Secrets About Major Retailers Closing Multitudes Of Stores!

Are Major Retailers like Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, and others really in trouble? If you pay any attention to the news, the are. Why? Because they are closing down stores, and in the case of Neiman Marcus, supposedly putting themselves up for sale. However no concrete claim is being made just yet.

What is hitting the news is that this is all about a “soft economy.” Is it really? Are we just being introduced to another “flame” geared to scare the daylights out of all of us? Well, here’s a no nonsense Continue reading “Secrets About Major Retailers Closing Multitudes Of Stores!”

Why Do I Write Revisited!

Some time back I asked my self, why do I write? The answer was just sort of a flippant, “Because I can.” Truthfully there was never really any thought given. It really did seem so easy for me to write on just about any topic, that I never honestly gave it much thought.DSC_1505

Then I stumbled across what is known as “expressive writing.” This style of writing is a great method for those who need an outlet for trauma from various issues in life. It is based on the idea of writing with no regard to anything other than putting down what you are feeling on the inside, concerning those subjects you would rather not discuss with another.

Deep, dark horrible things don’t have to be the issue, as things that are just disturbing qualify. Well, as I began to review some of my files from many years ago, it very quickly came to light that I have been writing expressively for years, long before word processors. I just never realized what it was.

Amazingly writing in this fashion has allowed dealing with a multitude of issues I would not have chosen to discuss with another. Tending to keep some things well buried, it may come as a surprise that I can still be very transparent about many other issues in my life.

So writing has been an unconscious therapy, which has now become a means of expressing myself beyond the need to deal with the disfunction of the past. The no rules no regrets is in force. What is written is not to please others rather encourage those who need it to use writing as a tool to ask themselves the questions to find the answers. No other has the answers for another.

Many find writing as a means to escape, creating a work of fiction that very likely contains parts of unpleasant memories that can be safely acted out through characters in the story. It has always been claimed that in novels, there is more truth than fiction. The challenge for those who choose to accept it, is to divide the two.

While using words to enlighten the reader, it is also to disguise some of the real attempts at delivery of the hidden message. there’s always a message, which is the purpose of writing in the first place. Without that it’s just a collection of words.

Do you write? Journal? Keep a daily account of your actions and activities? Keeping track of those things that take place in life can reveal habits you are unaware of, that may be the very thing you want to change.

Awareness is the first step, as anything less defeats the attempt for change before it can even begin. A secret just learned is, everything that has taken place in your life up to this moment, was necessary for what comes next. Either you are acutely aware of what you don’t want for the rest of your life, or equally conscious of what you do want. However, without all the events that have occurred to this point in your life, you couldn’t know what you didn’t want without having first experienced it. the same can be said for what you do want.

So writing about those things that have importance for you, can reveal what may have been buried. Both positive and negative show up, which enable you to see behavior patterns that may not have led you to positive outcomes. The contrary is also true. Without written accounts, you must rely on flawed memories.

I never quit learning, even though some lessons have been repeated many times before truth showed it’s colors. I am continually reminded this continues until the moment where the final transition is made. Admittedly there have been lapses in the learning, but it always seems to catch up in those least expected adventures that announce arrival.

There’s a bridge close by where I can go bungie jumping. Sounds like it could be one of those adventures.

Is The Question What To Write Or When To Write?

Many times I have seen posts from other writers that are just starting. A common question is, how to get started. An equally common reply is, just write. Content is not the issue as much as just getting in the habit.

Worry about a topic to write on is really not the issue, rather just doing it. Creating a shopping list, writing about the days activities, anything that you can think of no matter how silly or seemingly inappropriate for a writer.

For example, they still make pencils with erasers, yet a whole story could be written about how something that has been such a symbol of education, school, and writing, is slowly but surely being edged out by keyboards, digital communication and the delete button.

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What happens is once words start to appear, more begin to invade your mind. In no time at all as you give your thoughts free reign it can almost be like magic happens as the words flow forth. In some cases it could seem like a tsunami of words.

I have had both extremes where words would come, but I had to work to get to 500. On other days I have started and more than 3000 words later, I have been amazed at what was written. Having an environment free of distractions, which I do not, can be the seedbed of even greater results.

Being retired would seem to be an ideal scenario for writing. In my case, I start at 3:30 in the morning. After a cup of coffee, time is spent in meditation for about 30 minutes. The I sit down for another 30 minutes to just write. As 5:00 rolls around it’s out to walk 3 to 4 miles, then back to start getting things ready for breakfast with my wife and brother-in-law.

By 7:45-8:00 we are sitting down to eat. By 8:30-9:00 a short drive to drop off my wife where she is Principle of a small, private school. Then back home by 9:30-9:45. If there are no other errands then I am free to research and write until 12:50, at which time I leave to pick up my wife. The afternoon may be free or there could be Dr’s visits, trips to pick up something for the house, any number of the typical things that interrupt the flow of writing.

From that point on the atmosphere is full of phone calls, being in a small office together where we have both computers and the T.V., conversations about the day, people, all the normal activities which create distractions.

Some might think this is ideal in terms of how much time is available from 9:30 on. If that could be spent just writing it would be ideal. Loosing sight of all that goes into writing such as editing, book covers, creating a promo team, time spent blogging, study on writing videos, summits, conferences, reading, reviewing other writers, plus the interruptions life throws in your way all compete for that time.

This has been written in that 30 minutes from 4:30 to 5:00, but there is not time to review and edit the content. The positive part is this has completed writing 500 words in that short period of time.

The point is when there is determination to do it, what to write about is hardly ever the challenge. Sitting down and hitting the keys is!

Is Bacon The Culprit Or A Hero’s Food?

Porkers get a bad rap. It’s just that simple. Since they are bottom feeders and will eat anything, and I do mean anything, it seems that we fail to recognize how many other foods we eat that consume similar things.

Not to loose my train of thought here, as this is about pork, and even more specific, bacon! Over the years some of my friends in real life have made their preference known for bacon. There have been a number of combinations never heard of, or copious amounts presented at one time for single consumption.

In the past I have been known to come up with some pretty strange combinations for sandwiches, thanks to Dagwood in the comic strip, Dagwood and Blondie by Chic Young. The combinations of his sandwiches were epic, and challenged anyone to try and copy.

Over the years I believe, across the country, there have been attempts both on purpose, and accidental. On some of the food programs I recall one in particular that travel the states to those areas famous for a particular type of sandwich, such as the Philly Cheese Steak among others.

Now to be sure, I don’t recall one that boasted of a predominance of bacon, but there may have been one and I just missed that episode. That would be a shame as i may have learned some new concoction with bacon.

Creativeness with my sandwiches is about the only area of food where there is much in the way of strange, or not so strange, combinations. It seems my advancing years have created some desire to get a little more daring on just what my stomach can take. A good example would be the habit of adding “ahi” or a hot sauce to my food, which has never been my custom until recently. Now it’s not terribly hot, just enough to perk up the taste buds and give the food a little kick.

Nope, I haven’t forgotten the subject of this story, just getting warmed up. Oh, no pun intended but it’s a good one anyway.

Now bacon in Ecuador is not a lot different from what we’re used to in the good ole USA. It looks and is packaged a little differently, or not at all. Rarely is it bought for consumption outside of being added to other foods, almost like a garnish. I’m not at all sure Ecuadorians eat bacon sandwiches of any kind.

So the bacon is on display in the meat cases of the deli in the supermarkets, sliced and ready to sell. It fries up amazingly well in the microwave, once you get the hang of it. I got the hand of it pretty quick, and it comes out nice and crispy. I love the crunch when I bite into it with fried or scrambled eggs, maybe on toast with some ahi, a piece of hard cheese, why I’ve even been known to add a touch of jam!

In all honesty, on the occasion when i have spied something on face book that someone else has tried in terms of sandwich combinations with bacon, when it gets out there a bit I’m tempted to try. Sometimes yes, others no.

Coming to a conclusion has to finally include one of my favorite tried recently, and one that is sure to be repeated. Here are the players in this episode.

Yeast free whole wheat bread toasted and slathered with butter.
At least 6 slices of the best crispy bacon.
Peanut butter
Banana
Avocado
Chocolate shavings
Horseradish
Sweet n sour pickles
Slice of tomato
Lettuce

Alan-Eating-Bacon P-butter-Pinapple-Ameretto Jam
I got this one in my mouth just fine!

Now no matter what you might conclude, that is a tasty sandwich, WHEN I can get it all in my mouth for a bite at one time! And as I recall this was also the dilemma of Dagwood. There may be greater challenges in life, this one just happens to be tasty. Taste buds unite in favor of such adventures, or at least they seem to on my tongue!

Have to keep these cravings under control. Think I’ll go have some cashews and peanuts with my Merlot!

You Did What?

Mom and the four boys folding socks.

“Did you run short of undershorts this week?”

“I wasn’t counting, but come to think of it yes.”

An uncomfortable silence followed that response.

“Any idea why?” was the reply.

“Not a clue.”

“I wore them” was Mom’s shocking revelation!20150131_160931

Is There An Art To Writing Or Just A Heart?

20150212_104833For years I have been writing for me. In part because I never felt like cowing down to the “rules” so many insisted on when opportunities were available for online publications and such. Change is great in some things, and to be sure all things change and we with them whether we realize it or are completely unaware. Conscious knowledge of those events are normally a better bet than not.

Surprises are a different sort of change, which can be pleasant or otherwise, usually with less warning than the inevitable directional detours on new avenues and exchanges under construction.

When rules get involved, it seems as though the unspoken message, as it applies to writing, says I/we are not capable of creating something worthy to be read by the general public. Blogging has become extremely popular for just such a reason.

During the last few weeks a personal campaign has been started to just write. At the same time writing summits, books by published authors such as Guy Kawasaki, Nancy Hendrickson, Lisa Nichols, along with others, to gain perspective on whether or not I have anything to offer.

My heart first and foremost is to encourage others that have a desire to write but don’t believe they have anything to offer. How this is going to be accomplished is uncertain, other than to be willing to share how this has been a desire of mine, and how it has been fulfilled with the willingness to share the ups and downs, the trials and errors, along with the experience of two eBooks published that have basically gone nowhere.

I know I have something of value to share, especially that of encouragement. This will be even more piercing as the next book will be the one that finally makes it out there where hundreds, even thousands of people can’t wait to buy it.

June 18, 2016, is the date, and September 18th 2016 is when this next book will be out there. That is the intent and now it is in writing. Goals have never been something I have subscribed to. There was something about them, that never seemed genuine to me. Solving challenges is a different story. That seems to be what I rise up to. Give me a problem to solve and let’s see what happens.

Knowing what I have experienced with my writing, and that there are others like me who have felt the frustration of being made to feel that their writing was not good enough, will have the opportunity to see that the rules of editors determining what the populace wants to read just don’t apply anymore.

The theme for writers today is just write! Speak with your voice and not one determined by someone besides you. Our voice is genuine, original, has meaning, honesty, truth, with no manipulation by another. Readers will sense that and reward us with purchases that signal their approval. Their reviews solidify the acceptance that it’s a fact. We are writers with something of value to share.

Is There A Time To Write And One That’s Not Right?

If you’re a writer there’s a chance you never find a moment that you can’t write something. The prompt suggests not just sitting behind the laptop cranking out pages. Instead some time to do other things like exercise, a hobby, an activity to distract attention for a time to come back fresh.

Fortunately for me I walk every morning for 3 miles in a woods located close towards the middle of the city. A huge tract of land with roads and a plethora of single track bike trails. For the most part the roads are cobblestone, with shoulders of compressed dirt and plenty of erosion on the shoulders from rain.

The single track is also great for trekking, and I have made a combo of the two. No here’s where I have to admit there is some method in my madness of walking the single track.

Each day there is a couple that arrives as early in the morning as I do. Darkness before the dawn, as timing usually finds the sunrise by the time of arrival at the return point. This couple serves as my “rabbit.” My goal is to either start before them, or catch them and pass them on the single track and beat them to the starting point.

Being a fast walker in the first place usually works in my favor. Rarely do they arrive before me, which spells success for me in my efforts to make it a good exercise.

There are days when the birds are singing up a chorus, and many when they are not. The frogs and other insects generally keep up their chorus no matter the weather. Still the birds are what I enjoy the most.

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Good morning Quito!

Next to that are the amazing sunrises, and the Moon when it’s in it’s movement across the night sky. Personally walking while the Moon creates a shadow before the sun makes it’s appearance is really cool. While those pitch dark mornings reveal a plethora of heavenly bodies, all are appreciated and cause me to enjoy changes from those mornings laced with clouds.

Looking on the valley from the lookout point some 500 feet below is always a sight to see. Most days are witness to either clouds, fog or a mist, attempting to hide the lights to the naked eye.

Some mornings are thick with clouds off on the horizon, hiding the major mountain peaks yet not those closer. Each day provides something new to enjoy, to those who even stop to appreciate what’s in from of their eyes.

As to writing, these scenes absolutely create images, especially when the morning sun tints those clouds, and for a few minutes you are witness to a real art show. Those are more than sufficient to create the need for expression in word. Attempts to describe those sights with words test the most proficient.

Those walks do as much to stimulate creativity as most other activities. Add that to an already fertile imagination and creative spirit, for interesting moments in writing.

Do You Need A Special Place To Write Or Will Anywhere Work?

Where can I find a place to concentrate and focus on writing? I need peace and quiet. No disturbances. No pets, no noisy kids, outside noise. Maybe a cabin in the woods, or an isolated place on the beach. I’m not near a beach or a woods, so now what? Lock myself in the bathroom or one of the closets? Humm…now there’s a thought. How conducive would either of those places be to writing though?

Isn’t this where determination and desire kick in? Writing is not necessarily a picnic, which means as a writer you do what you have to in order to crank it out.

I clearly recall sitting on top of a bunker on a moonlit night in Vietnam, writing a song poem. You might consider such conditions extreme, but it didn’t stop me from writing. Why? Because I had a “want to.” Putting words to what was going on in my mind at that time was paramount. Denying those thoughts and feelings was simply impossible. Any obstacle can be overcome by a determined spirit!

Now my favorite writing space is probably the same as most others. However there is a strong bet few would define it as such, based on the prompt and suggestions given. For me my most favorite and productive writing space is in my head. That’s where it all starts, and I can be anywhere, fully capable of recording my most immediate thoughts on my cell, or if my iPad is at hand use my remote keyboard to write it down.

Interestingly enough today I listened to an interview with Ray Edwards, author of Writing Riches: Learn How to Boost Profits, Drive Sales and Master Your Financial Destiny With Results-Based Web Copy . A huge take-away was that of “creating” a book as opposed to writing it. He insists during a conference with another writer, who exposed this idea to him, that he was then able to literally create two books in one weekend! Incredible, right?

Not so much when you think about the very basics of it. The key is dictation. Speaking into anything that will record and can be downloaded to your computer. Why? Because you can talk faster than you can type. Mistakes and all! Once recorded then it’s just a question of transposing, either yourself or a service that does it professionally.

Beyond that is the fact this is one less stop to get to your fingers. Not a big deal you might say. Think of it this way. From my thoughts to my mouth and out to a recording device. Or, from my thoughts to my fingers to a keyboard where I type anywhere from ½ to ⅓ as fast as I can speak. That’s with mistakes.

Another thing I notice is that nano second of time between the thought and execution on the keyboard, has been the cause of more than one change that might have been better left to the impromptu thought I had first. “Think long, think wrong.” Something to consider.

So my favorite place to write is where it all starts in the first place. In my noggin. Some may make the comment you can’t write in your head. Thinking for a second they may want to reconsider, as if I can speak it faster than write with a keyboard, that could be because it’s already written in my head and I’m just transposing it.

Anyplace I go is a laboratory to write or dictate. Walking to a coffee shop, walking in the woods, in an elevator, along a busy street, it’s all possible. Mostly it depends on removing the mental blocks about doing something that may seem strange to those around us. After all, aren’t we writers supposed to be an odd bunch anyway?20150212_104833

So right now the T.V. is going in the background, it’s evening when things should be winding down. The street outside my window is busy with loud motorcycles, buses with squealing brakes as they maneuver down the hill, cars honking their displeasure, a dog barking in the echoing hallways of our complex, which most might consider this atmosphere to be the least conducive to good writing.

Excuses for not writing are more plentiful than the fabled Carter’s Little Liver Pills! Any one will do. So your choice is to see this for what it is. A challenge to stop making them! Just write! Writing whatever comes to mind, but just write, for as long as it takes to make it a daily habit.

You be the judge. Your comments will cement how you resonate with this content. So your call to action writers is to…well, comment!

When Is The Last Word The Last Word?

The absolute determination to make a point only seems complete when whomever is on the other end of the discussion has no retort to make. It is assumed they have run out of ammunition. The debate, or “discussion” has been won! They have run out of arguments or positions. Silence ensues, and that fleeting moment of ecstasy is yours.

Now the question. Was it worth it? Here again is one of those illusions the mind plays on us, that having the last word makes us superior. It never occurs to add at what cost. Winning or defeating another never ends up being a “win.” Another form of domination over another is what happens. Remember the last time that happened to you?

How did you feel? Someone took you to the cleaners over something that wasn’t even that important, and you felt lousy afterwards. Licking your wounds is never a fun thing, and generally ends up reviewing the incident to figure out where you went wrong. So here you are, focused on that which you can’t change, ignoring all that’s going on around you.

Does this sound familiar? You bet it does, and those memories rankle as you give space and time to them. Right there is the bigger problem. Why fuss over something from the past? No effort will change it. This classifies as truly wasted time being in the present and living in the past.

Where is it written that getting the last word wins? What if the last words are “thank you.” Does that sound like someone won a debate? What about “you’re  right?” Could this be the last word of defeat, or simply a surrender to come back another day? Why does it have to be any of these?

The times I can remember getting the last word never did measure up to what seemed like a victory. Emptiness would be more like it, unless is was an actual debate by the rules. The idea is to defeat the opponent with any means possible. In an argument there are no rules, and things are said that can’t be taken back, that never should have left the tongue.

So how important is that last word, really? Worth ruining a friendship, starting a war, or worse? How many have been killed by the tongue, or died because of it? What about those who inflicted the telling blow? Is there a chance they would change their actions if they had a “do over?” Are there times you would like to stuff those words back in your mouth, or someone else’s?

No doubt, and it can’t be done can it. And what’s it all about? Being right? Is being right about something really that important? In a matter of life or death perhaps. Leaving the cap off the toothpaste or not hardly classifies, yet this and even less important issues, are once again only about ego.

In attempting to get the last word, much of the reason has to do with the fear of being wrong. Another is feeling that what you think you know is important to the other person, when in fact they likely don’t even care, as they are tuned into their own personal WIIFM radio.

A great quote from Dr. Wayne Dyer made tons of sense in situations like this. “What another person thinks of you, is none of your business.” You could shorten that a little and it may still apply. What another person thinks, is none of your business.

So ok, think about that for just a quick minute. Do you really care what the other person thinks about anything? In fact, aren’t you more wrapped up in what you think about everything? How hard is it for someone to change your mind, unless you are completely open to that possibility?

Open mindedness. Isn’t that an interesting concept, and one most are very unfamiliar with. You pick your side of any issue and don’t let anyone speak against it. Right? It could be as important as when and how to put the BBQ sauce on the ribs on the grill outside. Do you really care how I do it? Even if mine just might have a better flavor…today. Tomorrow they may taste terrible, but the prick to your sense of propriety is at risk.

It may be how you mow your grass, horizontal or perpendicular to the sidewalk. I may do mine at angles just to be different. I don’t like paisleys in any form or fashion. Someone else thinks they’re the ultimate in fashion. This goes on add nasueam. What does it prove?

To a large degree it goes back to insecurity, and a fear of being wrong. We have been trained that being wrong somehow makes us an inferior person. This has been a cultural thing, maybe since the beginning of time. It is seen in the same category as a mistake. Our society has taught us this is unpardonable, yet it is those very things that cause us to find ways to do something better, or find out where we went wrong. Some just decide to cave and give up, deciding to never have an opinion or take the risk of being wrong.

Others would rather die. Many do, from stress related heart attacks and other ailments. So there’s a way to look at being wrong and making mistakes. They are opportunities to learn, and it seems it was intended to be that way.

Have you ever stopped to consider, that the best lessons you have learned were all the result of being wrong or making a mistake? Probably not. Some do, most don’t. Why is that? It is easier to buy in to the illusion of the ego, that it wasn’t your fault, that you’re right no matter what evidence says, and that someday everyone will have to admit it?

I would like to be one of the examples someone offers of how many times I was wrong, compared to the times I was right. We have the examples before us of those who were wrong more times than right, yet they made enormous changes in the world.

Edison, A.J.Foyt, Babe Ruth, Disney, Harlan Sanders, to name just a few. Failures and mistakes peppered their lives, but what do we remember them for? Their successes, even though the failures far outnumber those. _DSC4801

Being wrong, making mistakes, pave the way to being right about what matters when it matters, and learning why along the way. You may agree, that speaks louder than the “last word,” because success needs no approval.

Think I’ll go watch some more clouds.

Is Good Enough Acceptable Or Detestable For You?

Good is good enough! There is a world out there that would love to jump all over that, claiming that it is detrimental to the mindset of excellence. They may even offer a world’s view of examples, such as what if Edison had stopped with a light that only lasted for a few seconds and stopped trying to improve. So did Edison reach excellence when he finally found the combination of things that worked? Are we still seeing to this very day that the light bulb continues to improve?

Wouldn’t that seem to answer the contentions related to perfection? If something as simple as the light bulb continues to improve and get better, was it ever perfect for even a nano-second?

The “not good enough” camp has been the executioner of more genius than we will ever know. That “fear of failure” illusion has  always gone hand in hand with the equal illusion of “perfection.”

What has man ever created that was perfect? In the last 100 years, what has man made that still lasts in it’s original form? If it was perfect it would remain the same, and I submit to you there is no such thing.

Is there a state just shy of perfect? Who knows? I dare say not one human being can determine what perfection is, because there is not one human being that is perfect who could recognize perfection if it stared them in the face!

It just possible that the human mind is even incapable of creating anything perfect, simply because it’s never been seen in any form, save that of Jesus or God, and there are multitudes who will disagree on that.

So science, mathematics, quantum physics, one or all, can not provide one single example of perfection because in all their wisdom none know outside of of human application what real perfection is.

It’s possible the one perfect thing is the creation of life itself. There have been many imitations with cloning, test tubes, and who knows what else, but the creation of life from the dust of the Earth or out of thin air has never been duplicated. Life requires that spark that can only come from the perfection which can not be described in man’s terms, and goes beyond the mind of human understanding.

Many would pretend to have the answers, and impart all such to underlings who are ill equipped to understand on their own. The most primitive, unschooled person on this planet can attest to a “source” of life.

The quest comes back to “is good, good enough?” If it allows the freedom to continue, embraces change for improvement, motivates and encourages, induces confidence then how can it be anything but “good enough!”

It gets back to the glass half empty…half full, or at the source of the water. This particular discourse has gone on probably longer than there’s a record of. Is it black or white, or is it two colors of a multitude of choices?

If perfection were ever reached, what would there be to look forward to? If anything, no mater if it’s human, natural, man-made, artificial intelligence, could ever reach perfection, where would things go from there?

Still, there are those, myself NOT included, that seem to feel they are the bearers of wisdom personified, which pretends to be superior to all the underlings in our world, especially as it relates to things spiritual.

The word “spiritual” is deliberately used here as opposed to “religion” so as not to mix things up that are defined by one but not the other.

The intent of this missive is simple. Ambiguity is rampant in every phase of life with the exception of what is of nature and not manipulated. This is most obvious when someone takes a stand on any issue. While the intentions may be to point out an assumed wrong, invariably the author fails to see the fingers pointing back to their source as being fallible.

No claims here, rather offering up some food for thought. Is there any truth contained in these words? It could be argued what is considered truth, as that may assume truth for one is truth for all.IMG_1555

While this may be a good place to stop, even that may be debated as contrary, conflicting or comments in agreement could be added. I’m gonna go watch some clouds.