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Are You A Copycat?

I take and use my own pictures on all three of my blogs. I have tried to stress the importance to my husband as to why we should not use photos found either on the web or from any of those supposedly free to use photo sites on our website or blogs. Recently a forum issue came to light on a travel site that I monitor and I thought I would share it here.

A long-standing travel agency contracted with a social media company to create their media presence (Facebook company page; website, etc.) back in 2011. This social media company went to the internet and without thinking downloaded photos that they found on a photo sharing site believing that any photo on the internet is free to use.

In May of this year the travel agency received a letter from a lawyer telling them that they were being sued by the original photographer for $25,000 for each picture they had pirated. This was not a joke. This was a real legal firm and the legal action is valid.

The travel agency owner proceeded to call a copyright attorney to get clarification. What he learned was a real shocker and an eye opener. It seems that a large number of artists (both photographers and drawing) and some unscrupulous law firms have created a whole new industry and the almost perfect scam with copyright laws.  The legal firm the travel agency contacted (Quarels and Brady) told them that this particular photographer has sued various people over 23 times for copyright violations in using his pictures which they downloaded from one of those free sites. The issue, the artist is claiming, is that he suffered a financial loss from people who download his photos but do not purchase them and your company benefited from using his photos (most of the people being sued are business owners), and they have you.

As you read this you might be thinking that you must be safe because you posted someone else’s photo two years ago and no one reads that post any more? Statute of limitations on suing someone for copyright infringement is three years. What these artists are doing is allowing people to download their photos from these sites, they wait for about 2 – 2 1/2 years and then they sue the person using the photo.  One of the ways they do this is they put their copyrighted pictures on free wall paper sites and people will download them to their computer and then use the picture on their website or Facebook, thus violating copyright laws and here comes the lawsuits. The key here is that the artist holds the copyright on the photos. He is downloading them so that you can see them, not to use them. That is the largest key factor here.

According to the legal firm of Quarels and Brady it is the perfect scam because there is absolutely no risk to the artist and the law firms that are involved in these scams take these cases from artists on a contingency basis so the only cost to the artist is the $300 lawsuit filing fee.

Those unsuspecting folks who download these photos and who are getting these letters demanding payment in the mail are suspicious when it does not come certified but regular mail. The agency owner was told that these law firms are doing mass mailings of these lawsuits so they are trying to keep costs down.  Their theory is they send out 500 of these lawsuit threats and they will collect on about 150 of them with just the letter but it is enough for them to make money on this. The travel agent who was being sued is still negotiating and the photo in question he had on Facebook he has since taken it down and every other photo he did not take personally has been removed from all of his social media. The other thing the agency owner was told was that by law we are responsible for any photo someone else posts to our Facebook page because you, as the owner of that page, are the one that is liable.

You are now wondering how the photographer found out that someone downloaded his photo, right? According to the research done by Quarel’s and Brady the artists have created web crawler alerts so that every time someone uploads their photo they receive a notification which they tuck away for future reference. There are hundreds of artists doing this because they have found an easy way to make money.

Bottom line, to be completely free of this, make sure you know the owner and where any picture came from that is placed on your website or on your business Facebook page. Or better yet, don’t use anyone’s photos but your own and copyright your photos when you put them on your website or blog.

Florence Lince

http://about.me/florencelince

 

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Hey America, What’s Your Hurry?

Three years ago Mike and I embarked on our travel adventure. We left the US with two suitcases each and a camera to take pictures of the places we traveled too. We also took our American mindset with us.

Where this mindset really got an awakening was in every café and restaurant we visited on every other continent and in countries around the world. When we first began to travel we would sit down in a restaurant and huff if we didn’t get our menu and our water within two minutes. We would wonder if the waiter was on strike if they didn’t return to take our order in five minutes and heaven forbid if the food wasn’t served within 15 minutes we wondered if they forgot about us all together.

Then life and living outside of the US took hold. We learned to enjoy our time out and we learned that other cultures actually spend more time socializing with each other than stressing about making the next big meeting or being somewhere on time. Other people in other cultures actually learn more about each other and communicate with each other without using text messaging and email because they sit and talk to one another face to face over a cup of coffee or a meal.

These are the times I will remember most, good times with family.  How about you?  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

These are the times I will remember most, good times with family. How about you? © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

We also learned that no restaurant would hurry us or expect us to pay within an hour’s time of sitting down. Most cultures would wonder what our hurry was if we asked for the check within a two hour time frame. In some countries we literally had to beg to get the check so that we could be on our way. We learned in all these other countries to relax and enjoy our food, our surroundings and the company of those with us.

Recently, after returning to the US, I made lunch dates with several people I hadn’t seen in a very long time so that we could sit, chat and catch up. I chose the restaurant and we proceeded to talk, for 3 hours. Because of our recent travel lifestyle I was so comfortable in being in a restaurant for hours on end that I had forgotten that in the US people expect us to eat and be gone within an hour of entering their establishment. It was after we had been chatting for an hour and a half that I realized that the waitress was coming by more often to see if we needed anything and she would take away an item or two. Around two hours in she stopped bringing us water to drink thinking that perhaps if our throats were dry we might just go away. It was around 2.5 hours in that I realized that all the tables in the place had been full, then emptied and then full again but never once was there anyone standing around waiting for a table. At 3 hours we got up to leave and the place was mostly empty. The waitress didn’t even say goodbye.

Having lunch with one of my favorite people, my cousin Phil.  My living harder idea has already begun.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Having lunch with one of my favorite people, my cousin Phil. We talked for 3 hours. We had many new memories to share with one another. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Years and years ago in my family Sunday was family day. We would visit with family and be together all day eating and talking and playing games. I still remember those days fondly and I’m glad we did them. What other cultures have that many Americans have lost is the art and mindset that sitting and chatting with other people on a daily basis is more important than making a fortune for your employer or that rushing to get things done is productive and worthwhile.

In Croatia they say that work is something you do in between drinking coffee.  They have the right idea.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

In Croatia they say that work is something you do in between drinking coffee. They have the right idea. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

I have to wonder that at the end of our life are we going to recount how fast we ran our errands and how quickly we did all our chores so we could make the next big meeting or make a deadline? Or will we think back to the good times we had with family and friends? Will we remember the picnics and the dinner parties and the birthday’s we went too and the sound of a child’s laugh?

As I said I will also love harder.  We were out to dinner last night with my brother Paul and his family.  This is my niece Natalia.  Spending quality time with her means more to me than just about anything.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

This is my niece Natalia. Spending quality time with her means more to me than just about anything. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Yes traveling and living in others countries is something that I won’t soon forget. I also won’t forget that taking the time to eat and socialize with others is just as important as working. I won’t be in a hurry to leave a restaurant when I’m bonding with the person I’m with because that relationship I’m building means more than speeding to get to my next appointment. In our short time living outside the US and learning how other cultures live I have to wonder, America, what’s our hurry?

 

Florence Lince

http://about.me/florencelince

The “In’s and Out’s” of Spain

I love decorated doorways, courtyards and windows.  For some reason I tend to take a lot of pictures of these things.   In the country of Spain I had a wealth of them to choose from.  In every city we toured and in every region of Spain everyone seemed to like flowers in their window boxes and doorways or entrance courtyards with intricate carvings or decorations.  My last video on Spain is therefore a retrospective of the many decorated windows and intricate doorways and entranceways I found during our time there.

Mostly what I wanted was to create something using music with a Spanish guitar as the main instrument.  While Flamenco may by the most famous dance associated with Spain to me it is the playing of a Spanish guitar that invokes movement and rhythm and that which sets my heart racing.  The song Pure Paradise performed by Armik therefore does this slide show justice.  Enjoy.

Florence Lince

about.me/florencelince

Let Me Introduce You to Troglodite City

The stories of our time in Spain continue to invade my writing list. It would be hard to live in a country and not walk away with a treasure trove of stories to write about. For me sometimes it is in the taking of the pictures that helps me to formulate and create my stories.

On the day we traveled to Seville and Cordoba we stopped first in a little town called Purullena. Purullena is known for two things. 1. It is known for its cave homes. Roughly half of the population of the town (about 2300 people) actually live in cave dwellings which explains why it is also called Troglodite City and 2. They make and sell a lot of pottery here.

The town of Purullena dates back to 1800 B.C. The cave dwellings appear to originate from the Arab occupation of the town. The Moors were in control of the town from the 9th century until 1489, when it was reconquered by the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, they of Christopher Columbus fame.

Agriculture, pottery and tourism all contribute to the economy of the town which is known for its fertile soil and for growing peaches.  On this day however we were in pursuit of pottery.

The pottery in this region of Spain is world famous.  These large platters with the bright colors make great gifts.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

The pottery in this region of Spain is world famous. These large platters with the bright colors make great gifts. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Patatas means potato and these would also make great hiding places for homemade cookies!  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Patatas means potato.  I think these would make a great place to hide homemade cookies from little fingers.  No child is going to want to open the lid of a potato jar!  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

They made vases and plates and paella serving dishes.  Anything you can think of for the home they can make.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

They make vases and plates and paella serving dishes. Anything you can think of for the home they can make. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

This man posing with Mike made all of the ceramics we found in this store.  He has been making pottery for over 50 years.  His work is beautiful.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

This man posing with Mike made all of the ceramics we found in this store. He has been making pottery for over 50 years.  When we told him how beautiful his pieces were he smiled for the camera.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

These are real working lamps.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

These are real working lamps. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

I love all of the bright colors on some of the pottery.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

I love all of the bright colors on some of the pottery. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

These plates and other ceramic works really make me think of Spain.  They can ship anywhere in the world.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

These plates and other ceramic works really make me think of Spain. They can ship anywhere in the world. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Florence Lince

http://about.me/florencelince

Seville – Feel the Flamenco Dancers Dance

There are times when the simple saying of a city name elicits a response or an ah moment from people.  Speaking the name Seville has always brought to my mind music and Flamenco.  Long before we traveled to this city in Spain did I think I knew where the heart of Spanish dance came from.

One of the most majestic attractions in Seville is of course The Cathedral of Seville.  It is the first place most tourists are brought.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Seville has more to offer than just music and dance.  One of the most majestic attractions in Seville is The Cathedral of Seville. It is the first place most tourists are brought. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Seville has a population of 1.5 million people.  Is the fourth largest city in Spain.  The Seville harbor is the only river port in Spain.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Seville has a population of 1.5 million people. It is the fourth largest city in Spain. The Seville harbor is the only river port in Spain. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

It was from Seville in 1519 that Ferdinand Magellan departed for the first circumnavigation of the Earth.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

It was from Seville in 1519 that Ferdinand Magellan departed for the first circumnavigation of the Earth. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Seville is approximately 2200 years old.  Its mythological leader is Hercules.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Seville is approximately 2200 years old. Its mythological leader is Hercules. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

From 1492 when Columbus landed in the New World to the late 16th century Seville was the only port where trade would take place between the Americas and Spain.  All merchants from around Europe had to come to Seville to send their goods to America.  This monopoly made Seville grow to almost a million people during that time.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

From 1492 when Columbus landed in the New World to the late 16th century Seville was the only port where trade would take place between the Americas and Spain. All merchants from around Europe had to come to Seville to send their goods to America. This monopoly made Seville grow to almost a million people during that time. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

The first Auto de Fé took place in Seville on 6 February 1481, when six people were burned alive.  This was the beginning of the Spanish Inquisition.  It would last over 200 years.  This building is the Royal Tobacco Factory - it is the second largest building in all of Spain.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

The first Auto de Fé took place in Seville on 6 February 1481, when six people were burned alive. This was the beginning of the Spanish Inquisition. It would last over 200 years. This building is the Palace of San Telmo – the seat of the Presidency of this part of Spain. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

 

 

This is the Metropol Parasol: The World’s Largest Wooden.  It is found in the center of Seville.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

This is the Metropol Parasol: The World’s Largest Wooden structure.  It houses a museum and a farmers market. It is found in the center of Seville. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

 

In the 19th Century Seville unfortunately began expanding and in doing so demolished part of its ancient walls, and along with it its history.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

In the 19th Century Seville unfortunately began expanding and in doing so demolished part of its ancient walls, and along with it its history. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Hidden behind many of the doors that line walkways are opulent and stunning open courtyards that lead into many of the homes in Seville.  During the month of May many of the doors are left open so that tourists can take pictures of what these open courtyards look like.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Hidden behind many of the doors that line walkways are opulent and stunning open courtyards that lead into many of the homes in Seville. During the month of May many of the doors are left open so that tourists can take pictures of what these open courtyards look like. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Flamenco dresses are worn by woman of all ages and are worn during Feria (festival) times.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Flamenco dresses are worn by woman of all ages and are worn during Feria (festival) times. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

During our day in Seville we rode the touristy hop-on hop-off bus.  The drive around Seville was only 90 minutes.  So much of old Seville has been demolished.  The tour mostly talked about what was located in a particular spot years ago.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

During our day in Seville we rode the touristy hop-on hop-off bus. The drive around Seville was only 90 minutes. So much of old Seville has been demolished. The tour mostly talked about what was located in a particular spot years ago. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

 

This is the Torre del Oro.  It was built as a watchtower.  Today it is a Naval Museum.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

This is the Torre del Oro. It was built as a watchtower. Today it is a Naval Museum. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Every major city in Spain has a bullring and Seville is no exception.  Many cities have begun to ban bullfights but learning to be a matador is still something many children still contemplate.  Bullfighting has a long history in Spain beginning as far back as 1726.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Every major city in Spain has a bullring and Seville is no exception. Many cities have begun to ban bullfights but learning to be a matador is  something many children still contemplate. Bullfighting has a long history in Spain beginning as far back as 1726. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Seville is a city where old architecture mixes with new high rises.  One must walk the streets of Seville to see the charms the city has to offer.  Seville is a very walker friendly city and treasures can be found on every street and around every corner.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Seville is a city where old architecture mixes with new high rises. One must walk the streets of Seville to see the charms the city has to offer. Seville is a very walker friendly city and treasures can be found on every street and around every corner. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

The art of Flamenco in Spain has become a tourist trap spectacle.  We were asked if we wanted to pay outrageous sums to see a Flamenco show done by Gypsies in a cave in a remote location one night.  When a show is being produced for tourists it is no longer authentic and native and no longer holds any value for me.  It is sad that such a great dance legacy has been relegated to tourism trap status.

Flamenco is a learned skilled and not a simple dance routine.  Real Flamenco takes hours of training and skill to master.  When you see someone trained in the art of Flamenco you applaud because your heart is racing with each clack of their shoes on the floor and with every thundering tap of the music.  Great Flamenco reaches ones sole and applauding is the only way to show appreciation for that which elicits such emotion.  This is why I used the music I did when I created my video salute for Spain.  More than anything else the sound of Flamenco says Spain to me.

Ah, Seville…

Florence Lince

http://about.me/florencelince

The Rain in Spain…Is Mostly Dust and Comes From Africa

Living in Spain was not part of my bucket list.  It was my husband’s.  As so many of you reading will understand we sometimes do things for those we love that we wouldn’t have done otherwise.  Living in Spain was one of those things.

Mike had many cities and attractions on his list of must see places in Spain and we hit them all.  Number one on his list was seeing Sagrada Familia, the breathtaking and stunning cathedral begun by world renowned architect Anton Gaudi which is still being constructed over 133 years after work began.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Mike had many cities and attractions on his list of must see places in Spain and we hit them all. Number one on his list was seeing Sagrada Familia, the breathtaking and stunning cathedral begun by world renowned architect Anton Gaudi which is still being constructed over 133 years after work began. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

I therefore let Mike do all the research on Spain and make a list of the safest cities to live in; what area had a good infrastructure and a good transportation hub and mostly where would it be fun to live.  On a very short list of places he would be interested in living was the city of Torrevieja.

Torrevieja is located in south-eastern Spain directly on the Costa Blanca.  It is a seaside city with a population over 100,000 and at one time was a major salt producing region of Spain and a major fishing spot. Torrevieja is surrounded by two large natural saltwater lagoons that form the well-known “Salterns of Torrevieja”, which are considered to be the biggest in Europe and the second largest in the world.

The salt is extracted from the lagoons and piled high here.  It is then sent via conveyor belt to the ships waiting at the harbor.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

The salt is extracted from the lagoons and piled high here. It is then sent via conveyor belt to the ships waiting at the harbor. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Many of the expats who live in Torrevieja come from the UK, Norway, Germany, Russia and Sweden.  Mike and I were the only Americans in our part of town.  In fact we were told that very few Americans have ever even been to this part of Spain.

The experience that stands out for me is that we were able to locate a pretty good place to live less than a five minute walk from the beach.  Mike and I are not beach people but we ended up buying a beach umbrella and sitting on the sand almost every day.  We would bring our sack lunches and then sit under our umbrella and read.  I like people watching and there was plenty of that to do there as well.

People watching is fun and here I got to do a lot of it.  The beach was a favorite spot for locals and tourists alike.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

People watching is fun and here I got to do a lot of it. The beach was a favorite spot for locals and tourists alike. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

What I struggled with in living in Spain was the constant dust that seemed to cover everything in the house.  I would sweep the whole house (we had no vacuum cleaner and all tile floors) and the dust would be back by nightfall.  I watched the women of Spain literally sweep daily and wash tile floors every other day in order to keep up with the dust.  After pulling out my hair over this I finally asked another woman what the heck was up.  She smiled indulgently and told me that the dust was coming up from the African continent and when it rained in Spain everything turns a rusty red color from the water mixing with the sand.  She said there was nothing I could do about it so I swept daily and moped every other day.

The most horrible part of living in Torrevieja was dealing with all the dogs and their owners who felt that the sidewalks were the perfect place for the dogs to do their business and if no one was looking they didn’t need to clean it up.  There were doggie poop piles everywhere and if you didn’t look down when you walked you could easily step into a little surprise that would ruin your day.   Towards the end of our stay the dog owners wanted to be allowed to bring their pets to the beach and a loud outcry ensued because everyone knew that no dog owner would pick up the shit on the beach any more than they picked it up on the city streets.

As a transportation hub for our other travels Torrevieja was perfect.  The weather was mostly mild and pleasant.  The shop owners were friendly and very accommodating.  Cost of living was in line with the rents we had paid in other countries in the EU and food costs were less than here in the US.  I didn’t realize then but those wonderful bags of Valencia oranges that I was buying for 1.5 Euros were like gold.  I was able to eat two oranges a day if I wanted because they were so cheap.  Here in the US these same oranges cost almost a $1 each.

This is known as the Torrevieja cake.  It is available from only one bakery in town.  The story on the box is quite nice and it makes an excellent gift.  We gave three of these away to new friends.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

This is known as the Torrevieja cake. It is available from only one bakery in town. The story on the box is quite nice and it makes an excellent gift. We gave three of these away to new friends. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Torrevieja, being a beach town, has lots and lots of seasonal apartment rentals.  The rental we were in is usually empty until May or so and then full throughout the summer and into September.  Because we landed in January we literally had our pick of the rentals available.  The rental had no forced air heat and no electric heater.  We most likely wouldn’t have run it anyway since the electricity was so expensive so we learned to live bundled up in layers.  It was still bone chillingly cold so I made a lot of vegetable soups and drank a lot of hot tea.

This is one of the most photographed monuments in all of Torrevieja.  It is called The Musicians Monument and the Monument to the Coralista.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

This is one of the most photographed monuments in all of Torrevieja. It is called The Musicians Monument and the Monument to the Coralista. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

The friendliest people we met in Spain were all expats.  We met shop owners from Cuba, Portugal, Colombia, Argentina and made new friends with people from England.  No Spanish national made an effort to be friendly or get to know us.  We certainly didn’t hide in our apartment; we went out every day to use the internet and mostly we used the free service located in the local library.

Culinarily Spain really doesn’t have much to brag about in the way of food.  We ate Tapas a time or two and it is Spain’s version of bar food in the US.  Most of it was uninspired and tasteless.  We still don’t know what all the fuss is over.  Mike attempted to eat many versions of paella and never found one that he liked.

Spain has a lot of history, and it was from Spain that Columbus sailed west and by mistake landed in the New World.  However he bumped into us he found land and it forever changed Spain’s place in the world as a world power.  Spanish is spoken throughout North, Central and South America and is said to be spoken in half of the countries in the world.  That is some legacy.

In our six month stay we visited Cartagena, Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Cordoba, Pilar, Benidorm, Alicante, and Granada.  We know there were many more cities to see and explore but as is often the case no matter how much time you spend in a country you can’t see and do it all.  In past blog postings I have recounted stories of many of the places we visited during our stay.

Spain has now been checked off Mike’s bucket list.  Funny thing however, the more countries we check off the list the more we add to the list. We returned to the US to rest up and to get our travel mojo back.  In the short number of days we have been back in the US we are already talking about our next adventure.  I’m thinking Germany, then Norway, then Iceland.  Decisions…decisions.

Florence Lince

http://about.me/florencelince

A Blow to His Head Hit Two for The Price of One

Yesterday I flew to Las Vegas, NV to spend the day with my brother Sam.  Almost two months ago Sam was involved in a solo motorcycle accident and nearly died.  He spent 32 days in a hospital trauma unit in San Diego, CA most of that time spent in a medically induced coma.  Mike and I were living in Spain when he had his accident.

Sam is incredibly lucky.  He was not paralyzed; his broken ribs, punctured lung and fractured orbit surrounding his right eye have all healed.  The brain injury he suffered lingers.  Doctors say that many people take up to a year to recover from such a dramatic brain event.

I flew to Vegas for a few reasons.  One being to see him for myself and second to see the therapy he is receiving.  He receives therapy in balance training, strength training, brain exercises, brain cognition and counseling for how to assign, relate and deal with living with a brain injury.

It was such a huge relief to see my brother doing so well.  He has some work ahead but he is very blessed.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

It was such a huge relief to see my brother doing so well. He has some work ahead but he is very blessed. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

As is quite common Sam kept asking when he could return to his normal life.  He was frustrated with the therapy because he didn’t see the value in it because it had no bearing on helping him get back to work.  What he missed, and what I foolishly forgot to say to him, was that they were doing therapy that would help his whole life, not just his work life. 

Because the therapists didn’t know Sam before his accident they have no way of knowing what he was like beforehand.  I was asked from time to time to tell them if Sam was acting the same as usual or was he different.  I told them Sam looked tired and even a little sad. I told them that our father had instilled into each of his children (there are 5 of us) an incredibly strong work ethic and Sam was just doing that which came naturally to us all, he spends his time working hard.

It was while I was hearing therapists talk about what Sam’s new normal life would look like that I realized that there was a lesson in there for me as well.  In all my past jobs I would work 60 hour weeks and think nothing of it.  I would work hard and vacation hard but I worked harder. 

Having lunch with one of my favorite people, my cousin Phil.  My living harder idea has already begun.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Having lunch with one of my favorite people, my cousin Phil. My living harder idea has already begun. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

I realized that a real work life balance needs to exist; I realized that in the blink of an eye the so called normal life we all think we have could change instantly and perhaps permanently.  I realized that if my whole life was my work life I had no real life and no real balance to that life. 

Brain injury patients, depending on many factors, make remarkable recoveries and might have some lingering impairments but nothing that they can’t be taught how to compensate for or how to reassign their brain to help them get the job done.  Sam will work hard to make a full recovery.  I know my brother.  I know how determined he is to get back to his normal life. I will be praying that he gets his wish.  It will take a lot of hard work and dedication from everyone who loves him and perhaps even more so from those that work with him.  

For me I will try to remember the lessons I learned that day as I move forward and I look for work.  I will remember that at the end of the day a job helps me pay the bills and helps me take those great travel adventures Mike and I still want to take.  I will try to remember that when I’m not at work those hours are for me to do as I please and for Mike and I to have some fun.  I will try to sit and read without thinking about how much work I could be doing; I will go out to movies and social events and make more of an effort to have a social life. 

As I said I will also love harder.  We were out to dinner last night with my brother Paul and his family.  This is my niece Natalia.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

As I said I will also love harder. We were out to dinner last night with my brother Paul and his family. This is my niece Natalia. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

While Sam might have been the one who received the blow to his head I received my own wakeup call that day.  I have decided to work hard, but laugh harder.  I have decided to work hard, but live harder.  And mostly I have decided to work hard, but love family and friends harder. 

Florence Lince

http://about.me/florencelince