Sharing the fun and creativity in my world and encouraging the same in yours.

Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

I Had A Battle Today And Lost – Ouch.

Laundry

I had a battle today–with a bleach bottle.

I rarely use bleach, in fact, it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I used it at all. My son came home from college with our white towels and well, they weren’t white and smelled awful! There really was/is no place for him to hang his towels so they dry, he says. They get put into his hamper damp and that does not bode well for the towels nor any of his other clothes. I had to use bleach.

Plus, now that my husband is doing work on older homes (both small and large renovations), he’s getting filthy!! Especially his socks and any white t-shirts he may wear on-site. I miss the years he worked in new construction. ~sigh~

Anyway, I battled the bleach bottle…and lost. 😦

I swear I saw stars while cleaning this wound.

After I gingerly washed my hands, I carefully laid the flap of skin back over the top wound to re-seal and heal itself. (Oops, sorry, TMI?) The nice red welts below that are blisters which will, hopefully, re-absorb into my palm without breaking open.

How Did This Happen?

Trying to open the bleach bottle, that’s how, you know, the darn “Press Down and Turn” cap? Well, I did and it didn’t. I hadn’t noticed what I’d done to my hand until I gave up and stormed off into the kitchen.

My Solution?

My husband came home from an errand and I waved “hello” with my bandaged hand.

“What did you DO?”

I showed him. “Ewww. Ouch.”

I told him of my dilemma fully versing him in my attempts to open the bleach bottle: at first gently pushing and turning the cap as instructed, and when that didn’t work, I used my full weight on it again and again and again. Grrrr…..

“You want me to open it?”

“Sure.” He proceeded to go out and, of course, opened the darn bleach bottle on his first try. I took a deep breath and squinted my eyes.

“I did that!! I tried doing it gently and lightly at first!!!! It didn’t work!!”

“I believe you! I believe you.” He closed it and opened it again.

“It’s not fair and it’s not funny!”

He walked away chuckling while I carefully started the white load then squealed with pain when I had to wash my hands afterwards. Hours later, I have to laugh too.

This whole thing reminded me of an hysterical Carol Burnett skit where she plays a woman who comes home from grocery shopping and proceeds to try to open up various items: cheese, jars, milk cartons, all to no avail. Click on her name above to watch it. Me?

I’m letting my husband grill tonight. I’m not going anywhere near the kitchen. The laundry was enough for me today. 🙂 Oh, and at some point, I’ll thank him for opening that bottle of bleach for me.

Have you ever felt like you’re in a Carol Burnett shtick?

Copyright 2012 – All rights reserved.

How Do You Connect on Social Media Or Don’t You?

Do You Connect?

Today I read a wonderful post written by Jody Hedlund. She is the author of The Doctor’s Lady and I always find her blog posts well worth the read with helpful tips and insights for readers and writers alike.

Her post, Putting the “Social” Back in Social Media struck a chord with me so much that as I was writing a comment on her blog, it became a post.

Are you on the fence about chatting with your readers/followers even when they’re basically sitting right next to you? Do you feel it’s too much effort to share or comment or begin a dialogue and instead choose to ignore them? If so, you’re missing out on a tremendous experience!

Ms. Hedlund writes that she’s

“…observed a disturbing trend among the writing community on social media sites–the lack of interaction.” and that “…particularly Twitter–has become one big infomercial.”

She’s talking about spamming, of course. Where writers or wanna-be-writers do nothing but post promotional tweets sometimes as often as a dozen times a day filling their followers Twitter feeds with nothing but spam. There is no interaction. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a personal tweet or even a response tweet to anyone in their feed. They don’t want to share themselves nor do they care about who follows them, as long as they can promote their book. They are all about quantity of followers (Facebook way of life) rather than quality of followers (Twitter way of life). All they want are sales, fame, and fortune, and they want them NOW. 😦

Here’s an Image For You

When I see these sorts of tweets in my Twitter feed, I imagine someone standing outside their home on their porch waving a bright orange flag with a megaphone yelling, “BUY MY BOOK! BUY MY BOOK! I’LL JUST DIE IF YOU DON’T BUY MY BOOK!!”

Of course, all of the neighbors are safely tucked away inside their homes hoping this lunatic will simply shut up and leave them alone. I mean, after all, who does he think he is asking us to buy his book when he’s never shown an interest of any kind towards them? Snap goes the blinds. In Twitter’s case, the Unfollow button works just fine.

Now, I don’t think that’s the image this writer realizes he’s conjuring for his followers. In his desperation, assumptions are made (right or wrong). Those assumptions usually include the following: he is a self-published author that hasn’t bothered to invest time in numerous edits and re-writes, nor invest money into professional editing or strong cover art, and certainly hasn’t done his homework on marketing and social media. He’s probably not worth a read. Ouch.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

New writers (or anyone new to social media with a product or service to sell) need to realize you are there to connect *not* to sell. If you do connect, you’ll automatically sell. How much? Well, that depends on many unknown and known factors, plus a good deal of luck. Even the Big Six Publishers realize there is an “unknown” factor involved. You just never know what will truly resonate with the public and motivate them to buy a book (or any product).

Fully Interacting and Being Successful on Twitter

I realize we live in a culture of instant gratification and there are many new writers seeking, nay demanding, instant fame and financial success with their blog or their self-publishing endeavor. They are panicked and desperate for attention and sales. This is very unfortunate. They are missing what social media really is about: a way to globally connect with people, not just ‘follow’ or be ‘followed’. And, in order to connect, you must interact.

Personally, I love Twitter and have carried on many successful discussions and worthwhile chats via this social media platform. And for those who continue to say Twitter isn’t good for such things? I politely say to  them, “You’re wrong. That is not my experience. I have lots of valuable, fun, helpful conversations with people on Twitter!”

Once you start a conversation, it’s easy to continue it! Even a simple back-and-forth of “Love your post about…couldn’t agree more!” and/or “Thank you!” establishes a rapport. 🙂

I have chatted with astronomers, gardeners, well-known writers/authors, literary agents, publishers, moms and dads, successful bloggers, HR people (in Australia!), tech people, and many more intelligent, thought-provoking, helpful, successful, and articulate people on Twitter. It’s quite satisfying and a whole lot of fun!

And that is what social media is all about: sharing, helping, having fun, and establishing/creating relationships.

That’s what creates readers, followers, and traffic to your blog, site, or account. Not spamming. Not sending out a dozen tweets all within two minutes in the hope of “trying to keep up blog traffic every day.” That writer will remain anonymous. I tried to discreetly (via DM) tell him what he was doing was considered spam and most people won’t click through to read one of those 12 posts much less ANY of them when you flood their Twitter feed like that. It just doesn’t work that way.

But, interacting takes time!

Yes, it does but not as much time as you think it does. Set your timer and spend 15 minutes catching up on your Twitter feed. You can respond to a few people in only 30 seconds. Then, post 2-3 times a day about your day, your pet, your editing, your writing. Once a week, promote your book tactfully. On your Twitter profile page, make sure you have your site or blog url address so people can click through to see who this nice and/or interesting person is and what they write! It’s quite do-able. 🙂

It’s like that adage: Do what you love and the money will follow. Well, write about what you love (and be sincere/authentic), and people will follow. Forget about sales and fame. Begin a blog or Twitter account because you want to connect, because you’re curious, because you see it as a fun adventure!

Don’t do it if your primary reason is to get sales. Even major companies are finding out about that flaw. Build a relationship with your customers and you’ll have customers for life. Don’t…and you won’t. It’s really that simple.

Copyright 2012 – All rights reserved.

Mystery Animals Came Out After The Rain!

It’s still pouring outside from Tropical Storm Debby but yesterday when we had a brief break from the rain, I went to get the mail and discovered tiny creatures hopping all over the street!

When I first saw movement out of the corner of my eyes, I thought the fluttering was tiny bits of leaves knocked down from the downpours but my mind dismissed that almost immediately. My eyes zoomed into one dark spot an arm’s length away only to have it move before I got a good look. I followed and saw this:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As my eyes adjusted to their forms, I scanned the road for more. There were dozens of these tiny frogs all over the road. I yelled for my husband and quickly asked him to have our son bring out my camera.

I still haven’t figured out if they are actually frogs or toads yet and specifically, what kind. However, I am assuming since they came out after a rain, they’d be frogs…right? Or did the heavy rains disrupt a nest of toads and they had to flee for drier ground?

I’m still searching so if anyone can tell me which type of frogs or toads these are (here in Florida), I would love to have you comment. Thanks! 🙂

Copyright 2012 – All rights reserved.

Yup, Two Surgeries Within One Year. You?

Let me first say…

Our son has never had an injury growing up. Yup, mom was protective. I’m not going to lie and I’m not going to apologize. And yes, he’s our only child (everyone always asks that). I guess if you have more than one child, you get numb or nonplussed about injuries because you have more of them to deal with – that’s my guess, anyway.

Our son had two major (to me) surgeries this past year while away at college. Thank heavens my husband is the calm one and handles life’s unexpected mishaps better than I do. That’s why I love him. I can freak out and cry and he can calm me. It’s a perfect match.

Also, luckily, he could drive to our son’s college town, and be with him for that day and the day after to make sure everything went smoothly…and for my sanity’s sake. Who knew dairy and soy could be in hospital anesthesia and equipment? Plus, mom can’t stay in a guy’s dorm room, I mean, how would it LOOK? 😯

As a result, I had to let my son heal from his injuries and cope with his daily life on his own (I could only give him emotional/mental support each week), so this past year has been extra stressful for me. No helping with laundry, no helping with meals, no helping with bandaging, you know, Mom stuff. 😦

First accident

While working at a sports and game bar last summer, my son tried out their stupid punching bag to-measure-your-strength “game”. His last hit he decided to go all out and really punch the thing. Unfortunately, he hit the bag where the padding was worn thin and so, hit the thick iron piece that held the punching bag in place. He was in excruciating pain but finished his shift as a server. He grimaced as a co-worker shook his hand and he could barely drive home at 2:00am.

My baby’s wrist!

We thought his wrist had just been jammed since there was no bruising, he could move his fingers and even push down with his fingers. We iced it, gave him something for the pain and within a few days, it was no longer swollen and the pain had abated.

We honestly didn’t think he broke it.

A few weeks later, he started his Fall semester in college and he asked his sports professor for any exercises to help him stretch out part of his wrist that seemed stubborn.

She sent him to the infirmary. The nurse there, in turn, sent him to a specialist. They both surmised it was broken…and they were right. 😦

Wrist Surgery

Surgery went well although it took seven (yes, 7!!) weeks between a doctor’s and specialist’s appointments, having an MRI, reading it, and keeping a brace on it while they awaited the results and to schedule the surgery. He was then in a cast for 9 weeks and took all of his exams at the Student Center with the help of a volunteer transcriptionist since he is right-handed and he could barely hold a pen in his hand because of the cast. We worried about his mental state but he coped just fine.

I told him there was a lesson in this for him to learn: how to ask for help. He loves to do things on his own, figure things out on his own, do for himself and now he *had* to ask for help. He had no choice. He grudgingly agreed.

We were glad when his cast came off right before he came home for Christmas. He now has a permanent screw in his wrist.

Second Accident

My baby’s elbow!! If you look at the top of his elbow, you’ll see a long patch of lighter skin. That’s where he landed.

During his Spring semester, I got a call from our son asking for his insurance information. Thankfully, it is required that students have insurance while they attend college so he has insurance through the college which is all wrapped up into his and our student loans.

Anyway, he didn’t have his insurance card with him…at the emergency room at the hospital. What?? My heart lurched. He had been testing out a friend’s long board to see if he liked it enough to buy his own when he went over a speed bump and was thrown forward. Strangely enough, the long board went forward too, not backward like you would think.

He landed on his left elbow and…you guessed it…he broke it. And no, he was not wearing any sort of protective gear which he would have had he tried anything like that at home. I told you, I’m *that* kind of mom.

Elbow Surgery

Instead of seven (7) weeks worth of doctors’ visits like his wrist, the surgery was scheduled within a week and he was very happy to hear he wouldn’t have to wear a cast. He was all wrapped up, of course, and had to wear a sling for a few weeks but no hard cast. Yay!

He had his last check-up here in town and now has a permanent flexible metal plate in his elbow with six (6) screws. The doctor said only 10% of patients request a second surgery to remove it; the rest simply live with it forever. My son was amused to hear he’d have to get a doctor’s note if he ever flew because he would now set off their metal detectors. 🙄 Yes, I’m rolling my eyes.

We told him, “That’s it. You’re done. You didn’t have any accidents or injuries growing up, now you’ve had two. You’re all done.” He’s agreed.

Pssst, we’re still loading him up with safety gear before he goes back in August with or without a long board. Parents’ prerogative.

So, that’s how this past year has been for us. How about you? Any challenges, setbacks, mishaps you’ve survived? I’d like to know I’m not alone.

Copyright 2012 – All rights reserved.

The Night Before Delivery

(A nod to Clement C. Moore’s The Night Before Christmas.)

The Night Before Delivery

Twas the night before delivery
When all through our home
We were sweating, trying to sleep
but tossing and turning, dreaming of gnomes.

The area was cleared, laundry was done and removed
For we had received a phone call with news…oh, what news!

What had planned to be a Wednesday delivery
Had been moved up to Tuesday. Oh gee!

So Hubby in his boxers and I in my pj’s
Had finally settled down for a cozy night of sleep…NAY!

When out in the driveway there sounded a loud beep!
I rushed to the kitchen and made ready to greet.

Opening the garage door I threw up the switch
Turned on the light and I began to twitch!

***

The sun on the pavement and bright white truck & van
Made my heart flutter as my eyes tried to scan.

Hark! What to my tired and bleary eyes should appear?
But a van and two trucks with five workmen in gear.

With a tall young driver, so prompt and polite
I knew in a moment, everything would be alright.

More rapid than greyhounds, introductions were made.
And he pointed and shouted and called them by name.

“Here’s Todd. Now Dave! Now Michael and Dixon!
Now on to the plans we have for a fixin’.
To the inside of the garage and the side of the house!
We need to detach, remove, install and replace for her spouse!”

As bees set to work on cleaning the hive
When they carry the debris to the outside,
So on to the old units the workmen encroached
With a truck full of tools and the Supervisor’s approach.

And then in a flurry, I heard the men chatter
Then the clinking and clanking of wrenches and hammer.

As I withdrew to my home, and was closing the door
The Supervisor quickly said, “There is more!”

***

He was dressed in his uniform, so clean and so pressed
A striking comparison to me who was so rumpled and depressed.

A clipboard and pen were ready at hand,
He went over the details, waved over my land.

***

His eyes were so bright! His smile so happy!
His demeanor so nice! Whereas I was quite flappy!

His voice was too pleasant for me at this early time.
And I almost swore that he may have mimed!

But the clipboard he held with pen tight in his hand
Was bouncing and moving as if in a band.

He told me of supplies, measurements, time, and expectations.
With barely 5 hours of sleep, I’m not sure I heard all the information.

He was fairly thin and agile, a right pleasing good fellow.
And I laughed when he told me I would soon be able to mellow.

A flick of his head to his workers, the four
And he was off for supplies for an hour or more.

When he came back with supplies, the workers they pounced.
They were ready to finish. They grabbed, strolled and bounced.

And turning again, he drove off with a wave,
And I turned and walked wistfully back into my cave.

***

Then the team called me out, the new HVAC was installed!
And they all drove away. I was so glad I called.

 And I heard their comments so clear in my head,
“Happy Sleeping to you!” The four of them said.

Copyright 2012 – All rights reserved.


You Think You’re Hot?

This is what I’ve been using to cool off over the past several days as outdoor temperatures have been between 90 & 93 degrees putting our indoor temperatures in an un-air-conditioned house at 88 & 90 degrees.

See the ice cubes? No? That’s ’cause they melted already!

Sitting outside to get cool with a wet paper towel draped around my neck and my feet gleefully playing in this tub of cold water wasn’t too bad but in the evening, the heat was unbearable.

It’s difficult to sleep when it’s still 80 degrees inside with all the windows open! The outside temperature has been getting down to about 66, maybe 70 but the wind hasn’t been in our favor so our house never cooled down below 80 degrees. Hard to fall asleep when you’re breaking into a sweat.

Actually, I was doing pretty well for about 6 out of the 7 weeks. Right up until about a week ago and yesterday (or the day before?), I told my husband, “That’s it! I’ve reached my limit!” As record-breaking temperatures sky-rocketed to 93-94 degrees, it was just too much.

My office was 90 degrees. My hair a frizzy mess (ahh, humidity, my archenemy), and my impression of the Wicked Witch of the West was dead-on although instead of screaming, “I’m melting! I’m melting!” I was whimpering “I’m wilted! I’m wilted!” But the effect was pretty much the same as I sank into my office chair letting it de-pump into the lowest position so I could plunk my head on my desk.

And then…it happened. We got a phone call saying our delivery and installation would be a day earlier than planned. That may not sound like much to some but at this point, it was wonderful, miraculous news to us!

And so…I give you…in my next post…The Night Before Delivery. Enjoy!

Copyright 2012 – All rights reserved.

Thank You, Joshua Gates!

Yes, it’s true!

Last night, I had the thrill of a lifetime! I got the chance to speak to Joshua Gates (@joshuagates), Host and Producer of Destination Truth on DT Fan Radio on Mandogg House Radio hosted by Ambassador Amanda on BlogTalkRadio.

Now I know the true feeling of the word, “Squeee!!!” **Happy Dance** 😀

A couple of my first loves

Some of you may know that I love archaeology and anthropology. Stored somewhere I have a picture of me in 6th grade up to me knees in a creek looking like I took a mud bath. It was a class trip and we were digging in the banks of the creek for fossils. I was gung-ho about that and for a girl, that seemed strange to my teacher and some of my classmates. I didn’t care, I was having a ball!

Yes, I was a tomboy and proud of it! 😀 Couldn’t find Lisa? She was most likely climbing up the tallest tree in the yard, or collecting rocks with trilobites and fossilized shells in them. You should have seen the size of the rock/boulder I carried back from an afternoon walk one day! It was at least a foot in diameter, and it was coooool.

Another Digression…

In college, I took several introductory archaeological courses but was intimidated by the future science requirements (I’m embarrassed to say). I did, however, take a summer course studying ancient Greece and we traveled through Europe for two months, spending an entire month in Greece. I fell in love with traveling and especially, with Greece!!

We visited museums in England, France, Germany, Italy and Greece then took in many archaeological sites in Italy and Greece. It was a small group, I think about eight of us, and we rented two cars in France after taking a ferry from England. It was an adventure! I loved it and at some point in the near future, I’ll post a few pictures on here for you. Have to find them first.

Back to the show!

I’m usually not on the computer about 9pm but I was working on a few things and Joshua Gates tweeted he was going to be on a radio show so I listened in. I’m familiar with BlogTalkRadio and was curious about the show’s host. (I had a BlogTalkRadio show myself for a year and love the platform and the freedom it offers.) I clicked the link he tweeted.

I also know that Joshua Gates has a degree in archaeology and I love watching Destination Truth. I keep telling our son, “If I was 20-25 years younger, I’d be on his team in a flash!” I so wish there had been a group dedicated to researching these various experiences, sightings, myths, legends, stories years ago because I would have jumped at the chance to take part in these investigations! If there were (which I’m sure there must have been), I just wasn’t aware of them at the time.

I’m happy to hear that Joshua Gate’s favorite Indiana Jones’ movie was Raiders of the Lost Ark. I completely agree. I remember sitting in the movie theater when it came out, taking a few seconds to realize that the man in the field was also the professor!! Harrison Ford was playing a character I always wanted to be, knowing everything I wanted to know: an expert in his field. I fell in love with that film and lived vicariously through Indiana Jones. Now I do so in real life…with Joshua Gates. 🙂

Questions

There were the usual silly questions from fans last night and some fun ones. 30 minutes into the show, I decided, “What the hell, I’ll call.” In the chat room, I let Amanda know I was in the phone queue then crossed my fingers. I had thought of a couple of questions and decided on one. I wrote it down so I wouldn’t stumble on the phone/radio. I knew you needed to be as succinct as possible on an interview, especially when time was winding down. Josh was already on longer than he originally planned.

My question?

“Josh, for you, what discovery has surprised you the most so far in your travels?”

Josh (I feel kinda’ funny using his first name when I don’t even know the guy but…) gave TWO great answers: a general answer and a specific answer. Click HERE to find out what they were! 😀 Thought I was gonna’ spoil it for ya’, huh?

I completely agree with his answers, and I so appreciate him realizing (and making his audience realize) that there usually is some sort of truth behind the experiences, stories, and sightings, especially when you take into consideration the climate, the cultures, and the belief systems of the area you are searching.

And watching Destination Truth brings back memories of traveling and learning about different cultures and belief systems, something I was always, and still am, fascinated with in our world.

My note to Josh…

Dear Josh, Well said!!! I can’t thank you enough for being open to these various interview opportunities and your thoughtful answers. Keep up the terrific work and please say “hello” to all of your crew!

You’ve had a fan in me from the very first episode and our entire family loves watching it together, giving us an opportunity to talk about traveling, various cultures and belief systems, your fascinating results, and the many possibilities and mysteries that still exist in our world today.

But I have to draw the line somewhere. You couldn’t pay me to go to the Chernobyl site. I’d have to skip that trip. My hat is off to you and your crew for that episode. Nope, n’uh, uh…no way. 🙂 Please stay safe, guys!

From one of your most ardent fans, Lisa (aka @lablady)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

P.S. Favorite episode? Oh dear, there are so many. Loved Bigfoot in Malaysia as well as The Yeti in Nepal. What great discoveries!! Footprints! Very cool. The episode looking into Icelandic Elves was intriguing, and the Haunted Forest/Alux episode in Romania left me wondering: “What the heck is in “The Circle”? Wow.

These are just some of my many favorites. What are your favorite episodes of Destination Truth?

Copyright 2012 – All rights reserved.