Monthly Archives: February 2014


Many job descriptions have a sentence added at the end of specified tasks and responsibilities. It is: "…to perform other tasks and responsibilities as assigned". This boilerplate language covers assigned projects and added tasks that can be added legally to your job description. Not only will you learn new skills and grow in your present position, it can lead to a higher level and/or a promotion.

Employees who question "It’s not in my job description" are sometimes negated for shirking the additional responsibilities or opportunity for advancement this language provides. It’s better for your career advancement to use the opportunity of new avenues to explore to give more depth and breadth to your present position or perhaps to advance to the next level.

Some companies no longer maintain job descriptions. Proponents for discarding job descriptions altogether say they are not complete - there are always responsibilities added on that are not part of the original one when hired. They contend that descriptions are usually obsolete within 6 months of hiring as jobs constantly change; by the time they are updated, they need to be changed again.

It is time consuming to write them and don’t aid anyone in their daily work. However, many companies still use them as they tie into the job market and salary data . Position or job descriptions do serve distinct, important factors in job hiring and career development. For hiring, they are the vehicle through which salary levels and pay are determined.   For career development, they aid in job progressions and new skills.

Salary surveys from most companies are examined and analyzed to compete with market data for the same positions. Variables used are the number of organizations participating in the survey, the number of incumbents in each position, and the level of detail provided in the job description matching process.

How important are job descriptions?  While laws does not require them, job descriptions are critical in supporting practically every employment action, such as hiring, compensation, promotion, discipline, and termination.

They also aid in:

  • employees understanding exactly what their jobs’ tasks require of them in order of importance;
  • giving managers hiring guidelines and effective promotion and supervision tools;
  • aiding employers with compliance of many and growing list of employment laws and regulations. If there is an employee/employer dispute, the job description may play a decisive part.
  • upholding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), many state workers’ compensation laws, and the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) for essential job requirements and physical demands/work environment.  A well written, thorough job description can help you make the critical decisions necessary to comply with these challenges.
  • ensuring compliance with federal laws such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) which impact almost every employee in the United States.
  • ensuring compliance with other laws, such as federal discrimination statutes which prohibit discrimination against various protected classes (EEO). Some states have enacted discrimination laws that protect classes not covered by federal legislation.
  • protecting the employer to support why one applicant is more qualified than another or why you pay one employee more than another. It also can protect why they terminate an employee for poor performance.

Since job duties and technology can out date a job description, it is crucial to upgrade job descriptions timely to keep them accurate and current. Performance reviews are based upon completion of job responsibilities and tasks outlined. Promotions can be based on superior performance and/or additional responsibilities or tasks undertaken again as outlined in the job description.


Marie Coppola February 2014



An older but undeniably lovely Victorian-type old home brimming with charm. Three bedrooms - two the size of walk-in closets and a quaint 10' x 11' master bedroom - the only bedroom with a closet.  One of the smaller bedrooms opens up to full attic.  Attic frequently inhabited by one or two squirrels which if not attended to may find final resting places in the walls. Highly recommend flushing the gutters with water at least once a year. And make sure the poison is out of the reach of toddlers. Squirrel traps stay with home.

Recently renovated bath upstairs (8' x 5' - and only bathroom in house),  has one floor-to-ceiling window, which is conveniently flush-placed directly next to the toilet. It is recommended painting window black or glue-gun perpetual curtain covering. (However, convenient for air flow in times of duress).  For summer use when you open window, a full mask for private toilet use stays in bathroom. Tub wall completely renovated with new tiles where water was seeping through to the first floor and all floorboards have been replaced.  Bonus: heavy rope decor in shower in case floor buckles through while showering.

Beautiful parquet wood flooring on steps and downstairs including living room and dining areas. Flawless except for one spot permanently tattooed with deceased pet's urine spot. 10' x 5' rug will cover it. 10' x 5' rug stays with home.

Large eat-in kitchen complete with original cabinets repainted in new decor ~ French-deterioration & pickled look on top cabinets and bottoms. Antique early-depression eclectic stove with only front burners working. The back two are on unemployment. New dropped ceiling covers chipped antique ceiling tiles and cobwebs.

Extra cabinets were installed in the detached garage for extra storage. Folding garage doors work intermittently. There is a side entrance leading out from the kitchen but it is for decorative purposes only. We actually used this door once, and could not close/lock it for three days. It this happens, the police department is familiar with problem and will gallantly help you close it. Police number embedded in north wall stays with home.

Air tends to stagnate in winter - it is suggested that the 36 windows in the house are opened occasionally for air flow. Since the antique windows do not stay open by themselves due to extinct steel pulley hardware , you may have to prop them open with any item that is at least 26 inches long - ie, a walking cane or even a sleeping cat can nicely keep them from falling down. Pet insurance stays with the home.

A Plus Detail - Oldsville General Hospital is within walking distance just 3 blocks away. Should you have palpitations or anxiety attacks (their specialty) call the Emergency room (555-2555) and just tell them Marie sent you and they will take good care of you. We have a bonding relationship and this on-going relationship stays with the house.

Another Plus - Bats are plentiful in our area and should you air out the attic, some may radar through. This is convenient to kill the swarms of ladybugs that infest the ceilings in the spring and the cockroaches that snowbird in the winter. The bats do not need to be fed - they just fly in - and around - and out. Just be sure to keep the 36 windows open so they can depart. Bat droppings removal instructions stay with the house.

Don't worry about meeting people. In this ultra-friendly neighborhood, they will find you. Especially our cousin's son, Artie . He is a bachelor and might forget we moved. He may stop in from time to time especially on holidays and will insist we still live there. Just give him a beer or three (he likes Budweiser). If you know of any single ladies who may want to meet him, you can just give them his number (555-480-4080). We are offering a $500 reward if he marries one of them. Reward warranty good for 25 years.

Oh, and beware if a man named Hector calls and claims you are living in HIS house. Do not be alarmed. He is a past owner and also a patient at Greystone Institution and is delusional. He will calm down if you tell him that you are taking good care of it and that you always put his tools away. Don't mention that you are the new owner as that    might agitate him into a chain-saw reaction. Home insurance with liability and property damage coverage stay with house.

We know you will be ecstatically happy in this house and town. Our town is 2.3 miles square and has 21 bars. This is the absolute (no pun intended) truth. You don't have to walk far to have fellowship and companionship. Ask Artie.  He knows all of them. He spent so much time in them, that he forgot to get married.

We hope that you call soon for a walk-through which is only on Mondays and Fridays. You'll find out why if you purchase the house. Principals only - and we have just reduced this gem for $300,000. With all those extras! Woo Hoo!

Call for an appointment for any Monday and Friday. We know this is the house for you!!

Marie Coppola, revised February 2014, Copyrighted



If you travel to Italy, try to extend the trip southerly to visit Sicily, pronounced (See-chel-ia) in Italian. Sicily is located at the 'tip of the boot' of Italy and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, with several much smaller islands surrounding it that are also considered part of it.

If you do decide to visit Sicily you will fly into Catania Airport, the busiest airport on the island (and one of the busiest in all of Italy). As you descend from the plane into the airport, the majestic Mount Etna is glorioiusly displayed on the east coast against the blue waters of the Mediterranean. It is a breathtaking site that you never tire of no matter how many times you arrive there. Mount Etna is almost two miles high.

Mt. Etna, the highest mountain in Italy south of the Alps, is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is in an almost constant state of activity and the second largest active volcano in Europe. Etna covers an area of 460 sq mi and is the largest of the three active volcanoes in Italy, being about two and a half times the height of the next largest, Mount Vesuvius. Only Mount Teide in Tenerife surpasses it in the whole of the European region.

Located at the foot of the active volcano, Catania is the second-largest city in Sicily. There is a cable car to get to the top, but we drove up the winding roads as did the bikers and motorbikers. As we ascended, you could see the fertile volcanic soils that support extensive agriculture, with vineyards and orchards spread across the lower slopes of the mountain. From the busyness of Catania, as we drove up, up, and up, we could see the end of plant life where it had once flourished and spots of new reshooting by different plants that grow in ash. It became almost surreal as black mountains of still smouldering ash was on either side of us, all the while viewing the top of the volcano, with spouts of white smoke erupting from it.

The feeling is one of isolation; so different from the bustling, busy city we left behind. There were ruins of a house that was destroyed in an eruption. The higher we went up, it was somewhat unsettling to realize that the volcano is still active.

And there have been eruptions, some of them devastating. There was an an eruption back in 1928 which led to the first and only destruction of a population center since the 1669 eruption. A village was obliterated in just two days, with the lava destroying nearly every building. Only a church and a few surrounding buildings survived.

The year we drove up to Mt. Etna was in 2003. Just before we visited there, that same year, a much larger eruption threw up a huge column of ash that could easily be seen from space and fell as far away as Libya. Many houses on the flanks of the volcano experienced structural damage. The eruption also completely destroyed the tourist station Piano Provenzana.
Another eruption happened in May 2008 immediately to the east of Etna's summit craters, was accompanied by a swarm of more than 200 earthquakes and significant ground deformation in the summit area.

Are Sicilians warned before an eruption? Bill McGuire, director of the Benfield Hazard Research Centre at University College London, says seismic monitoring is standard. "There are lots of different methods of monitoring volcanos now but the two ways that unequivocally tell us that a volcano's getting ready for eruption are still the old ones - earthquake activity and ground deformation," he says.

Before a volcano erupts, magma (molten rock) rises towards the surface, breaking rock en route. As more pushes up, the rocks around it vibrate. This results in earthquakes that can sometimes cause damage to buildings. Any sudden change in quake activity around an active volcano will, hopefully, give scientists enough time to sound warnings.

David Rothery, a researcher in the volcano dynamics group at the Open University, uses another method of detecting potential eruptions. Many volcanos have craters at the summit but it is usually too dangerous to put instruments there. He peers at craters from space using satellites that measure infrared radiation, and looks for any sudden changes in heat activity. He says that, depending on the volcano, scientists will get anything from several months to a few days notice of an eruption.

In theory, then, eruptions shouldn't cause casualties. But this always depends on the evacuation plans for danger areas. Before Vesuvius erupts again, for example, 600,000 people will have to be evacuated, possibly at only a couple of weeks' notice.


Marie Coppola February 2014

Congress has its hands full keeping the Obama administration in check, and in most Americans' opinion, leaders could use some help -- from the church. The key to confronting the President's agenda may be as simple as encouraging more pastors to speak out. So said 61% of Americans surveyed in FRC's latest poll -- the results of which we announced yesterday at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention (NRB) in Nashville. With Christianity under attack as never before, the country is looking to its spiritual leaders to engage in the fight. As our First Freedom, religious liberty serves as the foundation for all other freedoms -- which will all be at risk if it crumbles. If pastors would just speak to the issues from a redemptive heart, most people agree that we would see this country turn around.

Rafael Cruz, director of Purifying Ministries and father of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) thinks that more boldness from the pulpit could have a profound effect on the state of our nation. At yesterday's news conference, he the press, "Too many pastors have been intimidated by a concept of separation of church and state not found in the Constitution." His comments were echoed by Dr. Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, who insisted, "No president in history has launched an attack on religious liberty like President Obama. If pastors remain AWOL on this issue like they have on others, we will lose the war for religious freedom that our forefathers gave their life's blood to provide."

Marie Coppola February 2014


This is the life journey that we ALL took.  It is the miracle of YOU beautifully expressed through the act of conception. While the explanation I found is very detailed, I will give you a capsule view of what I consider is a miracle ~~how each of us is made.   Let's call it: Conception 101~

After conception, only a few hundred of the 250,000,000 (that's 250 million!) healthy sperm reach the egg. It takes about two hours to make the entire journey to the egg; however, some sperm are Olympic swimmers and can reach the egg in a half an hour. If no egg is available to fertilize, the sperm swim around patiently waiting to bump into one. Because there is no chemical or physical attraction of the sperm for the egg, the sperm literally must bump into the egg. The area of the egg containing the mother's genetic contribution (chromosomes) and the area of the sperm containing dad's genetic contribution combine to begin a brand- new, unique individual. About 24 hours after fertilization, the first division of the newly formed cell takes place. The dividing ball of cells continues to travel down the fallopian tube toward the uterus where it will implant and grow.

Each of us has had an 'Olympic swimmer' who obviously won the 'gold' because you and I, our parents, friends, loved ones, children, everyone we know here on earth each had an award-winning "Olympic swimmer' in their lives. And that new unique individual is YOU. This is only a brief summary of the many conditions that must be present in order for there to be a pregnancy. You are literally One in a Million - make that One in 250,000,000!

You were no mistake or accident; God created you in His likeness. You are His child; His son or daughter. Ephesians 1:11, tells us "All things are done according to God's plan and decision..." And God tells us, in "Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

God has given us life, plans and a future. In embracing Him, through His Communicator, the Holy Spirit, we can accomplish much in our lives. It is our decision, through the free will that God has bestowed upon us, to prosper in the hopes and future that God envisions for us. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in developing the natural talents that you have. As you find your niche in life, your self-esteem will increase and you will find fulfillment. You are special, you are loved, you are precious to our Creator.

I come in contact with persons who sometimes have really low self-esteem. They weren't born with it, so somewhere, they developed a poor image of who they are.

Maybe it is self-inflicted; maybe it was forced on them; maybe it was the result of many disappointments. If they aren't blessed to have had someone build up their confidence or appreciate the talents that God has given to each of us individually, I hope they are reading this and realize that we are ALL special and we ALL have worth.

In God's Book, he tells us 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you...' (Jeremiah 1:5). Before we are born, God knows of our strengths and weaknesses; He knows what we are capable of and what our limitations are. We have to trust in God that He knows and will guide us in His Will through His Communicator, the Holy Spirit, who gives us wisdom and knowledge, if we only ask for it.

Marie Coppola February 2014



Alzheimer's is tough. It's losing a person before you lose them forever.

It can be a swift loss or a gradual one. Ours was a gradual one; our Mom started to forget where she put things or events that happened or were suppose to happen.   She got anxious, then depressed and one day stopped functioning.   Shortly afterwards, she stopped talking altogether.

We were a family of seven, and although 4 out of her 5 children were girls; our bachelor brother became her caretaker. The females in the family were all married, had jobs and families of their own. Our brother lived in the house with Mom and Dad and although he worked, too, he provided her daily care which included hiring a caregiver to come in during the day.  Our mom was always freshly bathed and powdered, attired in clean clothes with a quiet, calm presence.

Our father wanted her at home; he had promised her she would never go to a nursing home.  Once, after a surgery, just after her decline, she had stayed briefly in a nursing facility and visibly and emotionally suffered from that experience.

Throughout the 10 years of her illness, she was silent, calm and and good natured.  My brother always set a place for her at the table for family meals and she was always part of our family get-togethers, smiling at times at all of us. On Dad's 80th birthday, we had a party for him at a restaurant and he insisted that she be there at his side. She was silent but smiled when she recognized someone. She was always at his side.

Just once, about 9 months before she died, as I was preparing her a meal one night, she said clearly, "I'm going to eat dinner now". What a nice gift that was.  Every now and then, she would look at our Dad and brother and say their name or a full sentence.   They were her mainstays and those were nice gifts.

Reading the above, it sounds like a sad scenario, but it truly was not.  Our family was a support system for each other.  We girls would stop by with groceries or other pick-ups and fill in when my brother was not there. The older grandchildren would Nana-sit if my brother had to be away overnight.  When he walked In, he would be greeted with a big smile from Mom; he was her only male child and also her first-born. He always made her laugh and comfortable.  I would join my brother to take Mom along a trail in the woods in October because she so loved the fall colors. Other outings were country rides in the summer or just a pretty park in the spring. She would smile and seem to enjoy it ~ silently.

We all tried our best to keep life as normal as we could.   That's what I remember the most about the 10 years my mother was cared for at home.

My Dad also took care of her the best way he knew how, and the care-giving he provided did take its toll on him. He also received the wide smiles whenever he walked into a room where she was.  He would talk to her just as he always had.  She had always told us in earlier years that she had to outlive him because he could never get along alone or without her.  . She did just that when he passed away the year after his 80th party.  She became noticeably unhappy and distraught and she followed him just 5 months later. She had done her job and outlived him as she planned to.   Somewhere in her mind, she felt the need to do just that.

The afternoon of the night my mother died, I was on my way from one appointment to another.   I was going right by the hospital where she had been for a few days.   I cancelled both appointments and stopped to see her.   They had moved her to a single room.   I asked the nurse at the nursing station  how she was doing and the nurse told me she was 'unresponsive'.   When I walked into the room, my mother tried to sit up and smiled with her whole face.   I hugged her awhile and went out to the nurse to order a TV for her.   The nurse said it wouldn't do any good - she was 'unresponsive'.   I asked the nurse  to come to the room with me and she saw my mother repeat her welcome smile.  The nurse was quite surprised.   Mom never got the TV ordered for the next day, she died that night.    She was 79.

Although something unexplained and undefined has been taken away from Alzheimer patients, there is something within them besides not being be able to communicate.     They try to....but stop in frustration.   It is frustating at times for all involved.   We all treated her as if she understood eveything, and kept her in a normal routine.   She got attention, love and care.  We were blessed with the caregiver who treated her like a Mom.   Her behavior those last 10 years was a higher level than the few days she spent in the nursing home.   I am not criticizing nursing homes; they are important for those who have no families or someone to care for them or have different symptoms.

Having dinner with my brother one night some months later, I expressed how grateful we all were in all he had done for our mom and dad, sacrificing a long portion of his life to do so. And I'll never forget his answer: "I would take them back right now  in a heartbeat even in the condition they were at the end."

I can see my mother smiling down on that one.  I'm sure she felt it all along.

Marie Coppola  © February 17, 2014


Many of us like to sing. Some of us sing well, and .... well, some of us sing like Lucy Riccardo on I Love Lucy. That's me. Some of us hum and sing when we are nervous; my brother does that.  Humming actually helps relax you as you breathe differently when you sing. And some of us only sing in the shower where the acoustics help us out.

It's a fact that singing is good for you.  It has a positive effect in that it reduces stress levels which helps our well-being."It can also be considered a good work-out, even if sitting because it is an aerobic activity that brings oxygen into the blood stream and exercises major muscle groups in the upper body. It's also psychologically beneficial as singing together in a chorus or group promotes a sense of community, sharing and belonging to a common cause." Ref: Professor Graham Welch, Chair of Music Education at the Institute of Education, University of London

"Regular exercising of the vocal cords can even prolong life, because you are exercising your lungs and heart. Not only that, your body produces ‘feel good’ hormones called endorphins, which rush around your body when you sing. Not only can it increase lung capacity, it improves posture, clears respiratory tubes and sinuses, and can increase mental alertness through greater oxygenation. It even tones the muscles of your stomach and back, that is if you’re singing correctly." Ref:

So, singing even helps you live longer, enhances your mental state and even helps keep wrinkles off your face. A study at the University of California has reported higher levels of immune system proteins upon singing/choral participation.

Ahhh, then there are the songbirds we all know, who sing well, and what a delight they are to hear.   What does singing have to do with 'make a joyful noise unto the Lord?' Psalm 100 says..." Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness; come before his presence with singing."

Does God like us to sing to Him? What does the Bible say?

Singing is also a delight to our Lord, who mentions throughout His Book about singing praises and thanks to Him. He doesn't care about acoustics or if we sound like Lucy; He takes pleasure in our devotion of singing. Zephaniah :17 tells us - "...He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.

We have grace in our hearts when we sing to the Lord. "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (Col. 3:16)."

When we sing to God, we sing with our spirit and mind. " What is the outcome then? I shall pray with the spirit and I shall pray with the mind also; I shall sing with the spirit and I shall sing with the mind also." 1 Cor 14:15

"Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord." (Eph. 5:19)

"O sing to the Lord a new song; sing to God all the earth.” Psalm 96

Lift up your heart to the Lord by singing songs in gratitude and praise. It will improve your life and your health and delight the Lord.

Here is a pleasant, relaxing example of praise to the Lord by Laurie Klein - Maranatha - who sings "I Love You, Lord". 


Marie Coppola  February 2014