Random, Fun & Quirky · Stray Thoughts

6 Ways To Support Small Business After Covid-19

Covid-19 has forced the majority of the world into quarantine at some point or another. With people at home, many businesses were forced to close temporarily in an effort to limit social contact. These closures have meant a loss of income for those businesses and these places are struggling to pay bills like rents and power and many are unable to pay their employees. Luckily for some, many cities across the world have re-opened public places, allowing business to recover to a certain degree. 

As businesses slowly begin to open, it’s important to support them if we can so that they can get back on their feet. Big companies will survive, but small ones might not if we don’t support them. Unfortunately, some small businesses have been forced to close permanently; but some are still hanging in there. Let’s help the ones still left so they don’t go under.

Covid-19 hit hard as governments enacted quarentines and stay at home orders. Businesses were the first to feel the impact of the pandemic. Studies contend that effects of Covid began impacting small business quickly, beginning only a few weeks into its arrival in the US and well before the first economic stimulus was given out. (1) Businesses that were less able to be run remotely saw the biggest impact. (1)

Look in your neighborhood or city/town to find a small business. You can find them online, too. Another way to find them is to take a walk in the downtown area of your city; this area is usually teeming with shops & places that will need the support of locals. So here are a few ideas for supporting local business & helping them get back on their feet.

  1. Pick one or two and post about them on social media. This helps them get some exposure & it might inspire someone else to help, too.
  2. Buy products or services from one if you’re in a financial position to do so. This means getting take out from a small resteraunt instead of a national chain eatery. Buy a piece of clothing from a local boutique, order something online from a local seller, get a gift card to use later from a local business, have your computer fixed at a local electronics store, buy some food from an ethnic food market, get gifts from a small shop, buy at a local small bookstore, choose a local pet or child sitter, etc. Basically, choose to frequent a local small business whenever possible. And if you can do it online or over the phone, even better!
  3. Ask a small business if they need (or can have) volunteers right now (2). Many businesses were forced to lay employees off because they couldn’t pay them when sales plummeted, so your free help could give them a little relief.
  4. Donate money to a local business. (2) Even small amounts help. Then ask your friends and family to donate. You can even request donations for a small business as a birthday or holiday gift.
  5. Join and promote the ‘Thank You Small Business’ movement. (3)
  6. As businesses reopen slowly or with limitations support them as they do. Pick two, three, or even four to visit online or in person. If they have online service encourage your friends to visit their websites, too.

If we all work together to give a little towards local businesses we can help keep these places afloat.

SOURCES:

(1) “The Impact of Covid-19 on Small Business Outcomes And Expectations” Bartick, Bertrand, Cullen, Glaeser, Luca, Stanton; Department of Economics at University of Illinois Urbana-Champange

(2) “17 Ways to Help Small Businesses Impacted by Covid-19” via: ‘search engine journal.com’

(3) “How you can help Small businesses during Covid-19” Via: ‘the points guy.com’

Photo: Pixabay/Paulbr75

Stray Thoughts

Journal Your Way to Better Stories!

Do you dream of being a published writer? Do you want to improve the writing you do, or come up with better ideas for stories? Then journaling can help you get there! A lot of people keep journals during their life; recording their thoughts, feelings and the events of their lives in blank books or notebooks. Even famous authors have engaged in the practice and have gotten benefits from it.

I myself am very familiar with journaling, in the traditional method and creative styles. I’ve kept yearly journals since I was about eight or nine years old and now teach creative journaling classes to kids and adults. I love teaching it and helping people discover its benefits. It’s good for everyone, especially writers and aspiring writers! In the article “Celebrated Writers on the Benefits of keeping a Diary” by Maria Popova, famous author Virginia Woolfe felt strongly about it and “speaks to the value of journaling in granting us unfiltered access to the rough gems of our own minds, ordinarily dismissed by the self-censorship of “formal” writing.” She goes on to quote Woolf as saying, “The habit of writing thus for my own eye only is good practice. It loosens the ligaments. Never mind the misses and the stumbles.”

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Other authors who kept journals and recommended it for those also hoping to break into the field include  Anais Nin, W.H. Auden, David Sedaris, Henry David Thoreau, Madeline L’Engle and many others. The consensus among these writers is that they found journaling to be of huge benefit not only to themselves, but to their writing as well. They all agree that journaling was a key aspect of successful writing.

Richard  Nordquist quotes writer and writing instructor Pat Schneider on keeping a journal in his article “The Value of Keeping a Diary, Journal, or Writers Notebook.” on website Thought.Co:  “Your journal can be a diary of events, but it can also be your mulch, your seed bag, the womb of your art. It can be a safe place for writing first-draft material, for experimenting, for gathering and keeping impressions and information for future work.”

This is good advice. Your journal is a place for development, for you as an individual and for your work. For me, journaling helps me keep my powers of observation sharp and my creativity flowing, which is critical in any kind of writing. The writing helps me maintain my skills, and the creative techniques help me develop my imaginative thought process, improving the quality of writing I do and the ideas I use when doing it. It’s also great for working through writers block. When I struggle to find a good way to word my blog posts, articles or creative pieces, writing in my journal really helps get my mind working and helps me get out of the rut that is writers block. And then there are the words that Madeline L’Engle offered to aspirering writers: “If you want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you.” (From website Bustle) So pull out your journal and get writing! You never know, it may help you become the world’s next famous author!

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CITATIONS:

“Celebrated Writers on the Creative Benefits of Keeping a Diary” By: Maria Popova

From Web site ‘Brain Pickings’

https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/09/04/famous-writers-on-keeping-a-diary/

“10 Famous Writers on Keeping a Journal” By: Jessica Ferri

From web site: ‘Early Bird Books’

https://earlybirdbooks.com/famous-writers-on-keeping-a-journal/

“The Value of Keeping a Diary, Journal, or Writers Notebook.” By: Richard Nordquist

From website ‘Thought.Co’

https://www.thoughtco.com/value-of-keeping-a-diary-or-journal-1689243

“14 Madeline L’Engle Quotes That Will Inspire You To Write Your Next Novel” By:Alex Weiss

From website ‘Bustle’

https://www.bustle.com/articles/176379-14-madeleine-lengle-quotes-that-will-inspire-you-to-write-your-next-novel

 

PHOTOS:

Main Photo: Pixabay/Darius Sankowski

Second Photo: Pixabay/Bru-nO

Last Photo: Pixabay/Free-Photos

Prose · Random, Fun & Quirky · Stray Thoughts

Blue Asthma

THIS IS A PIECE I WROTE A FEW YEARS AGO ABOUT AN EXPERIENCE I HAD TAKING SWIMMING LESSONS AS A CHILD 

Blue was all around me I think. I strained to adjust my eyes to what I was seeing. It was coming, but slowly. Things were just a little bit blurry and my eyes stinging. As my surroundings became clearer I became aware of other sensations. But not all at once. The sensations came one by one, each bringing with them another piece of fear. I heard muffled noises that sounded as if they were coming from above. Voices. My eyes bounced frenetically about the blue again. Then again. All I saw was blue. Waves and waves of ever changing blue. I hate this, I thought. I don’t want to be here. When my eyes finally adjusted and I realized that all that was there was the abyss I began to feel the pressure. No, weight. The weight on and inside my chest. Oh, gosh… I felt the pressure of the weight and it hurt so much, and the panic setting in just made it worse. Oh gosh. I wanted to cry, but I couldn’t. I want to go home. I wanna go home. It was just too much. Too scary, too much pain. Oh, gosh, the pain. I have to get out, I thought. So I rose, floated up, breaking the surface and instinctively gasping like a newborn baby desperate for its first gulp of precious air. This felt like the first breath. And another, and another still until I was satisfied. My eyes filled with stinging water I again surveyed the things around me and saw a blurry peach colored figure.

“You only stayed under for, like 10 seconds. You can do better than that!”

Oh, no I can’t, I thought, as the figure cleared up a little. He came near and fear again gripped me causing a familiar pain. Except this time, the pain was in my stomach. He was gonna make me hold my breath underwater again. Oh, gosh not again. Why’d mom have to sign me up for swimming lessons? I hate the pool.

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Photo 1: Pixabay/ollivves

Photo 2: Pixabay/Pexels

Random, Fun & Quirky · Stray Thoughts

My Eye Doctor

Hi readers!

I’m back. I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. I’ve been overwhelmed these past few months with professional and personal stress, a family health crisis and a return to school and had my energy and time focused on those things and couldn’t post. So, now I finally have some time to get back to blogging. So here’s the new post, a fictional dialogue scene.

 

Person 1: Hey, I’m looking for a new eye doctor; do you like yours?
Person 2: Yeah, she’s great. I think you’d like her, too.
Person 1: Ok, cool. Can I get the number?
Person 2: Yeah. (Pulls out phone)
Person 1: What’s the name of the place?
Person 2: My Eye Doctor.
Person 1: What?
Person 2: My Eye Doctor.
Person 1: I know it’s your eye doctor, but what’s the name of the office?
Person 2: My Eye Doctor.
Person 1: I know, but what’s the name?
Person 2: My Eye Doctor.
Person 1: C’mon, that’s not it, you’re joking.
Person 2: No, really, that’s the name of the office!
Person 1: No it’s not, stop messing with me!
Person 2: I’m not. It’s My Eye Doctor.
Person 1: I know it is, but that cannot be the name of the office.
Person 2: It is!
Person 1: No way! No one names their optometry office ‘My Eye Doctor’.
Person 2: Well, they did cause that’s what it’s called.
Person 1: You’re making this up! Now would you please tell me the name of the frickin’ optometry office?
Person 2: My Eye Doctor!
Person 1: I know it’s your doctor! Gosh, how hard is this!?
Person 2: I told you the name; you just don’t believe me!
Person 1: That can’t be it! I know you’re an Abbot and Costello fan, but c’mon!
Person 2: Ok, fine. (sighs) The real name is, umm, Miller Optometry.
Person 1: Really?
Person 2: Yes.
Person 1: Ok, thank you, now I can find the number and get an appointment! (Tries to look it up on their phone) Ummm, ok, I can’t find it.
Person 2: Yeah, that’s because you’re not looking for My Eye Doctor.
Person 1: (Gives person 2 an annoyed look) Har har. Is your eye doctor as smart alecky as you?
Person 2: She’s not your eye doctor, she’s my eye doctor.
Person 1: You’re being annoying. Is there even a Miller Optometry!?
Person 2: No. You’ll need to look for My Eye Doctor.
Person 1: Stop it!

My Eye Doctor photo 2 (2)

Photos by: Me

Prose · Stray Thoughts

Memory

I think of you sometimes.

Not on a certain day or time, just whenever.

Sometimes for the first time in years,

Other times only a few months after the last time.

You’ll float gently into my mind out of nowhere,

And take me back to that time, just like it was yesterday.

I remember your kindness, your gentleness, your love.

You were like pure sun light, so warm and wonderful.

I don’t remember every one of our conversations, or every joke we shared, but I do remember how you made me feel.

You were such a gift.

Your spirit was like none other,

Sometimes, I find myself missing you.

But you live on in my memory.

It is a wonderful memory…… YOU are a wonderful memory.

All the years that have passed, and your spirit still stays with me;

Your light hasn’t dimmed one bit.

All the love and kindness you gave me will never fade;

It’s kept deep in my heart, in a special place, just for you.

It is a gift I’ll carry with me.

Maybe we’ll meet again one day, and I can thank you for it all.

But if not, you’ll still be there, in my memory.

 

Stray Thoughts

Redhead Adventures: What I Love And Hate About Being Redheaded

I love being a redhead-a NATURAL one, that is! I’ve always had this weird pride about being a ginger. I wasn’t one of those kids who hated it or got teased for it, so maybe that’s part of why I love it so much. My whole life I’ve taken tremendous pride in having a hair color that so many don’t and so many try to emulate. I’ve had several redheaded friends, in my life as well. My childhood best friend (and her twin sister) are redheads, one of my closest friends in middle school was a ginger (and looked a lot like me, incidentally) and even a high school friend had the same coppery hued hair as me. As an adult, I have also had several redhead or auburn haired acquaintances. Heck, I even dated a red haired guy for awhile. It’s like I have some sort of bat signal for the gingers of the world.

Well, if that’s true than I’ll have ginger friends coming out my ears! Did you know that there are between 70,000,000 and 140,000,000 redheads in the world today? That sounds like a lot, but really, it isn’t. It amounts to only about 1%-2% of the world’s 7 billion people. The largest concentration of redheads are found in Scotland and Ireland. Estimates on what percentage of the poulations here vary but suggest that 10-13% of their countries have red hair.  In the US, though, only about 2%-6% (or 6-18 million out of 300 million) of the population have red hair. Flame colored locks are also found in northern mainland Europe and Australia in notable concentrations as well.

Having a rare hair color is great, but can often invite jokes, though. Growing up I got called Pippi Longstocking (because of her red pigtail braids), Rusty, and I heard the very famous ‘redheads don’t have souls’ joke. Haha. (We do, by the way, lol) The most common one I hear, though is ‘Red’. I’ve heard almost every redhead joke there is. But none of this dulled my joy at being ginger. The rarity of my hair color is part of what makes having red hair so much fun!

There are plenty of pros and cons about being a redhead, many of which have been heard again and again; you get compliments, you sunburn easily, etc. But I have my own set of pros and cons of being in the rare hair color club.

 

THE FUN STUFF:

1)I love standing out. I don’t enjoy being like anyone else, so having a rare hair color is perfect for me and contributes to my uniqueness.

2)I am naturally super festive at Christmas time if I wear green, hehe!

3)I’ll probably have amazingly healthy skin since I can’t go out in sunlight for long and have to wear sunscreen for everything.

4)Clothing in almost any color looks good paired with red hair. My personal favorites to pair with my hair are green, yellow and lavender.

5)There are now redhead conventions. The Netherlands, Ireland, the US are amoung countries that have redhead festivals. They sound like so much fun! I’d love to be surrounded by a large group of my fellow flame haired people. I really want to go to one of these some day; it’s on my bucket list.

6)Solidarity with other redheads. When you come upon another redhead, whether you know them or not there’s an instant connection and camaraderie. It’s nice to belong to a fun group of people. It’s also a kind of fun and a unique way to meet people.

7)The gene that creates red hair, MC1R is actually a mutated gene. And because it’s mutated, other genes in a redhead’s body are also mutated. So this means we’re like our own cool breed of X-Men or something!

 

THE NOT SO FUN STUFF:

1)One word- Burning. Redheads have fair skin and burn in sunlight very easily. Now I’m not talking about summer time sunlight, or being out in direct sunlight for hours; no, I’m talking about ANY sunlight. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be direct. Even driving during daylight is enough to do it. And there’s no way we can stay out for hours. 30 minuets is more like it. Heck, I once burned after being outside for 15 minuets– in WINTER. Yes, that’s how easy it is to burn when you’re a redhead. That means no beach for us. Or outdoor carnivals, or baseball games, or picnics, or……

2)You can’t use the flash on a camera when taking a photo of us- or take a picture outside in sunlight. When either of these things happen we end up looking like ghosts. And it’s even worse if we’re next to a tanned person in the picture. Then we look like we’re severely anemic or something.

3)Number three on the Pros list. Having to wear sunscreen for EVERYTHING. Seriously. If I’m not wearing long sleeves and pants, I have to put on sun screen. And in the warmer months it does not matter what kind of fabric I wear, I can still burn. So sunscreen is a must. I’m glad my skin is protected and all, but having to put it on all the time is a huge pain. -And wearing ‘au-du-sunscreen’ is no fun, either. Sometimes when I’m in groups I hear people exclaim “Wow! I smell sunscreen! Who the heck is wearing that much!?” Me. That would be me. And I’m doused in it.

4)SPF 50? 50?! That’s all there is?! Really?! Ok, that might work for normal skinned people, but redheads aren’t normal. Can I get something in SPF 300, please?

5)Science has proven that redheads are more sensitive to cold, heat and certain types of pain. Medical journals have also stated that redheads need about 20% more anesthesia than people of other hair colors. I know this is true for me. Every visit to the dentist is traumatic. I need to be shot up like a drug addict just to get through a darn filling!

Despite the ups and downs, I love being a redhead! And luckily I have more positives than negatives here. Being a redhead is great! What are your pros and cons?

 

Photo: Free Images/Vanessa Zanini Fernandes

Cited Sources:

March, Brigite. “13 Amazing facts about red hair that everyone needs to know”. Cosmopolitan.com. Apr. 5, 2017.  http://www.cosmopolitan.com/uk/beauty-hair/hair/a32357/redhead-facts/

Smith, Oliver. “Mapped: Which countries have the most redheads?”  The Telegraph.co.uk.  Jan. 12, 2017.  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/maps-and-graphics/country-with-the-most-redheads-gingers/

 

 

Stray Thoughts

Commit

via Daily Prompt: Commit

Commit to you. Commit to being you. How do you do this? Commit to what you love. I’m sure that you have things in life that you love. Maybe it’s a hobby, maybe a career, maybe it’s certain people in your life; but whatever it is commit to doing it. It’s so easy to get busy and overwhelmed with the daily grind, getting ahead or the stressors in life, but whatever you do, don’t forget what lights your soul up!

When you do the things you love you become more fully the person you were meant to be and are better able to give to the world the things you are meant to give. For example, I love to write. I love doing creative and journalistic writing. I’d do it all day if I could! When I do it, my soul feels more alive and I feel happier. I love crafting a great story or a fun piece of prose. I also love writing about issues that are important to me. My soul just thrives when I write. If I don’t do this, my soul begins to wither away and I become sad and depressed. You see, I NEED to write. There have been times when I haven’t written or I felt discouraged because I thought I couldn’t do it well enough or I thought it was useless. But those thoughts were wrong, and I had to begin breaking free of them. I HAD to do what I love so my soul won’t wither away. How can I be the person I was meant to be when my soul is crumbled? I can’t. Just like you can’t be who you need to be without your passion. You NEED to do whatever it is you love, too.

So do what you love to do; keep on doing it even when life tries to pull you away from it, or even when people say it’s not practical. Commit to doing what you love and you will be the person you’re meant to be and be better able to bring your light into the world. Just do what you’re passionate about, and things will work out as they should.

 

Photo: Free Images/Yaroslav B.

Stray Thoughts

Quotes

“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes but when you look back everything is different.” -C.S. Lewis

“Wealth isn’t about having a lot of money, it’s about having a lot of options.” -Chris Rock

“Good times and crazy friends make the best memories.” – Fabquote.com

“There is no angry way to say bubbles.” – Unknown

“You were born an original, don’t die a copy.” – John Mason

 

Photo: Free Images/Ifelton