Cooking Hint #1

For best results, include all the ingredients (before it’s too late).

Just sayin’…


Announcing A Writer’s Path Writers Club: Creating Benefits For Writers

This may interest some of you who have not seen it. Ryan Lanz does a blog called A Writer’s Path, but is now going to be doing a subscription membership A Writer’s Path Writers Club. Even if you aren’t interested in the paid membership, you may find his blog articles of use in your writing endeavors.

A Writer's Path

I’m happy to announce our new initiative: A Writer’s Path Writers Club.

After looking at the writing market for years, I noticed a need for a Writers Club of this kind. Sure, there are Facebook groups, writers groups, etc., but there aren’t many associations that are more than just a gathering of writers.

I wanted to create a club where the sole purpose of it is to solve headaches for writers. Here are some of the headaches I’m looking to solve:

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Which Famous Author Do You Write Like?

This actually came from a genealogy blog that I follow (written by Randy Seaver, though I don’t know that this idea is original to him).

1) Find something that you have written that you are really proud of – the best of your work. Do an Edit > Copy of it.

2) Go to the website and Paste your text into the waiting box.

Is it accurate?  Who knows, but it can be a moment of fun as a break from your day.  According to the site, I write like Anne Rice.  Since I’ve never read anything by Anne Rice, I couldn’t say if there are any similarities or not.  But I posted 3 separate short stories that I wrote, and all three came up as writing like Anne Rice.

How about you?  Who is your “spirit author”?

Why is it frowned upon to smack co-workers, even when they deserve it?

Some of my co-workers on the other coast ought to be very glad they live so far away from me, or they’d definitely be getting the stink-eye from me.  I couldn’t persuade the company that I need a taser to keep some of these folks in line, so stink-eye is the best I can do.

Twice this week, someone contacted me indicating something was going to happen on a certain day – someone was coming into the office on a certain day/time.  So I dutifully made sure I was near the phone so Security could call me to approve their coming to the floor.  When they hadn’t shown up quite some time past their due time, I contacted the person who had put me on alert.  What did they say?  “Oh, sorry, I forgot to tell you.  We changed that and no one’s coming.”  In one case I even went to work nearly an hour early to be there to make sure they could get in!  I was NOT a happy camper.

Have a great weekend co-workers, but watch your backs.  I just might be coming for you!

Hmmmm…do they still have those people you can hire to put a cream pie in someone’s face?

I’m a ‘Fixer’

There are Complainers and there are Fixers.  I’m a Fixer.

What does that mean?  Well, when someone (for instance, the company I work for) wants to do something, I’m the one who points out all the problems.  My reason isn’t to shoot down the idea, but rather to focus on the problems and get them resolved before we get too deep in the middle of it.  A lot of issues can be avoided that way and make implementing ideas go a lot more smoothly than they otherwise might.

It also means that when no one seems to know how something gets done, I try to find a way.  If a system won’t allow what needs to happen, I try to find a workaround so that people can keep working and moving forward.  I spend a lot of time at work documenting my findings and workarounds in “How To” files for my future reference and for the benefit of anyone else who might need it.  I just don’t see any reason for 12 people to call the help desk to find out how to resolve a single problem and then not share that information so others don’t have to do the same thing when they have that problem.  If I discover a nifty feature in a program that others might find useful, why should I keep it to myself instead of sharing?

Sadly, I don’t seem to be rubbing off on very many others.  They continue to work in isolation, and not share knowledge or expertise unless they are practically forced into it.  Just think how much more smoothly the world would run if we had more Fixers and fewer Complainers.

“I’m invisible, and I’m good at it!”

“I’m invisible, and I’m good at it!”       (Mia Thermopolis, movie “The Princess Diaries”)

I think one of the most annoying things in my life is when people comment on how much I know, how much they value me and what I have to say, and then they ask me something.  I give my answer, they either tell me they are sure I’m wrong, or simply ignore what I’ve said; and, worst of all, later are told the same thing by someone else and they suddenly recognize it as true, without ever noticing I gave them that very answer quite some time before.

If they don’t think I know the answer, why are they bothering to ask me in the first place?

Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer – culpable negligence?

Each Christmas season, this song comes around, and there is much impugning of Santa Claus’ honor, but can he be considered to blame for this tragedy?

culpable negligence – (law) recklessly acting without reasonable caution and putting another person at risk of injury or death (or failing to do something with the same consequences)   []

Let’s look at the facts:

  1. Grandma had been drinking and the family knew this.
  2. She was on medication that she forgot to bring – the family knew this also
  3. Their sole effort at keeping her safe and healthy consisted of “begging her not to go”, but allowing it when she insisted.  Not unlike knowingly letting a person drive drunk.
  1. She was not found until Christmas morning although there is nothing to suggest she wasn’t somewhere directly between their house and her own.  There is no evidence that a search was made until the following morning – they seem to have just assumed that all was well.
  1. They’re proud of Grandpa and how well he is taking it – watching football on tv, drinking beer and playing cards; this also seems to reflect how well they are taking it that Grandpa’s actions do not disturb them in the slightest.
  1. They wonder whether to open her gifts or send them back – could this be due to their wanting the gifts themselves, or the refund for any purchase they made for Grandma?

When considering all of this, we have to wonder whether the entire family did not in fact plot Grandma’s demise and concoct this cock-and-bull story to cover it up.  Did anyone see this accident occur?  Just because there are hoof-prints doesn’t mean it was Santa’s reindeer.  Did they live near a wooded area where wild deer might be to blame?  Or could the hoof-prints have been ‘planted’?  What exactly are these ‘incriminating Claus marks’?  Do we have DNA proof indicating the source, or could they also have been staged?

For that matter, if they were so concerned about Grandma’s health and welfare, why did no one offer to go get the medication for her, or at least to go with her?  Did none of them have a car in which to drive her so she wasn’t stumbling around in the cold and snow?

I have to wonder if Santa Claus is unjustly being made the fall guy here.  The family perhaps thinks this is the perfect crime since how likely is it that Santa Claus could ever be apprehended?  The very nature of his work requires him to work in secrecy, so they know it would be difficult for him to provide witness testimony in his defense.

No, personally, I wonder if we bring in a bona fide criminal forensic investigator, might we discover that the facts tell a much different story?

[Written by Randy Brooks • Copyright © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, BMG Rights Management US, LLC; recorded by Elmo & Patsy]

What I Did on My October Vacation

Emptied closets, and boxes and shelves.  That’s “vacating”, right?

Sometimes all this ‘stuff’ is just a burden to have around.  Yes, if you suddenly need something it is nice to have it at hand, but much of this I haven’t looked at in years (except possibly when moving it to a different storage place).  Amazing how much lighter you feel when you unencumber yourself.  And, hopefully, Goodwill shoppers will be delighted with the bounty of free/less expensive stuff that they can use.

I’m not a doctor, and I don’t play one on TV.

I also didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night either.  So, to the point, I have no medical training and no super-intellect behind what I am about to tell you.  Take it for what it is – me relating my personal experience.

There are a great many people who suffer from warts, and there are quite a few “treatments” out there.  Some work for some people and some different ones work for others, but in my case none of them were working.  Judging by my internet searches on the topic, I’m not alone in that.  The most recent “home remedy” I was trying (the warts practically laughed at the freezing remedy), involved the use of apple cider vinegar.  Many people swear by it, but you usually have to take care not to have prolonged contact between the vinegar and the good skin around the wart.  I found it difficult to do as directed in applying, and I wasn’t seeing results (possibly because I was not doing it the way they described).

Prior to finding that solution, I was faced with the problem that both warts are on my right hand.  I am right-handed and warts are contagious.  While my doctor told me that they do not spread via things like a computer mouse, skin-to-skin contact would do it.  I was not thrilled at the prospect of shaking someone’s hand or scratching my own back and “sharing” them.  I tried bandaids to cover them.  That worked pretty well for the one on the inside of my thumb (about where scissors hit when you use them), but not so well for the one at the base of the nail on my index finger.  The bandaid on the finger was difficult to keep on, especially when it got wet – which was often.  Not only that, constant use of the bandaid for an extended period was chapping the skin horribly.  When I switched to a different solution, it took well over a week to get the skin healed from the chapping.

Casting around for another possible way to contain the warts if I couldn’t eliminate them, I settled on clear nail polish.  Yes, I literally painted over the warts.  I had to reapply it several times a day, but it worked pretty well and if nothing else gave me a false sense of security that I had created a barrier to prevent spreading the warts.

Occasionally, I have had a keratoma (not really a wart but similar) develop on my scalp line at the front.  By itself, it wasn’t a problem, but brushes or combs tended to hit them and then they got a little sore.  They would also get itchy, and scratching didn’t help matters.  On a whim, I used some Anbesol that I had on hand for cankersores and rubbed it on the keratoma, mostly in an attempt to ease the discomfort when it became irritated by a comb or scratching.  I just put a little on my finger, rubbed it well into the keratoma, wiped away excess around the area and that was it.  After a while (not sure how long), the thing went away.  It had done so before, but never that fast – usually it took months before something caused it to diminish (and I was never sure what caused it).

Figuring it couldn’t hurt, I began rubbing the Anbesol on the warts, wiping away the excess and letting it dry a good long while.  Then I would cover it over again with the clear nail polish.  I was putting on the Anbesol once a day in the evenings.  I began to realize that the warts were diminishing in size.  It didn’t happen quickly, but it happened.  As of this moment, there is absolutely no evidence there was ever one on my thumb (and it had been there about 2 years).  The one on my finger was larger, yet it is all but gone as well.

Would this remedy work for others suffering from warts?  I have no idea.  At least since Anbesol is a topical liquid or ointment that you put on sores in your mouth, I had little concern that it would hurt my skin, and there was no irritation at all from it.  (It is possible someone with very sensitive skin might react to it.)  I figured at the very least it was harmless.  I really did not expect it to get rid of these persistent pests.  I still am treating the one on the finger, and then painting over it with clear nail polish until it is goes completely away.  But there is every evidence that I will be totally free of both these warts in the near future.  Best guess would be by the end of October.

If nothing else has worked for you, this is a pretty inexpensive treatment to try and see if you get similar results.  Good luck.