Wednesday, January 28, 2015
The Secret Lives of the Harvested. We sat down with Shari to celebrate the new release and get her thoughts on heroes, human qualities, and other life's necessities. ==================================== What is your favorite virtue? Honesty. Your favorite qualities in a man. Honesty. I also appreciate sensitivity and humor. Your favorite qualities in a woman. I would have to say being laid back. Some women are so hectic. I like friends who know how to just sit down, have a drink and chat. Your chief characteristic. Humility. Just kidding. I’m not sure, is being creative a characteristic? What do you appreciate the most about your friends? I love it when I can talk about writing with a friend. I enjoy bouncing ideas back and forth and getting inspired by their work. It helps me to work harder. Your main fault. Probably it is the lack of judgment to do what I know is best for me, before I get into situations that require some patience and a degree of difficulty to get out of. One example is moving to the other side of the world because my husband wanted to do that. I know I’ll look back on the amazing experiences but I don’t know if I would do it over again. Homesickness is a real thing… Your favorite occupation. Writing. I also love shop keeping. I’ve owned three different shops over the years and I loved them. I want to start another one as soon as I can afford to do it. Your idea of happiness. Being respected for what you do. Being surrounded by people who care about you. Loving what you do for a living. Your idea of misery. I’m not sure how to answer that because the world is filled with misery and I have my share of it in myself as well. It’s a part of the human condition. If not yourself, who would you be? Charles Dickens Your favorite heroes in fiction. Pip from Great Expectations. Scout Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice, Delia from Through the Cane Fields. There are so many, I can’t think of them all. Your favorite heroes in real life. Countless amazing writers. People who suffer from anxiety and depression but tough it out anyway. People who help others. People who have compassion. Your favorite food and drink. Ginger ale with extra ice and a slice of lemon. Mexican food is great in fact, all food is great. I never met a sandwich I didn’t like. What is your present state of mind? Homesick. Your personal motto. To the victor go the spoils. I have no idea why that came to mind. I’ve never really thought I had a personal motto. Now I do. ==================================== For more about Shari and her books, visit her Facebook page or her Amazon spotlight.
Sunday, January 4, 2015
small thing comes from a big company. In terms of the company's dollars, this is a tiny gesture. In terms of the smile on the little boy's face - that's not so small, at all. I did something today I haven't done for many years. I gave a stranger a lift. I was making an appointment to see a dentist and while I was waiting, a young woman asked for a phone book so she could call a taxi. I was there maybe 20 minutes and this woman was still there waiting for her cab. As I was leaving I turned to her and said her taxi was really taking his time. She was concerned she was going to miss her bus. Not just a local bus but Greyhound. I knew the bus station is in town, maybe 5 miles from where we were so I offered her a ride. We had a lovely conversation. Turned out she is a recent dental school graduate and was interviewing there. They were running behind so her interviewed ended late. She had ½ hr to catch the bus at 2:30 or she would have to wait until 10pm. She offered to pay for gas but I didn't want that. I told her to do a favor for a stranger. Pay it forward. I was at the grocery store today and the bagger accidentally dropped my jar of spaghetti sauce which broke the seal. He looked at me like I was going to blast him. I just said, guess I'm having spaghetti for dinner! Remember, especially this time of year with people a little on edge, that plans can change, things aren't set in stone and go with the flow. Also, remember the people you come in contact with are just as stressed as you are. Take an extra second to look at their name tag, smile and say Have a good day, Jane or Merry Christmas, Tom. You have no idea how good you can make them feel. Public service announcements What you need to know about Locks of Love Next year - rent your Christmas tree. Give a year of school Recommended reading Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart
Friday, December 5, 2014
Amazon. There is always something fascinating going on at her blog Zen and the art of tightrope walking. You can also catch up with Vivienne on Facebook and Twitter.
Monday, December 1, 2014
cook times and are suffering a whole bird...a bit of help. And no, I did not write this, but I only cook a turkey once a year...and thought you all might be in the same (and if you're living in leftovers--I have recipes that will take out ALL of the LEFTOVERS (even the lima beans) over several meals--that aren't soup.) ======================================== Madison, Wisconsin takes a new, fantastic, and positive approach to helping the homeless. ======================================== Just had this thought while talking about voter challenges. If you have a kid in high school or in college - that would be an interesting project for him or her. Especially, if the school is in or near a poor neighborhood. Organize a voter literacy program. Many colleges (especially community colleges) now have a community service requirement as part of the standard curriculum. I am sure something like that would absolutely count toward that requirement. Some years ago, I had a chance to work for a college located in the inner city Charlotte, NC - one of the toughest, poorest, grittiest areas of the city. The kids at the college helped out with several programs - like tutoring school children from the neighborhood (since schools there were pretty awful - and not because of the teachers. Think movie "Dangerous Minds" but first-graders.), grocery collections for the poorest households, summer camps, as well as resume and job search assistance for the grownups, free writing tutorials, etc. A high school or a community college - someplace with classrooms and a library - is a good place to set something like this up. If you are a grownup of some means, and have the ability to do so, or have a community that can get behind this - consider doing this as well. I am spread a little thin right now, however, if you do go for it - let me know, and I'll be happy to help you promote the effort and spread the word. Public Service Announcements 'Tis the season when not everyone gets to celebrate the season. Here is one of the ways you can help. DeviantArt is once again running its holiday card project for people stuck in hospitals over the holidays. Red Cross is also running a Holiday Cards for Heroes project. Friends! If you do a lot of your holiday (and other) shopping on line - go through eBates and see if you can get a discount. I've saved a lot of money with them overtime. Off-the-beaten-path holiday shopping - Kim Caudell's etsy store - Uncommon Goods - Viva Terra - Bittersweet Herb Farm - Old World Specialties
Tuesday, November 4, 2014
defeat your Blerch. Week 2 - make one radical change. This doesn't seem so small, does it? But I am not talking about anything like picking up and moving to Antarctica, or quitting your job to take up professional salsa dancing, or running off with the handsome UPS guy. There are plenty of "I've always done it this way" things in our lives that can be altered. The reason? Thought pattern interrupt. While I am a huge fan of routine and stability, I must acknowledge - it can and does lead to the staleness of thought and stupor of new ideas. Sometimes, a minor jolt is required to get yourself unstuck. Let's say, you've always had the same thing for lunch - a ham and cheese sandwich, an apple, maybe a cup of coffee. Have a champagne lunch with crab cakes instead. Ok, so you might want to pick a non-work day for that - but do it. If you always shop at the same store - pick a time and go somewhere different. Make a point to thoroughly check it out and see everything they have to offer. This particularly applies to clothes shopping - a lot of people, men and women, ALWAYS shop at the same places, afraid of disappointment elsewhere. Or, let's say, you always wear black - wear color. And we are not talking - adding a white shirt under a black suit. That's cheating. No. Color. Something other than black. No black garment of any sort anywhere on you. These are minor envelope pushers - but you might be pleasantly surprised how they impact you. You might discover your thoughts going in new and fascinating directions, your mind acquiring a new sort of clarity and teeming with ideas. It's not an easy task - but very worth it. Week 3 - let go of other people's stuff. You probably don't even know this - but your house is full of things that should belong to someone else. Some are obvious - like books or tools you or someone in your household borrowed from a friend or a neighbor and forgot to return. Find them and return them. Then there are other things. Books, for instance, that you have read and not particularly liked, or thought you might read but didn't, but you hold on to them because they are books, and you can't bear to part with books. Why not give them to people who will read them and like them, and possibly even keep them for the right reasons? There are clothes that feel good and look fabulous - on someone else. So, what are they doing in your closet? They don't fit you - but you hold on to them in case someday they might, even though, at the bottom of your heart, you know that is unlikely. They don't look good on you - but you can't let them go, because you paid too much for them. Sell them on eBay or take them to a thrift store so that their actual owners might find them and give them a new lease on life. If your kids are grown up, their baby clothes no longer belong to them or to you ("but what if my children have children!") - they belong to a new mom trying to find good, sturdy baby clothes at a discount. Duplicates and triplicates (or even more-plicates) of hammers, screwdrivers, saw blades, and fastener sets don't belong to you - they belong to a young family trying to whip their fixer-upper starter home into shape. Old magazines, unopened bills and advertisements belong to a recycling facility. Old sheets and blankets you no longer use even for the guests belong to a local homeless shelter. Leftover cans of paint, rolls of insulation, and sheets of plywood really belong to Habitat's ReStore. Free your home from things that belong to other people and make room for your own life. Week 4 - read to improve your life. Many self-help books have a bad reputation, because, it's true, a lot of them are crap. However, that is not a good reason to discard them altogether. They are not all the same and many can well and truly change your life in a positive way. Pretty much everyone in this group is an avid reader - with more than one book going on at the same time. Make a point to identify the area of your life you would like to improve and add a book on that subject to your current reading material. Here are some ideas: - Self-esteem, discipline, goal-setting, follow-through, life changes - "Success Principles" by Jack Canfield, "The difference maker" by John Maxwell, "What to say when you talk to yourself" by Shad Helmstetter - Turning dreams into plans - "Put your dream to the test" by John Maxwell, "Change" by Brandon Burchard - Style, clothes that fit, dressing appropriately for various occasions - "What not to wear" books by Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine (for women); "Off the cuff" by Carson Kressley and "Dressing in the dark" by Marion Maneker (for men); "Dress your best" by Stacey London and Clinton Kelly (for both men and women) - How to decorate and entertain (including on a budget) - "Freaking Fabulous" books by Clinton Kelly and "Queer eye for the straight guy" by the Fab Five - Making a house a home, making the most of small spaces - "Style" by Thom Filicia and "Not so big house" books by Sarah Susanka - Life in general - biography of any person you admire and whose achievements inspire you. Member contributions Small-scale gardening with unbelievable results. Tea bags working double time. Whether or not you like and buy Dove products, I do rather like the message in their new "real beauty" series of videos. Particularly prominent is the reminder that we really should take care of how we talk about ourselves in front of our children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. We might not realize it - but they do listen, and they often inherit our own insecurities. All hail amazing earthships! Recommended reading The Charge by Brendon Burchard Current initiatives Operation "Moving Mandy" Nicola Tesla museum