Saturday, January 29, 2011

G4 = Ginger's Gazelle Garage Gym = Free Exercise

To get in the workout groove, my neighbor -- a good friend -- has a Gazelle piece of exercise equipment just sitting in her house, as do I. So, we moved them into my attached garage and are planning to exercise set to my iPod music -- and walking the neighborhood, too. I am tired of being sedentary, which I was wayyyy too much last year. Plus, I need the endorphins' energy boost, for sure. We'll let you know how the workouts work out! ;-)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Let the Good Times Roll!

A look back at the fun stuff over the years; I'm thinking of writing a Bucket List, but these have already been checked off!;-)

North Carolina born in Lexington, college in Winston-Salem (Salem College) and Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill), live in Charlotte
Guam/Micronesia (twice)
Orange County, California (twice), Huntington Beach/Newport Beach border
Santorini island, Greece (Oia village)

Across US, Hawaii (Tops/favorites: Woodstock, VT; Ludlow, VT; Westport, CT; New Hampshire; Sedona, Arizona; Taos, NM; Oahu, Hawaii; Lake Tahoe, CA/NV; Vegas umpteen times; Malibu, Santa Monica, Seal Beach, Sunset Beach, San Diego, La Jolla, Lake Arrowhead, Big Bear, Laguna Beach, Corona Del Mar, San Clemente, Del Mar, Santa Barbara, Napa/Sonoma/wine country, CA)
Micronesia - Guam, Saipan, Palau, Tinian
Indonesia – Bali
Thailand – Bangkok, Phuket
Fiji Matamanoa island
England London, Cornwall, Devon

U2 (2)
Sade (2)
Billy Joel
Diana Ross/Lionel Richie
Gladys Knight
BB King
Paul McCartney (2)
Tears for Fears
Lionel Richie
Doobie Brothers
Pointer Sisters
Gavin Rossdale
Jon Secadis
Chaka Khan
Village People
Robert Palmer (2)
Katrina and the Waves
Beach Boys
Jimmy Buffett
Blue Man Group
Tracy Bonham
John Legend

Phantom of the Opera x 4
Les Miserables x 3
Miss Saigon
The Producers
Westside Story
Nutcracker x 2

Vagina Monologues (Eve Ensler with Doris Roberts narrating in Beverly Hills)
The Good Body (Eve Ensler)

Cirque du Soleil:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Starfish Story -- Relates to People & Pets Alike!

The Starfish Story

A young man is walking along the ocean and sees a beach

on which thousands and thousands of starfish have washed ashore.
Further along he sees an old man, walking slowly and stooping often,
picking up one starfish after another and tossing each one gently into the ocean.

"Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" he asks.

"Because the sun is up and the tide is going out and

if I don't throw them further in they will die."

"But, old man, don't you realize there are miles and

miles of beach and starfish all along it!
You can't possibly save them all, you can't even save one-tenth of them.
In fact, even if you work all day, your efforts won't make any difference at all."

The old man listened calmly and then bent down to pick up another starfish

and throw it into the sea.
"It made a difference to that one."

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I Rescued a Human Today! Adopt, Don't Shop!

I RESCUED A HUMAN TODAY. Her eyes met mine as she walked down the corridor peering apprehensively into the kennels. I felt her need instantly and knew I had to help her. I wagged my tail, not too exuberantly, so she wouldn't be afraid.

As she stopped at my kennel I blocked her view from a little accident I had in the back of my cage. I didn't want her to know that I hadn't been walked today. Sometimes the shelter keepers get too busy and I didn't want her to think poorly of them.

As she read my kennel card I hoped that she wouldn't feel sad about my past. I only have the future to look forward to and want to make a difference in someone's life.

She got down on her knees and made little kissy sounds at me. I shoved my shoulder and side of my head up against the bars to comfort her. Gentle fingertips caressed my neck; she was desperate for companionship.

A tear fell down her cheek and I raised my paw to assure her that all would be well. Soon my kennel door opened and her smile was so bright that I instantly jumped into her arms. I would promise to keep her safe. I would promise to always be by her side. I would promise to do everything I could to see that radiant smile and sparkle in her eyes. I was so fortunate that she came down my corridor. So many more are out there who haven't walked the corridors. So many more to be saved. At least I could save one.

I rescued a human today.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Do Nothing When Nothing is Working...Seriously!

Do nothing when nothing is working – a little gem of advice offered by a female behaviorist in O magazine found at one of my now-every-8-week haircut and foiling sessions instead of the usual and ideal every six or seven weeks. This struck a chord with me. When you are down and out you feel so guilty for feeling so down and out. Alas, here is someone who said to take the down time without fighting it. The ebbs and flows are there, but during the ebbs, seize the moment and rest. Intentionally rest. Without. Feeling. Guilty.

Then get ready for the flow. ;-)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

To Pay or Not to Pay? To Play or Not to Play?!

Learning to Juggle
The monthly $$ money $$ juggle takes its toll...after a while it gets downright depressing. Learning to rethink things you have always taken for granted such as paying bills on time and having money left over for fun or dining out is a necessity for many of us now as "leftover" money monthly has become an obsolete concept. Learning to navigate – or as I say juggle – the monthly bills is a fine art.

When determining and prioritizing bills in 2010, I had some foreign encounters: disconnections of power and DirecTV, both at various times – oh, but which to pay and when? Of course, the power disconnect came unexpectedly at mid-day noon exactly on one of the hottest, most humid days in June 2010. Me? Chasing the power guy down to try to pay the bill in person after he rapidly disconnected me right outside my kitchen door at my power box and jumped in his truck to make a quick getaway. My dire dash was to no avail; "nothing" he could do.

Oh, almost forgot for this winter, which is a coldddddd in Charlotte, NC...keeping the indoor heat temperature on 67F get used to it! You wear flannel pants, sweatshirts, and Uggs...last winter with the Greek freak boyfriend living here, it had to be on 73F degrees minimum, cost a lot more on the power bill, and I was meltinggggg away and spent the winter 2010 -- when indoors -- in shorts and tank tops... ;-)

Health Care? Better Safe Than Sorry?
The health-insurance-or-not dilemma? Hey, it was $419 per month out the door in 2010; may I say ridiculous for a fairly healthy person?! I changed the plan provisions and managed to lower it to $268 per month in 2011. Helps a bit! And we all know the month I cancel it, per Murphy's Law or in this case Ginger's Law, there will be a big need for it. 

Complimentary Entertainment
Entertainment alternatives are pleasant discoveries, however. I found the Zen music channel on DirecTV – oh joy – when trying to unhinge the migraine vice that often crushed my head even before sunrise as I was attempting to “sleep” through all the crap. Netflix is a big favorite of mine; that I am keeping. So much cheaper and easier than driving to a DVD-rental location. I had Blockbuster for years and they will take you for every spare penny they can get. Maybe not now since they copied Netflix years ago, but sorry Blockbuster: it's too little too late. No wonder they are not doing well; Netflix swooped in a decade ago and alleviated the mad dash to return a video or DVD to beat the deadlines and accompanying fees for being even a minute late. Karma!
Peace in the Fields aka Llama Kisses...Sweet!
Then there's the llama field, which provides me so much peace and comfort au gratis, of course. Look for free things you enjoy, and do them. I am speaking of Larkspur Ranch outside Charlotte; occasionally, I go visit because friends have horses boarded there. There is an array of animals to commune with cats, dogs, horses, llamas, a huge pot-bellied pig, you name it.

When Every Square Counts Dogs and Paper Fetishes
I have two dogs Koal, my Cocker Spaniel 10-year-old boy, and Karma, my nearly 1-year-old rescue girl (miniature retriever, the vet and I have determined, even though there is supposedly no such thing; but that she is) from Robeson County, NC's animal-control facility in the Lumberton area.

Let's just say every dog I have ever had this includes my beloved Cocker girls Klaire and Snooky who are in heaven now has had a paper fetish. Oh, the delight on their faces and speed of their wagging tails when they manage to unroll and salvage their “treasures” from the toilet-tissue roll to my discontent. There's nothing quite like prying open Cocker jaws or Karma's power pucker to retrieve and re-roll the infinite usable squares that have not made it into their paper-hungry little troughs quite yet, but were instead trailed throughout the living room. And it doesn't stop with toilet tissue; Koal knows how to open the kitchen trash bin even though it has a foot pedal, so I have to place a cactus on top of the bin. He and Klaire were and are also fans of napkins, Kleenex, magazines, you name it all things paper. I guess maybe he had a fiber deficiency! ;-) God knows one day when left alone in the living room, Koal ate 27 pages of a People magazine, and it didn't phase him in the least! Oy! The joy of dogs!

Freebies for Pets
I and all my dogs have been big fans of Yummy Chummies ordered direct from Alaska ever since the early '90s. Well, my stockpiling of these tasty and healthy salmon morsels has ceased, at least for this year and last. The new treat du jour in my house, and one Koal has loved since he was a puppy, is voila free ice cubes or “icies” as we like to call them, delivered with a great deal of excitement to set the mood for these new "treats." Tail wagging aplenty! Bless Koal at times! ;-) No wonder he loves snow so much when it snows, it's a virtual smorgasbord for him, and he lovesssssss it. Bone appetit make that snow appetit!

What Was I Thinking?
At the beginning of the worst and most depressed time of my life last May, what did I do? I rescued a puppy Karma. Her name is no coincidence! Why? To save her life from a heartsticking animal-control facility, for my distraction and sanity, and to get me out of the bed daily. But a puppy? Now? What was I thinking?! ;-) Granted it was a month after losing the love of my life, Klaire, to liver disease after a successful two-year battle. Granted, Karma's rescue posting said she was one-year-old and a Cocker Spaniel mix. Hummm...I ended up with a three-month-old, terrified "miniature retriever." Her survival story is quite unique on its own. She came to me malnourished and with demodectic mange; she is now perfection! At this very moment as I type, Karmalita bonita is kissing me, and yes, right on the mouth. It took seven months to turn her into a secure and non-skittish love bug, but she did it! Kudos to Karma!

The lesson here: Caring for and trying to train Karma was a reason to live, move off my couch perch a few times a day, and keep another soul alive. Making sure Koal got over his depression over losing Klaire, his soulmate and playmate for over nine years, was also a catalyst. Koal and Klaire had only been apart, literally, less than seven hours their entire lives together. So, again we are three Koal, Karma and me...

Beat it!!!!
There are many ways to circumvent the economy and the struggles. Just look around and improvise! I know if you are down and out that seems impossible and useless to do boy, do I know but it's just a thought! ;-) 
Koal and Klaire on the patio when we lived in Oia village, Santorini isle, Greece, 2006. Caldera in the background.

The llama and I at Larkspur Ranch, Charlotte, NC, November 2009.

Snooky, my first Cocker Spaniel and the epitome of "party animal."

Karma, pre-Ginger's house while in the RCAS before I rescued her, May 2010.

Karma at home, summer 2010.

Koal, Klaire and I at Ammoudi Bay (the bay used in both "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" movies), my favorite little cove and bay and seafood tavernas in the world, about 400 steps down from Oia village, Santorini isle, Greece, June 2006. Perfection!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Client Appreciation Day!

It's important to stop and put the thanks out there to my clients and those who network on my behalf. Solely freelancing for a living means paying attention to each lead I receive and following up  -- well and fast, not to mention being appreciative for the work. The past 18 months or so have seen a marked decrease for print publications in terms of advertising dollars = pages = less pages to fill with editorial but it is those who gave me all the work they could that helped keep my head above water. A good deal of my writing has been for magazines across the US, and I thank those who have survived the crash!

Shout-outs, in particular, go to Mark Herrmann, publisher of Urban Home Magazine in Charlotte ( who is always providing writing assignments and leads to his clients who have marketing needs as well as directing me to other Urban Home publishers in various US markets, Decision Toolbox for whom I am a business writer thanks to the lead-in from a friend and former Southern California colleague Kim Hacker Smith (, Marie-Piere Belisle Kennedy who is a FB connection in Quebec via Christie Brinkley (, and various other clients here and there who have had minor project needs.

I thank you all -- you make business a pleasure!

Join me at

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sweet Jesus...Some Days you Just Gotta Hit the Blogosphere Twice

OK, granted, my goal is to blog once a day. BUT, some days when watching the news, Inside Edition, Entertainment Tonight, one can't help but throw in one's $1.10 worth! Today is one of those days. Sweet Jesus, today is loaded with freak shows. These caught my eye and ear>
• Rush Limbaugh attacking Nicole Kidman for having a surrogate mom...dumb
• Donald Trump defending Sarah Palin and her crosshair target map re Tucson's shootings targeting Gabby Giffords...and dumber
(*Yes, I realize Jared Lee Loughner is a demented young man but people in the public eye have to realize they are accountable for what they say in the bigger and potential scheme of things, and Palin needs to keep her mouth shut at times and omit the off-the-cuff commentary...coming from a media background, I can attest there is someone somewhere listening and literally taking everything they hear as truth. And, yes, I am a Republican, even.)
• Some woman shows up on the "Addictions" reality show who eats the stuffing out of her couches and chairs; I believe she said she has eaten seven sofas...insane
• "Toddlers and Tiaras" showing a mom who gives her daughter drugs to calm her down...the way the child was squawking on the clip, I would have been talking stun gun instead of ADHD meds
• "Driving Ms. Emily" re some fool dog owner who lets his/her dog "drive" the car and has the balls to brag about it and put it on national TV...never mind the safety of the dog. Forget the stupid owners! May you get what you deserve if you're in the car!
• Mel Gibson is under review for domestic violence charges...duh

The good news>>
• Gabby Gifford's miraculous recovery thusfar
• Gordon Murray who deserves a kudos! He died of a brain tumor Saturday but not until he delivered this power book re investing and Wall Street secrets from his days as an insider>>"The Investment Answer"
Just too much to absorb in one evening, but makes me feel quite normal -- even boring -- thankfully! How 'bout you? ;-)

Facebook with a Cause

Facebook networking is priceless -- whether you are job or client searching, working with a cause of interest to you (such as all my dog groups), or just looking for someone to talk to in the wee hours of the morning when you need a friend! In hours of need, someone is ALWAYS there! That’s priceless in moments of direness. The friends I have made on Facebook are amazing, all of them. I have become closer to some on FB than in real life -- particularly a core group of fantastic women!
***Note: My real-life friends are a very special group and will be the highlight of a future blog, trust me!

For networking I have gone from professional pride to shameless self-promotion and am proud of it! Hey, my forte is marketing! You can't afford not to promote yourself in this economy; this is non-negotiable for survival and gathering work and clients. So, yes, I am proud of promoting me and my clients! ;-)

Here is my Facebook business page for your perusal; please send yourself or leads my way for marketing, writing, editing...the whole gamut of my services>

On the Causes end of the spectrum, giving yourself and your time to a cause and effecting change, saving a dog, making others worldwide aware of a horrific situation such as my Santorini dogs' group -- all this keeps one sane and makes you very useful and necessary in the big scheme of are some of my passions on Facebook...

Heading up a cause near and dear to my heart after living in Oia village on Santorini isle in Greece in 2006 for a marketing consultancy and learning of these atrocities on Santorini and all over Greece. Tourists, beware and be informed and prepared to perhaps bring a dog home with you. Saving them one by one!
Save Santorini's Dogs...Stop the Poisonings:

Creator/admin on:

Save Santorini's Dogs...Stop the Poisonings
(4,583 members)

(18,470 members)

(266,286 members from 111+ countries achieved in one month with colleagues on this site)

To Honor Buddy "Tell 'Em Buddy Sent You"
(12,930 members)

Waggin & Braggin!
(852 members)

Justice for Holly, Port St. Lucie, Florida
(3,050 members)

Justice for LBD (Little Brown Dog), Knoxville TN
(8,907 members)

Stand up and be counted. TAKE ACTION to improve NC Animal Shelters
(3,950 members)

Photo 1: Anna Papanikolaoy (she lives in Oia and is the dogs' hero, big time) and I in Oia village, Santorini, Greece, Sept. 2009
Check out our Santorini dogs' group via link above in blog!!!

Photo 2: With street dog in Fira central, Santorini, Greece, September 2009

Photo 3: Monolithos Beach on Santorini island, Greece, my last day on the island for vacation Sept. 23, 2009

Photo 4: Hanging out in Delphi, Greece, after a biggggg climb up the hill! Land of the Oracles! Stunning area!

Why not make waves with your connections all over the world?! ;-) Happy surfing!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Addendum for Today's Food Ideas -- Cheap Ice Cream with a Twist

Many Facebook friends are intrigued by Snow Cream -- I guess this is a Southern thing I grew up with since no one anywhere else has heard of it! Trust me, it is tasty. I love the taste of fresh powdery snow, but this takes it up a notch!

Snow Cream
Big bowl of snow, some milk (not too much because the snow condenses easily), a dash of vanilla, and a few spoonfuls of sugar! Stir to blend. Delicious!!!

Soup's on...or Something!

All tasty, very easy, and dollar savers!

Home cooking takes on a new meaning – stretching it and formulating creative (as in never-before-fathomed) dishes – some lasting all week. You’d be mighty surprised what you can concoct from what you have in your kitchen and a little imagination. Or when watching a cooking show and, joy of joys, you realize you have all the ingredients in your kitchen, regardless of the time of day or night, you find yourself whipping up an exotic or unexpected treat – that at times often tastes good enough to eat. ;-) 
Here's one>
Coconut Black Beans
3/4 cup shredded coconut flakes
1 can black beans, heated
Mango, peeled and cut in ⅓-inch dice (if you don't have mango, omit it and proceed)
A few chopped scallions/green onions
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. lime juice
Dash of sea salt or some salt
Mix and eat!

Homemade soup goes a very long way, and is delicious! Potato Leek soup is easyyyyy and spectacular any time of year! And if you don't have leeks, just do potato and onion soup the same way!
Potato Leek Soup
In a big pot:
2 tbsp. butter
Add and lightly brown 2 leeks (thinly sliced)
A little salt (I use just a little sea salt)
Black pepper to taste
Add vegetable broth (couple of cans)
Add cubed/sliced potatoes (about 3-5) It doesn't matter how they are cut because you are going to mash them later. I keep the skin on, of course.
Boil then simmer for about 20 minutes until potatoes are tender.
Remove from heat and use a potato masher to mash to desired soup consistency. I don't mash too much because I like it a little chunky.
(Optional: You can add shredded cheese and/or Greek yogurt or sour cream on top of each serving.)

I also have gotten in the habit of duplicating at home what I have and like in restaurants for about 1/3 the menu price! Here's a real winner, and healthy!
Champagne Shrimp Salad from Wild East Pan Asian Bistro, Charlotte, NC
You can use shrimp but I prefer langostinos (from Trader Joe's freezer section near the fish)
Romaine lettuce or mixed greens
Mango (peeled and sliced in Trader Joe's chilled fruit section)
Champagne vinaigrette (many grocery stores carry this; I use Girard's brand)
Boil the langostinos for a minute or two at the most so they don't get tough; drain.
Cut up everything else and mix all together with langostinos
Just a drizzling of champagne vinaigrette.

I also do Chipotle's Burrito Bowl at home and it is totally delicious! And healthy!
Romaine lettuce
Black or pinto beans
(* In a saucepan, I drain and mix a can of corn with an undrained can of black beans, so I have enough left to use for several servings)
Rice (I make 2-4 servings for the same reason as above)
Some kind of Morning Star meal-starter protein substitute for me, or shredded chicken, turkey, pork, beef 
A little shredded cheese
Greek yogurt (or sour cream) [I use Greek 2% yogurt and for what we can get in the US, it MUST be Fage (Fa-yay) brand for me. The others are nowhere near the real deal like in Greece!]
Layer and eat, that's all there is to it! 

* Obviously when using for leftovers, in a bowl in a microwave heat your beans, corn, rice and protein/meat, then layer everything else on top!

Bon Appetit! Kali Oreksi! Enjoy! 

Monday, January 17, 2011

From Wine to Water

From wine to water – Barolos, Barbarescos and Brunellos, to be specific – to bottled “Ginger” free-flowing water (thanks to my townhome community paying my water bill which is then filtered through my fridge door) and my newfound friend – a $3.99 pinot grigio from Trader Joe’s. Thank Joe for small favors. (By the way, it's the Gaetano D'Aquino pinot grigio!) Cheers!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The US has Fallen and it Can’t Get Up

When you’re hemorrhaging money, it’s hard to sleep. When you awake in the middle of the night with a book title swirling in your head – at 5:30 a.m. 10/21/10 to be exact – after fighting for hours, for months, to fall asleep at a decent time and stay asleep, what is a proud – albeit beat-down, stressed-to-the-max and degreed – journalist from one of America’s most prestigious journalism schools to do? Pay attention to the sudden deluge of creative thoughts that won’t leave your mind and let you go back to snoozing. Trust me, I tried to escape back into sleep, nothing doing; I was so afraid I’d forget any of the sudden cacophony of thoughts and snippets I had actually been living with day in and day out for far too long if I waited to jump on the laptop at a more reasonable a.m. hour. So, I did what any writer worth her salt would do – I got up, figuratively and literally. When life gives you lemons, write! Pay attention to your dreams – literally.

Living in a single-income household is precarious enough in the best of times, but now? This dilemma will put the fear of the unknown in you real fast. At times, seemingly surrounded by wealth and/or dual-income households which appear to remain unscathed, can take you down quite quickly. How to cope? How to maintain some semblance of social skills?

Traversing depression with humor – what else can you do when the entire nation is raging?
There’s anger and discontent everywhere; it’s in the air, the ties that bind the US now are a revolting mix of fear, anger, woe and confusion. Look at the people you encounter in everyday life, out and about to gather the necessities, not the luxuries, anymore – the friendly smiles and greetings are gone. There is a communal sense of despair in the air. You find yourself standing in the toilet-tissue and paper-towel aisles next to another jobless and scared person, carefully analyzing and discussing the best item for the best price in lieu of the once-common “hello, how’s your day” chatter.

We’re not used to this in America. The view of the world is – make that “was” – the US never fails. I have countless friends across the world whose only dream in life when I met them in Europe in the mid 2000s was to come to America – to find a way to live in America. Joke’s on us, and I stress they should be very thankful they stayed put. Our country has fallen and it can’t get up. I’ve personally never seen the domino effect in action as radically as in our economy.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

For Richer or Poorer...

Richer or poorer is not just for weddings anymore. Perhaps this phrase has even more relevance for the singles of the world who must find a way to survive and thrive on their own. Single-income households, no husband or wife supporting the roost, maybe no significant other. I must preface this all with "thank God for good friends."

In nirvanic circumstances, making it through the unexpected and unwelcome quagmire can be accomplished; in a spiraling economy, not so much so.

Think about what you have done and are doing to stay on top of things -- mortgage and ever-growing stacks of bills, keeping food and shelter in your life, omitting all travel and adding stay-cations right in your own home for a cheaper trip (a decent wine makes these seem more appealing and optimal), affording pet care, tending to family concerns...the list in infinite and styled based on each one of us and what our demands, needs and wishes are...all food for thought...and since it has become so damn hard to keep food on the table, the power of the mind is the best nutrition we've got. ;-)

I will be sharing my journey, which is at times humorous and at other times it ain't so pretty!

More to come... ;-)

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