The Ramen Diet


Read and share this BLOG. This is a friend of mine and I had no idea, but can certainly relate to where she is. We all MUST tell our stories.

Piss Poor

Like 47 million other Americans who “depend on the SNAP program to meet their basic nutritional needs,” my monthly allotment was reduced on November 1. As a recent CNN opinion piece by the executive director of Feeding America said:  “The cuts this week are significant and will put a strain on millions of families struggling with food insecurity, hitting them right before the holiday season.”

In my case, I will now receive $15 per month. Fortunately, I don’t have a family to feed. And, even more fortunately, I have a small income from Social Security. I just have to figure out what not to pay so I can continue to eat in a reasonably healthy way.

In anticipation of a time like this, I started hoarding food a long time ago. Whenever something was on sale, I bought as much as I could.

This weekend, I did an inventory of my…

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On Dying Alone

From Made In America, the Book

From Made In America, the Book

Animals have an instinct for dying alone – hidden from view. Even the largest, most conspicuous creatures find ways to conceal themselves when death draws near. If an elephant missteps and dies in an open place, the herd will not leave the carcass there, the others will pick it up and carry the body from place to place, finally putting it down in some inexplicable location. When elephants encounter the skeleton of another elephant out in the open, they methodically take up each of the bones and distribute them, in a ponderous ceremony, over neighboring acres.

We speak of our dead in low voices; “struck down;” we say, as though visible death can only occur for cause, by disease or violence…avoidably.

We send flowers, we grieve, we perform ceremonies, bury bones and scatter ashes, oblivious that there are countless others somewhere in the world on the same schedule of death. And unmindful that such immense mass of flesh, bone and consciousness will disappear by absorption into the earth, without recognition of the transient survivors…US…WE, the living who are left behind afraid –and alone…missing the departed.

Many humans fear death. More fear dying alone. I am no exception…or at least that was true until recently when I realized that it isn’t dying alone that I fear but LIVING alone! It is the thought of growing old alone…of being DISCONNECTED from love and humanity that frightens me.

I have come to realize that every new life is in trade for a life that departs. There is some comfort in the recognition of such synchrony and in the information that we all leave this world together, in the best of company.

It’s Official…21 New Words Were Added to the Dictionary Using Crowd-Sourcing!


21_magnetThe first edition of the Collins dictionary published in 1979, with Patrick Hanks as editor and Lawrence Urdang as editorial director, was a milestone in dictionary making as it was the first to use the full power of computer databases and typesetting in the preparation of a dictionary. This meant that, for instance, subject editors could control separate definitions of the same word and the results could be blended into the result, rather than one editor being responsible for a word.

By the third edition, they increasingly used the Bank of English established by Hanks at COBUILD to provide typical definitions rather than examples composed by the lexicographer.

The unabridged Collins English dictionary was published on the web on December 31, 2011 at along with the unabridged dictionaries of French, German, Spanish and Italian. The site also includes example sentences showing word usage from the Collins Bank of English Corpus, word frequencies and trends from the Google Ngrams project, and word images from Flickr.

Last year, in August, www.collinsdictionary.comintroduced Facebook-linked crowd-sourcing for neologisms. In other words they asked us (meaning anyone who speaks English) to submit new words for inclusion in the dictionary!

For those of you who are passionate about the preservation and evolution of the English language, that’s not as bad as it sounds. They still maintained overall editorial control in order to be distinguishable from Wiktionary and Urban Dictionary. So just because a word is submitted doesn’t mean it automatically makes it into the dictionary. Editors evaluate and research submissions just as they would any other word under consideration.

Alex Brown, head of digital at Collins, said in a press release, “It is essential that we keep our ear close to the ground listening out for new words emerging from pop culture, science, and technology.” He added; “Most dictionaries are static.” By allowing the public to participate the folks at Collins Dictionary feel that we stay on top of the evolving English language.”

Here are those twenty-one additions:
1. Legbomb – when a person, usually a celebrity, shows off a lot of leg.
2. Cray – commonly used by rappers such as Jay-Z and Kanye West to mean crazy.
3. Yolo – a word used by R&B artist Drake to mean “you only live once.”
4. Tebowing – to drop to a knee as if you’re praying in the nature of NFL quarterback Tim Tebow.
5. Omnishambles – something which is completely and continuously in shambles.
6. Creeping – pursuing women in a nightclub.
7. Mantyhose – tights for men.
8. Tweeps – Twitter users.
9. Twitlit – poems, sayings, and aphorisms that debuted on Twitter and adhere to its 140-character limit.
10. Twitterverse
11. Carmageddon – a state of extreme traffic congestion.
12. Trendfear – the anxiety that you are not up to date on certain trends.
13. Gazanging – when a property seller pulls the plug at the last minute, eaving the buyer hanging.
14. Photobombing – appearing at the back of someone else’s photograph without their realizing it, so they are surprised when they see the photo.
15. Lollage – use of the phrase “lol” meaning “laugh out loud.”
16. Amazeballs – amazing.

Not all of the words are so… nontraditional. For example, Collins editors have also approved words such as :
17. occupy
18. insourcing
19. livestream
20. crowdsource
21. flashmob

Our Letters Must Be Read –ii



On Mon, Sep 5, 2011 at 12:09 PM, Renee Prejean-Motanky wrote:

Now I get it! It’s sad that when it comes to passion, hysteria (evoked by true passion) has gone out of style. The world has become superficial. There are no more “masters.”

Your work has an ability to grab folks where they live and “shake” them. It’s edgy and it’s in-your-face. Most people can’t deal. It either brings out their worst traits (greed, avarice, envy…) or makes them feel as though someone/thing has been thrown into them, crawled through their psyche and swum through their soul…either way, your “derangement” is totally wasted –ends up bringing you grief, misery or abject “pissed-off-itude” until you find a way back to “sanity” by telling them to fuck-off and the project becomes a way to keep the creative genius alive…to verify he exists… to feed the spirit…and it gets better (I did see the difference between earlier and later episodes.)

What you also need (well, what I need)…what I’ve always needed…is to find a soul somewhere with whom to share something in common. I’m beginning to fear that I’ll be forced to live out my life alone…in a dreamlike state, yearning for more than is really there. I can’t allow myself to believe that’s true yet.


Sanity, while over-rated, I suppose, does have its own rewards. With a little serenity (as I prefer to call it,) you can take on a new client or task and remain in control. When that becomes burdensome, you can always lose your mind for a second or two. I do it all of the time (that is one of my stabilizers!) When you get back, rest assured, the ingrates are waiting because while you’ve been gone and they’ve had to do it on their own they’ve discovered, if they have a keen business sense, where their talents really lie. Unfortunately, a keen business sense seems to go hand-in-hand with having a knack for discovering a weakness in others and preying on it for personal gain.


you recognize that trait in them and are beyond their control. So, they can’t get to you now (well, maybe a little, but only in the weaker moments) or cause you any lasting damage. You just might find a way to turn the tables on them. True talent MUST prevail.

And you have true talent, Harry. –r Read the rest of this entry

What’s In Store for Seniors


timthumbIf you’re like me, you’re sick to death of the posturing and rhetoric of our political parties…in fact, you’ve felt dismayed, disgusted, frustrated, maybe even, fearful. I have certainly felt every one of those things along with helplessness. Republican rhetoric, stubborn beliefs, true and false accusations from both parties and opinions from self-appointed “experts” have left me to wonder what purpose is really being served.

Why is it that deficit spending (ALWAYS the big culprit) is given a new definition, depending on which party is in power, and Social Security and Medicare Benefits are attacked? It seems talking out of both sides of the mouth is common? For example, “entitlement” Is, Ironically a bad word when used to characterize Social Security, Medicare and unemployment benefits. Never mind that most of us have paid into Social Security for all of our working lives and that employers have paid for unemployment benefits, are taxed on these “entitlements.” And need I point out that recipients are taxed on these benefits that we have paid for.

So what about the pensions of lawmakers and politicians for which TAXPAYERS are charged? These and their many tax breaks are also “entitlements”. Yet they’ve not come under scrutiny and so far there is no evidence that any of them would give up these benefits…yet this is glossed over.

Robbing senior citizens of income they depend on could result in a sad and steadily increasing population of homeless senior citizens. Seniors are also the least likely to be employed population. And because we are growing in numbers there are quick accusations of how seniors will rob future generations of their “entitlements.” No matter what seniors do, we seem to bear the brunt of the ills of the country. It’s ludicrous!

It would be nothing short of miraculous if our political “leaders” actually spent more time doing something that would+ truly benefit our citizens. And miracle of miracles, what would happen if the person we citizens have chosen to be our President was actually supported rather than being fought at every turn? Obviously, the people wanted change yet we’re back to fighting every change proposed, mainly for political gain.

So what’s up with that? And better question still; what can we do about it? Sophomoric though it may seem, I say we need to pay attention to what our elected officials say and do…then let go of preconceived political beliefs, and ask ourselves:
•“How does this really benefit our country?”
•“How does it benefit my family, my community, our children’s education and everyone else, including seniors?”
•“Am I following political rhetoric or beliefs I picked up from parents, religious gurus, and other people who hold themselves as authorities, or is this truly what is in my own heart?”

I’m certainly not an expert on politics and I don’t even like writing about politics but the events of the first four years of the Obama presidency and those since his re-election, have left me questioning my belief in this country. I painfully participate in the struggles my mother is experiencing at 89 when she should be without anxiety– able to enjoy her final chapter and I am truly frightened about what’s in store for me.

The Richness and Diversity of Language

words do matter - Cincibility/Wordpress

words do matter – Cincibility/Wordpress

There are at least 250,000 words in the English language. However, to think that English – or any language – could hold enough expression to convey the entirety of the human experience would be naive.

HERE ARE A FEW examples of instances where other languages have found the right word for which there is no English equivalent.

1. Toska

RussianVladmir Nabokov describes it best: “No single word in English renders all the shades of toska. At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning. In particular cases it may be the desire for somebody of something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness. At the lowest level it grades into ennui, boredom.”

2. Mamihlapinatapei

Yagan (indigenous language of Tierra del Fuego) – “the wordless, yet meaningful look shared by two people who both desire to initiate something but are both reluctant to start” (

3. Jayus

Indonesian – “A joke so poorly told and so unfunny that one cannot help but laugh” (

4. Iktsuarpok

Inuit – “To go outside to check if anyone is coming.” (

5. Litost

Czech – Milan Kundera, author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, remarked that “As for the meaning of this word, I have looked in vain in other languages for an equivalent, though I find it difficult to imagine how anyone can understand the human soul without it.” The closest definition is a state of agony and torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery.

6. Kyoikumama

Japanese – “A mother who relentlessly pushes her children toward academic achievement” (

7. Tartle

Scottish – The act of hestitating while introducing someone because you’ve forgotten their name. (

8. Ilunga

Tshiluba (Southwest Congo) – A word famous for its untranslatability, most professional translators pinpoint it as the stature of a person “who is ready to forgive and forget any first abuse, tolerate it the second time, but never forgive nor tolerate on the third offense.” (

9. Prozvonit

Czech – This word means to call a mobile phone and let it ring once so that the other person will call back, saving the first caller money. In Spanish, the phrase for this is “Dar un toque,” or, “To give a touch.” (

10. Cafuné

Brazilian Portuguese – “The act of tenderly running one’s fingers through someone’s hair.” (

11. Schadenfreude

German – Quite famous for its meaning that somehow other languages neglected to recognize, this refers to the feeling of pleasure derived by seeing another’s misfortune. I guess “America’s Funniest Moments of Schadenfreude” just didn’t have the same ring to it.

12. Torschlusspanik

German – Translated literally, this word means “gate-closing panic,” but its contextual meaning refers to “the fear of diminishing opportunities as one ages.” (

13. Wabi-Sabi

Japanese – Much has been written on this Japanese concept, but in a sentence, one might be able to understand it as “a way of living that focuses on finding beauty within the imperfections of life and accepting peacefully the natural cycle of growth and decay.” (

14. Dépaysement

French – The feeling that comes from not being in one’s home country.

15. Tingo

Pascuense (Easter Island) – Hopefully this isn’t a word you’d need often: “the act of taking objects one desires from the house of a friend by gradually borrowing all of them.” (

16. Hyggelig

Danish – Its “literal” translation into English gives connotations of a warm, friendly, cozy demeanor, but it’s unlikely that these words truly capture the essence of a hyggelig; it’s likely something that must be experienced to be known. I think of good friends, cold beer, and a warm fire. (

17. L’appel du vide

French – “The call of the void” is this French expression’s literal translation, but more significantly it’s used to describe the instinctive urge to jump from high places.

18. Ya’aburnee

Arabic – Both morbid and beautiful at once, this incantatory word means “You bury me,” a declaration of one’s hope that they’ll die before another person because of how difficult it would be to live without them.

19. Duende

Spanish – While originally used to describe a mythical, spritelike entity that possesses humans and creates the feeling of awe of one’s surroundings in nature, its meaning has transitioned into referring to “the mysterious power that a work of art has to deeply move a person.” There’s actually a nightclub in the town of La Linea de la Concepcion, where I teach, named after this word. (

20. Saudade

Portuguese – One of the most beautiful of all words, translatable or not, this word “refers to the feeling of longing for something or someone that you love and which is lost.” Fado music, a type of mournful singing, relates to saudade. (

The hardest part about learning a new language isn’t so much getting acquainted with the translations of vocabulary and different grammatical forms and bases, but developing an inner reflex that responds to words’ texture, not their translated “ingredients”. When you hear the word “criminal” you don’t think of “one who commits acts outside the law,” but rather the feeling and mental imagery that comes with that word.

Thus these words, while standing out due to our inability to find an equivalent word in out own language, should not be appreciated for the English words that we use to try to describe them, but for their own unique taste and texture. Understanding these words should be like eating the best morsel of your favorite food: the enjoyment doesn’t come from knowing what the chef put into the seasoning, but from the full experience that can only be created by time and emotion