Do you hear what I hear?

Dealing with hearing loss.


“Can you hear that?” he asked.

“No,” I said.

“How can you not hear that? It sounds like…” he replied.

Have you ever been a part of a conversation like that? It can be very frustrating.

Hearing loss is called an “invisible” condition because others can’t tell we have it except by our behavior, the way we communicate or our reactions.

Many people with mild to moderate hearing loss won’t accept the fact that they have it. According to the Hearing Loss Association of America 80% of people who could benefit from hearing devices, don’t get them. Some people seem to think there’s some sort of bad stigma associated with hearing loss.

Hearing loss is a disability. It’s a loss of one of our primary senses. Like “sight loss”, (better known as blindness), yet hearing-loss is not considered a real “disability”.

There are various degrees of hearing loss from a mild loss like people have that keep asking “what did you say?” to a profound loss and deafness.

Having a profound hearing loss myself, I know exactly how people react to someone who can’t hear. (Especially after working 10 years in a bank and as a Commercial Loan Officer.)

So here’s a News Flash! Hearing loss doesn’t make us “stupid”, so don’t treat us that way. And please don’t get irritated when we ask you to repeat something. (I’ve never really understood why some people get so mad when they have to repeat something. Is it because the person speaking can’t remember what they just said?)

Having a profound hearing loss, and being the Creativoholic that I am, I have set out to find creative ways to help remove the “stigma” associated with hearing loss. And how to deal with the problems we face, like tinnitus, the high (outlandish) cost of hearing devices and hearing health care.

I don’t know how I’m going to do it yet. But writing about it may help. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one dealing with these issues. Does anybody else feel the same way? What issues do you face? How or what could help improve your quality of life?


Creatively Speaking,


P.S. I am fortunate that I can hear because I have a Bone Anchored Hearing Device. (Yes, that means a device that’s connected directly to my skull. And it’s awesome! But also, sometimes painful.)


New Children’s books.

I haven’t been blogging lately. The reason? I’ve been writing. A children’s book to be precise. Well, two if you want to be totally accurate. One is so close to being published that I can hardly focus on writing a blog.

I did think about my blog. I did think about what to write. But those thoughts were fleeting. And then, back to my book. Now I can think about other things again. Things like writing my blog.

But my mind still isn’t quite focused on a blog yet. It really does take time to write a good blog article. A good topic takes research, writing, editing and proofing.

Sometimes it’s off the cuff. It can be about what’s going on right now. Or something you’re very familiar with.

Many times I’ve seen blogs from writers (I use that term loosely) that are nice to read. But, there’s so many misspelled words or incorrect grammar. It really doesn’t take that long to re-read what you just wrote. Does it?

All ranting aside, back to the main point of this blog. My children’s book. The title is “The King’s Riddle”. It’s about a king who wants to find the bravest and wisest man in the kingdom to marry his daughter. (Not very original, I know.)

The King comes up with a riddle. The winner, (you  guessed it), marries his princess daughter. Again, not very original.

What is original about this book?  The characters. The names are customizable. For instance, this first book is an anniversary present for my sister. So her name is the name of the princess. The brave knight that wins, that’s right, it’s her husband!

Voila! A great anniversary (or wedding) present.

It was a ton of fun to write this 20-page story. And it will be available for purchase soon.

As for the second book I mentioned in the opening paragraph, it’s called “Not Enough Worms”. And it will also be published soon! It’s a great children’s book. No customizing in this one. Just a good old story for kids!

Creatively Speaking,



My top 3 things to consider with AdSense or another PPC.

If you are looking for a career in blog writing, here’s a heads up for you, it won’t happen overnight. Well, maybe it will IF you are already an established top selling author or a celebrity. But for the rest of us, it will take some work.

This is the first in a series of articles on different ways to make money blogging. Some of the things we’ll be discussing are PPC ads, affiliate marketing, product marketing and anything else we can do (i.e freelancing!).

Let’s break it down to easy figures. Let’s say you want to make $3,000 a month, that’s $36,000 a year. $100 a day. (I’ll use this in each future article as well.)

First off, we’ll look at PPC ads using Google Adsense. You’ll need tons of readers because you’ll get about 10% conversion rate. What that means is, not every reader will click on the ads or buy your product. One in every 10 might. So the more clicks you want the more readers you’ll need.

Let’s see what it takes to actually make $100 a day blogging using PPC like Google AdSense.

  1. Readers

If you want to use PPC as your only source of income, think again.With PPC you make a few cents from each reader that clicks on the ad. (Not every reader does that!) If you made 25 cents per click, you would need 400 clicks per day to make $100.

If for some reason your site generated an abnormally high percentage of readers that did click through the ads, (let’s say 10%), then you would need 4,000 readers per day! More people are ad blocking these days, so in reality, it’s probably closer to less than 1%.  Meaning you’ll need a ton more readers to make $100 a day this way. If you can do that, then go for it. The rest of us, well, we can still make a little money on the side.

If you want to make $10 a day you’ll need an average of 400 readers per day. While that may be achievable, it only makes you $300 a month. Not a bad supplement income!  Minterest has an excellent article about making money with Google AdSense.

You can go here to read how Google Adsense works.

2. Readability

Something else to consider is how your blog will look. How many ads will you place? Where will you place the ads? Will you use a banner across the top of your page? Or sidebar ads? How many ads will you place throughout your page?

I’ve been to a couple blogs where I thought the information would be great. But the pages were full, and I mean FULL of ads. After scrolling down from the huge banner ads at the top of the page, I finally got to the beginning of the article. It was good information to start with.

Then the article was interrupted with a square box Ad. So I had to scroll down to find where the article started up again. Meanwhile, the many sidebar ads were distracting.  I managed to find a few more sentences of the article before another banner type ad box cut through the article. Then another banner Ad box. I never finished those articles. Rather than waste  my time trying to read between all the ad boxes, I went to another site.

Revenue gained by having a massive amount of ads throughout their article? No. A reader lost forever? Yes. Too many ads can negatively impact the readability of your page.

Too many ads can negatively impact the readability of your page. So if you use PPC like Google AdSense then use them wisely! Use them to enhance your reader experience not to clutter it up.

3. Credibility

Worse yet, too many ad boxes can diminish your credibility. Those blogs I mentioned in #2 that I tried to read, well they are no longer my go-to resources on that topic. They lost their credibility because they had too many ads.

Having too many ads interrupting the information makes it feel like a content farm. That’s a blog set up for the sole purpose of generating income and is not really concerned about the type or quality of the content.

Remember the 4,000 readers it takes to make $100 a day? If you’re just pushing out content with a content farm you’ll probably need to increase your readers to compensate for those that bounce off the page before they  read the articles (like I did). And you’ll need plenty of blog writers on staff to pump out hundreds of useless articles.

Bottom line

Making money with a PPC like Google AdSence is achievable. You’re probably not the type of blogger who actually wants to start a content farm. You’re one of the good bloggers. A blogger that wants to be known as an excellent writer, an expert in your field. You’re a blogger that wants to be credible and gain readers because the information you write is good, useful and something that people want to read.

So you should start writing today. The more you write the better you’ll write. Your blog probably won’t make much money the first week, or month. But if writing is what you love then write.

I’ll be writing more on ways to make an income with your blog. So stay tuned!

Creatively Speaking,


The “Upspeak” speech pattern

Over the past few years, a new speech pattern has been spinning out of control across the globe. It’s called “high-rising terminal”. It’s also called “upspeak”, “uptalk” or “rising inflection”. I’m sure you’ve heard someone use it today. They use rising pitch intonation to make a statement end with the intonation that we use to ask a question. That means when someone makes a statement it sounds like a question.

For me, this gets a little annoying. It changes my listening habits because I think I’m hearing a question when in reality it’s just a statement. When I hear a someone using “upspeak” it sounds like they aren’t sure that what they’re saying is true.

I’ve heard news personalities use it. And I really think that reporters and news anchors should be better than that! How can I trust a news anchor that sounds like she’s doubting everything she says? Interviewing guests using “upspeak”- yikes! Heads up people, “upspeak” isn’t cute!

Is using “upspeak” such a bad thing? I think so. And so should you, but only if you want to sound credible, be taken seriously and communicate well. If you’re interviewing or discussing a freelance job, don’t use “upspeak”.

What difference does it make if I sound that way? It makes a lot of difference. “Upspeak” tends to make a person sound like he is questioning whatever it is that he is saying. It makes a person sound hesitant like he really isn’t sure and he doubts what he is saying.

A person using “upspeak” could be trying to get affirmation about what he’s saying. By making a statement sound like a question, he may  get a positive reaction from a listener, but a reaction isn’t the same as understanding what is being said.

What if I started to write like upspeak sounds? Okay, here goes. Stay with me through this one.

Speech patterns are easily picked up by those listening to us? If we speak poorly?, those listening will not understand us.  The more we use upspeak? the more we sound like we doubt what we’re saying? Self-confidence and maturity can be conveyed by how we speak. But it won’t come across if we constantly use upspeak?

If you didn’t know I was using  “upspeak” to write the paragraph, would you have wondered about my writing or communication skills? See what I did here? I used “high-rising terminal” or “upspeak” in the correct manner. I know this, because when you read it, the voice in your head used intonation it to make it sound like a question. Am I right?

If we become aware that we are using “upspeak” speech patterns than we should make a conscious effort to change it. And change it quickly! If we communicate poorly our chances of getting through an interview successfully is greatly reduced. Our chances of being accepted as an expert in our field, also reduced. Why? Because we sound like we don’t know what we’re talking about. We may have the skills and knowledge to be an expert, but if we don’t sound like one, on one else will know.

Yesterday I started to listen to an online course. The presenter was young and very knowledgeable. She started the course with a few basics. It was soon clear that she sucked at public speaking. Therefore, I quit the course. If I can’t learn from an expert  to me that expert isn’t an expert anymore.

The lesson is: If you want to sound like you know what you’re talking about, don’t use “upspeak”.

Most of our friends are probably already using this annoying speech pattern. This means it will most likely rub off on us – if it hasn’t already.  But, if we want to be viewed as confident and self-assured (or as an expert) we need to constantly be aware of our speech patterns.

Practice speaking with confidence. Ask someone to tell you every time you use “upspeak” or better yet pay them $5 every time you use it. It’s a habit worth breaking! Sure you won’t “sound” like all your friends when you speak. Maybe they’ll think you’re smarter than they are because you sound more confident. But if you are insecure and question everything you do, by all means, continue “upspeaking”.

Falling into a socially “accepted” speech pattern just means you’re fitting in. Stand out from the crowd and start sounding confident in yourself!

Creatively Speaking,


For the love of writing

When I was young I liked to write poems. I played the guipen-543858_640tar so I even tried to put some of them to music. Tried being the key word here.  In college, I finally took a writing class. This helped me to see that I was actually hooked on writing. Back then, (I won’t tell you how many years ago, that should be some indication that it’s been a long time!) I loved the creativity of writing a poem or short story. I learned the rules of writing and I felt free to express myself through the written word.

I’ve always had some sort of story plot running through my brain. I started writing longer stories. I love the entire process of writing a novel. The creativity of a new story idea. Developing the characters throughout the plot twists. It’s just plain fun! 

I have written and published a book. But it wasn’t fiction. The title is “Who Else is You? How to reduce your risk of becoming an identity theft victim”. It is a pragmatic guide. It started out as the course guide when I was presenting seminars on the topic of identity theft. The information is still good, but the web links in it are all outdated. And there are new methods identity thieves have come up with to steal your who-else-is-you-cover-photoidentity and your money.

I have been contemplating updating “Who Else is You?” into an e-book. That way I can keep the links and methods up to date. I can also send updates to anyone who buys it. But my heart keeps going back to my unfinished novels. I currently have five novels in various stages of development. This is probably true of many writers. I also have three short stories that are not quite finished. I know, what’s up with not finishing a short story?  Isn’t that the point of it, it’s short? More on that another day.

I write for awhile, then I put it away and ponder over the plot and characters. Sometimes it’s good to put down a story for awhile, then go back and read it with fresh eyes. I did this with the first novel I started. Actually, I got busy with life and didn’t look at it for over a year. When I did go back and read it, it actually made me laugh. And that’s exactly what I wanted. This story is a comedy mystery and I want my readers to laugh at it.  So I guess at least that chapter is good. Now I just have to decide whether to take up my research for that story again or start research on my newest novel in progress.

Research? You ask. Yes, research. If you want to write a really good book, you’ll have to do some type of research. Unless that is, you are writing about your own hometown area and people you know and topics you know inside and out. Even writing an autobiography may need research on details of areas or events from the past that may have been forgotten. Research makes a story believable. If it’s not believable, readers won’t respect your writing.

As I write this blog, my mind keeps going to my latest novel. It is the one I am most passionate about finishing.  So I ask myself, should I put each chapter, or sections of chapters, on my blog. I don’t know if any of you are interested in reading it or giving feedback about the plot or characters. I may wait until I have more of it finished, then ask again.

Writing is a personal thing. Lots of people write poems or stories that no one ever reads. Maybe the writer is embarrassed or afraid people won’t like it. It doesn’t matter. If you love to write, then you should write. Even if you never finish a story or the fact that nobody else reads them. It’s the action of writing that’s enjoyable.

Writing can be therapeutic. It helps to get our mind off the stresses of the day. It can take us to places we’ve never been. (But you should still do the research so the details are accurate!) For me, writing can be like a movie that plays in my head. I have to keep writing in order to find out what happens next.

Blogging is a great way people can express themselves through writing. But there are so many people who write a blog just for the sake of writing a blog. It has typos, incorrect grammar,  and just bad phrasing. It’s like they don’t read what they’re typing. And for sure they don’t proof read it before they hit the publish button.

And I’m not talking about just the average bloggers. I’ve seen huge mistakes on big company blogs. Multi-million dollar companies that can’t correctly write a blog article, that’s just wrong.

Okay, I’m off my soapbox about poorly written blogs and now I’ll get back to writing my novel.

Oh, and if you were tripped up with the title of my book “Who Else is You?” it’s not incorrect. The point of the title is based on the fact that if your identity is stolen, then someone else is out there presenting themselves as you. Thus the question, “Who Else is You?” Get it now?

Creatively Speaking,



Inspiration from Crazy Horse

monument-1631403_1280I spent the Labor Day weekend in the Black Hills of South Dakota. This is truly an awe-inspiring place. The natural beauty of the rock formations along Needles Highway is breath-taking. And of course, there’s Crazy Horse and Mt. Rushmore close by.

The difficult part of using the Black Hills and all it’s beauty as inspiration is imagining something different than sculpting a huge head in a huge rock mass. But it’s not about doing something on a huge scale. It’s about using that to inspire our designs.

The process which the artists used for those huge projects was to first design it small scale. They started with sketches and drawings. Then used clay and plaster to make their design in small pieces. Making their vision small allows them to show the beauty of their design vision. When I say small, I mean compared to their finished visions, not miniature.

Most of us are not going to make sculptures or projects that have a 40-foot nose. So how can we use this design method for our everyday projects? The method of making sketches and models for our projects may not be practical. Why make a sketch and model of a necklace? The point isn’t the actual steps it’s the concept.

Some projects can be completed quickly, while others may take years. When a project will take a long time, it may be good to make the design with a quicker medium first. Like making a sketch or model. This way the design stays alive during the years it takes to complete it. You’ll be able to show others what your ultimate design will be.

Think about the Crazy Horse Memorial. It’s far from being finished. When you learn the history of this project and see the scale model of the finished sculpture, it makes seeing the progress much more fun. We can anticipate the beauty of the finished artwork. Without the scale model, it just looks like a huge piece of rock with a little bit of sculptured work on it. By knowing how the finished piece will look and all the sacrifice and work that has gone into it up to this point, we can have a greater appreciation for the artist’s vision.

When we have a vision for a project, we can imagine it in our mind’s eye. It may not be a complete image, maybe just the concept, but either way, we have an idea which we want to create so we, and others can enjoy it.(Or hopefully buy it). Whether we jump right in and make it from scratch, or we sketch it first, we have a design in our heads longing to come out.

It doesn’t matter if it takes us a few minutes or a few years to complete our designs. What matters most to us as creative people, is getting that design out of our heads and into the hands of those that appreciate and enjoy it.

Creatively Speaking,


Creative Cooking

Cantaloupe mini-cupcakes. Yum


Today my creative juices inspired me to bake something out of cantaloupe.

Cantaloupe mini-cupcakes

Every summer I enjoy this sweet melon. I eat it cut fresh, in salads or in smoothies. It’s a refreshing flavor, but I have never baked with it.

I decided to try making a sweet bread with it. You know, like banana bread. I didn’t want to use the same recipe as banana bread and just switch out the banana and use cantaloupe. That just didn’t seem right. Cantaloupe has its own sweet flavor and I didn’t want it to taste just like banana bread – except it has cantaloupe in it. So I revised a couple recipes for the cantaloupe.

Instead of making a loaf of bread, I like to make mini-muffins or mini-cupcakes.  Everyone loves popping a mini-muffin in their mouth on the way out the door. And they’re easy and fun to pack in a lunch.

Here’s the recipe I used and baked at high altitude.

  • 2 cups very ripe cantaloupe puree
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup coconut oil, softened
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour a mini-cupcake pan.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, sugar, coconut oil, vanilla and the cantaloupe puree.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and pumpkin spice together.
  4. Slowly stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients.
  5. Add the walnuts and stir until mixed through.
  6. Spoon into mini-cupcake pan filling about 3/4 of the way.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Or if you don’t like putting your arm in a hot oven try this trick.
    Use spaghetti instead of a toothpick

    Use a piece of spaghetti instead of a toothpick. It’s longer and you won’t have to reach into the oven as far. And you won’t have to throw it away like the toothpick. Keep the spaghetti and cook it later!

  8. Makes about 60 mini-cupcakes.

These come out  moist and yummy, with a delicate flavor. I hope you enjoy this recipe.

Creatively speaking,