Best Staged Plans by Claire Cook

A Book Review for one of my favorite authors.

Author Julie Seedorf

It is no secret 26047381_10155060885697611_5873356279400153772_nAuthor Claire Cook is one of my favorites, so I was over the moon when I won her book “Best Staged Plans.”51u6AWVTKNL._SY346_ It  was autographed too. Can you feel my excitement? Her books seem to fit where I am at this stage in my life. The first book  I read by MS Cook was “Never Too Late Your Roadmap for Reinvention.” After that I devoured the books my library had and now I am into buying her books to keep forever. This doesn’t happen very often for me except with Catherine Coulter and J. T. Ellison. I actually gifted “Never Too Late Your Roadmap for Reinvention to a couple of my best friends.

Best staged plans never usually work out for me and the road is bumpy right now for the main character, Sandy Sullivan. She wants to let go of her house and reinvent…

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Don’t Let Fear and What-If’s Change Your Behavior

Something About Nothing by Julie Seedorf

posted the week of July 9, 2018 in the Albert Lea Tribune and The Courier Sentenel

 

Growing up in a small town I felt a sense of safety most of the time. It was during my childhood I learned about the “what-ifs” of life. It was taught to me unknowingly by my mother. She had no idea her anxiety about the evils of the world lent itself to my childhood fears.

Of course I was scared of the dark. What child isn’t? That was not anything my mother worried about. She worried about my health — what if you eat that and you get sick? She worried about my having an accident —what if you go with another family and they are in a car accident? And she worried about someone snatching me even if in those times kidnapping wasn’t a well-known problem.

We lived by the railroad tracks, and it wasn’t uncommon for hoboes to stop by and ask for money or food. They would often talk to my uncle when he was across the street with the horses or cows in the pasture. I was never allowed out when they were near. I was told they might kidnap me, and my parents would never see me again.

Gypsies were someone else to be afraid of in those days, at least from what I garnered from my mom. I was told they stole kids and did terrible things to them. I was terrified. I remember one time when I was home alone with my wheelchair-bound grandmother — I was around 9, a woman who dressed somewhat like I thought a Gypsy would dress, came to our door. I was afraid to go to the door. I opened the inside door but left the outside door latched.

The woman wanted to know if my mother was home. Of course I didn’t know what to answer. She wasn’t, but did I tell the woman that? The woman tried to get me to come outside, but I refused. She finally went away, but I was scared the rest of the day with visions of me being pulled out of the house and stolen.

Another time while in kindergarten, my mom wasn’t on the corner where she usually met me to walk me uptown to my dad’s store. I was terrified, because of the anxiety of what-ifs that mom wasn’t there. What if she had an accident? What if someone kidnapped me off the street?

Having been taught by a loving overprotective mother about what-ifs, my life continued and still does to this day to be fraught with scenarios when presented with something out of the ordinary or scary — scenarios that the majority of the time never come to pass but in my mind they are bigger than life and make me react out of fear to a situation, rather than thinking it through and coming to a sensible conclusion.

Right now I am in a book study which helps us confront our what-ifs and it is helping me immensely overcome those messages. But the vibes and messages of what-ifs and fear unknowingly sent to me in my childhood by my mother have had lasting consequences.

The other evening I attended a community meeting. A Level 3 sex offender is moving to my community onto a street with many children, close to parks and near the school. The community meeting was to give us information to make our community stronger and to alert us what to watch out for when it comes to our neighborhoods and children.

I thought it was well presented and felt the monitoring system in place was well thought out, along with the fact, well known in a small community, we all know what our neighbors are doing before they know it. We look out for each other. But the level of panic and anger outweighed any information attained to help us deal with the situation.

The “what ifs” were rampant. “He’s going to rape someone.” “What happens when he kidnaps one of my children?” “My son won’t be able to ride his bike safely to the pool anymore.”  “My children won’t be safe in their own yard.” “He’ll grab a child and put them in his car and we’ll never see them again.”

The tears fell, the anger built and some were out of control with their accusations. Some blamed our law enforcement for letting this person move into our community but the law is the law and they had no say in the decision.

I experienced something similar when my children were growing up in a different community from where I live now. The difference is the person hadn’t been caught yet and lived next door to me in a very old house. As neighbors, we watched as the men in the house enticed middle age school children to their home. I watched one day as one took a knife to another’s throat. The entire neighborhood was concerned, and we worked with the local police. This was a person detrimental to children but because he had not been charged, etc. we received no warning he was moving in.

Our neighborhood banded together. We calmly talked to our children. We took to the street. By that I mean, the kids went out into the street to play and we adults went out with our lawn chairs when we saw activity we were suspicious about at the house. We could track everyone coming and going because we were having neighborhood picnics. Soon, the neighbor moved because we were interfering with his activities. Soon after he moved he was arrested.

Were we angry? Yes. Were we scared for our kids? Yes. Were our kids scared? No. They were not scared because we worked together and the neighborhood did not show our children our fear.

We have a Level 3 sex offender coming to our community. We should be worried. We should be upset. We should have a plan, and we should be watchful. What we shouldn’t do is let our fear and what-ifs change our behavior so we teach our children that fear. Our fear should not be so out of control that it makes us act irrationally because that could have dire consequences not just on our future, but on the future of our children.

We as a community have to work to put safeguards in place to make our children safer and stronger. We need to work with local law enforcement to change laws in our community and with our legislature so offenders are not put within a close distance to day cares, schools and parks. In the meantime, new community residents need to know that small town residents watch out for one another. They care. Remember the “Sesame Street” song, “Who are the people in your neighborhood?” In my community we know the answer to that question.

Young and the Restless, Bold and the Beautiful What Happened?

bold and beautifulI don’t usually write posts on the soap operas I have watched for more years than I can count. At least it is that way with the Young and the Restless. I have followed the soap from the beginning. I began watching the Bold and the Beautiful when As The World Turns went off the air. Yes, I am a soap junkie starting from my teen years when my mom got me hooked. I won’t tell you how old I am now. Let’s just say almost older than dirt.

I will start by commenting on the Bold and the Beautiful. Since I have begun watching this soap, and I am not sure why I am watching anymore, it has pretty much consisted of Hope in love with Liam, Liam marrying Stephy, then divorcing Stephy and going back with Hope, and then back to Stephy and letting Stephy go, throwing  in a few more people for them to marry before they trade around again.

Then we have Ridge and Brooke. Ridge is with Brooke,  he marries someone else and back to Brooke, another distraction and then he is back with Brooke. You get my gist. In between, we have had a few other storylines like the one with Sheila coming back. I wasn’t in on the first times Sheila was in the mix but it was tiring having her come back again. You knew exactly what was going to happen. I really felt the mark was missed on the Quinn shooting too. The story could have been so much more.

I am a mystery writer and as a long time fan, I think I could even do better than what has happened. I was very hopeful when someone shot Bill and they had all these suspects. But then they ended the story quickly. My mystery writer mind had all kinds of twists and turns along with offshoot stories that could have kept us fans enticed for a long time. Add some history and the writers could have rocked it. But no, first the writers showed us Liam shot his father and then it was Taylor.  And I might add I have been very disappointed with the way the police are portrayed in this soap opera. It doesn’t do justice to what would really happen if crimes unfolded they way they did the past few months.

Elation bubbled over me when they brought the Spectra’s back but again it was quickly over and the writers dropped the ball not only on Bill’s involvement in trying to try to kill Sally and endangering Liam but also in the entire story that could have developed with Spectra and Forrester once again going head to head especially with Thomas helping Sally lead the battle.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the actors playing the characters. They are doing an excellent job with what they are given but I feel as if the Bold and the Beautiful are living in the movie Groundhog Day and every day is the same. Perhaps the problem is the writers and the networks are too young and not seasoned enough to understand what makes a soap great or what makes fans keep watching. Maybe they should hire a real author who spends their lives writing great stories.

Here is what I imagine in my head when I think of the Bold and the Beautiful. Liam and Wyatt actually finally say enough and start their own company to compete with Spencer Enterprises. Someone starts to sabotage Spencer Enterprises and of course Bill blames Liam and Wyatt but who is lurking from the past that could be the villain? Hope and Stephy finally both have had enough of Liam’s waffling between the two of them. Stephy becomes a single mother and though Liam will have a say in her child’s future, she doesn’t need a man to complete her. She is an independent woman and takes charge with her dad at Forrester. Hope takes time to figure out why she can’t move on and spends time figuring out who Hope Logan really is, maybe meeting someone new along the way that could take her in an entirely new direction. I feel this program shows a disrespect to these two characters who are supposed to be leading executives and strong women. Meanwhile, Liam and Wyatt also have someone sabotaging their efforts to start their new company. Both father and sons are too busy blaming each other to see what is really going on right under their noses.

Ridge and Brooke, Eric and Quinn become the stable couples although Quinn still has that impish spark inside of her and decides she is going to investigate who is trying to take down her son. Of course, her life might be put in danger but does she pull Eric into it too or does he still try to be the voice of reason?

We can’t forget about Pam and Charlie. They add a comedic touch to the show. As for Wyatt and Katie, well use your imagination and find a story for them so they don’t get boring. After all, they don’t do much right now as a couple except having trysts in Katie’s house or worry about what other people on the soap thnk of their relationship.

I know my storyline dreams might be lame but what I am saying is get off the same ole, same ole. A subject is talked about for days with not much action. It is very easy to fast forward through many conversations because there are not many surprises. Bring back some history. Tie the show together and add some mystery, strife, and comedy. Make us care about the stories and the characters. I might be wrong but it is time to find someone who truly understands the Forrester’s and is bold with the storyline and makes it a beautiful tale to weave.

Tomorrow my take on the Young and the Restless.

Who am I? Just a fan that wants my soap opera back. Is that too much to ask?