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They Made Me Do It......I didn't want to Do it ......

Close In On The Cure

Close In On The Cure
fountain at Love Park, Philadelphia, PA turned pink in October for breast cancer awareness

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Benjamin Franklin ~ Famous Quotes ~ What do you think?


Benjamin Franklin, originally uploaded by prudencebrown121.

Benjamin Franklin ~ Famous Quotes ~ What do you think?

Recently I had an opportunity to visit Philadelphia's Franklin Institute. Inspired as always to snap some photos, I was amazed to see a huge statue of Franklin himself sitting in the entry way of the building. I was not amazed it was Franklin who sits at the entrance, because after all it is a building dedicated to the memory of Benjamin Franklin, but amazed at the sheer size and elegance of the statue.

After snapping my photos and doing a little digital shuffling, I realized my memory of American history was not all that it should be, and did a little research on one of our founding fathers.

It is probably a bit disrespectful to wrap up 84 years of a brilliant man's life in a nutshell, but the purpose of this post is dedicated to what I believe to be four of Franklin's greatest quotes, not a biography of the man's life; I believe the historians have already done an excellent job of writing their history on that subject.

So one of so many things American history can boast of, was a man who lived from 1706-1790; he invented the lightning rod, bifocals, and I'm sure there are many of you out there cursing him for that invention; the Franklin stove and odometers. He formed the first public lending library and fire department in Pennsylvania. He is noted for many other scientific and historical contributions, but as I mentioned earlier this is the encapsulated version of a great man's life.

The following is a list of my favorite quotes of Benjamin Franklin ~ what do you think?

"An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest".

"Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight".

"Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at a tempting moment".

and my very favorite:

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write something worth reading or do things worth the writing".

Benjamin Franklin, sir ~ thank you and anyone for kite flying? :O)

Full of Soup's Split Pea with Pistachio Soup

Fall has long been my favorite season and never more so than when everyone would venture home from the lazy hazy days of summer to Full of Soup's soup kitchen at The Bellevue Hotel.

The chef Jeff Davis, never without creativity and invention had everyone talking with his creation of Split Pea with Pistachio soup. Forever we had folks requesting a recipe for the soup ~ well here goes!

Split Pea with Pistachio soup

what you need ~

8 quart stock pot
1 bag Split Peas
3 14oz cans vegetable stock
3 14oz cans water
1 medium size onion chopped
3 medium size fresh garlic cloves
juice of one half fresh lemon
one half jar chunky peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon fresh ginger
2 generous tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
roughly 1/4 lb finely ground pistachios (possibly less depending on preference)
dash of hot sauce to taste

what you will do ~

saute garlic and onion in olive oil until golden brown.
add washed split peas and three cans of vegetable stock and three cans of water; bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and let cook.
add juice of 1/2 lemon, thyme, ginger, salt, pepper, brown sugar. add peanut butter and stir until peanut butter is dissolved. continue to cook and when peas are almost soft add dash of hot sauce and finely chopped pistachios. continue cooking until peas are completely soft.

puree to a smooth consistency or leave as is.
garnish with finely chopped tomato

Bonn Appetite! :O)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

Floral Fantasy

Just wanted to post a few words about Floral Fantasy. It often seems when I set my schedule for a photo shoot the most unusual events occur and I never arrive home with what I expected on my memory card. On one of the few remaining hot days of the summer last week and with not much time, I set off to photograph the neighbors blood red foxgloves. Every morning I admire these foxgloves as my eager beagle runs me through the neighborhood on my early morning daily walk. So last week I grabbed the Nikon and set off to do a few macro shots. What I did not expect to find upon my arrival of the neighbors foxgloves however, was a half dozen or so yellow jackets engaged in what seemed to be a United Nations gathering of bee colonies. I stood there in amazement never expecting to have my afternoon plans altered by several of mother nature's most annoying creatures.

Now many photographers actually would see this as an excellent opportunity for a few amazing macro photos; you know those photos where the insect legs are so large and hairy they look like they could use a good shave, or the sort of macro photo where the eyes protrude as if they are giant marbles, the kind that are so large and scary they resemble a UFO. Well, let me just say I am not one of those photographers. Given that one must get within two to three inches of their subject to take a good macro shot, I just can not bring myself to cozy up with my Nikon reversal macro ring two to three inches from an afternoon gathering of yellow jackets.

This brings me to today's photo post Floral Fantasy. After doing the doge and weave dance with the yellow jackets who were not happy enough to only annoy me with their afternoon infestation of my photoing foxgloves, I moved to photo a few autumn colored inpatients; the problem was my new friends the bees moved to the liriope, which of course were next to the inpatients. This left me, dare I say rather impatient! So what was left ~ nothing but the marigolds, several generic leaves and an unidentifiable pink flower, at least it was an unidentifiable pink flower to me.

Not wanting to end my day in frustration and despair, I decided to snap a triple exposure of the three non bee visited perennials, the marigold, one of the many green leaves and the unidentifiable pink flower. The triple exposure of the three is the base of this photo. I then did an overlay with the help of Picasa and the computer and the top photo is a single exposure of the pink flower.

Maybe if someone is reading they might want to identify the unidentifiable pink flower and the bees ~ well they are resting peacefully this evening discussing where to follow me next.

Floral Fantasy

 
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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sharing Spaces, Sharing Places

 
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A Tribute to Mom

I believe that one day when I turn on the computer, go to my favorites and click on the link to The New Life blog , one day I will have several hundred followers. I believe this not because I am positive, not because it will most likely happen, not because I am a fabulous and gifted writer, I believe this because my mother, the most avid and probably only reader of my blog says so.

I may complain about many things in life and often do, but one thing I could never complain about are my parents, but for the purpose of today's post I will concentrate on my mother.

Mothers come in all psychological shapes and sizes. There are the ones that hate the boyfriends you love, and love the boyfriends you hate, the ones that love and admire your style of dress and the ones that criticise the latest of chic trends, the ones that whatever you do is ok, because you are the most magnificent and gifted child on earth and the ones that whatever you do is wrong; because you are incapable of making an intelligent decision; and then there are the ones that fall somewhere in the middle, the ones that admit they are just trying to be the best parent they can.

In the beginning it was hard. I was an only child who went to a private school and was the youngest and smallest in my class. Having one of those birthdays that falls at the end of the year I started school early and had a difficult time with reading and math. I quickly fell behind and suffered the feelings of inadequacy at an early age; but my mother, always on top of my every move, never missing a moment, noticed my failings and escorted me from teacher, to tutor, to counselor, to therapist to whoever would listen and help. When I felt inadequate due to poor grades, she would send me to my father for review of English and she would work on math; she'd say - just keep trying. If you can't do anything else in life, you can keep trying ~ look at Abraham Lincoln she would say. When I worried I was so small and skinny she would say good things come in small packages.

Recently I watched the funeral of Ted Kennedy and was struck by the story his son told of the time his father left money for a guest room attendant in a hotel room. His son, paraphrasing Kennedy's words said you have to tend to allot of rooms to make a living, they need a little extra.Well my mother not necessarily the biggest fan of Ted Kennedy, and a self-proclaimed Republican, but who I secretly believe to be a closeted and disguised Democrat has always exemplified this principal. Whether it be a waitron at a restaurant, or a boyfriend with a problem, or a criminal with a horrid past, or a lost or abused animal, everyone with my mother gets at least one chance and maybe a second and possibly even a third. There is rarely a judgement passed and always a little extra kindness, consideration and listening to go around, along with some good old fashioned motherly advice.

Now don't get me wrong not every one is perfect and we all make mistakes and have disagreements, but if you have a problem and need to wake someone up at 3 or 4 in the morning to discuss it, that person would be my mother. There has never been a time, in all of my years of life on this planet, that I could not wake my mother, at whatever time of the day or night and know unequivocally that she would not only listen to me, but would be interested in what I had to say. Now honestly, how many people do you know like that . We may disagree on politics, or religion, or the confeit on a dinner plate, but she is always willing to listen, debate and learn and above all she is always willing to lend a helping hand!

Now that I have been unemployed for four months and dilligently writing the blog, photoing as I go, I know that with each day that passes, there will be my mother reading each entry, looking at each photo, telling me what a wonderful writer and photographer I am. I try to convince her the only reason she thinks this is because she is my mother, but she insists that I cannot get discouraged, and again, as so many times before, she says look at Abraham Lincoln. When I say I think I will put a paypal account on the blog and I will pay each reader a $1 to read a post she says, the readers will come.

So in ending todays post I just want to say, you only get one set of parents, so whatever you do feed them, water them, drink with them, enjoy them and most of all listen to them; sometimes, actually often times those old folks just may save your sanity!

This one's for you mom! :o)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Feel like an escape?


Does anyone remember?, originally uploaded by prudencebrown121.

Another Day

So yesterday I took a day off. Having problems with my computer and having problems with my brain; not sure which of the two is in more danger of crashing. The computer has a spastic cursor jumping from word to word, line to line which as you can imagine can be quite annoying. I currently have a Dell, but believe the time is here to take the leap to a Mac. The brain, well it is jumping and spastic as well!

In my earnest desire to obtain employment, I set off yesterday again, for the filling out of applications process, but one the way contracted a headache similar to the grand finale of a Broadway musical resonating throughout the caverns of my brain. It is amazing to me that three years after closing Full of Soup, I am still filling out job applications, not that I have been unemployed that long, thank god. First and foremost on each job application I must decide whether or not to mention I was a business owner. It is my experience once owning a successful business for fourteen years is more of a detriment than an asset. If I have to hear one more potential employer tell me I am over qualified or I do not want the job I think I will scream. Do they honestly think if I did not want the job I would be there in the first place? So I keep two applications handy, the truth and the slightly twisted, the one where I am the owner and the one where just in case I will be too over qualified, I am the manager. As the owner of a food business I hired and fired the servers, cashiers and chef, yet prospective employers say I am not experienced enough to work as either. As the owner of a food business I managed 25 employees, dealt with all city agencies such as License and Inspections and the health department, unemployment compensation, sales tax, purchased all equipment, was responsible for the repair and maintenance of all equipment, negotiated all leasing contracts, implemented the menus along with the chef, was responsible for profit and loss and cost analysis ....... yet my prospective employers say I do not have the experience necessary to be a manager or even an assistant manager; why ....because they need to interview and hire the prospect who most closely resembles their job qualifications. Now what exactly do we think that means??

I can't help but wonder is there a patented formula for these jobs? Wanted assistant manager:, must have worked in a food establishment for 1.5 years, must have been buss person for first 6 months, must have graduated to server for 1 year, must have college degree in food/restaurant hospitality from a university that specializes in such ,and must have a burning desire, but not too much desire, must have a 6.5 score on the desire scale, anything above too ambitious, anything below too lackadaisical. Must be like a cow and walk in a line to slaughter. And what makes the person doing the judging correct. Is there a formula for that as well?

This brings me to my favorite slogan "lets think out of the box", how are we thinking out of the box, we just talk about it, do we really do it? Maybe, just maybe if an employer sees someone a little different, a little out of the ordinary, they may just want to give that person a chance. Perhaps different can be good, it can be inspirational, it can be intelligent and witty, different can still be dependable and reliable; but most of all different needs to be investigated rather than dismissed; because lets face it different has changed the world; just look at Einstein. Now there was a man who thought out of the box!

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Faces of Unemployment

Although I'm not quite sure I can match this fellow, facial hair for hair, despite the fact that the older I get it seems there is always something to pluck, pick or shave, I believe after four months of unemployment I may be taking on a strong resemblance to his physique. I try to convince myself that the mirror in all of its brilliant bevelment doesn't necessarily give an accurate reflection of self, but confusion vanishes and truth becomes self-evident when the scale reflects its wicked numerical renderings back at me and I am forced to admit the mirror is as honest as it is reflective.

Always slight of build at 18 years old I was 5'2 and weighed 85 lbs. Happily I consumed large bowls of Mint Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Marshmallow and Rum Raisin ice cream and Tastycakes, the chocolate ones, with the cream in the middle and the vanilla icing with the chocolate stripe down the middle. But twenty years have passed, and a few glasses of red wine, margaritas, a few chips and hundreds of tomato salsa products later the 85 lbs. have multiplied to 110 lbs.

So what's 25 pounds in 20 years you may say; but if we continue to follow the same mathematical sequence, by the time I am 60 I will be 5'2 140 lbs and will not only resemble this fine fellow, but may be mistaken for his sister. The powers that be will take me to slaughter, possibly at a time when political correctness may no longer be revered and there will be no green groups or politicians left to save the older pigs for an elderly pig farm retirement community. All my years of paying into the system will have been for naught. There will be no Social Security or Medicare, only a space for me on an oiled and industrialized slab waiting to be packaged by my new caretaker Oscar Mayer!

No I must keep my lips sealed. I must not reach for those potato chips or that chocolate chip cookie. I must stop convincing myself that one more glass of red wine will lower my cholesterol to that enviable number, whatever it may be. As I continue to look for that job, wherever it may be, I must stop having lunch after each interview. I must drink black tea or coffee rather than a Starbucks Carmel Macchiato at each Internet cafe I visit; and I must skip that cocktail after the ending of each vacuous interview. Yes I will vow to keep control and composure over what enters my lips, but while I do this .....I will most likely post a recipe for Split Pea with Pistachio soup in one of my next posts.

So in closing always remember Bon Appetite and keep those lips sealed! :o)

THe Faces of Unemployment

Saturday, September 19, 2009

It's Live from Saturday Night


The Storm, originally uploaded by prudencebrown121.

.....

And It's Live from Saturday Night ......

This is coming to you live and it is Saturday Night; the main difference is most likely the viewing audience; hard to imagine, but I don't have millions tuning into the blog for their Saturday evening viewing pleasure, at least not yet. Now why might that be; I mean after all look at my line up: first and foremost I am coming to you live from Lansdowne the cosmopolitan capital of the world, or should I say Philadelphia, or maybe Upper Darby, the point is who outside of Philadelphia knows any thing about Lansdowne or even where it is, and lets face it, who really cares. Let's see, Lansdowne is famous for .... what you had to go to the bathroom, sorry you missed it. This evening our guests consist of one adopted, rescued beagle wildly licking her adult blanket, resting in bed, working out a few obsessive compulsive disorders as part of a special psychological package. Our second set of special guests consist of two 75 year old sweet Republican Fox News addicts sleeping soundly in the next room. Is it any wonder I am not on the official Google list of "Blogs of Note"

In my earnest dedication to focus and marriage to the blog, regardless of what night it is, it is time to produce the written word! So here I sit again with the challenge of how to present my life in an exciting, entertaining, thrilling, breathtaking, addictive way to my readers so they will want to read more and more and more and my guess is if I express the beauty of a fall day in Landowne, yawn, it probably isn't going to cut it.

Which brings me to the point of this evenings post which is how to see and appreciate the excitement and beauty of even the most basic and mundane of days. Unfortunately this post will not contain a pattented apocalyptic formula for appreciation and excitement; but when life seems a little dull and a little lifeless and the daily grind seems more than monotonous and it seems you keep trying to make a change and instead you keep chasing that tail of yours in the same direction, well you might want to look to that crazy beagle in your bed with the compulsive blanket licking disorder. Try to understand why the hound is behaving that way and see the humor in it. You may earnestly ask yourself and honestly try to understand why the older Republican folks in the other room posess such an unswerving loyalty to their beliefs. Think about it, isn't there really a lot of humor in the difference between people's political beliefs and can you not obtain so many laughs among the differences. I know it is such a cliche to talk about the beauty of the day, but sometimes just the warmth of the sun, or the smell of a crisp Fall breeze, or a bunch of kids tackling each other in a good football game, well sometimes that is as good as it gets, and you know what, sometimes that is pretty darn good; and if all else fails - take yourself to Miel Patisserie on 17th Street in Philadelphia, PA and grab the sliced asiago cheese, with fresh strawberries, apricots and Dijon mustard on a french baquette. I promise, after you eat one of those your life will seem anything but ordinary.

So in closing tonight I just want to say Bon Appetite and ......it's live from Saturday Night!! :o)

Friday, September 18, 2009

HOUSE OF CARDS


Close in on the Cure, originally uploaded by prudencebrown121.

LOVE PARK

HOUSE OF CARDS

Funny how years go by and while walking down the street of a city of six million you see someone you haven's seen for 15 years, have a brief conversation with them and become filled with inspiration.

I opened my business, Full of Soup in Manayunk, PA on December 24, 1992 in the Manayunk Farmers Market on Main Street; just a few doors down the street was a great store named Pacific Rim owned by Bruce Kravetz which sold imports of funky clothes, jewelry, pottery, etc. I didn't know Bruce at the time, but always stopped by his store, both in Manayunk and on South Street. The business and I were in Manayunk for four years, and over the years I would see Bruce on and off. I'd toss a tilt and nod of the head and a wave of the hand for a hello; nothing more, nothing less.

Fast forward fifteen years and today I'm walking the streets of Philadelphia, in front of Love Park to visit my former chef of Full of Soup and longtime friend Jeff Davis, who is now chefing at the Franklin Institute. Accross the street and in front of the fountain I see these magnificent life size cards, similar to the ones you would see in your basic card deck, only these are much more elaborate, intricate and just plain beautiful, resting and nestling next to each other just like they did when I was a little kid and spent hours building a house of cards. Since I had my film camera with me, which unfortunately only had six pictures remaining, I thought let me get a few pictures of these great cards before I leave the city; but as chance would have it, I got distracted at the Franklin Institute and used up all of my film. On my return trip to the El ~ there were those cards again, so I crossed the street to visit the tourist center on the remote chance they just might have a roll or two of cobwebbed and dusted film lying around, cause let's face it, other than film specialty stores who is still carrying film. Directly in front of the tourist center on a chair sat Bruce Kravetz; well I recognize you I said, I remember you from Manayunk and I remember you he said; we then actually introduced ourselves to each other for the first time officially.

I knew after his business closed he was doing photography work as I had stumbled accidentally upon his web site; today I stumbled accidentally upon his HOUSE OF CARDS and what a pleasant accidental meeting it was. We discussed photography, both digital and film, full frame and medium format, printers, lighting, studios and I felt I had known this person forever. After our conversation which lasted about a half hour we said our goodbyes; I left, and for the rest of the afternoon I didn't feel that overwhelming feeling of angst and nausea which as of late seems to permeate my being expressing itself with those ever repetitive words "you need a job" filtering through the caverns of my brain. I left and I felt inspired, inspired to check out the Epson 4400 printer, inspired to actually think about renting a studio rather than convincing myself it would be a waste of money, inspired to take a chance with some of my more lofty ideas, change the papers, change the materials, be more assertive and ask if the homeless mind if you photograph them. For an afternoon I did not paralyze myself with analysis of if I photograph this or that am I being exploitive. For one sunny afternoon in September I ran into a passing acquaintance who inspired me enough to let me be me.

On October 22, 2009 Bruce Kravetz will display his HOUSE OF CARDS at the Visitors' Center at Love Park in Philadelphia, PA.

The Written Word

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Written Word

I had every intention of sharing a most unusual job interview for today's post, but unfortunately could not copy and paste the video that went with the post, so I will save that for another day when the cybergods are smiling upon me.

Since I have determined I will post daily, the task at hand is determining what to write. I'm not sure why, but it seems most of the best ideas arrive at the most inopportune moments, while in the shower, riding the subway, where the constant noise dissipates a thought the moment it enters your mind, drowned by the chomp, smack and lick of a chicken wing in your ear, or the screaming of a child, or in the middle of someone telling me a story I should be listening to. Then when it actually is time to write, I look at the screen in front of me; sometimes I write and the screen yawns back at me, sometimes it laughs at me, sometimes it says you are ridiculous, forget the idea, go to bed and erase everything you have written and sometimes it says baby you are on a roll, keep on rollin girl.

I can see it will be the posts that don't quite flow that I'm going to need the determination and focus to help forge me ahead to the next post. You see I have spent allot of time reading, studying and analysing these blogs and I really want to have an interesting and informative blog; but unfortunately, I am not traversing through any beautiful and cosmopolitan cities, photoing as I go, or sharing the miracle or birth, or sharing anything that is really quite out of the ordinary. At this current moment in time, I am merely an unemployed, yet decidedly focused and determined woman who is ready and willing and capable to take on the world sharing some everyday experiences just like everyone else.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Daily Grind ~ Focusing

So in my earnest dedication to focus, write and make this blog a productive entity of cyberspace, I take type to screen in day two of my attempt at focus. Now that I am unemployed I spend most of my days looking for a job that I am not sure I necessarily want but need and pursuing the things that I love most; first and foremost photography, and second writing. Between the two, it does seem easier to me to focus on the art of photography. As a person who looks at almost every visual stimuli through the eyes of thoughts and questions - almost everything I set my eyes upon becomes a focus for a photographic lesson and challenge.

After I lost my job of two years on May 30, 2009, which was after I lost my business of fourteen years in 2006 I had some major focusing issues. First as most people are I became obsessed focusing on the basics of living, how to pay the mortgage, car, insurance, food, etc. all of these entrapment's we become encased in. Life as I knew it was falling apart, and after a rather lengthy time of torment, self-doubt, anguish, and depression I was forced to follow what has always been my usual path of salvation during difficult times and that was to jump quickly in to something that I had an interest in, but never had the time to pursue and I signed myself up for a photography class. This has given me the help I need to not only take my mind off of the daily monetary grind, the arduous and daunting task of looking for that job that never seems to knock on the door or ring the cell phone, but has given me a burning passion to get out of bed with a constantly changing look and optimism toward a new day. For just as photography is a visual reflection of life that can be savored and played with and toyed with and changed, so too is life a reflection of your soul that can be played with and toyed with and changed.

So as I end today's post ~ my thought is - in times of stress, doubt and depression, especially in today's economy think of something you have loved for years and have never had the opportunity to pursue; take a leap of faith and go do it; it will open a world of possibilities. Even if you don't see them yet, they are on their way; they have to be; I must believe!! :o)

The Daily Grind

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Portrait of a Torrent Self

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Missing You!

It has been so long since my last post I didn't know if Google would allow me to log on; but when I put in my user name and password and hit enter up came my blog; my blog that is always there, always there for me no matter what, and what a comfort that is, a small sense of comfort in my current otherwise unstable life. It seems a very long time now that things have been uncertain. I closed a business in 2006 that I had owned and operated for over fourteen years, got a job that I lost due to downsizing, was forced to leave my house due to changes in economic conditions and an inability to sell in a challenging real estate market, moved, lost many friends along the way due to logistics of the situation and now am forced with the daunting task of finding a new job, which seems nothing less than an impossibility in this deteriorated job market.

As has always been my motto, when the going gets tough just dig in an work harder; there never seemed to me there wasn't another path to go, or another road to travel and always I just knew with blinding certainty that there was something so magical and wonderful along that new
road. Things seem a little more challenging now though. Could be I'm not 21 any longer, could be I'm missing my business, my life's' challenge, the entity that I jumped out of bed each day to greet like a new lover, could be I'm missing my friends of old, those from the business, those from college, those that have moved away; but whatever it is I simply must continue to find challenge and excitement along this new road or run the risk of being run over on life's highway.

So after feeling blue and uninspired and ignoring the written word for so long, inspiration set in. The same inspiration that blows from the crispness of a fall breeze, a breeze that accompanies the comfort yet trepidation that sneaks in when you realise yet another season has ended, and a new is beginning; and time passes quickly, and you wonder will you ever catch up. After a long slumber my inspiration stirred after a friend took me to see the movie Julie and Julia.

I'm sure the reason I was so inspired and captivated by Julie and Julia was because the movie centered on cooking, which was the basis of my business, having owned a food retail establishment, and as I mentioned earlier was my life's passion; but more than that it forced me to look at other talents, not necessarily those that I have ignored, nor did not know existed, but those that perhaps need like the soil and the flower to be cultivated, watered and fed. It also reinforced the old adage try, try and try again and you will never succeed unless you stick to it ...
So here I am, putting to the written word, as Julie did, my dedication. I do solemnly swear and promise to my readers, whoever you may be and if there are any of you out there that I will write at least something, long or short, fiction or fact and that I will have a focus at some point in the very near future, and I will finish the short story written earlier in the blog and dear God I will find some sort of creative way to earn a living whether it comes from my creative being or from some future employer. These things I do solemnly swear!!!