The First Five Seconds


The first magazine article I ever sold I wrote about an event I saw at the end of the year 2000, and it caused me to do a double-take. An older man was walking his dog. It was a little black dog on a leash. I was driving to the library in the small town that I lived in and there on Main street, suddenly the dog ran up a tree. The man was still holding the handle of the leash and my mouth dropped open. I slowed down. Not a dog at all. It was a black cat. The man was walking his cat. Please remember, this is small town America, 15 years ago. I had to tell someone. I was so flabbergasted when I went into the library. I hurried in to speak with the librarian who told me a story, which led me to write my article about her and her cat when she was in Kuwait.

Keep Playing

I hadn’t written or even published anything professionally yet, but I had dreamed about it. I had even subscribed to the Writer’s Digest magazine and drooled over all the how-to articles. Everything was low-tech, paper submissions at that time. I had my thick paper-bound book of places to submit your articles and a lot of ideas in my newbie’s head. Just no experience. I can’t say that I’m so proficient today even. The market changes quicker than any of us can keep up, which only means that it’s always a new game. Make up the rules and keep playing.

When I got home from the library, I pulled out my handy-dandy spiral notebook and started jotting down the story. I had the subject, cats on a leash and cat training with operant conditioning, and I had my expert the local librarian who had trained her two cats with this method out of necessity while in another country. Now who could best use this article?


I was limiting my field by writing my article first, but it’s the way life happens sometimes. I grabbed my dog-eared books with all the listings of magazine publishers and started sorting through. I shot off a query letter and put in my hook line about the dog running up the tree and a bit about keeping your cat safe when you’re on vacation and such, the sort of things that I thought they might be interested in for their audience. It worked. My heart stopped almost when I actually got the “we’re interest” phone call. I was getting paid. ASPCA published my first article in the summer of 2001.


Everyone has their first story, their first photo, their first client or first whatever. It happens so quick sometimes you don’t have time to think about it. I listened to a Ted talk today by Mel Robbins called How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over, that said you have 5 seconds to act on an impulse before you lose the energy to move forward. You can use that in your favor the next time an opportunity leaps in front of you, remember you have 5 seconds to take an action forward. Write it down, take a step, make a call, or say yes. I was too young and naive at the time of my first to even think anyone would say no to my crazy story. I’m older, wiser now, which only means I second guess myself. I pause. I pull my punches. The urge has left and the opportunity is gone. I have missed a story. I have lost the chance to connect with another person. And that’s a sad thing to miss.

Memory Slips and Edits


Our mind does a funny thing to us. It slips. It edits. If there’s an association you’re missing it will fill it in for you. It has its own filing system. You would think that we would file things in an ordinary way, maybe alphanumeric or some easy way to retrieve this information that seems important, like the name of street you drive down hundreds of times. I was trying to remember the a street name recently. It actually wasn’t one I drive, but it was one block over from my usual street. I could picture it because I was wanting to tell someone the story about the gorgeous girl I saw being photographed downtown in front of the blue door. She was tall, the girl, not the door.

Street names Sheridan vs Cincinnati

The only named street that kept coming to mind was Sheridan and I knew the name was wrong and I’m banging my head trying to think of the right name, doing word associations, knowing my memory has played a trick on me. It’s the one block over trick. Sheridan is one block over from the street where I live. My mind thought it was a good substitute I guess. I wasn’t getting anywhere so I gave up and waited until I could get home and look it up because Google would not fail me!

Keeping Order

By now most of us realize our memories aren’t card cataloged and ordered by color coding. My memory reminds me more of a game of charades with hand gestures than any type of organizational system. I got home and looked up the name of the street, Cincinnati. Well Duh. One street over from Detroit.  Now I wonder if the door was really blue.

If you feel like geeking out, Steven Kotler sent this out in his email list this week, The Real Neuroscience of Creativity.  It’s not about memory storage, but it has some interesting info regarding creativity and how we use our brain.


Happiness is Rising Above


Have you seen the movie Hector and the Search For Happiness? Okay, so it may not be for everyone. It’s not like watching Pulp Fiction or Star Wars, but it was interesting. Surprising. Hector’s a psychiatrist and he’s forgotten how to be happy. Typical. And yes the quest for happiness is expected. That’s not why I found it surprising.

There was one scene that supercharged me. Hector is in China and he meets a beautiful girl in the upscale lounge that evening. It’s sexy and seductive. She spends the night, but Hector ends up falling asleep. He asks if she will meet for lunch the next day. As they are sitting in the rough marketplace, she talks about the taboos of her society. As a prostitute, she is no longer allowed to go to her family home. She can no longer see her mother, father or siblings. Hector is shocked because he was referring to the drinking of tea he was witnessing of the other country families in the marketplace. The thing that this woman was not allowed. At just that moment, the girl’s pimp rides up on his motorbike yelling at her. She was purchased for the previous evening only. The girl rides away.

Culture shock.

We forget that in our western society we have wrestled to make this not a taboo. Not necessarily regarding prostitution, but shaming any person that is considered an “other.” This is what excited me. That we are still wrestling with it. And we are willing to keep on with the struggle. I am proud of that gumption we have. The tenacity that we have to keep down the tyranny of those that wish to call themselves superior and like to use shame. An “other” is anything that you are not. We are all puny others.

None of us got here, this healthy, this strong, this smart by ourselves. Be thankful and be proud and don’t stop the struggle.

Be thankful for what you have and don’t forget to help someone else. It’s my motto for every day of my life. And I want to always remember that every step upward I take in this life is taken upon the shoulders of another, whether it was a woman suffrage or a soldier on the battlefield or a scientist discovering a cure. None of us got here, this healthy, this strong, this smart by ourselves. Be thankful and be proud and don’t stop the struggle.



In Defense of the Nonconformist


I was told a week ago on Friday that I was no longer a good fit for my company. Gasp. Incredulity. Dying with laughter here. I did suspect something. Much like the parents that were raising the offspring of the Cuckoo bird, we all felt a bit off in our office when policies abruptly changed. But I’m not a conformist. Many say, why didn’t you just conform to the new rules and just keep your job? To me, that’s about as easy as saying, why didn’t you just start writing with your other hand and while you’re at it, start singing high soprano? I can’t. I stayed as quiet as I possibly could, and I did my job. Head down and worked. But my skill set didn’t qualify me for the position they needed. Enough said.

I know who I am. No tears cried by me for not being accepted for who I am. I think it’s quite silly not to be able to speak plainly, to stand behind false accusations, to make crap up, when in the past you’ve had a great relationship with a person. I’m speaking of the people who sat on the other side of the desk, with their sour, scowling faces and dismissed me. I do realize that everyone stands in a different place in life. We’ve had different experiences. We wear different glasses. A lot of folks are blinded by their egos or by their own need for survival. The big F word comes to mind. FEAR. It chains me down often, as it does most of us. The truth is hard to see and even harder to speak for some.

This week I’ve been going over job choices. I also have been looking at some of the books I’ve read in the past that have impacted me the most such as, THE ART OF NON-CONFORMITY, by Chris Guillebeau. I’ve been writing, a lot. This I love the most. And pondering what other things that I might love to do. There’s some good advice out there and there’s also just as much hype to read, so it all needs to be taken in stride. I believe that life is just like taking a trip. You plan as best you can. You get your map, your vehicle, and you start out. What happens along the way can’t always be helped. Hopefully, you planned well, but sometimes you just have to start driving. I’ll have to talk about my trip to Magnolia, Texas sometime, and the misadventures of the GPS. Ah, but you’ve probably had a few of your own you could tell.

Baby names for Non Conformist: Hello, My Name is Pabst

Do You Belong in NYC?– Penelope Trunk

Why I’m Joining the Maximizers – JD Moyer

A Brief Guide to World Domination

The Cost of Fish


Almost everyone has a fish story and it’s usually not about the fish that got away. No, the tale they bemoan is the about the fish they caught or the one they stayed with and they probably should have thrown back. Relationships, jobs, towns they stayed at because they were familiar and they’ve always lived there. These are my thoughts today. Should we follow a whim? Take a chance? And what if it doesn’t work out? And like me, have you forgotten how to have fun?

In most towns, there’s a carnival our kids drag us to. We spend a ton of money to gorge on fried snickers, cotton candy, funnel cakes, popcorn, and we often end up carrying around a couple of half dead goldfish in a clear plastic bag. Junior won them. Way to go little tyke! So here we are in line at the superstore, the cashier’s ringing up your purchases. The tank, food, gravel, and water purifier are all yours for a grand total of $50.00. Charlie, fish number one might live through the first day. You’ve got a decision to make. Buy another fish to replace Charlie or let the whole episode die of natural causes?


Most of us, including me, are not good at taking off on a whim. Quick changes. If I have a hankering for ice cream in the middle of the night, I’ll usually ignore it and go back to sleep. But there are some people I know that would go to the extreme, beyond even the ice cream in the middle of the night. I know a person who if they felt the urge to go skiing, and if there were ski slopes available, would drive across country, just on the whim. They could ski just one day, and be good to go back to work when they came home. And here I can barely get myself out of the house to take out the garbage.

I’m really not talking about goldfish. Life is expensive. Someone once told me, having a car costs. One way or another you’re going to pay for having the luxury of driving. Whether you repair it if it’s used or if you buy it new and pay for its newness. Truthfully all of life is that way. That $50.00 will be spent somewhere, whether you spend it on the goldfish or on pizza. The choice is where do you want to spend it.

My question is, what is this costing me? Every day that I sit and not act on an urge and every time that I suppress a desire to play and I choose to work instead, what is this costing me? Sometimes when you’re just putting up with stuff, you’re only taking the easy way out. If something is continually chafing you in a situation, it’s a good sign that it’s time to change. It might be time to cut our losses and get out.

How much does it cost?
  • Health
  • Happiness
  • Memory
  • Friendships
  • Self esteem

Thanks to Christi for the goldfish inspiration – if you’re reading, you know who you are!

Pajamas Are For Wearing All Day Long


Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase “each other” doesn’t make any sense.

mevlana jelaluddin rumi – 13th century

One thing that I wish is to walk past the idea of right and wrong – and to keep walking until we no longer notice other people’s expectations or even our expectations. I would like us to keep stepping through the tall grass until we can actually say that we ARE. No more guilt for not loving enough or not saying the correct words. I want us to live. To run with joy to the top of the hill and then roll down the other side to nowhere in particular.  I would like to spin and swing until I drop to the ground with laughter.

Do you get the idea? I no longer want you or I to hesitate just because someone didn’t approve of us. Walk to the beat of your drum and feel how good it is to not be rushed or pushed or forced to someone else’s pace. And if you want – to skip or run. Go with all of your gusto.

If wearing your pajamas all day long in your house makes you happy and keeping you window open at night helps you breathe easier then do so. If you like eggs for supper and hotdogs for breakfast, guess what? It can be just as you want it to be. This life is your life. These are your rules.

—This is an EXCERPT from my book Get Your Life Back Now!  and will soon be available on Nook with Barnes and Noble when my account is approved. Usually that’s within the 72 hour time frame. I’ll provide a link on my sidebar. Thanks for everyone’s support.  I’m skipping the post next week since I’ll be too busy visiting with family. Until next time – have a great week.

Sunday Morning Sunshine


I love Sunday mornings. Long lazy days and quiet afternoon naps. A good cup of coffee or tea. Slow and easy. That’s my weekend. Sunny or rainy, it really doesn’t matter as long as I can relax. In my next life, I want to be my cat. She’s curled up beside me right now. Enjoying the tranquil life. I hope all is well in your part of the world.
I might be posting fewer posts soon, but I haven’t decided yet. I’m currently working on a fiction piece and it involves more writing energy, so I put less thought into my blog than I would like. We’ll see how it goes. Until then my friends stretch and then ease back in the sunshine for as long as you can.

“Sit, be still, and listen,
because you’re drunk
and we’re at
the edge of the roof.”

Thank the Goats for Coffee!


I love a good story, but goat herders, red berries, and smugglers. Craziness! This Tuesday, September 29 is National Coffee Day 2015.  So whether you prefer yours sweet, bitter or with a dash of cinnamon, go enjoy a cup of coffee.  My favorite is a strong cup of Columbia with milk.

And this is the legend of coffee –

It’s all because of a 9th-century Ethiopian goat-herder named Kaldi.

Allegedly, Kaldi observed his goats behaving erratically after eating the red berries from a nearby Coffea arabica tree. He tried some of them himself and was soon acting as hyper as his herd. He then brought a batch to a monastery where they were derided for their stimulating effects during long hours of prayer. The religious leaders there threw the tree’s beans onto a fire to destroy them, but the pleasing aroma of the roasted beans convinced them to give the coffee a second chance. Much like with tea, they put the roasted beans into warm water and the beverage was born.

Mental Floss – Who Discovered Coffee

Apocalypse, Abaddon, and the Spirit of Fear


The one thing that I believe I got right coming out of the religious world was a healthy dose of discernment. Even when I was neck deep in religiosity, I kept the same council as I’m going to bring out in this short blog today. I say short because a truth is simple usually. Once you know the truth of a thing, you stop worrying and get on with your life. When you’re uncertain, as in how to drive a car, you question everything. What if I mess up? What if I’m doing it wrong? When you’re an adult, and you drive to work, you get in your car and you drive to work. Sometimes you drive too fast, but you don’t sit around worrying about checking your brake pedal or your accelerator pad every five minutes.

End of Days – Again?

Know the truth and you will be free. So what’s this big truth? Love. Joy. Peace. I’m quoting the Bible because that’s the book I was given to read as a child, but I know that’s not the only holy scripture that teaches these truths. How do you know if a person is right? How do you know that they are wishing good things for you? Jesus’s disciples asked him how they would know if the other preachers were disciples of him? There were so many people performing miracles at one time it became confusing. His answer was easy, check their character. Not by their miracles, but by their fruit. Checking a person’s character was my first test when I was a child. I was serious as a kid.

True and False Prophets

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. Matthew 7:15-20

Remember Hugs

If you’ve been hugged in the warmest of bear hugs by a grandparent and loved, you weren’t feeling afraid at that moment. If there were any fears, it would only be for their well-being. Love brings with it a sense of satisfaction and safety. Love is my second test.

Love Comes from God

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18

So for all of the Christians that are following the Blood Moon fear mongers, STOP. They are selling you a paper bag filled with lies and it’s dripping of fear. I am tired of calming my family down from it.

Those that get off making others afraid – like Tom Horn and even the Christian TV broadcasters like Pat Robertson and John Hagee, they are sick sadists. If you buy into that shit, then you might as well pick up the Sunday horoscope column and follow their advice every week.

The Truth:

Silly Crazy Stuff:

Birthdays and Fried Egg Sandwiches


Some phrases are forever linked in my mind. Some memories flash as bright as neon lights. Every single time someone makes the statement I’m not having a birthday, I think, I want to grab as many birthdays as I can. I just had another birthday and even though it was a big one I’m not depressed about it. I enjoyed the day talking with my family.

Several years back some friends I knew had a sudden tragedy. The week before the husband had seemed in good health. He’d celebrated his birthday with his wife and stepdaughter and even joked about not growing older. No more birthdays, he’d said. Of course it was all said in jest as he cut the cake and blew out the candles. We all say these things. We don’t mean to stop living. The next week after attending Sunday evening church services, this man and his family went home. He was hungry for a fried egg sandwich. While his wife got the pan and put it on the stove, the man stopped still, and he grabbed his chest. He said he didn’t feel so well. Before the ambulance got to the house, he was dead.

I’m not saying that he caused his death. That’s superstition. People say silly things all of the time. I’m saying that the phrase “No more birthdays” is linked in my thoughts forever to fried egg sandwiches. Every time I cook an egg I remember to be grateful to be alive because on that night he didn’t get to enjoy kissing his stepdaughter goodnight. I remember. She looked lost and sad that night as I sat beside her. Birthdays are for the living, and I’ll take as many as I can get!

Recipe: Link Fried Egg Sandwiches Simply Scratch

PS yes we are a bit southern here, and it’s probably not a healthy recipe, but I do eat free-range eggs. :)