Monday, December 22, 2008


     We all think of standards at this time of year which are thought of as normal. The economy has changed the usual volume of spending but even the most thrift conscious will most likely put up a Christmas tree, perhaps send out cards, make special holiday treats like cookies, make or buy gifts for loved ones and execute any number of habitual holiday traditions because they wouldn't dream of eliminating these traditions out of their lives.
      This may be the first year of my life that I have seriously pondered why I think these holiday customs are necessary to celebrate Christmas. For many years now I have involved myself in the usual machinations of yuletide customs. The reason I feel this way is because I did something completely different this year. I decided to join in a cantata given mostly in Welsh through the Colorado Welsh Society which I joined back in September. I am only familiarized with this language so it was good to have translations in English readily available. Some songs were familiar and then some of them were completely foreign to me but not to a native Welsh speaker. It certainly did me a world of good because it gave me a whole different perspective.
      If you don't already know this, I am a Christian and I have been most of my life. Quite a few movies and television specials for Christmas have a message that is clearly Christian with the exception of the most recent. In the Charlie Brown Christmas Special that is played every year the consensus of all these children is that it has become too commercialized and it's true that, for the most part, it has been. However, something even worse has happened systematically and without warning: Christmas has become too secularized.
       We, who are Christian, have allowed our most precious holiday to become a buying season, making merry, bribing kids into good behavior with it and partying along with all the rest of the world into an oblivious state of disillusion. According to what I've been reading for years, chronic sufferers of the debilitating mental state of depression plunge back into their old mental state more deeply at this time of year than any other.
       I am writing this as a challenge to all Christians to take our holy day back, start celebrating the real reason why we started this tradition and perhaps we'll see a change in the world we never expected. Maybe atheists will sit up and take notice when we tell them, "I'm celebrating Christmas at church." Buddhists may be surprised when we insist on all references to Santa, reindeer and gift buying to end. As far as lights and decorations go- they're all fine to a point because they cheer us up during a rather dreary time of year. However, I believe a manger scene should be at the front and center of all of them, not done away with because it makes reference to a specific religion. We are celebrating Christmas and I would challenge anyone to say differently. Well, let me put it this way: if we aren't then what exactly are we celebrating?
The Castle Lady, keeping Christ in Christmas this year!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

People Who Need People

     Where do friendships go? Does anyone know why so many friendships end? It has seemed to be an ethereal and elusive commodity in my life and through the years I have had occasion to reflect on past alliances and wondered why they don't exist anymore.
     I have not truly forgotten anyone I have palled around with through my several decades of life and the saddest part is that I cannot say that even 95% of those people are active participants in my life today. I don't know how other people feel about this issue but it truly concerns me and even those who have only briefly touched my life, if I remember them, cause me to wonder how they are doing. Have they solved that problem? Did they follow their dream? If they consciously rejected my friendship, without explanation, I can only sit and ask myself why and more often than not I come up without an answer.
     More recently I have ventured to make up a mental list of people I have come to know well enough to consider friends. Having worked in a service-related field for many years, the bulk of this list would be clients, but this list would also include people I have helped who had temporary or quickly-solved problems. The list also includes people I have attended church with for many years and friendships I have made in passing such as those who I see when I walk in the park each morning. I believe the average person most likely strikes up at least two hundred friendships in their lifetime.
     At one time, starting in my teens, I started writing to pen-pals all over the world. Eventually I had twenty-four pen-pals in twenty different countries. Now the list is about five in five separate countries. I certainly don't remember ever being the one who quit writing. Probably I've written about six times as many letters as I've received. What is most interesting is that these ex-correspondents have no idea how they impacted my life. When I look through their photos, the eyes pierce something in me and I think, "Where in the world are you, now?" I met a few of them through international travel and some I still correspond with and others I do not. A Parisian pen-pal quit writing some months after I met her and dined with her family, visited Versailles with her and her cousin and toured a lot of Montmartre where she lived. We had corresponded for five years before I met her. Why did she stop writing? I may never know.
      All types of reasons can go through your mind. Did this person get offended by something? Did something happen in this person's life that caused him/her to drop out of sight? Did they have to move for political or personal reasons that they could not relate to anyone? Was there a real friendship to begin with or some deception they could not continue? Did the person succumb to envy or hatred?
      Before we start to apply all the superficial reasons for this problem, merely explaining it away, perhaps we should stop and ponder why friendship has come to have so little value in our world today. There is nothing in our friendships that we can take to the bank. Materialistically, if the the friendship is genuine it is a bust. A real friendship doesn't contain a capital gains clause or anything like that if we are honest. 
      Without true, lasting friendships life is impoverished and it can never be what it ought to be if we don't connect to people outside our sphere of experience. Too often we exclude people out of envy, disinterest or wrong assumptions. The other side of this dilemma is that far too many of us value livelihood and material aspects of our lives over people. We don't have to be entrenched in greed so much as the fact that we are essentially a materialistic society. Nearly everyone can get caught up in the 'game' of existence and feel trapped by it.
      Perhaps our most important activity should be to occasionally put away our balanced checkbooks, put the bills aside and try to reassess our values. Your values exist in how you spend your time. Working, shopping, gardening, and watching T.V. are all activities that may not involve other people at all unless we make a point to include someone in those activities.
     In the Bible a verse in Proverbs (18:24) states: A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. According to Chinese philosophy, Plato is my friend but a greater friend is truth. I have felt for most of my life that my best and greatest friend was Jesus Christ. Once I understood the sacrifice he made for me it only made sense to consider him so. I have never had anyone stand up for me and say they would die for me. I have never heard any person say they would take the blame for anything I've done wrong. I have never had anyone say that they would build a house for me that is indestructible which I can live in for the rest of my life. That is, except for one person. His name is Jesus and you can read about him in the Holy Bible. He's my best and greatest friend.
People who need people, need Jesus!
The Castle Lady

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Silence is Golden

    How many times have I stood in a check-out line or window-shopped in a writer's reverie and had the spell broken suddenly by some person loudly yapping a mile a minute to their other self- only to see that they have a cell phone plastered to their head or one of those blue tooth contraptions? More times than I care to think about.
     What is the rudeness level on this bit of nonsense? On a scale of 1 to 10 I'd estimate about an 8 ! I hardly think my right to think quietly in peace should be violated by a cell phone speaker. Who's to say what's more important anyway? I don't care whether they remembered to buy razorblades to shave off that awful beard even if the person on the other end of the conversation does, to tell you the truth. I'm concerned about my next novel, article or story and I don't think it's fair for Mr. Whatshisface to break my concentration.
     Remember what life was like without cell phones? Well, I do and it was better and I mean that most sincerely. Quite a few years ago I worked, briefly, as a lobby teller in a bank and one regular customer would come in always yakking away on that thing and he never stopped talking for more than a few seconds at a time. You could barely converse with him about his transactions and it was especially annoying to have several transactions messed up and to have to re-do them because he said things to people on the phone that actually sounded like instructions to the teller! Not a single teller wanted to wait on him including myself. Being treated like a non-person was bad enough without the complications of having more problems than was necessary. He was complained about constantly to the head teller. Are you surprised ?
     I believe people are becoming increasingly annoyed by the constant chatterer on wireless devices. I've had dinners in restaurants messed up by such people. I've also had legitimate one on one conversations interrupted by sudden ringing and loud banter by a person close by who hasn't the decency to take the phone someplace private. I've been driven out of public libraries, seen people driving erratically around me trying to talk on a cell phone and have you tried to get the attention of  teenagers who do just about  everything while texting each other ?
     Remember that song Silence is Golden ? I'm thinking of singing this song the next time someone cuts me off in a supermarket with their basket and talking to the air- or is there really someone else on the other end? Who knows? Who cares? These people are not nice anyway, usually. Once you actually do have their attention- assuming that can actually happen- they stare blankly at you like they're watching TV. Yes. I am a real person standing here waiting for you to pay and move along so I can finish and go home too!
     The most dangerous cell phone users are those who insist on driving and talking or even texting ! With all the horrific accidents that have already occurred because of cell phones you would think people would wise up and stop that lunacy. Instead, I see an increase of them and they almost always drive erratically. Here is where we must draw the line and it should be enforced more rigidly than traffic violations because it's actually the most serious violation of all. It's worse than not buckling your safety belt and they've already passed a law on that in Colorado.
      If they get a cell phone law passed I'd like to go one better and maybe write a book on cell phone etiquette. I think we all need one.
 Back atcha! The Castle Lady

Friday, November 14, 2008

Predicting the Weather ? Don't Second Guess Yourself !

Back sometime in the summer I decided to predict when the first snow would come to Denver this year. I chose November 14th off the top of my head and put a little announcement on my French blog- to be posted on that date and then proceeded to just sit on it. It has been set to post ever since- sporting a little elf sliding down a snowy mountain- and for quite awhile I didn't even think twice about it.

Well, last week I looked at the pre-set drafts I had lined up to post in the near future and thought about what the weather has been like. Up to this morning, Denver has had the most beautiful autumn weather I can recall ever and I suddenly felt that I should at least put that entry off into a further future date. So I casually changed it to the 29th and figured that was as good a prediction as any because of the numerous times that it has snowed in Denver the day after Thanksgiving.

This morning I got the shock of my life when I got up and it looked like our first snow was going to be a blizzard. I did a mock konk on the head and said to myself "Why....why....why??? Why did you change that date?" I have done this more times than I can remember and I wonder if I am ever going to stop questioning my judgment and be more confident about these little victories.

Let this be a lesson to one and all. That little voice inside your head that gives good advice which we often do not heed is there for a reason. Teach yourself to trust it and I believe we may just see humankind start to improve in a very vital area. Listen to your heart. It's wiser than you think !

The Castle Lady listens to hearts!

Friday, October 31, 2008

I Voted !

     This is the first year, since I started voting, that I voted early instead of waiting until November 4th. Apparently a lot of people do just that because it was actually busy and so was everyone that was working ! My motivation was in reaction to one of the fiercest political contests in my memory. After I watched the first debate between Obama and McCain my decision was made. I didn't like the way McCain addressed Obama. He was totally disrespectful and I was shocked that he was pointed at and ridiculed as if he was a non-person standing there. I wonder what John F. Kennedy (our Civil Rights president) would have thought- were he alive today- to see a presidential debate erode into such a spectacle as this one.
     I've heard so much right-wing garbage coming from the news, radio, TV ads, slanted newspaper articles,  phone calls and snail mail political cards that I cannot understand why these people still believe they are Christians after saying some of things that have been said. Conversely, I commend Obama for staying on track by focusing on coming out with some details on the changes he wants to make. They all sound pretty reasonable to me and I haven't heard that much negative feedback towards McCain from him- despite all the terrible talk that has swirled around Obama from McCain's camp. 
     I have found that character counts for more than all the cheap rhetoric anybody can muster. Character isn't about people not making mistakes- everybody makes mistakes, big and little. Character is about how someone handles the situation when they make a mistake and their self-deportment when in the middle of disaster. Now more than ever we need someone in the White House with real character. We have been lied to for eight years and it's high time someone start telling the truth, rolling up sleeves and correcting the problem instead of covering up lies with more folly.  McCain has said that he agrees with Bush most of time on issues that have become worse than thorny. He was a part of this dangerous bail-out and he may not be able to even stay in office due to his bad health.
     Who would that leave in charge? Sarah Palin. If that idea doesn't scare you, think about this scenario. A woman who is so busy with expensive shopping sprees and supposedly running office in Alaska that she doesn't have enough time to counsel her teenage daughter from making irreversible mistakes such as having unprotected sex. Am I to believe that she could handle a country that is currently in the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression? That she would know what to do if another 9/11 were to happen? Has she shown an ability to correct mistakes and in a calm and cool manner? ( Hint: Neither she nor McCain show anything but hot-headed fervor over non-issues !) She condemns abortion even in the case of incest and rape. Do you think she's really thought about and examined this issue on all sides and been sensitive to peoples wishes, opinions or even their fears and heartaches? I wonder about people who say they have voted or will vote for someone solely on their stand on abortion when the same issue was bandied around Bush. Eight years have passed without change. Perhaps someone should tell these voters that since this is an issue passed through Supreme Court (through Roe vs Wade) the only people that would make a decision repealing or keeping this landmark legislation has nothing to do with the person in the Oval office. 
     Even if I don't agree with laws such as Roe vs Wade, legalizing euthanasia or the death penalty does that mean that I have a right to impose my views on the people as a whole? In a way, this is a judgment and a way of imposing my judgment on others using the court system as my henchman. Roe vs Wade was passed so that any woman who decides that pregnancy is a threat to her life or may be unsafe for her can obtain a safe and legal abortion. Many illegal abortions took place before Roe vs Wade was passed and many women bled to death in warehouses and empty office buildings because abortion wasn't legal. If Roe vs Wade is repealed we can expect more of that. You can see what the effect has been during the time that Roe vs Wade has been under fire from pro-lifers. How many newspaper articles have you read reporting about newborn babies having been thrown into dumpsters, found in public toilets or a high school gym bathroom during a prom? I have read one too many. Obviously, this problem will not go away even if Roe vs Wade is repealed.
     If you are interested in taking a healthy outlook and direct focus to the more pressing issues which threaten this country currently- homeland security, the state of the economy, unemployment, foreclosures ( an issue which might prevent U.S. citizens from voting if they don't know their rights) with an eye to solving the problems and not covering them up or pretending they don't exist, then Obama is actually the right man for you to vote into the presidential office. I believe he will stand up for what is right, fair and true and can keep the correct composure for making the crucial decisions which must be made in the coming years concerning the so-called preventive war in Iraq, health care insurance for everyone, securing our still unsecured borders and making it possible for unemployment to become non-existent within our borders.
 I have a dream- so does Obama.
It's the same dream.
The Castle Lady avec beaucoup d'amour!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


     Have you noticed that no one has ever done anything truly great by staying at home? Risk takers, gamblers, movers and shakers are the variety of people who are traditionally restless and ambitious. They take risks that no one else dares to venture. Often they would rather be out where action seems to be in high gear than take quiet, solitary and routine paths. They don't see life as something to conserve but rather more like a bank account which needs to be spent. You will never hear them grumble about a loss but you will probably always hear about their latest scheme or plan- and they always have a plan.
    I will grant you this much- this type of attitude can be taken to extremes. We don't have Gamblers Anonymous without a good reason. On the whole, however, I personally would rather live to achieve great accomplishments than shuffle around and try to act busy while making someone else rich. I'd rather really be busy and take my chances with living.
    Now, if someone looks at life with this "mega" drive and zeal there are negative aspects which need to be in check or just about anything can go wrong. Basically, a person like this may spend too much money. It is only when a true fortune has been made ( i.e. at least $1,000.000 !) that one can truly forget about money and even then, so much money may be going out that a budget is the only thing that saves the fortune. Obviously someone has to be watching the bottom line and the person with the "mega" drive will most likely need someone else to take care of finances.
    This type of person will almost always be outspoken and have outlandish ideas which go against the grain of conventional thinking and action. Often they are unique in their approach to a chosen profession. This person may even be an inventor without fully realizing it. In the early days of patents many people were mislead to believe that patenting was a sensible approach to making lots of money and they wasted manufacturers time because they didn't have this unique way of thinking which produces new products or better-made devices and products. (There are legendary jokes about zany contraptions which did nothing but make a mess or worse!) Call them what you will- geniuses, prodigies or just plain gifted- the real movers and shakers see everything from a different angle and may not fully realize their potential. They just know a good idea when they see it and know how to make it work.
    The "mega" drive types aren't the only geniuses in the world but they do have the initiative that people who don't possess such boldness often sorely need. In short, there are more sheep than rams in this world and we need to be sensitive even to these people. Often they don't come in this exact mold and quietly go about the business of what they do and know. 
    I count myself among the "mega" types although I don't fit the description exactly to a tee. For one, I am very careful with money and very value-conscious when it comes to making purchases. I don't buy junk- ever! I took the risk of going into business- the storefront variety- by myself, with no investors and without a loan just before I turned thirty! My business was successful for seven years. Did I crash and burn, you ask? No. I liquidated my business and did very well even though my business was service related. I continued in the service but unloaded the equipment. This is much more savvy than the average Mom and Pop business venture which normally folds within three years.
    To conclude, I would say that I am definitely a risk-taker but I make calculated risks and I never overextend my spending ability, no matter the situation. There is no good reason for someone to be tens of thousands of dollars in debt today and if a person is in that kind of dilemma they need to take a good look at their priorities along with the situation. Is there merely a spending-consciousness here or a real drive to excel? Do you bring something to the world market which improves the world or to make the world a better place to live?
    Greatness comes to the person who finds how to solve real problems or finds how to serve mankind well and with more humility than heroics. Heroics are great for the movies but becoming a real life hero means to take a backseat on the laudits and learn how to enjoy another's happiness. Adding character to any service to the public in general is the true path to greatness. That's something we can all believe in and strive for today.
    Great big hugs and kisses from The Castle Lady !

Saturday, September 06, 2008


     Having recently celebrated a birthday myself I decided to pay particular attention to how people treated me if they knew it was my birthday as opposed to those who didn't and I came up with some startling conclusions based just upon this day in question. Birthdays are a bit of a curiosity when you really deeply contemplate the way we celebrate them. Just the fact that we celebrate them at all is an oddity in and of itself although because we as human beings are steeped in all our traditions they seem quite natural and we nearly take them for granted. In the books by J.R.R. Tolkien, " Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" they had a tradition for birthdays that for us would seem quite reprehensible. For all Hobbits the tradition was that the person celebrating the birthday gave everyone else a present and not the other way around. Now Tolkien may have been playing with our heads a little bit but I think, on the whole he made an excellent argument without making one.  
     Here's a bit of a curiosity: Why do we make a special cake that says 'Happy Birthday' on it and serve it with ice cream? Why don't we always serve ice cream on cake? There are other traditions from foreign countries which have made it to our shores. How about the Mexican tradition of children being given pinatas, which are filled with candy and toys, then are strung up in a tree? They give the child celebrating the birthday a pole or stick and they set them about hitting and striking it until it bursts open and all the children who have attended and the birthday boy or girl scramble around trying to gather up as much as they can for themselves. Rather curious isn't it? I don't know if this is an American tradition but I can't tell you how many birthday parties I attended as a child where we always played "pin the tail on the donkey". I don't know if they still play this game.
     The final item is a particular puzzle in and of itself. Why do we have to wait until a birthday to make someone feel special ? If this person in question really is so special why don't we demonstrate this in more spontaneous ways. Do we really need to wait until someone has waited about 365 days to let them know they are thought about and deserve recognition? I am reminded of the Alice in Wonderland books. We may only have one birthday a year but we have many more un-birthdays. Maybe we should concentrate on those and not make such a big deal out of the one day. Okay, for those who would never give up the tradition- have a blowout on your next birthday but consider what I just said. There's a lot of people out there who feel unloved, unnecessarily.
Just The Castle Lady with lots of kisses and hugs !  

Thursday, August 14, 2008

He Loves Books

     About a month ago I read a book review on Larry McMurtry's version of an autobiography. ( He is most famous for authoring the books "Terms of Endearment", "The Last Picture Show" etc. which were subsequently made into successful films and has co-authored many screenplays including "Brokeback Mountain" which won him an Academy Award, of course.) I can't remember the last time I read a review on an author's autobiography, in fact, this may be the only one I've encountered.
     I think what really struck a dissonant note with me about the piece was lack of understanding between two writers. Let me count the ways:
            1. The title speaks for itself so we don't have to wonder what it might contain.
            2. Instead of getting a glimpse of how Larry feels about his subject (i.e. books) we are given a character assassination over his reluctance to write about himself or his relationships to the point that he is accused of being bitter because someone (not necessarily himself) is supposedly jealous because others "have achieved more than he has."
            3. In the last two run-on sentences the reviewer, Ms Margolin, takes him to task for not illuminating his life for the reader with the same artistry as his fiction works. This ignores the fact that much of fiction contains a certain amount of fact about the writer. It may be a little or a lot, depending on how private the writer can be in any given situation.
     I, like Larry , tend to avoid revealing much of myself in my non-fiction writing almost to the point of reticence. Further, it is not a deliberate avoidance but more a professional tendency. My introspection is saved for my hand-written journals which are only written for and read by one person; myself.
     You see, writers traditionally are like this by nature. Most of us are not media journalists or moguls and our natural habitat is a library, bookstore or just a quiet place to write.
     I would be willing to bet that if we really want to know Mr. McMurtry a little more than what he revealed in his book, "Books : A Memoir", it may be best to go back and read one or more of the 28 novels he's written.
Twenty-eight kisses from The Castle Lady ! ! !  
He that loveth a book will never want a faithful friend, a wholesome counselor,
a cheerful companion, an effectual comforter. - Dr. Isaac Barrow
( on a plaque at the Upper Montclair, N.J. public library )

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Museums are a trip !

     Last Saturday I went on a little foray to The Denver Museum of Nature and Science as a little break from my usual of working on a day that everyone else on this planet takes off. It was well worth the trip. It has been so long since the last time I visited- probably to see a show at IMAX. This complex encompasses IMAX and our Gates Planetarium, also, so it's always worth it to go! I spent the entire time in the gift shop which is often as fascinating as the museum itself because there are many interactive displays along with gifts and specimens you can buy. I found lots of stuff without breaking the bank, too!
     As a child I remember that, among much smaller dinosaur fossils, this huge T-Rex fossil which dominates the big room and reaches all the way to the ceiling. Even as an adult it can make you feel so small and insignificant. Most of the fossils exhibited were found in Colorado which is one of the most fossil-rich areas in the world. They have thousands of fossils dating back at least as far as 500 million years, according to their claim. Even if I don't believe they're that old it's still an awesome sight to see these bones put together to form the skeletal remains of an animal I'll never actually see. Most of the important part of the collection, Prehistoric Journey, is on Level 3 and the exhibition is well tagged along with explanations of how Earth evolved. What does it matter how long I think it took as compared with their time line which is more years than I believe the earth has even existed ? It's all there and worth contemplating. There is an adjacent lab where you can watch researchers at work- cleaning and preparing fossils for study and to place on exhibit.
     Even though castles are not and never were a living, breathing entity I feel the same way about these edifices as people feel about paleontology and all its variables. There are many aspects of these fabulous monsters that we may never know. In the case of castles, it is how mere men were capable of moving and placing stones without any of the equipment we use today in the form of earth movers, cranes, tractors, mobile shovel loaders, scraper loaders or by making use of straight-line link mechanisms in the case of siege engines. Obviously they are every bit as fascinating if you take the time to really study them in the proper context.  
     Most medieval castles today are museums and are a way of tracing more than human life. Forming and reforming our current mode of existence, castles are a real study in the survival of the human species. I will be writing more on this subject in an upcoming entry on my Live Space blog in August, so keep checking in @ to find out more than maybe you ever wanted to know about castles. As for myself...
love castles, The Castle Lady !

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Smart Pill

Interestingly, a few days after I wrote my last entry I came across an article in USA Weekend which expounded on new research showing how exercise has direct biological effects on the brain and functions controlled by the brain. According to this article written by Dr. Tedd Mitchell, a researcher, John Ratey ( who wrote Spark : The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain ) among others- talk about brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which is a protein that builds and maintains the brain's cell circuitry. According to Ratey,

"Researchers have studied how exercise affects things like improved memory, academic performance and executive function at work. The connection is powerful. As our nation ages, we'll be concerned about preventing neurological disorders like Alzheimer's. Kids ability to remain focused for learning is critical and for active adults everyday stress paves the way for a need for achieving mental calmness. Exercise plays a strong role in raising these BDNF levels which are essential for our well-being in these areas and can be used as a medicine- a 'smart pill', if you will," Ratey says.

Put all this together with what I already wrote and you can see that regular exercise is crucial for maintaining health in many areas besides weight control. As we move into the 21st century I believe exercise will be relied upon more and more as technology advances and we would be likely to become more and more sedentary. For my money it's the best and most economical way to maintain my health- both mental and physical. There are most likely many benefits that don't get mentioned because studies remain centered on our most pressing issues in the modern age. I can vouch for the way I feel after a good walk and taking thirty free shots at our basketball court in the local park. There's nothing that can take the place of that !

Keep your happy feet walking !
The Castle Lady
The preservation of health is a duty.
Few seem conscious that there is such a thing as physical morality.
- Herbert Spencer

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sedentary? Not !

     For many years now I have made a regular daily practice of walking for exercise every morning. I found it was the most economical and effective way to get my exercise for the day. I started with walking about  a half hour in the mornings when I was in my early twenties and then expanded it to a full 45 minutes then to an hour later on, encouraged by a weight loss of twenty pounds. I was nearly too thin for my frame.
     After that, I became very fitness-minded and have incorporated other exercise for cross-training. The idea behind cross-training is never allowing your body to get indifferent to a single activity. By continually evolving in your daily practice, every muscle of your body is at least contralaterally exercised if not literally. Covert Bailey wrote, "The more trained muscle a person has, the greater the crossover response in unused muscle...Muscles that are heavily used in ( a )  sport produce lactic acid, which can then be processed by aerobically developed muscles that are not being overused during the sport."
     What this essentially does is make your body more efficient in burning fat which is the usual reason people exercise. You see, no matter your activity, you burn fat all day long. People who are overweight to obese are simply not efficient fat burners.
     I have a favorite Conrad quote that I think about, occasionally, when I walk.
          "Action is consolatory. It is the enemy of thought and the friend of flattering illusions."
     I suppose that the more thoughtful, sedentary part of myself is chiding the restless spirit which says, "Don't just sit there, do something." I know, however, that with all the hours I spend writing- not moving, mind you!- I am very justified in giving my body the proper amount of exercise to balance my life, spirit and physical being.
     Apparently Conrad took a view that people of action really didn't put much thought into it. However, Nietzsche wrote, "Only thoughts reached by walking have value." There are many writers who took long solitary walks- many were English- The Brontees, Alexander Pope and many more.
     I have personally found that walks can be inspirational but often they just seem to have a calming effect which is essential to being able to write well and clearly. Most recently studies conducted in France, Sweden and the U. S. are indicating that regular exercise- by elevating cardio-respiratory fitness in study subjects- can also correlate with improved brain function because it stimulates the manufacturing of neurotransmitters (hormones). These would, in turn, make a better environment conducive to writing and reading since a clear, receptive brain is always better than a mind bogged down with worry, cares or emotional upheaval. I guess you could say that walking is the opportunity to cross-train for excellent writing ! Writing is a rather lonely profession, but if you enjoy being alone with your thoughts then both walking and writing are a path to pleasure and enlightenment. I highly recommend both !
Pour ton plaisir, embrasses et bisous! The Castle Lady

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

ne vile velis

     Well, here we are smack dab in the middle of summer and once again I'm backlogged in so many simultaneous projects I don't know quite what to get at first! When I have to quit at night to sleep, I'm faced with where to start back up again the next morning. This is all amid the daily work a summer household requires- including my personal care- and fitting in work that I'm paid to do, presently.
     In short my life has become one long rollercoaster ride of trying to accomplish the impossible by myself, get it sold and get to the bank before it closes. This aspect of my life has become a wild-goose chase which only saps my energy and then disorients me to the work that I started prior to the "emergency interruption" which is important but certainly not important to my work. If I am competing with anybody it is only myself and I can't tell which part of me is losing. Maybe the exhausted "me" at the end of the day loses. 
     If any young women out there think life is smooth sailing once you've achieved a certain level of success, I want you to know right now that life won't get any easier- it will become more difficult, complicated and time-consuming. Money has nothing to do with ease but simplifying your life is a given. That requires ending the competition with the Joneses and learning to prioritize your life to match your true (and most selfless) goals along with some selfish reasons as well!
     My title literally is Latin for "form no vile wish" but is better put as "refrain from evil desires". Since many people seem more motivated by greed and competitiveness in the 21st century than ever before this is a wonderful credo to live by more than any other. I am thinking of my great grandparents (none of whom I ever met but have heard many stories about !) as I write those words. That credo taken into practice is a positive aspect of democracy and free enterprise. It also happens to be a better way to live.
     Trying to match someone's lifestyle has never been an aspiration for me nor does trying to look good, drive a better car or outdo my so-called peers in any aspect. I'm more concerned with my inner person and how she's doing. Even when I am at my most stressed I think of ways to ease up on myself but I wasn't always this way. I had to teach myself to pace my day on any given weekday and learn to be content with my best efforts. That's a real test for a perfectionist like myself. Maybe I don't compare myself to others but it is disheartening to see someone make gains at my expense when they don't share my integrity, work ethic or sense of excellence. 
     ne vile velis is more about making sure that you are the right person not whether you're better than someone else. It is about keeping your desires in line with a God who watches to see if you will do the right thing when put to a test of nerves, will or strength.
With strong kisses, The Castle Lady !
So much is a man worth as he esteems himself.- F. Rabelais

Monday, April 28, 2008

Why do they do it ?

You know, I wish I had a dollar for every time I've taken a quick glance at someone's blog out of curiosity and found something less than appealing on it, whether it has been an offensive photo, a blog entry railing on some unknowing boss or someone's bad blind date. Whatever the subject, I am really starting to wonder why people don't think at least four times about the ramifications before they post something on a blog that's less than socially acceptable. As an article I recently read on the subject quotes, "This generation didn't invent stupidity.. it's just the first to post it online for all the world to see."
As a matter of fact this same article made the point I want to make in this entry with this quote.
"Anything you post online is public information."
If you don't understand that, then you shouldn't put anything online. The biggest misconception that people have about the internet are those who think that any type of interaction online is private. There's no such thing as private and online and that's regardless of the forum or what you deem as deserted. As a matter of fact a potential employer can simply Google your name and a lot of information comes up about you that you might think is none of his/her business. This is the information age and they can and will find out many things about you. You can't control mandatory data but you can control the information you supply about yourself, personally.
That is why I don't understand why a woman would post nude photos of herself online. I've seen a few photos posted on blogs that made me want to vomit. I've seen quite a few images online, quite by chance, that didn't belong where they were posted. These photos involve human beings with brains. Why do they do it? Only they can answer that, but I have a sneaking hunch that most of these people really didn't think a whole lot before they went to the trouble to alert all internet viewers of the inane action they just made against their own person.
In conclusion, I would like to mention that in the beginning of my ventures online, which were merely e-mails at first, I allowed myself to become embroiled in online fighting. When my hypertension got the best of me for about the fiftieth time (probably over someone making a mean comment to me about a poem I posted on a poetry web site ) I realized that some battles weren't worth getting embroiled in and I couldn't control what they do but I could control what I chose to place. After that, it was smooth sailing for the most part. It's one of the reasons that blogs are so popular. It's your baby and you get to say who stays, who goes and what's on the menu. It's also your chance to show your true self.
Or not.

The Castle Lady keeps you in line and online

in style ! Kisses and hugs !

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The King of Spring

     When Spring returns each year I start to think about how I can improve and streamline my life. Simplifying your routine or surroundings is a better way to get control of what may be out of order or not looking the best professionally or domestically. In my case the two are hopelessly intertwined because a good part of my actual work is done at home. Most people just clean, throw out what they term junk and get ready for a season of accumulating.
     For me, Spring is more than just getting ready for summer or warmer months ahead. It's a time to renew my mind and form my surroundings to synchronize with my mind. I do my best thinking, writing and living when everything is in rhythm. I like to make major changes at this time of year. I started my first business in April of 1990. I moved back to my native Colorado in April from San Diego in 1983 after living there for a few years. These are major changes  but I made them without thinking twice because I was prepared and ready for change.
     I can't imagine the mentality of not wanting to change or denying other people the opportunity to redefine or completely turn their life around. If life is about anything in particular it's growing, learning, transforming and becoming all you are meant to be. This requires that you become a little more flexible in your schedule, perhaps making sacrifices or repenting of old attitudes and opinions. It's not an easy task for many people. So often, people miss golden opportunities because they cling to what they know. The strangest sanctuary people return to is "things have always been this way and it's never going to be different". In truth, they don't want to modify their lives in any way because remaining the same gives them a false sense of security.
     For those who are resistant I would give a stern lecture on thinking only inside the box at all times. I believe they do it because they are full of fear about the future and knowing tomorrow will be the same as yesterday is preferable to having to face the unknown. This is an especially sad attitude for young people. I have never taken this attitude and it's opened many doors of adventure, enterprise and just plain joy for me. I don't want to live the way most people live and not because I think it's boring but because I don't believe it's real life.
     Limiting your experiences and sticking with the tried and true may feel, for some, to be practical and safe but in the long run nothing is to be gained by never risking anything. It is the opposite of gambling and furthermore- not any less addictive. There is something oddly obsessive about attaching the word "normal" to our lives especially since no one really seems to know what that is anyway. Maybe the real question we should all ask ourselves is, "Does my life make sense?"
The Castle Lady filling up your senses!   
      We are not the same person this year as last; nor are those we love.
It is a happy chance if we, changing,
continue to love a changed person.
- W. Somerset Maugham

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Writing and Literature

True imfluence over another comes not from a moment's eloquence
nor from any happily chosen word,
but from the accumulation of a life time's thoughts
stored up in the eyes.
- Thornton Wilder
Of all the books I've read in my life the most memorable have been the classics I've read. I realize they are classics for a reason and I always understood the reason for the difference had a lot to do with the idea brought out in this poem. Literature in its greatest form requires serious contemplation over lengthy periods of time. It also requires experience. Witty repartee may make for fast, entertaining reading and it may even convince you to vote for a particular candidate in an election but it won't bring out a meditative reflection of your thoughts as true literature can- if you give it a chance!
In 2005, I spent the better part of the year, in my spare time, poring over and slowly reading J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. It is absolutely the most beautiful and descriptive English prose I have ever taken the time to read. I say that without reservation. It doesn't make me think of other literature save for a few other well-known classics such as A Tree Grows in Brooklyn or perhaps Madeleine L'Engle's novels. There are others and they have definitely affected the way I look at the world. These worlds such masters write about are so very separate from our experience as humans. It is as if they visualize a world as it ought to be or should have been.
These reconstructions may befuddle some realists but for people who make a difference they are essential respites from a world which has no patience, pushing imagination aside for cruelties and so-called essentials. They make light fare of the rare moments in life such as searching for meaning, purpose and hope. If we don't have meaning attached to our lives or a specific purpose to our procession of days life is almost useless.
True literature exists to elevate us out of the humdrum existence we live and it also brings solutions to our deepest social dilemmas as well. Watership Down comes to mind as literature specifically written for that purpose. Today, classics are as rare as antique books and just as rarely read. This is a social crisis and my concern is that as a people our souls are becoming impoverished on pop media. Every source we have is to blame.
Television is everywhere. People watch videos and movies on Blackberries now instead of bringing a good book to read. There's quite a bit of literature on the web but you'd never know it. People would rather watch asinine videos on YouTube or play videogames Over the past two years I bought a small library of classics from Steinbeck, Poe, Henry James, Jack London, Hawthorne, H.P. Lovecraft, Raymond Chandler, C.B. Brown, Faulkner, Sinclair Lewis and several more. It's the best investment for my soul I've ever made. What have I found out that the rest of world has not? That my mind is more important than the latest non-event they're all clamoring to ogle, DL or text to each other. I treat my mind like my body and generally try to give it the best nutrition I can find. All the rest is just dross I can live without.
The Castle Lady imbuing you with true ardor!
Literature is language charged with meaning. - Ezra Pound

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Wearin' o' the Green!

It's that time of year again. Yes. It's time for St. Patrick's Day parading, drinking, story-telling and general merriment that is the cornerstone of the Irish way of life. Now, I have Irish on both sides of my family lines but I have yet to have savored corned beef and cabbage with a stout- I'd rather just have the Guinness, please, and leave me alone. It's only in recent years I've tried more traditional Irish fare- such as colcannon- and actually enjoyed it. There's enough Irish in me to get a rise out of me if you're mean enough and I certainly used to drink but don't as a rule, now.
I'm more Irish in the way that I speak. The funny thing is that I don't have a corner on that, being essentially American. Irish words have infiltrated the American language much more than people realize and you don't have to have even a smidgen of Irish blood in your veins to use these words almost inadvertently.
There's one right there ! Smidgen is from the Irish gaelic smidin or smitch. If you go to Ireland, however, you may find yourself in a bit of a dilemma every now and then when you engage them in conversation. You may think you know the word they're using when as a matter of fact you may have some words fly right over your American head while they have a silent laugh up their sleeve!
For instance, if they tell you that they knew you were Americans by your brogues you may think it's only innocent banter in the difference of the way we speak English. Most likely it's meant that they can tell you were Americans by your shoes! Yes, our shoes are different and brogues in Ireland are a specific shoe which are heavy and rather clunky-looking. Our shoes advertise themselves more often than not since we tend to wear sporty walking shoes when we go overseas.
If you think being Irish is keen and you say so you may get a look or two for a minute because we changed the true meaning of the word on our shores. To us being keen can mean being smart or being keen on someone can mean you really like or love them. That word as an adjective for them is from the gaelic caoine which means crying, wailing or that something is acute or piercing. Keening bagpipes are one thing- but a keening widow is often comforted at a very long wake. Personally, I think a few other European immigrants got ken mixed up with keen which is a strange but perhaps understandable misuse. They do sound very close don't they?
The words glom and glean rather sound alike don't they? When we "glom onto" someone we're being rather needy and if we glean something we're doing a type of picky choosing which irritate certain people. They use these words in a similar fashion but glom came from the Irish glam which actually means snatching, grabbing or even stealing someone or something. "Glean" came from the old Irish gaelic do-glenn (he gathers) which most likely was used originally in the most obvious sense of reaping a harvest and throwing out the bad stuff.
S l a' inte is ta'inte !
The Castle Lady

Monday, March 10, 2008

Better Than Yourself

Always dream and shoot higher than you know how to.
Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors.
Try to be better than yourself.
-William Faulkner
     I have realized most recently that in the past decade of my life I have been taking on bigger and bigger projects and undertakings than perhaps I would've thought I could handle previously. My castles book series venture is just the most recent. One interesting note is that I have risen to each challenge and manage to finish what I start because I have a true passion for what I do- whether it's starting a business, becoming an actress, publishing a book or writing a whole series of them. One sure way to ensure success is a true desire to accomplish what it is you're doing. A good example of this is when I sat down in the summer of 1999 and wrote a book on building your faith by worshipping God. I wrote the book in less than two weeks and it is about 300 KB. Once the book was written I realized that I didn't write it in traditional fashion at all. I didn't outline the book, I just named chapters and I started writing. It made me realize what I was capable of doing without forcing the issue. I was driven to write it by some unseen hand. I still look at this book like the marvel it is because I never had to alter it nor did I make any stringent revision. 
     I often wonder if this process will be repeated again. Most of my writing projects are done in rough draft- after sitting down and writing a detailed plan. Then they go through another draft where I fill in, edit, write more from further research. Then I write a third draft making sure it reads correctly, you check for clarity or discrepancies and check for mistakes on all levels. Grammar, punctuation, coherency and spelling are all a part of the process. I went through that first draft several times and the most I changed were spelling errors that were obviously just a result of my typing skills. I tend to type really fast.
     The real marvel about the book on praise and worship, though, is that I wrote a book in such a short amount of time in my first jump out of the starting gate! I can tell you that most writers would be insanely jealous over that, without exception. My passion for what I was doing was poured into the book. It was obviously God-inspired and I was a willing and capable vessel. 
     Now think about your desires and passions. What do you really like to do? Even though I've spent a good part of my life as a professional manicurist/pedicurist/nail technician it only took a matter of days to change my whole life by sitting down- with time cleared for myself- to do what I so passionately had wanted to do for many, many years. I believe that the highest your dreams aim is truly where you belong. I am not saying it won't be hard work. It may be harder work than you're doing now. It may be the hardest work you'll ever do in your life but you won't notice that because you'll be so happy that you're finally doing what feels right. Make sense? 
The Castle Lady, filling your senses with affection and hugs!    

Monday, March 03, 2008

What's really wrong with us?

I will trust a civilization
When old men
Have a wise and confidant look
And old women
Look gentle and cared for.
When the eyes of the young are diffident
And filled with hope.
I will always be saddened
By defeated old men and broken women
And the arrogant eyes
Of the young
- James Kavanaugh
      I remember Bush Sr.'s campaign many years ago when he called on a 'kinder, gentler' nation and I believe we have gone the opposite direction. Was it only rhetoric, after all ? I think so and it's certainly disappointing to find that people in general don't get along any better than before. The rise in crime is worse than ever, racial prejudice seems rampant to me and people in general really don't get along. As in everything, this call to betterment has to start with ourselves.
     I've written an inspirational day book that addresses the issue of improving your life and it was interesting that during the process of writing it my focus was more toward the world than to the individual. I realize now that when you reach outward the less you hold onto self-consciousness and you are more effective in helping the world. Think about it and it makes sense. Our nation's self-absorption is an issue that isn't going away and it's appalling to see young people following the example. When I see that a teenager has started a web site in charity toward disadvantaged or disabled people or toward tough causes it does my heart good. Something is working.
     We need more people like this, so if you see a chance to help young people along in their quest- whatever it is- please do so because you are also helping to shape the life of a champion. Encouragement of those who do daily battle with the wrongs is heroic in and of itself. So be a hero and help because we need you.
The Castle Lady will champion you with a hug !  

Friday, February 22, 2008

Where Does the Time Go ?

     I've spent the better part of  two years working on detailed researching, cataloguing, writing about and gathering photos of England's castles. I am halfway finished with England and then I have North and South Wales to work on after that to make my web site complete before my book comes out. Once I saw how large the project really was, I still felt up to the task and haven't lost any energy for it but this project has outrun my financial fortitude and I am wondering if I'll be able to continue at the speed I've been going.
     I put a lot of detail in my blog which will eventually be transferred onto my official site for the readers of my books to find out more information both historically and for additional particulars. I plan on making the most comprehensive data base on the web for castle information, photos and pertinent particulars for travelers and enthusiasts.
     In charting my daily work, I have done basic research for eight countries but the real work is beyond basic research and into the realm of hunting and tracking down locations, photos or images and finding out the histories. Without the history some of the mystique of the various castles are lost. Some are enigmatic enough without it but we trace many of the origins of modern architecture by knowing what stories contribute to the current look of castles, manor homes and renaissance castles. When I covered Belvoir just a few months ago is a prime example.
     During the latter part of last year I started to get a lot of queries at my castlelady live space blog about the nomenclature concerning medieval castles and determined that it is time for me to write an entry on the terms about the castles which I admit can be confusing at times. Many of the words are medieval so it's no wonder that people become a little perplexed. A moat is not a motte, and a motte is not moat even if they do sound alike. If you are sincerely interested in castles then it is essential that you start reading some good books on castles of the coffee table variety. I can recommend some really good ones and I have a few on my castlelady live space blog under the book list. My books are intended to help the people who have already done their homework and they want to get out there and experience the actual castles for themselves !
     With my current financial status I'm going to have to make some changes real soon involving making serious money. I plan on having an auction again on my castlelady live space blog but in the interim it's just too pressing a matter to keep hinging any real chance of income on this source. Besides that, the auction - especially for The Castle Lady collage- was meant to be for fun. I never intended for it to be a serious money maker but it's a great promotion. That was my feeling when I first started it.
     What you can expect to see this year is a wonderful section on the official site for England which may only get put up halfway but it will be a great start. You will get a chance to see me complete all my research for  England- God willing and the crick doesn't rise ! - on the castlelady live space blog and maybe you will even be the lucky and prosperous owner of a totally unique Castlelady framed photo collage which all your friends and family will "ooh and aah" at for many years to come. I'm hoping you will also have the privilege of being a proud owner of the first book in my Castle Lover's Guides series - The Castle Lover's Guide to England and Wales. If you see me waving at you from your TV screen on PBS, the Travel Channel, Discovery or similar it will be because I finally found the right agent !
The Castle Lady says Mwwaah ! 

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Why We Shouldn't Worry About Another 9/11

     Just recently I had a conversation with several travel agencies and found out something I have apparently been oblivious to since my wonderful castles tour I took in September 2001. They seem to think that the industry dried up because of 9/11 but I flew roundtrip to the same airport ( Dulles ) the next year in 2002 on my first foray to Washington, D.C. (This was one of the airports the fatal planes were flown from on 9/11. I flew through Dulles Airport on my trip to Paris for the start of my grand castles tour and flew back through it on my way back home after a week delay. )  I flew again in 2004 to Nashville ( with a brief layover in Chicago on the flight out ) and back with no incidents and I flew three times roundtrip in 2005 through Indianapolis twice and to Albuquerque, N.M. These were all without incidents or delays and there was heavy traffic with each and every flight.
     I suppose my point is that since I got caught right in the middle of all the delays, the worries and sadness of the horrible incident that I would be the most likely candidate to stop traveling altogether and never set foot on a plane again. I never have been much for fear but I am a common sense person to the "nth" degree. Obviously none of it has put a damper on my spirit for adventure and travel. I don't know how the average traveler feels but I've had a lot of company on all my travel since and no one has seemed especially tense through any of it including the travel professionals (i.e. Stewardesses, reservationists, baggage handlers, pilots etc. ) 
     People tend to forget that the real milestone in terrorism on our shores started with the killings in Atlanta in 1996 during the Olympic Games. Someone was falsely accused of the murders and the whole thing was not only tragic but also embarrassing. It was embarrassing especially ( I should think !) to the people who almost bungled the investigation. We want to know that these type of terrorist attacks can be arrested before they even happen. That's only in the movies, sorry!
     The only reassurance I can give to my fellow Americans is this- if you shorten and limit your experiences based on the fear of what might happen you're letting terrorists win a victory before they've ever taken a look at your face. It's important to know what fears are valid and which ones are irrational because these are our instincts as intelligent human beings. It's up to us to decide what those are but don't let farfetched possibilities take a foothold in how you make decisions about your life. Keep the faith. Carry on. Show our true enemies that terror is not in our vocabulary anymore.
Blessed kisses from The Castle Lady !
Everything is always impossible before it works.
That is what entrepreneurs are all about-
doing what people have told them is impossible.
- Hunt Greene

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The" Get the Girl Now" Game

Call me a softy or a romantic but I still feel very much that when a man pays attention to me there is an attraction and I should pay attention to his overtures. I feel I'm rather unique because women are now encouraged to be very aggressive and they are generally not shy about approaching men boldly with lines as bad as were used on women by pick-up artists in bars only a decade or two ago. There's nothing particularly dishonest about it and they are obviously as desperate as the Desperate Housewives of TV fame. However, I find it distasteful and unnatural to be quite honest.

Recently while I was looking through the curriculum of a community college newsletter I came across one titled "Get the Girl Now". The description was as follows:

If you freeze when you approach women, spoil them but they still want the jerks, never play games but women leave you for players or banish you to being 'just friends', this class is for you. Learn three quick ways to connect with women, one sure way to know if she's interested, two ways to get a date without asking, and more. Dating coach KP will share how you can become the man women want, while staying true to your own individuality. Neil Strauss, author of The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists, calls KP "a bright guy". One of KP's students commented, "Thank you, I've used the exercises and noticed a big difference in the way women respond to me. Great confidence builders!"

While I can appreciate that an extremely shy man could use a boost to his confidence I 'm not sure I would want to see anybody try to build their self-esteem on whether they can properly attact the opposite sex or not. Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't that teaching this guy to be something he is not?
I sometimes feel as though I may be making myself unapproachable but I assume the right man is going to recognize the kind of person I am and decide for himself whether there is any chemistry. (Now, there's something you can't figure out easily over the internet!)
Here' what I think should happen.
I think the really aggressive women should stop going after the obvious types who are as bold as they are and give some of these shy ones a chance. It would certainly get the pressure off these poor guys for awhile and maybe the association will help them come out of their shells.
Now, I'm not a shy woman but I just don't go chasing after men and you won't make me change my mind. I spent too many years trying to outrun and outsmart the jerks so I hedge a little if I catch even a whiff of jerky behavior. Most of my married friends insist that they married a jerk so I guess that's why I never was married.I often wonder if I was born on the right planet.
That being said I would like to put forth a little of my own advice for those men who feel that they aren't getting a fair chance with single women they have their eye on. I am single after all and I think I know how I would like to be approached by eligible men.
The three quickest ways to connect with a women are:
1. Open up your mouth and talk to her. We're human just like you. Most of us can converse quite well.
2. Ask if we'd like to make a date for coffee or a drink or even a meal. (Do have a restaurant in mind when you ask, as having a favorite restaurant will get you instant respect.)
3. If she gives you a phone number, call her. If she didn't give you her phone number there's a good reason why, which she didn't want to tell you. Don't take it personal and don't assume she doesn't have a boyfriend. She probably does. She also may not be interested in which case it's best to move on.
One thing is for sure though, if you don't ask for a date, you won't get a date. You may get several other things but you won't get a date. My parting advice is if you want to keep your individuality then just be yourself. You may be more interesting than you can imagine. As a man you don't have outposts in any woman's head so you are always friend material (at the worst) but a friend with the potential to be a whole lot more so be friendly! Hostility and criticism will get you no where with a good women. Trust me.

With affectionate praise,

The Castle Lady