Tag Archives: tips

How to get blood out of a carpet

These tips might come in handy one day

Moving into a new home always holds a bit of a risk. You might like the house or condo and neighborhood, but what about the neighbors. Most buyers don’t meet their prospective neighbors and even if they do, they don’t know anything about them.

When I moved into my condo, we had very nice neighbors, but soon after we moved in, they moved out. Our new neighbors were a young couple with a new baby and a large dog. If the baby wasn’t crying, the dog was barking.

We heaved a sigh of relief when the young couple moved out, but the new neighbors who moved in were even worse. Not only did they have two kids of their own, but the women also looked after several other kids, one of them a baby.

All day long I heard yelling, slamming doors as the kids ran in and out of the unit, and the baby crying. Come nightfall the kids left and adults arrived. Night after night there was a party with the men and women making as much noise as possible.

Judging by his letters, my brother is in an even worse position. He lives in the house we grew up in and after our parents passed away he furnished it to his own taste. He didn’t have problems with his neighbors as he’d known them all his life. But one by one, those neighbors moved on, either to a smaller house, an apartment, a retirement home, or their forever home in the sky.

My brother got new neighbors, first to the left, then to the right of his house. Immediately after purchasing, the new neighbors started renovating, which meant hours of drilling, hacking, and hammering. It was enough to drive anyone crazy. When the house on the left was finally finished, the owners of the house to the right started renovating. More drilling, hacking, and hammering.

When that house was finished, my brother thought his frayed nerves would finally get a rest, but he was wrong. Now the neighbors invited their friends, held barbeque parties, played loud music, and the more alcohol they consumed the louder they became.

My brother had enough. He was marching over there to give them a piece of his mind. Knowing that the man of the house on the right had about 100 lbs on him and with tattoos on his muscular arms, brother dear wasn’t going over there unarmed. He grabbed a pitchfork and went on his merry way.

In his letter, he asked me how to get blood out of a carpet. Good Lord, what had he done now? He wouldn’t have … he couldn’t have … no, certainly not.

As it turned out, the problems with the noisy neighbors was settled amicably. The blood on the carpet was my brother’s. He had injured himself and who knows what happened but blood had squirted onto the carpet. Now if my brother had a computer he could have looked up how to get that blood out of the carpet, but he is old school and wants nothing to do with computers.

So I did a little research and found that there are several ways to remove blood stains.

If the blood is fresh, take a clean damp cloth and remove most of the blood by dabbing the stain. Never rub. Next, spray the stain with cold water and dab with a dry cloth. Repeat as many times as necessary.

If the blood has dried, mix cold water with a little dishwashing detergent and apply the mixture to the stain. Let it soak for a few minutes and then gently rub the stain with an old toothbrush.

Another method to tackle the stain is to add kitchen salt to cold water until it forms a paste. Apply the paste to the stain and let it rest. Next, take a clean towel and blot the stain dry.

You can also treat the stain with water mixed with two tablespoons of ammonia or hydrogen peroxide, but before you treat the stain test these chemicals in a non-conspicuous area. With chemicals this toxic you never know what damage they might do. Also, make sure that small children and pets are kept away from the room.

The last thing you want is a clean carpet, but a trip to the emergency room or the vet.




8 Writing Tips You Can Ignore

Writing advice every writer should throw out the window

Writers are by nature not the most confident of people. They wonder if their work is interesting, gripping, colorful, helpful, funny, or just plain good enough. Knowing that their family and friends are often not the best critics, they seek advice and guidance in books, at webinars, or from their peers. My advice, stop! Stop wondering, stop asking. When you deliver quality work, you’ll know it. In the meantime, throw the following writing advice out the window.

Listen to critics

Whether it’s a book, a story, or a poem, there will always be readers who will love and who will hate you work. Are you the only one who gets praised or hammered? Of course not, even James Patterson and Stephen King have to accept the good with the bad.

While it’s important not being discouraged by negative feedback, occasionally you might find a pearl of wisdom in someone’s criticism. For instance, should someone say that your article was inaccurate – next time do more research; should someone say that your characters were too one dimensional, next time put more meat on their bones.

Don’t rely too much on feedback though. Just read the comments on published books. One reader might give a book a five star review and describe it as gripping and exhilarating, while another might give it a one star review and think it boring and lame. Which one is to be believed?

Don’t worry about your work

Even though you shouldn’t put too much stock into what others say, keep listening to yourself. If you think something is crap, it probably is. That doesn’t mean you have to throw your work away. Put in on ice for a while and revisit later. The idea might be good but the wording might need a little tweaking. Whether you’re angry, sad, nostalgic, funny, or have something valuable to share, you have to feel something. Words alone don’t cut it, there has to be emotion in your work.

You have to read a lot

It’s not because you read a lot that you’re going to be a good writer. Reading, or shall I say, studying books, might help you in plot development, scene and character description, and even help you develop a larger vocabulary, but it won’t necessarily make you a good writer. It’s not because you study Ernest Hemingway, Tom Clancy or Joy Fielding that you’ll write like any of these writers. You have your own voice, your own style, and the best you can do is to perfect that voice and style.

Trust an editor

If that editor is a real editor, I would say yes, absolutely, trust him or her. The problem is, these days everyone with a spellchecker calls himself an editor. It’s not because someone offers to edit your work, for free or for a fee, that they actually have the qualifications to do so. Before you let anyone touch your work, or agree on a fee, ask to see their diploma. Asking for references is not always helpful as they might give you names of family or friends. What you need is the name of a university or college.

Know your genre

Baloney! Far better to experiment and step out of your comfort zone. You might think that you’re a pretty good romance writer, but one day you might sit down, get an idea for a mystery novel, a fantasy story, or a children’s book. When inspiration hits, grab a pen or open your laptop and start scribbling. It’s when you step out of your comfort zone that you might deliver your best work.

If books aren’t your thing but articles are, try different topics. Even if you like writing ‘how to’ articles, try a biography, if so far you’re written about health issue, try writing about the antics of your pets.

You need to write every day

More baloney. If you can write every day, good for you, but if you don’t feel like writing, don’t. If the well of inspiration has dried up, take a break. If you’d rather paint, play with a pet, or go for a walk, feel free to do so. Writing should never become a chore. Once your mind has rested, you’ll be surprised at the number of topics that bubble up.

Nobody will read your first draft

A statement like this shouldn’t be generalized. While it’s true that a first draft might need work, some people have the ability to write something brilliant first time. Some writers will pick at their first draft, adding to it, taking away from it, only to come to the conclusion that what they originally had was their best work. This is why nothing, whether on paper or electronically, should never be tossed in the wastepaper basket or deleted until you’re 100% happy with the end product.

Pick a time of day to write

This only works for a select group of people. Early risers may get up at the crack of dawn, while night owls might feel at their most productive after everyone else has gone to sleep. The majority of people have jobs and writing is a hobby. They drag themselves out of bed at 6:00 a.m., commute to their workplace, and come home tired, where the are expected to cook, clean, do laundry, etc. Where do these people find time to write? Most do it during their downtime. They might write on the train or bus, while they don’t have much to do at work, write during their lunchtime, at night in bed, or over the weekend. In other words, whenever the opportunity presents itself.

When all is said and done, you know yourself best. You know what works for you and what doesn’t. Write and have fun with it. If it goes smoothly and feels right, you’re on the right track, if it’s labored and you think you can do better, you probably can.




Four pet safety tips

People with small children usually take great pains in protecting them, but where it comes to their pets, they often have to learn a thing or two.

Washer and dryer

Cats and kittens love to curl up among your clothes. Before scooping up a load of laundry and placing it in the washing machine, sift through the clothes and check a cat, kitten or another pet isn’t hiding in there. You might notice a cat, but you wouldn’t necessarily notice a kitten.

By the same token, never close a washer or dryer and start a cycle without checking that a pet isn’t hiding in there.


Everyone knows that certain detergents and alcohol-based products are dangerous around small hands and paws. Yet where it comes to weed killers, people are reckless, endangering their pets’ life without realizing it. Instead of using aggressive weed killers, take a moment a familiarize yourself with natural products that won’t poison your cat, dog, bunny, or other pet.


Before winter sets in, most people treat their car to a dose of antifreeze. Keep that bottle well out of reach as this is a toxic liquid. When finished with treating your car, meticulously wipe up any spills.

If your home gets plagued with ants or cockroaches and you’ve decided to battle them with poison, keep pets out of the room. If you let professionals take care of the task, you might be asked to leave your home for 24 or 48 hours. Talk to the company about the danger to your pets. Remember that pets lick their paws. If they stepped into the remains of the poison that killed the cockroaches, you may have to rush your pet to the vet.


If your pet is sick, never administer medication without checking with your vet. Human medication is seldom suitable for animals. While some medication might merely cause them discomfort, others might kill them. Would you self medicate a baby? No? Well, then don’t self medicate a pet. You are not a vet!

Fruits, vegetables, and flowers

Familiarize yourself with which fruits and vegetables are suitable for your pets. Grapes, bananas, berries, and beans might be a source of goodness for you but might put your pets’ life in danger.

You might also want to brush up on what kind of flora is toxic to pets. If your pet is not at all interested in flowers and plants, you’re fairly safe, but if your cat or dog is a ‘chewer’ be on your guard at all times. Keep flowers and plants out of the house, or put them somewhere where your pet can’t get to them.

Don’t gamble with your pets’ life. Be aware of your surroundings and the dangers.




Four tips to be more productive

Most writers wake up in the morning and resolve that this is going to be a productive day. They have some idea what to write about and they can’t wait to get onto their computer. But … life gets in the way.

Advice articles give more or less the same tips:

· Turn off the internet
· Keep a schedule
· Take breaks
· Don’t look at your emails

If you’ve read one, you’ve read them all. Not only that, most of the advice articles I’ve read are as dry as five-day-old bread. I have been a writer for a good 20 years and I have a different approach to writing.


For starters, I don’t turn off the internet because that’s where most of my inspiration comes from. There have been times that I want to write something, but my muse is as silent as a grave. However, 15 minutes on my favorite social media site (it can be a picture, a topic, or a comment) and I have ideas coming out of my ears. My advice, do not turn off the internet because that could kick start your inspiration. Besides, you can’t really turn off the internet, what if you have to research something?

Keeping a schedule

I don’t know about you, but keeping a schedule doesn’t work for me. Most days I get up at 8:00, shower and dress, have breakfast, and then fire up my laptop. And then I sit there, fingers poised over the keyboard. What to write about? Idea after idea gets dismissed. After a while I get up, go make the beds, and then an idea hits me. Or I’m in the middle of doing the morning dishes when I have a memory flash and think, that would be a great topic. Most topics come to me when I’m not writing, when I’m nowhere near a computer. That’s why it’s recommended to keep a small notebook and pen handy.

Taking breaks

Well, no problem there. I take breaks when doing house chores, not to mention that I have three cats that need attention and won’t take no for an answer. Rather than putting them off or shooing them away, I pet them, I pick them up, and I play with them. If I don’t, they’ll just keep bugging me. Other than that, there are cups of tea to be made, lunch to be had, naps to be taken, shopping to be done … the list goes on and on. So yeah, feel free to take breaks. Not only does it give your mind a rest, but stepping away from the computer is good for your eyes too. From what I’ve read, one should take a five-minute break every hour, and a thirty-minute break every four hours.


Not looking at my emails is something I can’t manage. I’m curious by nature, so when I see that I have a new email I simply have to see what it is. If I don’t I keep wondering and it and this distracts me to the point that I can’t write anymore. When I do look, it’s either an ad for one thing or another, a message from a friend, or a message from my son. Answering some of those messages can wait, others require an immediate response. For instance … ‘Shall I bring anything for dinner tonight?’ or “Do you feel like takeouts?’ Now imagine if I had ignored such messages.