Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Legitimate Writing Site Pays You To Write!

Did you ever find yourself mentioning something so many times, you realized you must really like it? That's how I feel about BubbleWS. If you haven't heard of this writing site that PAYS writers to write, allow me to tell you.

Yes, as you may have guessed, I sincerely enjoy writing for this site. I wish it had been around years ago. If you have ever WANTED to write, but you felt you weren't good enough, or if you have opinions you want to share and you KNOW your friends and family would read you, why not make money from BubbleWS

If you don't think you're a spectacular writer, write anyway. I've seen that more than writing skills today, passion matters. Feel passionate about what you're writing, and you'll gather followers.

BubbleWS is going through some growing pains. This BubbleWS baby is kind of new. So be patient, write, and post. Then watch your bank grow!

Please read the Rules and Terms of Service before you write, because if you break the rules or ignore the TOS, you will not be able to take advantage of this generous site.

Want to join? Click any of the BubbleWS links in this blog!

And if you would like to read more from this author, please see the sidebar or click HERE! Thank you for visiting!

Friday, June 14, 2013

All-In-One Word Count and Keyword Density Tool

For those of you interested in generating blogs or articles with the accepted percentage of keywords, I'd like to introduce you to a tool that will not only count your words for you, but also generate keyword density percentages.

The minute you copy and paste your words into the box provided, word count, character count, and keyword percentage shows. It's like getting three writing tools in one.

Another perk? This word counter tool is available in the App Store! Click Word Counter to access it!

Want to read more from this author? Click the Gallery of Posts and THANK YOU for reading. 

Waiting For Trains

Growing up in the Midwest, specifically in Dolton, Illinois (home to Jane Lynch's high school), I have become an expert train waiter. You have to be when you live in train-track towns like Dolton. Trains never move and you either learn to be patient or you get out of your car and draw graffiti all over the train. I'm betting one train is probably still sitting on the tracks from when I was 20 years old.

When my oldest daughter was young, I drove her to her babysitter who sat in a home on the other side of the tracks. So when I got off work, I would take the bus to my bus stop, walk about a block to my car, and drive to the babysitter's home to pick up my daughter.

On the day I'm about to mention, the weather was freezing, though the puddle the bus driver hilariously dropped me into, due to traffic, had not yet frozen.

I should probably give you a little background here. I was a young woman who had just gained newly-acquired adult status and who knew nothing about paying bills. I stupidly took a job where my income did not quite meet my expenses (by several hundred dollars), so I drove the only car I could afford. 

Not particularly fond of shopping and because I didn't have money to shop, I wore whatever clothes and shoes I had, never dreaming that the hole in my boot combined with no heat in my car, and factoring into the equation an evil bus driver who, after driving from Chicago to the far south suburbs, dropped me into the only puddle on the entire street, and, well, you can probably understand the gravity of the situation. When I walked to my unheated car in freezing wintry weather I already felt wet and cold.

Key in ignition cranked to start, I drove to the babysitter's home where a train sat on the tracks (typical). I remember trying to use my psychic abilities to get the train to move as frostbite kicked in. I remember cursing the car for not having heat. I remember cursing my job for not paying me enough money to live. I remember praying for the train to move. It didn't.

For more than 25 minutes I sat less than 2 houses away from my destination, willing that train to move before I died in my own unheated car – of frostbite. I imagined magic bridges forming over the stationary train. I imagined electric saws separating the car that sat in front of me and huge cranes pulling that car off the track. I imagined my own helicopter flying over the train and landing me in the front yard of the babysitter. I imagined jumping in the engine, removing the driver and moving the train myself. But none of these fantasies transpired.

Finally – finally I heard a chug and probably 15 minutes later, after the 2,000 car train (I may be exaggerating) passed the gates, I drove over the tracks and parked in front of the house.

Now I want you to imagine getting out of your car with no legs beneath you. If you knew you didn't have legs, you probably wouldn't have gotten out of your car. I didn't know that I wouldn't be able to feel my legs until I fell against my car. As a matter of fact, I felt nothing but movement in my hips as I willed one leg and then the other to move. 

With each excruciating step, I hobbled to the steps, held onto the sides of the stairs, pulled myself up the steps, and rang the bell. When my daughter's babysitter saw me, she invited me inside to the fireplace. My foot had frozen inside the boot though, so I couldn't remove it – the boot; not my foot.

I really just wanted to get home, but I ended up sitting by her fire for nearly an hour – thawing. And then I did the only thing a reasonable human could do – I found another babysitter and another job, which, by the way, still didn't meet my bills, but I was getting closer.

Fast forward 40 years. I have never made enough to live on, but now I can do what I love to do – write, crochet, and take care of my grandkids!

Want to read more from this author? Please see the sidebar, or click Gallery of Posts and THANK YOU for visiting!




Saturday, June 8, 2013

Travel Writers: How to Return Home With EVERYTHING You Brought On Vacation!

Vacation season is here! Time to pack! But will you remember everything you need? And will you remember to bring it back when it's time to go home?

If you travel as often as I do, you learn how to pack and unpack so that you never lose anything or leave anything behind. For years I have traveled to visit my son and his family no matter where he is stationed (excluding his four tours in Iraq and his time in Thailand and Japan). I often spend the night with my other children as well.

What I've Learned

What I have learned is that every single time I leave my home, I need two things – a Procedure and a Checklist.

My checklist includes everything I need to pack, from my camera, phone, and chargers to my nebulizer, inhalers, and medications. I check the list before I leave, and then again when I pack to return. Preparation is key if you want to remember to bring home with you everything your brought on your vacation.

The Procedure

The procedure I follow sounds complicated, but it isn't. It includes before-trip activity, during-trip activity, and packing-to-go-home activity:

Before Trip 
1) Get list of necessary items (I've had the same list for years).
2) Pack everything on the list.

During Trip
1) Keep all items together in a designated space.
2) Keep a bag for dirty laundry.
3) Return everything, including toiletries, to designated space after each use.

Packing To Go Home
1) Check the list while returning items to suitcases.
2) Check designated spaces for jewelry, meds, etc.
3) If you have children, check behind the couch and under the bed for missing items.

The Checklist

Here is the never-changing checklist I keep inside my day planner (the number of clothing items changes according to how many days I'll be gone, but even if I'm gone for more than a week the number never exceeds 7, because I can always use laundry facilities). For the sake of this list I'll include numbers:

Photo ID
Cell phone with charger
Boarding Pass and Itinerary
(You may need a Passport or Visa)
Camera with charger
Nebulizer with all parts
Enough meds to carry me through
Bag of Personal Items
Makeup bag
2 pr. Shoes/2 pr. Sandals
2 Jackets (or hoodies)
5 Short-Sleeve Shirts
5 No-Sleeve Shirts
5 Long-Sleeve Shirts
4 Pants/4 Shorts
7 Socks/7 Underwear
Laptop with cables and chargers
List of Bills and due dates (in case any are due while I'm gone)

If you're taking family members with you, you'll need a checklist for each member of your family. Baby's favorite toy or blanket, bottles, diapers, etc., children's iPods and other electronic devices, books, homework, etc., should all make the checklist. And on your trip back, you'll have to add souvenirs to your list if you purchased them while you were on vacation (bring an extra empty suitcase if necessary).

Keep Things Together

Keeping things together at all times saves time throughout the vacation, whether the vacation is for me or for my grandchildren. I've noticed that when grandchildren spend the night with me, the first thing they do is scatter themselves and their things everywhere. Depending on how many grandchildren I have spending the night, I try to keep things organized and I designate a space for all their things.

Despite careful planning, though, I'll find an occasional sock after they leave because kids don't really think about the consequences of throwing socks behind a couch or under a bed. Once I found a sock in the toy room inside a box of blocks.

What Happens When You Don't Prepare

Having traveled so often, my checklist remains the same no matter what the season. The reason I never change my checklist is because I learned from my own mistakes. Once I left Chicago for California and brought along a leather jacket because it was cool in Chicago. On my return trip, I realized I had left the jacket in California. When I got to Chicago, I had to purchase a sweatshirt from one of the airport shops just to get to the bus stop because the weather had become wintry (common for Midwest weather to change from hot to cold or cold to hot within a week).

Another time I left my camera charger in Virginia – once – I've never lost a camera or a charger since. (For a unique perspective on how the charger eventually and surprisingly surfaced, please read Synchronicity and Coincidence.)

Saving Time

I also keep a "personal items" bag packed at all times. It includes everything I use each morning and each night – face wash, moisturizer, body lotion, etc. That way, when I'm ready to pack, I just throw the whole bag into a suitcase.

Making a list and checking it twice is absolutely necessary if you never want to leave anything behind. And if you're sending kids to Grandma's and Grandpa's house, have a list ready for them so they won't lose anything. After the jacket and charger incidents, I never wanted to repeat those mistakes and I never have.

For more Helpful Tips when Planning a Trip, click the link.

If you want to read more from this author, please see the sidebar or click HERE. Thank you for visiting! 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Funny Lady from Humor Outcasts

Erma Bombeck was one of my idols. I still remember reading about how her supportive husband set up an office for her in their garage. I daydreamed about the day my husband would do the same for me. I would get the kids off to school, run to my office, and throw my ideas all over the page. Screenplays, newspaper columns, and magazine articles would jump out of my head and scramble to my fingers, which would type up amazing words of art. 

That never happened.

Today, however, though I am husbandless, I have the opportunity to write blogs from the sanctuary of wherever I might be (anywhere from my bedroom to my living room to my kids' homes to a balcony overlooking the Gulf of Mexico in Panama City Beach – that last one happened only once).

I never had the kind of support system that Erma Bombeck had, but I was grateful that Erma Bombeck did, and I was sad when she died.

Today I get my Erma Bombeck fix from Donna Cavanagh, who writes about everyday events – from her perspective (funny). Haven't heard of Donna Cavanagh? I've written about her before (along with Marie Anne St. Jean) with this blog: 2 Great Links from 2 Great Writers.  

And I've recently written about Donna here: Donna Cavanagh, a Modern Day Erma Bombeck!

I invite you to take a peak!


If you want to read more from this author, please see the sidebar or click my Gallery of Posts. THANK YOU for visiting.

(Cartoon of Donna Cavanagh was drawn by Simon Ellinas.)



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