Books by LD Sledge

NoLa

MAY YOU HAVE BUTTERFLIES

 

 

 

 

MAY YOU HAVE BUTTERFLIES

 

 

 

 

Yesterday I visited the Organic Living Garden Center on 601 Patricia in Dunedin to learn about having a Butterfly Garden.  Jai Hambly, owner, gave a group of us a little free tour and I learned some really interesting things.

If you want to have a garden that attracts butterflies, you need to have two kinds of plants: those that attract them for the nectar and Host plants, those on which they lay eggs and make more butterflies. They are two entirely different kinds of plants.

First, she showed us some beautiful bright flowers that attract them for nectar. These are Daisy’s, Snapdragons, Thai Basil, Begonias, Allesium, and other colorful and fragrant blossoming plants.

The Host plants are Milkweed (Butterfly plant), Dutchman’s Pipe Plant, Passion plant, and Wild Cherry. They lay eggs on these plants, and when the eggs hatch and become the larvae or what we call a caterpillar, they feed on the plant, even stripping it of leaves. They develop a cocoon, and soon the butterfly emerges in all its glory to beautify your garden and pleasure you with their dainty, fluttering, ephemeral lives.

If you want a particular kind of butterfly, get the kind of plant that one likes, and with the nectar flowers that attract them, you have made a little home for these wonderful, delicate little living creatures that make the heart glad. If you don’t have Host plants, they just get the nectar and leave, looking for a host plant somewhere else. It costs just a little more to provide them a home as well as a restaurant.

Thirty children from a local school, Delphi Academy, toured the garden the day before, and two of them returned with their mother when I was there. They were so excited to see Jai and go through the garden again. One pretty little girl was literally jumping up and down in excitement. Jai provides a link to the real world of natural beauty, and for just a few dollars you can pick up some plants of both kinds, and start your butterfly garden.

There is nothing quite as gracious and quietly lovely as a garden filled with beautiful, fragrant blossoms and wildly colorful butterflies floating around in the morning sun while you have your coffee or tea on the swing.

Happy as Larry

There’s an expression in Australia, “Happy as Larry,” that gives me an instant picture of Larry, who is always “up.”

This Aussie Larry is a hoot to be around, for he, being an Aussie, has little patience with a Bitcher or Whiner. He avoids them, knowing they will suck him down to their level if they can, so they can have company in their misery. He is a happy Larry for he avoids bad company.

Do you know a Larry?. Do you know these others?  Well, there just aren’t enough Larry’s, and way too many Bitchers and Whiners.

Look at the life of the Larry’s. Usually they are not just happy, but they are healthier, are surrounded by other happy souls, do well in life, are successful in business. But what about the Bitchers and Whiners? Just the opposite. If you had a pie chart or graph, showing happy vis a vis unhappy, etc., doing well in life, you could see clearly the difference in the life quality of each.

It is the job of everyone to be able to spot the the Bitchers and Whiners, and get them out of their lives. Without them around, it is amazing how the quality of life changes to what it is supposed to be—happy, successful, healthy, and what else—fun. If life isn’t fun, you are doing it wrong.

If you aren’t having fun, look around and spot a Bitcher and Whiner and kick them out. The important part is step one—spot them. Identify them. Know them for what they are, and you are on your way out of the stew.

I’ll tell you how to do this in my next blog.

Surprise questions at your job interview

You have finally worked your way through the labyrinth of submitting resume’s, phone interviews and now are about to walk through that door to meet the hiring rep who will hire you if you make the right impression. You are nervous. It is a verbal minefield you are about to enter. What can you expect?  There may be a team watching, evaluating your every nuance, your revealing body communication, listening to your words.

First, realize that these guys are looking out for the employer’s best interest. They are not opponents.  You may be interviewed by the owner himself or herself and count on it, you are poised to be someone this company must count on as being trustworthy, competent and reliable to produce the product needed. So far you have proven to be a candidate, and now you must prove your worth. This is just one in a series of blogs about handling an inteview, but it is concentrated on one issue mainly, the surprise or unexpected question.

It is important that you be totally honest, open and transparent, for that is what they want—to look in all your corners to make sure you fit in. The company has problems of its own and you could be a solution or a problem, so be ready for anything. All is very friendly, and you are trying to relax, outwardly appearing cool and collected, but inside tight as a bow string. That can’t be helped in this situation, but make the most of it and try to be relaxed, not cool, but relaxed. Cool may not fly. It may be interpreted as being arrogant or too self assured. You are being tested as to how you will react under pressure so it may have been a good idea to rehearse with a friend or family before going to the interview, being hit with unusual questions along with normal questions. There is nothing like drilling to make you perfect.

You are asked regular questions about yourself, your background, skills, etc. Then, out of nowhere comes a question:  “What is your favorite movie or TV show?” If your response is Chainsaw Massacre, or Captain Kangaroo or My Little Pony, you are marked as weird or suspect.  So think of some seemingly very innocuous questions that you could be hit with and be ready.

They watch for what is called “comm. lag.”  That is the time it takes for you to answer after you are asked a question. Of course you should think about your answer, but don’t take too long and don’t be too flip or quick to answer without thinking—you could regret a blurted answer. A long delay means uncertainty or even concealment.

One question that tells much about you is “tell me the one thing you have done of which you are the most proud in your life,” or “what problem did you solve in your last job that came out well?”  Be ready, don’t wait too long, and for sure don’t say you can’t think of any off hand. If you truly have done something you are proud of, you won’t take but a second to think of it. It would be impressive to proudly, and immediately, give out an answer with enthusiasm. That would be the plus you need to get the job.

How to Hire and How to Get a Job

 

Hiring at First Sight


Some job applicants can’t hide the way they look, beautiful or ugly, but some just can’t help bragging. Looking at this well endowed lady from either side of the table, I know she would have a problem getting a job unless her quals and IQ were way beyond her bra size, and in this case it would have to be significant.

A male employer may have difficulty in concentrating on the interview, and may just turn her down flat because he feels confused. Most men have problems that way, and so she has two, ahem, strikes against her going to an interview looking like that. Lots of questions would arise in his mind—“what would my wife think?” “what will the other women think?” “How will the men in my staff or organization react?” What will I think?

A woman employer may just turn her down flat, period.

So how can this be overcome?  This lady can’t help being this well endowed. She may even consider it a liability. I had a client who had herself reduced, to tragic results which was the reason she came to see me as an attorney to sue the plastic surgeon who disfigured her. She was so huge the weight of her breasts caused her back trouble and being somewhat sensitive was embarrassed rather than proud of them. But that is not a good answer to getting a job.

She should find the best way to dress that will cover herself to minimize the situation. Simply dress modestly as possible, and not allow herself to have attention on her body.  If one puts attention on some part of his body, (or hers) others are somehow drawn to the object of the attention. It is a matter of putting attention out and on some external things or actions. That is why people who may have acne, scar or distracting physical situation frequently are self conscious of it and you can’t avoid looking at it. Then it just gets worse. This lady will attract attention wherever she goes looking like that. But as a job applicant, this is a job killer normally, unless she is applying for a job that will use this as an attraction or virtue. There are those too.

If she cannot figure out some way to minimize attention on her chest, it would pay for her to consult a stylist. She may not have a competent one available nearby, like Ralph Lauren, Neiman Marcus or Ann Taylor, but she should consult with someone knowledgeable about how to handle it for her interview, and after for daily wear, and still be dressed attractively.

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT

You Are what you eat

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT

Health should be but isn’t the most searched topic on Google. It is hardly in the running. But weight gain is a topic of utmost interest in America. Weight gain is just a symptom of a larger, deeper health issue. Americans are sick and have no idea that they suffer from severe malnutrition.
Americans are easy to spot in Europe or Asia. A bus load of tourists unloads at a famous site, and there they are, red-faced, overweight, literally panting in the heat. The Europeans and Asians are usually slender and energetic, snapping their pictures.

Alzheimer’s didn’t exist 100 years ago. Why?
Heart failure was rare 100 years ago. Why?
Cancer was rare 100 years ago. Why?

Americans seem to be more concerned about their weight than their health. They are more concerned about the way they look than the way they feel. “You look marvelous!” They go for diet fads, fat farms, mantras, hypnotism, and anything but the real reason—nutrition. They are still fat and prone to a fistful of diseases, many of which can be fatal.

What is nutrition? Most don’t know what it means. It is simply the act or process of nourishing or being nourished. What is nourish? To sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth.

Would you put kerosene or bad gasoline to “nourish” your car? Would you not provide it with oil to lubricate the engine, or water to cool the motor? Of course not. Cars are American’s cherished possessions. Americans measure their well being by their car. You feed it, take it in for service, change oil, wash it, baby it. So do you give your body what it needs?

Your body is your transportation, your communication device, far more precious than your car.

Your body is a carbon-oxygen engine running at 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, with lower life forms as fuel. At the bottom of the food chain are plants, algae, molds, which rely upon sunlight, air and water. From there on up the chain, all animals dine on plants or on one another. And you, the operator of this engine, are no more your body than you are your car. Your body can die.

Thus we evolved, without the help of chemicals, which have been added to our food supply during the past century. Mother Nature provides the perfect organic energy sources for humans. Organic are foods produced without the input of synthetic pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers.
Walk down the aisle of your grocery and you are surrounded by a chemical laboratory. The enforced labeling of ingredients provide undecipherable chemicals added for shelf life, flavor, color, with claims of additive nutrients none of which are natural, all for the benefit of the seller, none for the consumer. Meats, fish, fowl, and produce are stuffed with pesticides, herbicides, growth enhancing chemicals, and things unknown to you that do not exist in nature.

Could all of this be contrived? It is contrived in the interest of the stockholders of the major corporations which control the manufacture, marketing and selling of our food. Their interest is money. Shelf life means money. So why are Americans obese? Why are they unhealthy? Again, malnutrition doesn’t mean ribs showing and staring eyes from the skull. The obese ones are victims of malnutrition and don’t know it, for they are fed daily fare from the media about delicious foods and how they are supposed to be healthy, because they have “enriched” them with vitamins, etc. They didn’t mention they had taken away all the basic, natural nutrition first, and replaced them by chemicals which usually are harmful. Americans don’t know what it is like to feel good. I will continue blogging this topic and show you how to feel good, enrich your lives, and live longer.

This blog will provide answers for you. Stay tuned for an unbiased but bumpy ride.

ADMIRATION

Admiration
I once read the brown skinned people in other countries felt that they had the attention of the environment. That trees, animals, and even inanimate things were attentive to them, and that made them comfortable as being constantly acknowledged of their presence and beingness. I am sure you have read of the American Indian thanking the deer or buffalo for offering themselves as food so that the human may live, and the tree or stones which provided shelter or protection were thanked as well. Man was never alone, and was surrounded by friends who provided for his needs.

White man, on the other hand, never felt that anything but his kind was worthy of anything but to use. That made him an only one, alone, and fearful. That meant, in order to get attention and acknowledgement he had to accumulate things, gold, weapons, property. Then he could be admired, or his substitute self, his stuff, could be admired. This put him in a state of anxiety constantly about getting and then keeping it once he got it. Brown people had difficulty in understanding this.

Who is better off?

The brown people were constantly admiring those things that gave them attention. It was an exchange of admiration. Somehow, he knew there was more to it than just he and those things, that there was really no separation or gulf between them and somehow he was making it all happen. He has never really been able to fathom how that works, for it was just the way things were, and it wasn’t broke. So he admired everything, finding beauty in all things. It worked fine, and he was as happy as man could be in this universe.

Suppose one day, when things are going badly, or when you have some slack moment in your day of acquiring and protecting things, (isn’t that what you find yourself doing 24/7?) just look around and find something that you admire. Then find something you don’t admire and admire it. You know it is hard to cause trouble for someone who admires you. Admire your enemies. Admire your troubles. Really admire them. Flow something like “love” at them. Love is such an indefinable thing and is so overused and misused, that it shouldn’t be used here, but most people’s idea of it defines admiration somewhat.

Think of something you really like, how you feel about it. Use that same feeling about something else, flow to it. It is said that admiration is the most powerful particle or force (it is the opposite of force really) in the universe. We all have it within us. We may have forgotten how to do it. It must be genuine, not with any thought of self. Gently with heart. The magic only works when it is done for others only.

See what happens. See how you feel about things, about yourself. Your whole life may change. Remember everything is trying its best to survive, struggling really, so admire the effort. Know how hard it is–what heroes they are for making things go right. People are having a hard time usually, though they may not admit or even know it, difficulty has become so “natural”. You can better their day letting them know they are admired. Real acknowledgement. Smiles work. Before long you will be admiring everything, for everything is admirable, you know. You may become invulnerable. It’s yours. All of it. You may get a little back. It works that way.

Memories of 9/11 by an American

eagle mad I was at home, staying away from the office, getting needed time and space to work on an upcoming jury trial, when my wife came into my office saying “the world trade center has been attacked.”

I had to shake the woolies out of my head and shift gears, for I was deep in the facts of the case, and had no clue what she was talking about. I carried my materials with me and sat down in my LazyBoy in front of the TV in the bedroom. One of the twin towers was smoking about two thirds of the way up, and the announcer frantically chattered about a plane running into the building.

I thought it was novel that an airliner had gone off course and hit the building. My legal mind immediately thought of the damage lawsuits of the people on the plane and those injured in the building—and the claim the building owner had against the airline.

There was lots of talk, but no knowledge of anything about what really happened. I continued concentrating on my case, interrupted from time to time by the announcer giving updates, with the picture of the buildings continued on the screen. At the time, there were no available photos of the plane approaching and striking the building. That came later.

Then another plane hit the other building. That got my attention, and I am sure it was then that those who should know about such things sat up in red alert. This was no accident!

I had most of my attention from then on riveted on the TV, watching the two fantastic buildings with ugly smoking wounds in their sides, trying to visualize what was happening there. This was not commonplace news!

There before my eyes, building number one seemed to shrink downward for a moment, then, in seconds, it simply folded in on itself and collapsed in a smoking heap. I felt something hit me in my gut. I couldn’t breathe for a moment. It was a physical shock within me. I had no idea what had happened, except that thousands were dying, all at once, and there was a simultaneous cry of the dying in that instant that hit me like a blow. It hit me spiritually, but it felt like a physical thing.

We are all connected whether we know it or not; our de-evolution makes us think we are lonely islands, but beneath we are joined. Not since Nagasaki or Hiroshima have so many humans lost their lives all at once. I felt an immense rush of surprise, fear then sadness coming from that crashing building. One person dying is one thing. Thousands dying at the same instant, not having a clue what is happening, is another. It was a cry of despair that could and should have been heard around the world.

Later, after the second building fell, when I felt the same thing, I realized what it was. I recalled Obi-Wan-Kinobe in the Star Wars movie, when the peaceful planet Alderaan was totally destroyed by the Death Star. He doubled over in intense pain, sensing the death of millions all at once—saying there was a disturbance in the force, instantly knowing that the planet was no more and all the beings on it were dead.

If I had not been totally convinced of the fact that there is a connexity in the brotherhood of man, of man the spirit, then this was ultimate proof. Many others felt it too, and had no name for it, and it generated fear and anger rather than understanding of the nature of the loss. It generated anger in me too, a gripping futile anguish of the descent of man into an abyss of despair.

Then there was a coalescing of the human spirit like I have never seen in my lifetime. Americans came together as one. Flags sprang up everywhere. There were marches. TV spectaculars with celebrities singing patriotic songs. I remember a stage filled with celebrities singing America The Beautiful, with Willie Nelson right in the front with his laconic nasal twang—and I could see America shining through, rising from the ashes, being one. I actually cried, and cry again in the memory of that coming together, which we should and can do even now.

We are approaching the anniversary of that horror. Again we should stand tall, we should come together and link our living spirits with a dedication to be one as Americans and know who and what we are. We are free yet. We can pull ourselves out of the despair that was born of this event. We sensed vulnerability for the first time as a nation. For at no time since the revolution have we had incursion on our shores of a foreign power, and in this case a totally foreign philosophy.

Once again I want to feel that surge of pride and power that I felt ten years ago when we came together and sang America The Beautiful. And this time I feel we can, and should, on the brink of a chance to change back to American values that we have lost during these past ten years, bow our necks and say “enough.” I am an American.

When I was in high school I had an after dinner speech that I won first prize two years in a row in speech tournaments called “I am Proud To Be An American.” I spoke with six different dialects and impersonated six singers—Vaughn Monroe, Billy Ekstine, The Ink Spots, Bing Crosby, Frankie Laine. I told how precious being an American was through the voices of those new immigrants. That was a time when being an American was a given. It was expected. We were all thoroughbred Americans in 1952. Over the past fifty years we have become something else, something that welfare and political expediency and political correctness have eroded our ability to speak, our pride and our patriotism. We must now rise again and hold our heads up as Americans with a grim determination not to lose our precious gift of freedom.

The polling booth is our weapon. Lock and load: Ready, aim, vote!

As an author I write about winners, American winners. Two stand tall, get in your face, make it go right, kickass American winners are Jack Chandler, of Dawn’s Revenge,and Riggs McCall, in Command Influence, heroes in two of my novels which will be available immediately at this site. Read two chapters from each book free now. Plan to buy and read these books. They will make you proud you are an American.

It’s All About Winning

winners2

Ed Connelly lurched and stumbled along the marble hallway, grimacing at the effort of walking and holding the heavy books in his twisted and gnarled hands. He fell into a chair in my freshman law school class, his tongue between his lips, fumbled with his notebook and finally got it opened, then gripping a ballpoint pen in his fist made big jagged marks on the page for his notes. The whole class watched his struggles.

He looked up, his eyes shining at his recent victory at being able to make it from the parking lot, up the stairs, and down the long hall to the classroom. He was positively merry! My heart melted.

Ed was born with severe cerebral palsy, as bad a case as I have seen and still be independently mobile. You couldn’t watch him eat. Every move he made was headed in the wrong direction until he forced his rebellious body to somehow finally get the spoon somewhere near his mouth, or to stop one foot from ramming into the other as he fought his way along.

He smiled and laughed in a choking sort of way when he was not trying to rein his willful body into behaving. He barreled along life using what he had to work with, and made it very well.

He finished law school and set up his own private practice in 1960, and the last time I saw him was in the late eighties. He was still practicing, and seemed as happy as anybody else. Ed is a prince among men.

It’s all about winning.

Jim Girard, a fraternity brother, and one the most handsome men I have ever seen, had no use of his legs. They were literally rags. His upper body was Herculean, and he could walk on his hands faster than I could run. He overcame, married, has children and is and doing well.

Stephen F Hawkin, total body paralysis; President John F. Kennedy excruciating pain every day; Franklin D Roosevelt, crippled; Michael J Fox, Lou Gerig’s disease; Christopher Reeve, quadriplegic. None gave up. How many more could I list?

It’s all about winning.

William Ernest Henley was in the hospital for over a year in horrendous agony, having his leg removed from tuberculosis of the bone. He suffered all of his life in grievous pain, yet he wrote Invictus while he was in the hospital:

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the Pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll.

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul.

What is the difference between these men and others?

They deal with it. They ride over it. They know they are not their bodies and that they are spiritual beings. They have something to do and a reason to do it and will not let anything stand in their way.

There is a winner in each of us.

It’s all about winning. It is not about not losing. There is a huge difference.

Jack Chandler, in Dawn’s Revenge; Riggs McCall, in Command Influence; and Nimrod Woodbine, in Nimrod’s Peril, are faced with challenges that would cow most men. But they are winners and refuse to give up, realizing that win or lose, the only way out is the way through. To read about these three winners, mouse over the Novels menu tab at the top of the page, and read two free chapters each.