Saturday, August 31, 2019

Day 53: It's official ... I'm someone's muse

Between You, Me and the Lamp Post

Day 53: It's official ... I'm someone's muse

After reading my blog for a couple of weeks, a friend of mine is starting her own. In other words, I was her muse. I’m well and truly chuffed, as far as I know, I’ve never been anyone’s muse before.

She won’t be short of inspiration. Not only does she have a family and a job, but she also has a cat, a turtle and thousands of bees. Yes, she is a beekeeper. She’ll have stories coming out of her ears.

As for me, I started my blog some ten years ago. I was dealing with several issues and a friend suggested a blog. I started somewhat reluctantly, but I soon discovered the benefits.

Every day things happen that makes one happy, sad, frustrated, or downright boiling mad. Having someone to talk to might help, but isn’t always the best option. People usually don’t have the time to listen, might not be interested, or might not feel the same way you do. 

When sharing an experience with someone you can’t just talk, talk, talk, other people will want to get a word edgewise in too.

With the written word you don’t have to worry about that. You can talk to your heart’s content without anyone interrupting you or disagreeing with you. So, a blog is perfect to get something off your chest.

The latter was rather important to me. When I see, hear or read something that bothers me, I can’t just shrug it off. I carry it with me, it influences my mood and it gives me sleepless nights.

Talking about this, that or the other isn’t always possible. For one, I spend most of my days alone and two, sharing with Dieter isn’t always an option because his attitude is ... who cares, just forget about it. Well, I can’t forget about it because I do care.

Once I’ve written about something, and as such get something off my chest, I have peace of mind again. As such, I can recommend writing to anyone who deals with certain issues. If you’re like me and you feel strongly about this, that and the other, keeping a blog is rather therapeutic.

Some might think that they have no talent for writing. Who cares? You don’t have to be an Ernest Hemingway or a James Patterson to put ‘pen to paper’. Just start something, anything, and if you enjoy it, keep going.

Many of us, especially girls, kept a diary in our younger days. It was a book with or without a lock and we were very protective about it. Nobody was supposed to read it and if someone did it was considered an invasion of privacy. 

Things are very different now. Modern diaries, blogs, are put online for all and sundry to read. Bloggers promote their work, are pleased when they get followers or are offended when nobody cares. Getting a comment on a particular piece of writing can make their day.

So to my friend I would say, start that blog, have fun with it. As soon as it's out there, I'll be the first subscriber.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Day 52: I’m gonna be a millionaire

Between You, Me and the Lamp Post

Day 52: I’m gonna be a millionaire

It’s Friday. That means Lotto Max day and I just bought a ticket for tonight’s drawing. The jackpot … $50 million.

I have a good feeling about the drawing. More than a good feeling, I feel confident that lady luck is smiling at me. Then again, I had the same feeling last week.

I bought a Lotto Max ticket, and as I walked home the song on my phone played ‘I want it all’ by Queen. All the way home, I had that song playing in my head … I want it all, I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now!’ I did want it all, and I did want it now. 
Unfortunately, I didn’t get anything.

This week is different though. I think this week I stand an excellent chance of winning. They say shards bring luck and there have been shards this week. First, I cut my finger on a broken glass, and then yesterday Greyson did his bit.

It was an evening like any other evening, Dieter and I worked on our computers while Halley and Greyson raced laps around the house. Occasionally they would make a pit stop to catch their breath, only to switch on their turbo and start up again.

Suddenly there was a loud crash and while Halley dived under the nearest bed, Greyson came charging into the living room, Dieter and I flew out of our seats like to perfectly synchronized athletes.

At first, we didn’t see anything wrong, but when we checked the bathroom … ah yes, there we found the porcelain toilet holder in pieces. 

If I was to guess, I would say that during the race Grayson’s backside fishtailed causing the rug in the hallway to hit the bathroom door. The door must have hit the toilet roll holder causing the toilet roll holder to make contact with the ceramic tiles on the bathroom wall. Either way, the toilet roll holder was no more.

So between my broken glass and Greyson’s broken toilet roll holder, there have been plenty of shards and thus I think I stand an excellent chance of winning the Lotto Max jackpot.

I do wonder about these Lotto games though. There’s Lotto 6/49, Lotto Max, Daily Grand, Ontario 49, Lottario, Poker Lotto, Wheel of Fortune Lotto, Megadice Lotto, and a few more and yet I’ve never met anyone who has won anything any of significance. So where are all those lucky players?

Personally, I’ve been playing for 21 years. Isn’t it time that my ship finally came in? I could do so much good with some extra cash. I’m not gonna say if I win the lottery, I’m gonna say when I win the lottery and tonight is the night.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Day 51: Ken D. Foster - Scammer?

Between You, Me and the Lamp Post

Day 51: Ken D. Foster - Scammer?

Most writers who are serious about their craft are constantly looking for ways to improve their writing, market their books, sell more copies, or how to find a publisher. When I noticed this ad, I have to admit, my interest was peaked.
  • How alignment and momentum is the key to your success to become a best seller author
  • How knowing about the 7 essential laws Laws, especially the Law of Sufficiency and Abundance is key
  • How mastering your energy is the foundation to building and maintaining your success
  • How to visualize and feel your way into best-seller status
  • How what you desire, desires you!
I signed up for a series of online sessions. Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend the first two sessions because of work. According to Ken Foster this was not a problem as the videos could be watched at any time.

Then yesterday I received an email from him that changed everything. The email read …

  1. The most important thing to do before you write a single word!
  2. How to write your book in 90 days or less
  3. Should you self-publish or go with a traditional publisher?
  4. 12 Stupid Mistakes made by Wannabe Authors

Right there and then I knew I was dealing with a phony. If there’s one thing that angers me it’s people telling other people they can write a book in 90 days or less. I emailed Ken Foster and shared my opinion with him.

One can write a short story or even a novella in 90 days or less, but a book … no. This is one of the reasons there is so much trash online. Anyone and everyone, even children, can write something, publish it and voila it’s available on Amazon and other sites. In the process, self-publishing has received a bad reputation.

As for Ken’s question to go with a traditional publisher or to self-publish, I told him that any writer worth his sold would prefer a mainstream publisher vs. self-publishing. After all, if a mainstream publisher accepts a manuscript, everything is taken care of by the publisher: editing, layout, cover design and marketing/selling the book. Not to mention that the author receives an advance and regular royalties.

Ken Foster responded that I had a lot to learn about the publishing industry. He stated that he had a friend who was accepted by a mainstream publisher and received a $300,000 advance.

I nearly burst out laughing. Having been in the publishing industry for years I know several best-selling authors and none of them have ever received a $300,000 advance. First time authors receive between $5,000 and $10,000 while the more established authors receive between $25,000 to $75,000 but none of them, absolutely none of them ever received more than a quarter of a million.

It would appear that Ken Foster doesn’t know much about the publishing industry either. He calls himself a best-selling author, but he’s nothing more than a self-published writer. It’s not because he’s written a few books, that he’s a best-selling author. By definition, a best-selling author is someone whose book was listed on the New York Times bestselling list. If not on that list, then anyone claiming to be a best-selling author is putting on airs and graces.

If any of you gets contacted by Ken Foster, be wary of him. He has a hidden agenda. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Day 50: Our own private 'pool'

Between You, Me and the Lamp Post

Day 50: Our own private 'pool'

Yesterday, Dieter and I became the proud owners of a swimming pool. We already have a pool in our condo building, but now we had a private pool in our home, more specifically, in the bathroom. I’ll bet you want to know more about that ...

It all started when the toilet in the bathroom started acting up. Water still filled the tank, but it took longer and longer as the water came slower and slower. Sometimes we had to wait a whole ten minutes for the tank to fill. Dieter investigated the situation and was going to repair it.

He went to Canadian Tire where he bought a filler. While I did the dishes he set off for the bathroom armed with pliers.

Suddenly I heard a scream, followed by “Maaaaaaaa!” Not knowing what happened, but fearing some kind of personal accident I sprinted to the bathroom where I found Dieter on his knees in front of a tap that gushed water all over the place. 
“A towel, a towel, quickly!” he commanded. 
He pushed the towel I gave him against the tap, but within seconds it got soaked. Fearing that the water might come into the corridor I grabbed a bath towel, thus trying to block the flow. 
Since there was nothing really I could do I made myself scarce. 

In due time Dieter came into the kitchen ... soaked from head to toe. He asked me to follow him to the bathroom. Upon arrival, he flushed the toilet and it appeared to be fixed. Unfortunately, we now had our own private pool in the bathroom or at least a pond where we could keep koi.

While I finished the dishes he returned to the bathroom to mop up, dry himself off and have a change of clothing.

While all this was happening I had an accident of my own. While doing the dishes the rim of a drinking glass broke in the water. Having thrown away the glass I noticed that there was a gash in the index finger of the yellow rubber gloves I was wearing. Moments later I felt something sticky ... blood. The glass had cut through the rubber gloves into my finger. I consider myself lucky, without those rubber gloves it would have been a lot worse.

All the finger needed was a band-aid, as for our own private pool ... it’s no more.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Day 49: Why do we lie

Between You, Me and the Lamp Post

Day 49: Why do we lie

If you’re like most people, you can’t really function without your morning cup of coffee. I’m no different. When I get to work, I switch on my computer, unpack my bag, and then go down to Tim Hortons for a double-double and a croissant.

I was standing in line behind a woman with a baby in a stroller. When two other women joined the line one of them purred “Oh what a cute baby.” The women got into a bit of a conversation ... what is the baby’s name? How old is she? Etc.

When the woman with the baby left the two women behind me started whispering among themselves. “Did you see that kid? That baby had the nose of a pig. And did you see that rash? OMG, I wonder what that was all about.”

I couldn’t believe my ears. Moments earlier that had complimented the woman on her beautiful baby, and now they were criticizing it left, right and center.

I find in general, people are just saying what the other person wants to hear. For instance ...

Yesterday, a woman posted a picture of herself with her new hairdo. The caption read ‘My new do for my upcoming birthday.’ The picture was horrible. It showed a woman, clearly in her 50s with dark lank hair hanging well below her breasts.

There were a string of compliments from her friends and I thought ... are these people blind? I also wondered what the really thought. Did they really mean that she looked beautiful, or did they think that she look in a mirror and rethink her do?

Well-meaning, I passed on a piece of advice that a stylist had given me many years ago. He stated that women of a certain age shouldn’t wear their hair long, it makes them look old and tired.
To prove his point, he showed me some before and after pictures of women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. 

The transformation was astonishing. With long hair, these women looked indeed tired, while with a shorter do they looked fresh and years younger.

When I repeated the stylist’s comment to the women, I was criticized and called a bitch. Strange, I thought. When the stylist said this to me, I wasn’t offended. Why is it so hard for people to accept the truth? And why do some people lie?

While I like long hair as much as the next person, take a look around you. Look at the women with long hair and the women with short hairstyles. The women with short styles invariably come up tops. They look younger than their years, fresh, and sophisticated.

My comment to the soon birthday women wasn’t meant to be mean, but rather as honest and realistic.

Unfortunately, all too often I see false flattering comments. The other day I saw an overweight woman in a skin-tight, cream-colored bodysuit. It clung to her every curve and gave the impression that she was naked. Her friends told her how sexy she looked. Sexy? She was by no stretch of the imagination sexy, from behind it looked two piglets were having a fight in her pants.

Then there are those women who think that a bra is a luxury item. They go out in the flimsiest of tops, with boobs that look like their doing the foxtrot underneath the top. Going braless might be fine for women under 30, with an A cup bra size, but anyone on the other side of 30, with a B size or more, should really wear something supporting when going out.  

When everyone compliments each other, how will we know what is the truth and what is a lie? 


Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Dag 48: Halley and the little bird

Between You, Me and the Lamp Post

Dag 48: Halley and the little bird

To feed the wild birds, we hang a seed bell on the outside of the balcony netting. Morning, noon and evening various birds land on the bell and peck to their heart's content.

While some birds eat in peace and quiet, there is one little fellow who’s a real loudmouth. He’s the smallest bird that visits the bell, but he can be heard all over the place. Whether I’m in the kitchen, bathroom or bedroom, when he visits I know about it.

Unfortunately, I’m not the only one who hears him, so do the cats. While Charlotte and Holly couldn’t care less, Greyson and Halley run like hell when they hear of his arrival.

If you think the little bird is scared of the cats, think again, he sits there on the bell, taunting Halley and Greyson. It’s like he knows they can’t get to him and he takes full advantage of it.

Today was no different, the loudmouth got hungry, paid a visit to the bell and started chirping his little heart out. Halley raced outside and jumped on the ledge to take a closer look. While Halley looked at the bird, the bird looked at Halley.

Changing to stealth mode, Halley crept closer and closer, no doubt wondering what this bird would taste like as an early lunch. I told her to save herself the trouble. This bird was little more than bones and feathers. I mean, if she was stalking a pigeon, I could understand her quest, but this bird was even smaller than a canary.

Still, Halley crept forward, eyeing her prey, all the while chattering. 

“If you want to catch him," I told her (not that she could because of the netting), “you better keep your mouth shut.” I do wonder though what she was saying … “Hold on birdie?”, “Sit still birdie?”, or “I’m coming for you.” Whatever it was, it didn’t work. After the bird had his dinner he hopped off the bell and flew away.

Halley stared after the birdie. Visibly disappointed. I could have comforted her with 'Better luck next time' but that is not gonna happen. Not now, not ever. The safety netting will see to that.  

Day 47: Temp assignments

Between You, Me and the Lamp Post

Day 47: Temp assignments

Yesterday I mentioned that I’m ready to jump out the window because of the awful temp assignment I’m currently doing.
While some people give preference to a full-time job, others think temping is rather cool. By going from one organization to another, one gets to meet a lot of people, the work never gets boring, new things are learned, hours are more or less flexible, and at any time the temp can take time off. It sounds ideal.

Unfortunately, it isn’t. True, temping has a lot of perks, but it also has some down points. There are lots of new beginnings, and new beginnings are usually difficult. 

Some people temps meet are friendly and helpful, others are rather arrogant. And not all jobs are nice, there have been one or two where I walked out never to return.

Still, the majority of temp assignments are nice and the people are welcoming. Of course, they are welcoming, the temp is there to help out, to make their lives a little easier, to do a job nobody else wants to do.

I remember my very first assignment ever. It was for Flink bakery in Benoni, South Africa. Oh boy, and what an assignment that was.

Every morning the office staff was presented with freshly baked bread with real butter, two types of jam and honey. With it came coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. Not in mugs mind you, but in three silver pots along with dainty cups and saucers.

At 10:30 more coffee and tea, along with a selection of muffins, bagels, and tiny pancakes.

At lunchtime, a trolley was pushed in the office holding again warm bread, and a variety of cold cuts and cheeses. 

Coffee and tea to wash it all down.
At 3:00 once again coffee and tea, this time with a huge plate with slices of cake.

I just loved working there and was more than a little sorry when after three weeks the person I was standing in for returned.

My most interesting assignment was working for Ermetek, a military company where I was responsible for typing manuals for tanks. How to take them apart in case of a problem, and how to put them back together again.

Before starting with the company, I had to take the oath of silence. I couldn’t talk about my job to anyone, not my husband, not any member of my family, not with friends, nobody. Not only that, I had to keep this code of silence for 7 years after leaving the company.

Yet another wonderful assignment was working for Lever Brothers. 

Beautiful offices, wonderful people, interesting work, and the benefits … Every month I received a bag with 3 boxes of washing powder, 3 bottles of fabric softener, 3 bottles of detergent, 5 bars of soap, plus some other little goodies. The bag was so heavy, one of the men had to hoist the bag into my car. The day I left, after my 18-month assignment, my department took me out for dinner, and presented me with a dozen long-stemmed roses.

The bottom line is, with temp work you never know where you’ll end up or what is expected of you. When it’s good, you're sorry having to leave, when it’s bad, you know it’s only for a limited time and then you can wave goodbye.


Monday, August 19, 2019

Day 46: Ready to jump out the window

Between You, Me and the Lamp Post

Day 46: Ready to jump out the window

For the past 30 years or so, I have lived in a condo building and never given much thought to the person in the management office.

To the best of my knowledge, that person was there in case one of the residents had a complaint and in due time that complaint would be taken care of.

Today, I have a newfound respect for people in management offices everywhere. How they put up with the constant stream of complaints, I don’t know.

As a temp, my latest assignment is working for such a management company and I tell you ... if it wasn’t that I worked on the ground floor, I would be ready to jump out the window.

I started in the management office last Thursday and initially the work was fine, if not a little boring. That all changed today.

Earlier this month two men from a fire alarm company came to inspect the units to make sure that the smoke and fire alarms were in working condition. Today, they came back to visit the units where a problem had been found.

All-day long I was getting calls from residents demanding to know when the two men would visit their unit. How was I supposed to know that? I didn’t accompany the men and they didn’t check-in with me.

In addition to this there was a steady stream of visitors to the office, each with their own complaint: a hole in the ceiling needed fixing, something was stuck in the garbage chute, a dead rodent was found in the garden, two people protested a fine they received after not paying their maintenance fees on time. By three o’clock I had enough. Did these people do anything but complaining?

The cherry on the cake came at 3:00 p.m. A man walked in, I guessed him to be in his early 50s, who looked and smelled like a bum. He asked me when the next flea market was to be held. I told him in early October. Could I give him a registration form? I told him that no registration forms were currently available. “Well, if you can’t do the job then why are you here?” he stated.

Next, he told me that he wanted to file a complaint. When I asked him as to the nature of his complaint he barked, “That’s none of your business.” I wasn’t gonna argue with him, but it was my business. How could I address his complaint if I didn't know what it was?

I’m not exactly looking forward to tomorrow and as far as I’m concerned, this assignment can’t be over soon enough. Like I said, I have a newfound respect for condo management office staff everywhere. How they put up with the complaints day in and day out, I don’t know. If I had to do it, I'd jump out the window.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Day 45: Stop that fly!

Between You, Me and the Lamp Post

Day 45: Stop that fly!

People often comment on how lazy cats are. Never have I heard someone say how patient they can be.

While it’s true that cats sleep a lot, if awake and they’ve spotted a fly (or another bug) I’m amazed at their perseverance to catch the intruder.

Yesterday a fly zipped past my nose, but by the time I swatted at it, it was long gone. The fly kept pestering me again and again though, and while at one point one of my fingers did make contact, the fly kept coming back for more.

It didn’t take long for Greyson to spot the fly too and she made it his mission to be its terminator. He positioned himself on the side table near the sliding door, ready to attack anything that came in or went out.

At first, the fly stayed out of Greyson’s way, but eventually his curiosity or foolish playfulness got the better of him and the fly did a fly-by right under Greyson’s nose.

Greyson’s attention which, after half an hour of no action, was slacking, was suddenly on high alert. His head turned from left to right and up and down, following the fly wherever it went.

A few times, when within reach, Greyson made a grab for it but came up empty-handed. Still, he didn’t give up. Again and again and again he tried to catch that buzzer.

At some point, he almost succeeded. He sat on the floor by the door, the fly flew over his head, Greyson reached up with both paws and … while failing to catch the fly, he did manage to throw it out with a gesture of ‘Get out and stay out!’

The fly, clearly knocked senseless and perhaps suffering a headache, sat on the tiles for a few seconds before taking off.

We thought that was the end of it, but we were wrong, today the fly (or another fly) was back. Greyson, who so far had slept peacefully, woke up and kept an eye on his fast food (or afternoon snack). He sat on the table, followed the fly with his eyes wherever it went and waited patiently. So patiently in fact that I started to wonder how much longer he was going to sit there, not moving, not even his ears or tail.

Having practiced his swing the previous day the fly didn’t stand a chance. After having buzzed around the chandelier for a while, it came down for landing and … zap, Greyson’s paw shot out, he grabbed it out of thin air and smacked the fly on the table, covered it with his other paw and bend down to eat it.

Unfortunately, the fly was no dummy and it played dead under Greyson’s paw. The moment Greyson bend down and lifted his paw slightly to eat it, the fly flew away.

While I can only imagine that Greyson yelled “STOP THAT FLY!” the fly from his side shouted, “SEE YAA!”