Don't turn into a couch potato
This #coronavirus is really kicking our butts.
Most of us have never been stuck at home for so long.
We all have ways to use the extra time on our hands.
We catch up on reading and watching movies we never had time for, we clean, we cook, spend quality time together. But we need some exercise.
The gyms are closed and it's not a good idea to attend social gatherings, so what could we do?
Because I was born with two left feet (not literally) I can't do complicated dance moves or high impact exercises. But there are hundreds of low impact, fun exercise videos on YouTube.
Try a few. It will make you feel good, promise!
I love this song and the dance moves are easy to learn
The 80s had the best dance music
This Tai Chi series is easy to follow and very relaxing
But if you like to dance, this video is one of my favorites too
Post the links to your favorite exercise videos in comments.
Have fun and stay healthy!
Request a complimentary download code
For our safety, the #coronavirus forces us to stay home and entertain ourselves the best we can.
In order to keep boredom away, I'm offering FREE download codes for 5 of my published audiobooks.
The number of codes are limited, so request your code today.
Reviews and ratings are greatly appreciated.
Send me a message with the title of the book
I will email you the complimentary download code.
Reviews and ratings are greatly appreciated.
Add the title of the book in the comment section
Go from full stress mode to a relaxed state in 60 seconds
A friend asked me:
"I've watching you for a long time multitasking as a trauma nurse and dealing with problems in your personal life. You never lose your cool and you seem to be in control all the time. If I have to pay attention to two different things at the same time I freak out, while you do ten different things and make it look so easy. How do you do it? What is your secret?"
No secrets here.
I've just learned how to relax, from my cat.
Have you ever watched a cat running and jumping like a maniac one minute and then suddenly stop and stare into thin air for a second and flop down on the floor licking its paw looking totally relaxed? A few seconds later they continue chasing the invisible mouse or their own tails.
It seems as if cats have found the best way to stop stress from burning out their nervous system and boost their brains.
Of course I have stress in my life.
Working in the ER for so many years and solving everyday problems that life throws at me, can be very stressful at times. When I work on editing, designs, or researching facts for my next novel, sometimes I feel like my brain has 16 tabs open and I need to re-focus to make sense of it all.
I've tried meditation. Well, it didn't work for me. After a minute or so deep breathing, my mind started wandering and I begun making plans and thought about things that had to be done.
So, knowing I can't concentrate on relaxation for more than a minute, I learned to reboot my brains, just like a cat.
I stop (when I can) every waking hour and marvel at something beautiful for 60 seconds.
There are 60 minutes in every hour and we're awake about 16 hours a day, that's 960 minutes.
So I thought: what if I'd spend just 16 minutes a day to relax and go about dealing with stress for the rest of 944 minutes of my day?
I tried and it worked.
Marvel at something beautiful
Driving by a frozen lake surrounded by snow covered trees, stop for a minute to marvel at the beautiful scenery. Breathe the fresh air, take a close look at nature's beautiful work of a snowflake.
Sit with your dog and absorb the serenity of nature or just marvel at the beautiful painting on your wall. Dogs have the amazing ability to pick up your mood and reduce your stress just by being there by your side.
Blow the dandelion seeds into the air and watch them parachute in the wind finding a home where they'll bloom next year.
Watch a little bird feeding its chicks.
Marvel at a delicately made embroidery.
You'll be amazed how much beauty surrounds you anywhere you go.
Find something beautiful and marvel at it for 60 seconds. You'll be surprised how energized you'll feel and your rebooted brain will be a lot more focused to tackle the next task or problem that's been awaiting.
Let me know if this will affect your everyday life and stress level.
Picture and video credit to www.pixabay.com
Children recognize the "look" of the child molester
According to statistics, in the majority of child molesting cases close family members are the perpetrators.
I still remember the "yucky" feeling I felt that a close family friend's glances gave me when I was about five years old.
I still remember the uncomfortable conversation with my mom, after uncle Frank left. I was scared and felt something that resembled shame, but when Mom sat down to watch TV, I curled up on her lap and told her, "Mommy, my stomach hurts."
Mom looked at me and probably noticed the anxious look on my face and asked, "Do you feel like throwing up, or you have a funny feeling in your tummy?"
"Uncle Frank looks at me funny. I don't like it."
My mom shrank back a little and an angry look flashed through her face, which made me regret that I told her about my feelings. In my childish mind, I was convinced that I did something wrong that made Mom angry. But then she quickly hugged me and assured me, "I believe you, munchkin! You didn't do anything wrong. You're a very smart girl to tell me about your feelings, you can always tell me anything. Tell me how it makes you feel when he looks at you."
Gaining courage from her words, I tried to explain the sickening feeling I had when the man looked at me. I couldn't find words to explain, but in my mind I saw my cat shrinking away from the neighbor's dog that had the look in his eyes just like uncle Frank did. "Mommy, Mrs. Varga's dog looks that way at Miri every time she goes close to the fence. He wants to hurt her. Does uncle Frank want to hurt me?"
Mom hugged me tight and said, "I don't know, honey, he might. I'm so glad you told me about this." She then held my shoulders and looked into my eyes. "You can always tell me everything. You now that, don't you?"
"Did he ever touch you, put you on his lap, or told you that you must keep something a secret?"
"No..." I hesitated remembering the chocolate bar he gave me the day before. "But he gave me chocolate and told me it's our little secret because he knows you don't let me eat candy before dinner." I sobbed.
"It's okay, munchkin, you did the right thing telling me this. Remember, never-ever keep a secret from daddy and me."
I didn't see uncle Frank again until I was a teenager, when he was arrested for molesting his brother's ten-year-old daughter. The girl had the courage to speak to her teacher about it because her mother had dismissed her and accused her of lying about the abuse.
That's when my dad confessed that he beat creepy Frank to a pulp and banned him from ever entering our house, that day when I told Mom about how he made me feel. Dad could never forgive himself for not going to the police back then. He always thought he could've prevented the abuse of the young girl, but also knew that without proof, and only the words of a five-year-old, the police couldn't have done anything.
I was lucky to tell my mom about my gut feelings, and she was smart not to didn't dismiss me but inquired further.
She knew that young children can't always describe what makes them anxious or uncomfortable, but they can tell you about their gut feelings in their own way, or they find the way to play it out. Children often say their stomach hurts when they feel anxious, because they can't describe the feeling of anxiety, worry, shame, or when someone's actions make them feel uncomfortable.
Talk to your children, and no matter what they tell you, believe them, and take them seriously.
A Good Laugh and the Unwanted Consequences
A friend stopped by for a coffee and we recalled some humorous moments from the times when we worked together in the Emergency Room.
She laughed so hard when I told her the story when I was named "Patient whisperer" that she sprayed coffee all over the place-mat of the kitchen table.
You can read the story in my Magazine:
Suddenly, her expression grew serious, and she cried out, "Oh, crap! I wet my pants."
This made me laugh more, but when she shot me angry look, I raised my brows questioningly.
"NO! I'm serious," she said with a stern face. "I REALLY wet myself. Just a squirt, but can I borrow one of your pants?"
Yup, one of the fun "perks" of getting old.
Everything starts to go south, muscles weaken, skins sag, you pee when you laugh, sneeze, or... you get the picture. BUT, we both agreed on how lucky we are to have made it this far.
A supernatural short story by Erika M Szabo
Generations upon generations Blackmire Forest was the favorite place of the witches of the Enchanted Maple Coven to search for their ingredients—herbs, barks, leaves, and flowers. Their paths were clearly marked by the coven’s sigil that had been painted on the tree trunks.
Camilla Highmore and her fellow young acolytes in their late teen years, Sarah and Xavier, reached the knoll and found the witches’ path. Their long years of apprenticeship was over, and they were expected to perform the final test before they’d be considered as fully trained witches.
They had to find the woodruff iris needed to brew the potion as their last test, and the instruction had been very clear. The woodruff iris flower thrived on the sweet sap the snag maple trees provided. Dead yet still standing, snag maple trees were a rich source of nutrients as well as magical ingredients for both thanomancy and biomancy. The rare flower had to be plucked exactly when the sun barely kissed the horizon and prepared before the last rays of the sun vanished into the cloak of the night.
Upon finding the flower, they only had one hour to rush back to the coven and add the flower as the last ingredient to their prepared potions. If they’d be unsuccessful, they’d have to remain apprentices and try again the following year. The pressure weighed heavily on them all.
The trio walked in silence keeping an eye on the trees with the sigil that marked their path. Suddenly, a raven appeared above Camilla and let out a raspy kraa sound. She shivered as the black bird flew away. She looked after the bird as it flew higher and higher and disappeared from view. When Camilla lowered her eyes back to the trees, she spotted her grandmother’s small, spiral symbol with a pentacle in the middle carved into a majestic pine tree. She had a strong feeling that she had to follow the path the raven showed her. She hesitated for a minute but soon made up her mind. “I’m going this way,” she called out to her companion and pointed toward the narrow path by the tree.
“We were told to follow the witches’ path,” Sarah said, feeling annoyed. Her red, curly hair flew off her shoulders as she shook her head and rolled her green eyes. Always a strict follower of rules, she often disapproved when Camilla questioned or sometimes even broke the rules. “Why do you always have to break the rules?” She questioned looking at Camilla.
“I’m not… Okay, I do… sometimes. But my spirit guide…” Camilla stuttered like a scolded child but then her confidence returned. “Oh, never mind that. I’ve been here before with my grandma when I was very young, and I remember seeing dead maple trees in that area. Do you want to come with me?”
“No way,” Sarah said, firmly shaking her head.
“I’m staying on this path as we were told. You shouldn’t wander off either,” Xavier warned. His chocolate brown eyes reflected genuine worry.
Xavier was in love with Camilla since they first met, but his sense of duty and obedience kept him from revealing his feelings. When he confessed to his father, he got angry and told him that he was destined to be a witch and follow the footsteps of his ancestors, and a strong-willed, often disobedient girl didn’t fit into his future plans. Xavier agreed sadly and accepted his father’s decision. He kept his feelings to himself but couldn’t erase his love for Camilla from his heart.
Camilla stubbornly shrugged and strode off the well-worn dirt road. It made her heart race with excitement every time she followed the ancient path with her grandmother but going alone made her a little nervous. The Raven is my spirit guide and it’s never wrong. She thought, trying to calm her anxiety. It has a good reason to lead me off the usual path, and besides, my grandmother had marked this path for a reason.
The twisting path led her deep into the forest. Fallen leaves crunched under her boots, and she heard the rustle of small scampering creatures under the fallen branches and leaves. She tightened her grip on her gray knitted shawl as she continued along the path, her eyes automatically searching for the maple snags that woodruff iris preferred.
She still had about ten minutes before the sun began to sink below the horizon. Golden light filtered through the canopy of tree branches above her and the chilly wind cut through the rustling leaves making them dance. Camilla felt goosebumps rising on her skin triggered by the energy coursing all around her. More than anything in the world, she wanted to learn how to tap into that energy and wield the magic of nature.
The spotted an ancient, dead maple tree that stood just off to the side of the path. Beautiful even in its decay, its bare branches stood out against the bright late afternoon skies. Armfuls of woodruff iris in full bloom waved gently in the wind as they clung to the snag.
Camilla took a deep breath, bowed to the ancient tree, and to the scurrying creatures it still supported and took a step towards the patch of flowers to wait until the exact time for harvest.
As she took another step, suddenly, her foot crashed through the layer of dead leaves that had so perfectly hidden the tangle of thick roots and the warren between the path and the tree. She let out a sharp scream and the golden light of the world above her was thrust into shadows as she crushed through thin branches and roots, falling into a deep hole. She landed hard on the packed dirt in a deep, spacious room below the maple tree’s roots.
Leaves floated peacefully around her as she stood up, groaning, brushing the leaves from her long hair and the dirt from her jeans. She moved her arms and legs carefully. Nothing is broken. She thought, sighing in relief. Light poked down through the hole above her head, enough so that she could easily look around in the underground room.
Camilla turned to examine the large, square, carved stones put together with precision to make the walls of the room. The stones were covered with moss and a thick layer of dust, but in the darker corner polished stones with runes carved into them caught her eye. “What is this place?” she whispered and shivered. How am I going to get out of here? She thought looking up at the hole in the ceiling, ten feet above her head.
Her stomach tied into a knot. It was a mistake! Why did I follow the Raven? A scream rose in her throat, but she managed to stay quiet. It’s no use. Nobody will hear me. They will come looking for me when Sarah and Xavier go back to the coven without me, and grandma will know where to find me when they tell her I followed her sigil. The thought of getting help calmed down as her curiosity rose.
She glanced at her watch and cried out, “Oh, no! There’s only five minutes until sundown. I’m not going to get the iris and… well, at least I’ll know where to find the flowers next year.” She shrugged and took a step closer toward the back wall. She could barely see the runes carved into the dark gray stones. “I wish I’d brought a flashlight” She sighed.
“Whoa!” Camilla exclaimed and stumbled back in fright as the room turned bright. “What the… what’s going on here?” She cried out but her curiosity was stronger than her fear.
She could see the carved runes clearly. I wish I could read them. As soon as the thought entered her mind, eerie green light illuminated the rune letters.
Ye who was born to possess the sight
Brings light into the night.
What is this? Camilla’s legs turned to jelly and sat down. I can read the runes. Is this place like a ‘your wish comes through cave’ or something? “I wish I could get out of here!” she said out loud.
She felt lightheaded and closed her eyes for a few seconds. When the dizziness passed and opened her eyes, a strange sensation filled her body and mind. She felt the energy around her and watched in fright as the pile of dead leaves that had cushioned her fall stirred and gathered around her gently lifting her back up through the gap.
“Whoa!” a surprised scream erupted from her chest as she steadied herself at the edge of the gaping hole. This place is magical! I’m going to show it to grandma. She thought dreamily but quickly came to her senses. Glancing at the horizon she knew she didn’t have a second to waste if she wanted to harvest the flower of the woodruff iris.
Watching every step carefully, she walked to the beautiful patch of flowers. She knelt, took her athame out of its embossed leather sheath, and waited, blade pressed against a blood-red stem. As soon as the sun touched the horizon, Camilla made the cut. What if the others can’t find the flower? There is plenty here. She thought as the plants shivered, and she held three perfect blossoms in her hands. She allowed herself a few moments to admire the delicate black petals before tucking the knife back into its sheath, and gently placed the flowers inside the leather pouch that hung on a thong around her neck.
After bowing her head for a minute and thanking the plant for letting her harvest its delicate flowers, she stood up and raced back on the path, following her grandmother’s sigils with a satisfied, happy smile on her face.
She anxiously waited a few minutes until finally, she spotted her fellow acolytes walking back on the witches’ path with shoulders hunched and gloomy expression on their faces. As they stopped, Camilla noticed their hands were empty. Her heart twisted.
Xavier glanced at her sadly and sat down on the carpet of leaves, looking defeated. “No luck,” he sighed. “Somehow, we got off the path and by the time we found the flowers, the sun was sinking into the horizon and the petals closed up. We were late…”
“We’re not going to be accepted,” Sarah muttered. “What rotten luck! We’ll have to wait another year.”
The words died on her lips when she saw Camilla opening her pouch and holding the precious black flowers. “No worries. Neither of you has to wait,” she said simply. “I have three flowers.”
Sarah stammered, “And you’d share it with us?”
“Of course! Let’s go. We only have half an hour to get back to the coven and fifteen more minutes to add the flowers and finish the potion.” She smiled.
Xavier leaped to his feet as Sarah rushed to embrace Camilla in a tight hug.
The spicy-sharp autumn air of Blackmire Forest smelled of pure magic as the apprentices hurried toward the coven.
They rushed back to the coven and under the watchful eyes of the High Priestess and Elders, they added the woodruff iris to their prepared, murky looking potions. They stirred the dark grey, thick liquid in their cauldrons and yelled out in surprise when the potion turned into ruby red, glowing liquid.
“You have passed your last test,” the High Priestess announced and looked at the acolytes with warmth in her eyes and smile on her lips.
Sarah glanced at Xavier with a sad expression in her eyes, and when Xavier nodded, Sarah looked up at the High Priestess. “We have a confession to make.”
“Oh? What is it, child?”
“We…” Sarah started and cleared her throat. “Xavier and I didn’t get the flower. We were unsuccessful in finding it and Camilla took two extra flowers and gave them to us.”
Xavier looked at Sarah and added in a shaky voice, “We don’t deserve to be witches, only Camilla does.”
“I know, my messenger told me,” the High Priestess admitted and glanced at raven sitting on the windowsill. “I was just waiting for you to admit it.”
“So, we have to wait another year, right?” Sarah asked and sighed.
“No, child. You don’t have to wait. The three of you passed the test because of Camilla’s loyalty. She could have taken only one flower, but she took three because she has a good heart, and she’s loyal to her fellow apprentices. Being the member of our coven is not about competing with each other and outdoing each other. It’s about love and loyalty to each other, and helping one another.”
After the initiation ceremony a week later, Camilla and her grandmother went on a journey to discover more about the room that had been hidden for centuries. The spicy-sharp autumn air of Blackmire Forest smelled of pure magic as they followed the path to the ancient maple tree that guarded the sacred place deep in the woods.
50 complimentary audiobooks are available
Take your chance to get your complimentary copy and listen for FREE.
Reviews are optional, but greatly appreciated.
The winners will be notified via email on February 26th.
Enter the contest
The story of a friend who thought writing a story
Small town mystery
Futuristic love story
When her Raven spirit guide warns her of impending danger, she takes the omen seriously.
She doesn’t have enough time to perform the protection spell her grandmother taught her and after a vicious attack and the Raven’s repeated urgent warning, she knows her life is in danger.
Who wants her dead and why?
Harbinger of danger, the Raven calls
Omen of perils that will befall
Ignoring its warning, does not bode well
Time of the essence, cast protection spell
Kraa from the oak, flapping black feather wings
Her heart knows the message it brings
~Cindy J. Smith
99 cents cozy supernatural thriller
A short excerpt
Before she could reach the call button, Marcia rushed into the room and called out to her with worry in her voice, “You must stay in bed! You’ve lost a lot of blood.”
“What happened?” Lauren managed to croak out her question. She felt a sharp pain in her throat when she made sounds and could barely manage to move her swollen lips.
“I’m just glad you are okay!” Marcia embraced her in a careful hug. “I went back to the office because I forgot my phone, and I found you on the floor unconscious and bleeding.”
Two particular dolls in her collection scared the daylight out of me
Until she got two new ones. Those dolls scared me and really freaked me out .
When I really had to enter the room, I ran to the cabinet and turned those two dolls upside down. Of course, my mother turned them back as soon as she noticed and reminded me again not to touch her dolls.
I even tried to leave the cabinet door open so my dog could reach them. Although he shred anything to pieces within seconds, he tiptoed away from the cabinet, and even when I threw one of the dolls to the floor hoping he would chew them to pieces, he ran out of the room.
No matter how many times Dad and I told my mom how creepy those dolls were, she laughed. "Don't be silly! There is nothing creepy about them, and they're so pretty."
Finally, Grandma came to the rescue two weeks later. As soon as she entered the room she shuddered and told my mom, "Those dolls are cursed! Get rid of them."
Mom didn't hesitate and stuffed the dolls in a bag, and to my delight, later that day dropped them off at the thrift shop.
A few days later my best friend, Gabi, told me in school, "My mother bought me two dolls for my birthday. They're so creepy looking that I'm scared of them, but I'm more scared to tell my mom that I don't like them."
A chill ran down my spine and after school I went over to Gabi's house. As soon as I looked at the dolls I recognized them and told Gabi's mom, "My grandmother told us that those dolls are cursed, so Mom got rid off them."
Gabi's mom grabbed the dolls and threw them into the fireplace. Luckily, superstition saved us from being forced to look at creepy dolls every day.
Last night this contact message was sent to my Publisher website.
When I opened and read the message, my first reaction was, "What the Hell?"
And then I took a deep breath and tried to think rationally.
My book is published on many selling sites, maybe there is a glitch on one of the sites and the book didn't download correctly.
So, I sent her an email, not even knowing who she was because she didn't give her name just her email address. When I got the reply, I found out she's a woman.
She replied back, "It's cheating! I couldn't even read any of the pages. It's just some small pictures."
I assured her that I'll look into this because I want my readers to get my books in the best format possible, and I asked her to describe the picture.
She replied angrily that at the bottom of the pictures it says "jump" and she can't read the text on her tablet.
By then I had a hunch about what might have happened, so I asked her which site she purchased the book from.
"I didn't buy it, it was a website where you can download PDF books for free." And she sent me the link and a blurry picture she took with her phone of her tablet's screen.
I clicked on the link and my virus protection immediately flashed "Malicious site".
The page had book cover pictures with "Download free" click box under them. Yup, it was a click-bait scam site alright! I wondered if the woman got a nasty virus with her "free" book when she downloaded it. The picture she sent looked like a page screenshot to me.
Intrigued, I went through the publishing sites:
and looked at the free preview pages. I took a screenshot and sent it to the woman.
Then I sent her this message:
"Sorry you had a bad experience, but this site where you downloaded the "free" book is called a pirate site. They steal the books, and in this case, the owner of the site is not even smart enough to properly steal the entire book, they just took screenshots of the free pages that are available on legit selling sites. Had you purchase the book from a legitimate selling site such as Amazon, you'd have received a beautifully formatted eBook to enjoy.
Also, I advice you to run a virus check on your tablet. The "free" books from pirate sites and not so "free".
They usually include a nasty virus or spy cookies in the "free" book.
A friendly advice: if they required you to give them your credit card to open a "free" membership so you can download the book, I would put a freeze on the card as soon as possible.
If someone can't afford the $2.99 price for my eBook, please go to your local library and ask them to purchase the book. Then you can read it for free, but the author and publisher gets paid for their work.
Writing and publishing a book is a long process and requires investment as well.
1. The author works on the story for months or even years to bring the best reading experience to readers.
2. It cost money to edit and format the book, have attractive book cover designed.
3. It cost money to promote and market the book so readers can find it.
It would never occur to people to ask for free coffee, haircut, manicure, or walk into a store and get shoes and clothes for free, because they know how much work goes into producing items they buy.
Publishing a book is work and the authors and publishers deserve to get paid for their work.
Don't you think?
Your book is finally finished
You poured your heart and soul into it.
You know it's a great story and readers will love it.
You send your inquiry letter to 50 publishers.
While you wait for the acceptance letter, you build up followers on social sites.
You work on your website and write articles announcing your book.
You're excited and tell everyone about your upcoming book.
You start getting the rejection letters one by one.
A few months went by and 10% of the publishers didn't even reply.
You feel devastated and question if your story is good enough.
Deep down you know it's good and you feel determent.
Figure out how to self-publish your book.
Go through the process of paying for ISBN, editing, book cover.
Spend a month planning your book launch.
Finally it's launch day.
And you sell 3 copies.
You check your sales dashboard 168 times a day for a week.
Beg all your 2000 friends and followers on social sites to buy your book.
You sell 2 more copies... and then nothing for weeks.
Months go buy and you're going crazy in the jungle of promotion and marketing.
You spend $600 on marketing and make $25 in royalty payments.
You freak out and binge on chocolate cake for days.
You're determent to make it as a writer, so you start writing a new story.
Months later your story is finished and you start the publishing journey over from step one.
So, that's the life of thousands of writers.
Very few gets lucky to be noticed and become a bestseller author, but the rest of us keep writing and hoping.
We keep writing because we must. We have so much to say that we can't stop writing.
And we always have the hope that some day our dreams will come through.
I saw a tree walking away
Stunned by what I saw I cried out, "I just saw that small tree walking about 2 feet!"
Marie looked at me with shock and fear in her eyes. "What?"
That tree looked like it was walking toward that large tree."
Marie stared at the trees, shook her head in disbelieve and tried to smile. "Girlfriend," she exclaimed. "Whatever you're on, I want some!"
"No!" I protested. "You know me, and you know I would never touch any drugs or even alcohol."
"Then you're scaring me! Are you feeling okay?" she asked with worry in her eyes.
"I'm fine." I assured her but deep down I started to doubt if I really saw the tree move or my eyes played a trick on me. "But I really saw the tree move. I swear! Let's go, I'll show you."
We got up and walked to the creek. What we saw made me feel a whole lot better. "See?" I pointed at a young tree hanging in the air. "That's the tree I saw, and I was right. Look, a beaver chewed the trunk free but the tree couldn't fall because its branches are tangled with that big tree's branches."
"Man!" Marie looked at me relieved. "For a minute there I thought you were losing your marbles or going nuts on me."
We all meet narcissistic people every day
Zlatan Krizan, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at Iowa State University, explains that there’s actually two kinds of expressions of narcissism: grandiose, which is where the bragging and showing off is exhibited, and shy, where a person may not be as forthright “or be out there with a bullhorn, but is sitting in the corner, fantasizing about when their day will come, and resenting others.”
What is a narcissistic personality disorder?
People with narcissistic personality usually don't think that anything could be wrong, so they may be unlikely to seek treatment. If they do seek treatment, it's more likely to be for symptoms of depression, drug or alcohol use, or another mental health problem. But perceived insults to self-esteem may make it difficult to accept and follow through with treatment.
Narcissistic personality & behavior
- They display an exaggerated sense of self-importance.
- They require constant admiration.
- They expect to be recognized as superior and entitled to associate with equally special people.
- They greatly exaggerate achievements and talents.
- They belittle and look down on people they perceive as inferior.
- They expect favors and unquestioning compliance with their expectations.
- They manipulate and take advantage of others to get what they want.
- They're not willing to recognize the needs and feelings of others.
- They're arrogant and coming across as conceited, boastful and pretentious.
- They insist on having the best of everything.
- They can't handle criticism.
- They become impatient or angry when they don't receive special treatment.
- They have significant interpersonal problems and easily feel slighted.
- They react with rage and belittle the other person to make themselves appear superior.
- They have difficulty regulating emotions and behavior.
- They have angry outbursts when dealing with stress.
- They have difficulty adopting to changes.
- They feel depressed and moody because they know they're not perfect.
- They hide feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability and humiliation.
- They don’t necessarily make good leaders, but they want the power and attention, so they’re more likely to end up in lead positions.
- They always manage to trail the conversation to talk about themselves.
You might tell them about your hip surgery but you can see it in their eyes that they're not hearing a word you're saying, but they're thinking about telling you their story, as soon as you shut up, when the doctor removed a splinter from their pinky.
You tell them about the award ceremony where you were recognized and honored, but you can read their expression of thinking about what they're going to say to belittle your achievement.
How do you deal with narcissistic people?
Can you build a healthy relationship with them or as soon as your recognize the symptoms you stop interacting with them and run?
In some cases we have the freedom to escape toxic relationships, but sometimes we can't and must find our own way to deal with them the best we can.
Sometimes our eyes deceive us
"Look, this rubber snake would be great to scare the squirrels away. They keep chewing their way into the attic."
"Yes, and it wiggles too," the other woman replied."
I turned to look and saw a plum woman holding up a snake by the tail. Snakes give me the heebie-jeebies, even rubber snakes, so I quickened my steps and reached the chair where the owner was sitting.
"How much you want for this snake?" The plump woman called over to the owner.
The owner seemed to be in deep thoughts for a few seconds staring at the snake in the woman's hand, and then she mumbled, "I don't have a rubber snake." And then she jumped up and screamed from the top of her lung, "Oh, my God! Throw it away!"
"What? Why?" The plumped woman asked looking confused, still holding up the wiggling snake by the tail.
"It's real! It's a cottonmouth," the owner yelled. "Throw it on the grass as far as you could."
The plump woman shook with fear, screamed, and flung her arm throwing the snake about ten feet away. The snake landed on the lawn with a thud and quickly slithered away.
The owner closed the garage sale and asked us to leave the property. The plump woman gasped for air and threatened the owner with a lawsuit, but her companion calmed her and trailed her to their car. I was happy to get out of there and heard the owner talking to animal control on her cell phone.
I doubt I'll stop at any garage sale in the near future.
Scroll the presentation below to read about the series or click on the page to read more:
A message or coincident?
If you haven't been following the story of my crow friends in the Omen or Silly Superstition post series, read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.
The young crows fed Julia with her favorite treat, earthworms. I watched them standing still in the clearing where the soil was rich and soft. They seemed to be listening for a few seconds, turning their heads, and then their strong beaks came down with a swift move, turning the soil. They picked up the exposed worms and swallowed a few before flying away with one wiggling in their beaks.
Although the young crows patrolled the property regularly, I missed seeing Julia and Julius in the morning. To my great disappointment, their usual sounds were replaced by the screeching cries of a pair of Blue Jays. Although they're beautiful birds, they're I preferred not to have them close to my bedroom window. Their loud chatter have the same effect on my nerves as the teacher's fingernails on the blackboard in second grade.
To my delight, the crows were annoyed by the Blue Jays too, as they were having breakfast in the back, and they angrily swooped down on the blue birds sounding a battle cry. The Blue Jays held on for a few minutes but after they received a few painful pecks by crow beaks, they decided to nest somewhere else.
My day was filled with anxiety and fear. I kept thinking. Can they really predict something bad? I couldn't concentrate on work, I was waiting and hoping that nothing bad will happen.
When the phone rang after dinner, my nerves were frayed and I was ready to jump out of my skin. And the sad news came. My aunt who had end stage MS had passed away.
Was the gathering of the crows a prediction or just a coincidence? I may never know. But from then on, I payed a lot more attention to the number of crows.
I'm a writer. Am I telling you a true story or part of it is true and part of it is the figment of my imagination? You decide!
This episode concludes my Crow Family Saga blog post series. As I'm recalling more and more memories of the past 28 years, I decided to write and publish the story of my crow friends as a book. It will take me a few months to write and edit it, but I will let you know when the book will be published.
Thank you for reading and sharing my posts and my books!
My Birthday Wish
My books have lost a lot of reviews do to policy changes of the selling sites. They banned a lot of avid readers and bloggers who gave very valuable feedback to authors.
The book sales dramatically dropped since pirate sites are stealing our books and offer it for free on click-bait and scammer websites, and I can't expect every reader who take interest in my books to go back to the selling site to write a review.
Therefore, I really don't know if readers like my stories, or not.
I have one birthday wish, watch the video to find out what it is.
Do crows hold grudges?
If you haven't been following the story of my crow friends in the Omen or Silly Superstition post series, read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
You can read stories of her in my short story collection: Rainbows and Clouds.
Short stories about life’s humorous, happy, and dark moments.
The proceeds are donated to animal sanctuaries.
Enjoy the collection of heartwarming animal stories, fun anecdotes from the author's nursing years and about friends, and slice-of-life tales about family lives and love that evoke a wide range of emotions.
We almost lost Lucky but thanks to the vet, she pulled through and got better after the treatments for heartworm and Lyme disease. She became best friends with our cat and Julia.
She also was named "the thief of the neighborhood" because, for a while, she carried home whatever she found on the neighbors' properties.
The "gifts" included bed sheets, socks, sweaters, jeans from the clotheslines, small tools, bicycle helmet, shoes, and even a frozen turkey. We never found out if she watched Julia dropping small presents on the window seal and imitated her, or just did it on her own because she thought it was the right thing to do.
Lucky's diet was mostly home-cooked stew of chicken, turkey, and vegetables, which she happily shared with Julia, and Julia was very protective of the sweet-natured German Sheppard. She swooped down and pecked the neighbor's dog when he chased Lucky and badgered the hedgehog family, after Lucky had an encounter with them and went through the painful process or removing the sharp quills from her face, until they moved away.
When we met a couple and they started coming over to visit us, we noticed that Lucky was cautious of the man. She always kept an eye on him and was nervous when they visited. And then I found out why. He went out to his car to get something when I happened to be on the sun porch. I watched him walking to his car and Lucky scurrying to get out of his way.
She wasn't fast enough and he yelled at her, "Get out of my way you dirty mutt!" He lifted his foot to kick her but luckily, he was distracted by Julia and put his foot down. Lucky scrambled out of his way as Julia swooped down and snatched the man's baseball hat.
She flew away and dropped the hat on top of a bush at the back of the property. The man ran after her yelling and I stood by the back door, laughing.
After he retrieved his hat I told him that if he ever looks at my dog wrong way again, he will be banned from the property. He confessed that he has a deep-seated fear of dogs since he was attacked by one when he was a young child, but promised he will never yell at Lucky again or try to hurt her.
But Julia didn't know about this agreement. Every time the man pulled into the driveway, she sounded the alarm for Lucky to hide. and the crow kept a close eye on him. She didn't snatch his hat again, but a few times she pooped on his car. She never did that when the man's wife pulled into the driveway with the same car. This proved to me that crows indeed hold grudges and recognize and remember people.
Are crows really supernatural messengers? Find out next week.
I'm a writer. Am I telling you a true story or part of it is true and part of it is the figment of my imagination? You decide!
If you're enjoying the story, bookmark this page or subscribe to my newsletter:
Like to read supernatural stories?
If you haven't been following the story of my crow friends in the Omen or Silly Superstition post series, read Part 1 and Part 2.
I rarely had a chance to enjoy nature in the City, I thought as I watched the squirrels and chipmunks scurrying about collecting acorns under the oak trees. It feels like I’m on vacation since we moved here... Loud cawing and barking snapped me out of my dreamy state.
I looked up and saw a huge Rottweiler chasing after a crow that seemed to be injured. It was barely able to lift itself up about a foot into the air and flopped down again. Another crow was flying above them, kept cawing and darted from the air to land on the dog’s head. The dog shook it off and swatted at the bird sending it flying and skidding on the fallen leaves.
I dropped my coffee cup, grabbed a broom and started running towards them. “Leave him alone you bad dog!” I yelled as I recognized the injured crow. It was the male, Julius. Julia gathered herself and flew at the dog, again.
When I was a few feet away from them, the dog growled and turned toward me showing his sharp fangs, saliva drooling from his mouth. I was scared. I had no idea where the dog came from. But I gathered enough courage to keep yelling at him and swung the broom to scare him away.
The dog didn’t budge, and I was scared to move closer, so I picked up a handful of gravel and threw it at the dog. A stone must have hit a painful spot because the dog yelped and ran into the bushes.
I sighed in relief and looked for the crows. My interaction with the strange dog gave them a chance to get away. I watched them as Julius struggled for a while to fly but soon managed to reach the lower branch of the pine tree.
Everything was quiet on the property for hours. The chipmunks and squirrels hid in their nests and I didn’t hear the usual chatter of small birds either.
The next morning Julius still perched on the lower branch of the tree and I saw Julia by his side. She flew away for short periods and came back with food in her beak. Julius ate the food and lowered his head, resting. I put walnuts, bits of fruit and pieces of raw meat on the tree stump for them before I drove to work.
Later that day when I pulled into the driveway after work, I saw four crows on the branch. “Four crows will predict imminent wealth.” Grandma’s rhyme came to mind. I don’t need millions; I wouldn’t know what to do with it. I thought and smiled, feeling foolish to have such thoughts. I need a good job and enough to live a comfortable life.
I watched the crows from my car and noticed that Julia seemed to give her mate a drink from her beak. He crouched on the branch and Julia hovered over him touching his open beak. Clever bird, I thought. She brought him water from the small creek that flows in the lower part of the property.
For about two weeks I saw the four crows on the branch, they took turns to feed Julius. Then one morning, he took a short, wobbly flight. From then on, he got stronger and stronger every day. A week later they left the branch, and I assumed, flew back to their nest in the far corner of the property and I didn't see the other two crows in the backyard any longer.
One morning something peculiar happened. As I was heading outside, I saw Julia through the window by the back door. She flew to the windowsill and dropped something before flying away. Curious, I stepped out and looked at the windowsill. There was a torn finger of a blue rubber glove. I don’t use blue rubber gloves, where did she get it from, and why did she bring it here? I wondered, but then I remembered that the past week or so I kept finding small, blue items on the windowsill.
At first, I thought the wind blew there the blue jay feather, pieces of blue paper, plastic wire covering, part of a plastic bag, and a piece of blue knitting yarn, but now I realized it was Julia who kept putting “presents” on my windowsill.
Crows see colors and maybe she noticed that my favorite color is teal blue. Maybe that was her way of showing gratitude for helping to save her mate. I will never find out.
I never saw the Rottweiler again, maybe his owner visited a neighbor and he got away to go on a hunting adventure.
Do crows hold grudges? Find out next week.
I'm a writer. Am I telling you a true story or part of it is true and part of it is the figment of my imagination? You decide!
If you're enjoying the story, bookmark this page or subscribe to my newsletter:
Do you like to read?
I have two short stories published that you might like. Both are available in eBook for 99 cents.
Click on the covers to read about the stories and read short snippets from the books.
I designed the book covers and book interior, and I really enjoyed the story.
Book 3 is coming soon which I can hardly wait to read.
Secret Societies have existed for eons, but nothing can match the powerful magic and lure such as the Women of the Willow Wood!
Erika M Szabo
Author of urban fantasy, magical realism novels and children's books,
10 Self-publishing Tips
5 Audiobooks To Listen For Free
99 Cents Book Sale
99 For 99
About Free Books
A Brand New Week
A Dear Friend Wrote A Poem For Me
Animals Always Find Me
A Sweet Christmas Tradition
Book Promo Fees Gone Too High
Book Review Craziness
Can You Recognize Narcissistic People?
Cats Love Stories Too!
CHILDREN LEARN HATE AND INTOLERANCE FROM US
Children's Books For Halloween
Complimentary Audiobooks: Get Your Copy
Critique Or Criticism?
Decades Late Apology
Emotional Stages Of Becoming A Writer
Every Life Is Precious
Favorite Internet Pastime
Fundraiser For Animals
Garage Sale Surprise
Genderless Characters In Books?
Good Old Fashioned Romance
Got Money? Buy Votes!
Help! I Can't Choose
High Hopes And Deep Disappointments Of A Writer
Holiday Book Sale
Hopeless Love - Secrets - Magic - Oh My!
I Love My Job!
I'm A Better Person Today Because...
I'm Better Than You!
Inferior Or Equal?
Is The Lovely Shade Of Romance Turning Dark?
It's Easier Than You Thought
It's My Birthday
I Would Love To Have A Shiny Sticker On My Resume!
I Write Children's Books Because...
Just 16 Minutes A Day
Little Tree Walking
MBR Bookwatch Review
Message From A Pissed Off Reader
Mom's Scary Dolls
My Green Thumb
New Edition=New Cover
Omen Or Silly Superstition? Part 1
Omen Or Silly Superstition? Part 2
Omen Or Silly Superstition? Part 3
Omen Or Silly Superstition? Part 4
Omen Or Silly Superstition? Part 5
Past And Present Connected By A Curse
PRESS RELEASE: AUTHOR ERIKA M SZABO
Rainbows And Clouds
READING IS GOOD
Re-blogged: 5 Reasons Why Authors Should:
Re-blogged: Full Moon Dare
Re-blogged: I Don't Speak Spanish
Social Site Animals
Stuck At Home?
The Danger Of A Quiet Simile
THE JOY OF GETTING OLD
The Magic Of Blackmire Forest
The New Kind Of Book Hoarder
The Quiet Smile Of A Wise Woman!
There Is So Much More To Communication Than Just Speaking
The Warning Signs Of Vanity Publishers
Those Dreaded Negative Reviews
Uncle Frank Looks At Me Funny
Watch Live: 2019 Celebrations Around The Globe
When The Raven Calls
Who Are You Jared?
Why Do I Tell Stories?
Why Do People Lash Out In Anger At Others?
Why Should I Write Book Reviews?
Write A Book They Said
WRITING A STORY IS EASY
You Make A Hungarian Flinch When...