TaoDiva has moved!

Please visit me on my own website:


Here you will find the continued blog, albums and novel information.

Come visit soon.

Happy New Year!

Published in: on January 1, 2011 at 1:46 am  Comments (2)  

Get the word out. . . and down on paper!


National Novel Writing Month


My 2010 New Year’s resolution is in jeopardy.

Yes, I still want to write a book in 2010. But the book about Cortez, the domination of Mexico and the role of his interpreter/spy Malinali is still in the early research phase. It turns out, my high school world history class, and one semester of college level history is a woefully inadequate foundation for a serious work of historical fiction.  (Who Knew?)

Fortunately I have 3 things working for me.

1.   Next month affords me several stretches of potentially good writing time. First week, I am taking a business trip which leaves me  stretches of time in a lonely hotel. The second week, I have a vacation in New Orleans, where great writers like Anne Rice, William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams and others have written amazing things. The third week, I have Thanksgiving which gives me a few extra days off. Now, all I have to do is leverage all that time for writing.

2.   November is National Novel Writing Month. That wild and exciting time where writers creep out of their solitary dens to intermingle and beat one another into a wild, frenzied word orgy of prose proliferation.

If you’ve never heard of it. The purpose of National Novel Writing Month is to reach anyone who has a story to tell and encourage them to pledge the month of November to the telling of it. The goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. (actually, in literary terms, that makes the work a “novella” not a “novel.” Still, you can add a sub-plot and some back story in the revision phase and easily get that up to the full 80,000 word minimum to turn it into an honest-to-goodness novel in the re-write.) National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short) is also taught as part of the Young Writer’s Program in high schools and colleges across the country to encourage both the consumption and creation of literature. It’s also just plain FUN!

3.   The last thing I have going for me is: Zombies. You heard me right, zombies, rotting, staggering, moaning victims of Voodoo-gumbo-ya-ya, ZOMBIES!

Throw a zombie in a story and you have the perfect excuse for wild writing abandon! Crazy plot twists and verbose scenes of wordy mayhem, what else does a writer need to bash out 50,000 words in 30 days?  Except lots of coffee, of course.

Want to learn more about NaNoWriMo? Want to read my plot synopsis and monitor my progress? Better yet, want to join us with your own story? Click on my novel’s title banner below. It will take you to my profile page at: NaNoWriMo.org

Published in: on October 16, 2010 at 2:37 am  Leave a Comment  

For “Sail” : 1001 tales of adventure and discovery

     Scheherazade was an Arabian queen brought to her husband on her wedding night. Now this Sultan was easily bored. In fact he had his queen killed every day just to get a new one every night. (Sucks to be queen.) But Scheherazade had an active imagination and a plan. Every night she told the Sultan stories. Every day he wanted to hear what happened next so he stayed her execution day after day so she could tell him stories night after night. The stories she told are known as “1001 Arabian Nights.” She came to be known as “The lady of a thousand tales.” 

     That is why my father’s sailboat is called Scheherazade. Often, when coming back from a sail and tying up at the dock, dad will say, tongue in cheek, “we cheated death yet again!” To which I respond “with another tale to tell.”

      We have thousands of stories thanks to Scheherazade and like her royal namesake, she is well designed to playfully get out of dangerous situations.

     Dad is putting Scheherazade on the market this summer. She’ll have a new owner and teach new captains how to sail her. I’ll miss her, but she is happiest mothering along new sailors and giving them stories to tell.  So when she’s sailed on to new adventures without me, I’ll just visit the water and crew for my friends until the time comes to own my own sloop.  But until she changes hands, I’ll be on Scheherazade under an orange and yellow flag.

     She draws a full 4 feet at only 26ft long. This makes her unusually stable in the water. She is also narrow in the beam like a little dolphin. This makes her unusually responsive and maneuverable giving every opportunity to correct any little mistakes a new sailor might make before it comes to trouble. If you do get into sailing conditions over your skill level, just let go the tiller and she’ll stop, turn into the wind and let you bring the sails down safely and start the motor. Not like those tipsy, fat boats that give you lots of room inside but catch every wave and current bouncing you around the lake like a clumsy walrus.

     I like sailing best when it’s a bit of work, when the waves are choppy and the wind a little too strong.  Otherwise Scheherazade will sail herself and I don’t get to “feel” how good a sailor I have become.

     Dad taught me to sail the way mom taught me how to swim; by playing on the water until I was doing it without realizing it. It’s so much easier and more natural than riding a bike. I don’t remember the first time I swam or sailed. It’s just like you don’t remember your first step when learning how to walk. It just happens and it feels like you were born to do it and have done it forever.

     My mother spent the summers of her young womanhood as a lifeguard and is a powerful swimmer and diver. She is at home in the water. She watched over me while I learned to swim so I never felt any fear or danger and Scheherazade watched over me learning to sail so I never felt any fear or danger. She’s a boat I trust like my mother. Just as strong and capable in her love and protection.

     The last several years, I have taken Scheherazade out to play without Dad. I’ve been using my husband, children and friends when I need some crew and even started an annual “chic sail” where I introduce a few girlfriends to sailing.

     Maybe it’s silly, but when I’m on Scheherazade without Dad, I have a little orange and yellow flag I run up. When you see it, you’ll know it’s me at the helm. Stop on over and say “ahoy.” I’m always looking for crew and want to get out on the lake as much as I can. This might be my last summer on a sloop. It makes each sail a precious joy.

Published in: on April 18, 2010 at 1:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

The side effects of making dreams come true

Spring is here and I’m ½ way through my copywriting course. I am even working on my first spec assignment. (That means I write it for free and if they like it they buy it. I think they’ll like it. I just hope they like it BEST!)

      I have also finished the outline for my novel and written a 10 page synopsis. Now I’m researching history and details of the period before I start writing the first full draft. No – that’s not procrastination. (Yet) I’m still meeting my personal deadlines and am on schedule for a finished book by the end of November.

      So far my new year’s resolutions are on safe ground. But I have a problem. All this “butt in chair” writing, reading and researching has cut into my active time. Since my day job is another “butt in chair” kind of thing, said butt is getting bigger. Gulp. I’m not comfortable with this. It is time to troubleshoot the unexpected side effects of making dreams come true. No one told me writing caused augmentation of the posterior.

     Here’s my plan:

  1. Go back to Curves. A quick 30 min trip around the circuit before work will do me wonders! I don’t write before work anyway. I watch the news, update facebook and drink coffee. I think I can safely cut back on those activities.
  2. Go back to Weight Watchers. . . but NOT at the local meetings. I’m joining the on-line Weight Watchers community. That way I won’t get those nasty phone calls accusing me of stealing a scale when I actually bought serving spoons. (Don’t ask – it’s still too painful.)
  3. Now that the weather is nice, Darling Husband and I can return to our evening walks at Pickerington Ponds. We enjoy a lovely trail there that registers just under 5,000 steps on my pedometer. After I log out of  work for the evening, we go to Rita’s Ice (They even have a sugar-free ice-of-the-day.) and take our walk.

Now, if I can keep it simple, I’ll succeed. I know this about myself. The more complicated the schedule, the less likely I’ll keep it up.

Curves every work-day but Monday (That’s Darling Husband’s day off.) and a walk ever work night but Tuesday (That’s when I take my copywriting class.)

See, the complications are already jumping up. Down boy! DOWN!

Any body got a whip and a chair?

~Angela TaoDiva

Published in: on April 7, 2010 at 6:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Visualization? Premonition? Fate? Chance?

     When I was in fifth grade, my Science teacher was having trouble getting my class to settle down just before Christmas vacation.  Instead of fighting for order, she gave in to the excitement and instructed us each to come up with a design idea for a new toy. The idea was that we were Santa’s elves, working in the tech department of the toy factory and were trying to come up with ideas for toys of the future. I will never forget my toy idea. . .

     As an avid reader (I was the four-eyed nerd sitting cross-legged on the playground reading a book with no pictures.) my toy idea was, of course, a book. But this book was special. This was a book that looked like a blank journal when you picked it up. But once in your hands, the book came alive with whatever you wanted to read.

     Shakespeare? Done! This year’s Newbery award winner? You got it! (and yes, even at age 10, I was a discerning reader looking for the Newbery medal on the cover of new fiction.) Best of all, if you wanted to read books of a “delicate” nature, like “Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret.” Your magic book would never reveal it by displaying explicit cover art. Your mother will just think you are reading more Newbery award winners while you ponder mysteries like, “when will I get my period?” and “can exercises really make my breasts grow?”

     Best of all, if you wanted to know something, or learn about something, you could research it right from your magic book and find books, magazine articles or even current events. Once you found it, the pages you wanted would be called to your book for reading at your leisure. What a treasure! Such a thing would have been worth whole libraries, whole worlds of knowledge that could be held in the small hands of a 10 year old girl!

     My teacher gently advised me that this was science class not English. She intended for us to write about something technical not imaginary. My peers none too gently made fun of me for desiring imaginary books over magnetized and animated toys. But it looks like I got the last laugh.

     Now it actually exists! Now I actually have one of these magic books! Holding it in my hands for the first time, over thirty years later, brought tears to my nearsighted, but visionary eyes. Science has come through for me at last.

Was it the Law of Attraction? Visualization? Premonition? Fate? Chance? Does it matter? My Husband gave me a nook last week and, to me, it is my magic book come to life. My nook is more than just an e-reader. It is a link to my 10 year old self.

     (Here you go sweet-heart. You may be too old for Judy Blume now, but it works just as well with Anais Nin. Go play!)

Published in: on April 1, 2010 at 1:54 pm  Comments (2)  

Oatmeal Anyone?

Ok, this is really embarrassing.  I used to do this cleansing fast ever 6 months or so while training in a very strenuous Kung-Fu program 2 hours or more at a time four days a week and practicing tai-chi on my “off” days. In other words, I was VERY athletic.

     Yesterday I awoke with mild symptoms of hypoglycemia, tremor and headache. I drank my cleansing “lemonade” because the formula includes an organic sugar source in order to maintain blood sugar while the lemon provides a gentle cleansing to the newly scraped and exposed walls of the digestive system.  Only it didn’t work. Headache got much worse and I went from tremors to clumsiness and was easily confused and disoriented.

     So I drank a little orange juice.  At this point my husband is very worried.  I give the orange juice some time to get into my system and still have all the symptoms of hypoglycemia.  So he talks me into some vegetarian vegetable soup, which I gratefully accept. After about 8 ounces, I’m feeling cognitively myself again and the headache is just a mild version of itself. So I get dressed and we go to the movies.

     That might not have been the best decision and Shutter Island might not have been the best choice of movie. I became nauseous, the headache returned strong as ever and I lost my ability to control my own body temperature. I began to wonder if it had nothing to do the cleansing diet at all and maybe I was coming down with the flu.  When we got home, Wayne tucked me into bed, gave me some more soup after my stomach settled and I slept for over an hour.

     I felt much better after waking up I had an ALT sandwich (that’s like a BLT but with avocado instead of bacon) I felt very much myself again. Headache was gone and I was able to concentrate and read. I still took it easy and, this morning, started my day with coffee and oatmeal.  Homemade fruit smoothie and salad for lunch and tonight for dinner, we’re having soy-burgers on whole grain buns.

     When you just plain eat healthy, maybe you don’t need a cleansing fast.  What am I trying to cleanse out anyway, Soy residue? <shrug> So, chalk one up for the “it seemed like a good idea at the time” department and move on.  Still, it does hit me that maybe I’m not as strong, and resilient as I once was.

     Maybe I just need to respect my (amazing, hot and lovely) 40-something-year-old body and just be nice to it.  I don’t mean “here have a chocolate sundae and watch TV” nice. I mean “enjoy a walk in the fresh air instead of a brutal workout” and “have some salad in a 100% whole grain pita instead of a three day fast” kind of nice.  Is that so bad?

     Buddha was right when he advised “the middle way.” The trick is finding the center. Lesson learned and thanks for the oatmeal.


Published in: on March 24, 2010 at 7:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

Spring Tonic

     It’s the first full day of spring and I’m on vacation. I’m not going anywhere, but I am using the time for a personal self-spa, detoxification and re-energizing week.  So far I am on my third day of my detox diet cycle.

     Now, before I tell you about it, please understand that I cannot recommend this diet to anyone else. It was recommended for me by my kung-fu Sifu back in 2002 and though I no longer practice kung-fu, I still practice the detox diet because it just makes me feel so amazing, healthy and energetic! Please don’t try this at home without your Sifu’s advice.  Also, while I’m on the subject of disclaimers, I don’t have ANY idea where Sifu got this diet. So if it’s a patented or copyrighted regimen, just let me know and I’ll give credit where credit is due.  But please spare me if you think I got it wrong. Maybe it does not match the diet you THINK I’m trying to follow but it does match the instructions I was personally given so I’ll keep to my plan, thank you very much.

     Days 1, 2 and 3, I get to eat nothing but raw vegan food. That’s right; my entire diet consists of raw fruit, raw vegetables, seeds grains and nuts. I can soak my grains to make them soft (as in a tabouli salad) and I can use olive oil in small amounts. I can also drink plain tea, water and small amounts of plain soy milk. Oh yes, I can’t mix yin food and yang food in my stomach. They have to be eaten at least 2 hours apart.

     As I understand it, a yin food is anything that comes from a plant that dies down at the end of its season or has a dormant phase.  A yang food is anything that comes from a plant that constantly grows spreads and progresses without ever loosing its leaves.  For example, an apple tree is bare all winter so an apple is a yin food. (I’m getting sick of apples.) A banana tree keeps growing until it dies and never completely looses its leaves so a banana is a yang food. Get it?

     This makes it a real research project to make smoothies or salads.  Can I put pineapple in coconut milk with banana in a blender? Can I put avocado on my spinach salad?  I’ve been giving Wikipedia quite a workout over questions like this.  (In case you are wondering, the answers are yes and no respectively.)

     All the antioxidants, live enzymes and cleansing juices make the whites of my eyes VERY white and my hair and nails grow like crazy and my skin is bright and clear. But can we talk a moment about, um, poo?  Yeah, the idea is to get so much fiber and roughage that it scrapes the colon clean so you can better absorb the detoxifying “lemonade” in phase 2 of the cycle.  But . . . wow, that’s a lot of poo. I’m glad I invested in some really good, soft toilet paper. Surprisingly, there is no diarrhea, cramping, gas or other intestinal issues, just a LOT of poo. 

     Tomorrow I’m transitioning into the “lemonade” fast. So I’ll tell you about that later. Right now . . . I have to “go.”  <Blush>

To your health,


Published in: on March 21, 2010 at 10:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

The Scariest Word

     So, we’ve all been taking a few minutes each day to work through the 21 day success principles mentorship program, right?  If not, go ahead and click on that link to the right of this post, the one labeled “Jack Canfield’s mentorship course” there is still plenty of time.  (If you are getting this “blog blessing” in an e-mail, you will have to go to the site to access all the links. www.taodiva.wordpress.com 

     Just for a moment, I’d like to discuss that scary word “responsibility.”  The first principle of success (as outlined by Jack) is to take 100% “responsibility” for your life.

     Our culture uses the term “responsibility” interchangeably with “burden,” “blame,” “fault” or at the very least, “obligation.”  But actually, “responsibility” is simply the characteristic of being able to respond.

     Being responsible means not sitting in your dissatisfied state thinking “if only this, then I could do that.”  That is NOT responsible.  There is no virtue in a patience that is just sitting “waiting for the world to change” (one of the most irresponsible song lyrics EVER!)  I mean maybe you can’t do the “that” that you have in mind but surely you can do “something” to cultivate yourself so you are ready when “that” comes into range.  Or do something else productive while watching for opportunities for “that.”  Or (here’s a radical notion) let “that” go and cultivate an awareness of alternate possibilities.  Seriously, is “that” all there is?  I don’t think so.

     To be “responsible” you just do a little thing I call “Acting from where you are.”  

      OK – So now apply this logic to the concept of “misplaced responsibility.”

. . . Ouch! . . . Yeah, that one hit me hard too. Let’s contemplate on it a little, shall we?

TaoDiva is going back to her cushion now. . .

Published in: on December 10, 2009 at 12:50 am  Comments (1)  

Healthy, Wealthy, Happy and Wise

     OK, I know it’s not even Christmas, but have you thought about your New Year’s resolutions yet? Seriously, Christmas is a great time to reflect on your life and consider your values and deep meanings and of course telling others what you want. I suppose you could do this at any time of the year but the ending of the calendar, birthdays and important life transitions naturally lend themselves to the concept of new beginnings, fresh starts and “do overs.”     

     Lately though, I’ve noticed people talk about New Year’s resolutions as if they were quaint or childish fantasies. If I hear one more person wave me off and whine “I don’t make resolutions. No one keeps them any way.” I think TaoDiva just might have to clock you one! Committing to specific goals is not like believing in Santa Clause! No one thinks making a resolution is like wishing on a star. No, making a resolution is examining where you are and where you want to go and deciding it is worth the trip to get there. Unless you are already totally satisfied, at peace with yourself and have everything you want out of life, you need to set some goals. Why is New Year’s Day so scary to you? Even if it’s true and you don’t achieve your goals, just working on them for a while will build your will-power muscles and teach you what works and what doesn’t so you are better prepared the next time you try.

     Maybe it would help to balance your goals? Jack Canfield recommends focusing on several basic areas of life. Something physically health related, something financial or career oriented and something of personal importance. I would add something of intellectual or educational importance to give you the “healthy, wealthy, happy and wise” formula of goal setting. This way, you are balancing your effort and attention over your whole being. It also takes the pressure off any single goal so success not a “pass/fail” test but more of a “pleasure curve.” Here’s an example

     My New Year’s resolution for 2010 is “mastering the art of balance.” So I have balanced several goals that I want to accomplish in 2010. Some are easy and just take a simple decision and a single action step, like my financial goal of contributing 10% of pre-tax income into my 401K. To do that, all I had to do was visit to my human resources website and schedule a 1.5% increase in my automatic contribution per quarter and DONE! I don’t have to worry about it anymore and by the end of the year I’ll be exceeding my goal. Now that’s what I like; a goal with wiggle room and on auto-pilot! 

     Then, of course, some goals need more attention to carry out, like my personal goal of writing the novel I conceived of over 20 years ago. I always wondered if I had the discipline to draft a complete novel. This year, I’ll find out. But for this goal I will need to organize a plan, break it down into steps and schedule time for it into my regular routine. And if I don’t finish?  Technically, that’s a “failure.” But just think what I will learn about myself, while “failing.” Now that’s what challenges me, excites me and (gulp) scares me; a goal that requires consistent attention, additional learning, maybe a writer’s workshop or two and a level of talent I’m not entirely sure I have. But I’m going to LOVE finding out!

     Don’t worry; I’m not going to outline all of my goals here. This is your resource for creating your own balance. So take a look to the right. Do you see that link to Jack Canfield’s mentorship course? Go ahead, click it. It will take you to a sign up page for a free 21 day program to help you clarify your goals and stack the deck of life in your favor to achieve them. Best of all, there is still time to do the program before the year ends so you can plan the journey to balance your own goals for 2010.

Published in: on December 6, 2009 at 1:38 am  Leave a Comment  

Welcome to (this) life.

     I was talking to Jack Canfield today.  Really, Jack and I spoke on the phone, one on one, for about half an hour.  TaoDiva will not lie to you.  I had a few questions I wanted to explore with him surrounding my decision to return to writing.  Of course, the conversation quickly turned to more personal concerns which, on the surface, had nothing to do with writing but had a dramatic effect on my plans.  The single thing he said to me that made the pivotal shift in my approach was this. “Balance is a verb.” 

     Think about it. We all say we are “looking for balance” or “trying to achieve balance.”  When what we really need to do is consciously decide what is important to us, what its worth to us and constantly revise our schedules and adjust our efforts to “balance” the shifting landscape of life to our advantage.

      That is the intended purpose of this blog. We will explore the art of balance in every area of life. We will seek out tips, links and resources to help manage the multiple, challenges, dreams and desires of our lives.  Keep in mind that we will never “graduate” from this class. Balance requires constant attention and response to changing situations.  The inconsistent wind of life will always blow from a new quarter and only by constant adjustment of our sails will we stay on course.

     Then, of course, there is the problem of your guide on this journey.  I am Angela Hilbert. For years “TaoDiva” has been my “altar”-ego but I am far from an expert, guru, teacher or wise woman.  I’m not above an occasional rant against the lunacy of our present existence nor do I always make the best of decisions.  No, I don’t pretend to have the answers but I do have a way of exploring questions that might help us come to a conclusion that works, at least for the moment.  And if we live moment to moment in the present moment, isn’t that all we need?

We’ll see. . .

Angela TaoDiva

Published in: on December 1, 2009 at 2:46 am  Leave a Comment