My delightful fellow blogger, The Quoibler, nominated me for a new blog award a while ago and I am shamefully just getting to it now. ( I do thank you though!) Taken directly from her blog, here's the scoop:
Seamus started a Shameless Lions Writing Circle and encouraged bloggers to "tag" other bloggers to receive the honor of "A Roar for Powerful Words." As Seamus explains:
"How does it work? Below are copies of the award that we can each distribute to those people who have blogs we love, can't live without, where we think the writing is good and powerful. I thought interested members could kick things off by publishing the award on their own blog, naming five people they would like to give it to (members or non-members), and accompany the image with three things they believe are necessary to make writing good and powerful. The recipients then do the same, passing it on to five other people, and so on."
I too was very surprised to be nominated as I don't use this blog to write, but more as a way to connect and have fun while doing it. The first order of business is naming three things I believe make writing good and powerful and since I don't write a blog as a standard writing exercise, the tips below are for those who want to write professionally. Let's see:
#1. Going With the Flow - Stop with the outlines, counting words, and deadlines. Just write! I truly believe if writing is so labor intensive, you need to outline your story, come up with a beginning, middle, and end, etc., before you've even begun, it's just not the field for you. I also believe writing that's labored over reads like writing that's labored over. It sounds more like an essay you're made to write in college than a true outpouring. Just go with the flow and let the story tell itself.
#2. Passion - Your characters deserve to have your full attention. Writers should write because it feels like a crack habit. You'd like to take a break, but you can't. Writing should be your bliss, your escape, a sometimes nemesis, but a true passion.
#3. Humility - I believe someone is always going to write better than me, better than you, and better than someone else. When I was 18, this thought used to bring me to teary-eyed depression. Why bother? Now I see humility in writers as something else entirely. My favorite writers are those in which their success and praise received is a complete surprise to them. When someone believes they are the best writer on the block, they don't strive for better, and unfortunately, it shows. It doesn't mean you don't look at your own stuff as good, it just means you don't think it could rival Shakespeare. Believing you're the best writer doesn't make it so and in my opinion, usually makes sure you're close to the bottom rung. How can you honestly write anything while feeling you're above it all?
Next, I have to name five people who have blogs I love, can't live without, and where I feel the writing is good and powerful. This is the hard part as I had many choices, so I took all of my choices and had my daughter randomly select five from the pot.
#1. NYPinTA's Talking to the Moon. I refer to this woman as the Queen of Opening Lines. Even in a blog, she comes up with crafty openers that don't feel crafty, they just feel brilliant. In writing that first line is usually the most important and most difficult to get right. Not for NYPinTA. "My Thanksgiving turkey coma has worn off just in time for me to hit my afternoon blahs while at work." ... "I am going to do you all a big favor and save you two hours. Two hours that the Grim Reaper will not let you have back." OH, there are more, but I believe I've proven my point.
#2. Hoodie in Tales from the Hoodie. I found this blogger after being in an online writing contest with her and am so glad I did. Even if you're not entering an online writing contest any time soon, Hoodie usually posts her entries on her blog. They are well worth the read and always among my top favorites in any contest she enters.
#3. Tiff at No Accent Yet. I don't know if Tiff is as committed to other blogs as she is to her own, but the commitment she does have to her own is off the charts. Post after post, day after day, and if she takes a day off, she apologizes for it. She treats blogging as if it's her job and tries very hard to entertain her audience, to make them laugh and smile. I may only visit once a week, but I always look forward to the trek over.
#4. Fermicat at Cosmic Cat. Has there been an award where I haven't nominated this woman? I doubt it. You know those ladies who love cats and you think, man, that lady's a nut, that's just too much cat loving. Well, Fermicat is not that women, but she does love her some cat. In fact, if you're a dog person like I am, you'll end up loving cats just by visiting her blog or at least not disliking them so much. Along with her amazing cat pictures, which I am trying to convince her to have made into a book, she also has some brilliant, natural writing. Here's a recent snippet: "I was startled awake at 4:20 this morning when my 13-year old cat, Zima, decided to empty her bladder on my pillow right next to my head." And at the end ... "Update 12/30/07 - She did have a urinary tract infection. After a few days on antibiotics, she seems to be feeling much better. And I haven't been peed on, which is always a plus."
#5. Scott at Hard to Want. I'm the type of woman who when I spy a father and son playing in a park will always stop to watch them. My own husband has never been this kind of a dad and it always made me feel like my son was missing out. This is the main thing I enjoy over at Scott's blog -- when he writes about his sons ... and this makes him one of my choices.
"I'm naked. Go away." If you knocked on a stranger's door and heard this, would you:
a.) Proceed with caution?
b.) Keep on knocking and see what there is to see?
c.) Run away ... FAST?
The Jehovah's Witness who heard me scream this three weeks ago, chose answer C. And why did I yell this at the knocking man who really shouldn't have traveled down a 400 foot driveway to solicit on behalf of the lord in the first place?
Simple. Every time I take a shower, I robe up, and return to my bedroom to dress. This is when one of my children, usually my son, knock on my bedroom door. Every time. So, this time I heard the familiar knock knock knock and politely said, "I'm getting dressed, Guys. I'll come out when I'm done."
Knock knock knock. Repeated myself, but raised the volume.
Knock knock knock. "Ugh, come on, just give me 10 seconds," in an irritated, loud voice.
Knock knock knock (very loud now) "I AM NAKED! GO AWAY!!!"
Knocking stops. Jeans zipped up, I exit my bedroom, and shout, "Hey, what did you want? Who knocked on the door?"
One kid ignores me. One kid shouts, "I didn't want anything."
I look out the front door and see a man jump into a car and race up my driveway. I open the door and the familiar Watchtower falls inside my door.
New thought pops into head, 'I will scream "I am naked, go away" every time Jehovah's Witness comes down my driveway from now on.'
And this is my idea of a true religious story for the upcoming holiday. No matter what holiday you celebrate, I hope it's a great one. I hope you all have good, warm feelings and buckets of peace. A little eggnog too. The best to all my fellow bloggers and to your families, friends, and loved ones!
I am forever looking for quicker, easier, and cheaper (in price, not design or quality) ways to do things in my life. Since the bank freeze, I've been cooking like a pioneer broad ... with hairy pits and a bonnet, but seriously, folks ... even without my recent financial trauma, I seek thrift on a daily basis. I do a LOT of browsing at my two local grocery stores and have come to realize, a lot of people are paying more for things, which just don't make a lot of sense.
Time is of the essence, time is money, time is not your friend, I get it, but really ... Reynold's Wrap Release? Are you serious? You're going to pay $3.00 more a box for aluminum foil sprayed with Pam? Why not save the cash and spray it yourself? Or even better, since Pam is now available in the same formula generic, buy that instead? And hey, non-stick sprays are an actual godsend. I'll give inventors that one.
I mean, the facts are these: One quick spritz of non-stick spray to every pan you cook or bake in and you'll cut your washing time by 75%. The extra added bonus is saving yourself the useless butter or oil calories. Next time you're making a casserole, try it out, if you're not already. Also, non-stick spray can be used in a pinch to loosen and quiet a squeaky hinge, keep spaghetti from sticking together, and hell, a can of that stuff lasts forever. It's the WD-40 of kitchens everywhere!
Alas, Reynold's Wrap Release isn't my only beef. Lately I've noticed convenience frozen products popping up like crazy in my local supermarket. Frozen biscuits? Are you kidding me? You mean, it's too taxing to take some Bisquick, mix it with milk, then drop it on a baking sheet (pre-sprayed, of course)? That isn't hard at all.
Frozen brownies? Just bake and serve! Just like Mom would NEVER have made. Because why? The .99 cent box of powder brownie mix meant you had to add oil, water, and eggs? Then, :::gasp:::, you'd have to, don't say it, STIR it 50 times and, dare I, pour it in a baking pan??? No, not that, anything but that!
Chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies, lasagna and even beef stew. All frozen. All bad for you. All chocked full of low grade ingredients and heart-clogging fats. Not delicious or hearty, but super expensive. We've swapped taste and a normal grocery bill for this? Certainly not.
I just don't get it, but I'm starting to understand other things ... like why the younger generation is obese. Take a gander at some of these convenience food nutrition labels. They make McDonald's look like a health spa retreat.
Look, I'm not saying progress is bad. I'm not saying get a mule, plant a vegetable garden, and grind some wheat. Progress is not completely evil. Zipper? Pretty darn skippy. Food processor? Awesome. The computer, especially the laptop? Incredible, but frozen brownies? Not so much.
What do you think on the subject? Any useless inventions or creations out there you think are a total waste of money? (I just know the Chia pet will be named, but hey, at least they know offer herb gardens)
(And on a personal note, a very happy, albeit belated, birthday to Angelique, better known as The Quoibler! I hope it was a fantastico!)
After much research and digging, my recent frozen banking account issue has been resolved. Apparently, the company and lawyer who froze it used my former address and former phone number to try and contact me regarding "the debt." They have documented proof of this fact since it is their business, it's how they make their money. (buying old debts for pennies, settling for hundreds) The old phone number for me they used unbelievably (and yes, I checked) still works and STILL has my voice on the voice mail. (no, I am not joking ... and the number was cancelled about a year ago because that's about the time I switched to cable)
The person I spoke with today (a debt lawyer) gave me all the information -- the account information (a Mastercard account written off in 2002, which I still have no memory of), how their company collects debts (call a few times, write a few times, summons, then go straight to court), etc. and so forth. The story gets more involved and if you're not going through it, very boring, but the end result is the debt is actually on my credit report. The lawyer told me to verify the information for myself and it is real. Well, at least it's there, anyway.
I don't actually believe the debt is mine, but have no proof. I mean, I never had a credit card of my own back then, but ... oh, anyhow ... Apparently, there was a court date in October, I wasn't in court, and they have documented proof that they delivered a summons to my address, whether old or not, someone accepted it, and contrary to popular belief, anyone at a viable address can accept a summons and it's just like you accepted it. I forgot what the legal term for it is, but I had no idea. As long as they're over 15 and not mentally-handicapped, yep, that's the law.
Could they say they did a summons and not? Sure. Maybe. All the research shows a lot of crooked lawyers do this, but unless the amounts they're collecting are outrageous or enough people complain, nothing gets done.
The end result is to get all of the money out of our (husband and my) account bank, I agreed to pay $1,000 of the debt (which was almost $1,855 according to the bank and the lawyer) and they would take that as payment in full. They'll suck it right out of my account. I spoke with the bank manager at my local bank and she said her legal department did do a full check on this and that it wasn't a scam, it was 100% real, and hell, it's on my credit report, which I don't check because I rely on my husband for money. So lame, so stupid. I don't believe they did a full check on anything, but I'm leaving in 2 minutes to sign money away, to have that signature notarized, etc.
Bottom line is this, even stay-at-home mothers need to monitor their credit report. That was a huge lesson learned, but the biggest of all was no one will protect your money if it is in a bank, credit union, etc. If the lawyer seizing your account has documented evidence against you, another lawyer can't do anything about getting your money back. It just sits there, frozen in time, while checks and things go unpaid. Even if it turns out to be false, your money will still be held until it is fixed for up to a year. I am going back to the old method I used back when I was first married -- pay in cash or with postal money orders. Good-bye, Banks. It hasn't been great.
I will keep looking into this, the lawyer, the debt, the company, and hopefully the lawyer I contacted will finally get back to and help me, but I consider this one horrible expensive holiday life lesson. Know thy credit report. Maybe two lessons. Banks, things rank and gross in nature possess them merely. Geez, you know it's bad when I'm using Shakespeare quotes. At least the humor's still working, lamely, yes, but better than none at all, I guess.
So, time to move on. Thanks for all the advice and comments.
Hi, everyone. I'm writing only because I don't know how long I'll be gone. My banking account had a restraint put on it by some lawyer in New York City who said he won a case against me in city court. All of our money (except some we had in cash at home) has been "seized" due to something this lawyer is saying I didn't pay back in 2001.
I have NO idea what this bill is about, have NO idea who this lawyer is, and my bank (Citizens Bank) is not helping me. It's right before Christmas and the bank has decided to take all of our money.
It's been a long drawn out process of calling city court, the county clerk, even the sheriff's department. None of these people have any judgements against me. Over the weekend, my bank gave me the supposed docket number, now it's back to the beginning -- calling city court, etc.
The lawyer himself cannot be reached. If I can't reach him or fix this within 21 days, they send ALL our money to his post office box.
So, this is my warning to anyone out there. Your money is NOT safe in a checking account. I spoke with the sheriff who usually would have to deliver the papers to a bank, this should NOT have been done through the mail, and yet, it happened ... anyhow, she said NEVER direct deposit your money.
If I can't convince any of you to take your money out of the bank, maybe I can convince you not to direct deposit. This is an absolute mess. I'm trying to hold it together, trying to learn some big lesson here, but wow, it's been a hard few days. Hope yours have been better.
Update: My bank finally gave me a docket number and there is a legal judgement against me. The lawyer took my husband's account (the one where all the money goes in) because they legally could. The bank didn't verify who this person was because the document was legal (even though it came from a lawyer and not directly from a sheriff, which is normally the case)
The lawyer is really some kind of debt collecting place. No, I have no idea what this debt is because no one will tell me. A woman called me from the debt collecting place, said the restraint should've went through back in October, said she'd call back on Saturday, here it is Monday, still no call back. Yes, I've called a few times, keep getting the answering machine.
Why is it when everything is finally going well something like this happens?
Choose to be Miserable ... Nah, That Can't Be Right
I was just e-mailing an old friend regarding this topic and thought, "Hey, it's the holiday season. I'll put this right in the old blog too." And here I am!
Lately I've done a lot of thinking concerning fear, dread, misery, hate ... you know, all those Christmasy feelings you read about in those cute little Precious Moments books. I'll be serious for a moment, I believe we choose how to feel, we choose how to treat others, every moment of the day. (no, I am not talking about clinically depressed, clinically insane, or clinically, well, shut up in a clinic or asylum type people either) I'm talking about the average joe who has the normal ups and downs in life, even abnormal ones, yeah, I'm talking to you as well.
If you wake up in the morning and say to yourself, "God, I'm tired. I don't want to get in the shower. I don't want to begin my day. And oh God, traffic. Blech. This whole day is going to suck." Congratulations! You've just told the universe how you'd like your day to be served up to you. Lots of misery with a side order of shit, just to be safe.
This holiday season I've told myself to actually engage in positive thoughts. Instead of thinking, "Oh man, I have to decorate this friggin' tree that isn't even real. No one really wants to do this anymore and I hate it," I thought, "I'm going to put my favorite colored bulbs on the tree first, then have everyone else just add 5 of their favorite ornaments, and we'll be done." And you know what? My husband said it was one of the most pleasant tree decorating experiences we've had in years. I took some video and some pictures, made some tea, it was nice. It was pleasant.
So, I'd like to spread the holiday vibe around this season. If you're in a funk, try to concentrate on the good things in life. The beauty of newly fallen snow. The people who will work hard to give complete strangers Christmas this year through charity efforts. Babies in the nursery at your local hospital. Dogs and cats who may find a new loving home this year and will be the most loved present under the tree. Great music. Terrific films. Egg nog. Stuff like that.
And because I always ask a question, I've decided not to stop now. I'd like to know the last time you took what would be a negative situation and turned it into a positive one. If you can't remember, try doing it, and get back to me. Not an order ... just a friendly holiday request from your friendly neighborhood perfect neurotic.