Tag Archive | United States

British Holiday: Counting Down to Take-Off

After two months of planning the time is very near.  I’m leaving North America for the first time and yes, I’m so excited my skin is breaking out!

Over these two months I’ve read countless blogs, countless travel sites, visited United.com more times than I want to know, and created a decent sized pinterest board relating to travel.  I’ve shopped.  I’ve packed.  I’ve re-packed.  I’ve rechecked the location of my passport weekly — just

My initials in nail polish makes my checked bag stand out.

My initials in nail polish makes my checked bag stand out.

in case I’ve misplaced it.  And through it all I’ve learned a few things worth considering.

  1. Follow your own travel habits.  Every other blog or pinterest pin talks about traveling internationally with just a carry on.  Guess what?  That’s not me.  I’ve flown for twenty years checking a regular bag and using my carry on for just what I need at the airport and on the plane.  In all this time I’ve never lost a bag.  And since I put my initials in nail polish all over this bag, I’m pretty sure that no one else has a bag looking like mine.
  2. Packing cubes equal more space.  I’ve found I couldn’t put everything into packing cubes, but they’ve done wonders for my organization, especially the narrow 4x8x2″ ones which now I wish I had more of.  Everything is categorical thanks to the cubes.  I even have one just for toiletries, allowing me to keep those together.
  3. If you are checking your bag, don’t stuff the carry on with clothing.  Influenced by those websites I became convinced I needed a big packing cube in my carry on.  There’s
    Gifted to me when I was 18, this soft-sided carry on  bag has been with me on every flight I've ever taken.  It readily fits under the seat in front of me on even the smallest plane.

    Gifted to me when I was 18, this soft-sided carry on bag has been with me on every flight I’ve ever taken. It readily fits under the seat in front of me on even the smallest plane.

    two problems to this.  One:  space.  In a soft side carry on, just one packing cube will take up half of the space, space I need for my netbook, my snacks, my medicine, and other things I really will use in flight. Two:  weight.  Soft sided carry ons are shoulder bags — no wheels.  Burdening yourself down as you board and leave planes and navigate the airport is not only no fun, but makes that walking more difficult.  I use a white cane to walk.  Believe me, that cane is useless if I’m encumbered; I just don’t have the range of motion with my arms that I need.  When I stopped following the fancy travel blog advice and repacked all but a pair of flat shoes and whatever socks/underwear I could stuff into my shoes back to the checked bag I found, to my delight, that my carry on now weighs HALF of what it did before.

  4. Drawstring purses for electronics chargers.  Years ago I picked up a couple cute silk drawstring purses — the kind that is nice for when you are out on the town and only need your id, some cash, credit cards, and your payment cards for public transit.  As it happens, those are PERFECT for my cell phone chargers (one phone for US, one for UK) and my netbook power cable, keeping everything neat and compressed and recognizable in my carry on.
  5. Limit computer accessories.  Unless you are giving a business presentation at your destination, you really DON’T need more than your power cable for your computer.  Leave home your nice case and slip the computer directly into your carry on.  After all, TSA makes you remove the computer from its case to scan it.  Why add to your weight and space with more than you need?
  6. Keep a folder for all your paperwork.  Creating a folder for the document part of my bag makes it easy to find my itinerary, photocopy of my passport id page, and other important papers.  Keep everything together.
  7. Photocopy all cards and identification and email to friends/family. Anything can happen when you travel.  Making scan copies of your passport id page, official government identification, and front/back of every payment card you are bringing with you makes replacing those documents easier in case of an emergency.  Once scanned, print out a copy of your passport identification page and a page with your home address and your destination address and put that in a visible place inside your bag. Email yourself and trusted friends/family copies of your documents and financial documents.
  8. Don’t over think the trip.  People will give you great advice.  They will give you poor advice.  They will unnerve you with horror stories meant to help you.  At the end of the day though you need to follow your own instincts.  The more relaxed you are, the better you can solve problems should any come up.  Think but don’t over think your trip.  Plan but don’t over plan.  Stay grounded and have a good time.

Travel is an adventure.  Embrace it and enjoy what comes your way!


Getting saucy for long haul flights

I’m flying to London!  I am so excited about the coming trip, a chance to get out of Pennsylvania and see at last somewhere I’ve dreamed about since childhood:  ENGLAND!


Flying out of my local regional airport and connected at Washington DC Dullas, the main flight will be approximately ten hours in the air.  Door to door time: eighteen hours.  How much will United feed me?  A snack on the flight to Dullas and probably just one meal of unknown design maybe two hours into the main flight plus a follow up snack (if I’m awake to get it).  That’s a long time without food.

Gifted to me when I was 18, this soft-sided carry on  bag has been with me on every flight I've ever taken.  It readily fits under the seat in front of me on even the smallest plane.

Gifted to me when I was 18, this soft-sided carry on bag has been with me on every flight I’ve ever taken. It readily fits under the seat in front of me on even the smallest plane.

Following the advice of many travel blogs and my own flying habits since the airlines both decreased overall services and started charging for nearly all of the ones that remain, I plan on packing most of my carry on bag (oddly enough the one gifted to me for high school graduation more than 20 years ago) with FOOD.  After all, when I get really hungry, nausea tends to follow and no I really don’t want to deal with that on a ten hour flight!

Now yes, I’ve seen a dozen guides about using the carry on as the one and only bag — understandable given how much airlines now charge for a checked bag — but I’ve always seen the carry on as what I need on the plane itself and okay, fine, I’ll pay the fee to check my bag.  For me, this has two very important benefits:  1)  I am able to use the above soft sided carry on and keep it under the seat in front of me (important when you are short and cannot reach the overhead bins), and 2) I have much more flexibility about what I can and cannot bring on trip because many items not allowed in carry on luggage are allowed in checked luggage.

For me, using the checked bag is just less hassle.  Plus on most international flights, the first checked bag is FREE.  So use it and keep the carry on to stuff you actually need close at hand during the long flight.

This established, here are some key things I’m bringing:

Pack medicines and first aid kit into the carry on.  Band-aids, prescription medicine (B2 & Feverfew are dr. prescribed for me), motion sickness pils, and anti-allergy pills are critical.  I also packed plastic cutlery, a seafood fork for my veggies, and a soda can opener.

Pack medicines and first aid kit into the carry on.

napkin power strip

  • Band-aids.  One is in the photo, but I packed about 20 in assorted sizes.
  • Any supplements or medicines you take daily.  For me, B2 and Feverfew are prescribed to control my severe chronic daily migraine.
  • Anti-allergy pills.  Often packed to help you sleep on the plane, this is obvious to anyone with a food allergy.  No, I don’t care to die mid-air!
  • Motion sickness pills.
  • plastic cutlery
  • a seafood fork — yes it’s metal, but it’s TINY and likely to pass the TSA.  And if not — it was cheap and I can throw it away.
  • A soda can opener.  Especially when I really need a beverage I have difficulty opening bottles and cans!
  • A linen napkin.  Linen is durable, washable, and less hassle than paper choices.
  • Travel power strip (people love you when you share)
  • Comb, hair pins, and pony tail holders.

That is all the front pocket stuff I’m bringing.  On the outer back pocket goes a folder with photo copies of my passport pages (as recommended by the US State Department), my state issued identification, original copies of key documents, and a print out of all important names, addresses, and phone numbers. Adding a copy of both outbound and inbound flight information is very helpful too, especially traveling out of the US so you can prove when you are returning to USA.  My outer pocket also holds my in flight reading material which I want to keep close at hand.

All this is pretty mundane.  But what about food?  That is, after all, the bulk of what I’m bringing in my carry on.  And what about the TSA 3-1-1 rule which limits liquids, gels, and creams to not more than 3 ounces (100 ml) per item and not more than what fits in a sealed 1 quart zipper bag?  Since most of the usual items are in my checked bag, this is filled almost exclusively with foodstuffs.

1 oz tupperware cups for allowed foodstuffs and 2 oz disposable salad dressing cups for USA only sauces and salad dressings readily fit in your 1 quart zipper bag.

1 oz tupperware cups for allowed foodstuffs and 2 oz disposable salad dressing cups for USA only sauces and salad dressings readily fit in your 1 quart zipper bag.

Here you want to be thinking about what is allowed within the USA and what is allowed at your destination — the UK in this case.  Under UK law, no meat or dairy products may be brought in from a point of origin outside of the EU.  That means that anything I bring for consumption on the plane itself has to be thrown out before I land at Heathrow.  The solution:  disposable salad dressing cups (2 oz.).

As you can see from my TSA bag, I have three 1 ounce tupperware containers which I’m using for pickle juice (a common muscle spasm remedy). Two disposable salad dressing cups will be filled with ranch dressing and thrown out during my flight.  My one ounce hand sanitizer also goes in there per TSA rules.  Hand sanitizer is an effective eyeglass cleaner, believe it or not.  Finally I’m including a small tube of toothpaste as a just in case.

jerkyapricotsThese of course go into the main section along with zipper bags of fresh mushrooms, celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, and perhaps some broccoli if it’s fresh at the store.  Fresh veggies are a great choice for long haul flights because 1) they are healthy, 2) their high moisture content helps stave off jet lag through hydration, and 3) they are not messy to eat.  In addition, I’m also bringing trail mix, dried fruit, and a bag of beef jerky (which yes, must be consumed before I land in London).  Two empty bottles for water also make the essentials list.

And then what?  That depends on remaining bag space.  By focusing on in flight needs, I lighten my bag, make it easy to keep under the seat in front of me, and reduce my travel stress.  That makes a truly bon voyage!

The US Constitution’s 2nd Amendment: Police, Not Guns in Every Home

American gun patrioticThe 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution is interpreted by the National Rifle Association to mean that every American is guaranteed the right to own and carry firearms anywhere, at any time, in any context s/he wishes.  Common sense is not part of their position.  Guns should be at the zoo, at Starbucks, at your kid’s playground, even in your child’s school.  Guns should be everywhere because the Constitution says so!

Except the Constitution doesn’t say that,  Instead the full text of the 2nd Amendment is:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

14th century Italian militias.

14th century Italian militias.

Now as I talked about three years ago on Yahoo Voices and reposted a year ago, the idea of the militia has a specific historical context grounded in Anglo-Saxon tradition.  It is, at its core, a feudal institution pre-dating professional armies where local men and women responded to local emergencies by arming themselves and protecting their towns and villages.  Mercenaries (soldiers for hire)  were for centuries rather unreliable folks with rape/pillage habits — something American colonists experienced with the Hessian mercenaries hired by the Crown.  Before the emergence of completely professional national armies, soldiers for hire had the habit of abusing the local population, of taking what they wanted.  So locals tended to maintain their militias to protect themselves against such abuse.

gun murder

Times have changed in the United States and United Kingdom. Professional soldiers are hometown heroes and heroines — not threats to the safety of civilian populations. Invasions from foreign powers on home soil is essentially unknown to most Americans and British — the main modern exceptions to that happened during the 2nd World War.  Our armies have professionalized and this is a good thing. Because since the beginning of professional soldiering, the professionals have always possessed superior skills, protection, and weapons compared to their civilian counterparts.

And that is what a militia is:  civilians responding to emergencies.  It’s volunteer police, volunteer fire department, and neighourhood watch organizations. I’ve seen arguments for including USA state national guard units under this umbrella — except those are trained and equipped much more similarly to the full time army, navy, and so forth — and they are paid to do so!

Two London constables on duty.

Two London constables on duty.

So what then does the 2nd Amendment actually guarantee Americans?  If you treat the word “militia” properly, what is the 2nd Amendment actually protecting?  In my analysis as a historian, the 2nd Amendment guarantees us POLICE FORCES and FIRE DEPARTMENTS which do the same job that our militias once did.  Police forces/constabularies and fire departments protect local populations from danger — from within our localities and from outside threats.  When a riot breaks out, it’s the police — not a Federal soldier — that is sent in to deal with it.  When Federal soldiers ARE sent in to deal with riots we habitually treat this much as our ancestors did with mercenary soldiers — and perhaps rightly.

In the Autumn of 2001 New York Penn Station was protected with Federal soldiers carrying high power weapons through the station to police it, a response to 9/11.  Believe me, that terrified me as I walked through the station to catch or depart from my New Jersey Transit trains!  A regular NYPD officer in regular uniform with regular equipment felt safe to be around.  But Federal troops?  Utterly terrifying!

gun murder 2We need our police officers and constables.  We need this modern form of our ancient militias.  We need to honour and respect the work our officers and constables do and trust them to do their job — rather than delude ourselves into thinking we can do their jobs better than they can and therefore arming ourselves.

Gun are not the solution.  As a matter of fact, they aggravate our problems.  A woman is 500x more likely to be shot/killed during a domestic dispute when firearms are kept in the home than she is when family firearms are kept in a neutral location such as a gun club.  There is a reason why the murder rate in the United Kingdom is so much lower than in the United States.  This twisting of the 2nd Amendment is why.

Some of you are likely to attack me for writing this.  That is fine with me.  Be my guest.  Because as a woman who was hurt in a gun “accident” as a child, I fiercely uphold that the gun laws in the United Kingdom are the best way to go.  I’ve seen what guns everywhere all the time can do and it disgusts me and terrify me.

Leave the guns to the police and the constables.  Leave them to the real modern militias. And please, in the name of sanity, stop thinking that having a gun around makes you safer!  IT DOESN’T!

Reblog: History of Halloween

Merry Samhain everyone!  In honor of Samhain and Halloween, I am re-posting a lovely article I found this morning  by Benjamin Radford of Live Science about the history of Halloween.  Enjoy!



Halloween is the season for little ghosts and goblins to take to the streets, asking for candy and scaring one another silly. Spooky stories are told around fires, scary movies appear in theaters and pumpkins are expertly (and not-so-expertly) carved into jack-o’-lanterns.

Amid all the commercialism, haunted houses and bogus warnings about razors in apples, the origins of Halloween are often overlooked. Yet Halloween is much more than just costumes and candy; in fact, the holiday has a rich and interesting history.

Halloween, also known as All Hallows’ Eve, can be traced back about 2,000 years to a pre-Christian Celtic festival held around Nov. 1 called Samhain (pronounced “sah-win”), which means “summer’s end” in Gaelic, according to the Indo-European Etymological Dictionaries. [Related: 13 Halloween Superstitions & Traditions Explained]

Because ancient records are sparse and fragmentary, the exact nature of Samhain is not fully understood, but it was an annual communal meeting at the end of the harvest year, a time to gather resources for the winter months and bring animals back from the pastures. Samhain is also thought to have been a time of communing with the dead, according to folklorist John Santino.

“There was a belief that it was a day when spirits of the dead would cross over into the other world,” Santino told Live Science. Such moments of transition in the year have always been thought to be special and supernatural, he added.

Halloween provides a safe way to play with the concept of death, Santino said. People dress up as the living dead, and fake gravestones adorn front lawns — activities that wouldn’t be tolerated at other times of the year, he said.

But according to Nicholas Rogers, a history professor at York University in Toronto and author of “Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night” (Oxford University Press, 2003), “there is no hard evidence that Samhain was specifically devoted to the dead or to ancestor worship.

“According to the ancient sagas, Samhain was the time when tribal peoples paid tribute to their conquerors and when the sidh [ancient mounds] might reveal the magnificent palaces of the gods of the underworld,” Rogers wrote. Samhain was less about death or evil than about the changing of seasons and preparing for the dormancy (and rebirth) of nature as summer turned to winter, he said.

Though a direct connection between Halloween and Samhain has never been proven, many scholars believe that because All Saints’ Day (or All Hallows’ Mass, celebrated Nov. 1) and Samhain, are so close together on the calendar, they influenced each other and later combined into the celebration now called Halloween.
Costumes and trick-or-treating

The tradition of dressing in costumes and trick-or-treating may go back to the practice of “mumming” and “guising,” in which people would disguise themselves and go door-to-door, asking for food, Santino said. Early costumes were usually disguises, often woven out of straw, he said, and sometimes people wore costumes to perform in plays or skits.

The practice may also be related to the medieval custom of “souling” in Britain and Ireland, when poor people would knock on doors on Hallowmas (Nov. 1), asking for food in exchange for prayers for the dead.

Trick-or-treating didn’t start in the United States until World War II, but American kids were known to go out on Thanksgiving and ask for food — a practice known as Thanksgiving begging, Santino said.

“Mass solicitation rituals are pretty common, and are usually associated with winter holidays,” Santino said. While one tradition didn’t necessarily cause the others, they were “similar and parallel,” he said.
Tricks and games

These days, the “trick” part of the phrase “trick or treat” is mostly an empty threat, but pranks have long been a part of the holiday.

By the late 1800s, the tradition of playing tricks on Halloween was well established. In the United States and Canada, the pranks included tipping over outhouses, opening farmers’ gates and egging houses. But by the 1920s and ’30s, the celebrations more closely resembled an unruly block party, and the acts of vandalism got more serious.

Some people believe that because pranking was starting to get dangerous and out of hand, parents and town leaders began to encourage dressing up and trick-or-treating as a safe alternative to doing pranks, Santino said.

However, Halloween was as much a time for festivities and games as it was for playing tricks or asking for treats. Apples are associated with Halloween, both as a treat and in the game of bobbing for apples, a game that since the colonial era in America was used for fortune-telling. Legend has it that the first person to pluck an apple from the water-filled bucket without using his or her hands would be the first to marry, according to the book “Halloween and Commemorations of the Dead” (Chelsea House, 2009) by Roseanne Montillo.

Apples were also part of another form of marriage prophecy. According to legend, on Halloween (sometimes at the stroke of midnight), young women would peel an apple into one continuous strip and throw it over her shoulder. The apple skin would supposedly land in the shape of the first letter of her future husband’s name.

Another Halloween ritual involved looking in a mirror at midnight by candlelight, for a future husband’s face was said to appear. (A scary variation of this later became the “Bloody Mary” ritual familiar to many schoolgirls.) Like many such childhood games, it was likely done in fun, though at least some people took it seriously.
Christian/Irish influence

Some evangelical Christians have expressed concern that Halloween is somehow satanic because of its roots in pagan ritual. However, ancient Celts did not worship anything resembling the Christian devil and had no concept of it. In fact, the Samhain festival had long since vanished by the time the Catholic Church began persecuting witches in its search for satanic cabals. And, of course, black cats do not need to have any association with witchcraft to be considered evil — simply crossing their path is considered bad luck any time of year.

As for modern Halloween, Santino, writing in “American Folklore: An Encyclopedia” (Garland, 1996), noted that “Halloween beliefs and customs were brought to North America with the earliest Irish immigrants, then by the great waves of Irish immigrants fleeing the famines of the first half of the nineteenth century. Known in the North American continent since colonial days, by the middle of the twentieth century Halloween had become largely a children’s holiday.” Since that time, the holiday’s popularity increased dramatically as adults, communities and institutions (such as schools, campuses and commercial haunted houses) have embraced the event.

Through the ages, various supernatural entities — including fairies and witches — came to be associated with Halloween, and more than a century ago in Ireland, the event was said to be a time when spirits of the dead could return to their old haunting grounds. Dressing up as ghosts or witches became fashionable, though as the holiday became more widespread and more commercialized (and with the arrival of mass-manufactured costumes), the selection of disguises for kids and adults greatly expanded beyond monsters to include everything from superheroes to princesses to politicians.

Staff writer Tanya Lewis contributed to this article.


Reblog: OpenBytes Commentary on Royal Babies

The following is excerpted from the 10th September blog post “Royal babies, Mojang to be bought & when the best is not the always “the best”.


Normally I reblog the entire blog post.  But today I’m breaking from habit in order to bring just the first part of Tim’s insightful (and very British) look at the Windsors which follows the social justice theme many regular readers to this blog see repeated in my own social commentaries.  In a time where “entitlements” is a political hot button in the United States, Tim’s own reality check about the royal family speaks volumes as to who is really entitled to what and what is truly fair in a “civilized” society.


Breaking news – Kate Middleton has morning sickness…..

The UK as a rule is very quick to jump on a “welfare state” bandwagon when the public feels someone is getting an easy ride.  Thankfully I’ve never needed welfare/benefits at any point in my life, but I fully support the facility to be there for those in need.  The press make a very good job of demonizing those on benefits and whilst there are a minority of cases where there has been abuse/fraud of the system, the vast majority of people don’t get the “easy life” that is promoted in the press and certainly are not in that position by choice.  Talking of the easy life though, there’s one family who every tax payer in the UK already pay a lot of money for.  There’s one family who not only get the best in life – an almost private health care service from the NHS, get driven around, have their own security and will never want for anything in their lives.  Who? The Royal Family of course.

Now lets just stop any difference of opinion right now.  You think the Royal Family earn their keep with tourism et al? Check out the costs to look after the Royal Family (and its extended family) for one month.  If the Royal Family pays for itself (allegedly) why not privatise them? Let them fund themselves, after-all if they make so much money for the UK it should be easy.  Thats the best of both worlds, the UK keeps its Monarchy without the burden to the tax-payer.

I digress, the news I’m commenting on today is the impending new arrival of Kate and William.  One could almost be forgiven that morning sickness in pregnant ladies didn’t exist before Kate had it.  And maybe it doesn’t? Maybe out of all the pregnant ladies around the world feeling sick in the morning are mere pretenders to the one true case of morning sickness in Kate – afterall she is getting Doctors to her home.  I remember back to when my wife had morning sickness, she was told to get on with it.  She certainly didn’t have a doctor “treating” her at our home.  But then as I say, maybe Kate has the only “real” case on the planet.

I wonder, do you think you would get the same service from the NHS should you find yourself in a similar situation? No. I wouldn’t think so.  Maybe your sickness is not really morning sickness as Kate has the only real case, or maybe its just you are not as “important”?

The new addition to the Royal Family is not just another mouth for the tax-payer to feed, it will be the beginning of a further extension to the families demands for money.  Consider that if the child gets married, we now have an obligation to another family for protection, further swelling the size of the financial burden.  How far out does the tax-payers “duty of care” stretch with the Royal Family? I’d say very far and its tentacles will reach far and wide into the pocket of those in the UK especially when you consider the “special arrangements” for members of its extended family.

So please, don’t expect me to be “over the moon” with the announcement of more cost to tax-payers and please if you are a Royal supporter, don’t dare comment negatively about those on benefits – you are happy to fund the mammoth cost of the Royal Family.

Personally, I think people needing help from state benefits are far more deserving of my money than a Royal Family.

Money mind holes — why getting too specific hurts Manifestation

If you are following anything related to The Secret or the Law of Attraction, you have probably heard the mantra of “be specific about what you want.”  When it comes to attracting money in particular, the experts tell you to get very specific, to meditate “I want fifty million dollars by December 2014.”


This is great if numbers make sense to you on a subconscious level.  But what if they do not?  What if in saying out a number, you actually block your meditation from moving from your conscious, intellectual self to your subconscious emotional self where the Law of Attraction actually does its work?


On this blog and across the internet, I am very open about both my violent upbringing and about the consequences of the traumatic brain injury I suffered in November 1985 when a right turning automobile struck me in the left temple as I was crossing the street on my way home from school.

Besides the sight loss and the chronic migraines suffered ever since, the most prominent residual from that TBI remains my dis-connection with numbers in the arithmetic sense.  Show me a regular value in a ledger, a bank statement, etc. and my brain does not connect to it.  Shift that from a regular numeral value to a spatial value — a gram of weight, a unit of time, a temperature, a quantity of milk or fabric or other everyday object and I understand just fine.  Or thought of another way, I can still and rather expertly relate to concentrate numbers specifying an amount of something I can see, feel, hear, experience with my senses.  But when it comes to straight numbers, especially applied to something even more abstract — like money — and neither my intellectual mind nor my emotional subconscious understands.


If something does not exist to your subconscious mind, you simply cannot manifest it through the Law of Attraction.  You cannot feel yourself already in possession of that which does not exist to you.


And this is the problem with a lot of the goals we try to set for ourselves, where fear and doubt easily creep in.  What we are asking for only exists to our intellect; it doesn’t exist to our hearts.

This summer when I tried using Napoleon Hill’s meditation telling me to specify the amount of money I want, when I want to receive it, what I will give up to receive it, and the plan to obtain it my meditation became, “£50 million is mine and shall be in my account before 31st December 2014.  Everyday I am marketing and selling my books and shall give up my time in order to sell so many books that I earn £50 million.”

What I realize today is there is not one, but two flaws in the meditation.  First, as I outlined already, I have no emotional connection or concept of what £50 million is.  My mind, let alone my heart, doesn’t really understand the concept of money.  I understand tangible things bought with money, but not the money itself.  I do not connect to money; only to what it buys.  Second, the pathway specified is upstream to me.  I actually HATE marketing.  I hate begging people to buy my books.  And I especially hate the current financial pressure I am under — wondering if I am about to go bankrupt because there is not enough money in my checking account to cover September’s credit card payment (quite literally).


If you have followed anything from Abraham Hicks, you know that negative emotions take you AWAY from what you want.  Forcing yourself to do anything is paddling upstream.  It is the opposite of allowing.  It’s conflict, drama, worry, strife, all the things you must abolish from your life in order to attain what you want and need in life.


So after stressing and wrestling overnight, after enough tears of “oh my god my life is over” (no really it is not!) and so forth, it occurred to me that the problem was this meditation itself.  So I re-wrote it to this:






Let me tell you, the vibrational difference in this is HUGE — even though the core is exactly the same.  How?  First, it reassures me that everything is okay — because it is — taking that upstream pressure off me.  Second, it focuses on the CORE VALUES motivating me.  Money, being too abstract to me, does not have much independent meaning for me.  But where I live, the politics around me, the way people talk around me, my interactions with my landlord, the quality of my everyday life, now THESE ARE CONCRETE TO ME.  Third, I can easily see myself in possession of all of this.

I can see myself in a lovely house in the south of England (and yes, I have a good idea how much such a house costs) with my modest flower and vegetable garden sanctuary.  I can see myself hosting small dinner parties attended by friends and colleagues.  I can smell the English rain.  I can see myself taking the train into London to see a play.  I can hear Rolling Stones Now as I attend one of their concerts in person, cheering on Richard Mann as “Mick” during the concert.  And I can see myself walking in these fantastic historical places I have so far only explored in books, making history much more real for me.  Oh the pleasure I shall feel the first time I walk in London and can finally understand these places are REAL. There are a thousand places in England I want to explore.  I can feel the light from the eyes of my British-born friends as they watch me discover what each of them have always taken for granted.  It will be this amazing experience across the board, my enthusiasm touching everyone around me as I finally find myself at home.


THIS IS WHAT IS REAL TO ME.  THIS IS WHAT I CAN SEE/FEEL MYSELF IN POSSESSION OF.  It’s not the £50 million I concretely want — though yes, I know that buying my dream house is expensive, so is just legal immigration and moving to England in the first place, something I cannot do until my credit cards and my education are paid off.  But the money is the means to the end.  That is all it is to me, not the end unto itself.  Money frees me to leave the United States.  Money convinces London to grant my application for permanent residency.  Money buys my home and everything in it.  Money brings my most cherished possessions across the ocean and hires those skilled at filing the paperwork to bring my precious cockatiels out of the United States and into the United Kingdom (this costs about £2000 to £4000 for those unaware).  Yes, the financial needs to achieve what I really want are quite high.  This is not cheap.  The Law of Attraction knows this and is abundantly providing all of it to me.

But first I must allow it to be.  First I must put my emotions where all of this is achieved.  I cannot feel the money.  But I can feel my house.  I can feel my home office.  I can hear the parties.  I can see myself relaxing in my garden, a pen/paper in hand to write out ideas that come to me.  And I can feel that famous English rain.


I know it will be.

Great article on dual verses duel


Schlager swords were popular in Renaissance German duels.

Schlager swords were popular in Renaissance German duels.

Commonly confused words is always a challenge for a writer.  So I am pleased to re-post the above link that clarifies the difference between dual (two) and duel (a personal battle between generally two or a few combatants).

What is really interesting to me as a writer is that duel is from a variation of “bellum” meaning “war” — as in the Anti-bellum era of American History; that is, the 19th century decades leading up to the American Civil War.

So as your dual nobles duel to the death with rapiers, remember to associate “duel” with war and you will be just fine.