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Hello Stress!

3 Sep

Purgatory?

Hello! Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope everyone is enjoying his or her day. Okay, so for the last few months, my house has been up for sale. I decided to share some of that experience with you all.

When I first put my South Florida home on the market, I was told it could take up to a year to sell. Since there was no telling just how long the process would take, I didn’t want to pack away too many things. I began chipping away at the task little by little.

Little by little.

Within a few months, I had an offer from some people who lived in New Jersey. I was jumping up and down with glee – until I was told that if I wanted to make the sale, I had to vacate in three weeks.

What? Three weeks? If I had a cat she’d be surprised too!

Now, I’m talking about a large four-bedroom house, filled with all kinds of things accumulated throughout the years. I’m not a hoarder, but it is difficult for me to throw things out. I took a good look around my home and became completely overwhelmed. I didn’t know where to start.

First, I needed boxes. I bought a few at Home Depot, but my mom had a better idea. She got me as many as I wanted for free from a medical establishment that she and my dad attended. I required other supplies that couldn’t be had for free: tape, bubble wrap and shrinkwrap. With all the necessary materials in hand, it was time to start packing – but where to begin?

Moving - Vashti Quiroz-Vega's Blog

If you ever need some alone time, just utter these words: “I need help moving.” Family and friends will immediately scatter to the four winds. With this particular project, it seemed I was on my own.

Not Cool!

I thought I knew stress, but it turned out I had only met stress’s annoying younger cousin. Real stress is spelled m-o-v-i-n-g. At one point, I tried to convince myself that I didn’t like the rest of my stuff, just so I wouldn’t have to pack it up.

I don’t really need a bed, and I never really liked that couch it’s too cozy and everybody always wants to sit on it. They just get comfortable and never want to leave.

After two weeks of filling boxes, I was grateful to get a little help from my sister-in-law and my mom. Nevertheless, we hit a wall. What did we know about packing a dining room table and chairs, armoire, Bombay chest or television? I came to the conclusion that I needed professional help. It was time to start getting quotes from movers. Yippee!

Oh yeah! This is going to be fun, NOT!

I called a company that was highly recommended by friends and relatives. Three young guys arrived, fit for the job (if you know what I mean). They were very friendly, charming, and not bad to look at. I was delighted – until the lead man gave me his quote. It turns out moving is also very expensive!

How much?

Fortunately, the story has a happy ending. I got my stuff packed and out of there, and the deal went through.

All’s well that ends well!

Having learned a great deal from this experience and being the kindhearted person that I am, I decided to share some tips with you.

Moving Tips

1/ Make friends with people lifting weights in the gym, before you move.

Hi! What big muscles you have. How much do you lift?

Hi! What big muscles you have. How much do you lift?

2/ Make sure the movers you hire are reputable.

Oops! My bad!

Oops! My bad!

3/ Make sure you tape up your boxes well.

Yikes!

4/ Resist the urge to pop bubble wrap before packing fragile items.

One more. Okay, just one more. Oh hell!

5/ When moving furniture, never be the person walking backwards.

Bike

7/ Dolly, good. Hernia, bad.

Ugh! I should have used a dolly!

Ugh! I should have used a dolly!

7/ It’s okay to curse at heavy furniture.

Cursing at the furniture

8/ It’s okay not to be completely honest with your labeling (think about it).

Label boxes discreetly

9/ Don’t forget to put air holes in the boxes when packing your pets. (I recall a gerbil incident growing up)

Oh…my!

Oh…my!

10/ Don’t pack dog and cats in the same box.

Find your own box!

Okay, seriously, if you’re planning on moving any time in the future these tips will surely help you. Good luck and may the force be with you because your friends and family won’t.

Click here for real Moving Tips

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Happy Birthday To Me!

5 Aug

Happy Birthday To Me!

Hi everyone! My name is Vashti Quiroz-Vega for those visiting my blog for the first time. I’m a writer of Fantasy, Suspense and Thriller, and normally my blog is about writing, poetry and art. I feature my work and the work of others whose creativity and talent I admire. Today is different. Today is my birthday. Therefore, I am going to honor the requests of several fans who’ve asked me to please post more about me.

Now, usually I am a bit shy about talking or writing about myself. Today I will make an exception. So here it is:

10 Facts About Me

1. I sleep walk. (No, none of my writing has been done while asleep)

Sleepwalking

2. I love to travel. I’ve been to Spain, Greece, Italy, Africa, Croatia, Alaska, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and many other Caribbean Islands among other places. There are still many countries I long to visit.

Croatia

Croatia

3. I have an adventurer’s spirit. I have zipped lined off a 1000 ft ledge onto a beach in Haiti, river raft in Costa Rica, did some cave tubing in Belize (saw huge bats), snorkeled in near freezing water in Alaska (I was covered from head to toe in a dry suit of course)…

Zip Lining in Haiti

Zip Lining in Haiti

4. I love to cook and bake. (I made all the hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and desserts for my novel “The Basement” Pre-Release Party).

The Basement Pre-Release Party

The Basement Pre-Release Party

5. When I was a kid I wanted to be a superhero. When I was a teen I wanted to be a missionary and travel to exotic places to teach kids about God and how to read and write.

India

6. Although writing is my passion I do have a day job in the medical field. I’m a Registered Medical Sonographer. I perform Abdominal, OB/GYN and Vascular ultrasound exams.

Baby

7. I can predict how almost any movie will end by the first quarter of the movie. People have tested me on this.  ;D Some of my favorite movies are the ones I couldn’t predict.

Usual Suspects

8. I had an imaginary friend as a child.

Imaginary Friend

9. I’m a kid at heart. I enjoy being silly and pulling practical jokes on my friends and family.

Silly Blonde

10. I don’t tend to trust people that don’t have a sense of humor.

Happy Birthday

Well, I hope you enjoyed getting to know a little more about me.

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Bullies – Broken People

30 May

Bullies - Broken People

Illustration by Toon Hertz (Little Sad Boy II – deviantArt)

Hello! Welcome to my blog. My name is Vashti Quiroz-Vega, for those of you visiting for the first time. I am a writer of Fantasy, Suspense, Thriller and Horror. I do, however, have a tendency to mix a little Romance or humor (among other genres) into my stories.

I love art, creativity and beauty, and I know these come in many forms. In my quest to build my author platform, I have met and befriended a group of incredibly talented individuals. Writers, poets, artists and even singers who are masterful at what they do. I feel blessed to have found them, and I would be selfish if I kept the beauty, artistry and creativeness of their craft all to myself.
So for the next few weeks I will be featuring their art, writings and music along with my own work on this blog. I guarantee you will enjoy every bit of it.
In today’s post I will feature the talented writer Jackson Baer.

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I’m the father of four children, three of whom are in elementary school. There are few subjects that I care about as much as bullying. I’ve always been someone who stands up for others when they’re being picked on, and I have tried to instill in my children the following principles:
• Be a friend to everyone because you never know what others might be going through.
• Accept people who are different because you are different, too.
• Don’t judge anyone based on race, religion or sexuality. People are who they are, and if any of those things bother you, that’s your issue—not theirs.
• Be kind, and treat other people like you want to be treated.

Often, a bully acts out in response to a tough home life or other difficult circumstances, reducing emotional pressure by heaping abuse on a victim. If you stand by and do nothing to intervene, you send the bully the message that this kind of behavior is acceptable. The victim, meanwhile, might feel the whole world is against him. That’s why standing up for those in need is one of the greatest virtues. I have tremendous respect for my kids when they tell me about how they stood up for a classmate. Over the past year, there have been a handful of incidents where my kids have told a bully to stop picking on another kid, or where they’ve had to ignore bullies to avoid becoming targets themselves.
We have to pick our battles in life, and not everything is worth fighting over. Standing up for and befriending those who are vulnerable, however, is worth pursuing and is a message worthy of sharing with our kids.
“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”
~ Mark Twain

Jackson Baer’s Links
http://JacksonPaulBaer.com
http://www.facebook.com/JacksonPaulBaer
http://twitter.com/JacksonPaulBaer
http://www.goodreads.com/JacksonPaulBaer

Great quote Jackson! Marvelous words to live by. If only every parent would teach their children the principles that Jackson so eloquently stated here, the world would be a much happier place. Unfortunately the world is filled with broken people searching for victims to torment.

 

Robbie_The Basement_Bullies

Excerpt from The Basement

“Look at Robbie jumping rope with the girls! What a sissy!” one of two boys yelled.
“I bet he’s too chicken to play flag football with us! Aren’t you, Robbie?”
“You’d rather play double Dutch with the girls!”
Robbie remained silent. Natasha and Cleo’s faces grew pink, and they exchanged awkward glances. Robbie whisked his head to read Natasha’s face, but she quickly tilted her head with a downward gaze.
“Yeah! Real men don’t jump rope!” the second bully shouted.
“Real men DO jump rope!” Robbie finally yelled in a brittle voice, his cheeks burning.
“No, they don’t!” the bullies hollered in unison, making Robbie jolt.
One of the bullies approached Robbie and shoved him. Robbie staggered, but did not fall. His face flushed beet red, and he wondered if the girls could hear his heart pounding. He stared at his feet so they wouldn’t be able to see his face. Cleo glimpsed timidly at Robbie, while Natasha regarded him with tightly pressed lips.
“Only sissies jump rope,” the bully hollered.
“Do you think I am a sissy?” said a deep masculine voice.
Wide-eyed and openmouthed, the bullies shook their heads. Natasha and Cleo smirked to see them tremble before the superintendent of their building, a tough, strapping man the neighborhood kids called Superman.
“We don’t think you’re a sissy, Mr. Superman,” one of the bullies responded timidly. The other just continued to shake his head, the heat rising in his cheeks.
“I jump rope all the time. All fighters do, even the retired ones. It is a good way to keep your endurance and burn calories. You boys should try it,” Superman said, wearing a grin.
“Yes, sir! ” The bullies nodded and ran away. Natasha and Cleo chuckled.
“Come on, Robbie, it’s still your turn,” Natasha called.
“I don’t think I want to play anymore,” Robbie said, kicking an innocent stone on the ground.
“Why not?” Natasha asked, scrunching her forehead.
Superman lifted his palm and spoke gently. “Wait a moment, Natasha. I need to speak to Robbie.”
Superman led him to his building’s basement, where they sat at the top of the steps.
“Why didn’t you want to continue playing double Dutch, Robbie?”
Robbie shrugged.
“You’re very good at it, you know.”
“It’s just that those kids called me a sissy in front of Natasha,” Robbie muttered, smiling faintly.
“That doesn’t make it so,” Superman told him.
“Yeah, but maybe they’re right. Maybe playing double Dutch isn’t for real men,” Robbie fretted. Superman’s facial expression became grave.
“Robbie, I’m going to tell you the characteristics of a real man. A real man has integrity. He is the same person whether or not others are watching. A real man has sympathy for others. He helps those who are hurting and works to make the world a better place. A real man has confidence. He has faith in his abilities. A real man is brave. He stands up in the face of hardship. And, Robbie, real men are humble. They realize that humility is more endearing than arrogance. Did those two boys have any of those traits?”
Robbie knitted his forehead in thought and then shook his head.
“So what could they possibly know about real men?” Superman asked, grinning.
Robbie smiled, and Superman patted him on the back.
“Why do those boys act that way?” Robbie asked, frowning again.
“Some bullies are just looking for attention. Others might think that bullying is a way to gain popularity or to get something they want. Certain kids may be copying actions they’ve seen someone else do, or they may have been bullied themselves.”
“But why do bullies always pick on me?” said Robbie, frustration etched on his face.
“Most tormenters pick on kids who they think they can upset easily or who have trouble sticking up for themselves. Every time a bully gets a big reaction out of you, it makes him feel powerful.”
“But what can I do if they start to call me names and laugh at me?” Robbie asked in a wobbly voice.
“Ignore them. Pretend you don’t hear them, and walk away. Acting as if you don’t notice and don’t care just might stop the bullies’ teasing.”
“What if I can’t leave?”
“Stand up for yourself. Pretend to be really brave and confident. Tell the bully to stop in a loud voice.”
Robbie bit his lip and frowned.
“Don’t show your feelings to the bully,” said Superman. “Count backward from a hundred, or sing a song in your head to keep your mind occupied until you are out of the situation and somewhere safe where you can show your feelings. Do you understand, Robbie?”
Robbie nodded.
“Anyway, I don’t think those two boys will be bothering you again. ”
Robbie put on a brave face for Superman as he thought, But what if your dad is the biggest bully of all?

THE BASEMENT is now available for purchase in paperback and ebook. (Nook, iBooks, Kindle and more..)

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SUPERHERO

1 Apr
SUPERHERO

Portrait of my family as superheroes

Hello everyone! Welcome to my blog. Today I’m going to share a little slice of my childhood. Please feel free to leave a comment with your opinions and thoughts on the subject matter. I really enjoy reading what you think. I hope you enjoy it.

 

SUPERHERO

As a child I wanted so badly to be a superhero. I loved Superman, Batman, and especially Wonder Woman. In elementary school I tied towels, throws, blankets—whatever I could find—around my neck to wear as a cape. I ran around the house, leaped from my sister’s top bunk bed to my bed, jumped from one sofa to the next, and basically drove my parents insane. Needless to say, I was a hyperactive tomboy.

In sixth grade I had a friend who was half the size of everyone in the class, very frail and petite and also wore glasses. A bully, whom I will call Godzilla, a tall, big-boned girl twice the size of the rest of us, picked on my small friend relentlessly.

Whenever Godzilla hurt my friend, I sensed a piece of me withered and I grew weaker. I was terrified of the bully, as was most of the student body.

One day, the fire alarm in my school rang. We did the usual: filed in straight lines down the stairs to exit the edifice, crossed the street and stared at the flameless, smokeless windows of the school building, while listening to our teacher talk about the dangers of not following instructions during a fire drill.

As we clambered up the steps on our way back to class, Godzilla stood behind my petite friend. The bully shoved her into the kid in front of her, yanked on the baby hairs on the lower hairline on her neck and slapped her on the back of the head, while my poor friend moaned and sobbed.

Something came over me that day as I watched my little friend suffer in silence while everyone stood idly by. I could no longer laze while Godzilla tortured my friend. When we reached the top of the stairwell I grabbed Godzilla’s arm, turned her around to face me and yelled at her to stop hurting my friend. The tormenter snickered at me and shoved me with all her might. I tumbled down the stairs. When I reached the bottom, I leapt to my feet and dashed up the stairs. With a Bruce Lee-like move I kicked her square in the abdomen, knocking her against the wall, taking her breath away!

At first, I didn’t understand what had come over me. I felt no pain after falling down the flight of stairs. I had never moved so fast, and what I felt was a tap of my foot turned out to be a karate front snap kick. I was charged on adrenaline.

Godzilla stood motionless against the wall, wide-eyed and panting while I gave the ninja death glare, and the other kids cheered me on. From that day forward, I believed I was a superhero in the making. Whenever I saw a kid bullying another, I was compelled to interfere. I would call out any teachers who I thought ignored bullying or did nothing to stop it. I was the anti-bullying superhero.

After a few black eyes, busted lips and detention hours I learned that fighting, yelling and accusing were not going to solve the issue of bullying.

In high school I made it my business to go to the principal whenever I saw a schoolmate bully another. I was quickly labeled a tattler and became very unpopular for a while. Not much changed as far as the bullying.

I was frustrated. What kind of superhero is unpopular?

As an adult, I finally realized that the best weapon against bullying is awareness. Spreading awareness about all kinds of bullying will help decrease the abuse. At least my inner superhero very much hopes so.

Original story by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

Illustration by Vashti Quiroz-Vega
(Superhero Family Portrait)

Superhero_Vashti Quiroz-Vega's Blog