Happy Thanksgiving: Recipe For A Special Thank You…

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” William Arthur Ward Happy Thanksgiving to all: May the landscape of your life be bountiful... Today is a day of gratitude and thankfulness for all the blessings we have enjoyed this year. It has been a tough year for many of us in many arenas, and we will be remiss to not add a prayer of goodwill for all who are suffering, experiencing loss, and in need a ...

Reflections: Stormy Weather and Good Times…

“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.” John Ruskin Reflections: Stormy Weather and Good Times... beauty in thunder & lightning in Madeira It’s been raining all day, on and off,  in my neck of the woods and my children assure me the weather will be this way all week. I don’t mind the rains as I have lots of good memories ...

Musings: What’s With The Easter Bunny?

“Let the resurrection joy lift us from loneliness and weakness and despair to strength and beauty and happiness” Floyd W. Tomkins Musings: What's With The Easter Bunny? Musings: What's With The Easter Bunny? Saving the Easter Bunny A man was blissfully driving along the highway, when he saw the Easter Bunny hopping across the middle of the road. He swerved to avoid hitting the Bunny, but unfortunately the rabbit jumped in front of his car and was hit. The basket of eggs went flying ...

Greens – A Florists Staple

Greens are a necessity for every florist! They add fullness and character to designs and the colourful flowers placed within them pop brightly against the neutral green background. When creating your own arrangements you can look to your garden for the perfect greenery. Look for greens with texture, interesting shapes & shades of green. Here are some of the popular greens that florists use: Boxwood – Dark & thinly branched with small oval leaves. Very hardy and is great for creating unique and ...

Kenya’s Flower Farms Go Green

Where do florists get their roses come from? If you live in Europe, there is a good chance they came from Kenya. It is one of the world’s largest exporter of fresh cut roses. Kenyans export other varieties of flowers, but roses remain the top export, accounting for nearly 80% of all flower exports. Even during Europe’s economic recession these past few years, Kenya’s flower industry continues to grow. Despite a drastic decrease in European exports, Kenyan flower farms are still ...

Weird & Unusual: Bat Face Cuphea

Now that it is October, here at Fun Flower Facts Flower Blog, we can’t help but think about Halloween-themed flowers, like this “Bat Face Cuphea.” Bat Face Cuphea (Cuphea lluvea) is a mounding perennial shrub native to Mexico that is cultivated for its masses of bright red tubular flowers with dark purple centers that resemble a bat’s face (hence the nickname). The plant will grow to 1-2 feet tall. The evergreen leaves are lance-shaped and hairy. Bat face Cuphea will add a ...

The Ghost At Our Kitchen Table

A ghost sat at our kitchen table when I was a child, a ghost by the name of Grandpa Frank. He was my mother’s father, and he died seventy-six years ago in 1936. How he died always depended on who you asked. Stories range from scarlet fever to an accident brought about by falling from a church steeple he climbed on a dare. I don’t think I’ll ever know, but I have it on several counts that he was an ...

Daily Adventures: Twelve Fun Things To Do…

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.” Helen Keller When I read the Daily Post prompt for today, I was glad because I liked the topic, Top Ten Favorite Things to Do, and I love list posts. Okay, I did modify it from the original which was to write on top things we hadn’t done in a year. I decided to ...

New Blog Name – Thanks For All Suggestions!

New Blog Name - Thanks For All Suggestions!

It's taken more than a year, but I've finally gone ahead and updated the name for this blog. Today's the first day that it's being "published" under the masthead The Daily Retort. Deepest thanks to everyone who offered new suggestions for the blog - there were more than 50 ideas offered. The winner of the $25 Amazon gift card is Ilana Tabak et al (not quite sure how you and your PR posse will divvy up those winnings). There were several others ...

I Left a Hot Pot of Coffee for This?

It's early, and eerie, and I’m getting goose flesh as my morning walk leads me into some really dense fog. I have to push myself across the threshold of hesitation, for who knows what lurks in this heavy haze? And to think, I left a hot pot of coffee for this. Each day is a gamble, but most days, I’m bright blue with optimism—the sky is mine, as is the sun and the moon. But on foggy mornings, when my faithful ...

What Kind of Kids Are You Raising?

Today’s guest post comes courtesy of an online writing a of mine, Joanna Hyatt. Based out of Los Angeles, Joanna speaks and writes on dating, relationships and sex. She blogs at www.joannahyatt.com and tweets @JoannaHyatt. If you’d like to submit a guest post yourself, here are the guidelines. I’m part of the Millenial Generation. We’re half kids, half adults. Allowed to ‘explore’ and ‘find ourselves’ for as long as it takes, we avoid relational commitment, financial responsibility and change jobs at dizzying rates. As I look around at my ...

Face-to-Face Time in Old-Style Publishing

Credit: Vlado / FreeDigitalPhotos.net   My posting on June 1 was titled “Good Feelings from Groups.” Soon after posting it, while searching for a document on a wholly different subject, I unearthed a business plan I’d written in the late 1990s for my publishing company at the time. In it, I quoted two paragraphs related to the power of groups within a publishing company. In rereading that excerpt, I realized I have not been as group-phobic as I thought. In fact, ...

Downton Abbey Parody: Downton Arby’s

This past weekend, my wife and I started watching the first season of the popular PBS series Downton Abbey via Netflix. I was a bit skeptical at first because I’ve never been a big fan of the idea of government subsidized television. But the pilot episode made me a believer. The program is set in 1912 Britian and the underlying premise is that the sinking of the Titanic has taken the lives of the two heirs of the aristocratic estate of the Earl and ...

Veterans Day Conversation With Cleverbot…

Several months ago I discovered Cleverbot, which is a web-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) application that learns to speak by conversing with humans via an instant messaging platform. While it’s a stretch to say that Cleverbot is intelligent, interacting with this particular learning software can be mildly entertaining. Here’s the most recent interview I had with Cleverbot last month: Halloween Fun With Cleverbot Since today is Veterans Day, I thought it would be interesting to get Cleverbot’s take on this holiday. Here’s the unedited conversation I had ...

A Funny Parenting Rap (because it’s true)

One of the best things about family is the fact that it serves as a never-ending stream of laughs and funny material – as well as an instant audience for both parents and kids. The link below is to an entertaining rap about the joys, pitfalls and pratfalls of parenting. If you are a parent (or even had parents) there are some funky lyrics in this rap that should be able to relate to. Additionally, one of the things that’s so appealing to ...

Booksigning in Barn Raises Laughter

This is the first time author Dan Zevin has given a reading in a barn. A rustic setting was the backdrop for a ribald reading by author Dan Zevin from his new book, Dan Gets a Minivan. The reading took place in the barn attached to Lily King’s house. Lily had invited her friends, including those of us around the picnic table in my May 25 posting. I really enjoyed the reading, although it went on longer than it might normally and ...

Please visit the authors blog by clicking on the link below!

Cheryl - The Art of Being Conflicted
April 5, 2012, 12:55 pm

The New Improved You

A very interesting blogger over at Older Eyes  has had a couple of posts in which the subject of self-help books were mentioned.   From reading Bud’s blog, I can tell you he is not only a really good writer but a talented artist as well.

I used to be more of an “avid” reader but that has greatly decreased as my preponderance to sit my butt in front of a computer screen the better part of any given day has somewhat diminished the amount of actual “books” I read.  Don’t get me wrong, I still buy a gazillion books with many of them being those that would be listed under the “self-help” genre.

First of all, the category of “self-help” books needs to be divided into two distinctive categories.

The first category is the INSTRUCTIONAL books.  You know….books that are going to teach you something TANGIBLE.  A lot of these books look like this. I buy these books by the dozens.  I kid you not.  At any given time, I have 3 or 4 or more of them on my desk.  I devour these on all manner of topics.  These books are like popcorn that needs to be eaten.

This by the way, leads me to two major conclusions about my life.
 A. I am a Dummy
 B. I am a Complete IdiotIt, also, by the way, has me questioning my total lack of ability on all manner of subjects, or really…why would I need to be constantly reading books telling me that I am both a dummy and an idiot.  I don’t find this helpful.  Kinda counter intuative to the genre, SELF-HELP.The second type of self-help book deals with “INTANGIBLE” instruction such as improving your attitude, alleviating your worries and generally working on your psyche. These are the type of self-help books that I was commenting on over at Older Eyes.  These are, also, the books, that I am suspicious of.

My tendency to not “buy into” the mass produced self-help book  of the intangible sort, became apparent a few years ago when the book Who Moved the Cheese came out.  It’s not that I dont’ think the book’s parable with Sniff and Scurry and Hem and Haw wasn’t clever enough but there was the niggling little thought that kept saying the people were over-reacting a bit.  I mean…REALLY…every corporation in America was having corporate seminars about little mice nibbling on cheese.

At that time, I owned a corporate training company and one of the big communications firms, hired me for 8 weeks to develop seminars that ALL of their employees would be mandated to take on the subject of  “ACCEPTING CHANGE”.  In their case, the seminars were a precursor to a giant layoff that was about to befall them.  I guess you can call losing your job a form of change, but even as great of trainer (**crickets**) as I am, it it hard to spin that as a positive.

This “lack of enthusiasm” on my part,  continued when the company I worked for during the release of The Secret started having seminars where we were to work on our visualization of what we wanted in life.  Somehow it just didn’t seem right that I was visualizing “not having to work there.” Not to diminish thinking good thoughts,  I do believe in the power of positive thinking…I sense that some of you are surprised by this, and yes, I know that is not always evident.

As I am more than willing to try anything once, especially if thinking about it is easier than actually doing anything about it, I did in fact try thinking my way into being rich.  So far I have had minimal success.  According to the film, for those of you that haven’t had the privilege, there is a guy that sits in his recliner and thinks great wonderful thoughts about getting a new car and low and behold he gets one.  As I recall the guy was unemployed at the time, which begs the question,  is he able to afford this car… but leave it to me to question the Law of Attraction.  It is a LAW after all.

So, to summarize:

I do think there are bits and pieces in self-help books that may be motivational BUT ( ya’ saw that “but” coming, huh?) it is a bit of a challenge for an author to write a book in the genre of self-help unless he truly would have knowledge of the “self” that is reading it.

IN OTHER WORDS…I could (if I had any ability what-so-ever) write a book that would tell you that I can improve your happiness level by 100 percent by the end of business today.  That’s right…I have the magic formula to  improve your self-esteem  by 100 percent.  Money Back guarantee!!!!

In my opinion (in most circles “my opinion” is rated  on par at the same level as dog poo) the major hurdle here with my upcoming book and those that are already mass marketed is….we aren’t exactly sure of your level of [whatever the author is pushing].  As we/I don’t know a damn thing about you, it is a little brazen of me to say I can improve, modify, enlighten any of your emotions.  Still, feel free to buy my book and I will give it a try. At least with my book the price is in direct proportion to the quality. Free…which is also, how I can offer the 100 percent money-back guarantee.

Sooooo….for the sake of trying to be a team player here, I am going to write a self-help post.  Well, actually, I am just going to give you a teaser of a self-help post.  For the rest of my wisdom, you will have to buy the book.

So here goes…two things you can do to improve your self-esteem by 5:00.  You will look cooler and feel more self assured.
Number 1…Swimwear for winners.

For those of you that are ill at ease at the beach or pool…I am here to help.

For those of you out there that just are uncomfortable with modern swimwear, there is an alternative.   I know, I know, swimming suits can be  the single most crushing of the ego deflaters.   Clearly, even the most awesome bodies have a little jiggle here and there.

The solution…a wetsuit.  Why wear a revealing suit, when you can look super cool in a wetsuit?  Anyone that is questioning this fashion choice is quickly silenced with the ever useful line:

I AM IN TRAINING…this line is sure to impress and assuage any lingering doubts they might have.

Oh, you think wetsuits are too pricey…no problem.

Cheaper fix…. SPANX.  Say it with me, people…spandex is our friend!!!!  That’s right.  I know you think that Spanx is under-garment shaping but hey…buy the black separates.  Together it will look like a wetsuit.  (Men, you can do this as well, just be careful not to get a top with a built in bra…well unless you need that)

To further authenticate the look be sure to find you old YMCA swimming patch or wear a gold medal around your neck.

Hey, are you in training????

You are now rockin’ the beach!

Another tip that is sure to make you feel good about yourself.   Sunglasses!! Simple fix.  Everyone looks better in sunglasses.

After reading a rather interesting article over at Newsvine, where someone going by the name of Werdoomed made the comment that people’s attractiveness level drops between 10-70 percent when they take their sunglasses off. Frankly, I think Werdoomed is a genius. Truly, everyone looks way more attractive with sunglasses on. I do draw the line when people keep their shades on in dark rooms and at night as that is something else entirely. It’s not about looking good as much as not looking like you are “under the influence” of something.

See, Joe COOL

Even non-cartoon dogs look cool in sunglasses

What's Up

Little grandbabies look great in sunglasses



Maybe the pacifier with the Mr. Potato Head glasses isn’t cool

but it is very cute from a grandparent’s point of view.


OK, I am visualizing him in sunglasses.  See

I can visualize and he is still very cute.

Cheryl - The Art of Being Conflicted

A veteran of corporate moves from which I survived moving 21 times for my husband's job. I currently am a married, middle-aged (if I make it to 116) middle income, mom living in the very middle of the country, with time on her hands to jot down observations, judgements, and musings about past and current events.

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