Saturday, March 31, 2012

Autism vs. Neesha: The purple foot

My favorite color is purple! Everyone knows that. Only, it's not pretty when it's the result of an injury. I'm worried about my foot, but more about my baby. His screaming episodes are so outrageous sometimes, and OH, SO random. Well, to me, anyway, but maybe not to him since he's the only one who truly knows why he's screaming.

As he was eating breakfast this morning, I noticed some side glances, which is an indication something is up. He was yelling in his room at 4 a.m. but I didn't intervene, because I didn't hear any specific distress calls, nor did I hear any objects hitting the wall. In light of that, I expected an awful morning, but he was happy and laughing just before he went downstairs for breakfast. The second he finished his hash browns, his favorite breakfast item, he paused, pushed away his glass of juice, then let out some supersonic screaming with his mouth as wide open as could be, using all his energy. Over and over. AAAAAAAH! AAAAAAAAH! AAAAAAAAAH! With no carpet downstairs, the echo makes it double as loud. I got so startled, I jumped and spilled water. Then, as I turned to make a mad dash toward him to stop him from throwing things, I slipped and fell. My right foot slid and smashed toes-first into the edge of the cabinet, and now I have swelling with a purple splotch on the top and bottom of my foot. He kept screaming while I was grasping my foot on the floor. He carried on, throwing remote controls in the living room.

The episode lasted about 20 minutes altogether but felt like hours, and my foot will hurt for a lot longer. He ended up sitting himself down on the couch to detox from the tantrum. After I calmed down and put a pack of frozen spinach on my foot (I don't have ice), I started trying to decipher the meltdown, as I do after every one. Sometimes I'm left totally baffled but this time, I think I know. I heard the "stuffy" sounds from his nose so I had given him medicine just after I saw he finished his food. He refused to drink the juice I had given him, which he normally guzzles down. I realized he always has chocolate milk with breakfast, so maybe the break in routine pissed him off, along with the stuffy nose and having to swallow a pill with the very juice that didn't belong there (per his logic).

Routine is everything for these kiddos. He was never that obsessive about routines, but I notice as he gets older, it's a more vital part of his existence. He's lost without direction, literally! He prefers it written, and I neglected to write it all down on the dry erase board I normally carry around all day. So, perhaps I should have forewarned him we were out of chocolate milk and that I noticed he was stuffy and would be giving him a pill. My bad. =/

One purple foot later, lesson somewhat learned.

Moral of the story: Don't spill water in the kitchen, because you could slip, fall and end up with a purple foot. Oh, and always let your autistic kiddo know way in advance if there is to be a change in routine. It may not always prevent the violent meltdown (as I've learned), but hey, it's common courtesy to these special pumpkins.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Phoneless awkward moments - There's hope!

Picture this. You're in an elevator with another stranger or two for more than five minutes. You're standing somewhere by yourself waiting for a ride or person who is taking forever. You're sitting in a doctor's office waiting room or lobby with other bored people, waiting and waiting, and people are staring at you. You see that weird person whom you always try to avoid heading your way, and you need a way to not make eye contact without it being totally obvious that you're being a jerk. How 'bout when you're eating lunch in your car, then some people pass by and look at you, making you feel like a friendless loser. You're somewhere like the DPS waiting in a long line of doom with a crowd of annoying people, and there are at least seven people you have punched in the face in your mind. Or what about when you're at a luncheon or dinner function where you hardly know anyone and need something to do to not look like a moron sitting by yourself without someone to talk to. Then there's that break during class when people disperse for ten minutes, and you many not know anyone but others are in cliques.

Countless unexpected scenarios could land you in an awkward moment. When that moment hits you, what is the first thing you do? I bet I know. You bust out that cell phone and fondle it to alleviate the awkward moment! I bet your lover doesn't get as much touchy touchy as your cell phone sometimes.

It doesn't even matter if you have someone to text, update your Fb status, send out a tweet ... the sole purpose of that phone during awkward moments of your life is to save you from looking or feeling stupid just standing around. So here's my question of the day. What if you forgot your phone at home, and you're in that awkward moment? What do you do as an alternative to playing with your phone? Think of it this way. What did you do back in the day, before the days of cell phone stupor, when you felt seriously awkward and needed a go-to object or distraction to ease your anxiety?

Well, I've come up with a list of escapes for you to combat awkward moments when you don't have your phone to save you.

The search and rescue mission

This is where you pretend to look for some mystery object in your purse (or wallet, bag, etc.). It could be a purple elephant or a grand piano you're looking for in there. The point is, you'll never find it, but keep searching until your awkwardness has subsided. If you do find such a thing in there, then you may want to lay off the recreational drugs.

Read between the lines

Depending on what you have handy, read something. If you have a book, awesome. If not, study a receipt like you've never seen such a fascinating thing in your life. Read that piece of scrap paper where you wrote down your grocery list, bucket list, hit list, whatever. 

Cough it up

Just start coughing and clearing your throat periodically until the awkward moment passes. Don't overdo it, just enough to break the silence.

Small talk

Use the cliche of weather or sports comments, if you must. This would only work if you're a talker, though. I've seen people do things like blurt out totally fake compliments just to break the ice like "Hey, I like your shoes!" And said shoes were hideous and old, which was proof to me it was just shit talk to bypass the cone of awkward silence.

Ask questions

If you ask the questions, then you're forcing others to have to talk, taking the pressure off yourself. "So, did anyone see that news report last night about the (bla bla bla)?" Or, you can pretend like you're lost and ask them if they know where the restroom is and escape there, if the shoe fits.

Adjust the threads

Tie your shoes. Even if they don't need tying, this would be a great moment for you to make sure they are tied even better than they were tied before. Fidget with your accessories. Take off those earrings and put them back on the right way. Pretend like you're dusting something off your clothes. Re-fold those already-folded sleeves. There's nothing like an awkward moment to make you realize you didn't do these things right the first time.

Looking busy is the key

This would be the perfect moment to take out your keys and rearrange them on the rings. Or just play with them since they get neglected so much due to your obsessive phone fondling.

Guzzle those worries away

Most people tend to carry a bottle of water or a drink of some kind around with them. I know I do. Battle weirdness by taking constant sips. This is a saving grace at that awkward dinner party when you don't know wtf to do with yourself at the table and have no phone or a dead phone.

Clean yourself up

If you wear glasses, get to wiping, four eyes! They can never be too clean. Get out that hand sanitizer and wipe away those germs. Got lotion? Lather up!

Write now!

That ancient practice of writing with a pen and paper could be of use during awkward moments. Doesn't matter what you write, just scribble on something. Write a poem about how awkward you're feeling.

Reach out and don't touch someone

If you only have a few moments to look busy, give your arms a good stretching. Yank on those fingers and pop some joints. 

Stuff your face hole

You're bound to have gum or some type of snack in your bag. Find a vending machine and buy something to munch the time away.

Don't hate, fixate

Find a nearby sign or billboard and stare at it like you're watching Saturday Night Live.

Eyes to the pavement

It would be nice if there was a nice rock to kick around. A nice little game of rock soccer makes for a great awkward moment fix. Being indoors would invalidate this option, but you could still stare at a tile pattern or try to count how many stains you see in the carpet.

I like to reach a diversity of readers, so if none of the above seem logical to you, then you might find one of the following a more suitable solution.

Who needs music

Just pretend you have your iPod and dance in place; bop your head to the imaginary rhythm of your insanity.

Make your own music

Hum or whistle your woes away.

Think inside the box

Pretend to be a mime. You never know who could be watching, and this could be your big break. You could also just get your ass kicked, but hey, that would pass the time, too.

Narcolepsy has benefits

You could always just pretend to be sound asleep. But, I highly recommend leaving one eye open. You wouldn't want to get robbed during your fake nap.

Manicure time

Bite your nails and save your manicurist and nail clipper the trouble. Be sure to spit the nail chips at people around you.

Don't hate, urinate

Go stand up against a wall and pretend you're peeing. You can't get in trouble since you're not really peeing.

Hoop it

If you have a hoola hoop handy, go ahead and work that waist round and round. Roll it around your neck, if you dare.


And if none of these solutions help you, then just stand there and look awkward. Nothing wrong with that!







Sunday, March 25, 2012

The zombies are coming

I broke three things this weekend: a drinking glass; a reading record and a wall. First off, the drinking glass slipped from my soapy hands as I was scrubbing it squeaky clean in the sink. One clunk against the side of the sink left one big gash. Bye bye, drinking glass. This means my glassware set is offset. How is my OCD brain supposed to rest at night knowing there's now an odd number in the cupboard? I'll be OK.

I read two whole novels in almost one day. I finished the last few chapters of the second book in the wee hours of this morning, which broke my reading record of most reading in a day. These two books were a series written by Amanda Hocking, a hugely successful author in the indie publishing world. She is the poster child for what all indie authors want to be. I decided to give her a read because of all the hype about the thousands of books she sells per month. Her books are not my kind of read, but I'm quite open minded. So, I thought about it and caved in to curiosity (the same thing that got me to read Twilight and Harry Potter.)

The wall I broke was the one I built to protect me from zombies. Never read a zombie story and never planned to, but I'm a glutton for ... new books. I had my fill of vampires after Twilight's four-book extravaganza that left me wanting to punch Bella in the face. I can't stand hard-shell female characters who act like they are invincible and can't admit they need help. So, anyway, I decided to let the zombies crash down the wall and come into my house via Kindle reader app. So here is what my first zombie apocalypse experience was like.

First book of the two-book series.

The first few pages of this book grossed me out more than hooked me, because it starts off describing a gruesome scene of decapitated zombies and humans oozing all kinds of stuff. I can usually handle that, but this freaked me out. That didn't stop me from reading on. By the time I got to chapter 3, I was pretty much addicted. The story was action-packed and every page seemed to offer a brand new twist. Normally, I get really turned off by typos and will stop reading if I encounter too many. This story was so good, I was able to overlook the numerous typos that stung my eyes along the way.

The explanation for why the zombies existed was pretty decent, an experiment gone bad. Zombie epidemic spread, and people were slaughtered in masses and others turned zombie. So Remy and her 8-year-old bro go on the run after their parents are killed. The world is no longer the same. People are running for cover in mass hysteria and hiding out. Remy and her bro, Max, get separated at a quarantine, because he is "sick" and kept in the medical ward. Zombies break in, and he is shipped out to another compound before she can get to him. She is then forced to flee with some other girls tagging along. As she sets off into the danger zones on foot, she runs into other survivors who join her in her quest to reunite with Max. Not as tacky as I thought it would be, because Hocking is a great storyteller. I could tell Hocking put lots of thought into this one. The way she built up the characters and their relationships with each other, it made me feel like I knew them and cared about them by the end of the book. That's a great result.

Remy seemed determined and on fire. The mission to save her brother was genius in keeping me hooked, especially since she wouldn't reveal what her bro was sick with. Every time her and her entourage stopped somewhere, it was a different adventure. I never knew what to expect, and I love a story that is not predictable. The flirty stuff with her and Lazlo was just right, not too over-the-top cheesy. I was even happy when they briefly hooked up at the end, even though it was basically a one-time deal since she was leaving to finally rescue her bro who was being held in the medical ward like a lab rat in the compound they all ended up in. The sex scene was a bit explicit for being a YA book, I must say. I knew there was a book 2, and I was hyped to read what would become of them, the brother and the other major characters like Harlow - the bratty but witty young girl, and Blue - the medical student who was very logical. The minute I finished this book, I jumped on Amazon.com and bought the sequel ...


Second book in the series.
This one also started off totally grossing me out, but I kept reading. This time, I kept reading because I was hungry to find out what happened to everyone! So, she's basically the lab rat now. Doctors are doing biopsies and surgeries on her with no anesthesia, ugh! Oh, but after they leave her in the middle of a surgery because the zombie sirens went off, she still had energy to wiggle (while strapped down) enough to tip the table over (with a hole in her abdomen) and get herself free. She sews herself up (OK!) and goes out to find an escape.

I so badly wanted to like this book, I swear. But so many things ended up annoying the hell out of me. I rolled my eyes so many times, I got a headache. Hours after this escape, Remy is karate chopping zombies and doing pushups and situps, which made me "lol." She joins a group that was leaving the compound and heads out on a similar journey to reunite with her bro again. Remember, she set him free and took his place as a lab rat. This time, the journey was really monotonous and predictable. No adventures other than zombie slaying, finding rest stops, looking for food scraps and people dying left and right. All the characters that I was made to fall in love with in the first book don't even play any role in this one! That made me go "wtf!" Remy has a new love interest who she makes out with in a room where her friend just died in her arms and was still laying slaughtered in the bathroom. Oh, and the friend got slaughtered while saving her from being raped and murdered, but she makes out with a soldier a few feet away just minutes later. Are you serious!? Wow.

This book was considerably weaker than the first and seemed very rush-written. I think if she had just written a solid ending in the first book, it would have not needed a sequel. Worst of all, it was infested with typos! Bad ones like "allright," missing words and extra words. The dialogue was so BORING with lots of "Are you ok?" and "It's not your fault." "Yes, it's all my fault!" "No! It's not!" Lots of redundancy too, about the same-old, same-old sentiments about zombies taking over and will the world ever be safe again, rah, rah, rah. Unlike the first book, I felt like I was forcing myself to turn the pages this time. The ending pissed me off, too, because it was so open-ended. Hate those kinds. It left me saying "That's it? Come on!"

Hocking is a natural at what she does. I still say this book series was great, despite the disappointment of the second book. It had serious potential and can still be saved, me thinks. I may even give her other series a try. That's my 20 cents!



Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Superstar Profile Series: Meet Frank Brantley

Hey, good people! Today, I will introduce you to the second guest in my Superstar Profile Series in which I meet really cool people in everyday life who do or have done stuff some of us just dream about. Our acquaintance will be met today by the one and only Frank Brantley!

Frank! Thank you so much for chillin’ with us today. So, my sources tell me that you’re an actor. Do tell.
Yes, I’m an actor and a creative soul. What I love most about it is it allows me to give myself to the audience and best of all, I still get to act like a kid. Most of my friends and family know that I’m a big kid at heart, anyways. I also love that it’s not monotonous.

Frank, just between you and me, have you ever been to another planet?
Not recently, but I’m looking forward to my next trip to the moon.

Cool. I’m very curious about your most noteworthy accomplishment in life, something you can brag about.  What might that be?
I’m gonna have to go back to college and say graduating valedictorian.

Valedictorian!? That word makes me dizzy but in a good way. Is there any other brag-worthy tidbit you keep in your back pocket? You know, something you can dish out at the next cocktail party and have everyone else wishing they had a life.
OK, I got one for you. I recently worked on a film with Robin Givens.

I bet that was something to spectate! Now, let me ask you this. If you could be a celebrity for one day, who would it be and why?

I would be Will Smith for a day, and I think the answer is self-explanatory.
Definitely. Say no more! OK, what’s the silliest thing you ever did as a kid?

Starting fires in a neighborhood ditch.
Describe yourself in three words.

Ambitious, happy,  thankful.
What factors in your life have motivated you thus far?

My mom.
What would people be shocked to know about you?

That I’m a closet nerd. A super closet-nerd.
Do you have any hidden talents unrelated to your profession or goals? Out with it!

I can sing like a black Elvis and a black Frank Sinatra. I’m also good at Riverdancing on the spot whenever necessary.
That sounds like some ideal flash mob material! What’s your most memorable career moment?

A mini-red carpet screening for a film I did several years ago back in Austin.
Where do you want to be career-wise five years from now, and how do you plan to get there?

I wanna be working full-time as an actor and having many options to choose from.  How do I plan on getting there, you ask?  With hard work and the support of my family.

What’s one good piece of advice you can offer others who have dreams they hesitate to chase in fear of failure?
Knuckle up.

What is a must-have that you keep in your fridge?
Meat.

What are your favorite methods of stress relief?
Exercising outside, under the sun.

What's your most commonly used source for keeping up with what's going on in the world?
The Internet, fa sheezy.

Name 2 celebrities you always thought looked eerily alike?
Jason Bateman and Jerry O’Connell.


What’s your next big project and/or goal?
My next big goal is to book a major feature film.

Good luck with that! That’s exciting. Is this what you wanted to do when you were a kid, or were your childhood dreams quite different? What do you recall wanting to be?
Umm, I guess either a football player or architect. The architect dream came true, and I played football in high school.

What do you think is the most commonly used phrase in America right now?
“You clap-having Jezebel.” (I watch too much of The Dave Chappelle Show).

Do you encourage people to follow you via social media?  
No, I’m too busy planning my trip to the moon.

When people read this interview or meet you otherwise for the first time, what do you want them to remember you by after they walk away?
That’s a cool, crazy mutha-fucka.

Indeed! Thanks so much for your time, Frank, and best wishes on all your future endeavors!

Thanks for having me!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I discovered a new world

For years and years, I've been an avid reader. I can sit for hours, caressing the dead trees in my bare hands, adoring or abhorring countless stories that provide me a temporary escape from reality. But not once have I ever thought of leaving a review anywhere. I mean, who cares what I think? Apparently, lots of people do! As I've recently discovered, a reader's opinion can be priceless in helping authors promote their books. Since I've become an author, I've realized just how powerful a reader review can be. The list of reviews are like a bread crumb trail to other potential readers.

Writing a book is not just about writing a book. It's about creating a strong piece of work to be proud of, sans typos and grammatical landslides that could totally turn off readers. The key is to leave them wanting more. Wooing the reader is a must, especially in this saturated market in which everybody and their pets have written and self-published a book on places like Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, Smashwords and Lulu.


Last Saturday, I spent the whole day researching ways to market myself and attract readers to my book, I of the Storm. I stumbled upon the world of book bloggers! I had an Alice in Wonderland kind of experience. These amazing individuals take time out of their lives to read and read and read and produce reviews on books. Authors seek them. Publishers seek them. Book lovers seek them. They run busy blogs flooded with followers hungry for book reviews, author interviews, giveaways and what are the latest and upcoming reads. Most of them, I discovered, are so backlogged they hardly have time to take on new books to review. I emailed more than 30 of them about my novella, and the few who responded said they were just too overwhelmed. For an independent (indie) author or publisher, this is a valuable service. If they love the book enough, they have the power to spread the word to hundreds of readers! Word of mouth is a powerful force.

2 more services http://www.thesweettalker.com/ will now offer!

I'm inspired to help other authors, because one very flagrant foul I've noticed in the text of many indie authors is typos. There are some amazing stories out there, and it would be a shame for them to not get taken seriously due to a plague of typos. The services of a professional editor can be quite pricey. I'm a brutal editor, but I'm also in love with helping people. I now plan to offer book editing services at different levels at affordable costs to authors. My other endeavor is to use this blog, conveniently named after a book, to start offering book reviews on novellas, specifically for indie authors.

For more information about editing services, book reviews and any other writing/editing assistance, please email me at Neesha@thesweettalker.com and be sure to check out my website at the link above.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Learning doesn't have to hurt

I bet if you really think about it, you learn something new every day, maybe even more than one thing! It could be as simple as discovering which eye liner doesn't smudge or which Little Debbie snack item is the most orgasmic. I prefer the Cosmic Brownies, personally. Oh, and just today, I learned that Justin Timberlake is now one of the new owners of MySpace and plans to revamp it for music purposes. I thought that was really cool of him to take on that project. I always felt sorry for poor MySpace and Tom. (I wonder what happened to Tom.)
My first memorable learning experience,
courtesy of my mom.

Another thing I learned today was that James Cameron, who brought us Titanic and Avatar, is going to be the first person in 50 years to go 7 miles beneath the sea on a solo deep sea exploration mission in a craft he spent eight years building secretly in Australia! Why should anyone care? My take on that is that even though he's a Hollywood superstar and is probably doing this to make the movie of the century (along with the fact that he is a well-known explorer and works with National Geographic), it's possible he could come back with some amazing discoveries for scientists. I read that there are alien (as in, unknown) life forms down there that we probably don't even know about since humans have yet to truly explore the deep sea. Imagine all the centuries of land exploration we know about, and then think about the same amount of space yet unexplored beneath the deep waters of our planet. Article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/08/science/earth/james-cameron-prepares-to-dive-into-mariana-trench.html?_r=1

As I was browsing Facebook, I kept seeing this video about "KONY 2012," and had NO idea what all the hype was about. Naturally, I assumed it was about something glamorous and didn't want any part of it, thinking it was some Fb trend. Then I noticed some people who NEVER repost craziness were reposting it. So, its credibility shot up. I decided to give it a look, and wouldn't ya know. I was truly inspired by the tremendous effort of one guy trying to change the world for the better by using word-of-mouth and people power to track down a vicious and barbaric criminal in Uganda who makes a living hurting and killing children, not to mention recruiting them into local terrorism. Here's the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4MnpzG5Sqc&feature=share I thought I would do my part by sharing that. When you watch it, you'll see what I mean.

See? Learning doesn't have always have to be scary or intimidating. It can be anything. In one day, look at all that I learned about the world. I'm quite proud of that. If you read the news, you learn something every time. Even on Pinterest and Google Plus, the learning possibilities are just as available as we obsessively look up art projects and recipes, or even quotes and reading material. People learn, whether they realize it or not. It's a beautiful ability we have as intellectual beings. We should take full advantage!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Winning is a choice - Just ask Team Sheen

Those who know me are aware of "Autism vs. Neesha," the biggest challenge of my life. On March 14, 1998, I hatched a beautiful, bouncy baby boy who was born with a fractured left collar bone. Per doctor's orders, I had to keep him wrapped like a burrito most of the time for the first month of his life in order to keep him from moving his arm too much. It was the only way to help his bone heal, I was told. My emotions were just as fractured as his collar bone because, as any good mom would agree, her child's pain is her own. No kid could have possibly gotten more love and affection than my two sons. My method of putting them to sleep as babies was soft kissies all over their sweet, little faces until they dozed into dreamland. Fourteen years later, that baby you see is a 5'6'', 155-pound young man with a fully growing beard that needs shaving every 3-4 days, a deep, powerful voice ... and autism.

Just yesterday, we went to visit my parents, and he flew into a rage, screaming as loud as his lung capacity would allow, projectile spitting, throwing things, slamming things, hitting himself and broke his favorite video game controller. I fought back tears as I stood in front of him trying to be the tough, stern mom when all I wanted to do was hug him, kiss his prickly face and beg him to speak instead of scream about what was bugging him. He screamed straight in my face without a speck of hesitation, and it caused me an instant migraine. It normally does, because I have super sensitive ears. This is my life. I experience this same scene so frequently that I sometimes turn into a zombie, screw up at work, lose track of important tasks and business projects, forget to check messages, forget to pay bills, double pay others and break into random crying spells.


I feel sorry for my baby. What would I do if I couldn't vent about my frustrations or express when I have a cookie craving!? I understand his screaming in a way, because I would explode, too, if I couldn't express what I felt or wanted. Even if he has a headache or if some sound or smell is annoying him, he cannot SAY it. He just screams. By observation, I notice sometimes he creates his own stress relief. I've seen him just lay on his bed and sing. He likes to stare at a TV station that isn't showing anything, like the ones that just show ordering information. He likes music now and then and will listen to the same song dozens of times. He laughs out loud for no apparent reason. Other than that, he doesn't allow me to create any activities for him. He refuses everything and, if forced, he'll bawl!
But in the end, I win. He's healthy and strong. My work is always top notch. I stumble a lot, but I don't fall. I count my blessings over and over every day. I say a prayer for those who have it way worse than me. I cry it all out. I vent to my loving husband and close friends who are my saving grace a million times over. All I have to do is look around, and I see how blessed I am, down to the soft, fluffy pillows that cradle me anytime I need them, the nice clothes I have to wear with 47 pairs of shoes to choose from and never a shortage of food and drink. No major illness. No unsolvable problem, aside from autism for which I am determined to find a remedy for my child's recent bouts of erratic behavior. Something's gotta give. This cannot be a hopeless case!


At first, I would sulk about being stuck in the house all the time, unable to go out and enjoy fun times like other people due to his spontaneous screaming. I find myself seething at other people's tales of vacation adventures, parties, get-togethers; even simple things like going out to dinner and grocery shopping is an act of Congress in my world. Yea, it's tough. But this is the hand I was dealt by God, and anything from Him is a gift. So I take a deep breath and endure.

Many people (including my parents after what they witnessed yesterday) tell me, "I don't know how you deal with all this!" Well, first of all, I pray a WHOLE lot. There's a list of other weird things I do, too. While the spawn is screaming or having a not-so-pleasant day and I find myself stuck inside these four walls, I ...  

Wrote a bookI of the Storm, available on Amazon. Just click on the book cover image in the upper left of this page. I'm a determined woman! And I will write books and build my business, www.TheSweetTalker.com, until I have a solid empire, doing what I love and being around full-time for my kids and family.

Watch The Golden Girls, Law & Order: SVU, King of Queens and Monk marathons whenever they are on. Can you tell I love comedy and crime?

Clean my already-clean house with Caribbean music playing in the background.

Create arts and crafts. Graphic art, wall decor and canvas art are my favorites. Find me on Pinterest (https://pinterest.com/neesha101/) to see some of my creations. Concentrating on an art project is my replacement for going on vacation. If my body can't leave, then I send my mind away instead.

Study grammar and punctuation rules.

Write articles and short stories. This has been a mental massage tactic of mine since I was a kid. I still have some of the stories I hand-wrote as a pre-teen. Funny stuff. And scary cool how much I haven't changed since then.

Lay around and think. I could do this one forever. Well, until my stomach starts growling.

Listen to old school music that takes me back to times when life was much simpler.

Watch movies thanks to Netflix and DirecTV.

Read! Another means of sending my mind away on vacation.

Learn something new. I have lots of books I've bought over the years that offer how-to lessons. I bust those out when I need a distraction. Or Google is the other option. As in one of my previous posts, you can see that I learned about the sloth because of a typo that led me there.
Eat chocolate.

Play e-games like Scrabble, Words With Friends and Mahjong.

Rearrange my closet.

Facebook.

Watch stand-up comedy and belly dancing clips on Youtube.

Text (or BBM) people who make me happy.