Monday, January 28, 2013

Resolutions updates

This weekend, I have packed a lot into my Australia Day long weekend. Everything except finding time to work on my novel.

But, I'm not calling the weekend a loss: I have been ruthlessly clearing out the clutter that had accumulated in my study rendering it impossible to enter the room. I've filled about ten garbage bags so, and have a long way left to go, but once I get this larger than expected job out of the way, I am going to have room to sit down and write until I get my manuscript and planned blog posts completed. 

On the weight loss front, I am happy with having lost only half a kilo over the last two week's.  I haven't succeeded in going for an evening walk or treadmill workout as many times as I'd have liked, but I have been sticking to choosing the healthiest option for whatever is available for meals. 

This could be where I've gained the extra energy to tackle the cleaning out of the study which I have wanted to do for quite sometime but have been putting off in favour of rest, relaxation and time out from work each weekend.

On the work front, I'm still keeping my eye out for another job, but happy to remain selective about what I apply for.

How are you tracking towards your goals and resolutions set for 2013?  Still sticking in there?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Your Resume and Job Cover Letter, does it leave a good impression?

When I worked at one of my former employers, which I’ll call ESPA (standing for Employment Service Provider A)  whenever the marketing team sourced an employer vacancy that we were unable to fill quickly from within our large caseload of approximately one thousand registered unemployed jobseekers, rather than lose the new or pre-existing employer relationship to another employment service provider who may have a suitable client on their caseloads – for which there were many providers in the area with the same contract as our own – my former employer, ESPA, did what none of the other providers did. They still attempted to fill these vacancies even though they may not receive any payment.

Now, for anyone unfamiliar with how employment services works, the provider earns money from the government in a number of ways: pre-placement servicing of clients, placing clients into employment either brokered or un-brokered, and follow on payments when the client successfully reaches two key retention milestones if the client works at or above required participation levels.

In other words, providers receive commission for training and assistance provided throughout the clients participation in the service program, and then rewards the provider for placement and post placement conditions and milestones being met.

Chances were ESPA reasoned: if there was a suitable client that was not on our caseload then there was a perfectly reasonable chance that a suitable candidate was sitting on one of the other providers’ caseloads.

So, rather than turn the employer or vacancy away, or worse, let one of our competitors snap up our hard-won employer so they could fill the vacancy and claim the fees, ESPA adopted the unique practice (well, I think it is unique seeing as none of the other companies I have since worked for have done the same practice) of still attempting to fill the employer vacancy – despite no guarantee of any payment for doing so – with externally sourced applicants.

Don’t be fooled into thinking, wow, what a caring company.  ESPA were still business all the way. They didn’t do any of this coming from their heart, they remainder purely dollar driven.

ESPA advertised the vacancy on the free government job board, with the purpose of soliciting interested unemployed candidates registered with other agencies; who could potentially be enticed to transfer to our services rather than stay with our competitors under the lure of near guaranteed employment. With this job carrot dangling in front of many long-term unemployed people desperate to get off welfare payments and end their employment service attendance, only a signature on a transfer form was all that was needed to entice many into sealing the win-win-win for ESPA’s stats, the employer and the client. It also inadvertently made ESPA look fantastic in the eyes of the governing department, when our stats demonstrated how quickly we were able to place some of our clients!

To give you an indication of how successful ESPA was, we had one large office fax machine dedicated solely to the task of receiving faxed applications for each of the ten to fifteen sourced vacancies per week we couldn’t immediately fill.

My role in ESPA was as frontline receptionist and amongst many other things one of my (minor) tasks entailed removing the never-not-printing machine of the two- to three- hundred applications that were pumped out each day to match the applications to the vacancies. On the application end date, I was required to hand to my Site Manager ‘absolutely no more than three resumes and accompanying cover letters for each vacancy’.

Yes, you read that right. No more than three names (and documents) for each vacancy. Only one, if I could effect it.

When my manager first told me this would be one of my duties, I admit, in my nervousness to make a good impression I nearly had a panic attack!

How could I, with no previous experience in this industry, possibly sift through so many job applications to come up with only three or less applications to hand to her?  Was this lady nuts? Did she have any idea how hard it would be to filter two- to three- hundred applications down by this much? I mean, I knew she was a very busy person and all, and didn’t have time to waste on going through the applications her own self, but, this was excessive. Was she so far out of reach in her management job that she had no idea the difficulties she was dumping upon me on my very first day?

She must have had an inkling of what was going through my mind, because she patted me on the shoulder with a smirk on her face, and before she left me to it, told me she had full confidence that I would get it right: “You are a smart woman.  You had an unusually good resume, I’m sure you will have no trouble culling the piles down to hand me only the ones worth me taking a look at. You already know what a good one looks like.”

To tell you the truth, bolstered by her vote of confidence and the state of the very first cover letter, I suddenly realised just how unproblematic this task would be for me, after all. My Manager was right. I would have no trouble with the culling process.  Not while I mimicked an Acquisition Editor culling a Slush pile.  Jobseekers, the applications coming through, like amateur writers with their manuscripts, made this task absolutely cinch easy-peasy. 

Now, I had long been interested in becoming a published author one day, even if I didn’t have any completed works to submit.  Over the course of my informal study I had learned about Slush Piles, and Acquisition Editors who discarded and rejected significantly more manuscripts as unsuitable after reading merely the first chapter, because they could tell so much more about the manuscript and writer from this little slice of reading enough to know far more than what was on the page.

The same became true in my resume sifting duties: I immediately became a sort of Vacancy Acquisitions Editor, only my slush pile wasn’t novel manuscripts, it was resumes with cover letters.

For each position, I quickly looked up to determine what the basic needs of the employer were, and then I scanned each of the cover letters accompanying resumes underneath.  Almost all of applications that I pulled from the catch tray I immediately determine ‘I wouldn’t hire this person’ and so I heartlessly tossed the application and resume immediately into the Secure Disposal bin positioned next to the bulky laser fax-printer – without even flipping past the cover sheet (in most cases) to look at the resume, and without guilt, because I was too busy in this very demanding role to stop to think about two to three hundred people sitting at home hoping that their phone will ring sometime within the next week after having sent that fax off.

But mostly I didn’t feel any guilt because of one simple fact: the applicant had already failed to make a good impression. It was not my job to make a good impression. My job was to decide which applications made the first round cut and which ones didn’t, and hand only the best applications to my manager for her to assess their merits at the next level.  And if those applications had failed to impress me, they would most definitely have failed to impress my hard-to-please Manager. 

I didn’t need to come up with reasons to justify my placing resumes in the rejection bin, the jobseekers themselves bombarded me with every reason imaginable for me to easily just make the decision to reject it.

All I wanted to know, in my bottom of the hiring process role, was ‘does this applicant have a forklift licence, and does he have any experience’ for the Forklift Driver vacancy I was culling for, or perhaps ‘has she worked with MYOB’ for a bookkeeping one.  I didn’t have time to shift through reams of terrible handwriting, or read about how candidates saw our ad and think they will be interested in working for the company (which by the way, we didn’t identify within our listing, so was just cliché phrases being bandied about).

I wanted to know – and too many applications didn’t tell me – what the applicant’s name was, did the person have any experience as a forklift driver, did they already possess the required licence, and was the person available to start when our employer wanted them to start.

When our employer told us ‘they must be available to work weekends’ we listed this in our position vacant listing. So, why dear applicants, would you write within your cover letters ‘I’m looking for day work only’ and thus ensure your elimination from consideration at such an early round?  Did you even read the ad?

The trouble is, now that I am three and half years or so experienced in this industry since that early position, that too many jobseekers only care about their own needs and wants, and go looking for employers who will give them what they want.  But employers only care about their own needs and wants, and if the candidates currently submitting applications aren’t prepared to meet these essential and desirable requirements, then they will just keep looking until they find someone who will.  And the jobseeker remains on the caseload building up resentment that no employer will give them a fair chance.

Sorry, but reality check: you did have a fair chance.  A position that you were interested in came up and you blew it because you fail to see past your own needs and wants; you failed because you weren’t flexible and therefore made a bad impression, so you were (rightfully) dropped out at this early stage of the culling process.

I got very excited whenever I was able to hand my Manager even one or two applications to review for any of the vacancies.  My manager never questioned ‘why’ on the regular occasions when I didn’t hand her any applications for some very popular vacancies. Actually, she praised me.  I soon learned that we would just run the listing on the job board for another week, and get another batch of applications to keep the fax-printer being the highest working member of our medium sized team for me to play acquisition editor of the job searching world.

My time at ESPA taught me that every step of the job application process is about making a good impression.  It also taught me that too many people are completely clueless to how to achieve this though.

In upcoming posts, I will discuss how you can get the edge over pretty much 99% of the competition by continuously leaving a good impression at every stage of the hiring process. And. how if you get something wrong in the application process the mistake generally causes someone like me to drop you, heartlessly, out of contention.

Do your applications make a good impression?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Does anyone know where I can get the patter for these?

A friend of mine would love to try and knit these cute booties, but doesn't have the pattern.  Does anyone know where she can get the pattern for these?

Please post in comments if you are able to help. Thank you.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Yummy low calorie dessert for dieters

I don't remember where I discovered this recipe - but I make it often, and I love it even if my children don't (all the more for me!)

Berry Creamy Fruit Sandwich
Cooking level: Easy
Cooking & Preparation time: 30 - 40 minutes
Serves: 4 people


1 sheet Puff Pastry
Cooking spray
1 tub Vanilla Fruche
16 Raspberries
16 Strawberries (quartered)
16 Blueberries
1 tsp Icing Sugar


1. Pre-heat oven to 180*C  (Sorry, I don't know the *F equivalent)
2. Place semi-defrosted Puff Pastry sheet on lightly sprayed flat baking tray. Slice pastry sheet in half lengthways. Slice pastry sheet into quarters width-ways. This creates 8 slices of Puff pastry.
3. Spray each pastry slice lightly with cooking spray.
4. Bake in oven until puffed up and lightly golden.
5. Transfer cooked slices to cooling rack and allow to cool to room temperature.

6. Once cool, on serving plate, place one cooked pastry sheet.
7. 'Butter' the underside of the pastry sheet with approximately 1 - 2 tablespoons of Vanilla Fruche.
8. Place 4 raspberries, 4 strawberries and 4 blueberries on the vanilla Fruche.
9. Add another pastry sheet as top layer of sandwich.
10. Make the three other sandwiches repeating steps 6 to 9.

11. Place one teaspoon of Icing Sugar in a sieve, and sprinkle evenly over each of the 4 Berry Creamy Fruit Sandwiches.
12. To garnish, place mint sprig on top of each sandwich. Enjoy! 

Try it, and let me know what you think of the dieting-friendly treat by liking or commenting on this page!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Short Story

I just wrote a short story that I'm happy to share.  It's not perfect, and I only wrote it over the last hour, but I hope you enjoy!

A twist in the tale story

Night Victims

The young attractive blonde, wearing her bust-enhancing, leg-revealing silver dance dress and matching six inch heels, poked her head out of the train carriage as the train doors opened to glance up and down the platform, checking to ensure it was deserted. The well lit station, so often packed to maximum capacity during daylight hours, was silent and movement less at this late night hour.

She stepped down from the middle carriage which housed the rail guard, and double-checked back into the carriage to ascertain that the two rowdy young men in their hood jackets had remained seated and weren’t going to continue their leering harassment that she had endured the entire trip from the city to the outer suburbs. The overweight guard, also checking along the platform to the front and rear of the carriages, smiled and gave her a brief nod. He delayed sounding the bell once she had safely cleared the gap and crossed the yellow safety line as he watched and appreciated her scanty attire, she knew this, because she could feel his prolonged gaze watching her every movement. She was sure he too was undressing her with in his mind and was enjoying impure thoughts of how he craved to touch and violate her body. Most men did; especially the ones with lesser morals and integrity.

Head down, and her nipples erecting and her skin shivering against the crispness of the night air after the comfortingly warm and stuffy carriage, she hurriedly made her way before the doors of the train even started to close towards the stairs leading to the overpass, the stiletto heels clicking amplified in this dead silence. Her red sporty Celica and a van parked in the spot next to it on the driver’s side were the only two vehicles remaining in the commuter parking lot, and she held her keys in her hand in readiness to arrive at a place of safety.

Behind her, the guard’s bell finally sounded as she climbed the stairs, and she turned her head to spy the carriage doors closing and then the train build up speed as it coasted towards the last stop of its hour-long journey to the end of the Western line. Once the train was disappearing down the line behind her, that is when she heard double-footsteps following her, and panic set it.

She quickened her pace as she rushed along the overpass, but so did the footsteps behind her quicken their paces in response. She turned to gain a look at who was following her as she travelled down the wide stairs.  She couldn’t go any faster in these damn heels, or else she could lose her balance and descend awkwardly and painfully in a flailing of arms and legs.  Two burly men, their faces hidden beneath their hoods, were definitely following her. But they weren’t the two men from the train.  These two had been come from a dark recess on the overpass. She was alone and without any assistance.

“Hey, sexy,” one of them called a short distance behind her, “why don’t you show us your tits?”

He and his mate laughed, before the other added, “how about you wrap that gorgeous mouth of yours around my cock.”

Her heart beating faster, as soon as she hit ground level, she almost ran across the bitumen lot for her car.  The two men were closing the gap between them and her, and their ill intentions clearly showed how foolish she had been to travel alone at such a late hour.  They, with their strong builds and masculine strength, could overpower her with ease, and she struggled to get inside her car before they could bail her up or drag her into the bushes where she would be a goner.  It was clear, she was about to become their next victim. One of them was carrying a crowbar. The strong smell of bourbon was reaching her nostrils.

They reached her just as she turned the key in the door lock. The larger guy removed the keys from her hand and grabbed her firmly at the base of her neck. She heard the van side door slide open, and the man holding her pushed her inside after the other who had already climbed in. Before she could muster any resistance, she was on her back, her legs were being forced apart, body weight was pinning her down, and she was plunged into darkness when the door was slammed closed.

She didn’t know how long she was in the van for, but when she stepped out her ordeal over with, she tugged her skirt back down to regain her modesty. She picked up her keys and opened her car door to sit down. Hands trembling with the nights’ events, she startled when the passenger door opened, and an older woman, immensely sexy for her age, climbed in.

“So, Sandrine,” she said with a beaming smile on her face, “You’ll be pleased to learn you have successfully passed tonight’s assessment with full marks.”

The young woman beamed. “Thank you.  It was easy, really.”

The older woman leant forward and wiped a trickle of blood from the corner of the younger woman’s mouth with the padding of her long painted nail fingers.

“Those sleazy males fall for it every time,” the young woman said.

“Yes,” replied the matriarch vampire. “Short skirts and cleavage on show are perfect lures for getting your meals. They’ve been waiting for you for the last three hours. Your acting is to be commended; I bet they never saw your attack on them coming.”

Sandrine laughed. “No. And,” Sandrine said, nodding her head towards the white van, from which there was no movement, “there’s still plenty blood left so the others can have a meal tonight as well.”

“I think I will have you teach young Ivory tomorrow night.”

“It would be my pleasure,” Sandrine said, revving the Celica into life. “I think I will stay in the city though. There’ll be a larger range to choose from if we do it in the city.”

The End

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Novel Writing: How I got started

Back in my cigarette smoking days, at some point I stopped smoking inside the house and went outside and sat under the pergola no matter how hot or cold the weather.  When I decided to quit smoking for good, I wanted to continue to enjoy my (hourly) frequent small breaks away from the kids and TV and housework by sitting at the round table I had outside.

So, when I first quit, I needed something else to do instead of sitting down and smoking which I strongly associated with sitting in my favourite chair facing the front gate which was closest to the front door. I had learned too, that I needed to keep my hands busy, it is amazing how used to holding a cigarette gives you something to do.

I took up writing to 'kill both birds'. At the time, I was having a lot of drama in my life, and there were many frustrations that were bogging me down no matter how often I whinged to my closest family and friends.  Somehow, complaining still wasn't enough. I don't remember when I stopped writing at the table outside and started writing in my study, or on the lounge, or while I am in bed, or at the dining table instead - it was probably a really hot, or really cold, summer or winter's day, and I just ran with it from there.

I received the advise that writing can be cathartic, so I wrote multi-page letters explaining how I felt about the situation for a range of situations all happening within my life.

At some point, a single person was annoying me so profusely, I decided to write a novel. I would be the main character (protagonist, of course), and the other person would naturally become the evil antagonist villain who readers would learn to hate. I wrote a story from start to happy ever after ending (the ending I craved, not true to life). I highlighted my virtues, downplayed my flaws, and did the reverse of this for my villain, showcasing every flaw, every fault, and only begrudgingly included irrelevant virtues because no-one relates to a pure-evil villain. Then, once I had satisfyingly released the poison from inside me I did something I am still really proud of myself for: I deleted the file and destroyed every back up and printed out copy.  I was NOT going to seek publication for this novelised story after all.

Can you believe it?  I knowingly deleted a one-hundred thousand word manuscript that had taken up approximately two months of my life to write almost non-stop! That's about the equivalent of a full published book about the size of J.K Rowling's Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban for anyone who doesn't understand the significance of that word count. One hundred thousand words is a lot!

I had disguised each of the characters, so I could have published and not been sued for defamation.  But I would know that I had publicly trashed a person.  And other people who knew me would be able to work out who each of the characters were.  They would work out that the story was not a work of fiction, it was all based on real people and real situations.  The silly thing is, it was probably good enough to be published - and that is not a claim I can make about other manuscripts I have written.  I think it was because the emotions were real. I knew the people, I knew the events, I knew the message I was trying to get other people to understand that just wasn't happening via voicing my opinion/beliefs aloud.

I don't regret not publishing that story, but I do have a small regret in relation to deleting the manuscript completely.  I would never want other people to read that story now, and I wouldn't want to re-read it my own self, because I destroyed it as my final act of letting the past go, but still, I got rid of something that I had worked really hard on, I no longer have proof of my own efforts to use as motivation to spur me on during times I struggle to write my next work-in-progress.

That story inspired me to continue writing though, and always, with the view of one day writing a story good enough to be traditionally published.  I have a couple of works-in-progress on my computer twelve to fifteen years later and many more abandoned efforts, but I am still unpublished - for good reason.  I still haven't completed a storyline worthy of submitting to publishers, to be accepted. And none of my stories are completed to consider self-publishing either.

I do have a full one hundred and twenty thousand word fantasy story that I submitted once.  I received positive feedback from the editor who stated repeatedly on the company website that he/she does not give personal feedback on rejected submissions, who provided me with personal feedback bluntly encouraging me to learn how to write a synopsis properly before submitting another story to him/her in the future because he/she is not interested in the storyline I submitted despite my writing showing 'a lot of credit'. Oh how I cherished those harsh words once I saw the encouragement more than the criticism.

The trouble is, that particular storyline blew up out of all proportions: what started out as a single book, following my uncontrolled imagination, ended up fitting in as Book 3 of a five book series. With such an ambitiously large project, it was hard to keep up with all the characters, twists and turns in the story, and, I still didn't have any idea how I could successfully end the story. I don't know how J.K Rowling managed the planning of seven books! I finally set the project aside craving something simpler to write.

I've read some author blogs to know that many struggle to come up with ideas.  I don't have this problem.  After deleting my 'My Life is Shit' manuscript (I only just came up with that title, finally it has a name!) I struggled for a while to come up with an idea for a couple of months, as I waited for fantastic blockbuster plot ideas to strike me while I sat on a train and didn't have pen or paper to write it down (yes, that is Jo Rowling's Harry Potter idea story not mine). I tried to force ideas to become story lines but that didn't work either.  Then one night, while I was sleeping, after months of saying to myself 'I wish I could come up with a good story idea', an idea that I considered rather good did come to me. I woke up, and raced to find pen and paper and jot the idea down before I forgot what it was.

This started a pattern of waking up in the middle of the night to record ideas for me, and it also caused me to develop a habit of keeping pen and paper beside me in bed so I could get back to sleep as quickly as possible.  It has taken almost ten years to break the Insomnia I developed because I wanted story ideas.  And my mind delivered:  not just the one story line, but heaps.  I can honestly say at the rate I am going I will never have time to write all of the books that I would like to write.  I have at least eight different story lines going at the moment that I could write from start to finish - if I had the time to write.

I started writing a single book fantasy story early last year which I was keen on - still am. But then, I came up with a Young Adult book story at the end of last year, which made me more excited to write than my fantasy storyline.  But the trouble for me at the moment is, I work full time in a demanding role, which leaves me exhausted at the end of the week. So I've been sleeping in on weekends in order to relax and unwind and build up the stamina to face the week ahead, and writing for me can be energy depleting, especially emotional moments in scenes. But this year, I aim to build up my writing habits.  A couple of times last year I looked into the idea of blogging, but although I visited blog websites to learn about how to sign and set up and account, I just didn't take the step I wanted until this week.

My sister mentioned that she had her own blog now, and surprised, because everyone in my family know I love writing and aspire to aim for publishing and she has turned her nose up at that despite being a much better writer than me, I confessed to her that I had been considering doing that myself for some time now.  She encouraged me to just do it, so I did.  And for that, I thank her.  She has unleashed my beast!  Sorry readers, but now that I have started, I will probably keep going.  Hopefully, I don't let expressing my thoughts and opinions distract me too much from working on my manuscript (this weekend aside, seeing I'm new and having fun writing posts that I've wanted to write for months now).

In an upcoming post, I will share how I have finished writing two full (lengthy) manuscripts because I've always liked learning other writers processes. And once I have reviewed my current work in progress, I'll share details on how I am progressing.

But for now, I will just leave you with the advice that if you want to write a novel: just do it. You don't need to aim for publication to begin with. But just do it.  Gain the personal satisfaction for having achieved finishing a large project like I have twice experienced.  Horrible first drafts can be polished up into something publishable later, so just do it: write your novel.

Sunrider Sunbreeze Oil

Product Review: Sunrider Sunbreeze Oil


Twenty or so years ago, my (now ex-) sister-in-law sold my (ex-) husband a tiny bottle of oil as a remedy against the debilitating migraine headaches he frequently endured. I remember paying around twenty (Australian) dollars (rather expensive for how tiny the bottle was) but my sister-in-law assured us that dabbing a small amount at the temples, and smearing barely a layer at the base of the neck and headache and neck pain would lessen or even disappear without our having to take  a paracetamol tablet.  I still remember her telling me that I could even put a small dot on my tongue whenever I felt a sore throat coming on to send it on its way. Much better than the Asian sticky patches that we bought, that smelled funny, but did help for muscular aches and pains that we had been using.

Expensive for how it looked, but would be worth it, she assured us. It had nothing to do with the products being sold under a party-plan type set up; she wasn't trying to just obtain Sales, she genuinely had found a product that she believed was essential in our wall-mounted medical cabinet.

And she was right! 

When my husband and I separated and divorced, somehow I inherited the miniscule bottle of golden take your ailments away.  And I am grateful that my ex didn't take it with him given that he needed it more than I did.

For the next fifteen years, that tiny bottle only came out of the medical cabinet on very rare occasions: when a sore throat was coming on, a bad headache was making me get snappy at the kids.  The closer the bottle came to becoming empty, the less frequently I used it.  My ex-sister-in-law had long ago stopped her membership not having gained many sales, and the label had fallen off and probably got swept off the floor and tossed into the garbage one bin-night many years previously, so I had no possible way of ordering another bottle.

Fast forward to March 2012.

I'm at work in my full time job as an Employment Consultant when I started getting what was going to end up being the worse headache I had experienced in a number of years. I wasn't at home, so I couldn't open the medical cabinet to look to see what hid inside its narrow shelves that might get rid of it.  And the last time I had used that special oil from my ex's side of the family would have to have been at least five years ago.  I don't even know if I even have the empty bottle anymore!  It certainly wasn't a cure I turned to anymore - even though it worked.

Another consultant, chronically ill and always having time off work and popping pills to manage her conditions, offered me an Asian patch to relieve the pain in my neck causing the headache to build. I was desperate: management was putting on the pressure to 'drop doing that and do this instead' what seemed like every five minutes, only to end up eventually telling me to drop what I am doing to do what I had been doing in the first place - which, if they had just let me get on and do my job in the first place they wouldn't have got caught into the never ending cycle of 'stop doing that and do this urgently'.

So when she handed me the Asian patch, it brought back memories. I've used these patches before. I have them at home. Oh, yes, they have been around for almost twenty years, no they are not brand new on the market.

And that set me off telling her all about the even better miracle headache remover that we also used to use: it was Sun-something.  I tried a few names on for fit, but none of them sounded right.  The name was there in the back of my memories, but buried deep. No matter how much I searched for the right name, it stubbornly didn't even come close to being on the tip of my tongue.  I could only tell you that the suggestions we were tossing about were not right. And we didn't hit on the right word for me to shout 'Bingo!' or 'That's it!'

The Asian patches did a fantastic job that afternoon and reduced my headache - not completely, but kept it held back enough that I could do my work.

I HATE not remembering a word or something.  It bothered me all afternoon: "What was the name of that Sun-something product?"

I got home that night and as soon as I walked in the front door, I forgot all about it, as I drove one child here, picked the other up from there, cooked dinner, settled teenager arguments, and then flopped onto the lounge after dinner and remained chilling out in front of the TV until it was time to shoo the kids off to bed or just go have my shower etc and go to be my own self with strict instructions that they keep the noise level down because 'I have work tomorrow'.

About a week later, when my colleague needed to use one of her Asian patches for her own self, and another staff member caught whiff of the Deep Heat type smell, with no managers in the office, and everyone one of us not having had a proper lunch break in weeks all slackened off and worked slowly while chatting socially amongst our small team.  The subject of the Sun-something product came up again.  The name still eluded me.  But this time, we all started scouring the internet typing in different words starting with 'sun' in the hopes of striking it lucky.

We did come across the word Sunrider that day, but I dismissed it, "No, the word was longer than that. It's not Sunlicker, and its not Sunshining." We all vowed to continue looking.

Two week's later, I found 'Sunrider' myself, but not the company page.  The health food store page that I had found mentioned 'Sunbreeze' and I jumped up excitedly and shouted to my colleague, "I've found it!"

The whole office (four of us that day) congregated around my desk and I proudly clicked the search engine link and visited the webpage that showed them the picture of the tiny bottle of Sunbreeze Essential Oil.

It was an American site; I live in Australia, and I didn't trust ordering things from overseas sites. I'd ordered things online before, it wasn't a case of not trusting 'internet shopping', I just didn't like the thought of having to try and purchase things in other currencies, and, well, how long do these things take to come by shipping at the cheapest postage rate?

I had a choice: I could purchase I single bottle, for about forty dollars by the time I added the postage and handling costs; or, I could order the site's twelve pack which was only ten dollars more than the price of the six pack once and worked out at about ten dollars a bottle for me.

That night, I was talking to my ex-husband who was picking up or dropping off one of my children, and I asked if he would be interested in buying a bottle of the Sunbreeze oil off me if I bought some.  He didn't hesitate to say 'yes'.  And then HE reminisced about how wonderful Sunbreeze oil is.  So I took the chance of being ripped off and purchased the on-sale twelve pack.

To my great delight, about three weeks later I found a package notice slip in my letterbox, and, still having time to fly up to the post office before it shut at five, I went and picked up my Sunbreeze!

One little bottle went next to my bed, another went in my handbag so I could take it to work, yet another went into my handbag so it could live in there. I gave one to my mum. I phoned my ex and let him know that my order had arrived.  He bought more than the one bottle when he realised I had plenty spare (he has other family members who I am not on speaking terms with, but I know he was purchasing for them, but that's okay).

My colleague bought a bottle, and so did another one. I wasn't out to make money.  I worked out how much each bottle costs and rounded up to the nearest dollar because I didn't want to have deal with giving change.

Okay, so now you've learned the history behind how I found such a remarkable product, now to give you some stats: 

You won't find anything comparable to Sun Breeze Oil on the market.

Dr Chen (the owner and founder of Sunrider products who created this Essential Oil as his first-ever product) has a Philosophy of Regeneration behind the products he creates.

Apparently, the molecules of SunBreeze essential oil are small enough to diffuse through the skin membranes to penetrate deeply into the tissues and the circulatory system.

You can use SunBreeze Oil to relieve a few ailments:
  • Headaches and neck pain
  • Muscle stiffness and tension
  • Nausea and motion sickness
  • Sinus congestion
  • Heartburn
  • Stomach upsets
  • Sore throat
  • Toothaches
  • Muscle pain/Back Pain/strains/sprain
  • Bruises
  • Arthritis and Inflammation
  • Insect bites
  • Cuts and skin wounds
  • Itchy Scalp

Menthol, Cassia oil, Mint Extract, Eucalyptus oil and camphor.

SunBreeze is available as an Oil or Balm

Available to purchase through a Sunrider Consultant.

You don't need to use much of the oil (I haven't tried the balm). Just a small dab at the temples and or back of the neck to give fast-acting relief from headaches - without the need for taking medication.

SunBreeze gives off a cold 'heat', you can feel it working. Just be careful not to rub it into your eyes, or anywhere else that may be sensitive.  I know, I did that and my eyes watered for ages (although, it cleared my 'sleepy eyes' for a few weeks).

I no longer have to be stingy with how frequently I use my oil.  I KNOW I can just order another bottle when I want to - which I will do long before I run out.

If you need help finding a consultant, please email me: Char Mesan Writes at gmail dot com (no spaces between Char Mesan Writes and no capitals)

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Overcoming the problem of skipping breakfast

In 2010-ish I borrowed a book from the Library. I don't remember the title now, and I have never seen the book on the shelf again despite a number of attempts to re-find it.

The book was to help you determine if you have a chemical imbalance as the cause of experiencing difficulties in reducing weight, and provided advice on overcoming sugar addiction. Packed with tiny tables with examples, the unknown author (my apologises to the author: you really deserve every praise and credit for producing such a wonderful helpful book) explained different chemicals produced by the human body and the impact it has upon metabolising food (yeah, I've read these types of books before but this was different to most), with the ultimate purpose of empowering the reader to get to the non-emotional root  and to then use the information one learns about their own body over a six week period to assist them in  setting and reaching their weight reduction goals.

I really wish I could remember the name of the book!

Being a bit of a Microsoft Word nerd, while I had the book I created an entire series of daily, weekly and analysing-the-data tracking forms based on all the mini-tables scattered throughout the book (bordering on plagarising I know, but I only intended to use the forms for my own benefit), which I then printed out (creating a inch-thick booklet for myself to complete). For the next six weeks, every hour on the hour during my waking moments, I dedicatedly spent less than one minute placing little dots into relevant grids for a number of considerations without over-analysing how I felt (as per the author instructions). For example, from memory one of the considerations was your current Hunger Level, and you marked on the grid whether you were (something like) Not Hungry, Mildly Hungry, Quite Hungry, Ravenous etc. Without thinking too much about it, you looked at the choices and chose your current hunger level. And then you moved onto the next consideration, for example your current Mood and whatever its choices were. Over the course of the day, you could see the rise and fall pattern for a range of considerations: hunger level, your mood, thirst level.

Seriously, I regret the day my last computer crashed resulting in my losing those electronic files. I spent weeks making those forms!

The information I gleaned from having carried out the exercise was... eye-opening. (There are so many words I could write here).

I learned that even though the foods I had eaten was on the most part 'healthy', my body was having problems because of my eating habits. My habit of never eating breakfast, even though it is common knowledge that people should never skip breakfast and I frequently endeavoured to eat this meal, was actually caused by a chemical imbalance preventing me from eating that meal!  Armed with this new information, I was able to experiment in how I could overcome this particular barrier (the author went in a whole new direction with her book from this point, which left me having to go it alone unfortunately).

It has taken me roughly two and a half to three years to train my body to feel hungry in the morning, and the solution in the end was rather simple: I couldn't eat my breakfast, so I turned to drinking it instead (to begin with).  Now, I can happily report that I maintain breakfast eating habits with eating a bowl of porridge or low-sugar cereals with a small handful of fresh fruit, or, on the days when I just can't stomach eating, I maintain my morning fuel-up by drinking a delicious smoothie - even if I have to water it down so I don't feel 'yuck'.

And, although I can't remember the reason why any more, I also eat thinly sliced Turkey on a sandwich twice to three times per week, because there is a beneficial chemical in turkey that was the secret to turning the situation around.

Anyway, if anyone ever knows the book I am talking about, please post the title in the comments section.  I still have my old completed tattered booklet, held together by a metal U-clip, but I would love to re-read the book, to understand how and why my former breakfast-skipping  leads to imbalance.