30. November 2011 · Comments Off on Caring For Our Aging Parents – Mothering Mother – A Daughter’s Humorous and Heartbreaking Memoir · Categories: Book Reviews · Tags: , ,

When do we reach the age where our parents are suddenly “old” and “frail” and require us to care for them? At what point in care giving of our elderly and infirm parents do we change from the child of the parent to the parent of the parent? Mothering Mother by Carol O’Dell hits the reader squarely between the eyes with her blunt often humorous appraisal of the pitfalls of confronting our parent’s fragile mortality.

Managing her own family with busy schedules as well as caring for her Parkinson’s wracked mother, Carol is left with no time to care for herself. Finding the task daunting at the very least and overwhelming on even the best days, Carol, ever the dutiful daughter goes about her mother’s care with dignity and determination. Though she wants to run away from the day to day grind of dealing with a foggy elderly lady with a stubborn streak a mile long, she continues in her roles as caregiver, mother, and wife.

The author poignantly points out that “entering life and life leaving have similarities.” The smells, the messes, the neediness, the thankless care, it all is the same song just a different verse. Hospice becomes the network of support and Holy Grail guiding O’Dell as she prepares for her mother’s death. Educating her in how to care for and better understand her mother’s needs, the Hospice workers lead O’Dell to make the necessary adult decisions that must be made as her mother slowly sinks into her final days. The author’s angst filled unspoken message to the hospice center speaks volumes of the little girl she wishes she still was. Like all of us in the sisterhood of humanity we only want to know that we are “doing the right thing” and “was I a good daughter?” The guilt wracks us and twists us like a formidable foe and O’Dell is no different.

Part catharsis, part journey through the pitfalls of elder care, Mothering Mother will resonate with any adult facing the monumental task of caring for their aging parent or loved one. The beautiful retelling of the author’s last difficult years with her mother leave the reader looking within for the pluck and reserve it will take to face our own parents’ life leaving. We can only hope that we cherish it with as much composure and compassion as Carol O’Dell.

Title: Mothering Mother – A Daughter’s Humorous and Heartbreaking Memoir

Author: Carol D. O’Dell

Publisher: Kunati

ISBN: 13-978-1-60164-003-1

Date: 2007
About the Author:

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24. November 2011 · Comments Off on Singapore Hot Stocks-china Sports Sinks on Citi Downgrade · Categories: Nature · Tags: , ,

SINGAPORE, Sept 5 (Reuters) – Shares of sports apparel maker China Sports International (CSIL.SI: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) tumbled as much as 6.3 percent on Friday after Citigroup downgraded it to a “sell” from “buy” with a reduced target price of S$0.28.

Citigroup cited concerns over the firm’s ability to sustain robust growth in an increasingly competitive environment and said it expects China Sports International to trade at a steep discount to established peers like Li Ning (2331.HK: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) due to its deteriorating earnings prospects beyond 2008.

It added it was unsure whether China Sports could increase sales as the firm derived its growth largely from low-income consumers who were likely to cut spending in view of rising inflation.

At 0638, China Sports was trading at S$0.30 with 1.3 million shares changing hands.

0639 GMT – Straits Times Index was down 1.99 percent

CHINA HONGXING FALLS AFTER CITI DOWNGRADE

Shares of Singapore-based China Hongxing Sports (CHXS.SI: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) fell as much as 6.8 percent on Friday after Citigroup downgraded it to “sell” from “buy” with a revised target price of S$0.35.

Citigroup said that although the company has been delivering robust growth, it believed its rental financing scheme would continue to weigh on price performance. Citigroup also voiced concerns over the company’s ability to sustain its current efficient retail performance in view of slowing market growth and competition.

At 0258, China Hongxing was trading at S$0.35 with 4.8 million shares changing hands.

0259 GMT – Straits Times Index was down 1.78 percent. (Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Jennifer Tan)

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21. November 2011 · Comments Off on 101 Love Positions and a Love Test- Ready Honey? · Categories: Arts And Entertainment · Tags: , ,

~~*~~
101 ways to please
or is it all just a tease?
I guess you’ll have to read
to see!

Love tests
ready honey?
Got the map
made a study?
Will you pass
or are you a dud-ie?

Are there really
101 love positions?
Are you sure
about your addition?

Ready set love secure
know your mate
for at least one year?
Is your lover as you think
or will he one day
most assuredly
cause you to drink?

Can she do it upside down
off the walls
or on the ground?
Wear a smile
replace that frown?
Do a twirl
without a sound?

Are there really 101
ways to please a lover?

Under sheets
or without covers.
In the dark
or lighted room
is that your neighbor
or is that the groom?

Can you, will you
do all now
climb a mountain
milk a cow
are you really who I want
or are you just another jaunt?

Is there more?
Gads what a chore!
101 ways
to please a lover!

Deciding which
without a hitch
might be something
we might miss.
Counting down to 99
at 55
are we still alive?

Are there REALLY
101 love positions?

Taking in the plan at hand
striking up that marching band
with all that sweat we’ll need a fan.

All bets are on
so spot me honey!
After this gig
you’ll owe me money!
I’ve spent some time
in books and TV
and am quite ready for a
101 spree.

Lots of laughs
and lots of gasps
I knew deep down
ohhh…
I could not last.

Remember all about that test?
I think I’ll put it all to rest
on 25 oh man alive
my back snapped
as I tried to comply.
I’m not as young as I once was
I am in fact a turtle dove.
I’m perched on a wire…
OH NO!
Not position 45er!
No oh no…
a plan…
to retire!

Are there REALLY 101 love positions?
101 ways to please a lover?

~~*~~
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11. November 2011 · Comments Off on Build Your Website – Find Your Niche · Categories: Internet And Businesses Online · Tags: , ,

Can you build a website without having a niche? Of course, but I would strongly suggest you find your niche first then build your site. Knowing your niche before you build a website won’t guarantee your success, but I believe it is you first step towards achieving your goals. 

Building a unique website takes time and plenty of attention to detail. Also, it’s a creation this is constantly in the making. It involves learning as much as you can about web creation and its maintenance. After that it involves constant tweaking. 

As for finding your niche, it’s not that hard to do. Find what you like to do best and go with it. When I first started out as a VA I offered every service under the sun, as long as I knew how perform that service, whether I did it expertly or not, I offered it. I have since learned that is not the way to do business. To be considered a professional, whether in the VA field or elsewhere, you need to know your craft. Now when I get a request from a prospective client and the services they seek are not within my realm of expertise, I either inform them that I can’t help them and send them to a site like VAnetworking.com or I offer to find a VA who can assist them. 

Once you have you niche, it’s much easier to build your site and develop the keywords you need to help with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). You need to learn some basic SEO if you want to have a strong presence on the web, but we’ll go into that in a future article. You’ll also need quality content on your site and have all of you links working properly to attain your goal, which should be to rank on the first page of the search engines. 

If you don’t think you have what it takes, yet, to do your own site, find someone reputable to help. Do a little bit of research. There are a lot of veteran Virtual Assistants  who offer help to newbies, whether it’s for websites or just mentoring. 

If you belong to an on-line group like, IVAA, DVVAA or VAnetworking.com, which I strongly advise a new Virtual Assistant to join, they offer many resources to their members. The members are very knowledgeable and always ready to help when you have a question or problem. 

So, if you want to create and maintain your own website, you should start now. To build your site you will need a working knowledge of an HTML editor or website development software like CoffeeCup or  Macromedia Dreamweaver. They are the only two website software systems I know of that are user friendly, or at least reasonably easy to learn. You’ll also need to acquaint yourself with a graphics software such as Jasc, Paint Shop Pro or Adobe Photoshop. 

Don’t let all of this technical information scare or discourage you. It’s a lot to take in all at once but it’s really not as bad as it sounds. Remember, VAs are a brotherhood/sisterhood, we’re here to lend help when needed.

10. November 2011 · Comments Off on Create an Eye-Catching Hook For Your Print Ads · Categories: Business · Tags: , ,

When people see a print ad, they usually take two seconds to evaluate it before they decide whether they’re interested in learning more. This means you need to create a great hook to pull people in to your ad. The best way to hook people is with a great image.

High-impact images
A high-impact image makes people stop scanning and pay attention to your ad. It makes people curious to learn more. Images are better at hooking people than a well-written headline because images are easier to digest. People can read about 10 words in the same amount of time they can process an image. When people look at ads, 90% of them look at the image before they look at the words.

A common mistake is to use an eye-catching visual that has nothing to do with the product being sold. That just leads to confusion. People don’t like to feel confused because they feel like they are dumb if they don’t “get it” and can’t make the connection. Don’t make people think too hard to connect your image with your product and brand. Your image should reflect the main message as well as get people’s attention.

In an antismoking campaign aimed at pregnant women, a health center used a black-and-white photo of a baby with a smoking cigarette hanging out of his mouth. Not only was this an eye-catching visual, it also clearly contributed to the health center’s message: “Smoke when you’re pregnant and your baby smokes with you.”

Not only using interesting images, but interesting color schemes can gain people’s attention. Using different color printing techniques like a black-and-white image with only your product in color can create visual interest.

When you’re choosing an image, choose one that reinforces your message or adds a deeper level of understanding to the words of your message.

Beware of negative associations with your image
A spaghetti company once used an ad with a photo of a naked man lying in a bathtub of spaghetti that certainly caught people’s attention, but didn’t make anyone want to eat the spaghetti!

An ad for a computer company showed a computer next to a turtle to show that the computer would have a long life, just like turtles. Of course, most people took the ad to mean that computer would run as slow as a turtle – not good for business. How no one saw that connection, I don’t know.

These examples are perfect reasons why you should always test your ads with focus groups or at least ask colleagues for their opinions!

Don’t let your image take over your brand
It’s amazing how often a brand gets thrown to the wayside in favor of a creative image. Be sure that people know immediately after looking at the image that it’s for your company. An eye-catching ad won’t do you any good if no one knows it’s for your company! Put your logo in a prominent place on the ad or use your company’s name in the headline to ensure people know whose ad they’re looking at.

04. November 2011 · Comments Off on Family Gatherings – How to Deal With Tension and Uncomfortable Situations · Categories: Home And Family · Tags: , ,

Family. We love them, but there’s a reason we leave the nest, right? No one knows how to press your hot buttons and make you feel like an awkward kid again, quite the way family does. For some it’s judgmental in-laws, and for others it’s a well-meaning mom telling you how to raise your kids, Aunt Mary letting the skeletons out of the closets, cousin Julie’s horrible children, or the men’s constant game of one-up-manship. Whatever your situation, it can turn your gathering into a tinderbox ready to be ignited by the smallest spark. Don’t let your familial bonds render you powerless.

1. The emotional downer: When asked about yourself by someone who is typically looking for an opportunity to bring you down, stay as neutral and superficial as possible, so as not to create an opening for competition and judgment.

“Has your business recovered from that incident last year?”
“Oh we’re doing fine, thank you. How are things going for you?”

Avoid offering any details, and turn the subject back to them immediately.

2. The judge: If you do find yourself in a scenario of being confronted with judgment, stay positive and confident – remember that they are looking for a reaction!

“Guess you learned your lesson from that bad decision, huh?”
“Every day is a lesson, and we all have them to learn! Have you tried these stuffed mushrooms?”

Let them know, as subtly as possible, that they are not in a position to emotionally affect you.

3. The One-Uppers: For those who engage in constant one-up-manship, realize that all they want is attention, and just give it to them! Congratulate them, compliment them, and keep the conversation focused on them. They can’t top you if you’re busy agreeing with how wonderful they are. This is also an easy one to escape. When they’ve recounted their latest, greatest achievement, grab Uncle Joe and say, “Joe, you have got to hear what Cathy did last week!” Thus allowing you to slide gracefully out of the picture.

4. The Skeleton Releasers: This can put you in the hot-seat faster than falling on a bonfire. The key is to keep your cool, and change the subject as fast as possible.

“I’m so glad you and Dan are happy! I always wondered if you’d made the wrong decision in breaking up with his brother Jim.”
“We are extremely happy, and building a better FUTURE every day! Where did you get that bracelet? It’s absolutely stunning!”

DO NOT return the favor by pulling out more skeletons! Make a point of putting the past in the past. If you then turn the focus on them, they will be forced to flow with the change of subject, in order to answer your question.

5. Let’s face it though, you can’t plan for every contingency. If things do get uncomfortable, simply excuse yourself from the conversation: go to the restroom, change conversation groups, or fake a phone call. Don’t worry about what the other person thinks. Under the circumstances, that individual should be viewed as a bully, and given the same amount of consideration. When you are calm, weigh the options, and determine whether it would be best to leave.

6. When you’re going to a gathering where you KNOW there’s going to be trouble, just make it quick. Consider attending for appetizers or dessert only (appetizers if you know that alcohol will escalate the drama later, dessert if things usually calm down after dinner)!

7. One more tip: If there are particular people with whom you routinely have issues, but it seems to be JUST you, take a look in the mirror. How are you contributing to the tension in these “confrontations?” Take a step back and try to see things from their perspective.

Ultimately, remember that every person in your life, family or not, is there for a reason, and with some gift to contribute to your individual growth. Look for this, and the light that shines on each of them will suddenly be much kinder.