Monthly Archives: February 2011

>Speno: Help plan Flagler County’s future

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Find out what’s going on in the Flagler County Community!  Read my latest column in The Record by clicking on the link below or on the title above.  Find out what’s coming up to brighten your days!

Speno: Help plan Flagler County’s future | StAugustine.com

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>Mother Nature Communicating with us!!

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Read the story from Yahoo! News about an increase in earthquake activity~

Ark. cities feel unexplained surge in earthquakes – Yahoo! News

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>You know, that place kitty-corner from the bank!! Huh???

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“Paper Clip, is it kitty-corner or catty-corner?”
We were out to dinner with some friends in St. Augustine Saturday night celebrating my birthday at LePavillon.  On the way home we started talking about our favorite spots around town.  I said “oh we like that spot that’s “kitty corner” from The Columbia Restaurant.” .  My friend seemed confused, and said, “you mean catty- corner.”    We had a a few laughs about whether it was “kitty” or “catty.”    
After thinking about it for a day or two, I thought, “hmmm, there’s a blog post in there somewhere!”  I consulted my cat, Paper Clip, but she couldn’t seem to tear herself away from her jigsaw puzzle – or was it her nap.   Anyway, some further research beckoned me.
My investigation revealed some interesting tid bits (we’ll save that one for a future post!)   It seems that the use of kitty-corner and catty-corner are actually regional.  For instance I found one string of comments that identifies the use of “kitty-corner” with the Midwest – Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, while the use of “catty” stems more from the East coast of the U.S.  The more sophisticated person would probably just say “diagonal” but how interesting is that ??!!

This regional identification clarifies the confusion between my friend and I.  I’m from Chicago – deeply embedded in the Midwest,  and she grew up along the East coast and has spent most of her adult life in Florida.

But more interestingly is that  both “kitty-corner” and “catty-corner” evolved out of “catercorner.”   Now, an old meaning of “cater” was diagonal and that meaning stemmed from an older meaning of  “four.”  If you’re not confused yet, just wait, there’s more.  That obsolete meaning goes back even further to the Latin “quattuor”  for “four.” 

I also discovered that “cater” (not to be confused with present day meaning of supplying food or service for an event or banquet), led to the use of yet another word not common in our language today – catawampus — meaning crooked.  If you think about it the evolution of “kitty-corner” or “catty-corner” all makes sense.

So what does all this mean?  Several things:

  •  That our language and “slanguage” is complex.  Can you imagine how terribly difficult it must   be for learners of English as a Second Language to grasp all of this.
  • That those four years of Latin I took at Queen of Peace high school in Burbank, Illinois, just outside of Chicago,  continue to inspire me to uncover the origins of language.  (See Sister Frances, I was paying attention to you!)
  • And finally, that it doesn’t really matter how we say it, as long as our listener grasps our meaning.

Anyway, for me, I am staying true to the cultural norm of language behaviors that I learned from family, friends and the place I grew up.  Just think about the kids of today and their use of language.   See my post of a few weeks ago that talks about present-day lingo of young people.

To my friend, if you’re listening, I have to say,  “That favorite spot in St. Augustine is ‘kitty-corner’ from  The Columbia Restaurant!!”

For the rest of you, if I can help you sort out your manuscripts or other writing projects, let me know, I would be happy to help!  Visit my website, find me on Facebook or just leave me a comment here.  That’s all!!

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>Quotes can inspire you – try it!

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Check out my post at the FWA Palm Coast Chapter blog about great quotes and inspiration!

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>Communicate with sea life (click here to read the article in The Record)

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Right Whale by Rick Cannizzaro

Did you ever have the urge to communicate with nature?  Well, here’s your chance.  Read my latest column in the Palm Coast Neighbors feature of The St. Augustine Record to learn how you can communicate by listening, observing, and reading.   Remember  — this blog is about communication on all levels, and here’s a great example of how far-reaching communication becomes in our daily lives.

The beautiful (and endangered) North Atlantic right whales visit the shores of Flagler Beach on a regular basis and are waiting to communicate with you!  Read the story to see how you can learn more about them  and even see a local art exhibit featuring the marine art of  Rick Cannizzaro.  The effort to learn more about these amazing creatures is well-worth your time.   You can also visit Ocean Publishing  or visit them on Facebook for more updates about the right whales.  Also, be sure to stop by Cannizzaro’s site to see his beautiful marine art and more.

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>To Reply or Not to Reply – That is the Question……….

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Recently a Facebook friend made a comment on her wall to please not  hit “reply all” when responding to an email. It seemed like a post of frustration, and I can certainly relate. Back in September, I posted about just this habit. Check it out at this link.  And remember unless you are working with a very small group of colleagues/friends, use “reply all” with caution.  If you get an email where you are in a bcc, it’s definitely not a good idea to use “reply all.”    Remember that sometimes the reason that a sender puts you in a “bcc” field is due to the large number of recipients.
  If you think email etiquette isn’t getting a lot of attention – think again.  A simple Google search returns nearly 2.5 million results!  Delving deep into the results returns a lot credible sites, blogs and papers about how we should approach email, giving us best practices when emailing – especially in the professional arena.
As a researcher at heart, I found it interesting that these sources covered a wide variety of industries and originated from the U.S., Europe, Australia,  and Asia.  So, I’d say, “yes, email etiquette still gets lots of attention as a global concern.  But do we use it in our day-to-day activities and what are some key things we should remember?

Back to what I said earlier about “bcc,” remember that it is not always necessary or recommended to advertise everyone’s address.  Use discretion when writing to a large group.   Rule of thumb: treat their addresses with the same amount of care that you would want your own treated. Be courteous.

Some other suggestions:

  • Watch your grammar – don’t get into “text or IM mode”
  • Don’t shout at your recipients, i.e. refrain from using ALL CAPS like this
  • Reply only if really necessary – think about it.  How many “ok” emails do you get or send??  Are they necessary?  Sometimes, yes, but not always
  • Use effective subject lines that define the content of your intended message
  • Keep your signature line to 4 lines or less
I am sure you can think of more suggestions.   And if you honestly can’t, do your own online search, and I’m sure you’ll find plenty of resources to help you.  One of the better articles I found was from Partner to Partner Advisory by Dana Casperson.  It is dated  October 2002 – and we’re still struggling with the same issues about email etiquette.  Go figure.
Send me your comments about your email issues.  I’d love to hear from you.

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