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I recently had a very intellectual debate with myself about the whole phenomenon known as tipping. Now, I’ve always believed that tipping should be done when service is over and above what might “normally” be expected. Except, of course, restaurant servers, I tip them regardless of their service because I know that they only get paid like $2 an hour and they rely on tips to even make a living. And that is where I run into a problem. (more…)

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Over the past few weeks I’ve been introducing you to the main players in my upcoming release On Common Ground. In case you haven’t seen it yet, here is the cover.

On Common Ground cover

I don’t know about you, but I love it!

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How many of you have ever found yourself in a situation where you have to walk with the masses, maybe with your elbows squeezed against your sides so don’t accidentally hook arms, bump elbows or whatnot?

woman raising hand 2

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I have a love/hate relationship with technology. When electronics work, they’re awesome. When they don’t work, they suck. I try to troubleshoot on my own but the only thing I gain by doing this is a headache. I’m easily frustrated when it comes to technology.

steam from ears

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I live in Vicksburg, Mississippi, a river town with a colorful and violent history. For 47 days Vicksburg was under siege by the Federal Army, completely surrounded and cut off from the outside world. Many people lost their lives fighting for a cause they believed in. (more…)

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It’s been a busy week and I’ve been lax in getting my blog ready to post. I’ve been steadily forging through a jungle of edits on my manuscript and am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

jungle

So, in lieu of actually writing something witty and clever this week, I’ve decided to take the easy way out.

For those of you thinking of visiting the Baer House, I hope this virtual tour sways you to actually book a room. For those of you who can’t visit for awhile, enjoy this virtual tour for now, to whet your appetite for good things to come later.

For those of you who never plan on coming to Vicksburg ever, here’s what you’re missing.

Enjoy!

Shop Main Street video

I’m curious to know where you all spent your spring break, Easter, etc. Leave me a comment so I can be jealous.

Until next week, stay safe and be happy.

Word of the day: Facies

Fun fact about me: I have never ever used my words of the day in a sentence.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, March 2016. Video by LLC ShopMainStreets.com/MainStreetTrail.com

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I’m a writer. Writer’s tend to be overly creative people. We have overactive imaginations. We think differently than others. We see the world from a different perspective. We hate math.

math problem

Did you just shutter at the graphic? Did your eyes glaze over? Did you automatically say “24” after the first line because the multiplication tables were drilled into your head in the 5th grade? Well, you might be a creative person.

It’s no surprise. A lot of folks are creative. For instance, musicians, actors, artists, all rely heavily on the right sides of their brain. It’s the left-brainers you have to worry about. But sometimes I have to wonder, should we limit the extent of our creativity? I know that goes against the whole premise of this blog (“Where imagination abounds, nothing is impossible”), but hear me out. Consider these wacky inventions, then I’ll ask the question again:

What is the purpose of this? So a blind person knows where to hold the glass?

weird invention 9

 Pizza cutters not trendy any longer; we now need scissors? And who even eats a slice of pizza this small?

weird invention 8

 Here’s the answer to sweaty palms. (Jenny Hansen at More Cowbell has probably known about these for years.)

weird invention 6

 Wanna see who’s following you, but don’t want to turn around?

weird invention 5

 All the tables at your favorite restaurant full? No worries, just sit yourself down and order up. (I’d avoid the soup.)

weird invention 4

 I call this one – the Nap Lap.

weird invention 3

 Tired of messing up your whole face with that damned lipstick? Here’s the answer you’ve been looking for.

weird invention 1

And my personal favorite:

Are you a busy mom but worry about setting your baby down on the dirty ground in order to get those dreaded chores done? Well, here’s the product for you.

weird invention 7

I’ve got to admit, that last one is genius. (Does that make me a bad person?) But seriously, how can anybody holding a baby properly wash their hands after using the restroom? I’m sure this invention was created by a man; I’m just sure of it.

And so folks, after seeing just a minuscule display of the wacky stuff that people “create,” do you want to change your answer? Should creativity have limits? Or do you agree with me, that maybe we should just put a boundary restriction on inventors. Yeah, that’s it.

What’s the craziest invention you’ve come across? Have you ever purchased something “clever” to make your life easier? Do you want any of the above items for yourself? Hey, I won’t judge.

Word of the Day: Guipure

Fun fact about me:  I love starfruit.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, April 2015. Photos courtesy Google Images.

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Being a home owner is not all it’s cracked up to be. Oh sure, you get the tax credits and you actually have something to show for your payments, unlike rent or lease payments, but, you also get the headaches that come along with home ownership.

My husband and I have been putting some money into our home lately, getting it all dolled up and fixing some little things that have been bugging us since we moved in. We bought our house about 2 years ago and it was sort of a fixer-upper, although it was certainly cozy enough to live comfortably in. And please don’t get me wrong, I am ever so grateful that I have a warm safe place to lay my head each night. And I have a Deed with my name on it. That’s worth something.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

But, owning a home is a little like owning a boat; if you have a boat, you’re fixing a boat. I’m a former boat owner, so I know. Anyone who’s ever owned a boat can attest to that statement.

So, we started doing some improvements to our house and each and every time we finished a project, we became painfully aware of something else that needs improving upon.

It goes sort of like this: When we purchased the house it had REALLY dated and ugly pink “fixtures” in the bathroom. That’s right, we had a pink jetted tub (how awesome is that?) and a pink commode with — a white seat and lid. I didn’t even know anyone on this planet manufactured pink toilets, but there it was in the bathroom of our new home. For 2 years we’ve lived with this horrendous monstrosity of a bathroom.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Well folks, no more. That’s right, we invested in a shiny new toilet — almond colored — and had the bathtub and previously white sink painted to match. Holy smokes, what an improvement! No more pink bathroom. How we marveled at the difference. For exactly fifteen minutes. That’s how long it took us to notice how stained and ugly the faucets were. We’d never paid much attention to the faucets before because we were too distracted by the pinkness of the “fixtures” surrounding the faucets. Now we need new faucets.

Then, we wanted to patch a small spot on the bathroom ceiling that hadn’t been properly fixed at some point in the past. It’s always sort of bugged us and we’ve always talked about getting that eye sore fixed. We had after all just improved the bathroom tremendously, might as well do it all the way. And so the time had finally come, we’d had enough of looking at that ugly spot and decided to fix it.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

We plastered and taped and mudded it all up, waited for it to dry, then slathered a thick coat of paint on it. Awesome! It looks fabulous!

We enjoyed the amazing ceiling for exactly two days. That’s when we noticed how ugly and mucked up the light fixture is. Now, whenever we’re in the bathroom, all we see is the ugly and dirty light fixture. How could we not have noticed that before?

We should probably replace the light fixture now that the ceiling is so awesome, but I’m afraid that once we replace the light fixture, we’ll discover how grossly horrible the floor is. Or the cabinets. Or the countertop. So my friends, the light stays. Enough is enough.

I wish I could say the final product looks like this now:

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

but alas, it does not. Let’s just say, it’s a hundred times better than it was, ugly light and all.

And on and on it goes. The perpetual wheel of improving then noticing something else that needs improving. It’s a vicious and never-ending cycle. I suggest you never start in the first place. Save yourself the headache.

What’s your perpetual wheel of home improvement projects? Please share. I’d love to commiserate. Have you ever seen a pink toilet or bathed in a pink jetted tub?

Word of the Day: Cathexis

Fun fact about me: I’m much better at paining walls than I am at painting pictures.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, March 2015. Photos courtesy Google Images.

 

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Image courtesy Google Images

Image courtesy Google Images

Writers face grammatical and punctuation challenges every day. It’s not easy being a writer especially in this age of text messaging and tweeting. We are constantly faced with having to make decisions that could make or break the next great American novel. Or simply what is the best way to reply to a text. I mean seriously, what writer doesn’t feel this way?

Image courtesy Google Images

Image courtesy Google Images

And there are choices like: lie, lay, lain, laid; who or whom, effect or affect that must be made, sometimes at warp speed in order to keep with our rhythm to meet today’s word count. Have you ever looked up the definitions of these words? I have and I still don’t know how to use some of them properly. Countless books are available to help navigate through the English language and yet, misused words and phrases end up strewn across our pages every day.

While wasting time yet still attempting to look busy researching this topic, I came across this video, which helped me realize that our efforts as writers to “get it right,” are not in vain. People notice and people care. Please enjoy this writing advice from the great Weird Al Yankovic.

Who knew Mr. Yankovic was such a grammar snob? And now is your chance to share your writing secrets, grammar woes, or comments about anything you wish to share. Don’t be bashful.

Word of the Day: Audiencia

Fun Fact About Me: I have a tendency to write really long sentences.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, February 2015. Video courtesy YouTube and “Weird Al” Yankovic.

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So it’s another year. A new beginning. Out with the old, in with the new. Sometimes letting go of the old stuff is hard. Sometimes not. As some of you know, in December I wrapped up my second year as President of my local writer’s group. It was a challenging yet rewarding period in my life. I learned a lot. But now, it’s time to turn over the reins to a new leader. I’m going to be honest here, I’m ready to hand over the tiara and the scepter.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Some of you are probably all too aware of the challenges associated with leading a group of volunteers all of whom are already over-worked in other areas of their lives. It is, after all, usually the busiest people who volunteer to take on yet more responsibility. If not for these willing souls, however, many things would simply not happen. Until you’ve volunteered or filled in for someone in a volunteer capacity, it is hard to understand what that person experiences. Volunteering is not for everyone, but it certainly enriches our lives when we do it.

Image courtesy Google Images.

Image courtesy Google Images.

So as we move forward with 2015, I wish the best of luck to our new leadership team at the Sacramento Valley chapter of RWA and look forward to learning and growing by your example. I offer my continued support and bow humbly at your feet for stepping up to the plate.

Have you ever volunteered? Did you learn from that experience? Did you regret your decision to help out?

Word of the Day:  Xiphoid

Fun fact about me: I don’t volunteer because I have the time; I volunteer because I have the heart.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, January 2015. Photos courtesy Google Images.

 

 

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