Posted in Slice of LIfe

Family Hike: A Slice of Life Post

 

slice of life_individual

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today with another Slice of Life Post. I fear this last weekend is going to be our last weekend of nice weather. It has turned windy and chilly here in Michigan and I’m anticipating cold weather in the days to come.

I’m glad we took advantage of our nice weather and got out onto the hiking trail. We went as a family and it was nice creating a memory with the kidlets. We went in the early evening before dinner. The sun rested, near the horizon, a fiery orange ball in the clear sky. We traveled along the path enjoying the peacefulness of the forest.

Photo credit: Christian Arballo via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC

There was no humidity and very few bugs. A perfect time for a hike. We stepped along the sandy trail planning one of our trips for next summer. There were a few mountain bikers whizzing past, but for the most part we were undisturbed.

It was a nice way to end the weekend.

My boys gave me a hard time, though, claiming they didn’t want to go on the hike. They wanted to play their video games, but I insisted. We needed some family time, and they enjoyed our walk even though they’ll never admit it to me. How do I know?

They laughed and giggled as they climbed the trees along the path.

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They also asked for a bedtime story that night. They haven’t asked for one of those in a long time, not since they were little. Sniff. Maybe they’re not in such a hurry to grow up after all. 🙂

It was a great weekend of memories and I look forward to making more. 🙂 How about you? Did you make any memories this weekend? Please share! I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. If you’d like to check out other Slice of Life Posts click here.

Posted in Parenting, Uncategorized

Let’s End the Mom Wars

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about the Mom Wars. You know what they are, where Moms become competitive with each other over mothering. Whenever I see it I groan. It drives me absolutely nuts.

Photo credit: hans s via VisualHunt / CC BY-ND

I remember talking to one parent in particular. My kids weren’t friends with her kids, but we’d end up running into each other at the park and we’d compare notes. For example, what movie my kids liked and what one they didn’t. She’d tell me what play areas were good and which ones weren’t and so on. However, each time we parted, I felt frustrated and I wasn’t sure why. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. So the next time we talked, I paid attention to what was going on, and I noticed that every time I shared an experience that I enjoyed, she had one that was better. It was like we were competing over how many play dates we’d taken our kids on that week or who took their kids to the best zoo. I tested this hypothesis out a number of times and came up with the same conclusion. It got so bad I had to take my kids to a different park just to avoid her. I was afraid, afraid she’d run me off the path with her stroller, or push me down when I was occupied with the merry-go-round. You just don’t know about people these days. 😉

Photo credit: donnierayjones via Visual hunt / CC BY

I began to see it everywhere, this underlying competitiveness. Where did we get the idea that there was only one way to parent and that our way was the only way to do it? I mean every mom is the best mom they can be to their kids, right? Instead of being competitive we should be supportive.

What Mom wouldn’t give twenty minutes of alone time during the day? We should become collaborative instead of competitive. I mean if we banded together, think about how less stressed we’d be. It really does take a village to raise kids these days.

Photo credit: cambodia4kidsorg via Visual Hunt / CC BY

I see this nasty competition among women over everything.  I see it in the young girls and older generations. It’s as if we believe that there’s only this one man, this one job, or this one friend that’s available. And to be fair sometimes that’s the way it is, but not all the time.

To achieve this mutual support, we need to first accept and love ourselves just as we are. I believe this is the key right here. Because if we can accept and love ourselves just as we are, then we give permission for the other moms to do the same thing. We are all individuals and there is more than one way to achieve our goal of raising healthy, well-adjusted kids.

We should start by organizing mom clubs, where we take turns watching each other’s kids or band together and organize awesome play dates. We’d have one rule. We couldn’t compare ourselves to the others. We could offer suggestions to solve problems, but that’s it.

Photo credit: amanda.venner via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-SA

I’ve heard whisperings that there are clubs like this already in existence, but I don’t know where they are or how they’re organized. Do you belong to one of these clubs? How is it working for you? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

Posted in Slice of LIfe

An Author Visit: A Slice of Life Post

slice of life_individual

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today with another Slice of Life Post and I wanted to share with you my inspiration for writing. It’s the kids. Last week I had an Author visit at a local school. I presented to a fourth grade class, and they were so excited to learn about writing and what it takes to write a book.

I wasn’t there long before I was infected by their boundless enthusiasm. Their hands waved frantically as they squirmed, waiting for me to call on them.They had so many questions.

How many books had I written?

Which book was my first one?

Which one was my favorite?

Who was my favorite character?

 

On and on it went. I loved their enthusiasm. They were so sweet and they asked such good questions.

 

The kids are the reason I keep writing. I love hearing stories about how my books have turned a reluctant reader on to reading. It warms my heart and it’s incredible to be able to reach these kids in such a positive way. These kids also inspire me. Their enthusiasm and ability to believe that all things are possible is infectious.I needed a big dose of that last week.

Below is a pic with me and the kids. Look at those happy faces!

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Me and all those awesome fourth graders!

 

Not only did I have an awesome day during my author visit, but the next day I received all of these Thank you cards (see the pic below). So, this one event had a positive effect on two whole days and that positive feeling extended throughout the week. It has become a wonderful memory for me. 🙂

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Thanks for letting me share my author visit with all of you. This event was the highlight of my week and I enjoyed it immensely. If you’d like to read other Slice of Life Posts click here.

If you’d like to check out the books these smiling faces were so excited about, click here. (It was the Super Spies series we were talking about. 🙂 ).

What was your favorite day last week? What occurred that made you smile? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

Posted in Public Service Announcements

Dealing with Condescending Buttheads: A Public Service Announcement

 

Hello everyone.  I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about dealing with people who annoy or irritate us. You know who they are, they’re either closet bullies or condescending buttheads. I don’t know about you, but I run into them everywhere, at work, at the grocery store, and on the highway. (Don’t even get me started about the highway.)

Anyway, I met some friends for lunch the other day and we got to chatting about someone who had annoyed Earlene (names have been changed to protect the innocent). I piped up and said, “Let’s toilet paper her house.”

Everyone laughed. They thought I was kidding, but I wasn’t. 😉

Photo credit: jafosei via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-SA

I miss those days when I could suggest a form of retribution and everyone would be like: “Yeah. Let’s do it!” We’d all jump in the car and run to our homes and sneak out a couple of rolls of toilet paper each. Our parents had no clue. That’s a good thing.

Photo credit: anokarina via VisualHunt / CC BY-SA

Now, we’re older and supposedly more mature. We’re supposed to turn the other cheek. That’s hard to do when someone is consistently nasty and we have to be around them all the time, for example, a co-worker, or even worse, a boss. That’s when things get dicey. How do we stand up for ourselves without crossing the line into insubordination?

I say toilet paper their house. Yes. Go for it. You can’t get caught, though, so you have to scheme, and scheme, and scheme some more. You must come up with an awesome plan.

It’s not an act of vandalism. It’s not even illegal. It might be considered littering…I’m not sure…so make sure you don’t get caught.

You’re not damaging anything and you’ll feel better afterward. Trust me, you will. There’s something about running into that person after the big event and they’re like all frantically gesturing. “Oh my God. Did you hear? Someone TP’d our house!”

And you. You’re cool as a cucumber. “Oh, I didn’t hear. Was it a big mess?”

“Yes! It took us an hour to clean it up!”

It’ll be hard to keep from bursting out laughing at this point because they have no clue who did this, but you do.This is an awesome feeling. Trust me, I know. Don’t ask how I know. I just do and let’s leave it at that.

Photo credit: Rusty Stewart via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

In my opinion, Maturity is overrated. Did you know depression affects 19 million Americans? That means almost 10% of our population is depressed at any given point in the year. At some point in their lives, depression will affect 10-25% of women and 5-12% of men. Depression has been called the “common cold” of mental illness.

I bet if we stopped taking it on the chin and started toilet papering the homes of bullies and buttheads these numbers would decrease dramatically.

The point I’m trying to make is that we need to stop being passive. If TPing is too radical for you, all you have to do is call the person out on their bad behavior. You can do this by using “I” messages.

 

I feel disrespected when you use that tone of voice. . . . . . .

I feel bullied…

 

But if those “I” messages don’t work…there’s always toilet paper. Some people may say this is “passive-aggressive” behavior, but who cares what they think! After all, we’re done being people pleasers, too. Just sayin’ 🙂

This has been another PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT. How do you handle it when you’re dealing with a bully or a butthead? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Personal

Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

 

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Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today with another Slice of Life post.  I thought I’d share with you one of my most favorite poems. Reading it always seems to calm me for some reason and I needed it today. 🙂 So here it is.

 

Desiderata

 

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,

and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender

be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly;

and listen to others,

even the dull and the ignorant;

they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,

they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,

you may become vain and bitter;

for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;

it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs;

for the world is full of trickery.

But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;

many persons strive for high ideals;

and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.

Especially, do not feign affection.

Neither be cynical about love;

for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment

it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,

gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.

But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.

Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,

be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,

no less than the trees and the stars;

you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you,

no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,

whatever you conceive Him to be,

and whatever your labors and aspirations,

in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,

it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

 

To read other Slice of Life Posts click  here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Events

9/11 Fifteen Years Later

 

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. Today is the anniversary of the horrific day in our history of the Nine Eleven terrorist attack. Do you know where you were when you first learned about it?

 

Photo credit: wstera2 via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA

I know where I was. I was driving to work, listening to the radio. The song ended and the announcer spoke and told everyone a plane had collided with the North Tower. Then at 9:03 AM the South Tower was hit.

 

Photo via Visual hunt

I arrived at work to find that many of my co-workers didn’t know what was going on, but it wasn’t long before the word spread through the building.  I remember calling the guy I was dating at the time and telling him about the situation. I remember our conversation and the way he told me he had to go because his boss was making some kind of announcement. I remember what I was wearing that day. I think that’s kind of weird, but hey what can I say.

It seems like yesterday, but it was fifteen years ago.

I watched a documentary about Nine Eleven last night and it was very well done. I would recommend watching it. It’s titled, “Fifteen Septembers Later.” Click the link to check it out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRMbFZHZa7Q

 

Photo via Visualhunt

I loved how in the time of a crisis people of this country pulled together.  For example,  after the attacks, many New Yorkers were stranded in Manhattan. A band of boats came together and rescued nearly 500,000 residents of the city. This was the biggest boatlift in the history of the United States.  There’s a documentary about it. Click the link to watch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDOrzF7B2Kg

Ordinary men and women became heroes that day. It was amazing how everyone pulled together, forgot their petty prejudices, and helped each other out. It’s too bad it took a tragedy to pull them together.

New Yorkers weren’t the only heroes that day. After the second plane hit the South Tower, the US cancelled all flights and closed airports. Flights had to be diverted and that’s when our awesome Canadian neighbors allowed planes to land in their airports. The town of Gander took people into their homes, providing shelter and food. What an incredible thing to do. It warms my heart to see such an outpouring of generosity and love. It makes me think there’s hope for the human race after all. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. I wanted to recognize the heroic people of Nine Eleven in some way and my blog was the logical place for me to do it. If you’d like to share your thoughts on Nine Eleven, leave a comment. I ‘d love to hear from you.

 

Posted in Slice of LIfe

A Case of Paronychia: A Slice of Life Post

 

 

slice of life_individual

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you! I’m back with another Slice of Life Post, and today I’m talking about Paronychia. I’ve never heard of this condition until last week, but let me tell you it is not fun.

I’ve been trying to get back into shape this summer, so I’ve been running. I started out running three miles and then adding more each week. I was up to five miles when Paronychia struck.

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This is not my toe, but my toe did look similar to this.

I had just completed an awesome five mile run. I had that runner’s high that you get when you’re done. I could have run another five miles that’s how good I felt. But I didn’t because I didn’t want to overdo it. This summer has been very hot and humid, and it’d be real easy for me to give myself heat stroke or something.

 

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This is me after my five mile run, doing the Bolt move. I can’t quite pull it off like he was able to. 🙂

After my run,  I came home and cleaned up. When I finally sat down, I noticed the nail on my big toe seemed bent at a weird angle. I got out the clippers and prepared to cut it.That’s when I noticed that it was a little swollen and tender. Something wasn’t right.

I continued clipping my nail and when I was done, I sat back and examined my toe. That’s when I noticed a clear liquid oozing out from under my nail. This threw me for a loop. I kept pressing on the nail until the clear liquid stopped flowing out. Then I went to bed. I figured a good night sleep would cure it.

It didn’t. I woke up with a swollen toe and more oozing. That’s when my hubby got involved. He took a look at it and claimed I had Paronychia, and my toe had to be amputated. When he left the bathroom to get the meat cleaver,  I took the opportunity to jump in the shower.

Photo credit: Ryan Christopher VanWilliams – NYC via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-ND

He returned with the cleaver in hand, I told him I had to get to work so the amputation would have to wait until later that night.  He bought that excuse, put the cleaver down, and went to work. I know he was getting the cleaver out of love…but maybe he didn’t need to love me so much… you know. 🙂

On a side note: I did ask my hubby if Misery was his favorite movie. He’s always saying he’s my Number One Fan. (Bites nails) But it isn’t, so we’re all good. 🙂 He is a Stephen King fan, though…. (chews nails and paces).

Photo credit: AZRainman via Visual Hunt / CC BY

After my shower, I got dressed for work and quickly hid the meat cleaver. There was going to be no amputation because of a little toe infection, and that’s what it was. An infection of the cuticle around my toe.

I’ve never had this before, and my toe swelled up so I couldn’t wear shoes. I had to drain it each day.(I also soaked my toe in hydrogen peroxide) That clear fluid never turned to pus like the hubs said it would, though. This is important because he thinks he’s right about everything. And he usually is, which is an annoying idiosyncrasy. But hey, we’ve all got them, right. 🙂

It took about a week, but the swelling has finally gone down and the oozing has stopped. The nail looks a little bruised, but for the most part it’s fine.

Why am I sharing this with all of you? To let you know if your hubby says you have Paronychia and wants to perform an amputation. It is NOT necessary. You can save your toe. You just have to wait it out, or go to the doctor and get some antibiotics. This has been a PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT. 🙂

So, has your husband ever wanted to perform emergency surgery for you? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

Posted in Guest Author

Please Welcome Linda Sienkiewicz as she Shares her Novel with Us!

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you. I’ve got a guest today and she’s sharing her writing experience with us! Please welcome award-winning author Linda Sienkiewicz! And check out her novel, In the Context of Love!  Take it away, Linda!

Thinking Outside the Box

Do you ever “think outside the box”? What happens when you do? It can be daunting. As time goes on, insecurities creep in, and you begin to question yourself. You wonder if the risks are worth the gamble.

I want to tell you about my experience with my novel, In the Context of Love. It has an unusual point-of-view that’s not commonly used in book-length stories. During my search for a publisher, self-doubt caused me to take a big step backward.

In the novel, Angelica Schirrick is a mother with two young children who must reassess her life when her no-good husband lands in jail. As an overprotected teen, she suffered heartache after the sudden disappearance of her first and only love, Joe Vadas, a boy her parents disapproved of. This was followed by an unexpected betrayal within her family that derailed her life. After a succession of wrong choices, including a bad marriage, she realizes she needs to speak without shame about this devastating family secret. It’s her only salvation.

I had this wild idea—what if Angelica tells her story to her first love, the one who got away? I’d studied second person point-of-view while in an MFA program and even wrote my thesis on it. I figured I had nothing to lose by trying it, right?

Second person address, or apostrophe, has a strange and contradictory effect on readers. They understand Joe is a character in the novel, but they can’t help but step into the role of “you” simply by the nature of the second-person pronoun, as if Angelica were talking directly to them:

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Nights were shadowy and deep with no stars, and I felt disoriented and exhausted in the morning, as if I’d been pushing my way through drifts of snow to get to the other side of something. The same old fears that began in high school, after you disappeared as cleanly as if you’d been tied to an engine block and dumped in Lake Erie, came back. Sheathed in blue ice, I had no more substance than the frosted air that eked from my lungs.

Late at night, when the children were in bed, I would turn to your old tattered notebook, tucked safely in a box in the back of my closet. Reading your poems was one of the few things that gave me solace:

You cannot pass from child to adult
without falling into holes of doubt,
broken wheels of trust
and traps of betrayal.

In what ways had you been betrayed? What holes of doubt did you have? I was certain you and I felt the same sadnesses, even though our childhoods were vastly different. This thought made me feel close to you, as if, even in your absence you understood all I’d been through—my horrible secret, my mother’s pain, my family’s betrayal, my husband’s disloyalty, and my own unfaithfulness.

Through the use of you, the reader is drawn into the relationship, and an intimate story (hopefully) becomes an intimate experience for the reader. It isn’t easy to pull off second-person in a novel length piece, though. I worried I was crazy for even trying it. People would hate it. It would never sell. My fear was so great that midway through my search for an agent, I switched the entire manuscript to a typical first person narrative.

After I did, I found an agent, but she was unable to sell the manuscript. Then I suffered a personal tragedy and didn’t touch my writing for two years. When I finally picked it back up, I returned the narrative to the second-person address. I also consulted an author/editor and made some structural changes. Energized and confident, I submitted the revamped manuscript to small literary presses that are more likely to take a chance on something outside the mainstream. Shortly after, Buddhapuss Ink LLC offered me a contract.

In the Context of Love is an Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist and has an Honorable Mention in the Great Midwest Book Festival.

So, there are times when you just have to trust yourself and the process. I’m glad I didn’t give up on my original concept. I believe the use of “you” contributes to the positive way readers tell me they relate emotionally to the narrator. Bunny Goodjohn, in Mom Egg Review, says  “Sienkiewicz’s decision to cast the narrative as a loose address to Joe affords the layer of suspense that remains wonderfully unresolved until the novel’s very end.” Until then, readers aren’t sure if Joe is alive and if Angelica’s heart will ever be mended.

______________________________________________________

 

Linda K Sienkiewicz

 

Linda K Sienkiewicz, award-winning author of In the Context of Love, attributes her creative drive to her artistic mother, who taught her to sew, and her father, who let her monkey around with the gadgets in his workshop. Her poetry, fiction and art have been published in more than fifty literary journals. She has a poetry chapbook award from Bottom Dog Press, Pushcart Prize nomination in poetry, and an Eric Hoffer Finalist Award for her novel, In the Context of Love. Linda grew up south of Cleveland, Ohio, and now lives in Rochester, MI. She is a volunteer for Rochester Area Neighborhood House Inc., a nonprofit human service organization.

In the Context of Love is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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Website: http://lindaksienkiewicz.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LindaKSienkwicz
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lindasienkiewicz.author
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Linda-K.-Sienkiewicz/e/B00JNEX4T8

 

Posted in Health, Uncategorized

Is our Food Industry Making Us Fat?

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I have to apologize, I’ve been missing in action this last week. I’ve started a new job (in the library at the high school) and my kids have gone back to school, so life’s been a little hectic. However, as soon as we get into a routine, we’ll be good. I’m excited about the job. It should be fun, but it will take me away from my writing. Sob. Don’t worry. I plan to still write. I’m just not going to be able to devote as much time to it. However, it’s all good because I’ll be working with teens on a daily basis. I’m hoping it’ll help me create more authentic characters.

Photo credit: dhendrix73 via Visualhunt / CC BY-ND

Because my hours at the school occur during the lunch hour, I take my mid-day meal to school. I started out with sandwiches and by the first week I was already tired of them. I made egg salad and peanut butter and jelly. I’m sure I could make a more sophisticated sandwich, but who has the time? Certainly not me.

 Photo credit: Sakurako Kitsa via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-ND

I’m also trying to watch my calories, so I’ve been buying these frozen meals for my lunch. At the grocery store, I’d check the total number of calories on the box and I was happy to find that many of them were within the three hundred to four hundred calorie range. So I bought them, thinking I’ll have this tasty lunch and be good to go. Wrong. So wrong.

Oh the meals were tasty all right. BUT they weren’t between the three hundred and four hundred calorie range.  What I’d forgotten about in my years back at home with my kids is, you also have to check the number of servings per package. This is what gets you every time. UGH!

It was glorious, this huge serving and only three hundred and fifty calories. I couldn’t believe it. Well. It wasn’t true. There are two servings per package. So I’m actually eating seven hundred calories. ARRGH!

How can you cook only half of a frozen dinner? So, I’ll be throwing half of it away or eating it, depending on how hungry I am.

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I believe this is another contributing factor to our obesity problem. Not only is our food filled with added sugar, we’re eating double portion sizes and not even realizing it. I mean really, how many people would think there are two servings in one package? For all intents and purposes, it appears to be a single serving. They don’t label the front of the package saying two servings for the price of one, do they? NOOOO.

Photo credit: colros via Visualhunt / CC BY-SA

I feel this is misleading and I wonder why the food industry doesn’t label the front of the package. They also add sugar, and we all know that sugar is like cocaine to our brain. To read more about this click this link. Is our Food Industry Making us Sick?

I smell a conspiracy.  Don’t you? What do you think the food industry should do about this situation? Leave me a comment! I love to hear from you!