Reflections: Staying Afloat…

“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.”  Thomas Merton Reflections: Staying Afloat… Throughout life, we experience plenty of highs and lows, disappointments and triumphs. Embracing an emotional equilibrium helps (us) to remember that through the tidal waves of life, balance is always restored. Maintaining perspective and emotional balance is (our) buoy through the ebb and flow. gaiamtv.com My dearest friends in La di da Land, Ma Floatella here. We must be careful how we cast aspersions as ...

Remembering the Song

Another week, another photo prompt from Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for Friday Fictioneers. This amazing photo is courtesy of David Stewart and you can see how others have interpreted the prompt here Remembering the Song Grey haired, quietly waiting, I make no movements now for you to marvel at, My joints seem permanently fixed, Not flexible or free from pain. Nothing could help me sway to your music now Though I remember our song, few would think there ever was one, Or believe that here there once was joy, pleasure, movement, grace. They ...

Reflections: Is Reality Half-Full Or Half-Empty?

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Winston Churchill Reflections: Is Reality Half-Full Or Half-Empty? Laughter can shift our thinking... Is your reality half-full or half-empty? Is the picture of your life an optimistic or pessimistic one? When I first read the prompt, my initial reaction was to say, reality has shadings of both and that it depends on what day of the week we are talking about… But that is not the question. ...

Stupid Men Of The Sea

Time was running out and I realized I was going to die, just another amateur fishermen lost at sea. I blamed myself; I was too stupid to live. It was the late 70s and I was employed by Mervyn’s in Oxnard, forty miles north of Los Angeles. I designed windows and dressed mannequins, often chatting with friendly Frank Diaz, the company’s youngest store manager. Frank was only a few years older than me and his passion was fishing. He’d recently purchased ...

Cool Places to See Flowers: Dubai Miracle Park

Growing flowers in the desert is no easy feat, especially in the scorching heat and dry conditions. It must have took a miracle to created the Dubai Miracle Park, where 45 million flowers were planted! If you visit the park in person, you will see why the 721 000 sq ft outdoor recreational park has been dubbed the “World’s Most Beautiful and Biggest Natural Flower Garden.” The spectacular display of flowers and sculptures throughout the garden is just incredible! There isn’t ...

Plant Diseases: Black Spot on Roses

Black Spot is a common rose disease caused by the fungus, Diplocarpon rosae. Black spot begins as small brown or black spots on leaves, which eventually causes the leaves to yellow and fall off. The disease does not kill the plant, but will weaken the plant over time. The rose plant will produce fewer blooms and is more susceptible to winter kill. The disease is active during cool, moist weather. The best way to control black spot is prevention.  Here are ...

Flying Away

Friday Fictioneers, it’s story time again. Each week Rochelle Wisoff-Fields posts a photo prompt and anyone who would like to take part, posts a story on their blog and then links it to this week’s prompt. 100 words is the target so why not join in? The photo this week is courtesy of Rich Voza Flying Away Genre: Crime (100 words) The door closes. The plane hurtles down the runway, becoming airborne in seconds. I steal a look behind me, nothing but the blank, ...

Inspiration: An Abundance of Riches…

“Franklin Roosevelt said the test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance to those who have much; it is whether we provide enough to those who have too little…” Patrick J. Kennedy Inspiration: An Abundance of Riches... feed thy neighbor and thyself... When we think of abundant riches and what we would do if they came knocking on our door, it is quite easy to get caught up in our reverie and imagine a life filled with ...

The Most Unfortunate Typo Ever

"Public" signs have new meaning... For the past 13 years I've worked in corporate Public Relations, which is sometimes called Public Affairs. I spend a lot of time writing and editing a variety of speeches, news releases, talking points and presentations. From time-to-time I'll attend workshops or conferences to sharpen my skills. It was at one such conference that I saw the most unfortunate typo ever. A professional was set to deliver a PowerPoint slide presentation to the audience of which I ...

7 Questions With an Author: Debi Gray Walter

Debi Gray Walter – author, blogger and marriage counselor This post marks another installment of my “7 Questions With an Author…” series, where I ask published authors an unchanging set of questions and share their responses here. Today’s featured author is Debi Gray Walter, who finished her first book – a historical fiction novel based on the life of her grandmother titled Through the Eyes of Grace. Debi’s desire to write first began when she learned her grandmother’s story shortly after her death in 1979. She ...

St. Patrick’s Day With Cleverbot

Holidays provide a great reason to have a discussion with Cleverbot. What’s Cleverbot you ask? Cleverbot, is a web-based Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) application that supposedly has the ability to learn by conversing with humans via an instant messaging platform. While it’s a stretch to say that Cleverbot is intelligent, interacting with this particular “thinking” software can be mildly entertaining…especially when discussing holiday traditions and history. Here’s the most recent interview I had with this bastion of A.I. idiocy: An MLK Day Chat With Cleverbot Below, ...

Is Facebook a Better Parent Than You???

Many people use Facebook to stay in touch with out-of-state family members. For instance, some folks think it’s cute to let there kids, who are younger than Facebook’s required mimimum age of 13 years old, have a page to communicate back and forth with grandparents. And that’s fine if a parent is monitoring the content and establishing appropriate parental blocks. I’m not telling people how to raise their kids, but I will raise awareness regarding some startling Facebook statistics that parents need to ...

Book Marketing, Part 5

Here’s a fun piece of book marketing, this one from Michael Moore as he promotes his memoir, Here Comes Trouble. You still have a few days (deadline October 1) to get your name in if interested. (Thx for tip from Bill and Jude Thomas for this latest example of creative book marketing). The following is quoted directly from Moore’s website: “Want Michael Moore to bring his book tour for HERE COMES TROUBLE to your living room to read to and talk ...

Diving Naked

Cutting a rose before it buds leaves you with thorns. There will be no more abridged versions of what I need to write. It’s a bloody mess… so it is. A beautiful bloody mess. If I say it on paper, holding onto myself with naked arms, and I tremble at the truth, will it kill me? If I hold back the words, bury them like a money box, forgetting the hiding place, the shallow grave; will I ever find them again? Do I need to? Am I ...

5 Truths About Loss

For no apparent reason, I was missing my folks this past weekend. That’s despite the fact that it’s been almost six years since my dad died and more than eight years since my mom passed away. Even though I’m a grown man with a family of my own, the loss of my parents still lingers and seems to sneak up on me in unexpected ways. And during those past few years, I’ve come to realize a few truths about loss: 1. Loss Happens to ...

The Infectious Nature of Inspiration

Tebowing - courtesy Wikipedia The idea of  ”inspiration” is intriguing. The actual word has several meanings including “…to breath in…” as well as “…spirit or muse indwelling…“, and it’s that intangible “spirit breath” that’s believed to be the core for all creative endeavors. Whether it’s writing a song, a novel, blueprinting an invention, launching a business or nonprofit – the initial motivation starts as inspiration. And yet, inspiration can also surprise you. This weekend I saw two news stories that proved that point. The first ...

Over TWO MILLION member blogs read… Get your blog read.. join today!

My Brain

unspecified_mental_disorder

I saw my psychiatrist this afternoon. I explained the events of the weekend and while I hear him being proud of me, honestly proud isn’t why I did what I did. In my brain I did it for the animals, to which they are all home with loved ones. My physical and emotional self, now that’s a different story. Dr. M said that everything is very raw right now, it hasn’t even been longer than 2 days so in his mind …

Continue reading: My Brain

Out of Body Feeling

out_of_body_1_2

Yesterday I was one of a few first responders on scene to a multiple car fatality. I keep having visions of the deceased, I see him everywhere. I see everything about that afternoon. Friends said to take the support of Victim’s Services and call them and I have done so. I am relieved that what I am experiencing is “normal” “i.e. as a result of the trauma”. …

Continue reading: Out of Body Feeling

Nelson Mandela: Madiba R.I.P.

nelson-mandela-mural-1-sized

“As I have said, the first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself… Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, but humility.” Nelson Mandela Nelson Mandela: Madiba Dead at 95, RIP 1918-2013. Photo via g987fm.com Utata Madiba, Ndilusizi… Hamba kakuhle! Enkosi …

Continue reading: Nelson Mandela: Madiba R.I.P.

Feet on the Ground

photo-27

She roared a bit too fast into the parking lot, music blaring. Perhaps not the best way to introduce herself to a new social group, she thought, turning the music off too late to have prevented the turning of heads. Today marked a beginning and an end. Mid-November but the the thermometer read January. Layered clothing, …

Continue reading: Feet on the Ground

Robert C. Stebbins Dies

stebbinsobit-articleLarge-v2

Best known for A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, a book I find indispensable, Robert Stebbins was a renown specialist who believed that direct observation of nature out-of-doors was as important as laboratory research. He was also concerned for the welfare of his subjects. He recognized that amphibian and reptile decline was a symptom …

Eulogy

999585_521303347924663_169352658_n

She stepped up to the podium. On contemplating this moment six months ago, she had told herself she couldn’t possibly face a room full of people. She had decided there would only be a graveside service with immediate family and closest friends. The thought of anything more nearly sank her. But the children …

Continue reading: Eulogy

Michael David Torontow

1091115_10153155277935515_1422065144_o

It is with great sadness that we announce the peaceful passing of Michael David Torontow at home on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 after a long and gracious struggle with Parkinson’s Disease. He was 65 years old, having spent over 20 years, afflicted with a disease that sapped nearly everything out of him, …

Continue reading: Michael David Torontow