After finally mustering up the courage and deciding that I was in the right place to do it, I finally sent a letter to my eldest brother. I told him the truth. I told him about the stuff I was going through - namely at the hands of the woman who gave birth to me - and how I left because I no longer felt safe.
I hesitated just once before putting the letter in the mailbox. No matter what it brings, right now I feel amazed and relieved. Whether or not he believes me (I have this fear of people not believing me), I know that right now I am proud of what I did. I won't regret it.
And, having finally done that, another voice from the past has come back into my life.
Someone who abandoned me shortly before I left for Australia (because I mentioned that I was leaving) recently sent me an email. It was to an old account, so the email came about a week ago. But I just read it today.
My defenses are up because I've been too hurt in the past to let anyone back in easily, but I'm still feeling gobsmacked over being contacted at all. This is a person who has wanted nothing to do with me for nearly four years.
At the moment, I am trying to concentrate on AussieCon, but I'm wondering what other strange things life will bring if I continue on this path of not letting fear stop me from doing what I think is right...
...who had only been living in Australia his entire life and could have told me in three seconds how to get to wherever I wanted to go.
The first time I took the bus, I was forced to do so by a no-so-helpful Connex guy who didn't understand the words I WANT TO TAKE THE TRAIN.
Now, things are changing. I'm changing. Yesterday, I took the bus of my own free will to a shopping centre that I wouldn't have been able to get to on foot.
And it was good.
I'm finally starting to see the light as far as buses go. Trams only go through the city and inner suburbs. Trains are even more limited. Buses? Buses open up a wider
How about you? Do you ever take the bus?
AUSSIECON 4 – otherwise known as the 68th World Science Fiction Convention – is happening September 2nd – 6th, 2010 in Melbourne, Australia and I get to go!
Sure, I’ll be broke for the rest of 2010, but it should be worth it.
My awesomely awesome friend Nyssa and I were both bemoaning our ‘not enough money to go to con’ fates when a certain literary angel bestowed some funds upon Nyssa. Because of that, Nyssa was able to afford to fly from Sydney and go halfsies on a room with me in exchange for airport transport and a night’s stay at Casa de InkyBlots.
Like I said, it’s made things tight financially, but if I get just two silver tours from the con, then I’ll have covered what I spent.
Have I mentioned I’m a virtual book tour coordinator?
So, yes, a lot of the con will involve me with my professional face on, but I know I will have heaps of fun as well. And, of course, the writer in me is absolutely gaga at the prospect of spending so much time around authors, agents, other wannabe novelists and pure fans.
Is anyone else who reads this blog going?
From Booking Through Thursday
1. Favorite childhood book?
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
2. What are you reading right now?
There are a couple of books... The one getting the most focus right now is The Ten Commandments of Losing Weight by Arlene Normand (I know what you're thinking, but it's a decent read.)
3. What books do you have on request at the library?
Nothing at the moment
4. Bad book habit?
Hanging onto books I don't like. Why keep them? I'm trying to 'polish' down my collection to only books I adore.
5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
Four books: The one I mentioned I'm reading now, The Beck Diet for Life (hoping to pick up a few good tips), The Art of Raw Living Food by Doreen Virtue and Body Intelligence by Dr. Edward Abramson. (Can you tell I have a theme?)
6. Do you have an e-reader?
No. I wouldn't mind one, but someone would have to buy it for me.
7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
I would normally answer one at a time, but experience teaches me that I usually have more than one on the go.
8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
I'm a bit more organized with reading and actually take the time to do it rather than letting the time find me (which it rarely does).
9. Least favorite book you read this year (so far?)
Hm. Probably Italian for Beginners by Kristin Harmel. You can read the review for my nitpicks.
10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
If I can go by the past year rather than 'in 2010' I'll go with The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet is Killing Our Culture and Assaulting Our Economy By Andrew Keen. I found it just plain fascinating.
11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
Regularly. It comes with the territory when you review for people.
12. What is your reading comfort zone?
When I was younger - epic fantasy and historical romance. Now... anything with the romance element.
13. Can you read on the bus?
Yes, but I prefer not to. Public transport is my time for cooking up my own stories.
14. Favorite place to read?
In my recliner.
15. What is your policy on book lending?
I don't have a policy, but I'll only do it with people I really trust - in general and trust to take care of my books.
16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
No. Do it enough and the corner will come off.
17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
No. I tried once as an experiment, but I prefer taking notes on a note card that doubles as a bookmark.
18. Not even with text books?
19. What is your favorite language to read in?
English. I'm not proficient enough in any other language to read books in those languages.
20. What makes you love a book?
Characters and romance, mostly. A place can really take me, too, but that has only happened on a couple occasions (Red Dust by Fleur McDonald...)
21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
I love plenty of books, but I don't often do a lot of recommending. When I do, it's because a book make me think and/or changed my views on something. For example, the Ender series by Orson Scott Card.
22. Favorite genre?
These days, I really don't know. I read so much of this and that.
23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)
Steampunk and urban fantasy. I've heard a heap about both but read little to nothing in those genres.
Another tough one. Stephen King's On Writing pops into mind, though that was only part biography.
25. Have you ever read a self-help book?
Certainly. I don't think there is anything wrong with it.
26. Favorite cookbook?
Margaret Fulton's Encyclopedia of Cookery.
27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
Inspirational... I haven't finished it, but The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance really got me thinking not far into the book.
28. Favorite reading snack?
29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
I don't really have one. I tend to avoid over-hyped books.
30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
A lot, but only because there are now so many critics out there. You'll always end up agreeing with someone if everyone is giving an opinion.
31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
It's a necessity of life. You can't like every book you read. So long as you can fairly and even-handedly express why you don't like a book, you'll be fine. Or, you should be, in an ideal world where authors realized that bad reviews are an opportunity to make their future work better rather than taking a bad review of their book as a personal insult.
32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?
Assuming that if I can read it, I can speak it as well, Japanese. I love anime and graphic novels, but I'm at a complete loss with the symbols. On the other hand, Egyptian would be brilliant.
33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
Probably The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson simply because it is one of the few hyped books I've read (because it came so highly recommended from a friend) and because the book is bloody massive.
34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
I can't think of anything I'm too nervous to read at the moment.
35. Favorite Poet?
36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
Usually two to four.
37. How often have you returned book to the library unread?
Never unread. On a few occasions, unfinished.
38. Favorite fictional character?
Polgara the Sorceress from a book by the same name by David and Leigh Eddings.
39. Favorite fictional villain?
No my favourite so much as the one that always sticks in my head when villians are mentioned: Starlaughter Sunsoar from Sara Douglass' The Wayfarer Redemption. Nutty as they come and literally tears people apart.
40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?
Usually none, as hotel rooms are my muse, but if any... Something light and fluffy or non-fiction (being in a good, relaxed mood makes learning much easier).
41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
Probably a year, if we're not counting the newspaper. I think I was a little burned out after uni, moving to Australia, starting up a new life, etc.
42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
Memoirs about child abuse or books that involve detailed child abuse. I usually manage to avoid them all, but sometimes it pops up here and there. I can't name a specific book right at the moment, though.
43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
Everything else on my to-do list.
44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
Howl's Moving Castle, which is strange because they changed so much of it.
45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
I know there are plenty to choose from, but nothing comes to mind at the moment.
46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
$100. I bought my husband the collector's edition of Footrot Flatts.
47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
Never. My habit is synopsis, first few pages.
48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
A topic I couldn't handle reading or just plain didn't want to read, a story going nowhere, something totally unfitting of the book and/or completely stupid happening...
49. Do you like to keep your books organized?
I would like to...
50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?
I'll keep them if I like them and can't bear to part with them. Otherwise, they go on Bookcrossing.com or on my giveaway shelf.
51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
Anything overly hyped. Still avoiding all the Twilight books.
52. Name a book that made you angry.
I don't want to name it because of the reason behind my anger, but there was a book published by the head of a small publishing company that was so badly formatted that is pissed me off to no end. Different fonts, paragraphs running together... And this wasn't some goof trying to self-publish - it was from a company. Ack. It made me so angry to see such utter disregard for book form and for the readers.
53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
The Millennium Trilogy by Steig Larsson.
54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
I expected to like Queen Victoria: Demon Slayer more than I did.
55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
Any book that I learn from.
Interview with Tom Graneau - Author of 'Renters Win, Home Owners Lose: Revealing the Biggest Scam in America '
Q: Thank you for joining me today. Before we begin, would you mind introducing yourself to the readers?
A: I was born in Dominica, a small island in the Caribbean with a population of roughly 70,000 people. At seventeen years old, my mother and I immigrated to the United States. At age twenty-five, I joined the military and spent fourteen years in the U.S. Navy. Most recently, I’ve spent roughly ten years as a financial management coach, conducting workshops and private consultations for people in the military, government agencies, and the civilian community. In 2005, I published my first book, Are You Financially Checkmate?, a project that took almost four years to complete.
Q: Can you briefly explain how owning your own home puts you on the losing side? Doesn’t it depend on where you live as to whether it’s better to rent or buy?
A: Housing is an expense we all must pay. The reward is the benefit of having a place to live we call home. Renters pay the monthly rent, some utilities, and no more. Home owners, on the other hand, approach the issue as an investment. They borrow money (the mortgage) to pay for the home and become legally responsible for the property. For the anticipated profit (the appreciated value on the home), they must pay the cost of the borrowed money (the interest on the loan), property tax, and home owner’s insurance. Over time, theses costs alone will wipe away any anticipated gain.
Meanwhile, they must maintain the property for sales appeal. When the cost of improvement, repairs, maintenance, and remodeling are brought into the equation, most home owners will walk away with a net zero percent return or less on the so called “investment.” In some case, it may appear that they made some money. But the apparent profit is minuscule compared to the money spent on the property during occupancy.
If these individuals had continued renting and decided to invest the extra money “wasted” on the home, the numbers show that they would be more profitable, potentially earning hundreds of thousands of dollars within the same period of home ownership. Thus, it goes without saying, why throw away the extra money on a home, when one can choose an ideal location to rent, with all the comfort and convenience of owning, and become wildly successful at the same time? All that’s required is a change of attitude.
Q: Australia is home to many ethnicities, some of which go by an older practice of home buying. A large group gets together, pools their resources and buys a house for one of the families. Then they save up and do the same again for the next family, and so on. Cash only, no loans needed. Is this a good way to get past the scam?
A: Yes. One of the most deceptive component of home buying is the mortgage. When this factor is removed from the home buying equation, there is a good chance for a profit. Though the owner will incur costs along the way such as property tax, home owner’s insurance, etc., the intrinsic value of the property will offset these costs to allow some gain.
There is a caveat to this option, however. The home owner should avoid taking loans (home equity line of credit, for example) against the property. Borrowed money collateralized on a residential property is counterproductive for the owner’s long-term, financial security.
Q: Another popular trend in Australia is to buy one block and build two houses, living in one and renting the other. Is the renter still the winner in this situation, or is this a possible defence against the scam?
A: This type of housing arrangement is creative, and it can be profitable, particularly if the property has no loans against it. But notice that the dynamics of the home ownership system have changed. Part of the property is commercialized, which gets into the investment aspect of real estate—a totally different set of circumstance, which Renters Win, Home Owners Lose intentionally avoided.
In any case, the one who rents the other half of the building still retains all the freedom, flexibility, and leverages of a renter. After paying rent and some utilities, all costs are passed onto the home owner, leaving the renter free to invest in other areas of profits. Meanwhile, the home owner is left to reconcile the differences between the profit and loss of the operation, a critical accounting step few home owners consider after the sale of a home.
Q: I can understand how renting would be better than owning homes, but do you ever find that renters are more vulnerable to market manipulation than homeowners? Homeowners are at the mercy of interest rate manipulations, but renters (as we’ve experienced here in Victoria) are at the mercy of foreign ‘investors’ who buy and keep homes tenant-less to drive up rental demand and prices.
A: The rate of rent is usually controlled by the market itself. In other words, one landlord cannot arbitrarily demand excessive rent beyond what the market will tolerate. At the same time, rent will periodically rise, partly because of inflation, cost of amenities, demand for certain areas, etc.
However, when the cost of living is compared between the average renter and home owner over a period of time (seven years, for instance), the home owner will have spent more money on the home with no extra benefits. In some cases, he or she may walk a away with some cash after the sales of the property, but the profit and loss statement may tell a completely different story.
Q: Is there a way to dismantle the scam? What needs to be changed?
A: Yes. The purchasing of a home comes with a long, established network of beneficiaries including local, state, and federal governments. For this reason, it seems that everyone makes money on the property, except the home owner. Undoing the network is virtually impossible.
On the other hand, when people are educated about the truth and decide to change the statusquo, positive things happen. For example, if people choose to rent and invest the extra money that would otherwise be wasted on a home, they would become wealthier as a result.
If this idea (renting by choice to become wealthy) begins to take root, the demand for homes would drop, which would ultimately initiate additional positive changes. Think of it, people would actually have money in the bank, and personal assets (not debt) would rise, which would be better for self, family, and the economy.
Q: Do you think there will be any change to the system any time soon?
A: No. changing the status quo will take time. However, instead of thinking about changing such a large influential network, people who are exposed to this idea need to avoid the scam altogether. They need to focus on improving their own individual and family circumstances. For instance, after purchasing three homes in a 30-year period, I am now a proud renter and plan to keep it this way indefinitely.
Q: Is there any point currently at which owning your home is better than renting?
A: The ideal situation would be to purchase a home without a mortgage. One can potentially make a profit when the property is sold, assuming that the market value does not drop below the purchase price. Keep in mind, however, that the government still retains eminent control over the property. In which case, a lien can be placed on it with the intent to sell and collect any unpaid taxes, leaving the owner in a vulnerable position.
The other wining option is to purchase a home with the intent to sell it immediately (days or months) later to another buyer for a profit—a lucrative real estate idea that many investors have put to use over the years. But then, that would negate the whole concept of “home ownership,” which is the point of discussion, and the envious goal for many.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
A: Yes: It is generally recommended that people should take money from savings, 401(k) plan, IRA account, etc., for a down payment on a home. I wouldn’t recommend it. Here is why: The money in a 401(k) plan, IRA account, or any other savings program belongs to the person who “owns” it.
When the cash is withdrawn and placed on the home, the individual loses control and ownership of the funds. It gets locked in a property that belongs to someone else—the lien holder. At best, the money is unusable. The only way to retrieve it is through a reverse mortgage or home equity loan, both of which are debt instruments that add more financial burden on the home owner. Cash on-hand should be kept separately from the house. Better yet, it should be placed in a safe investment as liquid assets to counter some of the losses experienced in the home.
Thank you so much for your time.
My pleasure. Thanks for the opportunity to speak with you. Here is one of my websites: http://www.renters-win.com/
People buy homes for various reasons. According to the Federal National Mortgage Association, a government-sponsored enterprise also known as Fannie Mae, 43 percent gave safety as the reason for purchasing a home; 33 percent said that proximity to good schools was their number one reason; and 70 percent admitted that financial investment was their main motivation, down from 83 percent in 2003. It goes without saying that financial incentive is the number one motivation for home ownership in America.
This is not surprising when one considers the cooperative effort that goes into promoting the concept. The real estate industry, including banks, mortgage companies, the government, and various other organizations have come together with one voice, claiming that home ownership is the most reliable path to financial prosperity. Consequently, Americans are preoccupied over the idea of owning a home, thinking that it holds the key to their financial success.
However, when the long-term benefits of home ownership is examined closely in terms of financial gain, there is none. Statistical facts and historic trends show that nothing consumes more of people’s hard-earned income than the homes they buy.
Furthermore, some of the most cash-depleted people in the United States are home owners, some of whom have purchased more than one home. For instance, more than 85 percent of the 78 million baby boomers in the U.S. have bought and sold several homes. Yet, close to 90 percent of them are broke. The logical question is, where is the wealth earned from the home. Additionally, more than 2/3 (78 percent) of American families are home owners. Nonetheless, the majority of us are strapped for cash, have little or no retirement savings, and are deep in debt.
What is wrong with the financial claim tied to home ownership in the United States? Renters Win, Home Owners Lose: Revealing the Biggest Scam in America unravels the mystery behind the push for home ownership. All told, the whole idea is a scam that benefits the super-wealthy people in this country while leaving the majority scraping to pay a mortgage for pennies or less.
Interestingly, the book focuses on home ownership in America, but the troubling issues associated with home buying are not isolated to Americans. The problem crosses international boundaries. From America to Spain, other than the differences in currency and cultural practices, the home buying process is the same. Since real estate is the most expensive commodity in every culture, those who don’t have buckets of cash to pay for a home must rely on a mortgage. It is this initial step that begins the negative, snowball effective that jeopardizes the long-term financial success of the home owner.
Realistically, banks and other mortgage companies are not in the business of watching home owners become wealthy. They are in business to make money through asset accumulation. No other debt instrument has been more lucrative for banks and investors than home mortgages. Consider, for example, the following simple mortgage scenario, based on American economic conditions:
• If you borrow $100,000 to buy a house for 30 years at 7 percent interest, your monthly payment will be roughly $665.00 for the life of the loan (principal and interest only). Your total cost for the mortgage will be approximately $240,000 (interest only), close to 2 ½ times the amount of money borrowed.
• To breakeven on this business transaction, your home must appreciate about 13 percent annually. This would cover the cost of the 7 percent interest loan, the 4 percent inflation rate, and roughly 2 percent property tax and home owner’s insurance costs.
• The average annual home appreciation rate is 4 percent, despite the real estate industry’s claim that homes appreciate 10 percent annually. Hence, a net zero percent return or less on the so called “investment.” The situation gets worse because this scenario does not account for other costs associated with the property—home owner’s insurance, property tax, maintenance, remodeling, etc.
Granted, there are times when real estate prices go up, such as what we’ve seen in recent years. This rapid increase in home valuation is usually referred to as a bubble, suggesting an unusual increase from the normal trend, which poses its own dilemma.
For instance, a housing bubble always ends up with a bust, meaning that the high peak cannot sustain itself too long before leveling off again. When it does, people who paid high prices for their homes will most likely lose money when the market drops.
Sellers who appear to make money as a result of selling their home at top price have two problems: (1) while they may have some cash on-hand, they are homeless, meaning no physical home address for the time being. (2) most people who sell their homes, almost immediately, buy another more expensive one, which consumes any apparent profit made on the first home. In which case, they are left in a cash-depleted situation, which may encourage the accumulation of more debt in the future. Hence, the cycle continues.
For these reasons and more, when the opportunity for wealth building is compared between home buyers and renters, those who choose to rent have greater propensity for financial success. That also means that when conditions are equal in all countries, the outcome will also be equal, in favor of renters who decide to invest the extra money that would otherwise be wasted on a home. Renters can truly be winners, regardless where they live!
Tom Graneau is a personal financial management coach and author of a new book, Renters Win, Home Owners Lose: Revealing the Biggest Scam in America. If you are tired of the bondage of debt and want REAL answers to personal freedom and financial independence, begin by turning things around with a no-nonsense approach to your housing option. http://www.renters-win.com/
No heating pads.
When I was younger and got an ear infection (which happened pretty often), I used to strap the ol' heating pad onto a pillow, lie down and crack that sucker. I don't know if there was any actual cracking involved, but that's the sound when you heat up your ear when it's infected.
I don't get ear infections as much as I did as a child, thank goodness, but I still do. And now I've somehow given my most recent one to The Bloke. Sigh. And we have no heating pad to tie to his pillow and help him crack it. Double sigh.
Any Aussies know where I can get a heating pad? Or are my observations correct and I just can't get one here?
Like this: http://www.chinatraderonline.com/Heating-Pads/Heating-Pad-001750525.htm
A lot of my friends say I've done a lot and that they respect the hard choices I've had to make in my life. That's awesome, but I don't want to forever be known for something I did when I was twenty years old.
But, for all my reflections and thoughts on who I am/who I want, I couldn't feel too bad with so many people wishing me a wonderful day. I was reminded that, no matter how down I get on myself or how much I feel like I haven't done a lot with my life yet, I have people who love me. People who genuinely love me for who I am right now - even if that person isn't completely figured out yet.
To all of you, thank you.
To my husband who makes my birthdays and many other days absolutely amazing.
To all my friends who have and continue to make my birthday and my life awesome: a poem.
None of that Sissy Crap
Are you getting tired of those sissy "friendship" poems that always sound good, but never actually come close to reality?
Well, here is a series of promises that actually speak of true friendship.
You will see no cutesy little smiley faces - just the stone cold truth of our friendship.
1. When you are sad -- I will help you get drunk and plot revenge against the sorry bastard who made you sad.
2. When you are blue -- I will try to dislodge whatever is choking you.
3. When you smile -- I will know you are plotting something that I must be involved in.
4. When you are scared -- I will rag on you about it every chance I get.
5. When you are worried -- I will tell you horrible stories about how much worse it could be until you quit whining.
6. When you are confused -- I will use little words.
7. When you are sick -- Stay the hell away from me until you are well. Again, I don't want whatever you have.
8. When you fall ---- I will point and laugh at your clumsy ass.
9. This is my oath.... I pledge it to the end. "Why?" you may ask; "because you are my friend".
Friendship is like peeing your pants: everyone can see it, but only you can feel the true warmth.
Outside my window… it is quiet as usual with a cold winter breeze moving through the trees.
I am thinking… of the lasagna I'm going to make tonight, all the work I should be doing but don't want to because of the window and why I write better at night with a lamp with an orange glow rather than white.
I am thankful for… the Bloke. He's awesome.
From the kitchen… ingredients are waiting to be put together for lasagna and a new dessert.
I am wearing… my comfies: a grey sweater I've had for years, dark grey sweatpants and, just for fun, my fun underthings.
I am creating… meals in my mind, stories on my laptop.
I am going… nowhere for the rest of the night. Too cold!
I am reading… Silver in the Sun by Tony Parsons, an outback novel.
I am hoping… that dinner will go well (can you tell I'm a wannabe chef?) and that I'll get a lot of writing done tonight.
I am hearing… The hum of the heater, news on the tele, the husband moving around.
Around the house… not much is happening. We live in a very quiet block.
One of my favorite things… is cooking.
I don’t understand… why people have to be so heartless sometimes.
I wish… I could stop time. And start it again, of course.
A few plans for the rest of the week… Well, I have a double-birthday lunch with John Mischief (mine is the 10th, his is the 11th) and a birthday pub meetup on the 13th.
A picture to share…
And it sucks. But it's part of life. Well, the expat life.
It's through this experience (and others like it lately) that I realise I have a lot of anger to deal with. Right now... Well, right now I am so bloody sick and tired about all my old US "friends" and family whinging and whining about how bad it was that I left and how much I hurt them.
Well what the fsck about me? Eh? I support so many people for the first twenty years of my life in so many bloody ways, and all I want is a little support in return for being brave enough to cut off my life from the woman who would have likely ended up killing me in one way or another. Is that too much to ask?
"A ginger beer."
"A ginger beer."
"Oh, a ginger beer."
Did anyone else play that game in school? You'll know if you did because the rhythm of the game will have already gotten stuck in your head. Anyway...
Aussie eats, but she also drinks. And this amber liquid of the non-alcoholic variety is one of my favourites. I have always loved ginger beer, but I grew up with 'Canada Dry' ginger ale.
Not the same.
Ginger beer - specifically Bundaberg - really hits the ginger flavour and is sweet, but not like soda or juice sweet. This drink is perfect for a hot day or to settle your stomach. Fleur mentioned to me once that ginger beer is what got her through the morning sickness of one of her pregnancies.
Now, I have to note here that I'm not sure if you can find this in the US or not. Like I said - I grew up with Canada Dry. If you can find it, try it. Yummy.