Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Bloggers Unite...

We've been dissed by a cartoonist ! Check out the following:

     I would just like to personally put forth that a good portion of the liveliest information I find on the internet is usually on blogs and not necessarily the forums who dish the so-called facts. I'll let my own work on my blogs be the self-evident proof that I'm right and the creators of Crankshaft and Company are dead wrong. Some of the nicest and best people I've become acquainted with on the internet have been through our mutual blogs. For me, the haters died off a long time ago. I think I had one in all these years and I reported him and then he was no more.
     Blogging may be the most fun I've ever had with my writing. You can write pretty much what you want, when you want and if you suddenly decide you don't like or want it up yourself you can always edit or delete what you wrote, along with an apology for doing so- or not. You are in control. You can put up your photos and replace or remove them at will. Nobody can put something up on your blog without your consent and they can't mess with what you've posted either. If you don't like their comments you can delete them with one click.
     My best friends are other bloggers. We support each other by putting forth encouragement and words of support. We can help each other improve our writing and even, at times, supply the always important function of being a muse. Most importantly, we all have something important to say- contrary to what Mindy thinks- and we can express those important words in our own way. If you agree with me click the LIKE button or leave a comment. We've been insulted and we should tell the world...
I've got something to say...
and I'm going to say it my way !   

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Lay Down Your Arms

Optimism is a political act.
Those who benefit from the status quo are perfectly happy for us to think nothing is going to get any better.
In fact, these days, cynicism is obedience.
- Alex Steffen, The Bright Green City
I have experienced a politically divided nation for as far back as I can recollect. My introduction to politics was seeing the president of the U.S. assassinated by gunfire with media in full view. I was so young that I was unaware that I was witnessing a volatile political act. Shock was what I felt but I knew nothing of it. No wonder I see the world as being full of danger! Violence has only exacerbated since that time and often I've wondered how bad it will get. How many children's minds will be tainted with unnecessary fear?
     Optimism is essential to living bravely. We make a bold statement when we step out firmly with an optimistic outlook and approach to living. This would be despite the prevailing circumstances. In the song Grand Old Flag, Americans are described as the free and the brave. These two attributes have walked hand in hand on our land since the war of 1812, through the bloody Civil War and on into the Civil Rights Movement.
     We will always have to fight for freedom bravely and with optimism. It is our tradition as U.S. citizens and will prevail as long as we are willing to die for other people's freedom as much as our own. It is how we fight that makes the difference. However, fighting back with weapons is mutually fatal and futile. In the 70s a popular quote was repeated often that  'fighting for peace was like making love for virginity.'
     Bravely facing down aggressors is where peace begins. Laying down our arms is how peace will prevail. I've never heard anyone say that they regretted not shooting someone.
Lay down your arms for peace.
The new and improved...

Conflictos empazar en el corazon. - Evelyn Wallace

Monday, August 15, 2016

Summer Struggle 2016

Champions are made from something they have deep inside them-
a desire, a dream, a vision.
- Muhammad Ali
This is going to read a bit odd but getting through this summer has been one of my most difficult struggles ever and on a particular level I never would've expected. The reason why you haven't seen much on this blog until now hasn't been lack of subjects, boredom or writer's block or even writer's cramp. I've written more by handwriting this summer than I ever have in my life and my hands are fine except for sheer exhaustion. There. I said it. I'm exhausted from all the hard, physical labor I've been doing and it's been tripled and quadrupled this summer with extra work needing to be done around the house, more yard work, reorganization of just about everything in my house including moving furniture and equipment from downstairs to upstairs and vice versa all by myself. What I need is a house person. You know, like a house boy only politically correct. Here's the kicker: In the past I've been completely physically exhausted and then sat down to write and been just fine to think, edit and rewrite to my heart's content and completely in my element. 
     Now when I finally find time to sit down and write, I find that exhaustion is affecting my thinking. That's new and unwelcome. I've never known anything like this and I don't want to know it, either. This isn't happening because I don't like hard work or can't do it. I can do it and I don't mind hard work or at least I never have in the past. I'm digging in my heels because I don't want to be so exhausted that I can't think to write. That's where I draw the line. Here's the additional problem: quitting the heavy labor isn't an option.
     Not one to give up, I'm certain there's a solution and it would be something like this: Make a million dollars on my first castles book then hire someone to cook three square meals everyday and clean up after. Then, I would hire someone to make my yard look like a showcase home. I would have someone come every day to clean my house from top to bottom and do my laundry, fold it and/or hang it up and put it away. Having someone do all my shopping would be a bonus that would finally liberate me to sit down and just write for eight or more hours a day. Of course, I wouldn't give up my exercise in the morning which consists of yoga stretches followed by a swift walk up to the park, slam dunking 20 out of 30 basketball shots at the court and then coming home to write some more. That only takes about 45 minutes- tops.
     If there is any extra time after writing I could then take the time to rebuild a manicure/pedicure/nail clientele that doesn't exist for me anymore. Believe it or not, I really have enjoyed the profession I worked for three decades of my life before I watched my clientele dwindle away before my eyes. Either people don't care about the way their hands look, in the present day, or they don't have the money. No amount of discounting seems to work for these Asian discount salons. Most of them are empty, except for rows and rows of empty desks and two or three techs sitting around and watching TV. While I worked at storefront salons, including my own storefront, I don't think my client chair was ever empty. I worked ten hour days when I owned my storefront salon and never even thought about the amount of time I put in because I loved making women beautiful and helping them feel good about themselves. I guess that's out of vogue, too, but not for me. I can't go more than a week for manicuring my nails and I'd never give up the pedicures I do on myself at least once a month. If women have given this up even after years and years of being faithful clients then I can only think that they do not prioritize for themselves any longer and don't care what kind of details are in the look. Some hairstyles I've seen appear to have that philosophy!
     I will forge ahead with my dream of one day gallivanting the planet, doing site inspections any where castles can be found and writing about them and possibly showing them off on my own TV show. After that, putting them up on my web site will be done by my faithful and trusty web master who will turn my web site into a dream come true for myself and all my internet fans. You might even need an app to be able to buy my books at my web site! Bliss ! Another Cinderella dream achieved. Even though we both might be laughing now it will be followed with a sense of awe.
     I've always achieved everything that I've truly wanted to- believe it! I know I can achieve it. I've done that before. 

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Some coincidences are not really coincidences...

" Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time."
     Has summer seemed too long to you? With high digit temperatures reigning throughout the land I'd understand if someone said they wished summer was over. I had a wonderful fan bite the dust last night and groaned because I knew it only meant one thing. Replacement. Interestingly, however, I've coped better with the heat today than usual and credit my willingness to do my high activity of the day when the temperature digits were still pretty low. I had practically forgotten what an early summer's day feels like and I think I'm going to like this business of going back to dealing with summer the way it is- not that I have a choice but at least I won't have to retreat to the basement as usual. Not yet, anyway.
     There's something about summer that is God's (and nature's) way of telling you to slow down. Have a glass of lemonade on the porch without the aim of fixing something or cleaning up, perhaps. If stopping and getting lost in thought is some kind of crime then life is going to get mighty miserable. I say, let's all take a break and stop expecting to keep up a pace that the world around us expects but no longer wants to continue themselves. Summer exists for a good reason and when I figure out what it all is I'll be certain to let you know. This morning's musical fare consisted of listening to Brian Wilson sing, "In My Room", which always made me think of what it is like to just sit somewhere, unobtrusive- and watch the world go by while trying to solve the energy crisis in my head. It's always for something. Try it sometime. I think you'll like it.

Last wee at the beginning John Lubbock

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Once only imagined, now true...

What is now true was once only imagined.  - William Blake
Whatever may be said of dreamers and builders of the future we cannot refute that if those of the past had been discouraged from their obsessions and fervent or adamant quests this would be a truly impoverished world to live in at this point. We have never in history had such knowledge and expertise in technology readily available to us in common usage form as we do at the present time. We are truly blessed and those of us who are thankful or mindful of gratitude for these tools and devices are doubly so. However, technology is almost overwhelming for a certain demographic known as those who will not embrace the change or who stubbornly refuse to at least try to understand these advances. Ask anybody over the age of 80 who still say, "Huh?" when you ask them for their e-mail address. I have a certain amount of sympathy for them because I don't really embrace change readily- especially when I perceive that everything is fine as it is- and as long as it is working.
     It is wrong, however, not to recognize achievement and the desire of those who wish to improve this world in anyway they can. Indeed, such trailblazers as these should be commended, not discouraged or disparaged as though they meant to do harm. People will always pan those things they do not understand  or comprehend and so they must be encouraged toward understanding and not chided as if they just flubbed saying their ABCs. Nobody gets to the age of, say, 75 without having a few more bits of knowledge than the under 40 crowd who currently calculate their infallibility as quite high.
Technology is nothing. What's important is that you have faith in  people, that they're basically good and smart and if you give them tools they'll do wonderful things with them.
- Steve Jobs
     I believe my own fascination with technology started early but I haven't been one to charge ahead without reservations. For one, I remember my Computer Science major for a brother once telling me to wait to buy anything techno because in a few months nearly everything on it would be obsolete and I'd have to go through the trouble of trying to update something that would need to be replaced completely in the end. That type of advice sticks with you and besides I found him to be absolutely correct- so far!
     What's the answer then ? How do we reach the unreachable elders ?  I can't begin to answer that except with what William Blake said years ago. (See above.) If those who can use their imagination to bring us the world at our fingertips could find a way to urge humanity to forge ahead with this knowledge, then we will be on our way. I've always been a possibility thinker, however. I know that nothing is impossible to God but man needs a whole lot more encouragement than Tally ho ! Techno needs to get back into the realm of high touch so that those who drag their heels- for a good reason mind you!- can reach out and enjoy the miracle we're all experiencing. Maybe they'll stop saying, "Heck, no!" to techno.
Stay connected,
The Castle Lady

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Ring a Bell for the NBA Playoffs 2016

You all have most likely figured out by now that I generally grow relatively silent on the internet when playoff season for the NBA starts. Also, that I'm not likely to emerge from my sequestered niche when I'm keeping right in on the action until it is over or almost over and a champion team has emerged. This year is a ringer for sure. Besides the fact that they have produced a unanimously voted MVP, broken long-standing stat records clear back to the 70s and risen to the top of the heap in an incredibly short period of time, the Golden State Warriors can add one more credit to their rep. They have changed the way any pro basketball game looks- from start to finish- forever
     I have watched basketball games from a very young age up to the present and the best action
I've ever seen on NBA courts has been within the past year and a half. Anyone who remains uninterested in pro basketball in the present time is missing out on some of the best sports action to be seen in the known world. I have become a true believer in this new basketball era since watching all the GSW vs. 'anybody' since the playoffs started in April. Right after the first game started with the Houston Rockets, Stephen Curry was seriously injured twice- ankle, then knee- and the MVP was out for the count of four consecutively missed games. One might think that GSW would get creamed and tossed away but the whole team is so in sync that it was almost as if Steph was still in the paint ! I have been wowed by every single member of the team whether I knew them before or not. Even
Green has grown on me and he always seemed to be talking even in the middle of a 3-point shot. Shall I sing, "Getting to know you" right here or what ? I hate that and you know it.
They all make three-pointers and alley oops like they've been doing them in their sleep since they were three and that's unbeatable. What has really blown me away during the regular season, however, is their superior defense. I noticed that during these playoffs against the Trailblazers, Rockets and Thunder that their defense seemed to be just not working that well. When I watched the games with the Trailblazers over again I realized that they were mimicking GSW's style. I started backtracking to several games I had recorded during the regular season and could see that nearly every team was mimicking their style. It has been said by many that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery so GSW players have been doubly flattered by almost every NBA pro and that speaks well of this particular style. It's called basketball and it isn't new but it has definitely taken on a new life since last year and I hope these games continue to look as exciting and fresh as it has been since 2015.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Earth Day, Every Day: It starts with you!


Earth is our home so we should treat it with the same respect we show to our possessions.

We will be made accountable to God for how we treat it.
 Believe it!

Happy Earth Day a little late ! Better late than never !
The Castle Lady

Friday, March 25, 2016

Captain Obvious Runs For President ?

      I don't know how many of you out there have seen the Hotels.com commercials but this unknown actor (Brandon Moynihan, he played Dick Zilla in Meet the Zillas) has turned himself into a star overnight with video vignettes- the longest commercial in the known world- just so we could get it in our heads that our choices are few for the next presidential election but not without some real and authentic choices. Do I need to say that Trump is not a choice but more of a 'if he was the last or only person left in the world to run for president I'd never' choice ? Meanwhile, Hillary is very unassumingly and with thoughtful deliberation going about the business of campaigning even though her contenders are an insult to her intelligence and wit. Whoever runs the GOP ought to be forced to wear an "I'm with stupid" T-shirt every time he has to shake The Donald's hand or stand in line with him at the Chase Manhattan Bank.
     When you get to the Colorado bit for Captain Obvious's presidential commercial you'll see him sitting in a cloud of smoke with a Labrador Retriever at his feet, giggling and saying he's never going to leave. I want you to know that this video is not in any way an exaggeration. That little scene is exactly what's going on here- particularly in Dogver. Dogver, you say? It's not a misspelling, it's my new name for the town I was born, raised and have lived most of my life in. There's a Denver in Illinois and even one in Norfolk, England but neither of those towns will ever be referred to as Dogver- I guarantee it. My proof? Come to Colorado whichever way you can and stand in any residential area of Denver for a few seconds and you will hear a chorus of barks that would contend with that dogbark version of Jingle Bells any day of the week. We have more than a few ongoing problems here and that's just one. Don't- I repeat- don't come here if you enjoy being mentally sane.
     My challenge to all women would be to put a petition together for only men to sign. This petition would basically be to find out how many men are going to vote a woman into the U.S. presidential office. Once the numbers are in on that, then we'll know if this country can be saved from doom. Are you holding your breath?  
The Castle Lady

Monday, March 14, 2016

Risk is Good

Many a man is praised for his reserve and so-called shyness when he is simply too proud to risk making a fool of himself.
-J.B. Priestly
     My grandmother used to say, "A faint heart never won a fair lady," and I can't claim that I always understood this saying but after watching The Bachelor tonight on T.V. I think I now understand better than I ever thought I would. I just got through reading an article in Psychology Today about a certain trait in men that helps them make their decision about who they are likely to pick and why women are more likely to choose them because of this certain trait. In Theresa DiDonato's article A Mind for Love she asks the reader when they are interacting with someone of the opposite sex if they are completely focused on what the other is saying and if they are listening deeply and without judgment. Apparently, if your mind drifts to mundane things or pressures you are experiencing or even if the distraction is the physical desirability itself it means that you are not being mindful.
     She explains that mindfulness refers to one's nonjudgmental awareness and full engagement in the present moment and it's been shown to correspond to myriad advantages in individual well-being. People who are mindful are more at ease, not prone to depression and are not impulsive. They can seem to have higher self-esteem, be especially positive in their outlook and are vital and happy.
     That being said, the article outlines that women are attracted to men most who have this mindfulness trait but for men it's not reciprocal. Apparently men are simply attracted to the woman that is most attractive to them. The article uses evolutionary reasons for the phenomenon in both men and women but I have a feeling that there is more to it than accepted scientific reasons. Let's face it, we all know women are more intuitive so I'm not surprised that they would choose the most mindful man they can find to tie the knot with. It would be just the reassurance they need that they are loved back. Men take rejection better than women do normally and so it just makes sense that this is true.
     Tonight, our Bachelor Ben had to choose between two women who he claimed right up to the moment of proposing to love both of them. He didn't say the love was equal but who's quibbling? I watched this article I just read being played out before my eyes with all three individuals struggling with this phenomenon. It must have been heart-wrenching to the woman who had to walk away, who had mentally prepared herself for a proposal and was instead put in a car and removed from his presence. Even if it was difficult for him to decide, he was the only one who could make that decision. It isn't fair but that's the way it is- right or wrong.
     The only leveler is that men who aren't very mindful will have a difficult time engaging any woman in a relationship. There's a lesson in this, though. According to the article mindfulness is not in your DNA. It can be developed and acquired like a skill. I think this would be a better world if men would work on this because it can only improve them as a person and they may just find and land the woman who really is the most attractive to him. No more settling- for anybody !
Risking it all on love,
The Castle Lady

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Good Thoughts for 2016

     I've never been much of an adherent for New Year's resolutions because I always seemed to fill my plate too full, especially as a teenager, and then would fall short of my goals even if I did a lot of what I set out to do. I was setting myself up for what I perceived as failure when, in truth, I was setting myself up for disappointment unnecessarily. Since the year 2000 I have been at work on myself as a person and my goals are a constant quest in my life with the opportunity to do these things in a time that is humanly possible. There have been times when my goals have been changed weekly. I have had one goal on my roster for fourteen years now and it will remain even though I know I may never fully achieve it. In the meantime, here are some good thoughts for even the most resolution weary travelers: 
"If you can't fly, then run;
 if you can't run, then walk...
if you can't walk, then crawl--
whatever you do, keep moving forward."
 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Five Steps to Overcoming:
1) If I give joy, it will come back to me.
2) My worries can be released.
3) Any detour can be seen as an opportunity.
4) Remarkable achievements all began as thoughts.
5) New learning is always there, waiting for me to embrace it.
- the daughter of Norman Vincent Peale

Motivation is what gets you started but habit is what keeps you going.
-Jim Ryan
There is always something to be thankful for so...
follow your dream and

from The Castle Lady

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Expectations + Prayer = Real Results

     If ever I could say that a year just flew past me while I was trying my best to harness time, it was last year. By November I had to look up my records to find out when I had posted my last castle entry on my Word Press blog and was astonished to find that my Hertfordshire entries were posted during the earliest days of March and in a matter of a couple of days! I've been so busy trying to swat problems as they continually crop up that there was no time left for writing much of anything- especially about castles. Even this blog has really suffered for want of some good entries all through 2015. It's all the result of shifting from spending my designated eight hours ( or more) of reading, writing and researching to fitting those activities around a basic DIY day, every day. Nothing in the world is more impossible- with the exception of preventing wars! It's also quite exhausting.
     In the future, starting this year, all those things are going to have to take a back seat to my beloved work. The dishes will always be there. Mops need to dry out. I'll really put soap and my vacuum to the true test in 2016. Maybe someone will bless me with a Molly Maids gift certificate and I can go out to lunch instead ! Well, I can dream can't I ? Better yet, a housekeeper can stir up a white tornado around here while I sit in the eye of it and write my head off. It would be about time, huh?
     I do apologize for what seems like neglect but really is not. My heart has been right there- buried in the photos and videos and new books on castles and England. I'll have you know it's very frustrating to me when I can't get to my pet project. I even get withdrawal symptoms and pull out all my castle videotapes and the photos I've taken during my castle trips. I'm wondering if I ever had to have brain surgery, when they opened up my skull, they'd find it was shaped like a castle.
     All joking aside, upon receiving a revelation from the Lord, I realized suddenly that I have lowered my expectations about life a bit too far and really need to shift up into high gear a bit more. I need to doff the habit of praying and then forgetting all about it. Putting matters in God's hands does not mean dumping everything in his lap. We need to be actively engaged in the process of putting our prayers into action. The verse in James 2:26 is often misconstrued to mean that faith without carrying the matter out by yourself is useless but if the entire chapter is read carefully you find that it's all about bringing your attention to the matter at hand and to raise your expectations. Your faith level is contingent upon how high your expectations are of the outcome of your prayers and supplications to God. You certainly can't build faith without high expectations and you won't receive or acknowledge answers to prayer if you stay down in the well of despair.
     Therefore, I am going to challenge my readership on this blog and from elsewhere to start putting forth stronger faith along with accomplishments, dedication and plain hard work. Giving in to disappointments and discouragements can become habitual and they only weigh us down and put a damper on every effort we make towards goals, plans and dreams. God would not have any of us thinking like that and I'm not saying it's going to be easy but if you keep your faith and expectations high it can only help you. It certainly doesn't help to let all the negative naysaying and bad reports take center stage. That's nowhere.
     In order to live a full and happy life we have to take charge of it and there's no better way than taking the opportunities which allow you to shoot strong and high towards those things you feel will make a difference. I feel that way about my castle work and I'll never quit until I have accomplished exactly what I've set out to do. It's a long road but I love travel...
     So, expect to see a whole lot more castles on http://thecastlelady.wordpress.com in 2016 on south England and perhaps even more often on this blog which has always been my catch-as-catch-can forum. Of all my blogs, this one tends to force me to take stock and then forge ahead. In other words,