Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Get A Human

Have you forgotten what it is like to talk to a human over the phone? I called my city offices the other day and my call was answered with a recording.

This peeved me a bit so I left an unkind message. I wasn’t rude; I just told them that as a public agency they were doing a disservice to the community by not having a live person answer the phone. I did not leave my name or number.

Ten minutes later, the city office called me. Apparently, caller ID is working fine.

If you relate to the frustration and difficulty of trying to talk to a live person when you call a company, go to getahuman and try their cheat sheet. They provide you with information that will help you navigate the automated menu. It’s a neat website and you get to rate the company you call.

Write it down,

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Is Your Passion Enough?

As I was driving to an appointment today I added a new CD, (which had been sitting on my dresser for about 2 years), into my car’s multi disc player. The CD was given to me by the artist when I visited my daughter in Washington. She and her husband were giving a Welcome Home Party for her son who had just returned from Afghanistan.

Although his voice was not remarkable I remember that he played the guitar pretty well. He mixed Spanish and English into the verses of his songs very effectively. He played his guitar through out the party whether we were listening to him or not. We called him The Guitar Guy.

I punched button number 6.

Whoa! I Instantly realized this guy did not have the capability to carry a tune. I acknowledged to myself that anybody can produce a CD or a video for that matter. No one asks if you have talent. Just show the green. Is it possible that it is easier to produce a CD than publish a book?

However, through the agonizing torture of listening to just a few words of each song, I did sense his passion. That is when the question came to me.

Is passion enough?

We are passionate about our work as writers, but does that mean it will be sellable? Will people want to read what we write? With this thought in mind I began to analyze my own desires and penchant for writing. Is my passion enough? I don’t think it is by itself. I will write something inspired by anger or some other strong emotion, then hours later it will not translate into the same message it did when originally put on paper. Passion and emotions can be flighty. Skill and passion need to emerge. Our passion needs structure.

The Guitar Guy believed in himself enough to pay for the recording of his CD. His songs were not original, although he did occasionally burst out into English with a “Let’s all sing together now” as his rendition of La Bamba was brought to a new level. Also, this was the first time I had ever heard “Wooly Bully” sang in Spanish.

Write it down,

Monday, May 21, 2007

When Your In-laws Have the Keys to Your House

I was discussing schedules with a friend and she began to tell me what was going on the day of her daughter’s high school graduation party. In the course of the conversation, she mentioned that while she would be at her daughter’s graduation her in-laws would already be camped out in her house. I asked her what she meant.

Do you mean they have keys to your house? I asked.

Yes, for twenty-five years.

I don’t know about you but this is carrying family loyalty a little too far.

Two of my daughters have a key to my house to use in case of an emergency. For instance, if I was in a coma and they could not get permission to go into my house, then and only then would it be acceptable. My friend’s husband takes the saying “Mi Casa, Su Casa” very literally.

However, we all have in-laws with odd quirks. Maybe your family is a little mixed up but whose isn’t? The sooner we realize who our in-laws are, the sooner we can accept them and realize that they probably do not have a conspiracy against you.

Get to know your in-laws early on. If you can’t get direct answers from your spouse try searching the stars here.
Most in-laws want to get along as much as you do because they want their favorite child to be happy. In-laws are not your parents. They don’t abide by the same set of rules your parents do, so compromises may be in order for a while.

Write it down,


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Oh What A Night!

Friday, May 18, 2007 I sat down in row E at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco, CA. Lights went down, curtain went up and exploding on the stage was the sound of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. I was so close to the stage that I could see the performers spit when they belted out their songs and dialogue. Fortunately they were spitting stage center.

But never mind that. For two and a half hours I was 18 again forgetting what year this is. Also I forgot that Jarrod Spector wasn’t Frankie Valli. If you haven’t seen Jersey Boys, you need to see it. Seeing it once is not enough. I think it has been extended out here on the West coast till September. Oh What A Night,(late December, 1963).
Write it down,

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Judging The Guilty

Last month (April) I went through the jury selection process and became Juror Number 7. I allued to that in my post of April 10, 2007, Juror Number Seven

Some people may regard jury selection as a bore, but I considered it to be exciting and rewarding. I had been waiting all my adult life to get to the juror’s box! I didn’t get to serve on a high profile trial (and in some ways I am glad about that after the fact), nevertheless, serving on a jury is mentally exhausting. The defendant, a convicted felon, was charged with possession of a fire arm and resisting a police officer.

During jury selection, I was surprised at the excuses prospects gave to the judge in order to get excused from serving. The excuses ranged from “I’m too old, I have a disease, I cant’ hear, I have already made up my mind” and one guy could only come on Thursday.

When asked if she had any preformed opinions of the defendant, juror number 12 said, “Once a felon, always a felon”

“Bailiff, call the next juror.” barked the judge.

When questioned if he had ever had an experience with a gun, juror number 11 said "My dad shot me when I was 16."

“Did he miss?”, asked the judge. It was obvious the judge had a sense of humor. This trial may not be too boring after all.

The story goes that on a Sunday morning the defendant, Roger, was jogging in a dangerous part of North Richmond near a public park. Sgt. Townsend, who had been on the same beat for thirteen years, and his K-9 dog Arrow, was driving around North Richmond also, searching for a dangerous felon by the name of Leroy who was wanted on a federal warrant and had been reported to be in the same vicinity. Everyone on the street knew who Sgt. Townsend was. Also Roger and Leroy looked uncannily similar from a distance and they each had a record of felony arrests.

Sgt. Townsend stopped his patrol car about 30 feet from Roger, when he saw him with his shoulder hunched down and his head leaning inside the window of a car occupied by a young woman. Sgt. Townsend stopped his car, and opened the door. His 6ft 4 inch frame uncoiled from the patrol car as he yelled to Roger: “Hey You, come over here.” Roger glanced over his shoulder at the Sgt. and turned back around to resume what ever he was doing.

Sgt. Townsend bellowed: “I said, come over here, I’m talking to you!”

Roger stood up straight, turned around and angrily shouted “I ain’t got nothin’ to say. F U”. Roger proceeded to walk backwards slowly with his hands up in classic arrest style, toward the park. When his feet hit the grass he turned and began to run.

Sgt. Townsend jumped in his car and drove right over the sidewalk into the park and chased Roger up to the museum. Townsend, called for backup because he couldn't catch Roger without leaving his car and a K-9 officer never leaves his dog unattended.
Roger ran around the building and by a large trash can. Sgt. Townsend wrote in his report that he saw Roger drop a dark object into the trash can. Further, Townsend reported that when he went to the trash can he saw a semi automatic pistol lying on top of the garbage. Later, when Roger was caught, the police realized he was not the suspect they had been looking for but nonetheless, Roger had ran and drew suspicion upon himself.

Open and shut, right? No. There were no fingerprints found on the gun although Sgt. Townsend admitted he had picked up the gun with his “bare hands” and layed it on the floor of his patrol car. We all suspected Roger was guilty but the lack of fingerprint evidence was overwhelming because the fingerprint expert was unable to establish a reason for not finding any prints anywhere.

Anyway that is my story and I’m sticking to it.

Saturday I will discuss the jury deliberation experience.

Write it down,


Monday, May 14, 2007

A New Look

For some time now, I have been wanting to brighten up my blog, but because of my technical abilities, I have put it off until tonight.
Some changes have been made and I hope they are to the good. I welcome your comments. I am making changes in my writing business as well. It is time to get it off the ground and move forward.
I look forward to getting back into the swing of things by Wednesday. Here are a couple of topics I am considering:
When Your In laws Have Keys to Your House
Lucky Juror Number 7
I received my juror pay today. The check was for $96. I must admit it was more than I had expected.
Write it down,

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Priority Is A Noun

How did your Priority 3 Challenge go? Have you completed it yet or do you have some tasks that cannot be accomplished in one day as Bes Zain over at The Reasoner did? Which, by the way is a more levelheaded way of facing tasks. Put a time limit on it and it will get done.

Priority is a noun. A noun is a person, place or thing. Priority is a Thang! That thang we must do in order to be successful, organized and at peace with ourselves. If you don’t give yourself enough time to complete a project then you set yourself up for failure.

What about substitutions? Are they justifiable? For instance, my top 3 priorities for Saturday were 1) go to gym, 2) file papers and 3) do book research. Those tasks vaporized the minute I wrote them on paper.

In place of going to the gym:

I took both dogs to the park.
Instead of filing papers in my office, I paid some bills.
As an alternative to doing research on my book, I worked on an assignment for a writing course I signed up for.

This is how I see it. I got some exercise, I worked in my office and I worked on a writing assignment. Can you see a paradox in this? I know I’m stretching it but hey, what’s a girl to do?

Even though the tasks that I did complete were not on my top 3 list for Saturday, they are on my master list. It’s ok to switch around isn’t it? I can answer that. The point about setting priorities is that they do change just as goals change. What should NOT change is our Plan. To help yourself become successful, set your plan in concrete and your goals in sand. One major part of your plan should be to talk to other bloggers for support and information.

The blogosphere is full of helpful friends who give advice on how to be successful. Here are just a few: Carolyn Manning, Liz Strauss, Lisa Gates, Anne Wayman, Leon Ho, Rick Cockrum, Phil Gerbyshak, Roger von Oech, Suzanne Lieurance, Lori Widner, Tom Chandler, and many more.

So do that THANG that you’re gonna do.
Write it down,


Friday, May 11, 2007

Take the Priority 3 Challenge

Carolyn Manning hosted a fantastic international virtual conference today. If you would like to read what everyone had to say, go on over to Thoughts and Philosophies and browse through all the comments.

I was very honored to have hosted the 5 pm EST hour. My topic was Prioritizing Before You Go Crazy. I almost did go crazy today but it wasn’t for lack of prioritizing. For some reason I was challenged with technical difficulties that kept preventing me from commenting. I think I stomped in on Jessica Doyle and Bes Zain , The Reasoner, with my technical woes. Thank you for your understanding.

I was having a great deal of difficulty in trying to get a hold of Carolyn so I used the back door by going over to Rick Cockrum’s blog, Shards of Consciousness, and asked him to post a message for me. Thank You Rick!

To make a long story short, I was finally able to get into Carolyn’s comment section and as long as I didn’t touch any buttons and stayed put, I was able to submit my comments. Whew!

Now the Challenge

If you’re like me you may have about 20 things on your list and can’t seem to get many of them done because you try to do them all at once. I have the misconception that all my tasks deserve to be listed as #1. (Doesn’t this sound like the inability to say no?) Since that is impossible, I would like to put out a Prioritize 3 Challenge. Here is how it works:

Pick 3 tasks from your list and prioritize them in order of importance to you. Your challenge, if you choose to accept, will be to complete the top 3 tasks in the order you listed. Let me know how it works for you. This is totally on the honor system.

I’ll start it off. Three of the things I need to do or want to do or must do are; Go to the gym (exercise is very important), File the mail (I have 3 days worth on my desk, what’s another day?), Continue research for my book (this is time consuming). I placed them in this order: 1) gym, 2) filing, 3) research. I will report tomorrow night to let you know how well or how badly I did.
Write it down,

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The Three P's of Prioritizing

Procrastination, Perfectionism, Prevention

I am inviting you to come by Friday May 11 at 5 p.m. EST for a stimulating conversation. I will be hosting one hour of Carolyn Manning's virtual conference Getting it Together. Carolyn explains on her Productivity Goal blog why this Friday was chosen on the same weekend as the SOBCon conference will be going on in Chicago.

Not everyone is able to attend SOBCon, unfortunately, so Carolyn is helping us to experience the Conference Inclusion.

My subject will be Prioritizing Before You Go Crazy. This is a great topic and Carolyn has a great line up. I feel very honored to have been asked to participate. What a fitting topic for writers. My problem is that all my "To do's" are number one and that is why I cannot prioritize. Acckk! Oh my, my, isn't that the silliest exucse you have ever heard?

It has worked for me in more ways than one. :)

1. I never have to reach a goal because I can't choose what to do first.
2. I have a valid reason to procrastinate. (See how these two relate?)
3. Without a priority list, I don't have to worry about succeeding or failing.

Drop by and talk with the likes of Bes Zain, The Reasoner; Rick Cockrum, Shards of Consciousness; Jessica Doyle,; Leah Maclean, Working Solo; TechZ, TechZ Online; Klearchos Kapoutsis, Klearchos Guide to the Galaxy; Nneka, Balanced Life Center; Lyman Reed, Creating a Better Life.

Look forward to talking with you then.

Write it down,


Sunday, May 6, 2007

What Do Clients Want?

The only two words that clients “want” are in the next few paragraphs. As you read, I want your mind to figure out what they are before you read them. When you see them, I earnestly hope you say, “I KNEW IT!” and ultimately that will be your invitation to go do something about it.

This may be a bitter pill for some but many clients/customers have a PERCEPTION that writers don’t deserve much pay, writers don’t work hard, and writers are a dime a dozen. This is very deceptive and NOT MY PERCEPTION at all. In fact it is a myth.

Writers are the hardest working people on the face of the earth and we should be able to beat the living tar out of that perception.

What do Clients want? They want someone to Exceed Expectations. That’s it. How do we do that? Over at Every Dot Connects, Connie Reece says it’s about Starting the Conversation.

Connie says: “My dad was a gifted salesman, I never once heard my dad use what could be called a sales pitch. Instead, he just talked to people. Struck up conversations.”

Think about it. Nothing happens until you talk to someone.

Writers are also sales people. Yes, we are. We sell our work and ourselves every day.

Drew McLellan gives some sage advice Your job as a marketer is not to sell. Your job is to help the customer want to buy. A distinct difference.

What better way than to talk to people. Have a conversation. Find out what they really want. Do they want you to be the myth-buster?

Write it down,


Thursday, May 3, 2007

Forgive and Forget

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Emerson’s quote captures an essential activity. Forgiveness of the past. What is missing from Emerson’s quote, of course, is any hint of how does one ever manage successfully to do that?

The words are easy to say but what if you can’t forget them in any amount of time? Or, worse, what if “forgetting” means simply shoving them down into some dark space in your subconscious where they will fester for years... or even decades and eventually erupt in some outpouring of incomprehensible babble?
How can one finish each day with no resentment and forgiveness unless they have the necessary qualities of mercy and forgiveness already present within to make the act of getting rid of “my old nonsense” effective or possible? Learning to honestly admit failures, inadequacies and resentments, first to yourself then before the universe, seeking the sense of forgiveness and release that will make it possible to “forget them” as Emerson says you must.

It is possible, perhaps even necessary, to engage in forgiveness as a fundamentally selfish act—forgiving people or more importantly, forgiving yourself because you desperately need to become free from the acids of resentment that will otherwise burn into your soul. Resentment and bitterness will kill your creativity as quickly as a fire doused in water.

However, the process of forgiveness can empower you to deny permission to your old habits that keep pulling you down. Also this act empowers you to not keep repeating day-after-day tiresome and depressing patterns of personal failure and resentment.

Do Not give permission to your old habits and depressing patterns of personal failure to drag you down. Let each day of your life become an upward spiral. Repeat this mantra every day:

“I ain’t what I ought to be and I ain’t what I’m going to be, but at least I ain’t what I was.” (unknown)

Write it down,