Archive for May 2013

The Loss of a Pet: Goodbye Speckles

May 28, 2013

cockatielPhotoSPECKLES

2003 – 2013

I heard the thud when Speckles fell from her perch to the floor of her cage.  I got up quickly thinking maybe she had hurt her leg or wing.

“Speckles!  Speckles!  What’s wrong girl?”

Then the sound of two screeching noises, her expanded wings started folding inward and her eyes slowly closed.  I turned her over and her little beady eyes closed for the last time and she was gone.  Just like that!  It was as sudden as snapping your fingers or a quick clap of the hands.

In that moment my heart fell.  I had that queasy feeling you get when something has gone wrong.  The first thought was that she hadn’t been acting any different.  I even watched her earlier playing with one of her toys.

I quickly got out the camera and took Speckles’ picture for the last time.  I couldn’t help myself.

I started my Google research on causes of cockatiel’s sudden death.  I found out that I was not the only one who had experienced that happening.  There was no real reason except that Speckles had lived out her years.  It was just one of those things where her little heart needed to rest.

I was teary-eyed knowing I had to say goodbye, but I also knew Speckles was well-loved and well taken care of.

I found a perfect little box that would become her coffin and lined it with yellow tissue to match her plumage.  I went to my backyard with fork and shovel and started preparing Speckles’ final place of rest.  While digging, up came two fat earthworms and I set them aside hoping some other bird would come along and find their evening meal.  I placed Speckles in her yellow, tissue-lined coffin, wrote her name and the date of her death on the outside.

I headed back out to her burial site and had just lowered her little coffin when my husband and daughter came along to say their goodbyes.  My husband covered over the coffin with dirt; I placed a marker at her gravesite and we said our final goodbyes to Speckles.

I know you may think or say “it was only a bird.”  For those of you that have never kept and cared for a pet, it’s easy to think that way.  But, for me, it was a shock.  Immediately, I felt like my memory was on rewind.  I thought Speckles was only in our lives for about 7 years. As it ended up, it had been ten years.

I remembered how she came to be a part of our household.  A friend wanted to get rid of Speckles.  They didn’t even want any payment, they just wanted to be rid of her.  My children, avid pet lovers, especially my daughter who should be an animal rescuer, could not bear the thought of leaving Speckles behind.  Thus, Speckles entered our lives.

Her most outstanding quality was her love for head scratches.  She would allow you to scratch her head all day if you were able and willing.  Sweet bird, but she definitely had the temperament of a female.

She was one of our alarm systems in the house.  Every time my husband drove into the garage, I knew he was home even if I didn’t hear the garage door open.  She would whistle and get excited. As soon as he entered and neared her vision, she was quiet.

I would whistle to her and she would whistle back.  She had her unique cry for her food and her water.  She greeted you each day with that special chirp to make you know you made it to a new day and so did she.

I awoke this morning to a different kind of silence and an empty cage.  I was happy I made it to a new day, but I realized that special morning chirp from Speckles gave me a boost and brightened my awakening.

It doesn’t matter that she was, as some might say, “just a bird.” This was the loss of a pet. She was loved. She was cared for. She will be missed.

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Effective Business Writing Can Lead to Promotions

May 3, 2013

Effective business writing is an absolute must in all business today. Business writing is a means of communication that conveys important information to coworkers, employees, customers and others.

Your written and verbal communication, in this case your business writing, reflects your professionalism. Professionalism is often a prerequisite to promotion. To help with that important task of writing, the key elements of effective business writing are covered here.

To be effective, your writing should be clear and concise. In business correspondence, your aim is to avoid ambiguity and misunderstanding. It is delivered in a variety of forms and examples of business writing include:
• Emails
• Letters
• Memos
• Notes
• Resumes
• Speeches
• Technical writing

Remember, you are writing to inform and/or persuade the reader to take action. Whatever form your writing takes, it is competing with hundreds of other documents, even in a small business. To increase your effectiveness and the chances that your communication will be read, use the following cornerstones of business writing to capture and hold your reader’s attention. Your writing should be:
• Clear
• Concise
• Grammatically correct
• Free of misspellings.

As with any other type of writing, the same basic grammatical rules apply: subject and predicate must be present to form complete sentences. In business writing, whenever possible, the verb should be an active rather than passive verb.

Avoid too much jargon. Occasionally, jargon relevant to a particular industry is appropriate, but if it is used, follow its use with a clear explanation.

Keep in mind that wordiness is often pretentious and difficult to understand. Choppy or run on sentences are also hard to read and comprehend. In addition, using very large words that are not usually a part of speech might make your reader think you are purposely talking above them.

Courtesy is a critical part of business writing of any kind. This is not the time to be rude, threatening or nasty. Communications tend to come back to haunt you. Besides, even unpleasant news or information can be delivered courteously.

Cliches and slang have no place in effective business writing. Eliminate them. They are an immature form of communication and have no place in business communication unless you are making a point.

Once you have written your communication, review and edit the document at least twice. Let it rest and read it again. Because it is often difficult to catch you own mistakes, if possible, ask another skilled person to read your writing. You must deliver your message free of mistakes and the possibility of misunderstandings.

Of course, it never hurts to brush up on your business writing skills. Classes are often available that will help you improve your writing.

Finally, engage a professional when you have massive writing to complete. Transcription services can be a tremendous, affordable, efficient asset as you transcribe your important documents.

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