Tag Archives: work & money

Nova’s Questions

Questions

I haven’t answered Q’s for a while and Nova presents some interesting ones…

1. Growing up, what did you want to do professionally when you got older?

The first career I recall wanting was that of a research scientist. I imagined myself in a white lab coat solving all sorts of problems for humanity. This dream began when I started high school and was a lab assistant to my biology teacher. Mostly I washed beakers and illicitly opened the boa constrictor’s cage to pet him. But senior year I didn’t do well in AP chemistry and dropped it in favor of creative writing. Since then I’ve always wanted to write. It would be cool to own a bookshop/bakery/cat café… maybe if I win the lottery!

2. Do you live in the city or state of which you were born?

Neither. I was born in Tarrytown, NY, and now I live in Orange County, CA. I’ve also lived in New Jersey and Chicago.

3. What’s an item that you had as a girl, but isn’t being sold anymore?

Super Spirograph ~ with pins. You can still buy Super Spirograph, but the wheels no longer come with pinholes to anchor a shape to your paper because pins are “too dangerous.” But without them, it’s impossible to create a perfect design. The new sets come with putty instead, which is absurd; I bought a kit with the putty for my girls and it was a total bust. I spent about a zillion fun hours around age 10 creating cool designs and not once did I poke my eye out.

4. Do you prefer pudding, yogurt, custard, or ice cream.

I absolutely love the key lime flavor of yogurt made by Chobani. (Their regular vanilla is great too.) I like to add banana or blueberries to it. Or granola! Theoretically, I like ice cream, especially cookie dough, but I’m usually too cold to enjoy ice cream. Pudding is meh, except for Indian rice pudding. I’m not sure what custard is, lol.

5. What’s one topic of interest you’d like to learn more about?

I’m always interested in learning more about the craft of fiction writing, poetry forms, and English generally.

6. What is a favorite/unique family tradition in your house?

My girls and I had a tradition of going out for pumpkin pancakes in November, but they’re both too far away to do that now, plus the last time I had pumpkin pancakes they weren’t as yummy as I remembered. I don’t really have any traditions these days. I’m single and free and do as I please!

7. If you had one topic to teach to the entire world, what would it be and why?

Get vaccinated, you morons.

8. What’s something you know you do differently than most people?

I’m extremely OCD about some things and will spend hours pointlessly creating consistency. I just went through all my posts to check for hyphens. Oh, don’t even ask! One of the reasons I eschew punctuation in comments and texting is to force myself to overcome this OCD a little. I’ll let you know if/when it works…

9. What’s one of your life-saving cleaning hacks? [hyphen added!]

Life-saving? Don’t mix bleach and ammonia. If you mean time-saving, then I suggest cleaning as you go and not only when you cook. Keep things tidy all the time so you won’t be overwhelmed with a giant cleanup.

10. What’s one thing you wish you knew before having kids, but didn’t?

That it might have been better to focus them on one non-academic activity rather than bouncing around from lesson to lesson in hopes of giving them a variety of choices. What actually happened is they ended up interested in none of them, while other kids had their one special thing.

11. What is one lesson that life has taught you recently?

I’m less introverted than I thought I was. Just a little less, so let’s not get carried away. I thought I’d have an easy-peasy time during the lockdown in 2020 because “I don’t need people.” Welp, that was wrong…

12. If you could retire and live anywhere in the world, where would that be?

I’d buy a nice house in Beverly Hills near my grandchildren so I could see them all the time.

~*~

Image from Pixabay.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Flip-Flops [repost]

flip-flop sandals

My secretary left me for my husband, but still I wore my charcoal Theory suit and Gucci pumps to work Monday because it’s important to keep an image going.

“Sorry about Laura,” Hobson said. “I need a copy of the Canary contract.”

I looked for it in between checking the fourth quarter projections and trying to convince my mother to go over to my house and change all the locks. My feet hurt, so I took off the Guccis and shoved them in a drawer. Laura wasn’t answering her phone. They were probably lounging around in bed all day, assuming I’d support them. It’s true I’m almost too busy to bother hiring a divorce lawyer. Not to mention a tax accountant.

“Maybe I could write them off,” I said to Hobson.

“That’s funny,” he replied with a tight smile. “Have you found the contract yet?”

So at lunchtime I drove over to Laura’s apartment. It was right at the beach, of course. My husband likes to surf. Second floor. I clomped up the stairs in my Guccis and snagged my stockings on the railing. The air smelled of coconut oil and rotting vegetables. Laura opened the door. She wore a lime green camisole, pink shorts, and turquoise flip-flops with sequins on the straps.

“Oh,” she said. “He isn’t here.”

“No, no,” I reassured her. “I want you. I mean, I need you to tell me where you put the Canary files. Please.”

I didn’t like to beg, but this was business.

Her head tipped back as it does when she’s riffling through the card file in her brain. Laura has a photographic memory, which is one of the reasons she was such a great secretary. I knew then I’d miss her more than I’d miss him. Her sequined feet winked up at me.

“In storage cage twelve,” she said. “Unlabeled. Sorry.” She glanced away.

“It’s okay,” I told her. It really was. I didn’t have time for a husband. Tomorrow I’d hire a new secretary to type up the labels. Everything would be fine.

I clomped back down the steps to my Audi. As I beeped open the door with my electronic key, a seagull pooped on my four hundred dollar shoes.

“That’s when,” I say. “That’s the moment I decided to dump the partnership and open my nude portrait studio.” I wiggle my toes in my ten dollar flip-flops. They’re tan and have little seashells glued to the straps. I swirl my brush around the peach paint and gaze at my subject.

“You do seem much less stressed,” Hobson says as he reaches for the grapes.

“Perfect,” I say. “Stay just like that.”

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Label.

Image from Pexels.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Romeo, Romeo [repost]

couple kiss fireworks

I received Romeo, Romeo (by Robin Kaye) as a gift and read it last weekend. I really enjoyed this romance novel ~ I appreciate that Kaye attempted to make her main characters a little different from the norm (without having them be vampires, thanks) and I am always predisposed to like an East Coast Italian setting, even if it doesn’t have any mobsters in it. WAIT! It did have a couple, um… OK, not gonna give anything away here. 🙂

I gotta tell you that Kaye immediately broke one of my commandments and mished up POVs right off the bat within the same scene. But guess what? I forgave her! No, this does not mean you get to do it. It just means that the story hooked me from page one and I was so eager to find out what happened that I thought, well poop, and moved on anyway.

The protagonists are not super-likeable when you meet them. They’re involved in other relationships that make you go wtf? But they’re interesting. And their attraction to each other feels real and compelling. The minor characters shine in their own right and the side plots do not resolve predictably. One thing though ~ did there have to be an Aunt Rose with the heroine named Rosalie? There are other Italian names, for Pete’s sake.

I did have a huge issue with this book, and it’s a peeve I have with a lot of fiction ~ Rosalie’s career. She’s a 27 year old “corporate turnaround specialist.” She waltzes (on 4-inch heels) into failing companies, glances at their balance sheets, and fixes them. YEAH SURE. Kaye doesn’t specify Rosalie’s education creds, but it doesn’t even sound like she has more than a BA or that she put in time slogging away for someone who knows anything. She just does her fixing with one assistant. Snort.

Romeo’s career isn’t any more believable. He was a teen bad boy who through some sort of financial magic is now the most desirable bachelor in New York because he really knew his way around cars, which makes him different from all other Italian guys, natch. (But he cooks and cleans and walks Rosalie’s dog… ) How he got the money to buy his first auto dealership? Look, we don’t ask. Capice?

But this isn’t merely a Robin Kaye problem ~ so many writers have wrong ideas about careers and money. Forex, they have every lawyer making at least $500K per year and driving a Mercedes because they read that OJ Simpson’s lawyer bla bla. Or they’ll have a waitress living in a giant apartment in New York City that only someone making $500K per year could afford. They consistently have people too young being too successful. It only takes a few minutes of googling to find out the average salaries for careers and the kind of education needed for particular jobs. Writers should do this so their characters look more believable.

Otherwise? Romeo, Romeo was a fun, fast read and I’m gonna buy at least a few more of Robin’s books to review. Also, I’m finally getting used to reading on my Kindle Fire! I think my days of buying paper books and dumping them off at the library are finally coming to an end.

~*~

Image from Shutterstock.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Tiger

Tiger kitty cat

I’d imagined this moment so many times, but I never expected it to happen so dramatically. My book Ghosted came to the attention of a big influencer who gushed over it to all her fans. What a lucky break! Suddenly, I was on the best-seller list and money came pouring into my account every month. Next thing I knew, I was flying all expenses paid first-class to NYC for a signing tour and interviews. But not only that! I was also hosting Saturday Night Live, a dream come true. As my plane headed east, I composed a brilliantly funny sketch for my monologue. The flight attendants were awed by my presence, kept fluffing my pillows, and served me endless pots of delicious vanilla tea and buttery little cookies with rainbow sprinkles. My SNL gig was a big success, Brad Pitt kissed me at the after-party, and everyone everywhere kept saying how hilarious I was. A fabulous writer and a fantastic comedian! I was over the moon.

But then he contacted me, demanding to know if Ghosted was about him and threatening to sue if I didn’t split my profits with him. He began saying online that the novel was totally based on our relationship, and I had to clarify to the media that we didn’t even have a relationship, which I guess made me sound kind of cold. He went on a talk show and cried, so everyone began feeling sorry for him. Soon, people started grumbling that I was a bad person and had no regard for this poor, sad man. My sales plummeted and I began getting hate mail. Other exes read my older books and announced that those were also based on actual people. My doorbell rang this morning, but instead of the usual fan mail, flowers, cupcakes, etc., it was a process server handing me 25 summons to appear in court. All the exes were suing me for libel! It was going to cost millions!

I slammed the door and it fell off its hinges. The process server grinned like a maniac as it began to rain. I realized that he was my high school creative writing teacher. Lightning flashed across the sky and struck him. I laughed like the demon I am as he crumpled to the ground, but then a tiger appeared behind him, growling and snarling at me. I backed into my house, which now had no roof, and the tiger followed me, chasing me from room to room as my house turned into a maze with no escape. The tiger grew larger and larger leaping over the hedges in the maze, cornering me in a garden where the flower petals were made of bad reviews of my books. My chest grew heavy with despair as the tiger pounced.

Then I woke up and got ready for work.

~*~

Image of Tiger is mine.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

To Edit or Not to Edit…

pen and ink writing quill

Dr. Tanya asks important questions today about the writing process.

Do you edit your work before posting it?

I always edit my writing, here and otherwise, and I often edit after a piece is posted, even months or years later, if I find a typo or decide my meaning would be clearer with different words. Sometimes I simply think of a better way to portray a concept in a poem, so I change it.

Apart from correcting typos and spellings , how much (if any) of a post do you change before you send it out in the world?

It depends. I may scrap a post entirely and start over, if I dislike how it sounds. This happens more often with flash fiction when I’m trying to shovel in a whole bunch of prompts. My goal is to be funny or at least interesting, and when I perceive this isn’t happening… trash time. I have deleted TONS of posts from this blog over the years, and I have no issue with editing anything before or after posting. In fact, I highly recommend it.

Do you think that re-drafting a piece can “rob” it of its spontaneity?

Well, yes, but this assumes writing SHOULD be spontaneous. Why should it be? Real writers are always concerned about improving their work. Editing is actually the main part of the writing process! Ask any professional writer or artist or musician. Good art requires WORK. My writing is a reflection of my work ethic and my respect for my readers. If my blog posts are a sloppy mess, why would anyone buy one of my books? There’s no reason our blogging should be “spontaneous” like firing off dopey FB comments or tweets or texts. Personally, I won’t read blogs that are filled with unedited thought splatters.

~*~

Image source unknown.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

TMP16: Refunds

TMP monday peeve

Welcome to my refreshed Monday Peeve! Unburden yourself of an annoyance and you’ll feel better afterward. Or not. Complain in my comments or crab in your own post. Doesn’t have to be on a Monday. You do you.

Today’s peeve is about… you guessed it! Refunds! You know, it’s a popular sport now to bitch and moan about Bezos and his billions and the vast reaches of Amazon blah blah, but one huge thing goes in their favor and that is… guess? Right again. REFUNDS. Whenever I buy something on Amazon and want to send it back FOR ANY REASON, it is easy peasy and I get my money immediately credited back as soon as the mailing label is scanned at the post office. But other merchants? Not so much. I recently purchased 2 dresses from a company that shall remain nameless but rhymes with Badwick’s of Mosston. Before I even clicked away from their site my bank had emailed me telling me that the amount had already been charged to my card. They waste no time in TAKING my money. But the dresses were total crap and I hated them. Back they both went. WEEKS AGO. Does Badwick’s acknowledge my return yet? Ha ha no. I’ve asked them twice and am getting mighty peeved. This will be my last purchase at Badwick’s, which is too bad because I’ve been a good customer over the years, buying loads of things and rarely returning anything. Boo on them!

And I don’t want to hear about “Covid impacting operations.” Eff that. GIVE ME MY MONEY BACK! Amazon hasn’t used Covid as an excuse to screw around with funds.

~*~

Image altered from the original at Pixabay.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Wishing & Hoping

dandelion fluff

Fandango’s provocative question today flings me into the dreaded realm of Overthink. Basically, I can’t come up with three wishes without going down the rabbit hole into Crazyland. Read at your own risk…

It seems like a no-brainer: just wish for good health and happiness for my family, right? But would that include my daughters, their husbands, and my grands, or would I need separate wishes for each person? And what if good health and happiness are distinct in Wishingville? Then I’d need 12 wishes… 6 happies and 6 healthies. And what if there are more grands eventually…

But how about my own health? I’d like to be free from chronic pain. Yet what if this pain actually protects me from something worse, like resuming dating? One of the reasons I’ve stopped (besides the whole thing being horrible) is because I’m in too much pain to be fun anymore. Maybe my pain is a blessing. I still have a nice life filled with my wonderful family and good friends, and I’m able to work, read, and write (knock wood), but being intimate with someone? Ugh, forget it. Plus, I often have issues with doing normal stuff like walking a few miles.

What about wishing for a f*ckton of money? That sounds like a good idea, and it would solve other problems too, plus enable me to help peeps, but I have to think about those stories where money either comes from a tragedy or results in one. It’s too scary to be greedy. Best to be satisfied with what I already have.

Going back in time to change things we regret doing or failing to do or even to say something different to someone is too fraught with issues as we have seen many times in science fiction, so I can’t get aboard that train of thought.

How about stepping outside my selfish bubble and wishing for something that benefits the entire world? Well geez, so many possibilities! Eliminating cancer is a popular wish. But at what hidden price? This seems like the start of a horror novel. A scientist finds the cure because of my wish, but the side effect is that survivors turn into cannibals or something.

But peace on earth seems safe enough. No more wars, no more fighting, just everyone blissfully sharing everything and having babies until we run out of space. And then what? I know! For my second wish, I could wish for a second earth so half of these happy non-warring earthlings could go there. And maybe my third wish should be one more earth, just in case. Idk where they would exist though, in order to be exactly like this earth, but surely there’s enough room in all the vastness for three earths to get the same amount of sun, etc.

But those aren’t really fun wishes. They’re noble, but meh. It’s more enjoyable to contemplate the selfish scenarios. How about three small wishes to generate immediate pleasure for ME without disrupting the fabric of the universe? Like how about giving me more painting talent? Surely that wouldn’t require taking something from another person or place. For my other two, one each to my daughters for optimal health. There, done.

The great thing about wishing & hoping & dreaming & praying is that it accomplishes nothing. Oh sure, maybe you feel good while engaging in one or more of these activities, but they have no effect whatsoever on actual events. Feel free to disagree, but no one can prove that praying causes anything, else my mother would still be alive. But that’s OK. We like to believe that our intense emotions get “out there,” somehow, and are powerful enough to have a physical effect. And maybe it’s good in some cases that people pray as opposed to taking action. Like isn’t it better for a rejected lover to wish and hope and dream than to go out and stalk the object of their desire like a deranged maniac?

That’s what the men in the white coats try to tell me anyway…

~*~

Image from Pexels.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

TMP11: Cashless Society?

TMP monday peeve

Welcome to my refreshed Monday Peeve! Unburden yourself of an annoyance and you’ll feel better afterward. Or not. Complain in my comments or crab in your own post. Doesn’t have to be on a Monday. You do you.

Today’s peeve is regarding our so-called “cashless society.” Now, I’m not some Neanderthal ~ I use credit cards often, apps sometimes, and pay for recurring expenses online when I can. But I still like cash! My habit is to take $100 out of the bank each month to spend on “incidentals” like having coffee out. When I use cash, it’s easier to keep track of how much I’m wasting on non-essentials (I can make coffee at home if things are getting out of control). When I put all the miscellaneous stuff on my cards, it blends into the blur of bills.

Therefore, I would like it if cashiers stopped acting so damn weird about cash payments. I’m not talking about paying for a fancy dinner at Morton’s with a truckload of dimes, but rather trying to give a freaking McDonald’s drive-thru clerk the money for breakfast. She wouldn’t even tell me the amount until I snapped at her. I had to say HELLO if you tell me how much, I can hand you the money! She seemed insulted by this, since she was so used to people waving cards at her. Geez! And you know what? Even when I use a card, it would be nice to hear how much they’re gonna slap on it before I hand it over.

I’m sure this makes me a “Karen” to some. How dare I expect the cashier to tell me the price of my purchase? I’m so unreasonable!

~*~

Image altered from the original at Pixabay.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Freedom’s Just Another Word…

Highway lights at night

… for nothing left to lose. Or so goes the song “Me and Bobby McGee.”

This week, one of Melanie’s Share Your World questions is “Do you feel free? Why or why not?”

I’ve been thinking about this for a day, and I have to answer yes… and no. Like many Americans, I often think of freedom as mainly freedom of movement, as in “the open road.” I could get in my car right now and drive anywhere I please in the USA, which is large enough to keep me going for a long time. That is, assuming I can afford $4.00/gallon gas. Freedom takes money, or else you’ll soon find yourself living in a box under the bridge. Maybe that’s true freedom ~ no job, no rent, no obligations. No one is going to invite a stinky box-dweller to game night, so you are also free of friends.

The more I ponder the concept of freedom, the more I believe that it’s just an illusion. There are a ton of laws we must follow in order to stay free from being arrested. There are loads of bills we must pay, whether we work or not. If someone else pays your bills, you are likely obligated to them in other ways, such as having to cook dinner and/or give blowjobs. Yes, I know some will say they love doing those things. Do they really or are they brainwashed?

If you’re a parent of young children, you are not free because you have tons of responsibilities. If you have old disabled parents, you probably feel the duty to help care for them. Once you get a pet, you are bound to ensure its well-being. The list goes on. Personally, I feel freer now than in the past because I am single, my children are grown, my parents are dead, and I can do what I want. Except… I have to work every day, pay my bills, and feed the cat.

Interesting question!

~*~

Image from Pexels.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

I don’t normally post about stats…

blog stats

But when I do, I include a ginormous image of them and proceed to go on and on and on with my theories about everything in the universe.

My stats follow a predictable pattern, with some days lighter and other days more popular, but generally staying between 100-200 visitors per day. Yet on May 3, I had a big spike up. Why? Well, I’ll tell you! It’s because on May 3 I posted my “scavenger hunt” results from the April A-Z challenge. I linked about 25 blogs on that post and many if not all of those bloggers popped in to see why I tagged them. Not many commented though, and none followed me or returned to read anything else.

What does that tell us? A few things. First, linking other random blogs is a bunch of work with little benefit. Sure, it was “fun” for my OCD to get nearly a perfect score, but there is nothing to celebrate about a one-time spike in hits if those visitors aren’t actually interested in anything you have to say. It’s a vanity spike, in both directions. I get to feel smug about a wild swing upward; they get to feel smug about being seen. That’s the end of the relationship though.

Second, all those award posts operate on the same principle. It’s actually akin to an MLM scheme. You spend time answering questions, composing questions, and tagging friends. The award creator gets to sit back and watch his hit count rise ~ assuming you link back, which many do. He’s made one post, but he’s now getting zillions of views, for doing practically nothing. YOU are doing the work; he is getting a few bucks from the ads on his page. Nice, huh?

I am starting to feel the same about blogs that post only prompts and no content. In fact, I’m going to quit following them. I never see “Nox,” for example, ever liking or commenting on my posts, even though I’ve linked his blog, The Daily Spur, many, many times. What’s the point of that exactly? It’s of no benefit to me. There are others in this category I will be unfollowing as well.

Third, some of you are not on Facebook or Twitter, so you can ignore this section (assuming anyone has read this far!). But for those who do participate in those media, you may have noticed lately, as I have, an absolute barrage of questions from public pages, such as radio stations and celebrity accounts. I block them all at the source on FB, but it’s a never-ending task, as more pop up daily. (I mostly ignore Twitter except for a few tweeps I like and search out specifically. The feed is impossible to deal with.)

I have asked FB friends WHY they continue to answer these stupid, pointless questions… and no one can really explain. The person who posed the question does not give one speck of a crap what your favorite childhood toy was or which band you liked in high school. Plot twist! They are only trying to ramp up interaction on their posts for MONEY. They’re businesses. Would you stop in the street and take random polls from strangers asking what color underwear you have on? No? Then why answer online? I just don’t get the motivation here. Just bad habits? But the public pages have found this to be a winning format and churn out more meaningless garbage on the daily.

Facebook won’t allow you to block all public pages or limit your feed to friends only. That’s because they are also making money via your engagement with this nonsense. (So is Twitter.) The longer your eyeballs stay on the sites, the better for Mark and Scott. Participating on public pages doesn’t increase interaction with your own friends either. Only individual posts do that. But what it can lead to is (1) a more comprehensive profile of you for advertisers to exploit, and/or (2) a nice big flamewar over a political disagreement, which could result in you getting banned for a month for calling someone stupid. Yay victory.

Blogging is still vastly superior to both FB and Twitter due to that fact that you can curate your feed. That’s one of the biggest draws for me ~ seeing posts from those I’ve followed ONLY, with no trash sandwiched in between. Oh, they try! WP puts suggested post snippets after your followed ones (when you’re not using the app), but it’s easy to ignore them. Most importantly, the whole post doesn’t get shoved in my face a la FB.

What was my main point? Basically a reminder to self: don’t get sucked into contests and other linkypoo crap that is a waste of time and neither helps my writing nor generates sales thereof.

Fin!

~*~

Image is mine.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.