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    • laurieanichols
      • hello Laurie Nichols
      • Username: laurieanichols
  • laurieanichols's latest answers
    • Ooo, scary!
      • What’s the thing you’re most scared to do? What would it take to get you to do it?

        I think that what scares me the most remains anything to do with heights and falling, I can't think of anything that would make me, in my sane frame of mind, go against keeping myself as far away from anything height related and falling.

        Note that I said sane frame of mind. The only scenario that I can imagine that would make me eschew my own personal safety or what I perceive to be my safety in terms of my phobia would be to save my children. Those two would be the only bargaining chip that would succeed in getting me onto a ledge, near the edge of a cliff or anything like that. I can't even imagine situations too realistically without giving myself the sensation of vertigo.

        It is hard to describe how powerful a phobia is, there doesn't seem to be any logic to it or even common sense, it just is. But I do have to say that there is a good reason for my phobia, I have fallen off garage roofs, fallen out of trees and fallen out of ceiling height cabinets when I was young and fearless, so I am way too familiar with that horrible sensation of falling, I am convinced that my phobia is my subconscious standing up to my waking mind and saying enough is enough with the falling out of things, it hurts!

        The human mind has a wonderful gift for self-preservation, doesn't it?

      • answered by laurieanichols on 12/08/2013
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    • Safety first
      • Share the story of a time you felt unsafe.

        Ooo! I have another adventure to share. This time it involves my hubby, before he was my hubby, we were in the great state of Maine at the time. This is dating back to 1990, I believe that the month was June. I was working as the Catalog Coordinator of Conran's Habitat and our catalog team was on location at Bar Harbor Maine shooting our catalog at Cadillac Mountain and the surrounding Arcadia National Park. If ever any of you have a chance to visit Bar Harbor, I highly recommend it, it is unbelievably breathtaking, the vistas, the people, the food and the surrounding ocean with the whale watching and the lobster fishermen, simply glorious.

        My hubby came up for the weekend because my team and I had been staying there for at least three weeks prior, shooting all of the furniture, accessories and linens everywhere outdoors within the Arcadia National Park, it was a challenging shoot but nothing ordinary ever happened during those days which made it so much fun. So when my hubby arrived, my bosses gave me the weekend free and my hubby decided that we should rent a boat to go motoring around the coastline. I thought what fun!

        We went to the harbor, found the boat rentals shop and my hubby spoke to the man, got the map, actually said that the map was very limited in scope but the man assured us that we would have more than enough to see within those parameters so off we went. I know that I have described my hubby as one of the most prepared person's that I have ever met and that day he didn't disappoint. We started our outing with a compass and a waterproof jacket just in case.

        My hubby got the boat out of the harbor and we hugged the coastline, following the map as we went or so we thought. The sky was a clear powder blue and we were admiring the beautiful homes right off the shore with their private beaches and while we were consulting the map figuring out where exactly we were, the thickest fog that I had seen up until then, rolled in out of nowhere.

        We couldn't see in front of us so my hubby turned us around or thought that he did and we motored onward trying to find the opening to the harbor. That fog was what we had seen in scary movies and it was so very cold, it felt like a wet thick blanket on our skin and we started shivering almost immediately. My hubby thinking that he had found the opening to the harbor went inwards and we stumbled upon a huge sailboat. I spoke up and made my almost hubby stop and ask for directions, this is when we found out that we had veered completely off the map. We were nowhere near the harbor, so with new directions and a solid indication as to where to point our compass towards, we were off. At one point we saw a couple of lobster fishermen who yelled at us "watch out for the ......." we never figured out what they had meant. We then passed a whale watching boat, that was a little scary because meeting up with a whale would have done us in, if our boat had been capsized. It was not looking good for us for a little while, we were frozen, we weren't sure if we were going to have enough fuel to get back and we weren't sure if we were still on the right path, but somehow five hours after we had left, we made it into the harbor.

        When we stumbled out of the boat and into the rental shop, the owner said that five more minutes and he was going to call the coast guard to rescue us. We thanked him and went into our car, sat inside and put the heat on maximum, it took what felt like hours to defrost from that damp bitter cold.

        That was a crazy adventure, one for the family story book, but definitely not an adventure that I would ever want to live through again.

      • answered by laurieanichols on 12/05/2013
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    • Perspective
      • Think about something that drives you crazy. Now, think about something that makes you happy. Does it change your perspective on the former?

        What drives me crazy? The injustice that I see around us in the world drives me crazy; the way the poor are invisible in the political discussions going on in our country gets me crazy. I get my crazy driven by the unreal amount of medical commercials shown on a daily basis on my t.v and yet we are still fighting for the legitimacy of the idea of affordable national health insurance coverage. A mouthful I know, but that does drive me crazy to no end.

        Now that I have thought about what drives the crazy in me, the prompt wants me to shift gears and go to a happy place in my mind. Where shall I go? Yesterday, I gave a dollar to the Saint Jude Foundation, the charity that helps sick children who can't afford treatment, I felt happy that I had contributed. During the months of November and December and any other month when we can, my hubby and I always give at our supermarket to help our local food banks. That makes me happy and when we can, our local rescue mission gets the coats, boots and clothes that we have outgrown. That makes me happy. I also write a lot on my political blog and I sign as many petitions as possible relating to our lawmakers voting on legislation that would help those who are in need. That makes me happy as well.

        Now what would really make me happy would be to see our country make the people, who don't have a voice, their priority, because when you have a nation as rich as ours, it is painful to see that we have such a large population of impoverished children who are food insecure and housing insecure on a daily basis. If I saw that change, that would indeed be a happy day.

      • answered by laurieanichols on 12/04/2013
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    • Land of confusion
      • Tell us about a time when you felt out of place.

        I can't really tell you about any one time that I felt "in place" lol. A sense of belonging is a huge part of the human condition, I'm glad that I wasn't around during the caveman era, feeling out of place as often as I did as a youngster, I would have been devoured by man or beast. I wonder if that is the origin of the need to feel that one belongs to some type of group. You see this need at very young ages, they call it socialization, but in some situations it can become almost tribal in school settings. Once kids get to high school, as we have seen lately, it can get fairly brutal and Darwinian, the ultimate survival of the socially fittest.

        I am still curious how those popular girls know that they are the ones, they seem born with that sense that they are to be the leaders of the social pack. I am not saying that I was a follower, I wasn't, but I wasn't one that belonged, I didn't know where or with whom I belonged. High school was not enjoyable socially, intellectually it was, I was very lucky that my parents sent me to a very good school. I was prepared for college and I didn't feel too overwhelmed by the transition from high school to higher learning.

        Nowadays, I don't experience any of those fears of not belonging, I may not belong but I don't care. What they say about feeling more comfortable in your own skin and also no longer caring what others think after a certain age really does come true. I think that it takes a bit of life experience and observations to discover that everything that you thought in high school was wrong, not everyone is looking at you, fear dominates most people, you are seriously never the only one feeling the way that you do and when things aren't going well, it's okay because that only means that you haven't reached the end yet. Everything works out in the end.

        I think that the only way that you can ever be out of place is if you believe that you are out of place. I'm pretty sure that life is all about perception from within and without. If you perceive and project a certain something, a certain "je ne sais quoi" others will generally follow along.

        These are my initial thoughts on this subject and in the immortal words of Forrest Gump "that's all I'm going to say about that"

      • answered by laurieanichols on 12/02/2013
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    • Non-regional diction
      • Write about whatever you’d like, but write using regional slang, your dialect, or in your accent.

        Being from the northeast, I was born in Astoria Queens and currently live in Massachusetts, both are places that have strong accents, I go though my days thinking that I don't have an accent which is funny because English is my second language even though I was born here. My parents immigrated here from France, they were joining my father's family who had immigrated here years earlier and so I was surrounded by the French language. Growing up bilingual, I didn't think of speaking and understanding two languages as anything special, it was only after seeing how other people had difficulty traveling throughout Europe speaking only one language, that I fully appreciated the gift that I had been given.

        I know that I have an accent when I speak French, some say it's an odd accent while some say that it's a French southwestern accent, either way I feel good about having any type of accent, it's a good conversation starter. I dream in French more often then I dream in English and there are many times where I feel much more comfortable speaking in French. That being said, I am fairly certain that I don't speak English with an accent, or if I do have an accent, it is unidentifiable.

        What I find to be funny is that I may on occasion prefer to speak French over speaking English, I speak both languages pretty well, but when it comes to writing my handicaps in the French language become very apparent. I learned how to write French in high school but as my French professor would write on all of my term papers later on in college, it was evident that French wasn't my first written language. I would get so frustrated trying to get the grammar correct, both the sentence construction and the phrasing just right with the proper flow. Basically I can speak French very quickly and confidently and those around me believe that I am a native to France, however if they read the verbal communication as I would write it word for word, they would be horrified at all of the mistakes with grammatical tenses that would be on the page.

        I don't have as many of those issues when I write in English, probably because it is my first written language and I learned all of those grammar rules during my language acquiring years. There is a certain time frame that the brain has to acquire language effortlessly and that is between birth and 12 to 13 years of age. In between those years, one can learn any number of languages without trouble, the brain is a sponge ready and able to soak up as many as are presented to the child. I learned how to write in French after the age of twelve so perhaps that is why it didn't come as easily. French grammar is a nightmare anyway, if you want rules, the French have millions for you to memorize, trust me.

        I realize that I have completely ignored the point of the prompt, I haven't written anything with my own accent or dialect. Is there a Northeastern dialect? I'm not sure, I think that the Northeastern way of communicating is direct and forthright, much like how our climate influences the people with its harsh winters, you must be direct and forthright with your actions and words, bearing with the cold makes you appreciate brevity and pithiness. The clip of our speech is also reflected by our geography, ask any tourist if a Northeasterner speaks fast, they will surely tell you, yes they do.

        Going back to my French language, there are parallels between the differences in the north and the south, the same that we see in this country, my French southwestern accent reflects a slower cadence in my speech then the north, some would say that Parisians speak in an almost staccato fashion whereas the south has a slower and more melodic speech pattern. I find that it is interesting that in English my speech pattern is far quicker than my speech pattern is in French.

        I apologize if I have bored you with my thoughts on writing and speech patterns regarding two different languages. I am still recuperating from Nanowrimo and Thanksgiving, my brain still feels knackered. My thoughts on this subject are all over the place, but I got them down on paper so perhaps sometime in the future, I can go further with this and turn this post into something more cohesive and logical.

      • answered by laurieanichols on 12/01/2013
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