Friday, December 31, 2010

Quick Guide to Reassessment

Year-End close-out and reconciliation, whatever you call your reassessment, now it a good time to check your status, chart your course, move along...

1) Know where you are

a. Location
b. Occupation
c. Education
d. Relationships

2) Know where you want to be

a. Location
b. Occupation
c. Education
d. Relationships

3) Steps to move from one place to the other

a. 3 steps for a
b. 3 steps for b
c. 3 steps for c
d. 3 steps for d

4) Timeline

a. Wishful timeline
b. Realistic timeline

Celebrate the past year for progress made, good bye 2010. Celebrate the future year for the progress to come, hello 2011.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Baby Boy

Twenty-nine years ago today, I showed up for the appointment made to surgically remove my baby from my womb. It was a trauma: not the birth because he wasn’t birthed but the surgical removal of the infant for a variety of dubious reasons which were given for the convenience of the doctor’s schedule during the holiday season.

Hopeful that my experience was rare and that most doctors aren’t as hard-hearted, I didn’t often share my experience with others. Frankly, I was ashamed of it. I felt violated. I felt stupid and soon after recognized my gullibility, I had acquiesced and placed my child in jeopardy.

Mother’s guilt for bad decisions can be overwhelming but there is a point where you can only be responsible for decision based on the information given at the time. My guts said the doctor was telling me some information but not all. But why would as 18-year-old girl know better than a doctor?

The doctor said that I was unable to birth. He said the baby was too late. He said the baby was too big. He said the baby would die inside of me if I didn’t do what he said to do.

The inner knowledge, woman-wisdom I’ve come to call it, said the baby wasn’t ready. If he was ready to be born, he’d come. I didn’t trust myself. I was afraid. I allowed a doctor to schedule the surgery.

The arrival was disastrous with the anesthesiologist telling me I didn’t feel anything. I was chemically paralyzed but not anesthetized. I felt everything. It wasn’t until I was being wheeled into recovery that I actually went numb.

Numb and dumb in the recovery room, I cried. They took my baby away to the nursery. My baby was jaundiced, a sign of premature birth. I was drugged & out of it until they released us on the morning of the 25th; sent home with my abdomen stapled together, a prescription in hand and a bag of disposable diapers. “Merry Christmas,” they said.

Many years later, I see the beginning was a foreshadowing of things to come. But truth be told, the doctor was a liar. I was the recipient of many lies as the drama based on bad information unfolded.

In this particular case I affirm that I birthed much larger babies than my first and for whatever reason they take longer choosing their arrival date. A wise midwife told me: Babies come when they come; their time not by scheduling on a calendar.

So I light a candle each holiday season: a prayer for pregnant women, that only the truth will fill their ears.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Book Review: Earthing

Title: Earthing: The most important health discovery ever?
Authors: Clinton Ober, Stephen Sinatra, MD, Martin Zucker
Publisher: Basic Health Publications, Inc
Publication Date: 2010
ISBN: 978-1-59120-283-7
Price: $18.95

This book came to me as a surprise. I love surprises. Even more of a surprise was the contents which made so much sense. In regular language the authors explain why we have so many health problems and the simple solution to many, if not all of them.

Wish you felt better? Interested in small changes that make a huge difference in your health? This should be the next book you read.

The 259 page book is sectioned into four parts: Part One: Why we are unhealthy – the missing link; Part Two: Personal discoveries; Part Three: Connecting with Science; Part Four: Earthing Chronicles.

The one thing that I liked about the book was that everything, even the complicated scientific stuff was put in a way that was easy to understand. The explanations are essential so the reader doesn’t think that this is just made up. Time and time again, in anecdotal trials then in clinical trials the same results played out the same: getting grounded restores a better healthy balance to the body.

Grounded is just that grounded to the earth, like an electrical appliance, only humans need to reconnect with our Planet. There are several ways of reconnected, each is explained in the book but it is a simple as walking barefoot on the beach or in your garden.

Older people suffer from a variety of ailments but most are accompanied by inflammation. The trials and the photos show that earthing or grounding help relieve much of the inflammation in a short period of time. The pain relief when the inflammation subsides is testimony enough for the clients/patients to want to continue to use the earthing apparatus or to continue to connect to the Planet regularly.

The easiest way to connect and become grounded while continuing to have a busy life, is to use the products developed by one of the authors, placing grounding sheets on your bed is all you must do. The authors declare, you won’t have to wait for results, you’ll feel better after the first night.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Book Review: The Kennedy Detail

Title: The Kennedy Detail: JFK’s Secret Service Agents break their silence
Author: Gerald Blaine with Lisa McCubbin
Genre: History
Publication Date: 2010
Publisher: Gallery Books, NY
ISBN 978-1-4391-9296-2
Price: $28.00

Breaking of more than four decades of silence, the Secret Service Agent turned tell-all author attracts historians and Kennedy-fans with his compilation of government documents, agent stories and personal account of November 22, 1963. This is a story that begged to be told.

Agent stories place the characters in place and time. The men served their country not for the low wages but for inner reasons. Their lives were inextricably intertwined with the First Family, spending more time with Caroline and Jon than their own children. Their wives and children were bonded together in an effort to make up for the time their husbands were away. The agent life style deprived them of regular meals, regular sleep and perhaps, taxed their inner resources to a point that led to their failure of duty, it certainly left an opening for a mad-man to shot the president and alter the course of the country forever.

What draws many people to the story of the assignation of President John F Kennedy is the country’s grief that continues to this day. Children not yet born can identify the country’s optimism in the early 1960s: America had faced off with the Reds and won; we had launched machines into space; we were able to claim our greatest and dream of better things to come. The dreams were dashed that infamous Day in Dallas. American ideals best stated in JFK’s notable speech: Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country, were withdrawn into a societal caution and grief.

Jerry Blaine was there through the all the events that lead up to the assassination, the funeral and afterwards. While many of the other agents left the secret service feeling that they had failed, Jerry Blaine continued his career until retirement. His position within the organization allowed him to come forward at this time to tell the story of six seconds that changed the country forever.

The book is written in four sections: The Men, The Job, That Day, and Our Lives which fills in the picture of the president’s life in the early 1960s and the small intimate detail of agents who sole job it is to protect the president from harm. The Secret Service learned a lot in November 1963 that has benefited subsequent presidents and kept our Commander in Chief safe from madmen.

Readers will find new details to fill in the how and the why of the Kennedy assassination. The agent's personal stories create memorable perspective of a national tragedy.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Estimate versus Guess

As our culture changes at an even increasing rate of speed, it becomes more important to instill in the younger generations basic facts about honesty, logic, integrity. The ways we as a society convey our ideas, using ever increasing acronyms and misspellings for the sake of brevity (lol), remain problematic. The results range somewhere between complete miscommunication and utter global disaster.

The solution may be instilling in our younger generations a better grasp of language or at least a standard for the language we use.

Do you know the difference between an estimate and a guess?

Most people would say “yes”, but for clarity's sake please read on…

A group sits in a conference room, a long table in the middle with chairs around.

Ms. L: I want you to give me estimates but I don’t want you to guess.

Mr. A: Okay

Ms. L: Please let me give you an example of an estimate. Take this table for example: based on your ability to see the table and your proximity to the table and your experience with different sized tables, you would be able to estimate the length of this table.

Mr. A: Approximately.

Ms. L: Yes.

Mr. A: Well, it’s more than six feet but less than 10, I’ll guess, 8 and a half feet.

Ms. L: Actually, that’s an estimate, because you looked at it and reasoned it out. I happen to know that this table is 8 feet long, so your estimate was very close to correct. But if you had said anything between 6 and 10 feet, that too would be correct because you are estimating.

Mr. A: Okay, great!

Ms. L: But if I asked you how long my dining room table is at home, you would have to guess. You haven’t been to my house to see the table. I might not even have a dining room table. So for you to answer, that would be a guess.

Mr. A: I understand.

Ms. L: Great. Are you ready to proceed?

Mr. A: I guess.

Ms. L: cries….

Agreement of language is essential for good communication. If you aren’t sure what something means, ask. Language is fluid. Words have a variety of definitions. If you understand the language but you don’t understand the message, ask: what do you mean by that? What’s the point?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Queen Anne Home

1890s large homes built for the upper middle class were classically constructed in what we call “Queen Anne" style. While our ancestor’s might have known most people ask: who is Queen Anne and why is this architecture her style?

Queen Anne 1665-1714, succeeded to the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland in 1702 as well as the title Queen of France (1707). She lived in a politically and religiously tumultuous time. During this period the political two-party system developed: “Whigs” And “Tories.” In spite of closer heirs, the crown went to George I.

The exciting part of this period of English history was the developments in architecture. Classic Queen Anne buildings are notable by rows & rows of sash windows flush with the brickwork, stone quoins at the corners, rooms built two-rooms deep providing an inner chamber and sweeping steps leading to the door. This English Queen Anne style was commonly built into the 20th Century.

A hundred years later during the Victorian Era, Americans romanticized our collective English heritage and made the Queen Anne their own. With classic American disregard the once British Queen Anne style became an American home hardly resembling its British architectural predecessor.

American Queen Anne has high pitch asymmetrical gable roofs, huge porches, variants in texture façades. This style was particularly popular with the socially upwardly mobile middle classes who buffered the upper class form the American working class.

Expected details of the interior of an American Queen Anne home include sweeping stairs from the foyer, with wainscoting throughout the public areas of the home. Private areas often included interior or double chamber space in the larger homes. Grand fireplaces placed throughout the lower areas with smaller fireplaces on the second floor provided warmth on the inside and contributed to the asymmetrical exterior style.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Remembering Dave Niehaus

Most of the stories about Dave Niehaus this week talk about the man who worked as a sports caster, the Dave Niehaus I’ll remember was my neighbor. In fact, his family lived right next door to mine. Dave was the Dad. My best friend was Andy, Dave’s son. The Niehaus family profoundly impacted my childhood in a good way.

Of course, having your best friend live next door makes for a good situation. There were actually three of us who were best friends: Andy, Frank & me. I played like my friends. I had trucks, cars and a sand box. I changed into play clothes when I got home from pre-school. They told me, 'you're as fun as any boy.' But Mr. Niehaus said I was the pretty little girl from next door. Then he’d wink at Andy.

I don’t remember what I wore for Halloween the year we went trick or treating together. But Andy became a clown. Marilyn had made the costume; it was the “wonderfulest costume in the whole wide world." Marilyn was a really great mom. She said I could call her Marilyn which made my mom flip out. I remember thinking: Andy is so lucky to have such a nice mom.

Tomboys tend to get bumps & bruises when they’re acting out on the boy-part. Andy gave me my first black eye. He slammed the gate and I miss judged the distance…Boom, black eye. He felt really bad. I had a great story for school and recovered quickly.

I remember clearly sitting on their back porch at the table. It was Andy & me and Mr. Niehaus & my Dad. Mr. Niehaus & my Dad were talking; Andy & I were playing cards. Mr. Niehaus asked to see the cards. He shuffled the cards and had me pick one. He shuffled and lined them on the table. There was my card. He shuffled and had me pick another card. Suddenly, my card was wherever I pointed my finger in the deck. He did this several times to my squealing delight. A magician! I had a magician living next door.

At some point, the Niehaus family moved to a different neighborhood. I remember they invited us over but my mother said we didn’t have time to drive 'all the way over there.' So, I lost touch with my first best friend, the boy-next-door. But I never forgot Niehaus family.

I’m not a sports fan and while I heard the name Niehaus mentioned from time to time, it didn’t occur to me that it was the same Mr. Niehaus from so many years ago. Until this week, when they announced his passing and had photos online did I recognize my neighbor, the magician.

I wish Dave Niehaus well in his new Magical Place because he put magic into my childhood.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Different Shapes

Daily reminders that we share our space with a plethora of creatures encourage the symbiotic nature of life on planet Earth.

Momma Earth provides the habitat for species to thrive or decline based on a variety of influences both naturally occurring and action consequence. Habitats for Earth-dwellers are ever overlapping producing an array of sub-species developed by natural selection and environmental impact.

I eat my lunch at a beautiful location near signage which reminds me: I Am Not Alone.

My virtually unseen companions are the local inhabitants. I recognize my intrusion into their territory and I act accordingly… respectful.

Often snakes are under appreciated. They serve a great purpose in keeping the rodent and small animal populations in check. We need these creatures to help maintain a proper balance.

Respect for the rattlesnake is a healthy position to maintain. They are venomous snakes whose striking distance often surprises their prey. In general, they strike out from a coil to a distance of two-thirds their length. Bites provide the mechanism for venom delivery.

Rattlesnake venom is most often an hemotoxic venom which causes blood clotting and destruction of tissue. Rarer but more deadly are the rattlesnakes that have neurotoxic venom which shuts down the nervous system. Medical attention is required for venomous bites. Treatment with anti-venom reduces death down to 4% of those bitten.

Rattlesnakes rattle when they’re disturbed; angry or fearful, but they need not rattle before they strike. Non-rattling rattlesnakes include the young or pre-button size rattlesnakes and water-logged rattles on rattle snakes. Water-logged rattles occur after a heavy rain. Still the rattle is a warning to back away which is better heeded than not.

When entering a rattlesnake habitat it behooves humans to wear protective clothing: long pants and high boots. Proper boots can stave off what could be a devastating conflict with one of Earth’s necessary creatures.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Nero fiddled, Rome burned

Nero, born December 15, 37, died June 9, 68 by suicide, ending the reign of the Julio dynasty of Rome.

Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, called Nero by friends and enemies alike, was known for fiddling while Rome burned. In truth, he was pleased with the clearing of the city so he could build his pleasure palace on a prime piece of Roman real estate otherwise occupied by the property’s owners.

Once obtaining the prized piece of ground, his Real Estate and building projects were completed by the salve class who were entertained by gladiatorial games. Unlike other times in the Empire, this period was particularly hard on the slaves with little to no compensation for their labor. They attended gladiatorial games regularly for the food dispensed to the crowds.

Nero’s ruthlessness and greed for money and power propelled him into abuse of the citizenry. Under his rule the decline of the Roman Empire became apparent. With the heavy taxation of the people, consolidation of wealth to a few, especially Nero’s treasury, Rome became troubled within the Empire and that was the good side.

Despite troubles both within and on the outskirts the Empire, Nero didn’t flinch at demanding his wealthy enemies, and perhaps a few friends, bequeath their lands and property to him. Often his royal request came just before charges of treason were delivered via the sword. Inheriting, rather than seizing the wealth gave him full power to use his ill-gotten gains as he chose.

Hardly a family man, he is suspected of being in on the plot his mother launched to kill his uncle Claudius, the previous Emperor. Once on the throne, he found his mother tedious and had her killed. He served his first wife’s head to his second wife, by request. Not too much later, he kicked his second wife to death while she was pregnant with his heir.

All this from a man who wasn’t much of a politician but inherited his position, wasn’t fiscally wise but obtained much his wealth through improper and illegal means, and wasn’t much of a looker either.

The Roman slaves entertained by the games were equally joyous at the death of the emperor. It’s recorded: there was dancing in the street.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Question Wonder Being

There are times when the question occurred to me: why do anything? The thought of giving in to utter despair to not do anything had crossed my mind. It has crossed my mind before. Perhaps, this is a component of being human… questioning.

When situations, relationship don’t seem to be going well: why continue? The thought of not continuing had crossed my mind. It has crossed my mind before. Perhaps, this is a component of being human…wondering.

From the ground, beaten into silence: why be? The thought of not being had crossed my mind. It has crossed my mind before. Perhaps, this is a component of being human…being.

Questioning and being open to the answers presented is an uncomfortable place. It takes bravery to gaze into the looking glass and find that all is not right with the reflection. For some it’s the true nature coming through, for others it’s the battle scars of life. However, the growth that comes from questioning may set a soul free from the bondage of the past.

Wondering about people, places, and the situations that appear askew, learning that sometimes it’s the viewer and sometimes it’s the view. Which is which and how do we know? An honest friend who tells the truth, even if it's not what you want to hear is the best determiner of just how off one may be.

Being in the moment, standing still to take the punch one more time. Why? Because sometimes you do things because you have to, sometimes you show up because people are counting on you, sometimes you do the best thing for others because life isn’t all about one person, it’s about everyone.

Question to seek the answers. Wonder to grasp the meaning. Be in the now to experience life.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Queen Elizabeth II is like Scrooge

Like many people around the World, I love watching the British Royalty. But I have to say, the Queen has forgotten herself, her position and her people. Canceling Christmas is a villainous thing to do. In movies we see Sheriff John (Robin Hood) canceling Christmas. In Literature, Dickens has Mr. Scrooge canceling Christmas, well, the Christmas party for her staff anyway.

The position of the upper class is to employ as many people as possible to move the money of the country around in a way that circulates and encourages a better economy. It is not in anyone's interest to act as a bump or villain, by stating the obvious, the economy sucks and depressing your personal staff even further by Canceling their Christmas Party.

I don’t think the Queen remembers the promise she made when she took the throne to be a good guiding force for her people. She’s off track and we’d all like to see the Queen set an example for the upper class to get the world economy back on track.

Knuckling to depression and pretending that she and her echelon aren’t responsible for the recovery is absurd, unless of course, they really want to join us in the trenches, then by all means Cancel Christmas.

The World and certainly Britons would like to see a really big party, with the hiring of plenty of extra help to give more people a better Christmas.

Honestly Madam, don’t be a Scrooge!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Book Review: 27 Powers of Persuasion

27 Powers of Persuasion is a easy and quick read. If you’re looking to do better with work relationships or people in general this is a must read.

Bringing people together to find a consensus, to lead the group in a way they will participate to make a better project and happily agree with your desired direction. All the step by steps to lead people happily by persuading them to see your vision, your goal and make those visions their visions, their goals.

27 Powers of Persuasion is a great how-to book for grass roots involvement or to make a department or company super productive. It’s the best advice to make cohesion within an organization.

Contents: Focus on the goal, Evaluate Egos, Soothe or sidestep other egos, Manage opposition by giving it nothing to oppose, Make your weakness your strength, Find one thing to like about everyone in the room, Use the first five minutes to make people feel safe, Stay in the present, Recognize the reality, Make it about choice fairness and accountability, Keep it simple, Own the language, Use emotional language, Make sure everyone’s invested, Get third-party validation, Arm your advocates, Aim for the undecideds, Avoid absolutes and hypotheticals, Learn how to use silence, Get physical, Don’t say no, say let’s try this, Release bad news quickly and good news slowly, Challenge bad ideas by challenging the details, Play devil’s advocate, Don’t change, Adapt, and Be your own pundit.

Since college, this is the most highlighted book on my shelf. Sales people, managers and leaders should all take notes from Chris St. Hilaire who has brought together all the persuasive philosophies in one place.

Title: 27 Powers of Persuasion: Simple Strategies to Win Allies and Seduce Audiences
Author: Chris St. Hilaire
Genre: Business/Self Help
ISBN: 978-0735204515
Publication Date: September 2010
Pages: 288
Price: $25.00
Publisher: Perigee Books/Prentice Hall Press Penguin Group

Monday, September 27, 2010

Science of Being and Art of Living

The Science of Being and Art of Living: Transcendental Meditation is a book written by His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1963. Maharishi left his home and brought Transcendental Meditation to the Western World.

Open to those who wanted to learn to meditate in a most simple fashion, Maharishi set into motion the growth of a program of meditation not conflicting with any religion that serves humanity at times of great need. I participated in the first surge of meditation in the US, learning at the Santa Monica TM Center in 1974/5. The second surge is just as exciting, maybe even more because my vantage point of a long time meditator. I am truely excited for each and every person who learns TM.

Saturday, I met Tess. She's roughly the same age I was when I was introduced to TM. I told her what I've come to know if you meditate for over 30 years, you'll be much more aware of many, many things.

Maharishi often talked about the levels of awareness: consciousness is like the water on a lake with the top waves being the thoughts of which we are aware. Below the surface and into the depth of the lake are the deeper parts of the mind. Transcendental Meditation helps meditators access these depths available to every human being.

In the depths of the mind, just like in the lake, is calm/quiet but in access the deeper mind there is also increased energy, increased creativity, increased organization, and the ability to see more clearly our personal life path.

But how do you reach those depths?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Green Clean = Clean Environment

Benefits of Green Clean

Better Health
Clean Environment
Supporting Environmentally Friendly Companies

The last century held a war of germs at the cost of ever increasing numbers of toxic chemicals. Some germs, bacteria, viruses died but some became Super Illnesses threatening the health of an increasing number of people. Hazardous for the elderly and young children Super-bugs are infecting athletes and others in locker rooms and public restrooms with fungus, bacterium and viruses.

One way to avoid a variety of Illnesses is to keep your environment clean.

Light Clean – Daily
Wipe All Top Surfaces
There are places such as public restrooms, offices and even some homes that only use this type of cleaning. They need to do more, really.

Regular Clean – Weekly
Bring the cleaning bucket with all the cleaning supplies. Today is cleaning day: Dust, Vacuum, Wash Floors. All daily lightly cleaned areas are really cleaned with cleaner. Wash all towels, bedding, over-clothing aprons, et cetera. Wash all mugs, coffee pots, tea pots, et cetera. Clean keyboards, mouse, screens, shelves, picture frames, et cetera.

Deeper Clean – Monthly
A semi-large cleaning keeps the dust bunnies and cobwebs from collecting. This is the level of clean that gets noticed by guests and the public. Wipe Walls, Light Switches, Door Handles, Tops of Cases, Tops of Fans, et cetera.

Seasonal Clean – Quarterly
Inside and Outside Windows and Screens, Railing, Curtains, and Behind Appliances in this three-month cycle of clean. This is the cleaning that prevents build up of nasty toxins. While cleaning behind the appliances remember to vacuum the vents, this will extend the life of your appliance. Change vent filters in the heating and air conditioning system. If a loved one has allergies you may want to do this more often but a seasonal filter change keeps your indoor air cleaner, reducing pollen and dust. Change water purity filters too.

This is a great time to prepare a repair list too.

With the recession building management has reduced the number of cleaning personnel and it shows. Cleaning and maintenance should be a high priority because it reduces overall cost of health-care by reducing communicable diseases, and keeps public areas in better repair.

Historical Note
Until recently most Middle Class and all Upper Class Homes had one or more staff members because cleaning was a daily event. For larger homes it was common to have Upstairs and Downstairs Staff as well as Chamber and Scullery Staff.

Good Clean Health!

Monday, September 13, 2010

E-85: A Better Choice

Sustainable eco-friendlier combustible fuel is produced from corn, a rotatable sustainable crop, it's called E-85.

Current dormant acreage can be rotated to a corn crop rather than subsidized through USDA payments to farmer ‘not-to-plant’. This rotation provides soil nutrients as it is worked and turned, prevents top soil erosion and makes a fuel that burns cleaner than fossil fuels. Could this be an easier choice?

Let’s Explore E-85

E-85 is now available at less than 3,000 gas stations across the US. It is a primary fuel in several European countries including Sweden, Ireland and Italy. If US consumption rises not only would the fuel be available at more stations, the price should go down as the production quantity goes up, making E-85 even more attractive to the consumer.

Current E-85 prices on cost per tank are on par with fossil fuel costs, but E-85 creates less carbon emission, less overall air pollution per mile of driving.

E-85 is an alcohol fuel made from non-edible corn plant or whey, the waste, by product in cheese production.

Reports online show the fuel miles per gallon is reduced when compared with fossil fuel. But the important part for consumers is the price per gallon which is less. With zero added cost to the consumer adding in the improved air quality, the decision is a no-brainer, E-85 wins!

Not only is E-85 better for the consumer and the environment but a boost for the economy as well as rising production levels will increase alternative fuel production jobs right here in the US.

Fuel Economy

In trials gas consumption seems to be related to driving habits. If you are a responsible driver, you’ll find nearing similar mpg (miles per gallon) with E-85. If you are heavy on the gas or ‘Ricky Racers’ with excessive speed or stomping on gas to brake and back again, then your over all fuel economy will be reduced. Some of the anti-E-85 articles on the web are skewed to show the fuel economy ratings toward an erratic driver rather than easy-going driver. In other words, the worst-case scenerio is stated as the probable fuel milage.

One Day’s Price

Gas $3.25/gallon
E-85 $2.75/gallon

Emission Toxins

E-85 reduced emission toxins including Benzene, a known carcinogen. E-85 increases acetaldehyde which is found in exhaust and cigarette smoke. Studies are in progress to find the ratios and related risks to the acetaldehyde emissions.

Is E-85 the end to air pollution?

Easily, the answer is NO.

Is E-85 an alternative to fossil fuel?


Can E-85 be less costly than fossil fuel?


Clearly, E-85 is a step in the right direction for cleaner air at a better price for everyone.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Book Review: Confucius Jade

Title: Confucius Jade
Author: Frederick Fisher
Genre: Fiction/China
ISBN: 978-0-9819291-3-2
Publication Date: March 2010
Pages: 350
Price: $14.95
Publisher: Dudley Court Press

Confucius Jade: the story begins in Kunming, Yunnan Province, China telling the story of the Kong family, descendents of Confucius who lived five hundred years ago. The family’s story recounts bravery, and tragedy as they move for better opportunity. They follow the jade trade routes only to loose half the family along the way.

Jade is a desired commodity. Wan Yi is a jade carver who finds himself in an unusual position having carved using mystical ways, the representation of Shou-Xing, the Chinese God of Longevity.

Frederick Fisher, a gemologist is the author of this unusual tale of intrigue. His knowledge of China and the gem trade not only makes this story interesting but gives the reader insight to another world.

Once started, I could hardly put the book down and couldn’t wait to get back to it to find out what happened next. It was an honor to read this book and a delight to recommend it to people who are interested in gems, China or simply reading a great story.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

An Interview with Christine Marie Bryant, Founder of Coffee House Writer’s Group

Interviewer: Hi Christine

Christine Marie Bryant: Hi

I: How are you?

CMB: Great!

I: We’re here today, in your home. I want to thank you for letting me interview you. We’re going to be talking about the Coffee House Writer’s Group. You are the founder.

CMB: Yes.

I: Can you tell me a little bit about Coffee House Writer’s Group?

CMB: Well, my inspiration came from looking for motivation to write personally. Nothing out there really motivates me to write more than people and reading my writing to people. So I figured I’m going to go out there and find people who would like to listen to me read and that there are writers that would want to have others listen to them. My whole idea was to have maybe 5 or 6 people meet on a weekly basis.

CMB: I stumbled across and I did some investigation of writer’s groups. I went to a couple of them. I saw thing I didn't like and things I liked. So I took the things that I liked and I created this group.

I: So this is a group for writers who read to each other and then?

CMB: And then we critique. We talk about the writing and we give our opinions. I make it clear to everyone that comes that it’s important to give honest critiques so that the writer can take the information and learn from it. They can take the critiques that work for them and leave the rest. So the writer can improve the piece they're working on. Nobody is there to hurt anyone’s feelings. And honestly, that really hasn’t happened. We’re all adult about taking the criticism and it being constructive criticism.

I: Very good. When did this start?

CMB: I started investigating other writer’s groups last year. As a New Year’s Resolution I just jumped in. I thought, “Okay, I’ll do it.”

CMB: I love coffee and I love the idea of meeting in a coffee house. The place I had originally picked was a coffee house. So really it was simple, I made the logo with a coffee cup, added the name, Coffee House Writer’s Group.

CMB: I didn't know this but jump starts new groups by sending out invitations to people who have said they want information in a certain category. So I selected writers, screen writers, poets as tags for the group. There may be 20 different tags for the group. So what happened was they sent an invitation out to all the people that said they were interested. I probably had, within four or five days, there were 45 people who joined.

I: You’re nine months in now?

CMB: Yes.

I: How many people do you have now?

CMB: 159 participating members.

I: When do you meet?

CMB: It started on Thursday nights. There were a lot of people that couldn’t make it during the week. So we decided to also put a meeting together on Saturday afternoons for people who live farther away that don’t want to fight the traffic during the week.

CMB: Then we found another venue that is so wonderful. They have given us the opportunity to hold meetings there on Monday nights. So every other Monday we have writing competitions, and on the other Mondays we have writing workshops.

I: Tell me about the competitions.

CMB: The competition is a writing prompt competition where the contestants get the prompt when they arrive at five o’clock or five-thirty, so they have 60 -90 minutes to write about the prompt. At the end, they read what they’ve written. Then the contestants vote by private ballot, but they can’t vote for themselves. The ballots are counted to find the winner. The prizes are $20 gift cards from Barnes & Noble, Boarders, Starbucks, or other store card. The gift cards are donated by businesses and in return they have a sponsor ad on our website.

I: So your sponsors are local business people who support the writers in this area.

CMB: Yes.

I: Coffee House Writer’s Group is obviously growing. What are your plans for the future?

CMB: I see little things happening every month. In the beginning, I saw that there should be a committee. It’s really cool, that now I have a committee. In the beginning I saw there should be competitions and now we have competitions. It’s already in motion.

CMB: Everything that I see is going to happen at some point. Right now, there are a lot of ideas for a writer’s retreat and to do things together as a group; going to a murder mystery dinner or doing a radio blog show for the group. The idea is to have a meeting for people who live too far away and can’t come to a meeting. The reading could be done on the radio and they can be home in their pajamas. They could be on their home computer and we could have an online meeting. That’s very cool.

CMB: Another thing that I see is that this grows into a non-profit organization that helps support writing in high schools. There will be writing competitions for high schoolers and have the prizes be a $200 or $500 scholarship toward their continued education. The Coffee House Writer’s Group will be the judges or mentors.

CMB: One of the members just said that he could see himself mentoring kids that are really into writing. He suggested workshops where members can work with the high school writers partnering on projects.

I: Wow! You have big plans.

CMB: Yes, I do.

I: I just want to thank you for giving me your time to tell me about Coffee House Writer’s Group. I’m sure we’ll be meeting again as the group grows and grows.

CMB: Thank you.

Go to Coffee House Writer’s Group fan page on facebook or for more information.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Writers Write

Writers gathering together at a coffee house may be a theme for the genus. Is it the adrenaline anxiety or the caffeine that pumps the blood to push the writer through any shy self consciousness? Does it matter?

Writers write and a writer’s group is a forum for improving talent or experience, expanding genres or categories. Each subsection in a library offers degrees of specialized expertise in knowledge, research, imagination, grammar, communication and talent, cross writing takes time and effort but may be incredibly rewarding.

Many famous dead writers wrote in a variety of ways: Mark Twain was a journalist and master story teller. Oscar Wilde wrote plays, poetry, stories and essays. Charlotte Bronte wrote novels and poetry.

Personal caffeine addiction/enjoyment aside, the coffee house is an artist's refuge and writer’s requirement.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A New Thought

Shocking as it seems, not everyone watches TV. With the increase in mind-numbing commercials coupled with the dumbing-down of prime-time content, and the drool invoking repetition of nonsensical, yet not humorous, slogan spewing heads, it’s truly amazing that carriers receive payment for the hook-up. Shouldn't they be paying you?

Salesman: I’d like to offer you a package discount on services. I see you don’t have our TV service.

Human: Yes.

Salesman: Who is your current provider?

Human: No one.

Salesman: Who?

Human: We don't have a provider. We don’t watch TV.

Salesman: Don’t watch TV?

Human: No.

Salesman: I can offer you 220 stations with all your favorite shows and additional channels for just an additional $30 per month to your current services.

Human: No thank you. We wouldn’t use the service.

Salesman: May I ask why not?

Human: Because we don’t watch TV.

Salesman: Don’t watch TV?

Human: No.

Salesman: At all?

Human: No, not at all.

Salesman: (exasperated) Really?

Human: (giggle) Yes, really. But thank you for the offer. If I change my mind I’ll give you a call. Thank you for calling.

Salesman: Okay… thank you.

Often, a newly planted thought of life participation rather than observation is all a person needs to venture out into the world and do, rather than just watch.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dream Pillow & Journal Giftbox Set

For the Dreamers:
Giftbox of Dream Pillow filled with herbs for your slumber pleasure and a journal to record your dreams upon waking.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Money is for Spending

“Sit still,” the mother commanded.

A little girl, a precocious child, sat in a hard chair while her mother brushed her hair from behind.

“So he’s getting a raise,” she continued the conversation with her sister.

“Good for you, I wish Chuck would get a raise soon,” said the aunt.

“Doesn’t he get cost of living raises?”

“Yes, but not until the end of the year.”

“Ouch,” said the little girl.

“You make me pull when you wiggle,” she scolded the girl, then continued with her sister, “Well, you’ll have more then. We’ll be able to do so much more with the money.”

“It won’t be more by the time you get it,” said the girl of five years.

“What are you talking about?” the mother demanded.

“The money,” she replied.

“She thinks she’s so smart, this one,” she said to her sister, as she biffed the back of the little girl’s head.

“Ow,” the girl complained.

“What about the money?” asked the aunt.

“You should only get more money when you do more or do it better,” said the girl, “because it’s not really more money.”

“Yes, it is,” the aunt said.

“No,” said the girl turning around in the chair to face her aunt. “If you get a little money then the prices go up, then you get more money then the prices go up, it’s what they do, it’s a game,” declared the child, “there is a way to make the game work for everyone but grown-ups don’t understand the way the game works.”

“It’s not a game, and you need to keep your mouth shut!” the mother yelled and sent the child to her room.

After the aunt left, the mother came into the girl’s room. The mother said, “It’s for your own good. You need to learn to not be so smart.” Then she spanked the girl until the girl’s face felt hot.

But the girl didn’t cry because she knew she was correct. She decided she’d keep the answer to the game to herself until it was time for a change or forever, whichever happened first.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

And Johnny can't read... really?

This photo of the cross walk in front of an elementary school provides the answers to so many questions...
why can't Johnny read?
why can't Janey write a letter?
why can't the cashier make change?

Now, how do we fix the problem?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Getty's Garden

The Getty’s kitchen garden exhibits the best of a cloister garden or a pre-refrigeration household. Herbs were used as flavoring for cooking, medicines, preservatives for food storage and aromatics. The variety of herbs in the garden include:

Peppermint ~ Mentha varieties brew splendid teas, cook into candies, cakes and other dishes. This herb grows well in the sunny beach location.

Lavender ~ Lavendula officinalis from the Latin “lavare” means to wash. Using lavender in the wash or placed in clothing during storage not only kept the moths away but gave the fabric a pleasant aroma. Lavender serves as a multi-use herb, good for food, drink, aroma, cleaning, medicine and crafts. It grows in abundance in the Malibu climate.

Chamomile ~ Matricaria chamomilla has a mild sedative action but is primarily known as a disgestive. Mother Rabbit gives Chamomile tea to Peter after he overindulges in Mr. MacGregor’s garden.

Sage ~ Salvia officinalis means to save or preserve in Latin. Sage originates from the Mediterranean and is added regularly in meat dishes.

Thyme ~ Thymus vulgaris, another Mediterrenean plant fills the Getty's boxes with flowers and brings the bees to the garden. This filler plant grows in the spaces and crevices of most herb gardens.

Basil ~ Ocimum basilicum, a popular herb in Italy, comes from India. The savory herb compliments tomato dishes and Pesto.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Porridge in the morning, M-M- Good!

Oatmeal in the morning isn’t just for athletes. We can get all the same benefits weight lifters and other exercise fanatics get from their morning bowl of porridge. Health benefits include a leveling of metabolism, lower blood cholesterol and a stabilizing of blood glucose levels.

Oats grow on an Oat plant, also called Avena sativa. The top three producers of Oat are Russia (5.1 metric tons), Canada (3.3 metric tons) and the US (1.7 metric tons). Oats grow in temperate climates and require less heat and thrive with more rain.
Oats grow inside the hull of the plant. The plant is processed and the oats are rolled or ground for human consumption, while horses and cattle will eat the entire plant. Truly oats are an eco-friendly life cycle with every part of the plant being useful.

Health Benefits

The beta-glucan in oats is responsible for reducing the risk of heart disease, especially if combined with a low-fat diet. The fiber of rolled oat keeps digestion moving while providing maximum energy from the complex carbohydrates. Oatmeal is also high in B vitamins which are important for energy and overall good health and especially important for non-meat eaters.

Traditional Cooking Methods

Scotland: Oats have been a staple in the Scottish diet for centuries. Often cooks will soak the oats with some salt overnight then in the morning cook over a low heat until the mixture thickens.

Switzerland: Oats are soaked in milk, honey & cinnamon overnight then in the morning, add fruit & nuts, serve cold.

Vermont: An American version via Scottish settlers of the 19th Century, oatmeal is soaked overnight with a pinch of salt and maple syrup. In the morning, the mixture is cooked with nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger. This must be the best recipe because Vermont leads the US per capita for oatmeal consumption.

Clearly, oatmeal is a breakfast food of champions!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Handsome Hades

Hades is the son of Kronos, brother of Zeus & Poseidon, and husband to Persephone. If that isn't enough, he’s also the CEO of a very busy place, the underworld.

Not to be confused with the Grim Reaper, Hades is the Head of the afterlife, managing three main regions: Elysium, the Asphodel Meadows and Tartarus as well as the transportation system that runs off five 5 main waterways: Acheron (the river of sorrow), Cocytus (the river of lamentation), Phlegethon (the river of fire), Lethe (the river of oblivion), and Styx (the river of hate). The River Styx, of course, is the most famous of the rivers due to its proximity to our realm, actually serving as the boundary between the two.

Depicted in this marble statue, currently on display at the Getty Villa in Malibu, Hades is a robust figure with handsome features and a reputation as a fierce warrior, an ancient bad boy whose reputation not only endures but continues to evolve to greater heights, or depths as the case may be.

Hades, a evenhanded ruler judged the dead and their destination with a reasonable, rational determination. His rules were simple and not to be broken. Woe to those who sought to cheat death for their time to face Hades became a moment to fear. However, for a good soul, Hades offered the promise a good and peaceful life in the afterworld as reward for the hardships and sorrows of this one.

Sunday, July 11, 2010



Author: Alice Duncan

Author's website:

Genre: Historical cozy mystery set in Rosedale (a thinly disguised Roswell), New Mexico in 1923.

Publisher: Five Star/Cengage

Publisher's website:

ISBN 978-1-59414-926-9

Pages: 250

Price: $25.99 (hardback)

Publication date: January 2011

A really fun read! Alice Duncan has written a charming story of a fictitious 1920s town called Rosedale, New Mexico in which a young woman Annabelle finds herself in the middle of a murder mystery not unlike the novels she often checks out of the library.

The town seems like a regular small town on the edge of the Wild West with the addition of a cattle drive through the middle of town which brings cowboys to town twice a year. The cattle drive brings the cowboys who stay for the rodeo. The whole town comes out to the rodeo. It’s the biggest thing happening in Rosedale until next year. But this year is special because a fabulous preacher came to town at the same time preaching the gospel in the tent revival fashion.

Annabelle and her friend Myrtle are the center of Rosedale. Myrtle is smitten with the new preacher man and wants her friend Annabelle to come to the tent revival. Annabelle is too sensible for that, then her beau Phil goes the revival, she thinks she might consider it. But when the preacher’s sister, the gorgeous angelic looking young woman catches Phil’s eye… well, Annabelle gets to the revival meeting. That’s when the whole town comes apart…

Pecos Valley Revival grabbed me. I could not put it down. I had to know what happened next… Are Richard & Josephine having an affair? What about Hannah? Kenny’s kind of a jerk, who will he fight with next? Will Phil break up with Annabelle? Will Jack get what he deserves? If Esther is so perfect, why does Annabelle find her irritating? How is it that Hazel knows everything?

Set for release in January 2011, this is a delightful read. It left me hoping that there will be other stories from Rosedale, New Mexico.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Book Review: Thumbing Through Thoreau

Thumbing Through Thoreau: A Book of Quotations by Henry David Thoreau
Compiled by Kenny Luck / Illustrated by Jay Luke and Ran Adams
2010: Tribute Books: $24.95
ISBN 978-0-9822565-4-1

Henry David Thoreau profoundly moved me, when in high school, I first read Walden. Pleased not only to find a philosopher I could admire, but a writer who made beautiful statements within his argument that outlined a design for a better world. Thoreau believed in the value of humanity, the value of the Earth and that humanity need not injure the Earth to survive. His naturalist principles are as true today as they were in the mid-19th century.

Thumbing through Thoreau is a compilation of the points one might highlight or underline within the writings. The selections are choice, creating items for contemplation. Thoreau’s inspirational writings are reorganized and divided into three sections: Society & Government, Spirituality & Nature and Love. Thumbing Through Thoreau could easily be used as a reference or daily meditation book. Each page has one quote and one nature drawing.

If you enjoy Thoreau, you'll like the following excerpts from Thumbing through Thoreau:

Section I Society & Government

While civilization has been improving our houses, it has not equally improved the men who inhabit them.

To a philosopher all news, as it is called, is gossip, and they who edit and read it are old women over their tea.

I have found thus that I had been a rich man without any damage to my poverty.

There is not one kind of food for all men.

Section II Spirituality & Nature

Our life is frittered away by detail…simplify, simplify!

I have a great deal of company in my house, especially in the morning, when nobody calls.

Nothing so fair, so pure, and at the same time so large, as a lake, perchance, lies on the surface of the earth. Sky water.

Go in search f the springs of life.

Section III Love

Love is the profoundest of secrets.

All romance is grounded in friendship.

Veneration is the measure of Love.

Love is a mutual confidence whose foundations no one knows.

For more:

Friday, July 2, 2010

Egyptian gods on the wall

Powerful deities of the Egyptian pantheon are found on mural walls around the world.

Horus seen in his bird form or a man with a falcon head represents hunting and offers protection to devotees. The eye of Horus symbolizes the power of the pharaohs as they receive the power of the gods to rule the country. Horus is the god of Sky & Protection as well as War & Vengeance. During periods of Egyptian history, Horus served as the patron god of the nation.

Sobek, a fearful creator god, represented by a man with crocodile head protects Egyptians’ from Nile crocodiles. As a creator god, Sobek was so closely associated with Ra, he became Sobek-Ra. At the height to popularity, Sobek’s cult provided pools for sacred crocodiles and mummified their favorites for a blessed afterlife.

The stylized representation of Egyptian gods provide great subject matter for conversation while waiting for the show at the Egyptian Theater. It's always good to know tidbits of Jeopardy-esque trivia.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Benefits of Chocolate

Mary See’s understood good things are related to chocolate. There is nothing as memorable as the first time walking into the See’s Candy Store. With all the ladies behind the counter in white, white uniforms, proving just how clean and good for you the product can be… I am a believer… a chocolate believer.

I justify and supplement my dietary chocolate requirement with M&Ms. When I was busy creating my youngest child, I had cravings for M&Ms and lots of them. Believe me eating chocolate for two was a high point. :) Now, I know if a pregnant woman eats enough chocolate the baby will have brown eyes…

Italian scientist studied hypertension and found that chocolate lowers blood pressure. Even as little as one bar per day will ease the tension in your life creating a feeling of pleasure. It’s the endorphins doing their job.

Stressed out… eat chocolate

Research for this entry:
and eating lots of chocolate. ;)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Playgrounds Build Character

Early 21st century playgrounds are full of safe brightly colored play equipment. Slides, Swings and soft cushioned material should a child stumble or fall. The slopes of the slides are designed for a smooth glide. Swings set in dirt covered with wood chips with shavings progressively lighter, finer… nearly fluff. Shade trees strategically planted for a light canopy, shading children’s delicate skin from the harsh sun.

Overall the playground leaves visitors with a feeling of ease and splendor. Oh the joys of outdoor time.

Contrast that with playgrounds of the 1960s-70s. Those playgrounds built character. Ten feet steel sheets at a sixty degree angle, stairs, no, ladder, no… those playground designers of yore made sure they welded a solid steel bar along the three upper sides of the perimeter so kids could pull themselves up to the top. Swings made of hard rubber attached to fifteen foot chains with the frame embedded in black top or concrete for durability. Blacktop on a summer day was an experience unto itself. Kids could watch the sizzling heat create vapors mirages of puddles across the playground. Run at your own risk because a fall would mean blacktop gravel burned and embedded in bloody wounds on knees and elbows.

Overall the playground left an entire generation wounded warriors before the end of elementary school. Oh the joys of outdoor time.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Lessons from the Past... Senator Hattie

To move forward, we may look back to seek wisdom but the courage to change must come from within...

To the surprise of many political observers of the early 20th century, 1931 was not only a year during the Great Depression, but it was the year in which the United States seated it’s first woman Senator. The tumultuous political climate which facilitated the circumstance for the elevation of Hattie Caraway to Senator, not only opened the doors to women in American Politics but also provided the means for populous movements to change the face of America Politics in the 20th century.

Hattie Caraway, the wife of Thaddeus Caraway, Senator from the state of Arkansas, took the oath of office on December 8, 1931, just one month after her husband’s untimely death. Supporters of the momentous occasion hardly expected that the widow Caraway would do more than hold the senate seat until a suitable successor could be elected the following year. As a junior member of the senate, Mrs. Caraway was assigned a seat toward the back of the Senate Chamber, right next to the controversial Senator from Louisiana, Huey P. Long. Although the two Southern Senators had met previously, it wasn’t until they found themselves sharing many similar concerns that they became friends and political allies.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Realign Life

Life Lessons present themselves daily for those who seek to learn and grow into full human beings. The rest of the population languishes in a sea of misconceptions, immaturity and classic ‘stuck in a rut’ syndrome. As simple as it seems, each one of us has the power to change things in our lives. It’s not easy and sometimes it seems like life is really beating on us. In the end the important things need to be our focus and the rest… well, that’s small potatoes…

An exercise to realign life to the proper priorities:

Sit with a piece of paper & pen. Close your eyes for a moment. Breathe deeply for a few moments until you are relaxed. Then think, what is most important to me. List those things that are most important.

Turn the paper over.

Sit with the piece of paper. Close your eyes again. Focus on the last week or the last month. Face the reality of life and think, where am I spending my time. Chart the time in your life.


Now you have point A and point B… where you are and where you wish to be.

Sunday, May 30, 2010


In a crazy world of no accountability, no consequences, one could imagine that executives would be shifting responsibility, blaming the government, blaming the silent victims & coastal communities, seeking the cheapest way to stop the flow instead of the fastest and reporting profits in the middle of it all… but that would mean… oh, wait…

Just a thought:

Naughty children need to demonstrate that their lack of responsibility has been replaced by way of amends to behave with a sense of contrition and humility.

Clean-up considerations:

1) Start with a hay barrier for coastal areas: the technology is available, hay is available and experts are available who can direct the retrieval process and recycled the oil soaked hay into blacktop type of products.
2) Retrieve as much oil from the water as possible with a vacuum system, refine it, recycle it. Do not let it float & destroy any more than it already has. Do not hide it under the water.
3) Development of workable solutions should have begun already but… let’s begin immediately. One would think that a sort of rubber tampon or upside-down umbrella or balloon would fill the inside the oil shaft to temporarily stop the flow until the relief well could be drilled tout de suite.
4) Double-double overtime on the relief well.
5) Surely there are engineers and scientists with even more solutions. Pay them well to fix this fast.

Turn a bad situation around and develop solutions that can be made part of regular protocol because it's the long-term profitable thing to do.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

My Dog Talks

“My dog talks,” said the boy.

“Dogs don’t talk,” said the man.

“He does too and I can prove it,” said the boy.

“I’ll go with you boy, just to show you dogs don’t talk,” said the man.

“My dog asks for walks, he does,” said the boy.

The two walked over to the window on the inside of the house.

The dog walked up to the window on the outside of the house.

The dog lifted his paw & tapped on the window.

The man turned to the boy and asked, “What does that mean?”

“Ask him,” said the boy.

“What do you want?” asked the man through the glass to the dog.

“Waaah,” said the dog.

“A walk” laughed the man.

“See, it’s not hard to understand him” said the boy.

“No, it’s not…” paused the man.

“Ruff,” said the dog.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Book Review: Confessions of a Hiring Manager

Title: Confessions of a Hiring Manager: Sage Advice for Fearless Job Seekers and Career Changers in a Confused Economy
Author: J.T. Kirk
Genre: Nonfiction/Career
ISBN: 978-0981485713
Publication Date: March 2010
Pages: 238
Price: $15.00
Publisher: Kings Crown Publishing

If you’re looking for work, but haven’t had much luck, J.T. Kirk may have the answers you seek. Confessions of a Hiring Manager tells all about the hiring game with detailed strategy to get your resume to the top of the pile, interviewed and hired!

Okay, be honest with yourself. If what you were doing was working, you’d have a job now. Perhaps you need to revamp your game. And don’t you want to know what the hiring manager looks for, how they choose which people to interview? If getting a job is what you want, and you’re willing to follow directions, Confessions of a Hiring Manager provides the tactics necessary to land that job during tough times.

Start with your resume. What does it say? How is it organized? Job seekers need to learn how to write a resume for each job category and probably tweek it for each job. This is how to get the attention of a hiring manager. The manager will know that you are applying for ‘this job’ in particular instead of sending the same resume to a variety of job advertisements.

Take time to develop a strategy, you’ll save your time, energy and money if you develop a plan and stick to it. Are you in the middle of changing your career? Focus on the skills you have that will lend themselves to the job you want. Think about the best way to showcase your skills, the biggest, the best, the most necessary, these should be featured on your resume.

If your resume isn’t very good, you won’t get interviews. It’s that simple. If your resume isn’t in a logical order that focuses on the skills needed for the job you want, how will the hiring manager know you’re perfect for the job? It may be time to hire a resume writer or at least an editor to help you write a great resume.

Cover letters are more important now than ever before. If your cover letter isn’t clever or unique, you might as well pass on sending the resume too. Yes, the job market is that competitive. You must sell yourself through your cover letter. It must show that you read the ad and that you understand what the job entails. J.T. Kirk has the answers you need to write a great cover letter.

Simple manners may not be so simple anymore. J.T. Kirk tells humorous stories from the manager’s side of the desk.
Imagine: it’s 8 am and the first interview of the day is with a man with alcohol on his breath. No, he didn’t get the job. You’ll enjoy the stories and learn what’s okay and what isn’t.

Most importantly, in this market, job seekers need to be flexible. Think about part-time or temporary work that will get your foot in the door. Many companies plan to expand but want to see how a new employee gets along with everyone before they hire full-time and permanent. If you really want a chance to show a particular company that you are an asset, use the creative strategies J.T. Kirk covers.

If you’ve had trouble finding work, these are among the 10 best chapters to get you headed in the right direction. Follow the suggestions and you'll create a great resume, excellent cover letters and have a job sooner than you would if you hadn't followed the suggestions in this book.

The review copy of this book was an uncorrected proof: Not for Sale.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Galileo Galilei

The brave dream dreams then move forward to make those dreams come true. In life we are moved to make decisions: are we to play it safe, do little or nothing of significance or are we brave enough to risk being different?

One person who was different was Galileo who made logical conclusions based on what he new to be true. He extended thought out to theorize about the workings of the universe and presented it in publication much to the chagrin of the authorities.

This brave man dared to be different. He dared to speak the truth as he had come to understand it. What rewards did he reap for this?

Galileo was tried by the Inquisition. He was believed to be a heretic. Continuous pressure and threats of torture lead to his recant of his theory, only to regain his courage and publish again, outside the jurisdiction of the Inquisition.

He was the beginning of what we call: physics. In addition to his heliocentric theories, he explained the basic principle of relativity. His claim to fame in mathematics is Galileo’s paradox. His work in astronomy revolutionized how we think about planets, moons and the universe as a whole.

The Catholic Church has expressed regret for their treatment of one of the greatest scientific minds.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Relationship Ends

Ending a relationship, especially a life-long relationship, isn’t easy and usually isn’t done without thoughtful reflection. In some cases there is malingering contact that isn’t a relationship but isn’t broken off completely either.

Despite knowing this from past experiences in other relationships, there was one relationship that no matter how much I tried to let go, I found myself returning to “check-in” from time to time, sometimes months, sometimes years between checks. My obligation was often prompted by other people’s questions or stories of reconciliation after years apart. People do change, why don’t you try again? Maybe this time will be different.

Through the Years
So the magical thinking child inside of me, checked-in for a number of years wanting to make everything okay. The emotional adolescent checked-in for some time, angry at the wrongs and hoping for a change. Then finally, the spiritual adult arrived on the scene and said, ‘hey I’m just here to check-in because that’s what people do.’ The adult checking-in had no rhyme just randomly, periodically, via phone, mail, email… Still continuing to do what seemed obligatory by societal standards, though mentally and emotionally knowing nothing would change.

Grace from Above
The cosmic continuum lined up and in a series of events I found myself pulling up to where she was, standing there waiting. Must be a sign we hadn’t seen each other in fifteen years.

Revelation and Release
My appearance obviously came as a complete surprise. For the first time instead of the long standing declaration of love and care, ‘Yes, call,’ ‘Yes, this is important’; I heard, ‘No, don’t call’ and ‘No, I don’t want to see you.’

What I said was: ‘Coming here was a mistake. I didn’t mean to upset you. I’m sorry.”

What I thought was: “Finally, the truth… Thank you.”

What happened was the simple realization that there was nothing there… and there never had been.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Writer's Group

The value of a good writer’s group is beyond description. The variety of personalities, experiences, perspectives bring a unique challenge for the organizers and the best thoughtful critique for writers.

Writing can be a lonely business. Pen & paper, typewriter or computer… technology doesn’t change the individual effort and need for concentration which usually puts a writer alone in a room or alone in their head. Either way, most writers are alone during the creative process.

Without an official editor, some writers rely on friends or family to be the first editors, the first audience. This may or may not be helpful to a writer. What is helpful in any profession is peer review. The first draft review by other writers can help a writer learn about their strengths and weaknesses and with a good writer’s group they can share their strengths and bolster their weaknesses so the final manuscript is just the way the writer wishes to present it to agents or publishers with minimal revision needed.

If you’re a writer seeking to improve your craft, join a writer’s group with other writers who are supportive and helpful.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Book Review: PersonaliTrees

PersonaliTrees is an inspirational book that lifts one’s spirit. Timeless photographs show the winter trees in most expressive ways. Accompanying the photographs are wise sayings from some of the most memorable philosophers through history.

Author Joan Klostermann-Ketels is dedicated to helping others with health and well-being through her writing and training company. Her book PersonaliTrees blends the sights of Nature & human wisdom or thought.

Trees (and all Nature) speak to us, if we are open to hear what they have to say. Walking through the woods during different seasons offers different experiences. Walking through the woods during winter gives us the opportunity to look at the barren branches to see the PersonaliTrees beneath the leaves.

Silly, Fun, Serious, Scary, Thoughtful, Balanced, Joyous, name it… there is a photograph of a Tree representing that feeling, action, or emotion within this book.

Wise sayings from our cultural behemoths: Charles Dickens, Emily Dickinson, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark Twain, Plato, Thomas Moore, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Victor Hugo, And Edgar Allan Poe among them give each reader inspiration for inner spiritual growth.

PersonaliTrees is an exceptional gift book, a coffee table book, an inspirational book, written for thoughtful people to pick up, read and rejuvenate the spirit anytime.

Title: PersonaliTrees: Let the Human Spirit Awaken in the Presence of the Trees
Author: Joan Klostermann-Ketels
Genre: Spirituality/New Age
ISBN: 978-1-84409-191-1
Publication Date: April 2010
Pages: 112
Price: $14.95
Publisher: Findhorn Press
Free Review Copy

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Importance of Vitamin D

In the not-too-distant past, the family doctor knew you well enough to recommend the proper treatment for nearly every condition. It was not unusual for him, as most family doctors at the beginning of the 20th century were men, to say, you need to spend the winter in a different climate or you need to move.

The treatment for melancholy or as it’s now known Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) was to move to a warmer, sunnier climate. It was the impetus for the saying : Go West Young Man!

Today we know that vitamin D deficiency can have a plethora of symptoms: Unexplained muscle pain, fatigue, weak bones, fractures, mood swings, lowered immunity, low energy, sleep disturbances, PMS, hormonal imbalance, slow healing from injuries, among other symptoms. Who knew that one vitamin could have such a wide range of symptoms if it reaches a critically low proportion in the body.

A simple blood test will determine if you are suffering from Vitamin D deficiency. Current studies suggest that outdated information suggests 400-600IU as adequate for adults. But new studies are showing that truly healthy adults need 3000-5000 IU per day with the ability for an adult to metabolize up to 10,000 IU per day without any armful side effects. Moderates suggest an intake of 2,000 IU daily.

What Vitamin D Does

Vitamin D supports mineral absorption and metabolism.
Vitamin D regulates cell differentiation (prevents cancer).
Vitamin D regulates over 200 genes.
Vitamin D promotes blood sugar regulation.

Prolonged Vitamin D Deficiency

Higher Risk of Cancer
Higher Risk of Diabetes
Higher Risk of Osteoporosis
Higher Risk of Hormone Imbalance
Higher Risk of Depression
Higher Risk of Weight Gain/Obesity

How to Get More Vitamin D

15 - 40 minutes of Sun every day, depending on your skin pigmentation.
Cod Liver Oil
Vitamin D supplement
Egg Yolks
Fortified Organic Milk
Fortified Dairy Products
Fatty Fish

Saturday, April 17, 2010

2010 Summer Fashion Trends

The theme for Summer 2010 is update, update, update. Thankfully budgets need not be broken. Working with the summer standards from last year, like the little white dress, this season’s wardrobe can be updated with key pieces. Be Bold. Be Bright. Be Floral.

From Head to Toe

Large hats are IN this season. Shade your delicate skin, keeping skin smooth and lovely with this season most essential accessory. No floppy brim is too big.

Update day wear with a cute romper of light weight fabric with a large flower print or select a solid creamy pastel color if you wish to accessorize. Look for large flower prints on blouses and small bold prints on shorts and pants.

Going out at night? Summer 2010 is all about an asymmetrical neckline dress, much like what we saw Katherine Heigl or mom-to-be Cate Blanchett wear at the Oscars. Another selection is the dress with flowing sheer fabric featuring a rose print to create a feminine look that brings the romantic side out in everyone.

Compliment every 2010 Summer outfit with strappy sandals, heels or flats, that make feet feel pretty and cool.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Stop & Smell the Flowers

Great wisdom can be found in a hectic life, if only we take the moment to become aware of our environment, to look for the good and to follow our bliss.

Bliss comes in large and small packages. With progress on the road of life, we hope that we have more moments of awareness, less chaos. Often it is right in front of us, we need only look for it.

In the midst of big change: change location, change work, change, change, change… at a moment of utter craze I stopped to watch Merlin, my dog, explore his new environment.

Merlin felt the warm concrete under his paws, a new sensation. He stepped out onto the lawn. He walked over to the flower bed in full spring bloom with flowers he’d never experienced before… he sniffed this one, that one… looked up at the sky… sniffed that one, this one, stuck his nose in a particularly low hanging rose, laid next to it and took a nap.

Life is good when we take time to smell the roses.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Top 5 Reasons to set your lawyer's number to speed dial

#5 You’re asked to sign a contract you don’t understand.

#4 You’re getting calls about accounts you didn’t open.

#3 The other driver doesn’t have insurance.

#2 Wills, Trusts & other complicated paperwork.

#1 Your husband introduces you: “This is Sue.” And your name isn’t Sue but she is…um…was your best friend. Yikes... Call your lawyer

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Test Spirituality

A true test of your spiritual depth can be determined by moving across country with everything you own in two large trucks along with three teens and two dogs... and Murphy's Law applicable.

Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong to the point of laughing myself to tears. Love the adventure! If you think you're up to the test, here's the recipe:

3,000 sq ft house to a less than 2,000 sq ft house, add 2,000 or more miles, add two towing trailers to the Moving Van and truck. Your time limit less than seven days under penalty of late fees.

On your mark, get set, GO!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Travel Albuquerque

Few places leave as intense an impression as Albuquerque, New Mexico. We drove through on our way West and were thrilled to find many of the autumn attractions were in full swing in March…

Old Towne Albuquerque founded in the early 1700s, home to the San Felipe Catholic Church, is among the oldest of European settlements in the country. Merchants sell southwestern clothes and home décor from their shops. Street vendors sell their hand-crafted jewelry and carvings from blankets along the walkways.

The scent of roasted chili not comparable with any other, has become a favorite and a scent associated with this charming place. The chili is flavorful and HOT!

A great time to really enjoy the area is during October. The heat of summer has simmered to nice days and somewhat cool evenings. Roasters are rolling chili. And the International Balloon Fiesta adds colorful brilliance to the skies.

A good time to visit Albuquerque is for the International Balloon Fiesta October 2-10, 2010.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Moving On...

Big Changes in life are just that… big. It may involve a shift in attitude or a shift in location, but change is inevitable. With change comes a shift of people, places, and things. If we shift our thoughts about certain aspects of life, or change the way we decide to deal with situations we find acceptance easier to find.
Today, with the approach of another cross-country move, I feel a bit melancholy about the place I leave. It’s been a place to be. It has served its purpose. Lingering to honor others’ wishes has only delayed the departure date.

Following the advice of experts to leave, that all will fall into place has been a step of faith; faith to believe experts; faith that all will fall into place. As much as I’d like to say, I do this without a blink, the truth is I’m hyperventilating inside. Trust is difficult anyway. Trusting a real estate agent that we should just move is tremendously difficult. And the “what-if” monster wants to scream in my ear that we’re taking a different path.

But I do believe my realtor that she knows the market, her job, and I am moving forward in my life. To move forward we must leave the past behind.

In the meantime, I know a great family-size house for sale, CHEAP…

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Book Review: Decoding the Spiritual Messages of Everyday Life

Title: Decoding the Spiritual Messages of Everyday Life: How Life Teaches Us What We Need To Know
Author: Paul DeBell
Genre: Self Help
ISBN: 978-1-4027-6712-8
Publication Date: November 2009
Pages: 336
Price: $19.95
Publisher: Sterling Ethos

“Decoding the Spiritual Messages of Everyday Life: How Life Shows Us What We Need to Know” by Dr Paul DeBell is the result of over twenty years of observation between the mundane world and the spiritual realm.

Beginning with the basic value of spiritual life, Dr DeBell outlines a way in which a person can devise an understanding of the spiritual in its relation to the world. Dr DeBell uses common and easily understandable language to understand more lofty or spiritual concepts. Through this book a beginner could come to thoroughly understand how the realms of reality blend into what we call life, it also encourages difficult questions about the world and why things are as seem.

The book is divided into three parts: The ABCs of Spiritual Messages, Engaging the Spiritual Dimension in Everyday Life, and Cultivating Your Spiritual Intelligence. Within each part there are several chapters which carry the reader from point A to point B and so forth. At the end of each chapter there are two sections: Keys and Reflections which serve as a review of the information and prompts to apply what’s learned.

Part I – ABCs of Spiritual Messages focuses on understanding the basics of our experience and outline the development of the ability to discern between random occurring events and actual messages as answers to spiritual questions posed. The understanding and recognition of these messages is paramount to the application of the concepts presented.

Part II – Engaging the Spiritual Dimension spotlights the practice and ability to understand messages and the resulting growth from applying information properly to the tasks at hand. Dr DeBell uses examples from the lives of friends and others who have shared their awakening with him in an effort to demonstrate that these principles do work when applied.

Part III – Cultivating Your Spiritual Intelligence brings together the lessons of the book and explains to the reader that there are higher levels to which they may strive. Dr DeBell recognizes that he is privileged to have within his connections, people who are farther along the spiritual path than he, who are able to not only explain but also show him how life with spiritual awareness is far richer than without.

Raised within a religious dynamic, Dr DeBell suffered the lost of faith during his college years. This loss of faith redirected his path from religious studies into the medical field where he became a psychologist who worked primarily with the poor in the South Bronx, New York. After a time, he experienced a moment of clarity when a leaf gently floated into his hand, which he interpreted as a spiritual answer to questions he asked. From that point, Dr DeBell approached the spiritual from an academic perspective, he wished to propose hypothesis and find the answers through demonstration as evidence of the spiritual.

At reading, Decoding the Spiritual Message of Everyday Life appeared to be above average when compared to the myriad of spiritual path books recently published, concentrated on the beginning steps, especially areas of introduction from an atheistic or scientific stance. It was my intent to report the findings as such: This book would be a good pick for anyone with questions about the spirituality of life: if there is an interest in the spiritual but a wondering about where or how to start, this is an excellent book to establish a basic understanding which is applicable regardless of religious affiliation or none.

Then, something absolutely spectacular happened: a local book club asked for a presentation on a recent reading. Mid-point of the review, the atmosphere of the room became decidedly changed; there was a spark that enlivened the group. Suddenly there came a barrage of questions about spiritual matters and living a life with spiritual application: why did bad things happen, how does one justify the things that happen in life, what are we to understand from our interactions with others and more. So the recommendation expands to include the demonstrated effect, Decoding the Spiritual Messages of Everyday Life prompts discussion of spiritual matters and would be an excellent choice for a study group as well as for individual spiritual development and understanding.

For more information about Decoding the Spiritual Messages of Everyday Life or about the author Dr Paul DeBell go to:

Copy provided for review