Midweek Memes: Administrative Professionals Day 2017!

There is a New Moon today, coinciding with the Cassini spacecraft making the final moves in its nearly 20-year space exploration mission by diving between the planet Saturn and its innermost rings. These aerial gymnastics will ultimately doom the spacecraft, as it will burn up in the tumultuous atmosphere of the gas giant, or be pulverized by the crushing gravity as it gets closer to the core. I look forward to the final pictures that Cassini will beam back! Astronomy and space exploration have fascinated me from an early age. I would gaze at the night skies for hours on clear, warm nights when I lived in places away from the light-pollution of cities…I still do, sometimes!

Now, on to the subject of this post: Administrative Professionals Day! When I was still a slave to the 40-hour week, I mainly worked as an Administrative Assistant. That all-purpose title covers multiple duties! Receptionist: answering phones, greeting people, and setting up weekly business meetings and conference calls, and daily kitchen / cafeteria stocking and cleanup. Office Manager: making travel reservations, including car rentals and reservations for hotels, airlines or trains; ordering and stocking office supplies, doing minor tech support for office equipment, telephones and computers, and contacting building management for issues related to elevators, plumbing, and AC issues. I would even fill in as an HR assistant at some places: filing resumes, setting up cubicles or offices for new employees, updating employee information, ordering business cards, and dealing with OSHA paperwork when working for subcontractors.

Being an Administrative Professional, no matter your title, is quite an involved line of work. There is much you must know, and quite a bit of demands are made of you on any given day – some more demanding and ridiculous than others! Still, it was an enjoyable line of work because of the challenges it provided. I’m never one to shy away from a challenge, and knowing that it took at least three people to do the work that I did is something that I’m incredibly proud of. I always worked hard; if it was unappreciated, then that’s their loss – not mine. My health and outlook on life improved dramatically once I left the last place I worked at, and now I’m able to keep my own schedule with a small, part-time job which allows me to work from home. I might not make as much as I used to, but the non-monetary benefits are worth their weight in gold.

With that, enjoy these funny memes about Administrative Professionals Day – I hope that those who are enduring it are doing so with a smile, and these should help those smiles be genuine and HUGE!

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Happy 100th, Ella! American Musical Legend Ella Fitzgerald Born on this Day in 1917

Happy 100th to The First Lady of Song! Ella Fitzgerald was a versatile, talented, genius of vocal improvisation and style who inspired many. True greatness shone from her very soul!
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GOOD BLACK NEWS

Early Hardship Couldn't Muffle Ella Fitzgerald's Joy Legendary singer Ella Fitzgerald (photo via npr.org)

article by Tom Vitale vianpr.org

Ella Fitzgerald, who would have turned 100 today, was one of the most beloved and versatile singers of the 20th century. In a career that spanned six decades, Fitzgerald recorded hundreds of songs, including definitive versions of many standards. Along the way, she influenced generations of singers.

But the first thing that strikes you about Fitzgerald is that voice.

Cécile McLorin Salvant, who won a Grammy last year for Best Jazz Vocal Album, says a combination of qualities made Fitzgerald’s voice unique. “When you hear the tone of her voice — which has kind of a brightness, kind of a breathiness, but it also has this really great depth, and kind of a laser-like, really clear quality to it — it hits you,” she says.

Salvant, 27, says she learned to sing jazz standards by…

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Lamb Rump

This lamb rump looks spectacular, and this is the time of year to get lamb fresh from your local butcher.

I hope to see more posts of fantastic meals from this blogger, soon!
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I love lamb, it’s easily my favourite meat. It’s fatty and packed with flavour, what’s not to like! Maybe not an ideal choice if your trying to diet but a cheeky cheat day never killed anyone. (Don’t take my word on this!)

If you want succulent, tender meat make sure you rest it after cooking. I usually cover with tinfoil and rest in a warm place for 5 minutes. This allows the meat to continue cooking with the residual heat and gives meat a chance to relax to become tender. This, for me, is a very important process. I cooked my lamb rumps to 48°c and after resting, the residual heat rises to 58°c.

(This recipe serves 4)

Pea Purée

300g frozen peas

100g baby spinach

200ml boiling water

Salt to taste

Place all the ingredients into a powerful blender. Blitz until smooth and pass through a fine chinois and…

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Memphis High School’s Graduating Class Earns $80 Million in College Scholarships

This is excellent news! Wonderful to see.
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GOOD BLACK NEWS

(L to R) Dillard University’s associate admissions director Christopher Stewart and Zariah Nolan, Whitehaven High School senior and future Dillard University Student, taken from Nolan’s Twitter on April 24, 2017. (photo via colorlines.com)

article by Sameer Rao via colorlines.com

Seniors at an almost-exclusively Black high school in Memphis, Tennessee, earned more than $80 million in university scholarship offers.

ABC News reported Friday (April 21) that more than 40 Whitehaven High School students contributed to this number with at least $1 million in offers each. A call to determine the total number of students who earned scholarships was not immediately returned. Per the Tennessee Department of Education’s website, Whitehaven’s student body is more than 99 percent Black.

One student, 18-year-old Zariah Nolan, earned nearly $9.6 million in scholarships, including 17 full-ride packages. Nolan told ABC News that she applied to nearly 100 colleges across the country using application packages like…

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Excerpt: A Good Deed (Pt. I)

“Here it is, milady – the receipt for the bank deposit, and the sum total of your current balance. Always a pleasure to see you, although it’s been some time!” the lizard-woman moneylender is saying as she stacks the paperwork. “Aye,” Sepultur’a acknowledges. “I appreciate you keeping such orderly and precise records, especially during my long absence!” She thanks the moneylender and tucks the receipt into her journal after jotting down the sizable number indicating her personal bank balance. She is pleased with what she has earned on her own recently, as there is much coin to be earned in many places – both on and off the battlefield. Her savior had taught her a few things that dusty books on shelves could not, and she is grateful for the knowledge imparted.

Stepping out of the banking-house, she stops on the steps, stretching in the light of the setting sun. It has been some time since she last visited the bustling city of the Dark Elves, as she had joined the caravan here not long after leaving home. The cobbled streets are clean, as usual, and townsfolk stroll along the overpasses and walkways. The small inn and tavern are just across the way from the banking-house, and she finds herself walking through the front door without really giving it much thought. She nods to the innkeeper and enters the dining area, taking a spot at the counter where she can watch everyone who comes and goes. A bottle of wine and a glass are slid over to her by the chef, who drops a sly wink as he goes back to basting a haunch of venison. Sepultur’a smiles and toasts his health after filling the glass, and leaves a few coins on the counter as a tip for his generosity. Sipping her wine, she looks around at the other patrons. One in particular gets her notice: a wood-elf wearing the garb of a merchant, sitting alone at a table with his head in his hands and an air of defeat hanging heavily over him. He heaves a sigh and shakes his head in abject misery. Curious. Taking up the bottle and an extra wine glass, she strolls over and sits at his table, pouring a generous amount into the glass and sliding it in front of him. He looks at her incredulously, removes his hands from his face and takes up the glass, smells the bouquet and sips lightly.

“I thank you for your kindness,” he says, “but I cannot pay you for the drink, and drink will not help me with my problem. When the drink is gone, the problem will still remain!” He laughs a bit too loudly, with the edge of hysteria making the laugh mirthless and shrill. Sepultur’a leans back in her chair and sips her wine. “What is your problem?” she asks simply and directly. “Perhaps I can be of assistance.” He looks at her cautiously and a bit more closely. She is young, but her eyes hold much worldly knowledge. She sits in a relaxed and easy manner, but her movements as she seated herself and poured the wine make him think of the great reptiles in the swamps to the south and in his homeland. He shakes his head in negation, stating: “You might be able to assist me, but I hold no hope that anyone other than a magister or the king himself would be able to do so successfully.” He drains his glass and puts his head in his hands again. “I’ve been approached by too many mercenaries already, and they have all demanded a far higher price to ‘solve my problem’ than it requires.” He heaves another deep sigh. “I came to these lands to start my business, but the dishonesty of my partner is ending it before it can begin. I have no money to pay anyone unless I recover some necessary items from that…piece of troll dung, and nobody will help me unless I pay them first!”

Sepultur’a refills his glass, leaning forward and staying his hand before he can pick it up again. This movement causes him to start and look up, forced to meet her gaze squarely. “I can be of assistance,” she states firmly, “and it will cost you nothing. If you choose to reward me, it shall be your choice. My services are free when I make the offer.” She releases his hand and leans back again. “If you had approached me, then I would have asked for recompense. As it is…” she trails off and sips her wine, a secretive smile playing across her lips. “Oh, well – I suppose I have nothing to lose, then!” he bursts out, taking a healthy drink. “I’ll try to be brief – my name is Canthiorn, by the by – and I came here with my business partner last week. Her name is Baghzragh – an Orc wench, obviously – and she was supposedly going to meet with some Breton to buy the building that was to be our storefront. Foolish me, I let her walk off with the coin and didn’t even think to send along a bodyguard to hold it and keep an eye on her, as I was busy with many different negotiations. That was two days ago, and here I am with no money, no partner…and, no business!” He drains the glass again, filling himself up as fast as he empties himself of words. Sepultur’a finishes her drink as she listens to his tale, refills both of their glasses, then sets the empty wine-bottle aside.

She appraises Canthiorn’s appearance. On closer inspection, he does seem to be a bit worse for wear. His clothes, while well-made and of high quality, are slightly dingy and look wrinkled, as if they haven’t been changed for two days. His face seems leaner than usual, for one of his race, and his eyes are tired and full of despair. She would wager that he is just as hungry as he is tired, as the wine has made him quite talkative in short order. The few wood-elves she has met in her travels usually hold their liquor quite well, and the standard brews of humans and the other elven races aren’t known to intoxicate them at all. A serving-girl walks past with a tray of appetizers for patrons drinking in the entry-hall, and Canthiorn’s eyes follow helplessly. Sepultur’a stands. “Wait here a moment,” she says. After a few quiet words with the chef and the inn-keeper, she returns to his table. “You have a place here for the night, as well as a hot meal tonight and a hearty breakfast in the morning.” He stares at the young woman, speechless at her generosity. She smiles, donning a cloak and pulling the cowl low over her face. “I will help you regain what has been stolen from you. Put worry out of your mind, good Canthiorn. Eat and sleep – your mind, body and soul are weary.” She turns to leave as the serving-girl places a heaping plate of wood-elf delicacies in front of Canthiorn. He is so ravenous that he doesn’t even think to ask the name of his mysterious benefactress.

Sepultur’a exits the inn and walks back towards the banking-house, but bypasses the building and enters a small gazebo behind it. There are many of these secluded seating areas and various locations around the town, but this one holds a secret known only to a few. The statue honouring the god of finance is also the doorway to an underground refuge which provides shelter for the indigent and a hiding place for those of ill-repute.

Grushtakh gro-Karzhagum starts awake at the feel of a booted toe nudging his nethers, and he scrambles out of his bedroll, ready to shred someone’s face over the indignity. The angry roar that was building in his throat fades to a squealing whisper as he sees who was doing the nudging. “Um…uh, er…I…” he stammers, realizing at the same time that he wears nothing but a thin loincloth. As he turns slightly sideways to hide his dream-excitement from the unexpected visitor, he is certain that he had at least a pair of breeches on when he had gone to sleep. Damn this so-called refuge for outlaws! The other residents would steal the clothes off of your back or arse given the opportunity and the experienced thief or cutpurse could literally do so even if their target was awake. “Uh…” he starts again, and the visitor’s throaty chuckle builds to hearty laughter. “Ah, Grush – you sleep too soundly for your own good!” Sepultur’a turns her back, tossing his breeches over her shoulder for him to catch. “Cover yourself! I have am in need of information, and you have proved to be a good source of it.”

Grushtakh hastily pulls on his breeches and a simple tunic for good measure, returning to his bedroll and sitting comfortably. “So, the Flame-Serpent returns!” He spreads his hands, gesturing for her to sit in the sole chair that he owns. “I’ll do what I can and tell you anything I know – if I’m able to, o’ course,” he finishes as she declines the chair and leans against the damp stone of the underground refuge. She takes a coin from a hidden pocket and begins to flip it idly, casually, as she frames her next question.

To Be Continued…

Mandarians in Baden-Baden~

Beautiful Mandarin ducks – lovely to see!
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These guys weren’t part of my plan for the day!


I was going to show you Baden-Baden,

but the Mandarins got in my way!

Why are Mandarin Ducks swimming wild in Germany you may well wonder?


Although Mandarin Duck populations are dwindling in their native Russia and Asia, some escapees from captivity are breeding in the wild in Germany and The UK. I happened upon these guys today on the Oos River in Baden-Baden Germany.


So, it is cheers to you, and Happy Spring, from the gorgeous Mandarins in Baden-Baden Germany~

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Georgetown University Renames Building after Isaac Hawkins, an Enslaved Person Sold in 1838 to Pay Off School Debts

Things such as this don’t get reported as much as they should be, so I decided to share it.
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GOOD BLACK NEWS

Georgetown’s Freedom Hall Renamed Isaac Hawkins Hall (photo via thehoya.com)

article by Brittney Fennel via jetmag.com

The effects of slavery are still being felt in 2017 and, in an effort to make amends for profiting from the sale of 272 Maryland enslaved people in 1838 to pay off school debts, Georgetown University has renamed two buildings on their campus to honor those who were sold.

The slave sale was conducted by two Jesuit priests and was worth about $3.3 million in today’s dollars. They have renamed one building Isaac Hawkins Hall to honor the first person listed in documents related to the sale. Another building was renamed after Anne Marie Becraft, a free Black woman who taught Catholic Black girls in what was then the town of Georgetown.

This is just one of the many steps the university is taking in order to make amends for the part they played during a painful…

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Scenic Sunday Screen-Shots…

I’m having a nice, relaxing weekend and decided to post some recent screen-shots taken in-game. My next excerpt has to be broken up into two parts, and the screen-shots help illustrate the “lay of the land,” so to speak – so, I was sorting through a batch and decided to post them.

The screen-shots are the way that I keep the locations fresh in my mind as my characters travel about during their adventures. It’s not a cardboard cut-out or other tangible, physical rendition of a locale as other authors create, but it works for me!

I think that I’ll do a bit of live-broadcasting today, as well – most likely after noon PDT. It’s been a while, and I need to do a bit of ye olde AvA now that the campaigns have restarted. Gotta stay sharp against the no-sleeping, diaper-wearing, basement-dwelling “no-lifers!” Other genuine gamers know what I’m talking about, ROFLMAO!

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Gifts from the Speaker after a dark assignment

Who’s this bloke, then?

Hmmm…an interesting bit of information!

Standing at a transitus shrine

Relaxing in the courtyard

A bit of primping and preening

Should I wear this? It looks nice…

…the robe is more appropriate, though – it might rain!

A tender moment…

…followed by a soft serenade.

A toast by the well – cheers!

FEEDING DONE………NAP TIME

You know that spring has sprung when Nature’s little ones make their appearance. These are some lovely, tranquil photos of a mother bear with her cub.

Welcome to Tofino Photography

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HOW TO GET A HUMMER TO LAND ON YOUR FINGER

I don’t use a feeder as large as this, but I have had the pleasure of hummers landing on the feeder while I was hanging it, and have held one in my hand twice. Such charming, lovely little critters!
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Welcome to Tofino Photography

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I’ve noticed that the Hummers go into a feeding frenzy near sunset.I suspect they do it at sunrise too but I’m too lazy to find that out?

I wondered If I could get one them to land on my finger? Hummers have to be one of the most skittish creatures out there! The slightest movement can make them take off in a blur!

So I tried to think of a way I could get one these beautiful creatures to land on my finger?Holding ones arm out is difficult after a few minutes.So you need a brace for your arm.I used a monopod but you can use a tripod or a pole.

I’ve noticed over the last few nights that they go into a feeding frenzy around 7:45pm.So I set up some lights for filming earlier & waited.

Once I saw them starting to “flock”I turned on the camera & placed…

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