Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The etiquette for asking favors by Bonnie Le Hamilton

I’m assuming that everyone knows the problems of trying to get where you need or want to be when you have no means to transport yourself there on your own. I think everyone has been there at some point or other in their life.

Either when they were a teen but not yet licensed, or as an adult without a car of his or her own, whether it was because they couldn’t afford it yet, or because their car was in the shop, there’s always a reason, but we’ve all been there.

I went through a period of time when I did have a car, but I couldn’t drive it, because I couldn’t safely get behind the wheel (i.e. I could get there, but the buckle on my seat belt extension would collide with the steering wheel, making it difficult to turn, ergo, I couldn’t do it safely). So, during that time I either waited for my husband to take me, or a called for friends or family to do it.

I was glad when I finally lost enough weight to get behind the wheel again, and I’ll be happy when I can have a car again, but I know what’s like to be without, to have to beg for ride. Though I will be grateful for the friend who called out of the blue and let me know she goes to town every weekday afternoon, if I ever needed a ride.

But I also know what its like to be the one giving rides, and I think there should be some rules of etiquette for this.

Again, I’m speaking from experience having been the one giving rides.

So, here they are:

First −You are not the center of the universe, your friends or relatives has a life of their own, they are not sitting around waiting for you to call, so please remember this, and be courteous, never call for last minutes rides, unless it’s an emergency.

And I must stress that an emergency is not craving some snack foods you don’t currently have at home, nor is it an emergency to have to run errands. If you can’t plan those out a day or two in advance, that’s your problem, not your friends’.

Second − Some people will give rides without expecting compensation, but be considerate of any friends or relatives who are having financial problems, and at least offer them gas money (and I mean offer expecting to pay – as in hand them some money – they may not take it, but at least you tried). This is especially true if they are going out of their way for you. That said, I’ve only ever given gas money to one friend who’s given me rides – the only one with less wherewithal than I have, everyone else won’t hear of it. Though I do try to think of other ways to pay them back. But most the time about all I can do is ask God to bless them, and believe me I do that. They are a godsend.

Third − Remember to thank them. Thank them when they agree to give you a ride, thank them when they pick you up, and thank them when they drop you off, they are doing you a favor, and interrupting their own life to do it.

But that brings us back to number one, they do have life, let them decide when they can fit you into their life, don’t impose on them to drop everything, plan ahead.

This of course does not apply to emergencies. If you have a true emergency, I’m sure your friends and family will understand, but again, is it something you could have planned ahead for, if you’d used your brain?

I’ve called friends for same day doctor’s appointments because I needed to be seen right away, but I’ve never, ever called anyone and asked them to take me to the store that day. There’s once when a friend could fit me in the day I called, but I didn’t ask her to do that, she offered – there is a difference.

Back when I had a car, I was giving rides to my sister-in-law all over town, we planned these trips in advance, whether it be to her many doctor’s appointments or just to go shopping, they were put on my calendar well in advance. Especially her doctor’s appointments, since I was with her when they were made. But there was another person who called me for rides, and she never once planned ahead. Every time she called, she expected me to drop everything and run, and she didn’t stop until I lost my car. And at no time was it a true emergency. They were all errands she should have planned ahead for.

Happy writing everyone.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Celebrating October 31st by Konnie Enos

Over the years I’ve met a number of people, including my previous neighbor, who adamantly refused to celebrate October 31st because of its connection to the pagan celebration of Samhain.
Samhain, a Celtic, pre-Christianity holiday, consisted of dressing in costumes to “hide” from the ghosts of the dead who could return to earth on the last day of the year to haunt people. The Celtics celebrated the end of the year after the harvest was over so, October 31st was the last day of the year. The Celtics would appease the spirits by giving them treats.
I can see the similarities.
And yes, when Christianity was brought to these areas many of their “holidays” were converted to Christian holidays so they could still have them while being Christians.
I could go into similar details of how and when we started celebrating Christmas as we know it today.
I am, however, not going to debate as to whether or not either of these holiday should then be considered pagan holidays because of their origins. It is beside my point.
I just find it absurd for any modern individual to be so superstitious they can’t have any fun putting on a costume because the custom has pagan origins.
I know other people who shy away from the festivities because of all the scary costumes.
This one I honestly understand.
I never could figure out why costumes had to be gross or scary particularly when you were going to a church activity, or more importantly when young impressionable children were going to be at the activity.
I mean if it was adults only, maybe. But when children are involved, especially young children? Why are you trying to terrify them?
I never understood that.
When I moved here to Nevada I found the divide on whether or not to celebrate Halloween was something of sore spot.
This is because in Nevada, October 31st is also Nevada Day, the day the Battle Born state joined the United States.
I think a lot of residence see celebrating Halloween as part of celebrating Nevada Day.
So you get some arguments on it because there are still those “good Christians” who believe it is a pagan holiday and will have nothing to do with it.
So many people around here still believe in taking their children trick-or-treating but in many neighborhoods there are only a handful of houses decorated or have any lights on.
In my neighborhood the last few years I’ve not even seen any trick-or-treaters. But then we only have one family on this block who still has young children.
Though I also don’t go out much on Halloween. In fact, I usually turn out all the lights in the front of my house and hole up in the back for the duration of the night.
Not because I believe it was a pagan holiday. I don’t really care one way or the other. And not because of the scary costumes, though I do have an issue with those.
No, I hide in my bedroom for the evening for a completely different reason.
I personally find it unconscionable in this day and age that any caring adult would at any time tell a child they should never, ever accept candy from a stranger, except on Halloween. Then it’s perfectly acceptable to go around knocking on stranger’s doors and asking for candy.
It isn’t the asking for the candy that bothers me so much as the double standard.
How are young children going to understand when it is and isn’t acceptable to ask for candy from strangers if sometimes they can and sometimes they can’t.
Then there is the whole issue of too much candy is never good for anybody anyway so why on earth would you encourage your kids to go around asking for candy until they have enough to last them for months? Only it never lasts that long. Most kids eat it all up in a day or two.
I don’t have a problem with having fun or dressing up in costumes, as long as nobody is going to get scared by them. I don’t even have a problem with groups of friends gathering together and doing a trunk-or-treat type party. The kids aren’t asking from strangers and aren’t likely to get huge bags of candy.
I will not, however, encourage anybody going around knocking on stranger’s doors and asking for candy. It just feels like the worst type of parenting to me.
Thankfully tomorrow is “All Saints Day”. Instead of consuming candy why not get a jump on a month of thanks and start counting your blessings as an alternative.
Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

My Tech by Bonnie Le Hamilton

I recently bought my first smartphone. I can give a lot of reason why I’ve waited so long, but the simple matter of it is that I didn’t NEED one. I could make and receive calls or texts; I didn’t need some fancy gadget full of all sorts bells and whistles. And you have to admit those things aren’t cheap!

I had heard of lots of helpful or fun apps that you can only get on a smartphone, but I figured I’ve lived this long without them, I can manage longer, which was fine, until a couple of weeks ago when one of the apps I have on my reader stopped working. I contacted the company telling them the problem and they informed me that the app is no longer supported on readers.

Thank you, so much.

This wouldn’t have bothered me, except the app in question is one I use all the time, since its entire use is to supply people with the phone numbers of every other member of our church living in the area. (For those of you don’t know, we divide our congregations by area, so the app tells you the names and numbers of the members in your assigned area.) Its very helpful, and again, I use it a lot, therefore, suddenly, I needed a smartphone.

I went through something similar when I finally got a computer, internet service, a reader, and a cell phone. In each and every case I didn’t get them until those items became something I needed, not just wanted. There’s just no sense in spending money I can’t really afford on something I don’t even need. I’m actually like that about pretty much everything.

I’ll also cut bills if its something I can live without, ergo, I no longer have a landline and I recently got rid of my Netflix membership. If I’m not using it, why am I paying for it? That’s just a waste of money. Not smart.

The funny thing is, I finally got a reader because of another very handy app supplied by my church which is in and of itself a whole library of church literature, way more than we generally carry with us when we go to church, but it did include the ones we need for church, so when my health got to the point that I couldn’t carry all those books, having a reader was a Godsend, I could have all those books and more with me every Sunday.

I do use my reader for more than just that one app, but that is why I got it, and still have it. Having it has been very useful, especially while sitting in waiting rooms. Though right now I’m not all that sure about how useful a smartphone is, I’m still trying to get the hang of it.

And you can ask Konnie, the other day, I called her to get my niece’s phone number, and I kept accidentally disconnecting the call like three times. More recently I accidentally dialed a friend of mine by hitting the wrong spot on the screen. Actually, that’s how I did it those three times with Konnie. I’ll figure it out, eventually.

Then again, I’ve heard of, and even read stories about, people accidentally calling other people because their phone was in their pocket, so my problems are probably not that uncommon either, though it might make an interesting scene or two, maybe.

But let’s face it, the things we consider common and everyday will one day be unusual and unknown, like kids today who don’t know how to use a rotary dial phone. I saw a video about that on Facebook a while back.

I couldn’t stop laughing at those kids picking up the handset, then putting it back in the cradle before they dialed the phone! For those of us who have used such a phone, we knew what they were doing wrong. I actually thought it was pay back. After all these years of all these youngsters laughing at our inability to use tech, we could finally laugh at their inability to use the grandfather of their tech!

But if science keeps advancing, one day their grandchildren will be laughing at their inability to use the newest gadget, but those same grandkids will be lost trying to use what we have now. Sort of like that scene in Star Trek Four where Scotty at first tried to talk straight into the monitor then into the mouse. That still makes me laugh, too.

Where writing goes, those sorts of things will always be funny.

Happy writing everyone!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Not Quite Peas in a Pod by Konnie Enos

Not too long ago I was, as is often the case, out an about, when my phone rang.
I was not surprised to find it was Bonnie calling.
Her very first comment after I answered was, “You’re not answering me on Skype.”
“I’m not on Skype. I’m not even home.”
We carried on our conversation from there though it wasn’t a long one.
When my daughter, whom I’d been chauffeuring around, finished what she was doing and returned to where I was waiting for her, I mentioned the call and her aunt’s first words to me.
She asked, “How often do you call each other when you’re not at home?”
Yes. There have been times I needed to get in touch with Bonnie and she hasn’t been on Skype. So I have called her. Yes, some of those times she wasn’t at home.
I think I’ve caught her grocery shopping at least twice, maybe three times.
I know I’ve caught her at her sister-in-law’s house on a number of occasions.
There have been times she was at a church activity or a NANO party.
I think once she told me she couldn’t talk because she was heading into her doctor’s office.
Though most of the time when I call she tells me she was either taking a nap or doing her chores. Sometimes she simply wasn’t on her computer because she was either reading or watching something on her TV.
On the other hand, it’s rare for Bonnie to catch me at home when I’m not on Skype.
If I’m not online then I'm probably driving someone somewhere. Or, as I was that day, waiting somewhere for someone who I needed to drive home after I’d already driven them to where we were at.
I’d say about ninety present of the time when Bonnie calls me because I’m not on Skype she catches me actually in my car driving somewhere. Thank heavens for Bluetooth and being able to use my phone hands free.
Not that she stays on the phone. Once she figures out that I’m driving, she gets off pretty quick.
But honestly, as often as I’m going somewhere it’s not that hard to imagine someone catching me driving.
I have, quite honestly, spent somewhere between six to eight hours straight driving all over this city, chauffeuring family members where they needed to be, with barely enough of a break to dash to the bathroom a couple of times.
I’ve gotten so accustomed to being on the run that I’ve taken to stashing granola bars and nuts in my purse so I have something to eat on the run. I usually have to replenish my supply every day or two.
With all of that I can think of only a few times Bonnie has called me when I wasn’t online and I wasn’t driving somewhere. Some of those times I was still in the car, just parked and waiting.
I can think of at least one time she actually caught me in the kitchen doing chores.
And I’m sure there have been several times I wasn’t on my computer because my daughter was borrowing it to do her homework.
My daughter’s question sure got me thinking.
I usually catch Bonnie at home.
She usually catches me in my car because, you know, I’m a busy mom.
We may look alike but our lives are so vastly different.
What was even funnier was the reason for her call that day.
She call to tell me about a show called “Right this Minute” which were apparently videos by U-tubers about their life and such. The one Bonnie called me about was a young mother who did a video about why you should never ask a mother why she is tired. In the video she showed her “busy” life with her two sons and a puppy to chase around.
Bonnie’s comment? “You’ve been way busier than that.”
Well yeah.
I’m not kidding about spending a full day just driving people hither and thither. I’ve done it more than once.
I seriously plan my days by how much travel time I need between various appointments and other errands I have to do.
You should see the amount of effort it takes to do the first of the month stock up grocery shopping around here since no one store carries all the things we need. I have to go to at least two stores and as many as five depending on what we are out of and which store carries it. Two of those stores are at least twenty minutes from the house, in opposite directions.
So yeah, vastly different from Bonnie.
Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Ode to Fall by Bonnie Le Hamilton

It's October, the leaves are falling and Jack Frost has paid a visit or two -- around here anyway. Monday, a friend sent out a text asking people to come pick their apples, before the frost came to ruin them. Actually, I’ve had a lot of people offer me apples from their trees in the last couple of weeks. I’ve also been offered plums and rhubarb. It's obviously harvest season.

It’s getting colder, and snow is already piling up on the mountain tops, while my family and friends who live further south are thankful the temps have dipped to below 100. I’m thankful I don’t have to live in that kind of heat, but there are drawbacks to living up north too.

Sooner or later the snow is going to start falling and rakes will be replaced by snow shovels. Though I have lived were snow is a rare, and minimal occurrence.

As a teenager I had a hard time not laughing when the guys giving us a ride one morning announced they wouldn’t have been able to get out of their flat driveway without a four-wheel drive because of maybe an inch of snow, if even that! I just couldn’t believe anyone would consider themselves snowed in over that little bit of the white stuff.

Though I think I had an even harder time not cracking up when I lived in Norfolk Virginia. One time, I was at the base exchange in the food court, as I took my seat, I spotted teeny tiny flakes drifting past the landscape lights out front then melting into the ground. It didn’t bother me a bit, it was melting -- everything’s fine, but a few seconds later a man jumped up, sending his chair flying as he loudly announced that it was snowing. Within seconds, I was the only customer left. Everyone who could scrambled for their cars, hoping they could get home before the roads got bad.

One of the employees approached me and asked me why I wasn’t trying to get home before the roads got bad. I glanced at the congestion currently in the parking lot, glanced at my watch, and said, “The roads will be clear in about twenty minutes.”

And I was right! Not another soul was on the road when I left the Exchange twenty minutes later.

Another time, my husband and I got tickets to the circus for opening night, and the weathermen in the area were saying we going to get six or more inches that night. History already showed, if they said snow on opening night, prepare for lots of it (at least by Virginia standards).

So, we made sure we got there early enough to park in the underground garage next to the Scope, but as we got out of our car we noticed everyone around us had their vehicles piled high with sleeping bags, pillows, and blankets and as we waited in line, everyone was discussing their "just in case" preparations. Someone glanced our way and asked my husband what he’d packed along. He replied, “My Idaho driver’s license.”

And it did snow that night, something like three whole inches. When it came time to leave, everyone else was having trouble getting up out of the garage, because of the snow, and there were attendants there helping to push everyone up onto the road.

When our turn came, Tom drove up and out before those attendants could get behind our car. I could have even made it up that slight incline, despite the snow.

Actually, we’ve both seen worse, as in a night involving a very steep hill and an ice storm while we were all inside a building on the side of a hill, and the parking lot was further up the hill. To get out of there, you could either go down a very steep hill past the building, or drive up over a bump and take a more gradual incline, but longer route, down the hill.

The problem was getting up over that bump, let alone slipping and sliding all the way up that hill to the parking lot. A couple of guys offered my friend I’d ridden with to get her car and bring it to us at the door of the building, but from there, we had to white knuckle our way down the hill. Believe me, I’m very glad I wasn’t driving! Talk about scary!

My eventual husband was in the group getting all those carloads over that bump, which, from what I could see, was a lot of work.

But mostly all this cold weather reminds me it's time for me to get ready for Nano, so happy writing everyone!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Proud “Lazy Mom” by Konnie Enos

You hear all sorts of things about bad parenting styles. Right now the biggest hype is all about “helicopter parenting”. It’s not the only one, just one you hear the most often and usually about how it’s so bad for the kids.
In fact, whenever I hear about a new “parenting style” it’s usually something pointing out how it is so wrong. The parents are doing this that or the other thing wrong. They are harming their kids in this that or the other way. Or they simply aren’t teaching their kids properly in some fashion or another.
It’s gotten so bad they even have a name for it, “mom shaming”.
You make any comment on line about how you are taking care of your family or raising your kids and someone, somewhere is going to come out of the woodwork and point out all the things you are doing so so wrong because you are not doing it how they would do it. They will even quote studies that support them in their opinions.
Unfortunately that’s how this anti-vaxer movement got so rampant. One little, completely falsified and now totally discredited study because it could not be scientifically duplicated (note: because the data was falsified) saying vaccines cause autism and all these people are now waving that one study around insisting it’s fact. And ignoring the thousands of studies which proved he’d falsified his data.
What I’m saying is for every opinion there is going to be an “article” somewhere that will agree with it. But just because the article exists doesn’t mean its fact or even that your opinion has any merit in the situation for which you are throwing it around.
Lately I’ve seen dozens of articles and comments about how our children now coming into adulthood are NOT being prepared for the real world. Most of them are complaints about how the school system here in America is failing our kids because they aren’t ready for the real world.
I have to agree. The system as it stands now is failing our kids. They aren’t doing the job of educating our future generations for the future. BUT—and this a huge one—we has the parents are failing them too. When did it become the schools job to teach our children how to do laundry and wash dishes or keep a budget? 
Someone please tell me when it became wrong for a parent to give their children chores? When did it become wrong to make a child pick up their own toys, wash dishes, do laundry or mow the lawn, or cook dinner? Are they never going to have to do those things when they become adults?
Tell me, how many of you got to the ripe old age you are now without sewing on a button, ironing a shirt, washing dishes, cooking a full meal (not just nuking a TV dinner), balancing a checkbook, filling a gas tank and changing a tire? How many of those things do you still have to do on a regular, or semi-regular basis?
Don’t you think our children need to learn them too?
I found this article on Love What Matters, a mom, Brooke Hampton, wrote about her parenting style, which she calls “lazy mom”. She also tells about how people came out of the woodwork trying to shame her for being a “bad” parent.
How is she lazy?
She gives her kids chores. In fact, her daughter does the grocery budget for their family.
Is she lazy?
Is her daughter learning how to budget money and do the grocery shopping for a family? YES! Is that skill she’ll need some day? I would assume even if she remains single she will have to buy herself groceries so most definitely-- YES!
My point is, while people are complaining that the school system isn’t preparing kids for the real world they are also shaming parents who are actually doing a really good job of guess what--- PREPARING THEIR KIDS FOR THE REAL WORLD!
Yes, schools could do a better job, but so could we, as a general population. I think we all need to remember that age old saying, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
Then there is the one that says something along the lines of when you are pointing fingers at others, you have three pointing back at yourself. Or something like that.
I personally am all for chores and teaching kids how to sew, cook, clean, and do their own laundry, grocery shopping, and finances.
At least I can say mine can wash their dish and clothes, and buy and cook their food. I got to be doing something right.
Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Attraction vs Love by Bonnie Le Hamilton

I was searching the web the other day for some topic or other, I was hoping to find something on writing, when I came across a headline insisting that scientists had proved love at first sight exists. Now, as a romance writer I was interested in what the article had to say, so I clicked on the link only to discover they weren’t talking about love, but rather attraction.

The whole thing was how people determine ATTRACTION a lot faster than most people think, as in milliseconds, but well, attraction isn’t love, so I’m going to have to beg to differ with them, big time.

I do agree that people determine attractiveness really fast, but attractiveness doesn’t mean love, because, let’s face it, physical attractiveness doesn’t equal a really nice guy who you can get along with for the rest of your life.

I have a line in one my unfinished stories where the heroine cautions herself saying, “Careful! Gaston was good looking too.”
And I’m right. Everyone reading this post, stop right now and think. Name someone you know of who is physically attractive but when you get to know that person they aren’t so nice down deep.

I’m stuck on Gaston because all the really good-looking guys I’ve known over the years, guys I was attracted to back in the day, they’re also nice men (some of them I’m friends with on Facebook) but well, in the long run, I don’t think I’d have been able to get along with them day in and day out. None of them have the patience Tom had, and I have to admit I’ve got a temper.

On top of that Tom wasn’t in league with the Gastons of the world. Average height, average build, light brown hair and brown eyes, nothing special in the looks department. In fact, when my roommates learned I was going to ask him out, all of them said, “Ew! Why would you want to date him?”

Number one, I wasn’t looking for a boyfriend.

I invited him to dinner, because a mutual friend said he could use some cheering up, nothing more. I wasn’t planning more than just the one dinner. In fact, I was planning to be unavailable for any further dates for the week after that dinner, and to be leaving town when the week was over.

Things just didn’t turn out that way. Actually, the song “Frog Kissing” comes to mind when I think about those days. I kissed me a frog and got a prince!

In other words, I love Tom with all my heart, but he didn’t have anything to physically attract me to him, and I know the difference because I’ve had more than my fair share of crushes, including celebrity crushes, and attraction does not in any sense of the word equal love. It equals lust, but lust isn’t love! It never has been, and never will be.

So, while I have may have a hard time getting my characters to take their time and actually fall in love, I also know that they are moving too fast. I have to find the fine line between too fast and too slow in my stories, but I do realize they are going too fast evidenced in a discussion two of my characters have in one of my unfinished stories.

In that one, they are assigned to write a believable story that had them getting together the previous school year, and were now married and expecting, for their class and the two of them knew they could have teamed up for a duet in a band competition the year before so they went with that, but the heroine insisted that they absolutely could NOT kiss the first time they got together to practice because that would mean their relationship was purely physical and it was nothing to base a marriage on.
I wrote that, I know that. I just have trouble showing that on the page.

Actually, one of my stories, the one which is totally finished, I’ve had problems with critiques saying they fall in love too fast. None of those people ever seem to get the fact that my main characters aren’t human, and they pair up by forming a “connection”. I have it in the story where the hero tells his dad, “I love her,” and his dad replied, “Well, of course you do, with the connection you have no choice.”  

That’s an exact quote, yet people complain they fell in love too fast.
That’s not to say I don’t have a problem with them getting together too soon, falling in love too fast, I know I have that problem in my other stories, just not this one.

Anyway, happy writing everyone!