Friday, March 30, 2012

My Top Ten List of Things Not To Do...

1.   Conduct a business call from the washroom.

2.   “Smize” a police officer during a field sobriety test.

3.   Go shopping for clothes when you’re PMSing

Image by Michelle Meiklejohn

4.   Respond with “I’m up for anything other than Missionary”, when asked during an interview, “What challenges are you looking for in a position?”

5.   Substitute 1-ply of toilet paper for 3-ply. Chafing is not the way to go.

6.   Don’t put “Tiger Blood” for blood type on a patient information sheet.

7.   Forgetting to put on pants when Skyping for a job interview.
8.   Respond with “Fo Shizzle” when you receive communion.

9.   Eating sauerkraut the night before getting on an International flight.

10. Put down “my other personality” in reference to relationship to your emergency contact person. 

What would you add?

Whatnots and remedies,

Sunday, March 25, 2012

I’ve Always Wanted to Write a Book

Yesterday I watched the show, Shark Tank, and a guy by the name of Michael Levin, owner of BusinessGhost was asking for backing. He writes books for celebrities and others and was there to help his business grow. Of course, none of the sharks were biting and he left without a deal. The Sharks didn’t see a profit in the business because there are plenty of others out there who ghostwrite.

I have mixed feelings when it comes to ghostwriting. On the one hand, it’s a great opportunity for seasoned writers to make a living. It’s like any other business; you offer your expertise and services for a fee. What I don’t like about it is that it echoes all around the world that writing can be bought. It doesn’t matter whether you can actually write or not, you can be a published author. Even though ghostwriting has been around for many years, it has become popular in current times. I know that people have a right to pay for this service, but I’ll be honest, I’ve never heard of other creative arts being done by another person. Maybe my search and thinking is off…maybe there are ghost artists or ghost musicians. There are artists who create for companies (advertising), and musicians who write songs for other musicians, yet it’s not to the extent as writing. I feel like publishing a book is no longer a big accomplishment.

Granted I self-published, and to some that might mean my book isn’t good enough for big houses. I wrote, edited/revised (with the assistance of a paid editor), formatted my book for paperback and e-book, put together the book content, got my own ISBN, created my own bookmarks, website and book trailers, published and promoted my book. My hands got chapped and dirty. I didn’t pay someone to write my thoughts and ideas so I could put my name on it. I practiced writing before I wrote my novel, and then I refined it for a year to make it shine.

To me, ghostwriting is a double-edged sword. It provides profit for writers, yet it diminishes the integrity of publishing. Gone are the days where true writing talent was published through the big traditional houses. The Snookie’s and Sarah Palin’s have taken over promotions and bookstore displays, and everyone knows that neither one sat their butt in a chair and wrote. So instead of great talent publishing with Random House, Doubleday or Penguin, you have words of another publishing for big name profits. This is partly why I didn’t bother to go through traditional publishing—too disappointed. I have a very different opinion of traditional publishing than I did 10-years ago.

I’m sure there are many out there, fists pumping in the air, disagreeing with everything I said. And I’m sure I might have ruined any future chance of publishing with a big house because of my opinions, but I’m fine with it. I think this is a very important topic to discuss with everyone. Life is about learning, and part of that learning is discussing other points of views.

For those of you who are and have gone through the hard work of writing, seeking representation, publishing and promoting, how do you feel about ghostwriting?

For those who have said, “I’ve always wanted to write a book”, would you want someone to write your story, fiction or non-fiction?

Ghosts and writing,

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Tale of Two Sisters

My sister and I are 4-1/2 years apart—two very different women, yet two very similar hearts. When we were young, I looked up to my sister and wanted to be just like her. In the 70’s, she had long straight hair, wore the normal 70’s attire (our favorite being the Angel sleeve blouse), and smoked. I know what you’re thinking, smoking isn’t cool. But it was…back then it was cool. Because we had one car in the family, my sister bought her own car when she got her license, a Ford Pinto, and it skyrocketed her coolness.

As time went on my admiration toward her faded and life seemed to be all about me. I was caught up in the moment of high school, partying, and going out. Our relationship went into hibernation while I tried to keep up with adolescence and my sister concentrated on a career. She finally decided to become a bloodsucker—Phlebotomist. This opened up many other opportunities for her. Even though she moved out of the house, we still found moments to fight…but we are sisters…and that’s what some sisters do. 

As different as my sister and I are, we still always have an emotional connection and understanding. We don’t always agree, and fight hard about our decisions, but I would go to the ends of the earth to protect my sister, and I know she would do the same.

Now our lives are going in different directions. We are dealing with an abundance of change in a short period of time. Change is good. Change offers new opportunities, but change can also be a lonely companion. My sister and I are still struggling with the death of our mother, who passed in December. Over the past few months we have worked on settling my mom’s estate, dividing up her things, dealing with finances, and putting her condo on the market. Each step has been another good-bye.

Yesterday I wished my sister well as she starts a new life out West. She is looking for a job while she stays with our father with high hopes that it works out and she finds happiness. We cried and she said we will see each other soon. I wonder when since the plan for me is to live overseas for a few years with the same hope—that it works out and I have a life of happiness. These are big changes for both with sadness still looming within us. We lost our mother, and in a different way, I feel like I have lost my sister. Geographically speaking, we will be in opposite directions, and the family life we grew accustom to is gone. The light has been shut off on that part of our lives.

So here begins a tale of two sisters about to embark on tales of two cities. I wish my sister well and I know my mom will guide us both to where we need to be. Good-bye, Sesute. May our travels lead us back together again very soon. 
Sisters and New Beginnings,

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wednesday Woe or Whoa!

I’m the youngest of my siblings, the baby of the family, and a Wednesday Woe Child—supposedly a life full of grief and sorrow. I’m not saying I haven’t had hard times in my life, but I can’t say my life is full of misery and sorrow. I’ve lost some dear family members…but so have many other people in this world. It doesn’t make my life any different. Yes, I’m still struggling to get over the loss of my mother…at the present time woe seems to have a vise grip, though I’m thankful that I had her as my mom.

As a matter of fact, I’ve been blessed with so many things in my life. All roads lead to happiness, that’s if you look at the hard times as part of the learning process. Something good comes out of bad situations. I love and treasure many things I did and shouldn’t have done—they were some of the best lessons of my life. These were Whoa! moments when I had to stop and find my way back to the crossroad to find another road to walk. I walked away from men I loved, knowing that a life with them would not work out, and I wasted years not knowing what I wanted to do with my life—a lost child. During those years, I found my way back to the crossroads and picked another one with a plan.

And there were other Whoa! moments when I couldn’t believe the fabulous was happening. Like when I received my first semester of A’s and B’s on my transcript. When I became a LAN Administrator based on my abilities, not education, and this boosted my salary to a Whoa moment. The opportunities I took to travel abroad to see age-old buildings and observe other cultures with a Whoa. The day I met and fell in love with the Love of my life, looking at our past, present and future with nothing less than a smile and a Whoa! If someone told me years ago that I’d meet a man from Germany at the age of 40, fall in love, and plan to spend the rest of my life with him, I would have definitely responded with a, “Whoa! You’re crazy!” But also is a life of woe.

 An urban legend is all
it is of Wednesday woe

We choose each hall
to walk; every friend and foe

When we’re out of luck
with too much to tow

Avoid passing the buck
and get your life to flow

So when you hear it said,
“You’re a Wednesday Woe.”

Ignore the lingering dread
Step back and shout, “Hell no!”

Whoas and opportunity,

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Railway, Castles, and Dragons!

Last weekend we went to Schloss Drachenburg to see the castle and the Drachenfels Mountain, and we wound up doing so many other things there, too. The foundation of the Schloss Drachenburg was laid in 1882. To read more about the castle’s history and take a look at other pictures (aside from my own), you can visit the Schloss Drachenburg site - Now relax, keep your hands by the keyboard, and enjoy the scenery.

When we first arrived in the town of Koenigswinter (King’s Winter), we parked in a free parking lot. Free People! A free parking lot is hard to come by in Germany. You drive, you pay, which includes high price gas and parking. While we were walking through the parking lot to get to the train, we came across a few washrooms and here is what it said above one of the doors (translation: urinal). What can I say, I’m childish and thought it was funny.

From there, we took the cog railway up to the Schloss Drachenburg. This railway opened in 1883, but it has been updated several times since. When we got up to the castle, we went inside the small museum and gift store. 

 I was in awe of the castle once I saw the full view. 


We went inside the castle, but they didn’t allow us to roam the entire castle. We only saw a small portion of it, so I took as many pictures as I could. Side note: While we were in the castle, there was a group of people having a good old time. My Love elbowed me and pointed out one of the men in the group. He is the President of the German Parliament (very interesting). 

In one room, there were two stained glass windows of writers. One is Uhland and the other Schiller. I also took a picture of their writings. The street we live on is named after Schiller—Schiller Strasse.

In the art room, there was a book where guests could sign their name. I wrote a little about my book, Net Switch, and left a bookmark. 

Here are a few pictures I took from the castle looking into the valley.

We had a small lunch in the restaurant on the left. The building on the right was built in 1661. 

Finally we arrived at the dragon’s cave. 

This lead to the reptile exhibit.

Again, we went on the cog railway up to the Drachenfels Mountain where the old castle remains are.

After we took our pictures on this gloomy day, we went back down the mountain into town where I took a few more pictures.

We passed one storefront and they had this cute Christmas display for sale. I loved it.

Hope your fingers didn’t get cramped at the keyboard.

Castles and dragons,

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

‘Til Life Gets Better

Memories of you constantly
slap my brain, squeeze
my heart—so I make a wish
to rewind time.

To a time when I didn’t feel so
lost because I knew you
were here—but now
lost is where I am.

A time when all holidays, birthdays,
and special events included you,
the constant in my life—but now
my constant is sadness.

A time when your voice
and laughter made me smile
inside and out—but now
I hear silence.

A time when you gave my life
purpose because you depended
on me—but now my purpose
is full of memory tears.

A time when you would say,
“You’re going to miss me
when I’m gone”—and now
I admit that you were right.

So now I must struggle with the
here and now—what was and
what might have been—‘til life
gets better.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Digging Deep and a Fabulous Find!

There are so many places to explore in the area, so this week we went to a nearby town to tour a museum and coal mine. I had no idea how much I’d enjoy it, even though it was a bit creepy, but all-in-all I have a newfound appreciation for coal miners. They do risk their lives going into the mines.

Here are a few pictures of us walking through the mine.

This is an aluminum type stretcher they used to carry out injured miners or supplies. They stopped using it because the aluminum would spark and start fires.

This is a statue the miners prayed to while in the mine.

I took a picture of the layers of rock in the mine.

Here’s a picture of the toilet the miners used. They took turns taking the toilet home and dumping it in their gardens for manure. 

This is a cart that moves supplies from one area to another.

It doesn’t look as tight as it actually is, but the miners crawl under here to dig and put up wood barriers.

When we exited the mine, I took these pictures of the gate and the hill the mine is in. 

And then we discovered a Fabulous Find.

The next day, my Love made homemade bread (from scratch) and Mussels . If interested, you can find the full recipe here:

This time I took pictures!!!!

Hope you enjoyed the tour.

Dig and conquer,