How can we encourage more readers to leave reviews for our books?

Why Reviews on Amazon Matter

Do you write reviews on your blog? Do you leave an Amazon review as well?  Authors, especially indie authors depend on your reviews. Take a few minutes and write a quick review.

write Amazon Reviews
Please!

Source: How can we encourage more readers to leave reviews for our books?

S Is For Spinal Cord Injury Recovery – Ignite Your Inner Health Warrior #AtoZChallenge

I like the way Cheryl has used the A-Z Challenge to highlight an important cause with an interview and several books. This one really does pluck at my heartstrings! Please enjoy and spend some time browsing on her blog.


If you want to read a good fiction book about spinal cord injuries I recommend Me Before You.  Here is my review of the book.

Plucking Of My Heartstrings

s2017

Dear Readers,

From what I have been told spinal cord injuries seem to happen most often due to car crashes, falls or violence. Injuries to the spinal cord can also happen from disease or degeneration. 

Today I am talking with the creator of the Facebook group, Spinal Cord Injury Recovery – Ignite Your Inner Health Warrior.

Please welcome Kay

Hi. I am an entrepreneur and business owner, a coach and change maker, a teacher, a former nurse (although once a nurse always a nurse!) and a podcast host! Over the course of my career (I’m 55 years young) I have had the privilege of working in two large regional hospitals in the Midwest where I encountered many an injured person in the ICU, a Fortune 100 global medical device company in areas associated with injury, a global neuroscience based coaching and consulting firm, as well as my own entrepreneurial ventures…

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How to Relax Under a Fairies Tree

Australia #15 Fitzroy Gardens and the Fairies Tree

Relax? Are you kidding? Life gets hectic surrounded by five million people, the population of Melbourne, Victoria in Australia. That might make someone like me from a town of 7,000 feel somewhat claustrophobic. Since 1848 Melbourne has found a way of calming its visitors and residents alike. Come with Carol and me through Fitzroy Gardens and relax.

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Relax
Fairy Tree in Fitzroy Gardens

Carol and I found one of the secrets in Fitzroy Gardens in East Melbourne. Wide paved pathways lead to the Fairies Tree and the Model Tudor Village.

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Relax, you got credit for this, OLA.

Ola Cohn carved the Fairies Tree and dedicated it to the children of Melbourne. One mother complained on Trip Advisor that it was not worth the walk with a baby in a tram. She missed the idea.

Relax? Did you see that giant spider web?
Playful artwork

Young mothers like Tram Mom may have lost the skill of relaxing and enjoying an afternoon of imagination. What conversations she could have had with Tram Baby about a bear that stood no larger than a bird. Did he shrink? He looks fearful.

Relax
Relax, you can’t fall off the web. Bird’s got your back!

Imagine this!

Fairies, full of energy, climb and play on the branches of the giant web. Some practiced their gymnastics while others cuddled the fuzzy spider. Children, surrounded by onlooking adults, imitate the fairies and practice their gymnastics on the lawn. Applause breaks out.

I picture Creative Mum and five-year-old Frannie with books and writing materials spreading out a blanket near the tree. Creative Mum opens an insulated lunch bag. Slowly she pulls out a sandwich made with magic peanut butter spread on raisin bread with a banana face dusted with a light coating of powdered fairy dust.

“I brought your favorite a fairy catching sandwich,” she says as she takes it out.

Frannie squeals, jumps up and down, spins around, and runs over to the fairies to tell them.

“Come sit down,” Mum calls out laughing.

“The fairies want a bite of the magic peanut butter.”

“Yes, they do, and they will sneak over and grab your sandwich if you are not careful.”

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Relax, Eagle has the peanut butter kid under control

Frannie plopped onto the plaid blanket and lay on her belly propped up on her elbows. She looked at the fairies clamoring for her attention.

“You want some of this, you sneaky fairies? You can’t have my magic sandwich. It will make me fly like you.”

She glanced down at her peanut butter and banana sandwich. She dipped her finger in peanut butter and held it up for the fairies to lick off her. Then she rolled over and giggled as she stuck her gooey digit into her mouth. The fairies still clamored, so Frannie teased them again.

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Relax Teddy. Some sweet kid will fall in love with you.

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On the other side of the tree, Tram Mom’s baby reached out to the bear. The tree bear wanted to ride along. Tram Baby looked up at Tram Mom and whimpered. Tram Mom angrily pushed the Tram away from the tree.

“No, you can’t have that bear. Here, play with your teddy. Let’s go.”

Tram Mom did not realize that the tree gave HER a reason to relax and build some memories and wonder in her children.

Ola would have been grieved to hear Tram Mom’s grumpy tirade.

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Clamoring characters vie for children’s attention.

“A long time ago,” Mum told Frannie, “the fairies might have jumped off the tree onto your sketch pad.”

When you were my age, Mum?”

“No, no, fairies are ancient forest creatures, older than the animals, and much older than I. They would dance on your paper making beautiful designs.”

“I can do that for them, Mum!”

“Yes you can, and we can show Dad and Eric what happened when they come home for dinner tonight.

Frannie leans against her mother and doodling. Creative Mom bends forward and whispers. Frannie looks up, and giggles then gets back to her task.

Several pages go by with many shared secrets and muffled laughter. Finally, Frannie says, “I’m done! Dad and Eric will be so excited to read it.”

“I think the fairies enjoyed it too. Can you hear them buzzing?”

Frannie sits quietly and purses her lips together as she listens.

“Yes!”

Together Creative Mum and Frannie pack up their lunch and go home to make finishing touches to the fairy story.

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It’s easy to relax if your guardian angel

The day Carol and I visited Fitzroy Gardens there were more fairies than people.The sun beat down on us. We did not have a blanket with us, nor a cute five-year-old with a peanut butter face.

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Carved Mom and fairies shield their eyes from the sun.

I Admit to Being Somewhat Tram Momish

By the time we finished taking photos, it was past noon, or at least 10:30. Since confession is good for the soul, I’ll tell you that I was a little out of sorts after walking for quite a while in the heat. We were both thirsty. Like the little red fox who got his fat tummy caught inside the tree, I wondered if I would faint from starvation. I’d had nothing to eat since my Tim Tam’s that morning.

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My imagination cried out for a break. Fortunately, there was a little restaurant with air-con a few steps away from the Fairies Tree. We trudged past the Model Tudor village giving it little more than a cursory glance on the way up the hill to the Pavilion Cafe.

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Model Tudor Village in Fitzroy Gardens

We both ordered an iced coffee and relaxed enjoying the pictures of the fairies tree on our digital phones. Carol quickly Instagrammed her photos. I sat patiently trolling my fingers on the table and waited.

I couldn’t post until I had internet service at the Air B & B to show my pictures on Facebook through my computer, the old-fashioned way. By that time my hubby, Vince had already liked her beautiful pictures. So I treasured them until now.

If you have a chance to wander the pathways of Fitzroy Gardens, take your camera, books, paper, crayons, and blanket and stay a while. Let the fairies do their magic before you leave. Just a word of caution, take sunscreen, cold drinks, and maybe hard candy from Ballarat or some nuts. Those fairies like to eat! And they are sneaky!

Enjoy more trails and paths by clicking on these two Photo Challenges, Jo’s Monday Walks and Cee’s Which Way Challenge.

Related Posts

Where are you traveling this summer? Sign up for my Traveling and Blogging Near and Far Newsletter & Win a chance to get free book Have Bags Will Travel. Click here to sign up.

 

 

A List of Blogging Goals for My Hobby Blog

What Blogging Goals?

I’ve been analyzing my blogging after spending hundreds of hours learning how to work with my self-hosted blog, Always Write.

blogging and traveling near and far
Could someone turn down that sun? I’m trying to blog here.

There are some huge advantages for self-hosting, but the learning curve for me has been and continues to be huge. So what about this blog?

First, of all, I want to segment and keep the other one about writing, blogging, and photography. Yet this one continues my photo challenges.  My next Australia post comes out on Monday. I’m excited because I had so much fun writing the post about fairies tree. My trip to Australia was fabulous and I’ll be reliving and talking about it for a very long time.

blogging and traveling near and far
I’m not a Quack. You are a Quack. You quack me up!

So from here on out this will be my primary travel and local events blog. I’ve been using it primarily for that reason for about a year, but I only told myself, not you guys. I do my book reviews on the other blog now. This is my more personal blog, where I feel I can talk about me stuff.

But I think my blog needs a more creative name than Marsha Ingrao. Not that there is anything wrong with my name. I love it. But I think the name of the blog should reflect the tagline. Blogging and traveling near and far.

I loved Streaming Thoughts, but after five years on the job, I’m focusing some of my thoughts and not being randomly streaming. I have about 800 posts on this blog, so there are going to be plenty of downstream ones left.

blogging and traveling near and far
Bravo Lake at full throttle in Woodlake, California.

I’ve been doing more reblogging and pressing other people’s posts on both blogs. The reason for that is to show some love to the people I love and to give my poor blogging fingers a break once in a while. It also introduces you to some of my favorite people. I only reblog on this site because you can only do that on WordPress.com. The other one doesn’t work that way.

I Need a New Name

Ok, I want a new name for my blog. I don’t need a new URL. That remains tchistorygal.net because I was the Tulare County History Gal for a long time, and I love that identity.

Vincie picked out the name for my other blog, Always Write. I thought it was cute considering how bossy he thinks I am. 🙂 I MAY be a little bossy.

Do you have any ideas you can share with me? Vincie and I need help. 🙂

If you have any blogging questions, head over to Always Write and or sign up for my blogging newsletter and grab your free PDF list of Influencer Bloggers. Or do both.

Or sign up for this brand new newsletter, yet to be named by you. It will be about traveling opportunities in Tulare County and beyond and fun posts about local events. Click here or click the picture to register.

blogging and traveling near and far
My old blog with a new name. Tagline: Blogging and Traveling Near and Far

 

 

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – Woodlake (Images of America) by Marsha Ingrao

Sally Cronin reviews and promotes new authors like me on her beautiful website. I am so honored to be promoted here. 

Welcome to the Cafe and Bookstore New on the Shelves and today the featured author is Marsha Ingrao who is enjoying her retirement from teaching and as History Consultant for the Office of Education for Tulare County in Central California.  Her local history book tells the story of the Western town of Woodlake.  Marsha also provides excellent ‘how to’ posts on blogging for newbies and experienced writers alike.

About the book

Known as the area “within the magic circle,” the Western town of Woodlake, along with its surrounding valley, is rich in both natural resources and hardworking citizens who are proud of their heritage. Most Tulare County towns sprang up along the Southern Pacific Railroad. Woodlake, designed as a tourist town, drew together farming communities, consisting of people too busy raising fruit and cattle to create a town. Starting with Thomas Henry Davis in 1853, settlers established farms and ranches, which attracted Los Angeles millionaire Gilbert Stevenson when he arrived in 1907.

Source: Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – Woodlake (Images of America) by Marsha Ingrao

Thank you, Sally Cronin, for this lovely post about our little town of Woodlake, CA.

The Mensa Convention…

This will tickle your funny bone. 🙂

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

There was a Mensa convention in San Francisco.

Mensa, as you probably know, is a national organization for people who have an IQ of 140 or higher.

Several of the Mensa members went out for lunch at a local café.

When they sat down, one of them discovered that their salt shaker contained pepper, and their pepper shaker was full of salt.

How could they swap the contents of the two bottles without spilling any, and using only the implements at hand?

Clearly, this was a job for Mensa minds.

The group debated the problem and presented ideas and finally, came up with a brilliant solution involving a napkin, a straw, and an empty saucer.

They called the waitress over, ready to dazzle her with their solution.

“Ma’am,” they said, “we couldn’t help but notice that the pepper shaker contains salt and the salt shaker has pepper.”

But before they…

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Calling all Kid Lit Authors and Book Bloggers-You Can Make a Difference to a Child in Need…

This looks like a great project. Many of my very good friends are following this blog, so I trust it.

Michelle Eastman Books


I would like to reach out to kid lit authors and book bloggers to get quality books into the hands of deserving kids.

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Throughout the month of March, I am collecting new children’s books to benefit children of incarcerated parents. Authors, I hope you will consider donating signed copies of your books. Book bloggers, please help us by sharing this information with your readers.

I am a children’s author, teacher, and mom who is passionate about children’s literacy and the power of children’s books. When I learned nearly 2/3 of children, living in poverty, DO NOT own books, I was moved to act. I founded the literacy initiative, Picture Book Pass it On, to raise awareness for literacy issues and get books to kids in need.

Three years ago, the Picture Book Pass it On initiative grew to include a month-long book drive called MARCHing Books to Kids.

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How Do You Say,”Thank You So Much” to a Whole Town?

Winning an Award Is Not All About The Winners

Woodlake Awards Banquet
2017 Woodlake Awards Banquet BTW, that was my expression when Tony told me I had to get off the stage or be carried off!

Seriously!

Award ceremonies honor the organization or community that gives them. If newspapers come to cover the event the organization or city gets some free publicity. People come to celebrate. They meet and greet make new friends and hug old ones. Excitement fills the room and spills outside as guests enter and leave. Normally I take pictures of it. This year I did not.

The Awards Ceremony elevates the award giver.

Suppose for a second that no one gave awards. Do you think the movie industry would be so noticed if it did not honor its own? People would go to movies – maybe. But they might not choose La La Land. Now they might! 🙂 Awards matter to the organizations that give them.

It thrilled me to see local papers cover the Woodlake Award’s Ceremony. One of the reporters said that it was the best ceremony in the area. Why? There’s a real family feeling in the community.

Go Woodlake! Go Kiwanis, Rotary, Lions, Lady Lions, Chamber, Homegrown, Woodlake Schools, Woodlake Businesses!

A community that pulls an awards event together elevates everyone, the City of Woodlake and all the community organizations that work so hard together to make it a great place to live and work.

The awardees walk a narrow line.

Woodlake honored me. Wow! I am humbled. Honorees walk a thin line between confidence and humility. Shy awardees suffer embarrassment from the attention. Even confident winners may have moments of awkwardness. (when they talk too long) For those who will be honored in the future, remember…

2017 Woodlake Awards Ceremony
Did I forget my Award? Where was my mom when I needed her, anyway?

Award ceremonies are not just for the awardees. Organizations that do not honor their own do themselves a disservice. To downplay the recognition of the award dishonors the community that honors them Receiving an award validates the winner for a period of hard work and sacrifice. Someone noticed.

Of course, this brings up another issue!

What if there wasn’t anyone to award?

I wouldn’t want to live there, would you? Or what if the community was too lazy to find someone who worked hard among them. What if no one appreciated anyone who worked hard?

What if no organization would take on all the work of gathering all the certificates from commissioners, mayors, senators, assembly members, ordering the awards, raising money for the food, preparing the food and decorating for the event? Much more goes into event planning that the larger community realizes.

Next Year It Could Be You!

This is what happens to the awardees so you can be prepared next year when the nominating committee calls you.

When Sally Pace called me to tell me I was chosen as the Woodlake 2016 Woman of the Year, my first thought, was, “How in the world am I going to fill the tables?”

“Also, I need 24 pictures and you need to fill out all this information about yourself.”

There is an expectation that the awardees will fill the room with guests. Everyone brings his or her family to celebrate. My family consists of my husband Vince and his sister in our area. Vince’s son Jason lives five hours away, and my brother lives in Portland, OR, about 15 hours away.

I put out a call for help on Facebook! Come be my family! I bought tickets to fill two tables. Then a third. I worried that they might go vacant. I told all my close friends out of town, even called my brother. He couldn’t come.

The night came, the tables filled. My rock star friend, Elane Geller, a child Holocaust Survivor came from Los Angeles and our close friend, Andria Jacobs came from Las Vegas, NV to make sure I treated Elane well. (I’m kidding, Andria!) The whispers started among the guests, “Is that Elane Geller?”

2017 Woodlake Awards Banquet
Marsha and Elane Geller (I’m on the left with my name tag on so I don’t forget who I am.)

They rushed over to greet her. They wanted pictures of her and themselves. Some of them included me, too. Tony Casares recognized her from the platform before the ceremony started. She received an ovation. Don’t ask me if they stood, I think my head had fuzzed shut by that time, but not from drinking. It just does that on me when I know I have to get in front of people.

My dear friend, Margaret Morris came from the coast. My step-son came. People came from TCOE where I worked for years including a former boss, Olga Cortez, a close colleague, Connie Smith, and two former support staff, (my pretend kids) Ivette Lopez and Paula Terrill, all of whom I love dearly.

My neighbors came. People who helped me with the Woodlake book came so I could talk about them in front of their faces instead of behind their backs. I worried about how to seat people. I didn’t need to.

No one edited my paperwork, I’m sure. They read the WHOLE thing! When will I ever learn? When I’m home alone with my computer, I think it’s a diary. Before I even reached the stage, I’d already been going on too long.

I wanted to tell the story about Robert Edmiston dusting me off after I fell out of the car when he showed me around Elderwood. The emcee, Tony Casares chased me off the stage before I could.

I wanted to thank my husband for supporting me so much while I’ve been busy doing all the stuff I love to do. He got up and left the room before I spoke. I forgot! Then I saw him standing in the back. Tony kept swooshing his hands to get me off the stage.

“No! Go! Go!”

Vince got an apology look across a crowded room. I think he understood.

Someone told Linda LaFleur, Kiwanis President, that the only bad thing about the ceremony was that some of the awardees spoke too long. Anyone know where there’s a good hole?

After the Event

2017 Woodlake Awards Banquet
More publicity! Thanks, Reggie!

Did you think it would end that night? Not at all. A couple of reporters called me. One gave me homework. One took a great picture of me and put it on the front page of his newspaper. I finally changed my three-year-old Facebook profile picture.

My former boss, Jim Vidak sent me a letter of congratulations with lots of personal marks on it. Go TCOE! My friend, Monica Pizura collected papers for me and brought me cute gifts. Connie brought me wine, and Connie doesn’t drink wine.

Last year’s awardee donated all the meat for this year’s banquet. She’s shy and I don’t think she wanted that information told. Yes, shy people get awards!

Get prepared, Woodlake Chamber Member, General Food Store, I’m going to need to buy a lot of meat next year. And the rest of you be thinking of who to nominate next year! 🙂

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How Focus on Doing Something Well Leads to Success

Focus, Train, and Succeed

Kiwanis Club International focuses on “changing the world by serving children, one child and one community at a time.”Kiwanis focus on catering

Over the years Kiwanis Club of Woodlake has learned how to modify the world by focusing on doing something well. This active service club of around twenty members runs a tight serving ship. Kiwanis members have helped caterers for the public, service organizations, and private parties.

Kiwanis focus on cateringServing at weddings and events like the Awards Dinner involves much more energy and hands than the Kiwanians can provide. So they partner with their sponsored youth groups, Key and Builders’ Club, the high school, and middle school service clubs.  As a result, students work hand in hand with experts in the field. Each time the students serve, their organization earns money which goes towards scholarships.

Opportunities for Students to Succeed

Kiwanis focus on catering
Figuring out the logistics of the appetizer table

Through their combined expertise in serving, Kiwanis of Woodlake has developed awesome opportunities for individual and groups of students.

Students benefit in many ways.

Professional Training Provided

Kiwanis focus on catering
CEO of Tulare-Kings Hispanic Chamber, Armondo Apodaca, trains Key Club and Kiwanis members about formal etiquette.

This year about twenty students from 6th-12th grades attended a training session with a former restaurant manager, CEO of Tulare-Kings Hispanic Chamber, Armondo Apodaca. After instruction in table setting, students divided into groups to put their learning into practice. Each group served one portion of a five-course meal. When they were not serving, they engaged their table mates, which included adults in dinner conversation.

Kiwanis focus on catering
Each group had to set their table first.

After the training, the service club members had multiple opportunities to serve at various events. In a short time, these students established a name for themselves. Working tirelessly for as many hours as the adults, they provided polite and excellent service with a smile.

Each Event Is On-the-Job Training

Kiwanis focus on cateringFor the most part, the events at which Key and Builders’ Club students serve and the adults who supervise them are the community leaders. Besides earning community service hours, which they need to graduate, students learn essential skills that will guarantee their success as productive citizens.

  • Kiwanis focus on cateringMore than contributing to a general Kiwanis scholarship fund, each student learns a valuable trade, social management, problem-solving and communication skills advancing them far beyond their peers.
  • They have time to observe and learn how their friends work with deadlines. They act as a team. It is almost like a coeducational sports team.
  • They are busy. Because students are busy doing adult work, they have no time or inclination to get into trouble. Most of these students end up with hundreds of hours more community service work than they need for graduation.Kiwanis focus on catering
  • Adults rely on students’ problem-solving skills. When you provide service for caterers, all kinds of detail issues arise. Adults may not have the best answers. What happens when there are no water pitchers, or the food service providers are late? What happens when there are too many or few appetizers for the table space, or you can’t find them. The person who solves the problem is the hero for the minute.Kiwanis focus on catering
  •  Tight management is essential. Although there is an adult in charge of every event, students learn to manage each other as well. Given an overall task, the Key and Builders’ Club students subdivide so that no logistics fall through the cracks.
  • Politeness is essential. When one adult orders a student to do a task followed by a second command by a different adult, students are taught stop and explain to the second or third adult what they are doing and who gave the instruction and not to be confused and jump on every command.
  • Adults learn their names and the capabilities of each student. Many of these same adults make scholarship decisions, interview students to go to leadership conferences, or grade graduation portfolios.
  • Students have real work experience to add to their resumes for scholarships and employment.Kiwanis focus on catering
  • They develop relationships with influential people who can give them honest recommendations.
  • Many of the students in Woodlake come from farm labor families. They work very hard and see their parents and grandparents working long hours for minimum wages. Numerous other employment opportunities could open for Key and Builders’ Club students who work with professional and volunteer servers.Kiwanis focus on catering
  • Although few of these students will go into the catering business, many of them may work their way through college as servers. Most of them go to college. Their home backgrounds and work in providing service for caterers has prepared them for hard work, getting along with all kinds of people, solving real-world problems, and has earned money for the Kiwanis scholarships.
  • Most of all, serving at parties and events is fun for kids.
    Kiwanis catering focus
    Kiwanis serves events of all sizes.

    They are treated as adults as they work with peers they enjoy.

About Kiwanis

Although Kiwanis of Woodlake is part of the International Club serving children, it is unique. Woodlake’s Club participates in District, Regional, and National Campaigns, such as Miracle Mile of Quarters, Read Around the World, Key Leader, Special Olympics, and Bowl-a-Thon. Kiwanis puts on the Pancake Breakfast during Rodeo Week, sponsors a Run for Hunger to benefit the Woodlake Food Pantry, the July 3rd Blast to entertain the community as we all celebrate Independence Day, and many other single events.

I am proud to be a Kiwanis member. But I have a request. Kiwanis of Woodlake needs adult volunteers who want to serve the community as members. You are welcome to join our weekly meetings at 6:30 am at the Presbyterian Church on Naranjo. Three out of four weeks a month we invite a community member to speak to the group. If you are interested in joining, please fill out the contact form, and someone from the club will meet with you in person or over the phone to give you more information.

How Do You Explain a Goof Like the Oscar Foul-Up of All Time?

Goof is an understatement, don’t you think?  How would Warren know he did not have the right card? Why would there be an extra card? Tweeters are all over this as expected.

Goof
Goof of the Century Credit pic from Quinn Nelson @SnazyQ

I love that Warren Beaty knew better and made Faye Dunaway read La La Land 😂🤣😂🤣

Last Resting Place Of A Great Explorer

Welcome to my friend Sylvia at anotherday2paradise. Sylvia has been some of the most interesting places on the planet. She is from England but splits her life between Florida, South Africa, and travel. Her writing amuses me, makes me think, and has brought us together as friends for almost five years now. Please read and share this post about her experience on this last trip.

Last Resting Place Of A Great Explorer

by Sylvia

“I chose life over death for myself and my friends….I believe it is in our nature to explore, to reach out into the unknown, The only true failure would be not to explore at all. “ ~ Sir Ernest Shackleton

On January 5th, the 95th anniversary of the great explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton’s death, our cruise ship anchored just off Grytviken within King Edward Cove. The now rusted whaling station is today the site of the South Georgia Museum, and lies within a sheltered harbour tucked between Hope Cove and Hobart Rock, on the western shore of Cumberland East Bay.

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We got ourselves all togged out in our many layers of warm clothing and hopped onto the Zodiac inflatable which would take us ashore.

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The first place to visit was the whalers’ cemetery where there are sixty-four graves.

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The most visited and photographed of these is, of course, that of Shackleton himself, who used Grytviken when planning the rescue of his crew from the ill-fated ‘Endurance’ in 1915.  His body was returned to South Georgia at his widow’s request after he died from a heart attack whilst at sea in 1922, and he was laid to rest in his favourite place on earth, Antarctica. The back of this simple granite column is engraved with a quote from his best-loved poet, Robert Browning, “I hold that man should strive to the uttermost for his life’s set prize.”

Source: Last Resting Place Of A Great Explorer

Related Posts

Never Smile at a Crocodile

I met Barb Taub through the Happy Meerkatreviews who gave permission to publish their review of Barb Taub’s book, Do Not Wash Hands in Plates, on my other blog, Always Write.  After you have a taste of Barb’s writing style here, you will want to visit her blog and buy her book. She is not only talented and funny, she’s extremely personable.

Never Smile at a Crocodile

by Barb Taub

“Never smile at a crocodile
No, you can’t get friendly with a crocodile
Don’t be taken in by his welcome grin
He’s imagining how well you’d fit within his skin”—Music by Frank Churchill and lyrics by Jack Lawrence for Peter Pan, 1953

screen-shot-2017-01-28-at-00-11-26Our driver—I’ll just call him S for reasons to be revealed in their own post once I’ve calmed down and stopped kissing the ground—wanted an early start to get clear of Bangalore before the real traffic hit. Jaya, who never met an early start she didn’t love, wanted us to be out the door by six. Janine and I just wanted to get horizontal and sleep through the alarm and possibly the next day or two. But after knowing each other for more than forty years, the three of us have worked out a foolproof approach to travel: we do what Jaya tells us. It’s simple, requires absolutely no effort on our part, and it works. Always. We left at six.

Most perfect breakfast ever at Kamat Restaurant on road from Bangalore to Mysore. [Image credit: this and all photos (c) Jayalakshmi Ayyer & Janine Smith, 2017. All rights reserved.]

Most perfect breakfast ever at Kamat Restaurant on road from Bangalore to Mysore. NOTE: Jaya and I had eaten most of the jelabi before Janine got the breakfast picture, so we had to order another plate. I still haven’t come up with a reasonable explanation for that third jelabi order…
[Image credit: this and all photos (c) Jayalakshmi Ayyer & Janine Smith, 2017. All rights reserved.]

We’d only been on the road long enough to get clear of Bangalore before pulling into Kamat, a beautiful roadside restaurant with open-air pavilions sheltering under trees. The hostess sized us up and informed us that we wanted the full buffet. Jaya sized up the line of people waiting, and informed her that we’d be ordering a la carte. Surprisingly quickly, our food appeared and my tastebuds fell in love. There might be a better breakfast than a deep-fried spicy donut vada served up on a fresh banana leaf, followed by the slightly tangy sweetness of glistening lace-swirled jelabi, and accompanied by coffee as the day brightens under the trees. But if so, I haven’t had it yet.

On the road again, we headed for Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary north of Mysore. We’d barely cleared the entry when all three of us yelled “STOP!” Driver S reluctantly pulled over and the three of us piled out on our respective quests. Jaya had seen a tiny bird who needed spotting. Janine had seen a statue of Shiva in midstream which needed photographing. I’d seen a herd of goats scrambling over rocks and banks which needed to be amateurishly captured on my phone camera.

Entry to bird sanctuary. Or, in our case, the first stop.

Entry to bird sanctuary. Or, in our case, the first stop.

Lord Shiva (or stop #2)

Lord Shiva keeping watch from midstream (the second stop.)

kingfisher-at-bird-sanctuary

Kingfisher on waterlily. (Stop 3)

— Goats. Because, you know—goats. (Stop 4)

After a few more stops, we finally made it to the ticket booth. Of course, being India, the fees for foreigners (300 rupees) were five times the charges for residents (60 rupees).

Our entry fees duly paid, we wandered down to the water where we found rowboats waiting to take us on a tour of the sanctuary—at an additional fee-times-five for foreigners, of course. As the boat moved away from the dock, the ranger/rower pointed at a log and said a number of words, one of which sounded suspiciously like “crocodile“. I was just begging Jaya to tell me that meant large toothless bird in the local dialect when the log we were approaching opened one eye and grinned at us. I felt my need to view any more birds decrease with each stroke of the oars.

never-smile-crocodile-at-bird-sanctuaryThe family behind us had no such doubts. As the smallest kid ran back and forth rocking the boat, the father laughed, the middle kid demanded to know if that was a real crocodile, and the mother told him, “Why don’t you stick your hand in the water and see what happens?” I can only suppose either she thought her three kids were one too many, or they had started their vacation with several additional kids and were still winnowing the numbers down to acceptable odds.

Spoonbills performing amazing highwire balancing acts

Spoonbills performing amazing highwire balancing acts

I assume there were birds and bats around, but frankly, I was too busy watching for crocodiles to pay attention. I counted sixteen. No, seriously. Sixteen crocodiles that I could spot. But that might not have included stealth crocodiles lurking under the boat waiting for that kid to stick his hand in. I’ve seen Jaws

Several trees were home to flocks of large birds including egrets, storks, and heron. There was even a tree full of bats. But I was too busy measuring the distance back to the dock—and wondering if I could make it while the crocodiles chowed down on that kid with his hand in the water—to really pay attention so there could have been lots more bird-related activity going on.

img_0913-animation

Painted storks and spoonbills

Actually, I do know that there were flocks of amazing birds and things out there because Jaya and Janine are made of much sterner stuff, and they happily snapped away several photos which I saw after we made it back to the docks about a year and a half later (ten minutes by my phone clock).

But I was too busy trying to put distance between us and those crocodiles, and explaining to Jaya that the sign she just noticed for an even longer tour of the croc-infested lake was a mistake and should be ignored at all costs.

flyover-crocodile

Birds? Who notices birds where there are at least 16 CROCODILES waiting to chow down on chubby foreign tourists?

And that was just our morning. Wait until you hear what happened in the afternoon!

Author Bio from Amazon

Wash Hands
Author Barb Taub

In a former life before children in need of luxuries like food and college, Barb Taub wrote a humor column for several Midwest newspapers. When Child #4 joined her research staff, she veered toward the dark side and a career in human resources. Now an expat living in one corner of a castle with her prince-of-a-guy and the world’s most spoiled AussieDog, she enjoys travel, translating from British to American, and collaborating with her daughter Hannah on the Null City series.

Related Posts

Hilarious Book – Do Not Wash Hands in Plates

Source: Never smile at a crocodile #travel #humor #India

How to Eat Meat Pies at Sovereign Hill in Ballarat

Friday Food Challenge  Australia Trip #8

Aussie Meat Pies

Mrs. ET and I headed across the plains of Victoria from Melbourne, AU to Ballarat by train. Seventy-five minutes later, we coasted into the station surveying the historic town of Ballarat. Her niece and sister-in-law picked us up and the adventures began.

Aussie Meat Pies

The main interest was Sovereign Hill. Replicating the Australian Gold Rush in the 1850s, reenactors peppered Sovereign Hill with authenticity. There were miners, majors, mothers, and bakers making meat pies.

Aussie meat pie“Have you ever had a meat pie?” Carol asked.

“Of course,” I answered like an Aussie know-it-all.

Only I did not know that the Aussie definition of a meat pie was so different than an American Meat Pie.

Carol could not wait to get her hands on an authentic Sovereign sausage roll, and told me I had to eat a meat pie or my life would not be complete.

“Where are the carrots, peas, and potatoes?”

“What part of meat pie didn’t you get, Marsha?”

“This looks like hamburger, not roast beef.”

“It’s minced meat pie. Try it.”

Remembering back to Christmas more than 50 years ago, I recalled my great-grandmother’s minced meat pie. It was a sweet spicy pie filled with chewy brown stuff called “mincemeat.” I did not think I wanted to try that again.

“Is it beef?”

“Yes, but minced meat can be beef, turkey, pork or any meat. It’s minced MEAT, Marsha.” (They sure are dense in the US, I could hear her thinking.)

I explained about mincemeat as best as my 60-year old memory of it would allow.

“It’s meat, Marsha. It’s not sweet.” Carol urged.

Aussie Meat Pie
Aussie Meat Pie

I gave in. I opened it and sure enough, it looked like hamburger.

“You’re not supposed to open it,” Carol admonished me sternly. “Put the top back on and put tomato sauce on it.”

“It’s too hot. I’ll burn my mouth!”

Oh no, I thought, catsup. Now it sounds like Mom’s meatloaf. That was awful! I can’t do this. What am I going to do now?

“You’re ruining it!” Carol said. “You’ve got to put tomato sauce on it!” She sounded frantic for me to do it right to get the full effect of the Aussie meat pie. I was frantic, too.

“Carol, I can’t put catsup on the top. How am I going to eat it? I’ll have catsup all over my hands and face and who knows what else.”

Carol was disgusted with me. I could tell by her sigh. “It’s not catsup. It’s tomato sauce anyway. You’re not doing it the Aussie (pronounced AUZZY) way. But go ahead JUST TRY IT!”

Gingerly I took a bite without catsup. It was different. I could not identify the flavor, though. Basically, it tasted somewhat like hamburger. The pie crust was flaky. The meat was meaty. I was hungry. The whole thing was gone in five minutes.

Thank you, Carol, Kate, Mandy, and Paul for such wonderful day at Sovereign Hill. I’ll have more to share about our amazing experiences in later posts.

Remembering Ballarat at Home

When I got home, I thought I would make some Aussie meat pies for Vince. I made my own pie crust, which was a mistake because I did not have eggs, and I like eggs and vinegar in my pie crust.

Rolling it out I soon realized that I did not make enough pie crust for two pies. I made another crust. Piecing it all together, I pinched it around the top and thought it looked good OK.

For the meat filling, I followed the recipe below – sort of.

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/8984/aussie+meat+pies

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large brown onion, finely chopped
  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • 3/4 cup Campbell’s Real Stock Beef
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Vegemite
  • 2 sheets frozen shortcrust pastry, thawed
  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg, beaten

Since I did not have real stock beef, I used brown gravy mix. I did not use enough water. Also, I was missing Vegemite. OH WELL! Carol gave me some of that on a piece of bread at her house. It’s nutritious.

Proudly I baked the pies. Neither Vince nor I remembered to take a before picture. Vince asked about catsup to put on top.

“What’s the date on that bottle of catsup?” Vince asked as I retrieved the nearly empty bottle from the refrigerator.

“Um, January 2013. It’s fine.”

He did not use catsup either.

Here is Vince’s meat pie after picture.

meat pie
Marsha’s version of meat pie

I am not sure whether or not he liked it. Maybe if I had put vegemite in it.

It’s been in the refrigerator several days now. Carol would not let things like this go to waste. She was a fabulous cook and so efficient. I don’t think Carol would ever substitute things in a recipe. I wonder if I will ever learn?

Have you ever experimented before, and been a little sorry about the results?

Related Posts on Australia

Upcoming Food Blogger Conference

2017 International Food Blogger Conference in Sacramento
2017 International Food Blogger Conference in Sacramento

2017 International Food Blogger Conference in Sacramento 

 

Thursday Doors: Painted Ladies

Featured Guest Blogger K.L. Allendoerfer

K.L is a neuroscientist, educator, geocacher, Unitarian-Universalist, amateur violinist, and parent. She has always been fascinated by how people’s brains learn, and especially why this process is easier and more fun for some brains than others. This led her to get a PhD in Neuroscience, work in biotech, and then become a science educator and writer. She is from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Painted Ladies

Most people seem to know these houses because they were in a show that I never watched. I found out about them through geocaching. My family and I went into San Francisco for New Year’s Day and one of our first stops was this virtual geocache.

Virtual caches are a special kind of geocache that doesn’t involve finding an actual container. Instead, you go to the coordinates posted on the site and answer some questions about what you find there, and maybe post a picture of yourself at the location.

In this case, the cache site was in Alamo Square Park, across from the houses but affording a good view (Alamo Square Park is also, I learned, the place where the family in the show I never watched had a picnic in the opening credits).

To read the rest of the article click the link: Thursday Doors: Painted Ladies. Thank you, K. L. Allendoerfer for allowing me to publish your post.

For more of Norm’s 2.0 posts on Doors click the link.

For additional Photo Challenges, click the link.

Rejection: the Ultimate Teacher – Guest Post by author Tina Frisco…

Here is a great post by my new friend Tina Frisco, published by my long-time friend Chris Graham. Thanks for sharing about this topic of rejection, Tina.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

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Image courtesy of Lucie Stastkova

LuSt 4 ART

Rejection comes in many forms, from many places, and is very painful. What makes rejection so devastating? What causes us to react in a particular way? How can we use rejection to our advantage?

On a purely instinctual level, rejection threatens to extinguish our life force by depriving us of vital nourishment. No being can truly thrive without some measure of love and acceptance.

Rejection devastates when we attach our personal worth to someone or something outside of ourselves. Feeling worthy only when liked and accepted by those with whom we engage sets the stage for rejection.

When feeling disliked or ignored by another, it’s wise to step back and view that person’s behavior as a mirror our own subconscious. Often the things we don’t like in ourselves are reflected back to us by others, giving us an opportunity to examine what…

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How Do You Use the Bathroom in Australia?

Cee’s Oddball Photo Challenge #Australia Trip #4 #lovemelbourne #viewintheloo #dontstallinthestall

Warning: Content May Be Offensive to Some

If you have been in a bathroom in the United States, you have been assaulted by graffiti, someone loves someone else, maybe even phone numbers.

Australia is different. Or if you are Australian, my thinking is a bit skewed. Or maybe my thinking IS a bit skewed. You can decide that after you read.

The “loo” is clean. Australians cures for graffiti by covering the door with instructions.

Seriously or Australian Humor?

I expected to have language difficulties when I came to Australia. However, I thought I would understand icons and instruction drawings.

Wrong.

This poster appears in several bathrooms around Australia. This one accosted me in the airport as soon as I deplaned in Brisbane, Queensland.

Don't Stall in the Stall
View in the Loo or Don’t Stall in the Stall

“Who stands on a toilet?” I thought. “Is she hiding from someone? Is she exercising – NEXT TO THE TOILET? There must be a better place to do that! What’s up with this? Eeew! I’d almost rather read graffiti.”

Apparently, there is a problem with newcomers to Australia not understanding how to use a flush toilet, so the government solved the problem with these iconic drawings.

OK, I was not expecting that, but things are different in Australia just as they would be in any country.

But I became guarded about using the loo.

A few days later I went to Healesville Sanctuary to see the native animals. The Sanctuary is environmentally conscientious. I found this sign.

View in the Loo
View in the Loo

So, I wondered, “How in the world the Sanctuary recycled their toilet paper. How does that even work? How could they ever make enough paper to offer it for sale? I was sure I did not want to use it! Notice the paper is brown. Yikes!”

I asked my friends, Leanne Cole and the Eternal Traveller and their friends about it. They did not understand my problem.

I thought it was CLEAR! Crystal Clear! Gross, but clear.

They thought I was “bit of a nutter.”

Finally, Mrs. ET figured it out.

“Companies turn recycled paper into toilet paper. The Sanctuary want everyone to use fewer trees and use recycled toilet paper. They don’t recycle the toilet paper used here.”

You read the sign. It’s ambiguous, right? Suzanna agreed with me. The story got around, and several people including my hubby who came up with some solutions to recycling toilet paper.

Hopefully, you can’t think of any. For more oddball pictures click here.

view in the loo

 Recent Australia Posts

Additional Posts

The Eternal Traveller’s posts

Leanne’s Posts

A Wandering Memory’s Posts

 

Fun Flying from Melbourne to Toowoomba

Fun Foto Big and SmallTuesdays of Texture #loveMelbourne #loveToowoomba #loveAustralia

Australia Travel Series #3

Window Seat Carol’s Sacrifice

Mrs. ET and I flew from Melbourne to Toowoomba on Australia’s Air North. She suggested that I take the window seat. It was a short trip. I would not have to crawl over anyone during the duration. I thanked her, sat down, and buckled up as instructed. As we taxied, I watched the shadow of the plane.

flying high
The plane on the ground created a large shadow

The shadow did not stay large very long!

I do not like to kill birds, but I am proverbially killing two birds with one stone because there are two photo challenges I can do at once with these photos. And I love photo challenges.

In addition to size changes, there are several visible textures. The smooth metal plane, hard concrete, soft green grass, and prickly brown stubbles create a Tuesdays of Texture treat.

flying high
Barely off the ground

But we kept looking. Textures are mellowing out as the shadow continues. The landing gear is still visible, but not for long.

flying-high-in-2017103

Seconds after take-off, the landing gear clicked into place and our shadow streamlined away from the Tullamarine Airport (Melbourne to me). Carol shared that we would be flying into the new Brisbane-West Wellcamp Airport. The airport is located in Toowoomba, Queensland a city of about 120,000.

flying high
Can you still see it?

The plane crossed the highway below the dark rectangle (a parking lot in the middle of farmland???) That represents another change of texture.

The Story of the Brisbane-West Wellcamp Airport

The city of Toowoomba, Queensland has a new privately built airport. The airport is inappropriately named Brisbane-West Wellcamp. Wellcamp had a population of 302 in 2011. Not 302,000, just 302. Brisbane, with a population of 2 million is a two-hour drive from Toowoomba.

This distance might create a problem for bargain hunter travelers who do not know the area. Unknowing travelers might think that would be an alternative airport to Brisbane International find themselves a little farther out-of-town than they planned.

The joke at the time of naming the airport was, “Why not name it Cairns South?” Cairns is a large town north of Toowoomba in the state of Queensland. Never mind that it is an 18 hours drive from Toowoomba. Or maybe they should call the airport Perth-East, a mere 44-hour drive.

Who knows the minds of governments or airport namers?

I hope you enjoyed the shadowy flight of our ride into Brisbane-West Wellcamp.

To see more Fun Fotos or to take part in the Challenge click here.

CFFC runs weekly challenge starting every Tuesday.
CFFC runs weekly challenge starting every Tuesday.

For those who prefer Textures, try this link. This my first time to participate in the texture party.

Photo Challenges Help Bloggers

  1. Photo Challenges Online
  2. Better Blogging with Photography
  3. Australian Gold Rush Australia Travel Series #1
  4. Melbourne’s Walk in the Park Tour: Treasury Gardens  #2

     

Things I Learned Traveling Around Australia

Carol, the Eternal Traveller, travels incessantly. I think this is one of her funniest posts. In Melbourne I carried around the backpack you will see. It did not look like this! 🙂

Things I Learned

by the Eternal Traveller

Round Australia Road Trip #33

When doing something completely different from your usual way of life, there are certain to be some moments of self-discovery; travelling vast distances with a caravan for seven weeks around our amazing country revealed some new aspects of my character. Here are ten things I learned about myself on the Round Australia Road Trip.

1. I enjoy flying – but only in big planes. Our flight over the Bungle Bungles was in a 6 seater Cessna C10 and our very enthusiastic pilot Sam made sure we all got the best possible view …

Source: Things I Learned

Please take a second to visit Carol’s blog. Be sure to leave a comment. Tell her I said hi! 🙂