Becoming Confident

105182105411111CDPby Neva Bodin

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right,” said Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company and maker of a car that was more affordable for the general public.

I remember back in high school, when looks became important, (as in how I looked and how the boy of my dreams looked, the one who made me tingle when he got close, and who didn’t even know I existed), some girls who weren’t what I considered pretty at all were still popular. Now, I know where your mind just went, (besides shaking your head at the extra-long sentence) and no, it wasn’t always the ones who were “easy.” It was the ones who had confidence.

Through my Linkedin Pulse Connection, I found a website——that lists “Twelve Things Truly Confident People do Differently” by Travis Bradberry, Author, ‘Emotional Intelligence 2.0’.

His first “thing” is saying confident people get their happiness from within, not from others. Easier said than done I think.

I believe how we respond to what others say is a combination of nurture and nature—something I think goes into many of our personality traits. If a person grows up in a critical environment, that person may become a hardline achiever to overcome the criticism, or they may wilt and try to be a people pleaser, sensitive to the slightest wish of others, depending on their personality traits.

Second on Bradberry’s list is, “They don’t pass judgement.” He feels they see everyone as valued and don’t worry about measuring up to others standards. He mentioned taking others down to feel better themselves. I had a Professor Price in a psychology class long ago who referred to that as the step down principle—stepping on others to make yourself feel higher.

Next he lists, “They don’t say yes unless they really want to.” That is definitely something I have to work on, along with all the other things he lists. But…how do you handle it when you are interested in trying to do everything? I get a lot of opportunities, probably because people know I don’t say no easily, and they all sound like fun! And I’m bored and depressed if I don’t have several projects nagging at me at the same time. Half the time I don’t know whether to grab my granny robe or start a new career!Granny career JPEG

“They listen more than they speak,” he says. Well, that, again, is something I need to work on. I want to share what I have learned way too much. I should stick to writing it into my stories so people can close the book if they like!

Number five is, “They speak with certainty.” Guess we could take a lesson from the newspapers, the articles sound dead certain of their facts, even when the facts are false or embellished, same as the best gossiper in the neighborhood.

“They seek out small victories,” Bradberry writes. “Small victories build new androgen receptors in the areas of the brain responsible for reward and motivation. The increase in androgen receptors increases the influence of testosterone, which further increases confidence and eagerness to tackle future challenges. When you have a series of small victories, the boost in your confidence can last for months.” (Just one good chapter…)

“They exercise,” is number seven. Endorphins. Those little guys that increase with exercise and build confidence—definitely something to work on.

confidence. JPEGConfident people “don’t seek attention,” Bradberry says. Is that incongruent with “Build your platform, market yourself?” I don’t think so; showing interest and focusing attention back on others helps endear them to you much quicker than being a braggart or selling yourself first. Mary Kay of make-up fame, and for whom I’m a Beauty Consultant, counseled to make others feel important. Make their day, in other words. That will draw them to you.

And the last four: confident people “aren’t afraid to be wrong…they stick their necks out…they celebrate other people…they aren’t afraid to ask for help,” says Bradberry. He elaborates more on each of these assertions of course. But I think he’s come up with a good list.

I can use this list in characters I’m developing in stories, as well as in developing my own character. Perhaps I should tape it to the bathroom mirror, right beside “Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light.”

Traveling My Family’s Timeline

Yep, this is a photo of me, Mike Staton, author of this blog post.
Yep, this is a photo of me, Mike Staton, author of this blog post.

I’m watching Continuum on Netflix. It’s a Canadian-produced SF series about revolutionaries and a female cop from 2077 transported to the 21st century’ second decade. The hour-long plots have me pondering where I’d go if I owned a time machine.

Those familiar with my posts on Writing Wranglers & Warriors know I occasionally write about the challenges faced by my ancestors during the first several decades of the 20th century. As ideas ricochet inside my head, I’ve concluded I’d aim my time machine for 1920 and a landing in a small town in Northeast Ohio – Rittman. That’s the year my Great-Grandfather David Elmer Kurtz, his wife Icie Bell and their daughter Helen passed away.

In 1920 1,803 people called Rittman home including the Kurtz family who lived in a house at the end of Fourth Street on the outskirts. Over the years Icie Belle birthed thirteen children including my grandmother, Mildred. By 1920, some of those siblings were married and living on their own. Some were just toddlers.

I'd head back to a time when my Grandmother Mid was 12 years old. I love this painting of a gent riding a time machine bicycle style. It looks like the innards of a clock, doesn't it?
I’d head back to a time when my Grandmother Mid was 12 years old. I love this painting of a gent riding a time machine bicycle style. It looks like the innards of a clock, doesn’t it?

On Wednesday, June 23, twelve-year-old Mid was visiting an older sister — Maude — in Michigan when their mother collapsed on the back steps. Her eyes on an approaching thunderstorm, Icie Belle had just gathered up a brood of baby chicks. Maybe one of the youngsters still at home rushed up the street to older sister Ethel’s house and shrieked for help. Ethel was probably at the house looking after her one-year-old toddler, Russell. If I could step back in time to that horrible day and loiter near the houses, I could get a close-up look at what actually transpired. Would I do it if a time machine actually existed? I’m a retired newspaper reporter bursting with curiosity. Think of the family history I could write.

Back then families held funerals in their homes. I assume that’s the case for Icie-Belle; some time spent in June and July 1920 could verify it. If I didn’t lose my nerve, I’d pay my respects to David Elmer and rest of the family. I’d claim to be a distant Hockensmith relative who knew Icie Belle’s mother Sarah. Some of you are no doubt thinking: why in the world would Mike want to intrude on their grief, even if he’s Icie Belle’s yet-unborn great-grandson? I dearly love my Grandmother Mid, gone from this world for the past twenty years. If given the chance, I’d like to sit beside her, take her hand and say, “Things are dark now and will get even darker, but I predict a wonderful man will come to love and adore you. Children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will shower you with love. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” And I’d add, “If one of those grandchildren – a boy – gets too close to your stove and is about to touch a still-hot burner, slap his hand away. He’ll be thankful you did.” Hopefully she’ll smile, even giggle.

Sounds morbid... I'd set my time machine for mid-June 1920 so I could witness a tragic time in the lives of the Rittman, Ohio, Kurtz family. These are my great-grandparents, Icie Belle and David Elmer Kurtz, who both died less than two weeks apart in the summertime of 1920.
Sounds morbid… I’d set my time machine for mid-June 1920 so I could witness a tragic time in the lives of the Rittman, Ohio, Kurtz family. These are my great-grandparents, Icie Belle and David Elmer Kurtz, who both died less than two weeks apart in the summertime of 1920.

I’m not sure David Elmer, known as Elmer, would have been present. He might have been in a sanatorium. In late June 1920 bacterial tuberculosis, or consumption, had ravaged my great-grandfather’s lungs. He’d die on July 5, less than two weeks after his wife’s heart-attack death. In the early 1900s TB killed one in seven people. Many TB patients sought treatment in Arizona sanatoriums where therapy included fresh air, sleep, wholesome food and exercise, but the Kurtz family wasn’t awash in cash. Elmer worked on a rich man’s farm.

As a kid, I knew many of Grandma Mid’s brothers and sisters. To me, they were old people, nice, wrinkly and old fashioned. It’s only been in recent years that I’ve had a chance to explore old photo albums and see the photos of them as young, vibrant men and women. Those old photos contain voices that echo, “Come see me, Mike. I’d just love to chitchat.”

Yea, I know it’s a period of back-to-back funerals, of young relatives like Mid shuttled off to live with older aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters. But I don’t think I could resist the lure of sharing a conversation with loved ones at the dawn of the Roaring Twenties, especially folks who died long before I took my first breath.

As a retired journalist, I'd be interested in knowing what my ancestors liked to read back in 1920. It would give me ideas for conversations.
As a retired journalist, I’d be interested in knowing what my ancestors liked to read back in 1920. It would give me ideas for conversations.

Would I find a newspaper in Ethel’s house down the street? Maybe a McClure’s or a Saturday Evening Post? Perhaps a magazine on baking? Ethel’s husband Raymond Snyder and his father owned a bakery in the Realty Building in downtown Rittman. Raymond died in 1962 when I was just ten, so I don’t remember much about talks on politics; I was too busy playing with toys that had belonged to their kids, Russell and Harold, toy trucks and a bean-bag game. I admit it… it would be fascinating to talk adult-to-adult with Uncle Raymond about post-World War I politics and his life as a baker.

So I ask… would you go back in time to another era and visit with your ancestors – if given the opportunity?

Bad Decisions

This post by Jennifer Flaten


Let’s just call this when animals make bad decisions. Last night we took the dog on a nice long walk. After the walk, she was clearly ever so tired. Normally, she stretches out on our bed or *gasp* the floor, but not last night. No last night she decided to stretch out on the back of the couch. And, why not? The couch is new, the pillows are plushy and she could sink right into the cushions and fall deeply asleep.IMG_0055


So deeply asleep that several hours later she twitched, or tried to adjust her position and promptly, and with more that a little THUMP, fell onto the couch cushions. The noise alone scared me, and then she laid there for a moment not even moving, thus ensuring I was well and truly terrified.


Now lets move onto bad decision number two. Some time in the middle of the night, oh say around 2a, the cat decided he was ever so hungry and simply couldn’t wait until morning feeding time. He got up and ambled into the kitchen where he scarfed down an enormous amount of food, but alas, by the time he returned to his position ON ME in my bed his tummy wasn’t feeling so good. Well, there is only one way to fix that…..yep, right on my brand new comforter….just a few inches to the left and he would’ve hit the dog and just a few inches from that was me. So really, the comforter is fine.


If you are keeping count, we are now up to bad decision number three. This decision is the worst of the worst.


This morning-so very early-two of the cats decided it would be a good idea to check on the Betta fish, and by check I mean attempt to dislodge from his bowl.


The succeed but not in some super sneaky, ninja cat way where the fish just mysteriously disappears from the bowl. Have you ever heard 5 gallons of water, gravel fish and fish accessories hit the floor? Well, I did at 5:30.


The poor Betta rode the water slide from the counter to the floor. Water sluiced across the entire bathroom floor, because apparently the floor isn’t level!! The whole bathroom smells like the ocean. On the plus side, I mopped the bathroom floor this am before work.


Everyone pitched in to rescue the Betta and he is alive (I am thinking of calling him Terminator Fish, because nothing, apparently kills him).


Here’s hoping the cats & dog make better decisions tomorrow.


My jewelry is available on Etsy. Use coupon code SpringFling10 to get $10 off at $20+ purchase until the end of May.

When It Rains… by Erin Farwell

IMG_3021_1Last summer I embarked on a new venture as a freelance writer. It’s had its ups and downs but overall things have gone very well. I want to cut back a bit over the summer both to spend time with the kid and to work on my book. My daughter’s summer break started last week and I am teaching a kids art camp this week so I planned to keep the writing to a minimum. But as we know, making plans is a great way to have something else happen.

Last week, I received the biggest writing project of my career, and it was a doozy both in terms of work and pay. I wrote all weekend, submitted revisions today, but will probably need to do some more work workon it before the final approval. Still, I thought, the majority of the work is handled so it’s okay. Then I received new orders from two clients I haven’t written for yet but would love to get their business. So, I can’t say no to them. Then a current client asked me to write a blog and a press release for two law firms. Since I am their only writer with a law degree, I am there go-to person for this kind of thing and I don’t want to turn them away.

Normally this situation would be fantastic. Except my daughter is out of school and I am teaching a camp from 10:00 to 1:00 every day this week and next week isn’t looking much better. So I am sit at my computer at 7:00 am to get a jump on things and find myself writing a blot at 1:00 am because this is a commitment I normally love but right writingnow has become one more thing on the to-do list.

Still, camp is going well, writing projects are getting completed to the satisfaction of clients, and I my husband has taken over meal planning and prep for the week so it’s all good. I am grateful for the growth both in my writing skills and in my client projects and my “pay check” this week will be my best ever. So many great things are happening. But did it all have to happen this week?

What are your summer plans?

ShadowlandsAHE New Cover8149g0+Rz-L._SL1500_

10 Things I’ve Learned from Being Sick

Steph_2_cropped. jpgBy Stephanie Stamm

I don’t feel well. I came to Kentucky to visit my family over Memorial Day weekend, and I had intended to drive back to Atlanta today. But a stomach bug hit me late yesterday afternoon, and I’m in no condition to drive. I’m much better than I was now, but I still feel really week, and my stomach is still a little shaky. As this post is due on Tuesday, however, I decided I could go ahead and write it. As Kathy Waller noted in this WWW post, most writing is done sitting down.

Since I’ve been a bit preoccupied with how my body feels, please forgive me for making this post about what I’ve learned from being sick. (I’ve learned these things in other ways too, but being sick always kind of brings them home.)

  1. I am not in control. I can try various treatments, but mostly I just have to let the illness take its course.
  2. The body and its processes take precedence over our goals/plans. See item #1.
  3. Be in the moment. Being sick gives you no choice. You have to be right there, dealing with whatever your body wants you to deal with. See item #2.
  4. Pay attention. You recognize the signs when you feel them. Be ready to move. See items #1, 2 & 3.
  5. Rest leads to recovery. Sleep when you can.
  6. I still want my Mommy, but I can take care of myself. See items #3, 4 & 5.
  7. Others understand. They’ve been through it too.
  8. Moving slowly is still moving.
  9. Though we usually take it for granted, feeling well and healthy is a cause for gratitude.
  10. This too shall pass. Pun intended. ‘Nuf said.


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I am the author of the New Adult/Young Adult urban fantasy series, The Light-Bringer:



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Undead of Winter Front Only Into the Storm Cover

Hookahs, the Kasbah, and Charles Boyer: All a Matter of Balance by Kathy





Posted by Kathy Waller


Caterpillar using a hookah. An illustration fr...
Caterpillar using a hookah. An illustration from Alice in Wonderland (Photo credit: Wikipedia). By Sir John Tenniel (“Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” (1865)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

As you read this post, please take note of the way the word anyway is used. This will be important later.

So I’m sitting at the computer bar at Bookpeople again. I should be revising a short story that drags on and on–I think it will be a good story, when I finish, maybe next year–but I am distractible. I was not distractible in school. But in real life, especially when I’m still in the grips of May mold, I am a Facebook magnet.

I broke away from Facebook in favor of a task I wanted to do–this–but I can’t stop thinking about my immediate surroundings.

Two empty stools away from me sits a Danish journalist named–no, I’ll omit his name. It’s very Danish, though. He’s stationed in New York and is in Texas to research and write about prison reform. I know all this because he’s talking on his cell phone, and he’s only two empty stools away.

I didn’t know Texas is reforming prisons, but I try not to know too much these days. Some would say I’m abdicating responsibility, and I am, but I like low blood pressure numbers, and getting too much news from the mass media or social media–Facebook, especially–drives them up.

See? Distracted by Facebook again.

I’ll move this along.

On Saturday, my friend Elinor and I joined a gym. It’s new in town, and there’s no contract. No contract was the draw. If we bail, we just call up and say, Cancel, no doctor’s note required, and our husbands don’t have to go down and threaten to beat up a personal trainer to get us free. (I’m pretty sure my husband would say, If you want anybody beaten up, you’ll have to do it yourself.)

Anyway, we signed up. I had my free session with a personal trainer on Monday. He put me through some tests and I flunked. I knew I would flunk.

Here I’ll sidetrack to say that ever since my first stress test, eons ago, I’ve made it a point to go the distance. When the cardiologist doing an echocardiogram said he’d like me to stay on the treadmill for twenty minutes, if I could, I thought, Just you watch. I wasn’t in great shape then, and I thought I was going to fly apart at the joints, but I walked for twenty minutes, right up until he and the technician pulled me off the treadmill and dragged me to a gurney across the room.

It’s a matter of pride. If they’d told me I would have to lie there and hold my breath for a minute or two or three–it felt like eon–I might have let pride off the hook and stopped early. But if I’d done that, I wouldn’t have gotten my head pats. I love it when doctors give me head pats.

Anyway, I wasn’t surprised at flunking the trainer’s tests, because, for various reasons, several of them justified, I’ve spent most of the past five years sitting down. And I won’t deny that I like sitting down. Sitting down is the best thing I do.

But sitting down means losing muscle mass, which leads to loss of balance, which leads to falling. I’ve known this forever, and I’ve thought about it a lot lately, but not enough to take action. I’ve fallen several times. I’m a pretty good faller: My fourth-grade teacher, who, we students thought, knew everything, told us we would be less likely to break bones if we relaxed when we fell. In the past three weeks, I’ve demonstrated she was correct. I wrote about the most amusing fall, the one when my suitcase attacked me in the Washington, D.C. Metro car, at Austin Mystery Writers.

The fall pertinent to this post, however, happened on Tuesday, the day before I was to show up at the gym to work on building muscle mass (funny thing, the personal trainer agreed with me about that). In the BookPeople parking lot, lost in the world of fiction, I stepped off a curb into a vacant parking space and suddenly flew. But not far.  It would have been a soft landing if I hadn’t come down on my left knee. And if the space had been cushioned by more than an oil slick.

Anyway, the knee didn’t hurt much, so I went to an appointment and then went home and ate dinner and then sat down. And when I stood up to go to bed, a stabbing pain told me I should have iced the joint. Icing late isn’t the most effective treatment. Still, the next day, after I’d spent an hour hobbling around like Walter Brennan, I had only a hint of a limp.

Anyway, I was in no condition to tempt fate.

So tomorrow will be my first workout at the new gym.

And I cannot help wishing I’d done it yesterday.

Anyway, the Danish journalist has gone. But his jacket still hangs across the back of the stool. What to do, what to do. I could take it home for safekeeping, then call BookPeople and leave my phone number, and then, when he called, I could tell him to meet me at some exotic venue, where I would return it to him. An assignation, as it were.

Come with me to the Kasbah.

Googling is just filled with serendipity. Checking it for spelling, I found Austin’s Kasbah Hookah Lounge and Bar. My words could never describe it properly, so I’ll quote from the website:

“Hookah flavor of the night at the Kasbah Hookah Lounge & Bar is GOOD TIMES which is a mixture of citrus fruits (i.e. oranges, lemons, cherries, etc.) with hint of mint….yummy!!! Come join us and the “smoking caterpillar” for some “good times” with some great people, great music, and of course deliciously prepared hookahs. Don’t forget about our “pineapple party bowls” and UNLIMITED HOOKAH. NBA playoffs on all the TV’s. We’re open until 2 am and hope to see you here tonight. See you in the cloudz!”

 I’ve wanted to watch someone smoke a hookah since I was seven, the first time I read Alice in Wonderland. But the Austin Kasbah doesn’t appear to be appropriate for an assignation, with the NBA playoffs and all. Anyway, I’ve never had an assignation, I wouldn’t know how to have an assignation, and I’m absolutely certain my husband wouldn’t like me to have an assignation.

The post was supposed end there, but I cannot close it without referring at least once to Charles Boyer. If you don’t know why I have to include him, you are very young.


So that’s that.
Oh. About anyway.
When anyway appears as the first word of a sentence, it’s usually an sign that in preceding sentences or even paragraphs, the writer went off on a bunny trail and is now coming back to the main topic, if he can remember what the main topic is.
It’s like the writer was by his own writing.
If I hadn’t been so distractible today, I could have written this post in about fifty words.
But then I couldn’t have presented this little English lesson, and my readers would have been poorer for it.


In case anyone is wondering, I’ll ask a doctor to verify my diagnosis this week.


Kathy Waller blogs at To Write Is to Write Is to Write ( and at Austin Mystery Writers ( Two of her stories will appear in the anthology Murder on Wheels, soon to be published by Wildside Press.

Scorched earth!

ccnancyjardineThis post is by Nancy Jardine

I’ve just spent the whole day yesterday at a Facebook launch event for The Taexali Game, my Teen/YA Time Travel Adventure. It was an extremely pleasant and successful day with lots of lovely friends turning up to say hi! By the end of the day my smile was huge- the book was hitting really high ranks on Amazon UK. (Apologies for the time difference with the US and Canada which makes participation on both sides of the pond difficult)

Severus from BBC co uk
Emperor Severus (in the public domain)

The Taexali Game whisks 3 teens back in time to AD 210, in north- east Scotland, during an era when the Ancient Roman Emperor Severus marched approximately 30 thousand soldiers in his legions all the way up Britain. He wasn’t the first Roman commander to do this but he was the last, as far as archaeologists can tell. The northern reaches of ‘Scotland’ were the furthermost western areas of the Roman Empire and those Celts of north Scotland had never properly been subdued. The Caledon and Taexali Celts had never had a constant Roman presence on their lands and they had not become ‘clones’ of Rome- in the way that the peoples of southern Britain had been forced to become.

The policy of the Emperor Severus during that military campaign of AD 208-211 has been disputed for many years but some recent archaeologists have really been challenging the earlier deductions. Shortly before AD 208, the Roman Governor of Britannia who was based in southern ‘England’ had been successfully challenged too many times by those wayward northern Celts who lived well to the north of the Antonine Wall – built to separate the central belt of Scotland and the land north of it. The Governor complained to the Emperor. Severus decided to come to Britannia himself and pay those Celts a lesson – one they’d not forget! (He had other reasons for coming but that’s for another blog post elsewhere).

What the recent archaeological finds are alluding to, and I favour this theory, is that Severus didn’t just want to ‘tame’ the Taexali Celts but he wanted to completely annihilate them. He wanted to wipe them off the Empirical Map.

His ‘scorched earth’ policy was pretty effective by all accounts – and it’s a strategy that’s sadly been employed by aggressors during the almost two thousand years since then. Final Nancy Jardine x 488The Taexali and Caledon Celts were in general terms men of the land – farmers who only took up arms when threatened. If the land itself is razed and all crop stores are destroyed, including the seed needed for the next years new season crop, then starvation results pretty drastically. Do that for two years running, back when trade tended to be extremely minimal between rural areas, and the result is a land depopulated and laid waste. That seems to have been what Severus was intending – according to some recent interpretations backed up by new archaeological techniques on soil traces.

This is quite a serious concept for a Teen/YA novel but it was one which was at the back of my mind when I wrote The Taexali Game. I tried hard to get across the depth of devastation that Severus wreaked yet didn’t want to destroy the image of the resilient nature of the local Taexali Celts in my story. Depressing my younger readers wasn’t my aim – though perhaps educating was. If you set an army of thirty thousand men to destroy the land, a small Celtic settlement of even two hundred inhabitants aren’t going to make much resistant impact in small skirmishes. Scattering to the hills for cover is a much more pragmatic scenario – the most likely way for small groups of Celts to survive and live on to eventually restore the land. You’d have to read the book to tell if I’ve been successful in my aims.


It doesn’t actually take much effort to destroy land if you’re dead set on doing so. A timely parallel might be my own garden.

Yesterday morning as the Facebook event was warming up one side of my driveway looked like this.

A bit overgrown because the devastating outcome on  my driveway was predictable. Of course, some might say that could also be a euphemism for me being too lazy to trim my shrubs this year!

By five pm it looked like this and that only took 2 men; an electric chain saw; a mechanical digger and a pick up truck to remove the debris.


You’re right to say the Romans had no electrical machinery or gas driven vehicles. What they did have were very sharp axes and other cutting tools, a gladius, a sharp pugio (medium sized dagger/knive) and man power in thousands.

If the job on my driveway border has been done properly then nothing will grow again. That’s nearly my intention but not quite. The new house being built by my daughter and S-I-L on what was the back of my property is almost completed and we needed to make our shared driveway one of low maintenance since more cars might potentially be using it. We’ll plant shrubs…but only in large planters!

Writing can be a bit like that clear out. Sometimes a good rake out and restyling is necessary!

If you’re interested in learning more about the novel, or the Rubidium Time Travel Series, please click the link to like the dedicated Facebook page: Facebook Rubidium Time Travel series

Nancy Jardine writes historical romantic adventures; contemporary romantic mysteries and time travel adventure for the Teen/YA market.


THE TAEXALI GAME is available from Amazon outlets in print and ebook formats. It’s still ONLY $1.50/ 99P till  25th May, during launch weekend.

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Asking ‘Beets’ Assuming

This post by Jennifer Flaten


Remember how you’re taught that assuming something can make an a$$ out of you and me? Well, the result of my assuming wasn’t quite that bad, but it did leave a bad taste in my mouth.


Let this serve as a cautionary tale.


Yesterday was staff lunch day at work. We have staff lunch once a month and it is usually a potluck and yesterday’s was no different. I walked into the conference room and found a nice array of food.


I’d broughtmor a fruit plate. When I signed up for my item I noticed that the only other person signed up was bringing muffins. I joked that we had the makings of a nice continental breakfast, it seems my joke stuck because the other items on the buffet included an egg casserole and what looked, to me, like a strawberry (perhaps even with rhubarb) fruit crisp.


The mystery dish was a deep maroon red with pieces of what could only be strawberries. Plus, it had a lovely sprinkle of  walnuts on top, so I plopped a nice scoop on my plate. At this point, I should have asked, but I didn’t.


At the table I’m biting into my blueberry muffin, when I hear a co-worker asking the maker of the “fruit” salad if it was his version of ambrosia. His explanation seemed a bit elaborate, but someone talked over him, so I didn’t couldn’t really hear his reply.


Muffin finished it was time to eat the compote/ambrosia/crisp thing. I took my fork and stirred it around. Hmm, what is that big slab of red…is it a strawberry. Of course, it’s a strawberry, after all this is some sort of strawberry fruit compote/ambrosia crisp thing. I mean, I assume it is.


Just then I heard the salad’s maker talking about how he uses both fresh and frozen raspberries in his salad…okay, so this is some sort of fruit salad.


I popped the forkful in my mouth. It took approximately one second for me to realize my mistake. This was NOT a fruit salad. Nor was it a compote/ambrosia/crisp.


This was, in fact, a veggie salad. Specifically a beet salad. The strangest beet salad (my apologies to its maker) I’ve ever had. It had raspberries, a raspberry sauce, mandarin oranges and beets.


Let me just say, I don’t hate beets. If pressed I would say even that I am okay with them. When I know they are beets. When they are a strawberry trojan horse  I don’t like them.


My first instinct was to spit it out-violently, but I couldn’t spit it out. For goodness sake’s I am at WORK I should act like an adult. So I dutifully chewed the offending beet and washed it down with a lot of water and a nice bite of egg casserole.


I poked the beet salad one more time for good measure, just to see if any strawberries were in it.


Another co-worker plopped down next to me, she had a blop of the beet salad on her plate. She motioned to it with her fork and said “This looks interesting…how is it?”


I replied that it was made with beets (trying to suppress the shudder). My co-worker frowned at the salad and used her fork to move it to the far edges of her plate.


She she didn’t assume…she asked. Thus saving herself from the beets.


Browse my jewelry on Etsy or at my website Dragon and Butterfly Design


I Want Minions by Erin Farwell

IMG_3021_1Long before the Despicable Me movies were created, when people asked me what I wanted for birthday and Christmas gifts I told them minions. No, I don’t want to take over the world, just manage my corner of it a little better. If I had minions, they would do my bidding and wash clothes, do dishes, vacuum the house, dust, clean the bathrooms (my husband would be particularly excited about this), grocery shop, plan meals for the week, and cook them as well. They could wait on hold for 45 minutes until the person I need to speak to finally comes on the line, or do any other task I assign them.Image result for minions

Do not fear, though, for I would be a kind and benevolent minion overlord. They would have soft beds, play time, and chocolate pudding for breakfast. All I’d ask in return is the completion of a few chores each day. I think this would be an excellent trade off.

While the minions went about their business I would be able to do the things I love such as spend time with family and friends, write, create metal clay pieces, spend more time outdoors, and just lie on the couch and not feel guilty because of all the to-dos I’m ignoring. My second book would be finished and the third on its way. The short stories that roam through my brain would be committed to paper and submitted for possible publication. House-Cleaning

The world of minions would be a marvelous place, but alas the real world intrudes. I must budget my time and decide how I will spend my precious hours each day. Right now freelance writing, also known as extra income, takes the lead role. Close on its heels is feeding my family and keeping their clothes clean. Then there is teaching classes or camps, running errands, and generally dealing with the bits of life that don’t really fit in a schedule. Writing my book comes next and I am excited that I squeezed in a whole day and a half of that last week. Lastly, the vacuuming, sweeping, dusting, and bathroom cleaning – unless we have company arriving or I just can’t stand it anymore, in which case it moves up the list.

Until I have minions, I muddle through as best I can and my family accepts my limitations. Success is vacuuming a minimum of once a month and at least thinking about dusting. Sweeping the kitchen floor two days in a row is an accomplishment but it doesn’t get washed until people or cats become stuck to it.

If you ever plan to visit me, know that you are welcome, but please call first so I can clean the bathrooms.

Learn more about me at:

Erin Farwell



AHE New Cover8149g0+Rz-L._SL1500_Shadowlands

The Electric Physician by Doris

Doris McCraw
Doris McCraw





Post copyright 2015 by Doris McCraw



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I have spoken of Dr. Harriet Leonard in post before, but felt she deserved to have folks know more about her.

Born in New York in 1829 and died in Colorado in 1907 at the age of 79 (?). She was married to John  Leonard and they had seven children, with four surviving to adulthood according to the 1900 census. John died in 1895/6.

Along with Julia E. Loomis, the first woman doctor in Colorado Springs, Harriet Leonard was the first woman doctor in Manitou Springs, Colorado. Her advertisement appears as early as July of 1878. Her ad read: Mrs. H. A. Leonard M.D. ELECTRICIAN. Special attention given to nervous and chronic diseases. Office in the Mineral Bath House. Manitou. This form of treatment was not that unusual in the 1870’s. You can read more at:

Dr. Leonard later became the proprietor of the Bath house, a rather unusual position for a women. None the less, Harriet was constantly working and learning. There is some indication she may have gone to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, (originally known as Hot Springs) for a time, but no definite proof has been found at this point. It would not be out the question as the town has numerous hot springs. The springs in Manitou are mineral, and not hot springs. It would make sense given her history.

An additional difference between Dr. Leonard and the other female physicians, she was an allopath, while Dr. Loomis and others were homeopaths. Dr. Leonard graduated from the Keokuk College for Physicians and Surgeons.  Dr. Loomis a graduate of the Cleveland Homeopathic College for Women as were the two other women doctors who joined these two early pioneers.

As the journey continues, more and more information sheds light on these early pioneers. It is a passion, and a trust to find and tell their stories. For now, Harriet A. Leonard is the focus.Her end came when she fell and  broke her femur. At her age she declined quickly, passing away in September of 1907. She appeared to have an interesting life. Stay tuned as the pages of time are pulled back and we learn more about Dr. Leonard and others like her who ventured to the West and Colorado to follow their dreams of being healers. 

home for his heart angela raines

also available as an ebook on Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

Doris Gardner-McCraw/Angela Raines
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women’s History

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