of shied over. And then Frances said something that stayed with me all my life. She said, ‘Come on, we are the same’.

We are the same.   What a wonderful thought – she thought that I was like her – what a compliment to me!

I have many happy memories of being best friends with Frances. She was over at our house all the time and received many hand-me-downs from my sisters that were too big for me and perfect for her. It was a long time before she finally invited me to her house and showed me how her mother did her hair. I remember feeling so honored that she invited me in.

Frances was my undesignated protector all through kindergarten to  the 6th grade.  When the kids at school had made-up fun days – one was called Petticoat Day – for lifting up girl’s blouses or skirts. On those days, Frances always walked besides me eyeing kids who were trying to do that to me – I was always shying away – but no one ever did it to me. Except when we arrived safely untouched at school, Frances would playfully pull up my shirt when we got to school and laugh that big smile – like she got me. But no one else ever did.

One other time, a gang of ‘next street’ all-black girls followed a group of my all-white friends. Comments went back and forth and they started chasing us. They were older than us and I was scared. When they finally caught up with us, I blurted out that Frances Scott was my best friend. The whole mood changed and they left us alone. Frances loved it when I told her – she laughed and said I owed her money for being a bodyguard.

As I got older, I was given my own key to the house which I promptly lost one day walking home alone from school.   I panicked and was on all fours when Frances came by and got down on all fours with me and didn’t give up until we found them.  No others passing by offered to help.

We were in the same class up to 6th grade and both 12, when our family moved that year. The neighborhood had some robberies, violence and even a murder.   My parents thought we should move to a safer neighborhood.  And we did at school’s end.  My mother worried about me ~ a 12 year old ~ because a few days a week during that summer I would take the bus – a 30 minute ride – back to the old neighborhood – because I missed my friend. I felt I had left my identity there. But I found that I had taken it with me.

The years passed and I lost track of Frances. When I was married and in my early 20s, I took my toddler, who had been hurt, to the emergency room at the hospital near our old area.   While I was waiting, I saw Frances. She was angry and talking to a police officer who was holding onto her brother. Focusing just on her and not the situation, I gravitated over to her, and simply said, ‘Frances’. Her angry face registered recognition and her dark eyes fleetingly softened over for me. I was going to hug her, but she regained her anger and said that the police were badgering her brother. She was being a protector and caretaker for her brother and I understood that. She was doing ‘her work’ but her eyes told me that ‘we were the same’.

I tried in later years to find her, but to no avail.   More years passed. Then, one day, my sister attended a funeral in the old area, and saw Frances’ sister.  My sister told her I was seeking Frances and could she have her phone number.   She obliged.   I called her the moment I got the number.    Frances answered and we talked for quite awhile. I told her I wrote a story about her and how important she was in my life and I loved her.  She told me, ‘You give me way too much credit, you were the smart one getting all those high marks in class.”   She also told me she was not well health-wise, she was a grandmother of two children, and worked as an accountant.   She asked me to email my story to her friend as she did not have a computer.   I did so.  It was similar to my words here.

The next time I called her, the line was disconnected.   I had no other way to reach her, and sent an email to her friend to no avail.   Some months later, my sister called me to tell that Frances had passed away and sent me the online obituary.    I was the only one who wrote in her guest book and told the world that my angel had passed.

I am so grateful to God that I had Frances in my young life. She was truly my angel, my friend and my sister. She was bigger than me and could easily have bullied me, but she didn’t. She adopted me.   If only bullies could see their victims as God made and sees us; that we are all equally made and equally loved. And that we are all children of God who desire to love and be loved.    Rest in peace, my friend who taught me about caring, sharing, and equality – we are the same.

© Marie Coppola revised January 2017

 

Do you have a Prayer Box?


 

Life can sometimes be challenging and let’s face it, downright stressful. Along with the daily news of the nations’ problems and economy, there are friends and family who are having problems with foreclosures and changes in their lives if they have moved in with relatives after losing their homes.

When tempers and frustrations are at an all-time high; families in distress may have strained relationships and some collapse. Along with this, there are friends, family and acquaintances who are dealing with sickness, separation, physical and/or mental challenges. Some of them have lost family members through death or have other loss issues.

Sometimes, the best way to help a friend is to just listen to them. They may not want advice but just need an ear to vent, express grief or frustrations or seek help for assistance. Hurting folks deal with all these issues in different ways – exercise or work more, take medications, drink more or turn to their faith.

How do you, the listener, deal with the sadness, anger or problems of people you care about and are emotionally involved with? Or it may be someone whom you meet fleetingly in a doctor’s office or at church. After you listen to their different stories, you can offer a hug or some uplifting comment. You could also tell them that you will pray for them or the person in their lives who is having difficulty, sick or at a crosssroads.

Or you could tell them that you will place their problem, situation or requests in the Prayer Box.

Our faith-sharing group meets during Advent and Lent each year. At these meetings, we discuss scripture and gospel readings. At one of these meetings, the facilitator brought in a box, handed out a small notepaper and pencil & invited all to write down a prayer for someone they know who is in need of a prayer. We did not need to write the whole problem, “God already knows what the problem is.”  The prayers are placed in the covered box, and are prayed for at each meeting.   No one ever reads the contents.

Matthew 18:20 says, “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”   Prayer is as powerful for the recipient as well as the giver.

If you are a sensitive person who internalizes the sadness and anxiety of friends who confide in you, I suggest you prepare a Prayer Box for them.  It does not have to be fancy; mine is a plain gift box with a cover and I wrote the words “Prayer Box” on it.   I keep it on my dresser and have many prayer requests in it. People who have asked  me to include their requests in it – I just need their name and write ‘special intention’ or a simple word of the request .

I send up prayers for requests in the box during the day and at bedtime.  I touch the box and pray each night that God answers all the prayers in the box and for peace and freedom from anxiety.   If it is not God’s Will to answer a prayer and He has something else in mind for that person, I pray that they are given peace, strength & understanding.

The Prayer Box is beneficial to the requestor as it gives them a support – a hope – an action. It is also beneficial for the person praying for them. It relieves the internal distress you may feel for others and gives it over and up to God, who can act on the request according to His Will.  It is the best help you can give them. I can attest that many miracles and positive results have resulted from praying over the Prayer Box.

© Marie Coppola July 2013

The Benefits of Attaining a Paralegal Certification


 

 If your college-age offspring tells you, “But I’m not sure what I want to be or do,” you might consider starting with paralegal training. It’s not that costly, and it can enhance a resume as well as assist in legal applications in whatever they do decide to do. Also, through the discipline and commitment of completing the course, it may be an incentive to a young adult to continue their educational training. Some paralegals continue on in their legal education and go on to law school.

The definition of a paralegal: of or relating to or being a person with specialized training who assists an attorney. Paralegals are also called legal assistants.

Paralegals may assist attorneys or assist in some legal capacity through a law office, corporate office or governmental agency. They may also specialize in subsets of legal work, such as real estate, mortgages, litigation, tax, environmental, personal injury, immigration or corporate entities.  Specialized legal training can be attained through education, in-house law or corporate training or work experience.

Some paralegals write briefs or court documents for attorneys, handle real estate closings, aid in probate matters, or prepare drafts for legal documents for review by attorneys. They may also draft mortgages, contracts, trust agreements, separation agreements and tax returns.

Freelance paralegals can work by the hour or on projects to supply research data for court cases or class action suits. The law changes frequently and court cases are determined by the latest rulings; paralegals research them usually by computer to substantiate their legal status. Legal assistants rely on legal research which is contained in computer software – I am most familiar with Lexis/Nexis. The information is used to retrieve, organize, and index various materials

Paralegals are never allowed to present cases in court, or to establish legal fees or offer legal advice.

How do you become a paralegal or legal assistant? You can evolve into the position by working in a legal department solely based on your work experience or in-house training by an employer.

Most paralegals have associate degrees in paralegal studies or a bachelor’s degree along with a paralegal certification. Some community colleges offer paralegal courses – they range from 6 months to 1 year. Along with having an interest in legal matters, it is helpful if an aspiring paralegal enjoys computer research, is investigative, articulate and has writing proficiency. It is essential to focus on details.

Having said all the above, I thoroughly recommend taking a paralegal course sometime during your lifetime. Why?  I will summarize at the end but for starters, I would recommend the 6 month course. It will be at a university and is usually accelerated or concentrated. It requires having a high school diploma. The courses usually consist of 3 nights a week for several hours. It is very diversified and I promise you that you will never be bored. It is taught mainly by several attorneys on many different subjects. Time allotted on each discipline is dependent on content and importance to legal work. The one that I participated in taught the following subjects     :

Business Law – encompassing Ethical Responsibilities and Codes and Regulations; Court Rules

Contracts – Binding; Not Binding; Bilateral; Oral and Written, including Notes

The Court System – Court Rules of State and U.S. Supreme Courts

How to Write Briefs; Wills and Probate; Legal Research

Real Estate Transactions including Mortgage Transactions; Zoning and Ordinances

Employment/Corporations – At-Will Termination; Discrimination; Employee Issues

Marriage Laws including Divorce, Annulments and Separations; Custody

Criminal and Negligence Litigation & Pleadings & Liabilities

Why do I think it’s a good idea to take a Paralegal Course?   This was the first course I took at university between high school and college. I was interested in legal proceedings and was actually working in a legal environment. (Some corporations will pay the course costs if it relates to your job responsibilities.)  The course gives a young adult many representations of life events – job regulations, life and insurance contracts, mortgages, real estate laws, and life — marriage to death.

In between, you learn about things necessary to know; such as, how minimum wages are determined; how the court system works; binding and invalid contraf icts; situations at work and what you can or can’t do about them; marriage laws, divorce and custody laws; buying a house, getting a mortgage, what happens if you die without a will or intestate, how to probate a will if someone else dies, your rights if you’re in an accident or someone gets hurt on your property.  And knowledge of them or how to get more information.

The other reason I recommend it to young adults is that if they don’t know what field or job family they are interested in, this course may whet their appetite to learn more of one of the spin-off disciplines – maybe real estate or corporate law or environmental law. There are endless opportunities.  As I worked in other job positions, I found that legal information was useful to me not only in legal, but in environmental and human resource disciplines. And you will use this information in other aspects of your life beyond your workplace. It can always be used as a fall-back second job working part-time as a freelance paralegal at a law firm. A law firm environment is entirely different from corporate law departments. Paralegals would benefit experiencing both atmospheres.

© Marie Coppola  2009

 

 

How to Make Delicious Home-Made Pasta Sauce


Almost everyone loves pasta and Italian food. If you are Italian or know Italians, they claim to have the ‘best sauce’ ever. The reason for this is lies with their Mom or Nana. Chances are they learned from one another and the best ingredient in the best sauce are the hands that made them. We all gravitate to certain tastes in foods, and even more so in ethnic families.

What you’ve eaten all your life is delicious, comforting and ‘the best’ ever, no one’s sauce comes close, even good Italian restaurants. Anthony’s mother, down the street may make her sauce quite differently, and yes, to Anthony, hers is the ‘best sauce’ ever. Some Italians call spaghetti sauce, ‘gravy’.

Nana Coppola made wonderful Italian recipes; she even taught cooking class at the parochial school. Her daughters try to emulate the ‘best sauce ever’ and their sauces are very similar and delicious. It is never exactly like Nana’s, but what is missing are the hands, love and memories that she put into it. So, in her memory, here is Nana’s recipe for the best sauce ever.

Ingredients

1 pound of chopped sirloin*  (*for variety, add pork chops, sausage or spare ribs)

Couple of cloves of chopped garlic

2 Tbsp. chopped onion

1 tsp. of fresh parsley or parsley flakes

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/4 cup flavored bread crumbs

3 Tbsp. milk

1 egg

2 tsp. grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

Put above ingredients in bowl and mix well. Shape into meat balls. Cook in small amount of olive oil until well browned; place in large sauce pan or pot. Set aside.

In a large pot, add the next ingredients to the. browned meatballs and/or sausage:

1/2  small can of tomato paste.     Stir and add 1/2 Cup of water.

2 large cans of tomato sauce (two 28 oz. crushed or whole tomatoes) – Italian brands preferred.

1/2 teaspoon parsley flakes and/or basil leaf

1/4 teaspoon sugar**

salt and pepper  as desired

Cover and simmer for 1 to 1-1/2 hours.  Stir occasionally.

Prepare favorite pasta. Drain pasta and serve with sauce topped with grated Romano or Parmesan cheese.

New generations ‘tweak’ everything and here are some added suggestions:

1) *For healthy low-fat dieters, drain any excess fat from the meatball pan before adding tomaoes.   If  sausage is to be added, simmer the sausage prior for 10-15 minutes to rid of excess fat and then brown with the meatballs.

2) **In lieu of sugar added to the sauce, you can add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of red or white wine; this helps reduce acidity and helped prevent reflux.

3) For additional treat taste when serving, add a dollop of freshly made Sicilian ricotta cheese to the finished pasta when serving.  See my home-made ricotta cheese recipe:    http://expertistas.com/2012/11/19/how-to-make-home-made-delicious-ricotta-cheese/aboutme

Yums. Can you smell it?   It flavors the whole house!

©Marie Coppola July 2013

 

 

Women ~ Beware…Fashions May be Hazardous to Your Health


Since earliest of times, women have been the bearers and wearers of sometimes outlandish fashions. Looking back in history and how the changes in fashions affect women, one wonders how fashions come about and whether they are creations of men or women.

The first designer who was not just a dressmaker was Charles Frederick Worth (1826-1895). Before he opened his fashion designs in Paris, clothing design and creation was handled by largely anonymous people, and high fashion descended from style worn at royal courts. Worth became popular because he ‘told’ his customers what they should wear instead of fulfilling requests with just suggestions of what to wear. The term couturier was in fact first created in order to describe him.

It’s hard to think that a woman designed the uncomfortable corsets that were the rage in the 1800s. Young and old women cinched them up as tight as humanly possible. This is exhibited by Scarlett O’Hara who had Mammy ply Scarlett into her corsett with much pain in “Gone With the Wind”. These lace-up shirts were usually ordered two-inches smaller than the woman’s actual waist size to give that “skinny” appearance. This ’skinny’ appearance has lasted until today. These belted ‘tourniquets’ often made the ladies pass out from lack of oxygen from blood rushing to their heads. Passing out from clothes could not have been good for them, and yet, all the ladies wore these things…..because they were ‘fashionable’. As an aside, the men of this time…..they wore tunics and knickers that ‘fit’ them properly and comfortably.

Still in the Scarlett era, were all those beautiful but bulky petticoats under huge, hooped, bellowing skirts. They looked pretty but they made women very hot – and may be why they carried fans and fanned themselves. These cumbersome fashions also subjected them to the potential of becoming tangled in their skirts. And subject to falling down all those winding staircases of that time. The development of the crinoline helped to reduce the number of necessary petticoats, and the cage crinoline, introduced in the 1850s, (and resurfaced in the 1950s), further reduced the number of skirts which needed to be worn, but the crinoline cage increased the hazard of getting hurt. Again, the men of that time wore nicely fitted clothes – fitted britches and jackets that fit comfortably and they were less likely to go up and down stairs and getting hurt.

In the 1920’s, a boyish, waif-like figure was ‘all the rage’. Some designers decided this was the ‘look’ of the flappers. To achieve this flat look, women wore corsets similar to the corsets of the 1800’s which proves the fashion law that fashion looks always returrn. These corsets attached to a garter belt, and thereby binding the breasts down against the rib cage. Considering the dances of that time, like the Charleston, oxygen intake could have been greatly curtailed. And needless to say, very uncomfortable.

Clothes are not the only deterrent to a woman’s health. Shoes carry liabilities of their own. Stiletto or high heels look fashionable but polls have shown that many women will sacrifice a good fit and take a smaller size if they have to have a certain color and style and the store doesn’t have their size. These high shoes [especially a crimped, smaller size] are bad for legs and feet and cause foot, back and ankle problems.

Pointed and narrow shoes are just as bad for your bones as they cause joint pain, bunions and wrench your toes inward. The same applies to platform shoes. These shoes can turn your ankles and cause sprains or breaks. Summer thongs (popular with men, women and children) are frowned upon by podiatrists because they offer very little foot support. “The biggest problem we see with them is people with excessive dried skin and cracked heels from wearing them day in and day out,” doctors say.

Even underwear can cause potential health problems. Thongs and panties that aren’t lined in cotton cause cause bacterial trouble or urinary tract infections.

A recent fashion, skinny jeans, are now popular – again the fashion to make a skinny appearance. These fashion statments can cause nerve damage – a condition called meralgia paresthetica (MP). It is caused by pressure on the pelvis area that causes a burning, tingling thigh.

Any constrictive clothing has been implicated as a cause of bladder infections, vaginal yeast infections, contact dermatitis, and even blood clots in the legs. It can also interfere with motility in the bowels, causing abdominal pain after a meal.

Men don’t seem to have to adjust to changes in fashions as often as women do. Men’s suits have changed little through the years – designers may change the shape of the lapel or how many buttons down the front or on the sleeve, but for the most part, these suits are comfortable and change little in styles. They are made out of silk and no-wrinkle linens and soft wool and stretch fabrics and lightweight fabrics that breathe and are healthy! But, fashion came along and dictated the tie – which is uncomfortable and binding like the corsets of old – and men have not escaped a fashion hazard!

Another hazard to our bones and safety are the large over-sized purses. Doctors have warned that these Hollywood-inspired big pocketbooks cause shoulder and neck problems from the heaviness of carrying them. Also, they can cause accidents and falls as there is more of a chance of bumping into someone and losing yours or their balance. The size of them and contents therein have made them into possible projectiles.

Even acrylic nails, which are popular for many ladies, can cause trauma to nails and a good chance for fungus/bacteria growth if they are not maintained properly.

Fashions change every season, can be costly the more you try to ‘keep up’ with them and can bring health issues into our lives. Keeping good health in mind when styles change, can help keep you healthy and safe. Where are my sweats?

© Marie Coppola December 2009

 

 

The Dahlia That Bloomed in the Box


      

The human spirit takes some punches when times are tough and rough. Having experienced this myself, I offer the resiliency of the spirit as expressed through the dahlia in the box……….

Being blessed and happily married to a man who loves to garden, I enjoy the fruits of his labor every spring, summer and fall. His garden resembles an English garden, with varieties of flowers splashing color amid myriad of heights and texture. Of special interest to him is the dahlia. His garden abounds in magenta, pink, burgundy, white and multicolored dahlias. His recent acquisition of large dinner plate size dahlias abound magnificently in bright shades of yellow.

His gardening expertise is apparent in how he cares for the bulbs of his favorite flower. Every fall before frost, he digs up each and every dahlia bulb. The bulbs have multiplied in the ground after flowering – where there was one, there are now multiple bulbs. He carefully separates them, places them in separate cardboard boxes with covers, and marks them by color. He places them in our cool basement for replanting the next spring.

One spring in April, my husband carted up all the marked boxes from the basement to plant after he prepared the garden soil. Dahlias usually bloom in July and continue to bloom until the fall.

In late June of that year, my husband was tinkering down in the basement and he called out for me. I went downstairs and he was holding a cardboard box and sadly said, ‘I forgot this one – look what happened’. He opened the top of the box and inside were some dahlia bulbs and one of the bulbs had bloomed into a withered, faded yellow flower.

It had bloomed without soil, without water, and without sun; all the while in a box with a cover on it in a dark basement! We stood looking at the dahlia for some time and agreed that it was most extraordinary and unusual.

From time to time, in my mind, I picture that dahlia. It still amazes me how a plant, requiring so many factors to bloom, not only survived in the barest of necessities — but survived to bloom!

Is not the human spirit the same?

Stormy life events cast a sunless, solitary and confining environment in one’s life. It’s like being in a box with the cover on without the usual life-giving nourishment and support to one’s soul and growth.

If a dahlia could survive such circumstances and bloom, how much more can the spirit of a human endure with so many possible avenues to explore with friends and family to support them and love them? And as always, even in solitary times, we are in His Hands; Our Great Protector. His nourishment is always there to feed our spirit. If your spirit needs refreshment, take Him into the box with you. 

Life’s entanglements and sacrifices need not prevent the joy and possibility to ‘bloom where you are planted‘. God, through His grace, has implanted within you, color, vibrancy, and abundance you can show to the world — it is within you to grow and flower. Remember the dahlia in the box.

© Marie Coppola 2010

 

Mrytle Beach, South Carolina – Land of Golf, Sun and Fun


With 60 miles of wide, warm, and soft sandy beaches, it’s no surprise that Myrtle Beach, South Carolina attracts nearly 14 million visitors a year. A popular vacation choice for millions of Americans who want fun and the sun, it is also the premier resort destination on the East Coast, hosting visitors from around the country and abroad.

The beach with its blue water and tumbling waves of the Atlantic Ocean is the number one attraction and the reason so many families visit Myrtle Beach year after year. But that’s not all – Myrtle Beach also offers a plethora of recreation, entertainment, dining, shopping and attractions for all ages from children to grandparents.

Some of the magnet pulls of this area are the exciting water and amusement parks, Jurassic and creative varieties of miniature golf themes, great theater and live entertainment, popular casino cruises, and freshwater, ocean and deep sea saltwater fishing. You can go out on a riverboat or go it alone on a pontoon boat or take the whole family on a banana boat. And the main draw are the best golf courses in the south and there are plenty of them. The golf courses may have an alligator or two in their ponds or the unusual fox squirrels scurrying around. Fox squirrels frequently confuse visiting golfers, who’ve never seen anything quite like them. They are larger than the typical gray squirrel and have salt-and-pepper fur and a white nose Sometimes, they are mistaken for skunks.

There are multitudes of local and annual festivals, events, and special-to-Myrtle Beach attractions. There are many welcomed ’snow-bird’ Canadian visitors in the spring and the free Can Am or Canadian-American Days Festival. The Sun Fun Festival signals the start of the summer season, the Beach Boogie & BBQ Festival, the Grand Strand Fishing Rodeo from April to October and the Christmas Towne holiday festival. The Myrtle Beach Events Calendar is filled all year.

Some would contend that the dining and shopping are the best. Shoppers enjoy the variety of outlet stores, malls, specialty boutiques, and antique and flea markets. The diners would want to give equal time to the over 1,650 full-service restaurants tempting the palates of visitors each year. The choices become better and healthier and delicious! Every cuisine – from southern soul food to Greek and Italian, and from Japanese to Tex Mex – is well represented. There is even a great Australian Down Under restaurant.

Other visitors enjoy the cultural and historical sites and a favorite is Brookgreen Gardens. This 300-acre preserve along the South Carolina coast, abounds with beautiful sculptures and gardens with a wildlife sanctuary and outstanding seasonal events.

Recommended Must Sees at Myrtle Beach’s versatile vacation resort are:

Barefoot landing http://www.bflanding.com/

Broadway at the beach http://www.broadwayatthebeach.com/

Market Common http://www.marketcommonmb.com/

Legends Concerts http://www.legendsinconcert.com/

Alabama theater = http://www.alabama-theatre.com/

Dolly patron’s Dixie stampede http://www.dixiestampede.com/myrtlebeach.php

Carolina Opry Show – http://www.thecarolinaopry.com/

 Carolina Opry

 

The warm ocean breezes and smell of salty air will either entice you to walk the beach at sunset or work up an appetite for dinner. If you want to dance after dinner, the dance of South Carolina is the Shag. You can shag or learn to shag at Fat Harold’s where free beginners shag lessons are taught on Tuesday nights at 7pm, no partner required. More advanced lessons on Thur at 7pm for $10 per person.

Or you can visit popular The House of Blues which is a unique entertainment experience. Great art, music, culture and cuisine combine to become a centerpiece of Myrtle Beach’s nightlife. There is something for everyone, with entertainment ranging from Murder Mystery Dinner Theater to the World Famous Gospel Brunch, not to mention live performances by national touring artists.

The restaurants are way too plentiful to mention – fresh seafood is the preferred choice of many – whatever you enjoy or wherever you dine, you’ll come back for more.

© Marie Coppola July 2013

References: I live not far from Myrtle Beach! and can attest to all the above.

Pictures: Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

The Four Personality Types – Which One are You?


The four personality styles are: Drivers * Analyticals * Amiables * Expressives

 Have you ever wondered why it is so pleasant to work with some people and so difficult with others? Whether it is work, customer service, community or volunteer activities, we find ourselves wondering what makes that guy or gal tick and behave as they do.

Work conditions can be tedious at best, and to interface with people who work differently than you do can cause stress and inevitable non-productive conditions. That is one of the reasons why most Human Resource (HR) departments encourage team building and seminars – to neutralize these kinds of problems. It is more an individual style or personality that causes conflict than any other reason.

A brief characteristic description of the 4 four personality styles: Drivers, Analyticals, Amiables and Expressive:

Drivers – “Get to the point”.

 They like to take charge and control of a situation. They make quick decisions and are responsive to challenges. Focus is on producing results. They are efficient, hard-working, forceful and strong-willed. Direct and to-the-point when they want others to do things and are completion-oriented. No beating around the bush; they are competent and either want options or results. “Don’t waste and save time.” “What’s the bottom line?”” They like feedback.

Some adjectives for them: risk-taker, determined, demanding, action-orientated, decisive, problem solver, direct, assertive, forceful, competitive,independent.   Many top company officials,Chief Executive Officers, Presidents, Vice-Presidents, and Directors are drivers.

Analyticals – “I can’t commit until I know all the facts”….chaos drives them crazy.

They like organization and are structured, concise, with not too many emotions. They like to work by themselves. Will use specific details, facts, evidence and measurements. Do not like to be wrong and it’s better to let them ‘save face’. They ask many questions and like to take their time on projects or anything. They are task-oriented and detailed-oriented and use facts and logic. Usually they approach people with care and caution and do not commit anything until they are comfortable. May appear too cautious, overly structured, someone who does things too much ‘by the book’.

Some adjectives for them: orderly, systematic, controlled, disciplined, logical, precise, cautious, disciplined, deliberate, introvert.   Chemists, financial analysts, technology analysts, mechanics and lawyers can be analyticals.

Amiables – “Let’s have a real team effort”….loves cooperative, team effort.

Tries to save relationships or bring harmony within groups. Thrives in team environments. Is helpful to others. Provides support and positive strokes for others’ work and accomplishments. Willingness to communicate and place value and trust in other workers. Places a high priority on getting along with people. Natural skills for coaching, counseling and aiding others. Has a sense of loyalty to work and peer groups. Smooths over conflicts within groups and organizes celebrations, brings in birthday cakes and other treats. They are dependable, loyal and easygoing. They like things friendly. They make quick decisions and are described as a warm person and sensitive to the feelings of others.

Some adjectives for them: supportive, team person, loyal, patient, considerate, empathetic, sympathetic, trusting, congenial.   Coaches, counselors, human resource workers, social workers, facilitators, and ministers can be amiables.

Expressive Personality – “Wow, that’s a great report – I know a great place for lunch”.

 Very outgoing and enthusiastic, they create excitement and involvement with others. They have a high energy level and make others feel good about themselves. They know that you value them. Excitable, fun-loving, and talkative, sometimes overly dramatic, impulsive and manipulative. They love attention, and having an audience, and especially applause and recognition. They are achievement oriented but sometimes slow to reach a decision. They have good ideas, but are not always completion-oriented. Particularly fond of socializing. Risk-takers, competitive and spirited. They are also futuristic, creative and inspirational.

Some adjectives for them: communicators, charming, confident, impulsive, enthusiastic, animated, dramatic, influential, motivating, optimistic.  Teachers, nurses, musicians, comedians can be expressives.

 

Once the employee understands which style he or she exhibits in a group or team and their individual personality styles, the more better he or she adapts to working with that person. This approach is a very popular concept and helpful in areas where some employees feel they produce more work than others, work more efficiently, and sometimes resent their unproductive and incompetent (in their view) co-workers. The personalities are explained in a seminar and each employee rates themselves as to which type or personality style they are. Many are correct; some are off-base. Some exhibit 2 or 3 styles out of the four. With that in hand, the next meeting is a physical team-building seminar.

There are many team building exercises – and they are all very neat and well received by employees because they are fun. Most importantly, the exercises, which range from being stranded in a jungle with a broken helicopter to supplying goods in crucial time to a valued customer in bad weather.

In the helicopter scenario, props and supplies are provided and the team is set forth to fix the helicopter with the props and decide who is going to do what. They have a time limit and consequences if they don’t get out of the jungle on time.

Inherent work personalities emerge in performing the tasks, and are later discussed by the team. It is a soft way for same level professionals to point out what they and others could have done to save their lives! The manager is not present for these exercises; but is brought in a later date for interface in other exercises — sometimes it is the manager who is the problem employee! The HR person does not get involved in the exercise except to answer questions of what can or cannot be done.

Sometimes when even the simplest solution is the best way ~   the team makes it very complicated.

The above is a very brief view of team building exercises, but I wanted to stress the 4 personality styles that are most common at work, in customer service, or group and team efforts and how they arrive at solutions to problems.

At these team building seminars, the employees learn how to deal with the different styles. They also learn to understand their own style and how they all relate to each in a group setting. Some of us don’t belong to one group, but can be a compilation of the others; and others may be two of them. Or three. Once you understand them, you will better understand and relate to co-workers, customers, groups, teams and even members of your family!

© Marie Coppola July 2013