My Buddy Ray!

It is with great sadness that I write to advise of Ray’s passing. He had developed a tumour on his left hind leg. Surgery would have meant leg removal, and it was believed that lumps in other parts of his body were likely also cancerous. Ray went from a happy, ears flapping dog, to one who was clearly in pain, could barely walk and need to be lifted up steps, in a matter of a few weeks.

Fortunately, we had a vet come out to our home (Ray had been curled up in the garden for the previous 3 hours or so), and she very gently put him to sleep. Once he was asleep, she administered the final injection. Ray was around 12 years old.

Farewell Ray. Wherever you are now, I hope we will meet again some day. You were the best!


Really going to miss you Buddy!


Aspiration … or Inspiration?

(This is a copy of a much earlier posting, but it is still relevant today.)

“Treat others as I would like them to treat me.”

It’s a wonderful basis for living, and I adopted it many years ago. Of course, how effective I have been is open to debate, but I like to think that my “compliance percentage” is quite high. The problem though is that it is often misunderstood. I know that because, when I broach the concept with some people, they respond with “Aren’t you disappointed though when they don’t behave accordingly, or when you go out of your way to help somebody, but they never reciprocate … don’t you wonder why you bothered?”

It is so important to understand that the quote was not “Treat others as I would expect them to treat me”, but rather “as I would like them to treat me.” Understanding the significant difference is important if one intends adopting that concept. An “expectation” that is not achieved can be really disappointing … but a “like” that does not follow through is just a part of living. There are a number of areas which are important to understand if we are to role model effectively.

We have to understand that each of us is a product of so many factors – parental influences, childhood experiences, teen experiences, location, lifestyle, traumatic experiences, success and failures etc. etc.

Romantics will often stress our uniqueness; our individuality. They are quite correct. Because we are all exposed to so many (and varied) influences as we proceed through life, we are indeed absolutely unique individuals. This means that I need never be disappointed at how “you” behave. I could of course not like how you handle a specific situation, but I just need to remember that your life influences are different from mine. If I can always remember that, then I can accept what you do/don’t do. I may not like your actions in a specific situation, but I can accept that your life has taken you in that direction.

I am reminded of a lesson I learned many years ago when my two teenagers were being particularly challenging – “There is no reason why you cannot always love your children. You may not love what they do, but you can always love them for who they are.” – My issue with that was learning to separate the person from the action. I did not find that easy to do, but it makes so much sense when you think about it. Why should we stop loving anybody simply because of what they did, when all they did was behave in accordance with their life experiences?

We should perhaps each spend a little time to understand who we are … what/who were our biggest influences … who we admired, and why, as we grew up … what made us happy, and what brought us to tears … our emotional highs and lows …. our successes, and our failures.

If each of us was a cake recipe, it would indeed be a very complicated recipe, and each cake would be unique. Once we have grasped that perspective, it is so much easier to accept others simply for who they are.

“Treat as others as I would like them to treat me.”

Does this provide a goal for you to aspire to, or does it simply inspire more thought? Regardless of your answer, somebody once said “Role model how you would like the world to be.” There are more of us than there are politicians so, rather than wait for our leaders to move in this direction, we should simply take charge and demonstrate our desire for a better world. There are millions of us, so can you just imagine what such a common perspective could achieve?

Winning the Lottery!

Winning the Lottery!”

It never ceases to amaze me how many people, who are on controlled budgets, give buying lottery tickets every week a high priority. The rationale generally falls into two distinct groups.

There are those who feel that, regardless of prior results, they think that this week will be their turn for the big win! Then there are those who simply buy tickets because “If you don’t play, you can’t win eh”!

What they all seem to have in common is the desire to win a large sum of money, and how happy they believe it would make them. Of course the whole lottery “advertising machine” encourages such thinking when, without exception (in my experience), all advertising focuses on self indulgent spending.

I find the whole lottery scene interesting because so many people are thinking nothing of spending $20-$25 a week on tickets. However, most of them would admit to a degree of excitement if they were given $1000.00. For some reason, the rationale does not holdup when you suggest that they stop buying tickets for a year; saved the money, and then gave themselves $1000.00 at year end!

It would appear therefore that while a $1000.00 gift would be nice, it is the $multi-million prizes that are the attraction. Again, I have to question the logic because there are so many examples of people forced into bankruptcy after a big win, simply because they spend with no thought for their resulting obligations. Moving into a multi-million dollar home dictates very high taxes and utilities plus the general upkeep of such properties! A luxury yacht is not a low maintenance item! Buying everybody a Rolls Royce car may well not be appreciated at vehicle service time.

Then there are those who have won multi-millions, and have decided to take a vacation while they decide what to do with it. Very often, it is decided to treat family and friends to small (relative to the win) value items such as pay off mortgages or buy cars. I am no accountant, but it is apparently very likely that a $multi-million win could be gaining more interest over a year than is being spent! People can literally have “more money than they know what do with”. Given all the new friends that they will undoubtedly have, and all the charities that will be in constant touch with them, it is highly unlikely that this will be a carefree and happy period in their life!

It seems to me that the ideal person to win a $multi-million lottery, is someone with a good basic knowledge of accounting and investments; someone with business experience, and someone with a philanthropic perspective. As far as I can deduce, that person would have a chance of being happy as a result of a big win but then, would that person actually buy lottery tickets?

Politics & Religion!

The following Post showed up here in 2019, but this does seem to be an appropriate time to repeat it:

Many bloggers will steer clear of politics and religion and, given the abusive nature of isolated comments that are usually generated from those topics, it’s an understandable position. While I can acknowledge the sensitivity of those areas (together with a few other areas), I do believe that feelings/opinions should be expressed. We all view the world differently, and those differences are based on our upbringing, together with any significant emotional experiences. It is therefore quite natural that, while you and I will hopefully have some common interests and perspectives, it is highly unlikely that we will agree on everything. We must recognize the significance of that.

There were many cases of people who lived through the US great depression, who later stored their money at home. A very natural reaction given the collapse of many banks during that time period and, if you cannot trust your bank, it becomes necessary find a more secure location …. say under the bed mattress! Storing money at home is, to me, rather reckless  as I trust my bank … but I can still understand the other perspective.

Anybody raised in a “working class” environment, will have a very different perspective of the world than somebody whose family was financially very secure. It is not coincidental that door-to-door fundraising is more lucrative in working class neighbourhoods than it is in affluent neighbourhoods. The rationale explained to me a long time ago was simple – “The more you have, the more you have to lose … the more you hold on to it.”

Living in an area which is either very industrial, or rather precarious in its existence, will often result in a very giving/sharing culture. I experienced that in the industrial north of England, and many will attest to it in Canada’s East Coast communities.

As children, many of us grew up generally trusting people and, while reality dictated that there were “villains” out there, we could believe that they were not a significant factor to us. Conversely however, if we experienced abuse from somebody we trusted, the after effects could quite naturally have impacted our perspective on people for many years into the future.

So where is all this going? It is simply to spread the word that you and I do not necessarily have to be right or wrong. Neither of us needs to get upset at the other’s viewpoint. What we do need to do is to acknowledge that your perspective is created from your life experiences, and my perspective created from mine. If we can respect differing opinions, and perhaps even make an effort to understand them, then we as a society will avoid so many issues.

As for politics and religion? Go for it, and if/when you get a really abusive Comment … try and remember that their life experiences have dictated their behaviour. I moderate all my Comments in order to catch those with suggestive, vulgar or otherwise offensive phrasing, but I do that to maintain a standard of blogging. Even if I do not understand the reasons why an individual becomes abusive here, I can at least acknowledge that there certainly are reasons. Spread the word! 🙂

Temporarily Inactive

As a result of a number of challenges presenting themselves at the same time, this Blog will be inactive for the immediate future. As I will still be Following your Blogs, you will no doubt still receive Likes and a Comment or two … or three … or four! There are a number of unknowns impacting this decision, but hopefully Blogging can get back to normal in the not too distant future. Regards to all. Stay safe. Take care. Colin.

And to 1958

Still in the Lonnie Donegan era, “Jack of Diamonds” was apparently released in 1957, but it was some time after “Cumberland Gap” before I heard it. If I recall correctly, “Jack of Diamonds” was the first 45rpm record I owned! As with “Cumberland Gap”, the lyrics are not particularly meaningful, but then … wasn’t skiffle all about rhythm?


One more benefit of self-publishing!

A short time ago, I published (here) a Post about various aspects of self-publishing (link below).

Publishing your Book!

My general message was that anybody who has a dream of publishing their writings should do so, even though there is a strong possibility that the financial costs involved may never be recouped.

As some of you already know, there can be great pleasure in simply holding a copy of your first book. Imagine then the sense of satisfaction when a copy is sold and, further, the big smile on your face when you read a review and realize that your book has impacted another person sufficient for them to express their views publicly.

Another cause for self-satisfaction would be when the owner of another Blog decides to review your book! Not only are you getting the benefit of another perspective on your endeavours, but your work is then exposed to their readers with the resulting sales potential.

“Who Said I was up for Adoption?” has just been reviewed by Tiana Kelly who authors Sit, Stay, Blog – link below:

Thanks Tiana and, being a dog person yourself, I was so pleased that you saw aspects in the book which could help new dog owners develop a relationship with their dog.

Publishing your Book!

There are a lot of writers “out there”, and they are generally visible by their Blogs. That is not surprising really as blogging offers a golden opportunity to expose one’s writings to a very broad audience. However, some bloggers are more productive than others and the temptation to market a book can be very tempting. Imagine the sense of achievement when your book is in print for the whole world to see!

For anybody contemplating this “adventure”, there are a number of challenges which must be  confronted. The main hurdle (based on my experience) is the initial cost to publish the book, and the ongoing promotion costs that must follow.  The traditional publishers will often cover those costs if they are certain that sales will be sufficient to warrant the investment. That rather limits their perspective to already established authors, politicians and other celebrities.

A very practical alternative is to self-publish. There are a number of companies that will assist with this … but it is not free!  They will, quite reasonably, expect to have their costs covered as they prepare your manuscript to be published in book form with all that entails. There are copyright details and ISBN registration and other facets which ultimately make a book available. When your book is available, it is unlikely that a book retailer will purchase copies unless there is a guarantee of reimbursement for books not sold (dead stock).

A very convenient solution to the inventory issues is Print on Demand. This means that when (e.g.) a copy is purchased from an on-line retailer, they simply order a copy to be printed and shipped.

Having said all that, there are some realities to be confronted. Below are the key statistics from my three books:

“Who Said I was up for Adoption?” – Published August 2015 – Cost to publish $5809.22 – Total Sales to date 118 – Current debt $6066.52

“Just Thinking” – Published September 2017 – Cost to publish $3835.06 – Total Sales to date 20 – Current debt $3822.20

“The Odessa Chronicles” (as this book was a collaborative effort, all costs are mine i.e. 50% of the total costs) – Published July 2018 – Cost to publish $2183.06 – Total Sales to date 88 – Current debt $1948.72

Why the significant costs to publish? It was because I valued an independent review of the draft and received valuable information covering structure, grammatical errors and overall presentation of the book. I also had the book covers professionally done. Finally, getting the book registered for sale and the administration involved in creating (and making generally available) the POD software had costs attached.

Why has my debt load generally increased? Simply because the cost of advertising has been greater than the royalties generated from sales. Advertising is quite expensive and, with book royalties generally around the $3.00 to $4.00 per book, must be considered carefully.

It is difficult for me to express the immense satisfaction I have felt with getting those three books published, especially when the reviews have been so positive. The fact that the revenues from sales have not covered my costs is rather immaterial when balanced against the pleasure of knowing that people have enjoyed the “fruits of my labour”!

So should you publish your book? Absolutely!