Category: writing




Yep, that tree is sending out its pollen…

This time of year, watering eyes, plugged up noses can be the start of something much worse if not taken care of properly.

Checking your pollen counts for your area when this happens is critical to know what it is that is effecting you.


“Why?” You Asked.

Avoidance things that you are allergic to, is your first line of defense from becoming ill.

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Is it any wonder why this thing bothers your sinuses? 

Juniper is one of the triggers that affect many.  The pollen from this plant causes the sinuses to become inflamed or agitated which in turn causes them to react, in this case, create mucus in order to wash away the offending irritant.


The sinus tissues becomes inflamed and swells, thus trapping that mucus allowing bacteria to find a nice moist place to grow and thrive.  Once of course you have bacteria take hold, you now have a sinus infection.


The more disconcerting problem with this is; “why the hell do people plant this plant?” Yes, the plant has a pleasant appearance and stays green all year round.

Oh, look how pretty….NOT!

From late September to April this thing sends pollen out onto the winds which affect many.

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Older folks or people who already have respiratory concerns can become ill with these triggers which could actually lead to pneumonia and death.

“You can’t fix stupidity.”

Juniper plants grow all over the US so avoiding them may be a tough call.  There are parts of the country with higher levels of pollen than others however.  Living near the ocean where onshore breezes from the salt air is probably why so many live so long in Florida.  Respiratory illness is one of the leading causes of death.Juniperus


If you have ever looked up at the moon and seen this…that is pollen causing it and you can bet it is Juniper…

Pollen halo


Manage the symptoms.

Talk with your Pulmonologist about your condition.

If you have not already done so, speak with an allergist and see if you are a candidate for immunotherapy.

When you start to sneeze, that is the time to get serious about your regimen to stay healthy.

Prophylactically attack the problem head on with everything in your arsenal from Nasal irrigation to anti histamines.     Nose sprays with steroids in them are also a good idea.  Keeping the swelling of the sinus tissues at bay will allow the mucus to actually wash the surface of the tissue and be expelled as they was designed to do.

While Allegra and Benadryl are over the counter, these too should be part of your arsenal if your doctor agrees with this.

What you take must be ok with your doctor, as your other meds may interact with it; or your particular health may not afford you the luxury of taking things such as this.

The idea is to avoid that which triggers your allergies.

Manage the symptoms

Go see your doctor before it gets too bad.  Once it turns into an infection, a course of anti-biotics may be needed which we use way too liberally in this country.  Bacteria will become resistant to them and then stronger and stronger antibiotics will be needed.  These not only kill the offending bacteria but, the good bacteria that lives in us all.

Once these take hold…you may need the big guns to get rid of them.

Like brushing your teeth is a daily regime; I would take your sinus health just as seriously.  If you decide to do some landscaping around your house, I would not plant cedar juniper plants just because these things are vile when it comes to health.

Find something else….





There is a huge difference between depression and simply being sad. Sadness is a normal part of life and we all go through it.  This time of year seems to bring on depression or bouts of it, for various reasons.

We could even call it “seasonal depression.”

As we age we lose people that we love.

Now, when the holidays come around or those other family events which bring everyone together; we think of those that are no longer with us. There at that certain spot, sits an empty chair which they should be in.

Looking into the “mirror of time” will not bring those people back.  Those memories that we keep alive are what we still hang onto them with, and that is OK ; but not to focus on.

I personally have small mementos of those that I have lost, which I see daily. On one of my desk there sits this absolutely hideous lamp that one of my Uncles bought his wife as a gift.  The shade is painted with some sort of pattern and I have to agree with my aunt, is it pretty terrible.  His taste however; was not hers… Every time I see that lamp; I think of him, who I loved; and chuckle.

In another part of my house there is a small wooden wheel barrel that my grandfather made.  He made it for my aunt when she was a little girl, who is also gone.  When I see it…I think of him and her…and smile.  I took it down the other day and dusted it… I noticed the fine workmanship that went into it and imagined my grandfather making it, some 80 years ago.

There is an old kitchen clock that was made in 1912 that my grandmother bought for her kitchen; while visiting New York in 1912.  That clock sits in the Den.  I never knew her but; I know that I would have loved her…From stories of her…she sounds a lot like me.

If I went through the complete list of stuff from the many in my life that I have loved, some might conclude that I was a hoarder.  I hoard the memories of those that I loved, and sometimes I keep too many reminders of them.  Pictures here and there of them, is really all we need but…that is just the way it goes.

My grandfather used to fish in the Mississippi not far from where he lived.  He left me his tackle box which I still have.  I open it every now and then, and gaze upon the things inside.

He was not a rich man but, here in this box is a wealth of stories and love… There is a history of taking me fishing when I was barely out of three cornered pants.  A history of comforting a crying child who was just bitten by a horsefly stopping the bleeding followed by a history of teaching me how to catch a horse fly without getting bitten, and placing it on a hook and catching my first fish.

There are other stories of comforting a small child who hurt themselves, by spilling an entire wheel barrel full of leaves, that he had just picked up while trying to help.

There was my first taste of beer from his can while building our lake house.  I was maybe 4 at the time and I remember the taste of it.  I searched for years to find out that it was PBR…

From watching Saturday night wrestling with him, to listening to baseball games on a huge floor model radio…they are all there…tucked neatly away in that tackle box of life.

His sunglasses, old wire frame glasses, along with his lucky coin are two of the first two things that jump out at me.  There are different lures and even a reel or two; still in their original box along with line that has to be older than me.  I picture him walking from his house, to the bank of the Mississippi, pulling some sort of fish out of that river… He loved to fish …

After getting my “grandpa” fix, I carefully put everything back, just as I found it, and tuck it away until I find myself thinking of him… needing another fix, reminding me of the humanity of an old fashion, soft spoken man, who would give anyone that needed it, the shirt off of his back.

On one of my bookshelves there is this old plastic fisherman with a wire attached that has a small yellow plastic fish on it that used to adorn a shelf in his house.  I am certain that it was a gift from someone who loved him.  Daily; it is my reminder to be gentle, soft spoken and try to exude some of the wisdom, caring and compassion that I learned from this man.   It is my reminder to not take myself too seriously, and to laugh…

Each year it seems that the Christmas card lists gets shorter, as more and more leave us.

Not only do we have our family and friends but, we too are effected by those that we come to love from the silver screen, and now of course the flat screen that entertains us.  We grieve for those too; and each day it seems more of them are leaving…

Christmas music seems to bring on depression for me; so I limit my exposure to it.

This year, 2015; four of my good friends have passed. I have mementos of them and I even have a hat that one of them gave me that honors Reagan, who he was a fan of.  I wear that hat from time to time just because I am thinking of the person who gave it to me.

I’ll be home for Christmas is a downer… Songs…good songs bring out emotions in people and that one makes me sad.  I have been away at Christmas before, and it too reminds me of those that won’t be home for Christmas.   When we turn this time into a time for “stuff” it really again shows the worst in some of us, with black Friday deals and “stuff!”

We can choose….

I choose to acknowledge them…and then look forward to time spent with those that are still here and of course those that I have yet to meet.  I look forward to the memories that I have yet to make.  I make damned certain that I smile at those that seem to be having a hard time, and learn everyone’s name that I come into contact with if, only to use it once during a conversation with them. From wait staff to the person checking you out at the store…They have a name and it is not “you there…or hey!”

Tonight I went to dinner with 3 of my close friends as a pre-holiday get together.  We shared a few laughs, and I valued that time as it will never come around again.  The waiter…Ross… I made sure to include him in the conversation when appropriate, and let him know that he was appreciated, not only by saying so but; by tipping in way that he knew how I felt.

Every one of us has some sort of personal battle going on. You have no idea what it is.  Some of us honk ruthlessly and drive terribly because we feel that we are more important than others.  We cut people off and we…  “let’s face it; show our ass…”

“You don’t know what that person who you just did that to, is going through in their life…”

Lead by Example

When I managed people, I managed by leading by example.  I was a “hands on kind of guy” and I would purposefully involve myself in the worst jobs that we had to contend with, to show that no job was too small or insignificant.  Nobody is too small or trivial to be marginalized by given the “shit jobs.”

I made a point to know the cleaning crew’s names as well as the lady that watered the plants… We are all worthy of being treated as such; if you think we are not, your moral compass is out of whack!

We as people need to lead by example when we drive, engage with people and yes…be nice to the poor cashier who has to put up with impatient people, and company policies which require them to get information from you so they can market to you via e-mail or other such methods.  Their arms are twisted to do it…  The wait staff are forced to up-sell you into buying cobbler or some other dessert that you don’t really want.  They are told to ask, and I am certain that they are measured in some quantitative way by how many they sell.

  • Stop looking into the rear view mirror of life.
  • Enjoy what you do, and how you spend your time.
  • Make time to enjoy the day…
  • Acknowledge those around you and tell them thank you!
  • Serve others; and by all means treat others as you want to be treated.
  • If depression is bothering you…do this….
  • Set regular sleep hours and keep them. Stop any caffeine after 3pm.
  • Get up every morning and go greet the sun.  Your body needs at least 15 minutes of light to set your clock. 
  • Don’t stress over things that you cannot control. 
  • Do your best, give your schooling or job your bests, and don’t worry.
  • Love and laugh often.  Laughter is medicine that is cheap, and requires no prescription.

You are worthy of the best… Don’t let anyone tell you differently…

We can make it through this season…Remember it is not about gifts, or what someone is going to do for you…It is about giving of yourself.  I like to try and make someone’s life a little better each and every day… Even if it is just a kind word…. Or some encouragement.  Follow that lead….






Writers Block

Writers Block


As a writer, I follow many, talk with several; and listen a lot.

There are those who feel that they must complete 5 pages a day.  There are those that don’t.

If you are passionate about it; writing 15 a day or more could be a piece of cake, or a bloody nightmare.

You simply cannot force creativity….

I have crawled out of bed at 3 AM and worked till well past noon the next day, as I was inspired.  I have also stopped, and not touched the keyboard when nothing was happening.

There is a flow to the creative process and “external shit” can mess with that flow.

Maybe you don’t feel good, maybe the neighbor or spouse or sibling pissed you off…

Writing and painting to me are one in the same…I am an artist; I paint with oils…I can paint from my head, or from a model, or from a picture…it depends what I am going for.

I can also paint with words.  In many cases I am much better with words than oils.  My paintings have sold in many different countries, and yet I aspire to invoke emotions through language.  Many artist do it through painting, or music, and that is all great and good.  While I too play instruments; that is not my passion… I love music but telling a story…Ah…That excites me….!

Tonight I had a block…The story stood still and I sat here… I looked at the words and my characters were frozen.  A fluid story stopped … as my creative process stopped….

I walked away…took a long shower and in that shower the next chapter sprang to life as the water danced off my hands and arms and…the rest of me….

Sometimes you simply have to wash the block away…..

Five pages a day….no…..I could force it but it would suck, and be badly created, and poorly read and most probably deleted the next day when I reread it….

You simply cannot force creativity….


© All Rights Reserved 2015 TimeDok


Good Writing

Good Writing

Good Writing

There are too many books that I have trudged through in my life to tolerate bad writing.  Too many good books exist and let’s face it, how many books does one have time to read in the very short time that we have here?

As a writer, I craft the story much like so many other writers in that there are twist and turns, and I try to throw predictability out the window.  One of my friends compared my “style” to Stephen King!  I am not sure that is a good thing but, it is what it is.

I try not to worry with technicalities as I write.  Those will get sorted out in the editing phase.

When I write a story, it is as if someone somewhere out in the “ethos” is dictating it to me.  As I write, I too am enthralled with the story.  The story takes on a life of its own and therefor interruptions cannot be tolerated.

When I craft the words, I am painting a picture.  As an artist I know all too well what has to go into a painting to make it interesting so, when I paint with words, I too know how to create a picture that will form in the readers head.

From the dead flies in the windowsill, the flickering fluorescent light that comes to life with a snapping buzzing sound, and the smell of an un-flushed toilette; you suddenly remember each and every “not clean” bathroom that you have been forced to use, at some time in your life.  

Even my beloved muse, a Russian Blue who has yet to learn the meaning of “no,” has to leave as he too disturbs the process, by trying to chase the words as they trudge across the screen.


One of my writer friends goes off to remote cabins and waits for “the mood” to strike, and then sleep will not get into her way, as the thought process gels, the pages turn into marching characters and symbols that systematically stop and start as the process of transformation of thought to text, occurs.

Many of you here who follow me are writers, and it is to you who I am addressing the following.

We share a common bond and while we don’t personally “know” one another, we do know each other through this medium.

“If you want to get to know someone, you read their book.”

While the story may be as fictional as “Never-Never Land,” it is also, to many of us, our “happy place.”


Character development is a struggle for me.  As a man I can develop the female character and paint a nice picture.  Realistically, I have developed her from what I “see” and know of women.  Doing so for the male character is somewhat of a challenge as I don’t look at men, as women do.  I can however; capture the logic and thought processes of men much easier, as I am one.  The emotional side of the female is a stretch for me.

There are all kinds of readers out there, so character development should be such that whoever is reading your words, should be able to “know” your character.

As a writer, I feel a personal loss when I “kill off” a character.  As a reader, I feel that same loss when the book is over.

Currently, I am working on a trilogy and it is because the story material is that entertaining to me, that I could not end it with one book.  The characters have taken a life unto their own; and I suspect most of the writers out there know exactly what I am talking about.

Writing cannot be forced. 

Mechanically you can write and if you remember your English class’s where that was the case, the stories that you wrote were for the purpose of dissecting your usage of nouns and verbs and punctuation, not for creativity.  Sentence structure was so damned important! 

Screw the rules!

Weaving a tapestry of intersecting thoughts, while making it all grammatically correct is to me a true Rembrandt.   I don’t think being a grammatical and creative savant, is something that you can simply ask of someone, who does not share the passion of writing.

Painting is much the same way.  When painting, I am lost in the painting.  Each and every brush stroke has to be perfect.  The smaller the painting; the more flawless the brush stroke must be.

Write to please yourself.  Making it grammatically acceptable is something that can be accomplished after the creative process is done.

Painting and writing is “me time.”

Sometimes, I feel a little selfish when I carve out “me time.”

As an artist, you will not get rich by your efforts, unless of course you are doing it for some large publication and it is mechanical.  One of my Artist friends has her work re-produced on greeting cards, puzzles, and other things that people purchase in gift shops around the world.  Every so often a check will appear for a few hundred dollars.  She has no way of knowing how many actual unites were actually sold however.

I have also concluded that many feel that if they can just finish their book, they will get rich.  Too many out there “self-publish” and the only people making money “for the most part” are the folks who offer that service.

Lastly, and why I write this is; “write to please yourself.”

If your end goal is money, your writing will be forced and not genuine.  Much like doing a story for some professor to “grade.”

Immersion into the story, taking time to reflect, re-read and edit, and re-read again for the flow of the words is tantamount to making the story your own.

  • I will offer one free tip on the editing process for you, a trick that I figured out.

There are “services” that will edit your manuscript for you for who even knows how much money.

Purchase the latest version of Dragon Naturally Speaking with the text to speech option.

One paragraph at a time: have it read it, to you.

Go and edit that paragraph until it sounds right and then go onto the next.  When reading your own writing your mind tends to skip over the “you” instead of the “your” or the “the the” mistake that I see too often.  When writing, your words are punctuated with gaps as the thought process starts and stops.  That is when the “the the’s” occur or other anomalies that your professor in college would have a hay day with their “Fucking Red Pen or F.R.P.!”  Of course, there were no computers in my day so possibly, this process would be easier.

I don’t mean to belittle writing classes.  Don’t get me wrong.  Finding a professor that is passionate about their job, and what they are doing is a true goldmine.  Finding someone that will constructively criticize your work and offer suggestions is great.  Finding folks who are genuine, and are there without the need to equivocate for their personal aggrandizement is a definite plus.

There are writing “clubs” where others will read your works or have you read excerpts to the others in the group and they all cumulatively have something to offer.  There may be a pearl of wisdom that you can take away, even if you simply listen to their work and what the others have to say.  I have seen some however; who are so haughty, that just about anything that they said was dismissed without taking the time to weigh it on its merits. It was almost as if they were there to build themselves up, at your expense.


© All Rights Reserved 2015

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A disaster is one “Event away,” are you prepared?