This blog introduces you to my special brand of BIKE. I show you how to find your Best self, access your Inner strength, tune in to your Killer instincts, and use your Expressive voice. It's inspiring, spiritual, quirky, and it's all in your head. It's about ATTITUDE, not exercise, though that might be a side benefit.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Mini Monkey Light--review coming soon contacted me today about writing a review for one of their new products. While I don't do reviews that often, this product looked too cool--and fun--to pass up. As you all know here, I love fun! And I love spontaneity. This product seems to fit both. So watch for a review of the new Mini Monkey Light right here in October.

Till then, check out this fun video link, and let me know if this is something that you'd put on your bike, your child's or refer to a friend to put on theirs. After I get a chance to ride around on my bike with these lights--in an area where I can catch some attention to see what other people think about them as well--I'll let you know what they're really like. I'm looking forward to this fun task ahead. Stay tuned.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Immigration and a catch-22

I just overheard a story about a case that's going in front of a judge in criminal court on Monday. It's an immigration issue. Not really a criminal case. The case involves a girl who is 19, an illegal from Mexico. She was brought to the states as a child. Her mother is deceased. Her father out of the picture.

I squeezed my way into the conversation and was told the girl graduated top of her class last year. Should have been a bright student in college by now, working on her career as a lawyer, doctor, or some other great future. Instead, she was arrested (I'm guessing after one of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's immigration stings). She was working as a maid--with a fake ID and Social Security number. The story is, when she graduated high school, she had no money to go to college. She got the fake documents so she could get a job to support herself.

C'mon, folks. She's not a criminal, just a young girl trying to make her way in the world she was brought up in. She doesn't know Mexico. It is not her home. Arizona is. But when she is brought into court on Monday, the judge could sentence her to prison, or he could put her on parole. Regardless, it's a no win for her. The system, as it is, requires young people like her to find a way around it. They have to take the risk of being caught. She did, and she was. Now, she either goes to prison, or she goes back to Mexico--a place she's never called home. If she's sentenced to parole, she'll be immediately transferred over to Immigration, and ICE will keep her locked up in a holding cell until she is deported.

She has no family in Mexico. She doesn't know Mexico. There is no future for her there. Who knows what will happen to her or where she will go, or how she will survive there.

There are so many more similar stories out there like this girl's, and I'd love to interview this one to get to the heart of how poor immigration policies affect the people directly involved. 

From my perspective, this is not a political issue. This is a humanitarian issue. For the kids like this, who had no choice where they were brought up, we need to fix the law. We need to address the kids. As you can see, their futures are at stake.

Just my two cents for a Saturday afternoon.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Profile interview--I need your help!

I'm getting ready to interview a young woman, married with five children. Her husband's in the military and serving overseas. She's about to graduate college. I'm writing a profile about her accomplishments. If you were reading this story, what would you want to know? Post your questions in the comment section below.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

COPING STRATEGY: Package your Positives

I don't know where this thought comes from, other than from the fact that I believe it's much better to focus on what's going great in our lives rather than on what's going in the opposite direction.

So I like to package the positives. I like to bunch them all together in neat little notebooks and lists and images. I'm a visual person so I'm not surprised I do this. And I've decided it's good advice for anyone who's in a bind, no matter the reason. We all get in them, and we all need a way out.

Take work, for example, six months ago and maybe a little more, my work schedule was pretty much non-existent. I had so much going on in my personal life (my 11-year-old dog had died, my daughter was having a baby, and my boyfriend had just learned he was going to need open heart surgery) that I let work slip to the bottom of the priority list. It just wasn't all that important to me that I pitch 20 different ways to play under the desert sun. I didn't care. I had more important things to do with my time. My focus needed to be on the people in my life, and that's all there was too it. And that's what I managed to do. 

But when all the choas had passed, when my daughter was settled in her new life with child and my boyfriend had survived his surgery and his health was back to normal, I was still left with no work. I had no income coming in! Suffice it to say, I was not feeling so great about things then, and I started to worry and fret. A lot. I worried about the bills, about my bank account, about my future.

What on earth was I going to do?!

Luckily, I have a very limited ability to stand myself when I'm wallowing. I do it. I think it's necessary. We should all get to feel sorry for ourselves when we're challenged. But I'm not one to wallow for long. It's not a person's best trait, that's for sure. So I always manage to figure out what I have to do next, and then I start doing it. Although that doesn't necessarily stop me from worrying, it helps deliver me from self-doubt. Eventually.

So the first thing I did was the easiest and the most obvious thing. No work? Pitch! So I sat down at my desk to start pitching like crazy, to everyone about everything I could think of. I signed on with other writers to gather moral support. And I started using a friend's advice. Ask for referrals, he told me. That wasn't something I was in the habit of doing. And it took me a while before I got the hang of it. But I did. I started asking for referrals. I also started focusing on my own health and got back into a regular exercise routine. Sometime in between, I allowed myself to take a long trip I'd been planning, even though I questioned the timing and the cost. Then I signed up for yoga classes--something I'm doing with the boyfriend. Since I knew I needed to find a mentor, someone who would help hold me accountable, I shopped around for her. It may sound crazy, but I knew I needed a boss. So I hired one. Imagine that. A freelancer hiring a boss. But I did, and it's all worked out just as I knew it would. In time.

You have to have patience when you're going through a difficult time, especially in my line of work. Patience is a virtue, and all that. Guess what? I'm now seeing the health benefits. I'm less stressed. And work is coming my way. Life is starting to feel productive and peaceful again.

So what's the secret? I think the secret is to package your positives. The more the merrier, as they say. When things are going wrong in your life, that's the best time to begin to place focus on what's going right. Grab every little plus you can find and stick them all in a mental basket of goodies and focus your attention on that. When you are determined to improve, no matter what it is that needs improvement, you will do it. You will accomplish your goal because that is what you've decided to do. That is where you focus your thoughts. That is where your actions will lead you. That is why I've taken all the steps that I've taken, made the choices that I've made, and seen such good results. In one week alone I've gotten four new assignments! So package your positives, and then turn it into a gift. That gift becomes your promise that goes something like this: I promise myself success. 

If you make such a promise to yourself, that is what you will get.

So let me ask you: when was the last time you promised yourself success? If you haven't in a while, or if you've never promised yourself such a thing, take time now to do that by packaging your positives.

Here's how:
  • Think of all action steps you've taken lately to achieve a goal you have. 
  • Write them down. Write everything down you can think of, even the steps you've taken without much thought. Count everything. 
  • Rip or cut each individual step into its own separate piece of paper. You can be as neat and elaborate about this as you like. And you can have as many positive points as you can think of. Hundreds, even! Be creative.
  • Once you have your steps divided into their individual pieces of paper, physically package them by sticking them in a box, an envelope, or a gift bag, whatever you like or have handy. 
  • Decorate the package if you think that will mean something to you. 
  • Hold the gift and state your promise, and then place the package (this gift to yourself) somewhere so that it can act as a visual reminder of the success you have already. 
The next time you start to feel unsure of yourself, focus instead on what you've done to move forward. Write that down as a positive and add it to your package. Soon enough, that physical package won't be necessary. It will become automatic for you to focus on the positive. You will have changed the way you think and respond to challenges. Your physical reminder will move into your thought process, and it will become the mental message you need to continue moving forward at a much faster pace.

If you try this at home, come back and let us know how well it worked.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I remember 911

That's pretty much all I want to say about it, as the hype just depresses me. But I do understand the importance of memorials, so if you'd like a place to post yours, feel free to express yourself here. I welcome your comments and read every one.

God bless us all.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Wildlife spotting in your own backyard

My neighbor across the street spotted three ringtails last night walking along the wall in his backyard when he stepped outside for coffee. I had no idea we had them in our neighborhood. But apparently we do. Most likely they walked down from the mountain preserve behind my neighbor's yard.

I expect coyotes to wander around here. They walk over from their dens in the mountain preserve as well, looking for food and water, of course. And we certainly see a ton of rabbits, have to continually stop our cars on the road to let quail families cross, and I'm seeing more and more roadrunners around here. But I've never seen a ringtail before and am glad my neighbor decided to share his discovery, as it allows me to share this photo with you.

To me, he's a lovely reminder that it's the simple things in life that can cause us pleasure, create amazement, or otherwise put a smile on our faces.

Because, isn't this guy adorable?

_Sometimes referred to as ringtail cats, they are not cats; the ringtail is a member of the raccoon family, with some resemblance to the fox.
_It is the state mammal of Arizona.
_The animal is named for the bands around his tail, up to 16 of them, alternating in black and white fur.
_Miners have used them to control rats underground.
_They inhabit the desert Southwest, mostly its canyons and rocky plateaus, and are good climbers because of it.
_Their diet varies, from rodents to small mammals (rabbits, for instance) to birds. And they even like insects, especially scorpions. In the fall, these little guys don't mind munching on plants.
_They are also nocturnal, which explains why my neighbor spotted them last night.

And now I'm curious: Have you spotted any wildlife in your backyard lately? If so, please share your story here.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

THANK YOU! 3 reasons to say it more often

I want to say "thank you" to the woman I met a month or so ago at a coffee shop a few miles from where I live. I won't say your name because I can't remember it. You didn't have a business card to share. You were referred to me by a friend who thought you wanted to work with me. You didn't. But I agreed to meet with you under those circumstances. When I arrived, I discovered you just wanted to pick my brain for ideas on how you could get your work done. I usually charge for that kind of consultation, but I was helping a friend, so I answered your questions. I was gracious. I was happy to help. But you know what I continue to find surprising? You never followed up with a "thank you." I spent more than an hour with you that morning. I provided you with solid information. I even emailed with more. But no thanks from you. No acknowledgment whatsoever.

And for that, I want to thank you--because it reminds me that I need to say those two words more often. So, in honor of that day, I offer three reminders of what deserves your bold thanks:

1)  If your friends think highly enough of you to refer you to their friends and associates, that's something to be grateful for, no matter the outcome. Email them. Let them know it means so much.

2)  If your clients refer you as someone to work with, if they offer testimonials (especially when you don't even have to ask for them), that's something to honor in return. Send them a hand-written note.

3)  And if your adult children acknowledge what a great job you did as their parents, thank them, hug them. For goodness sakes, buy them a new car! Because no other praise will matter more.  

Do you have any reason to issue a thank-you today?