Friday, August 31, 2012

Update: To Self-Publish or Not To Self-Publish: That Is The Question

Hi everyone. I just wanted to keep everyone updated and let you know that I decided to go ahead and self-publish my novella. I believe in my book and feel it needs to get out there. Yesterday, I took a leap of faith and finalized the deal. My novella will be available on e-books as well as soft covered. I believe it will be on the market by the end of October or early November. I will keep you all updated on its developments.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Do You Offer Assistance Or Not?

Do You Offer Assistance or Not?
Last night, I had a very nice evening with my husband and friends. We all went to see a comedy club in NYC. We viewed many comedians from the infamous Saturday Night Live as well as the writers from SNL. Some of the comedians we saw were: Vanessa Bayer, Kate Mc Kinnon, and Jay Pharoah. There were many other comedians as well. However out of all, my favorite was Mr. Pharoah. He was hysterical and does a great Chris Rock imitation as well as President Obama. It was a very comical night. When we left the comedy club, we made our way back to Penn Station. We had ten minutes to make our train which was more than enough time. My husband is still getting over his virus so he was a little out of it. Suddenly, I saw a young girl board the train. I am definitely not good at telling age. I would say that she was between 19-25. She appeared to be shaken up and distraught. Then, I heard her crying hysterically. I felt bad for her. I questioned myself if I should say something and see if she is alright. However, I felt funny about doing that and read my book instead. I kept getting interrupted by her sobbing which definitely increased a few octaves. I asked my husband if I should say something who was half asleep. He said that I could if I wanted to. I decided to glance out my window as if I did not hear anything. I started to feel guilty and thought about Catherine Susan "kitty" Genovese. I thought of how she cried and screamed for help while she was being attacked, raped, stabbed and no one came. When most people see some one distraught, do they offer the person a hand? Isn't it a known fact that it is much easier to look away and pretend you did not hear anything? I knew that the girl's cry on the train could not be remotely compared to the screams of Ms. Genovese. However, I don't like to see some one so distraught. I asked myself, do I really want to be a regular statistic standing by, watching from afar and ignoring these girl's tears? I want you to stop reading this and take a second. Close your eyes and pretend it is you on the train and not me. What would you do? Would you question her to see if she needs help or would you look the other way? Well, I forced myself to do the noble thing. I stood up and asked her if she was ok. She said that she was fine and thanked me for coming over to her. Her crying subsided. In looking at her, I could tell that she was not crying because she was in any physical pain. Nothing severely wrong had happened to her which was a relief. I imagine that her boyfriend and her must have had a fight and he broke up with her. Who knows? What I do know is that I offered help from one woman to another. I am proud that I did not watch from afar and look the other way. If we help someone in need, it makes you feel good as well as that person. I ask you to try to do a good deed today. It will make you feel so good inside and out.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

To Self-Publish, or Not To Self-Publish: That Is The Question: I know in my first blog, I was adamant about not going through the expensive self publishing process. However, I may have to reconsider as I truly believe in my novella and think that anyone who reads it would open their eyes and view educators differently. I have been talking with a few self publishers and my dilemma is that I am only entitled to one copy of my book. If I wanted more copies, then I would have to buy more. Imagine that; purchase my own book. However, I am not the best with the aspect of marketing. Supposedly self publishers would assist me in terms of marketing. I definitely decided to have a professional editor assess it. However, this project can be costly. Besides teaching, I may need to get a second job:). If I let the project go, then what did I accomplish? Nothing. I couldn't live with myself if I did not try. I tend to be very hard and critical of myself. My inner demon is shy. It would rather run away from this project as it is afraid of rejection. However, my "id" has grown to be stronger and tries to combat my inhibited demon. In fact, it is because of my "id" that I am writing this blog in the first place. I wonder, did you ever take a risk and try to do something; not knowing the consequence? Personally, I despise not knowing what is going to happen next. The element of surprise is frightening in my eyes. My husband threw me a surprise birthday party once and I knew he was going to. It is very difficult and next to impossible to surprise me. He never told me, but I knew. Of course, it did not help that my friend texted me that she could not be able to attend. It also did not help that when I pulled into my driveway on that Sunday afternoon, I saw a Lexus parked. Sure enough, I came into my house and was greeted by the word, "Surprise!". However, this journey I am taking is very different from an average surprise party. It is rather a pilgrimage for myself heading towards the unknown. That could be very scary. So, today I am asking you if you think I should take the plunge and self-publish my novella? Do I wait and see if a publisher will take on my book? Feel free to leave a comment. Need assistance regarding this matter. In the mean time, I thank you for reading this.
Drew Barrymore: “If you don't take risks, you'll have a wasted soul.”

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Don't Let Your Nightmares Destroy You

You Can't Hide From Genocide. "However, it is good to educate yourself and others but if you breathe, smell, and try to taste it everyday, it will destroy your soul." Many people in this sad world have faced many tragedies. Some might be personal and others might be more conventional such as the loss of a loved one. Some people might have been sexually assaulted as a youngster or even raped as an adult. Others may have been violated in another way or form. Some people tend to use their emotional ordeal in order to educate others about the statistics of what it is they are trying to inform us on. I imagine that anyone who constantly educates on a devastating/emotional topic has to extrinsically and intrinsically relive it daily. I imagine that those people that preach and educate others do not sleep at night as all of their nightmares that they talk about during the day, come to life at night. Outside, they seem fine, but I know that if you deal with a horrid topic daily and consume yourself with it every second, it will suck upon your inner being. As an educator, I had to take professional development courses for my thirty and above, my masters. When teachers complete their 30 credits, they receive a stipend in their salary. As a young girl, I was always fascinated to learn more about the Holocaust. I lost family memebers to the Nazis and always wondered about the travesties they faced. I was fortunate to take a class at the Museum of Jewish Heritage: A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, in NYC. I strongly reccommend you visiting it. I must say this museum is wonderful. I took different courses there for three summers in a row. The first summer I took the course with a friend; not knowing what to expect. It was a basic introduction to the Holocaust. The following summer, I decided to further educate myself on this topic and took another two courses. These courses were given a week apart. One course dealt with America's view and their strategies that they did under FDR's ruling during this time. The other dealt with survivors of the Holocaust. I had the pleasure of meeting many survivors as well as the infamous, Ruth Gruber. She was a journalist that traveled to Europe to escort many war victims to safety. In 2001, Natasha Richardson starred as Ms. Gruber in the movie, "HAVEN". This film I strongly reccommend you see.
The third year I took another class during the summer. The course was also wonderful. One course I took was titled, "Genocide." This course did not just deal with the Holocaust but rather other genocides that took place. We learned about the unfortunate happenings that occurred in Cambodia. We spoke to a survivor via webcam. We also learned about the horrific genocide of Ruwanda. We were visited by a beautiful survivor who was a Tutsi. During this genocide the Tutsi's were considered to be the minority. The Hutu's were the ones to carry out the act of genocide against the Tutsi's. This woman spoke about a time that she was home and was shot in the arm through her window. She said that if it hit an artery she would not have been alive, and considered herself lucky. I rather not write the names of these survivors as I feel they have been through enough and they may not want me writing about them. I definitely want to respect that. Although, I know that all survivors want to speak about their nightmare in order to educatoe others. We watched the movie, "Hotel Ruwanda." This is another must see flick. We also touched upon the genocide in Darfur and the struggles people of Darfur face today. As the course continued, I felt myself getting more and more anxious. There was one film that was taken in the camps. The Nazis forced Jewish prisoners to dig. After these prisoners dug, they were shot and landed in the hole that they had dug. This was done in an assembly line. The people were forced to dig their own graves and know that any minute, they would have to enter it lifeless. This piece of film was captured on camera. This video really struck a nerve with me. It is ok to watch a film where you see an actor get shot because you know it is only an actor and he/she is doing their job. However, the video I watched was reality and that gives me a whole different light on humanity. I remember I went through weeks without sleep even after this course was over. I constantly thought about it and discussed it, obsessively. I wanted to educate everyone about genocide. I do believe that one should educate others on these horrific topics. However, I do believe your inner soul needs a rest too. I know that if you eat, sleep, and breathe it, the stench will take over your dreams and lead you into a land of nightmares. You will feel trapped and hopefless and most of all frightened of others as well as of yourself. You might appear fine on the outside, but in the inside you can't be; especially with no sleep. Your body will shut down and you will fall into a dark abyss that sucks you in and you can not leave.
My message today is to continue to educate. It is important to speak about your experiences. It is also important to take a two day break from it as well. You take care of yourself because only you can. Love yourself by enjoying the beauty that life has to offer. Use one day to take a break from the daily talks, discussions, tweets, about the education of inner demons that lay upon your heart and soul. Use that day to talk about fun things such as pies, music, cupcakes, pets, etc. As for myself, I may take another course there in the near future; not for credit because I mastered that already but just as an observer. However, I did give myself a two year break. Facing your demons is important but don't let it subterfuge you into a world of a ghastly, horrific nightmare. Take time to sniff a flower, breathe in and out and that is how you can also ostracize your fears.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Lucky's Mini Vacation
How many of you love dogs? Cats? Animals in general? For all of you animal lovers, I decided to write my next blog about my dog, Lucky, vacationing with us. Since I do enjoy traveling and plan on going away with my husband, sometime in the near future; we tend to leave Lucky in a reputable kennel. I do feel bad as she never has a vacation of her own. Therefore, we try to take her away in the summer. Last year, we ventured to Harrisburg, PA. She loved it and had such a great time. I think the highlight for her was staying in a hotel room with us. However, when we left the room to get dinner, for example, she was wonderful and waited patiently in her cage until we got back. I could tell she felt special. We all decided to visit Hershey Park. Naturally, she was not allowed in so my husband stayed outside with her. My family and I went into the park to learn about the history of Hershey and venture on "Hershey's Chocolate Ride." I do have to say that this was a lot of fun. Outside the park, Lucky was getting attention from everyone. She was having a wonderful time. Most people that passed her by, stopped to pet her. In fact, the focus was taken off the park and more onto Lucky. When we came home, Lucky growled and expressed in her own way that she was not happy to be home. We knew that she would rather be away on vacation. This year we decided to take her to visit Dover, Delaware. We had to wait for my husband to get home from work. My parents came with us just like the year before. We packed up the car and we were ready to go. Lately, I noticed a change in Lucky that she has grown to be a little too dependent on my husband and I. When we leave the house, she will sometimes bark and scream on the top of her lungs. However, I thought maybe in a new place, she will be calm and enjoy herself. The car ride down there took forever. What was supposed to be a three hour ride turned out to be 5 hours. Traffic was unbearable. I must say Lucky was behaving herself. However, my parents were not. Every minute, they spoke out, "How much longer?" I even made a comment to them that Lucky is not complaining. The time came and we finally arrived to what I like to call the Bate's Motel Junior. (The hotel from the movie, "PSYCHO"). We stayed at one of Choice Hotels finest. As soon as we entered the room, the room had a musty scent. The carpeting on the floor was soiled. Lucky went to that soiled area on the rug and sniffed it repeatedly. She looked up at me as if to say, "Are you people kidding me?" By that time we were starved and put Lucky in her crate after feeding her. We left the room. Outside, we did hear Lucky bark. However, we know that she barks for a little and then usually stops after a few minutes. We continued on our way. We wanted to eat on the grounds as there was a "Bob Evans" next door to the hotel. Unfortunately, "lady luck" was definitely not with us that night and they were closed. We found out that down the road, there was a casino. They had restaurants opened late. We decided to eat in an Italian restaurant whch was pretty good. However, I could not enjoy myself as I was thinking about Lucky. I was afraid that maybe we should have not left her; especially since she was barking. I told my family that I didn't feel like gambling after dinner as I just wanted to get back to the hotel to check on Lucky. They understood and agreed. When the bill came, my father went to get change. Ten to fifteen minutes passed. Fifeen minutes became twenty. My mother became nervous and decided to pay the bill on her credit card. We left the restaurant and waited outside. There we viewed the hustle and bustle of everyone on the machines. People were walking back and forth. Some people had smiles on their face with their pockets filled with hope and winnings. Others had angry, sad faces with empty pockets. My mother told my husband to go to security to have my father paged. I kept thinking, "This is great. My father's MIA and Lucky is probally flipping out in the hotel room". I went with my husband to have him paged. I left my mother strict instructions, not to leave and stay in front of the restaurant. Security paged my father and we went back to the front of the restaurant. In disbelief, my mother was not there anymore. "Great, now she was missing". I know my family and I liked the show, "MISSING", but did they really have to make it a reality; especially with Lucky probally flipping out back in the hotel?
After a while, we finally found them. Then we all rushed back to the hotel. When we returned, we saw the room door was open. I opened the door, slowly not knowing what we were going to find. Her cage door was left open. Lucky was not in sight. I flipped my lid. (MISSING PART 2) We ran immediately to the front desk. The man told us that she was barking profusely so they took her out and left her behind the counter. There she was running behind the counter. I was mortified. A year ago, she behaved herself in the room. Here, she was causing a muck. We collected Lucky and put her to bed. She refused to sleep in her cage. We put her on the couch in the room. She refused to sleep there as well. She only wanted to sleep with my husband and myself. We allowed her to as we did not want her raising her barking voice. It is funny how this little peanut had the abilty to control us, just from the sound of her voice. The next day came and we decided to take her to the beach.
The hotel told us that the beach was only fortyfive minutes away. They also informed us that Lucky would be able to walk on the board walk as well as the beach. Fortyfive minutes was really three hours. When we arrived, there was a huge sign, "NO DOGS ALLOWED ON THE BOARDWALK." This was just great. We decided to take her to the beach in a certain area where dogs were allowed. We saw many dogs, skipping across the beach and running to the ocean. They welcomed the cool water with their paws. Many were swimming. This was Lucky's first time on the beach. When she took a look at the water, she looked as though she did not want to be there. We took her little paws to become friends with the sea. She started to becom frightened of the waves crashing against the sand. She backed away and started to cry. My husband wanted to carry her in to get her to feel comfortable. However, she started to turn a purple like color and I told him not to force her. She was afraid. Meanwhile, my parents took a walk on the boardwalk. I told my husband that I would gather my parents so that we could all leave. I went to look for them with the hopes that there would not be a MISSING PART 3. I found them right away, eating an ice cream. I was elated to see at least they were relaxing, some what. However, my mother complained, "Why did we have to go so far for a beach?" I ignored her comment and bought my husband a snack to share with Lucky. I called my husband to tell him to meet us at the car. He did not pick up the phone. I became a little anxious not knowing what Lucky was up to. After ten minutes, he called me back. It seems that a dog went up to Lucky with his nose up in the air. He said something to her in their language. He was on his way back to the ocean. Lucky stopped him from entering the water by jumping up on his back. My interpretation of their conversation was the following: Dog: "Excuse me. You are such a baby; never learned to swim. Ha ha I am heading to the ocean to relax on the peaceful waters. Tah Tah." Lucky: "I'll give you a tah tah. You're not going for swim." (Then with a leap on his back, he was down for the kill.) MY husband had to pry her off of him. He called me and we left. On our journey back to the hotel, we discussed our dinner plans. We did not want a repeat of the night before and we left for dinner in different shifts. My parents had the earlier one and we had the later one. The last day of our trip, Lucky was ecstatic to leave. She was anxious to get into the car away from that hotel. I wonder what was it about that hotel. My imagination ran wildy and I wondered if Lucky smelled the soiled floor in the room and realized that was blood from the past. Could someone have been murdered in the room we stayed in? Right before Lucky left the hotel, she turned around, looked at it, growled and pooped right in the entrance way. We all had a good laugh and knew she hated that place. We then decided to go to the Outlet stores and took Lucky inside of "Coach." This was more her speed. She got so much attention from all the customers. That when we went into another store, she was greeted by other customers that were in other stores with her. People kept coming up to her saying, " Hi Lucky." SHe owned the Outlet Stores. She had a proud smile on her face. She even tried to get me to take her into "The Lenox store." I told her, "you don't need china." I also did not need any problems with her there. We left and found a "Cracker Barrel" for dinner. We took the food to go and found picnic tables outside. We had a nice family dinner and Lucky enjoyed herself as well. It was time to go home. We traveled a long way. My mother decided to say that she was happy that it was not raining. Then she said, "Do you rmemeber that last year it rained on our way home from Pennysylvania?" Just then, as if we hadn't had a stressful weekend to begin with, the sky opened up. We saw lightning light up the dark sky. Rain started pouring down from the heavens. I said, "Thanks mom. We needed that." She said, "Woops. Sorry about that." The road was not too visible as it was quite foggy. It was s little scary
(not as scary as my derecho experience). After several hours, we were home and happy to be home. "HOME SWEET HOME." I think the happiest one was Lucky. She went right into her kennel and went to sleep.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


One of my friends who also has a blog advised me to stick to one topic, such as education. I suppose that when people write their blog, this is what the norm does. However, I am not about doing what the norm does. The reason why I choose to write about many topics is to show people my many different styles of writng. So forgive me, but I want to bring you on my literary journey to demonstrate the various ways I write. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of hanging out with one of my friends. I do not usually hang out with her alone. It seems that we generally go out as a group. Yesterday was the first time I was able to enjoy her company alone. I learned so much from her. She is a very young, brave lady with the most wonderful look on life. She lives her life to the fullest that she can and am proud to know her. Unfortunately, she battles a terrible disease,Mastocytosis. I personally never really heard of Mastocytosis before, but now I am educated on the topic. That is my job today to educate you on it as well. According to wikipedia's definition: "Mastocytosis is a group of rare disorders of both children and adults caused by the presence of too many mast cells (mastocytes) and CD34+ mast cell precursors in a person's body.[1]" My friend explained to me that mastocytosis is almost as if your body is fighting too many allergies all at once. Your body is always on the defense and it is working on overload. The one thing that can help is antihistamines. At the bottom of the page I will attach some links that you can read based on this disorder. Unfortunately, my friend had a very tough year and was in the hospital many times this year. It was so bad that she did not know if she would be able to survive. She is a very strong woman and fights for her life every day. She has to inject herself daily in order to reduce the pain that she feels. She also attends a workshop held once a year on Mastocytosis. I have many friends that when they feel any type of ailment, they complain about it as if it is the end of the world. To be honest, I include myself in this equation as well. However, this woman deals with a horrid ailment and combats it daily and rarely complains about it. We can all learn from her. People also tend to stress over the small things in life. We let it tackle our soul until it eats us alive. This attack can lead us to feel sorry for ourselves. Many of us engage in self-pity as it is easy to do that. It is very easy to feel sorry and sad. However, with all of the suffering in the world intrinsically and extrinsically, maybe we should try to uplift our spirits and rise up above it. In terms of my friend, I admire her very much for her courage. I am proud of her. I can also say that I am fortunate to know her. When we sink into a world of self-pity, think of my friend and try to conquer your pity with courage leading to elation. "You can fight your inner demons as we all can. We have the power to do that. It is our soul's desire to stand tall and rise above our wallow-like behavior." Below, please view quotes I found which I thought were written quite well based on the topic of self-pity. "Self pity becomes your oxygen. But you learned to breathe it without a gasp. So, nobody even notices you're hurting.” ― Paul Monette “It's all right to sit on your pity pot every now and again. Just be sure to flush when you are finished." - Mrs. Miracle
A baby diagnosed with Mastocytosis. For more information on mastocytosis you can log on to the following websites