About Alice Fulton

Ana Marti-SubiranaAlice Fulton is a poet / writer from the New York area and was born in 1952 and educated gaining a BA at Empire State College and an MFA from Cornell University.  Her poems focus on content as well as form.  Her work focuses on line and language, as well as its content.  She has received many awards and honors during her lifetime.

POETRY

Anchors of Light, Swamp Press (Oneonta, NY), 1979.
Dance Script with Electric Ballerina, University of Pennsylvania Press (Philadelphia), 1983.
Palladium, University of Illinois Press (Urbana), 1986.
Powers of Congress, David Godine (Boston), 1990; reissued by Sarabande Books (Louisville, KY), 2001.
Sensual Math, Norton (New York), 1995.
Felt: Poems, Norton, 2001.
Cascade Experiment: Selected Poems, Norton, 2004.

FICTION

The Nightingales of Troy: Stories of One Family’s Century, Norton, 2008.

OTHER

Feeling as a Foreign Language: The Good Strangeness of Poetry, Graywolf Press (St. Paul, MN), 1999.

For more details see this information by Anna Marti-Subirana

Keeping Your Memory Sharp

Loss of brain power is a growing concern as the population of the United States ages. Alzheimer’s and dementia are valid fears held by many Baby Boomers and succeeding generations. They worry about losing their memory and then other cognitive abilities and turning into a shell of their previous self. To cope with this anxiety, many are taking steps to exercise their minds years after leaving college.

Keeping their memory sharp, or actually improving memory skills , is a key activity to stave off brain drain. However, who wants to sit and memorize long lists of facts and numbers? It was a dreaded exercise in grade school so there’s no reason to believe that those in middle age and older would want to return to rote memorization. There are other ways, fun ways, to engage the memory and other mental faculties.

One of the best ways to keep the mind sharp is by learning a new language. Individuals who plan to spend their retirement traveling may want to plan ahead and learn German online now. Or they can enroll in a local conversational class that will allow them to interact with an instructor and classmates and provide even more mental stimulation.

The flip side of that coin is to become a teacher. There are lots of immigrants across the country who want to learn English . Teaching requires a good grasp of vocabulary, grammar, syntax, and pronunciation. Teachers have to stay on their toes in order to answer questions and guide students through the intricacies of the English language.

In addition to language, learning or teaching any new skill-set or subject matter will require strong memory skills as well as analytical and other cognitive skills. People can learn to cook a new type of cuisine, master a craft, or even study history, art, or literature. Or they can identify a skill or subject in which they are an expert and offer a class to others.

And, yes, there is an app for this. In fact, there are dozens of mobile apps, computer sites and games that are designed to help people exercise their memories using trivia, vocabulary, math, and logic skills. Everything from scrabble to chess to hidden object games provide hours of fun that also improve the memory.

contributed by Bradley Osborne, a popular columnist and blogger.  His work has appeared on news and family sites as well as educational sites and top lifestyle blogs.

image courtesy Creative Commons License

Got Autism? Get an iPad!

ipadIt was none other than Steve Jobs, iconic CEO of Apple Computers who called the iPad a magical device. Mr. Jobs was likely referring to the technological marvels of the new tablet computing device his company was releasing. Like many such advances in technology, in a child’s hands the iPad has become babysitter, learning tool, and for some, drool catcher. But is it possible this sleek, modern, super futuristic computer is a possible cure for autism in children?

Setting aside the politics swirling around potential causes for autism, as well as the various definitions for what is considered autistic, current estimates have just over 1% of children in the United States diagnosed with autistic tendencies. This amounts to quite a few children with shortened attention spans, decreasing abilities to communicate or even perform basic living functions on their own.

The more extreme cases of children with autism see those afflicted mired in lives of frustration often culminating in violence. Sometimes extreme violent actions to themselves and the loved ones around them.

Millions of dollars goes towards research and development in the field of childhood autism every year. Knowing what truly causes autism in children is clearly important, as is understanding how to cure the disease. Perhaps as pressing to those parents who may have one or more offspring afflicted with autism is effectively managing their kids until the day comes when the cure is available.

As with most aspect of the unknown, a wide variety and depth of speculative solutions are constantly being created (and just as readily being discarded). The aggressive nature of the violent outbursts which occur in an afflicted child can be as much or more than many parents are able to handle at a given time. Violent and abusive responses are not uncommon to flustered and frustrated parents. Relief, usually coming in the form of the child’s complete exhaustion, tends to be the only relief to appear on the weary parent’s horizon.

Application developers, along with the infrastructure Apple has created with its App Store have provided iPad owners with virtually unlimited numbers of software programs. Anything which one could do on a traditional computer or laptop is easily done within the confines of the iPad’s systems.

By internalizing the keyboard, removing the need for a mouse (pointing device), and building the CPU and other components in the thin space beneath the touch screen, the iPad is a complete, powerful system. One which takes up very little space and is relatively light. These slim, robust computers are easily held and manipulated in even the hands of small children.

And kids tend to figure out technology fast. Even faster than adults with 12:00 still flashing on their VCR. But a kid who is autistic? Is it really possible they, too, are benefiting from all those futuristic bells and whistles?

Apparently they are.

Was the first interaction between autistic child and iPad accidental? Did a distracted parent forget his sleek, new computer was within reach of the violent, often temperamental child? Or was it that same frustration which prompted the parent to use any means necessary to appease the demands of their child?

Whatever the answer, the facts are clear. Children with diminished capacity to process or even control the incoming flow of information in the world around them are doing just that with the aid of the iPad. More precisely, they are able to learn and deal with much more of their environment as a direct result of some ingenuous applications which have been developed for the iPad platform.

The hardware capabilities built into the iPad, like the video and audio recording as well as its still camera are allowing parents to teach their challenging children with real world examples. Images and sounds taken from the immediate surroundings the autistic child is most familiar. And most comfortable with.

Once the cost of the iPad is overcome, applications are available from $5 upwards to a couple of hundred dollars. Perhaps one of the most interesting intangibles of all, however? iPad’s are cool. Kids with iPads stick out, but in a good way. The last thing an autistic child needs is more negative attention.

This post was written by guest author Joshua Hitch. Joshua became interested in ways to further the learning of children with disabilities after working closely with disability denial lawyers to learn what some of these children struggle with.

photo by: Ed Yourdon

Push Across America Inspires Many

Ryan Chalmers has been an inspiration to many over much of his life.  Now, with the help of ALMS Champion racer Scott Tucker, and other sponsors, Chalmers has completed a 3,000 mile trek across the country — in his wheelchair.  The Push Across America campaign found Chalmers pushing his wheelchair from Los Angeles to New York city in just 71 days.  The 24-year-old US paralympian arrived in Central park on June 15th.  The goal of the endeavor was to build awareness for persons with disabilities and to raise money for teens with physical disabilities.  The money raised will go to the nonprofit Stay-Focused which works with such teens.

ChalmersChalmers began his quest in Los Angeles on April 6th. Using only his arms, he pushed his racing chair through cities, up mountains, and across the Great Plains.  He was accompanied by Roger Muller, founder and president of Stay-Focused, as well as six others including a two-person documentary crew.  Support vehicles drove ahead and behind Chalmers during the entire trip. The 71 day schedule included pushing 60 miles every other day and taking 14 rest days.

Muller recruited Chalmers to join Stay-Focused in 2005.  Chalmers learned to SCUBA dive there and then became a mentor with the group.  Chalmers was born with spina biffida, but has been competing in sports since he was eight-years-old.  In college he narrowed his focus to track. He went on to finish fifth in the 2010 L.A. Marathon and eventually earned a spot on the 2012 US Paralympic team and competed in London at the Paralympic Games.  He plans to compete again in 2016.

“Ryan is a very inspiring guy,” said sponsor Scott Tucker, “I continue to be impressed by his tenacity and perseverance and I wanted to help bring his story to as wide of an audience as possible.”

Tucker was able to meet with Chalmers as he came through Kansas City.  Tucker showed off Level 5′s race cars and spoke with Chalmers about the goal of Stay-Focused to inspire young people with disabilities.

“Scott really got what we were trying to achieve and the awareness that we’re trying to build, and just understood right away that we’re athletes just like everybody else,” explained Chalmers “So it was really cool just to be able to chat with him and really get to know someone who understands the messages that we’re trying to get out. It really uplifted me and encouraged me going forward.”

One Day at a Time

Even with our current technological conveniences, it sometimes feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get things done. After a week of work and tending to your family, you might feel like you’ve gotten nothing done: short-term goals like keeping an organized house or indulging in hobbies might seem impossible. And long-term goals, like losing weight or working toward a better career, aren’t even on your radar.

There’s a reason that “one day at a time” is a common mantra: attempting to deal with all of your obstacles at once is overwhelming. But committing to addressing one or two challenges at a time—breaking your day down into digestible bites, addressing your most immediate goals first—you can make real, measurable progress on both your short-term and long-term goals.

Immediate goals

Taking care of yourself can seem like a tough task, but it’s one of the most important things you can do. A healthy diet, a regular exercise regimen, and a steady sleep schedule should be your top priorities every day. You might think you don’t have enough time to get a workout in or make yourself a good meal every night. But the average person watch about 34 hours of television a week—plenty of time that could be used cooking or exercising. Making your body and brain as healthy as they can be will have a positive effect on the rest of your life—so put it at the top of your list.

Mid-term goals

Saving money is harder these days—a less-than-ideal working wage, student loans, or other financial obligations can put a strain on your savings account. But there are things you do every day to save small amounts of money—those small amounts can add up to big money each month. Using online services like Mint.com can take the place of a spending journal, and can help you plan for future purchases both large and small.

Long-term goals

The current job market has forced millions of workers postpone plans to purchase a home, to start a family, or to pursue other goals. Depending on your current job, you might be ready for a move up or a career change. Getting an education is still the best way to improve your chances to land a great job, and there are more options now than ever:  Distance learning and online degree programs are becoming more popular because they allow students to take classes that fit their schedules, and work at their own pace. Students can pursue a wide range of interests: if you’re in the medical field, an associate degree in nursing could help you jump start your career. Considering other career paths can be a good way to get yourself motivated and thinking about your future.  You may also consider locating to a college town like Austin or Boston.

When setting your goals, it’s important to consider both your immediate needs as well as the big picture. Tackling everything at once can be exhausting, so think about your daily tasks and your larger. goals separately—and do what you can to make sure you’re not taking on too much at one time. It might seem like you’re making less progress, but it will add up in the long run.

Thomas Stone is a content-author and life-long learner. He is writing on behalf of AIU, an online university offering an associate degree in nursing for students interested in the learning about the field of health care.

Sports as a Stress Reliever

sportsEveryone has heard about the dangers of stress. In addition to being a contributing cause to life-threatening illness, it can interfere with concentration, problem-solving, and even sleep. Finding effective ways to combat stress is a key element to health in the 21st century. While some people chose relaxation through massage, yoga, or mediation as a way to decrease stress, others head out to engage in their favorite sport. Enough studies have linked the positive effects of sports on stress that more and more doctors treating stress-related illness are recommending regular physical activity for their patients.

Physical Benefits

Sports produce measurable changes in body chemistry and physiology.  Most people have heard of runner’s high, which happens when the body releases endorphins during strenuous activity.  These chemicals elevate the mood, which significantly reduces stress for at least 90 minutes to two hours after the activity ends.  Best of all, the effect is not limited to running, as most people participating in sports report similar feelings of euphoria after a game, match, or race.

Other physical changes occur after exercise, training, or participating in sports.  These include reduced electrical activity in tense muscles, relaxed blood vessels, lower blood pressure and lower heart rates. In short, following a game or race, athletes have reduced stress and tension in their bodies.

Mental Benefits

By focusing concentration on sports, individuals stop thinking about the situations and circumstances that cause worry, anxiety and stress. Sports usually require removing oneself from daily environments, whether to a pool, basketball court, or natural setting. That removal also aids in achieving distance from the various stressors in life.  Outdoor and extreme sports are especially helpful in this regard as participants are out in the natural world and/or placed in death-defying situations.

Some sports offer a cathartic aspect that also reduces stress.  Therapists sometime recommend that patients release stress and anger during a game by imagining the source of their problems as the ball they are hitting or throwing. Impact sports such as football, boxing, hockey are good for this as well.

Playing sports can lead to other good behaviors that can improve health and overall well-being.  For example, the self-confidence that comes from good performance on the basketball court can lead to higher self-esteem and better decision making in other parts of life. Better sleep routines, healthier nutritional choices and avoidance of sedentary activities can also follow.

photo by: Ernst Vikne

Paycheck to Paycheck Living During a Recession

One of the many problems with living paycheck to paycheck, is that should something happen such as a car breaking down, or the need to go to the doctor, that could send an individual into a downward spiral that may eventually lead to being unable to make the mortgage payment.  Should this repeated happen one will end up in default on their loan.  And current status of the economy is providing evidence of just that, as there continues to be a raise in foreclosures.  Toronto , residents are experiencing, as well as the rest of the country, and it has become a national crisis in the United States as well.

moneyA study done by Career Builders has revealed that in the United States, the current percentage of citizens that are living this way, from one check to the next, is just about fifty percent.  And less and less workers are finding themselves able to deposit any money into a saving account.  They are living lives without a safety net.  One solution most people say, is to get a pay raise.  For many questioned about it, just five hundred extra dollars each month would set them at ease.

One way people may attempt to manage their situations is by seriously keeping track of monthly expenses .  After totaling up the essentials such as rent or a mortgage payment, take note of just how much one spends on going out for coffee, or spending the afternoon at the movies.  And even though it is tough to turn down a job offer in this current climate, one really needs to look at the pay rate, and compare to how much they need, not only to pay the bills, but the necessities of each and every day.  By taking an active role in the end of the check to check way of life, one will see results.

article provided by Elyse Thoms, a financial writer whose writing appears on blogs and money management sites

Your Vehicle’s Life Cycle

Like people, vehicles have a life cycle; with proper maintenance and repair, that life can be extended; without it, however, the chances of more things going wrong with your car dramatically increase. In addition to investing in a vehicle-specific volume like a repair manuals , you’ll want to keep the following general information in mind.

carIn the early days of your vehicle’s life, from 0 to about 25 or 30,000 miles, you should ensure your vehicle’s longevity with scheduled maintenance, checking parts for abnormal wear or looseness, and generally tightening anything that’s loose; you should also keep changing fluids, such as the engine oil, as well as regularly checking other fluids, such as the transmission or brake, or window washer fluids. Rotating and balancing the tires is also important. While you don’t have to have these maintenance checks done by a dealer, it’s important to have them done by reliable mechanics at about the time the dealer recommends to do them. If you’ve lost your maintenance schedule, it’s an easy thing to find a good automotive repair manual on the Internet.

At around 40,000 miles, most vehicles require more expensive replacement parts, such as tires or a new battery, brakes, a V-belt, and so on. The 40,000 mile mark is also the time when you really do need to replace the long-lasting fluids, such as radiator coolant , brake line, and transmission fluids, as well as other lubricants. Neglecting this kind of maintenance may lead to expensive repairs later. In particular, have the battery checked. While the life of a battery depends upon its quality and the environment, such as extremely cold weather or hot weather, most batteries last at least two years, and often not more than five years. At this point, too, you might consider trading in your car or keeping it.

If you decide to keep it, then consider the car as it wears more than 80,000 miles. Repairs at this stage may exceed a thousand dollars. Take a look on line for the best sites to do some quick research on long term reliability for your vehicle. It’s a good bet that your warranty has run out after 80,000 miles, and so the expenses will be all yours. Consider such issues as tire wear, and look for the insulation on the spark plug wires, which may be dry and cracking, which will lead to a rough-running motor. Keeping some of these maintenance issues in mind may allow you to keep your car well after it reaches a 100,000 or more, a respectable life cycle for any man-made vehicle.

Will Simmons is a self taught mechanic who has turned his passion for racing and cars into a career as an automotive writer and blogger for sites 

The Costs of Mental Health

Many practitioners of Western medicine are starting to accept the fact that there is a connection between mental health and physical well-being. This school of thought has existed in eastern medicine for thousands of years, but western medicine has historically separated mind and body since the days of Descartes. There is both a physical and financial cost associated with mental health, but sometime its worth maintaining mental health to avoid severe problems in the future.

The Physical Toll of Mental Health Problems

Some mental issues have physical symptoms. People who experience panic attacks will actually feel like they are dying or having a heart attack. Those who have claustrophobia will suffer similar panicky symptoms and begin to experience a flight or fight response that is common in animals. These examples prove that the physical response and mental health are  interrelated.

Likewise people who suffer from high stress levels can develop negative health consequences such as high blood pressure. They are also at a greater risk for heart disease and some people even link an increased risk of cancer. While certain mental health issues can exacerbate physical health issues, some medical doctors maintain that there is a separation and therefore the symptom is treated rather than the underlying cause.

Options for Maintaining Mental Health

Most people will immediately think of a psychiatrist when mental health is mentioned. This person is someone who is trained to examine the mind and sometimes prescribe medication to alleviate symptoms. This is not necessarily treating the problem itself and the person may have to continue taking medicine for the rest of their lives if they remain under a psychiatrists’ care. Likewise, a psychiatrist does not come cheap and is likely the most expensive way to maintain mental health.

Some other options for people looking to improve their mental health are practitioners who use gentler methods, such as talking and focusing inwards to solve problems. A counselor often relies on discussion and video to alleviate problems and give patients a certain degree of perspective. Yoga also has therapeutic benefits associated with practice, namely decreasing stress levels and promoting a sense of calm and well-being. It is just as important to create a healthy lifestyle for positive mental health as it is to solve mental health issues that arise.

On the less traditional side of the spectrum is reiki healing, which works with patients’ energy channels and tries to unblock them. Though not widely accepted it has been helpful for a variety of mental health ailments. Acupuncture is another means of treating acute mental health problems. This method also relies on tapping into a patient’s energy and releasing any blocked or negative emotions.

Guest post by Jonathan Kerner — a financial adviser and writer who contributes to sites on topics related to loans, debt management and budgeting for health expenses.

Self Help Debt Negotiation Can Help You Settle Your Debts

It is necessary on your part to repay your outstanding credit card debts as much as you can if you find it very difficult to pay them off in full. You can settle your outstanding balances with the help of debt settlement. To settle your outstanding balances, you need to negotiate with your creditors so that you can convince them to reduce your outstanding dues to some extent.

Debt negotiation – What it is

When you’re unable to consolidate debt, you can opt for debt settlement/negotiation. Debt negotiation is settling your debts by negotiating with your creditors so that you can reduce your outstanding debts. Whether you have excessive credit card bills, medical bills or payday loans, etc. debt negotiation helps you reduce your outstanding debts so that you can pay off your debts easily and get rid of it relatively fast. The negotiation to settle the debts takes place between you and your creditors. You have to convince your creditors so that they accept to settle your debts.

How to settle your debts on your own

• Plan a realistic budget – If you want to settle your credit card debts, the first thing you need to do is to plan a realistic budget that you’re going to follow. Your budget should include your expenses and savings. A good budget not only helps you manage your daily expenses, but also helps you save money for emergency needs. The amount of money that you’re going to save every month will help you pay off your credit card debts.

• Negotiate with your creditors – You can follow these tips while negotiating with your creditors

1. Proper negotiation skills – It is very important on your part to know the proper negotiation skills when you negotiate with your creditors. Your sole purpose in negotiating with your creditors should be that they agree to reduce your outstanding dues to some extent

2. Avoid talking over phone – When you negotiate with your creditors, it is always advisable that you talk with them face to face instead of talking over the phone

3. Do not hurry while settling debts – You should not settle your outstanding debts in a hurry. Rather, you should be patient while trying to convince your creditors and make them understand that you cannot pay off your debts in full

It is very important on your part that when you make payments to your creditors, you keep a written document with you. Otherwise, it may happen that your creditors later deny the settlement amount they had previously agreed. In that situation, you’ll have to face problem in settling your outstanding balances. So, it is always suggested that you should not make any payment to your creditors without having a written agreement.

Martin Vendler is a writer and money management specialist.