Late Night Visitor

The other evening as I prepared for bed there was a knock on my door. I opened it to discover a friend of mine who had decided to come visit despite the fact that it was well past the hour for it to be socially acceptable.

I was annoyed but decided to be polite. I explained that I was getting ready for bed; my friend said she was only going to stay for a minute.

Thirty minutes later I had to firmly show her the door.

I have a few questions as a result of this common occurrence.

Etiquette Questions

When someone arrives at your home unannounced, especially at a late hour, is it socially acceptable not to allow them to enter your home?

Is it rude to tell them that you were in bed or going to bed and refuse to accept the visitor?

Was it rude of me to tell my friend to leave when she showed no indication of doing so?

What is the proper way to handle undesired guests late at night? Please share your suggestions in the comments below.

 

The Changing Circle of Friendship

I unfollowed a few old friends last night on Facebook. I had known some of these people since I first moved to this area. I had laughed at their jokes, sat on their porches for chats…some of these people had been regular visitors to my home for years.

But something has changed inside of me these past few months. I found myself taking different routes as I ran my errands to avoid their houses.

I found myself deliberately cutting conversations short.

Then I found myself growing frustrated over their social media posts.

They talk about the same things all the time, I sighed to myself.

While I didn’t unfriend them entirely, I did stop their posts from appearing in my feed. I no longer cared about their most recent breakups or the battles they were waging with their neighbors across the street.

I was tired of watching them brag about their latest purchases one week, only to complain that their electric was shut off the next.

I was frustrated at their constant discussions of poverty. I’m poor too but instead of complaining, I hit the books even harder.

Facebook dinged at me as I finished my task. I glanced at the name and then closed out the page.

I wondered at that as I settled down to read. Was I becoming cold? Was I so driven to succeed that I was deliberately distancing myself from others?

The accusation had been leveled at me recently. I had forgotten how to have ‘fun,’ one friend complained.

I ended up spending a restless night as the puzzle turned in my brain. What was causing this change in behavior?

I’d noticed that I was becoming lonely. I’d noticed that I was sharing less of myself to others around me.

I’d even noticed a growing frustration as I found less and less to talk about with my friends. I found myself actively working to keep them talking to me so that I could avoid facing the fact that I no longer had anything to contribute.

The wee hours of the morning caused me to turn the question on its head:

Was there anyone in my life now that I associate with more?

To my surprise, the answer was yes.

I discuss the stock market and business issues with my neighbor, who happens to be a manager at the store next to mine.

I commiserate over the frustration of trying to juggle work and self-improvement with a friend who is attending college. Like me, she finds herself fighting for the right to improve her life with friends who want her to hang out with them instead.

I find myself cherishing the nights when I get to work with a friend who became a CNA, got a better paying job, and dropped down to working only one night a week at the store.

She plans to aim for a nursing degree now.

I realized that I have more in common with the kid who recently graduated BASIC after joining the Army Reserves, and I look forward to seeing one friend stop in the store after work. She managed to escape her job in fast food to become a preschool instructor.

I’ve even noticed the revival of a friendship that started back in the fourth grade. We chat more now than we have in years.

I recalled reading once that we are a reflection of the five people we spend the most time with. I didn’t think much about it at the time I first encountered the theory; I’d been a frustrated single mother just trying to make ends meet back then so I’d dismissed the notion as nonsense.

Over a decade later I’ve finally realized that there is truth in those words.

As You Change, So Do Your Friends

It is completely normal to change over time, especially if we embark upon a plan of self-improvement. We instinctively gravitate towards others who, just like us, want to change their lives.

This epiphany helped me to realize that I’m not becoming snobbish or jaded.

I’m not spending too much time focusing on my work.

I’m just changing, and with that change I now have less in common with the people from my past.

It is a sign that I am making progress.


Have you noticed your friends changing over time? How does that make you feel? Please share your stories in the comments below.

 

 

 

The Necessity of Facing Reality

Now that I’ve had time to breathe, it is time to face my current reality. I need to know what I’m facing in order to move forward.

Facing our current reality is a necessity. Burying your head in the sand won’t help one bit. You must know exactly where you stand, regardless of how shaky the ground so that you know what you are dealing with. That is the first step in overcoming any challenge you may face.

I’ve sorted my reality into a list of advantages and challenges. I’m leading with advantages first since good news always helps to soften the blow of the bad.

Advantages

  • I currently have a public job that brings in a bit less than $600 these days due to a cut in hours. Worst case scenario, I can live on that year-round once Katie moves out, though it will be rather tight during the winter months due to increased utility expenses.
  • I have my writing business, which is my passion. It brings in anywhere from $50-$120 a month, depending upon sales and runs a couple of months behind of my actual earnings. For instance, the royalties I receive in November will be from sales in September.
  • I have a checking account with roughly $1,000 in it; $500 is my pillow, and the rest covers my bills for the upcoming month.
  • I have over $1,700 invested in the stock market at the time of writing. My investments aren’t currently valued at that due to the slide in stock values, but it still brings in a bit of money each quarter.
  • I have a small investment in silver that can be sold if needed.
  • I have marketable skills in computer repair and sewing that can be utilized to earn extra money if needed.
  • I have no debt that I need to worry about paying off.
  • I have the amazing ability to live on very little money when necessary.

Challenges

  • I am facing the emotional upheaval of my daughter moving away. This may affect my reasoning if I’m not careful.
  • My expenses will double when the kid moves out. More than double from my current budget, since expenses are much higher here in the winter.
  • I have no idea what to do with my life as I move forward.
  • I possess neither vehicle nor drivers license, so employment options are limited if I need to seriously increase my income.
  • My cash padding is reduced due to my stock market investments, so I am running a bit leaner than I like as I head into the coldest months of winter. That makes me nervous.
  • I’ve realized that I have an unhealthy relationship with money and things that I need to deal with. I tend to focus on money (since my spending is under my control) when other facets of my life seem out of control.
  • I have realized that dental issues have been causing the exhaustion I’ve experienced this past year. If I don’t attend to this issue the infection could kill me in time. Since I have no intentions of leaving this world for some time to come, this is something urgent that I need to address.
  • I have very little saved up for retirement.

Evaluation

Overall, looking over this list I’m not doing too bad. It seems scary but the challenges are far from insurmountable. I’ve faced much worse in the past. History indicates that I will sail through this winter just fine. It might be tight, but it is workable. To be safe I won’t invest any more money into the stock market unless I know that I can definitely spare the funds. I will hold on to that money just in case I need it to pay bills this winter.

In the meantime, I need to keep a close eye on my spending. I need to reduce the amount I spend to adjust to the fact that I will have less free money in the future. It isn’t a pleasant reality to face but I have to deal with it. Fortunately, I have a few avenues available to make extra spending money if needed. I can take in sewing work by doing repairs and alterations. I can repair computers. I can even work on MTurk in my spare time.

I am already taking steps to correct my dental issues. As a result, I’m already noticing an increase in my energy levels. All I have to do is continue my current action plan and this issue will be eliminated. I will have to save up for a pair of dentures but I’ll figure that out as I go along.

I’ve realized that I do have an unhealthy relationship with money; understanding that you have a problem is half the battle won. I’ve altered my focus a bit to compensate. That said, that unhealthy focus will actually benefit me in the upcoming months since I may have to get creative to stretch my limited funds. I’ve got lots of experience with saving money as a result of my previous obsession with keeping expenses low.

I’ve formed a basic game plan to help deal with the emotional fallout of Katie leaving. I invested in a nice journal to provide a safe, pleasurable place to work through my emotions. I’ve altered my focus to the person I want to become instead of making financial goals at the present time. Once Katie moves out I’ll keep busy by sorting and rearranging my home to accommodate. I’ll be able to sleep in the bedroom and I’ll have more room overall once she’s gone. That is an advantage I want to keep my attention on. I will handle things better if I have something to look forward to.

I’ve got a nice stack of books in my “read” pile. These will keep me occupied and provide ideas and inspiration for the cost of free since I already own them. This will not only be cheap entertainment, it is educational as well.

I will eventually need to work out a definite goal but that is not an urgent need. I’ve waited twenty years to begin saving for retirement; a few months is not going to change things much. In fact, it might even benefit me. I may come up with ways to increase my income that don’t rely on working full-time.

Hmm. Thinking about it, that is actually a reasonable and safe goal to shoot for. Take this time to regroup, research, and brainstorm in order to increase my online income to the point where I can not only invest in my future but to supplement the income from my part-time job. I do like my job so I would like to remain working there; if I can arrange things to do so, while improving my standard of living, I would be much happier than I would be if I had to trade 40 or more hours of my life each week to earning a paycheck.

That is definitely something to keep in mind moving forward. I would like to work less, not more.

do want to improve my standard of living. I’ve thought about it, and I would like to invest in certain items like a small washer and dryer at some point in the future. I would also like to invest in a few items purely for decorative purposes over time. I’ve realized that I enjoy a bit of bling in my life so it is time I embraced that aspect of my personality. Minimalism be damned; I’ve settled into this home, I’ve no plans to move in the immediate future, so I see no point in deprivation so long as I can afford the occasional treat.

In Summary

By facing the reality of my current situation, I’ve realized that things aren’t as bad as they first appeared. I know where I currently stand. I know what I’m facing in the immediate future. I’ve got a workable plan for the short-term and a hazy long-term goal. It’s a start, which is all I need.

Have you ever sat down and thoughtfully analyzed your situation and the challenges you are facing? Please share your stories in the comments below.

When the Unspeakable Happens

We all have our demons. For the most part I keep mine stuffed in a box that I have hidden in the back of my mind. They like to escape sometimes, as they did recently when I made the mistake of watching Ford testify during the Kavanaugh thing.

Those demons caused me to go on a crying jag and write an incredibly long, painful post that I deleted once I returned to sanity. Some things are best left buried.

This doesn’t change the fact that sometimes Life allows the unspeakable to happen. How we deal with the unspeakable is what defines us. Do we cry over the injustice and allow it to control us or do we take a deep breath, accept what is, and use the incident to grow stronger as we move on?

How do you deal with the unspeakable in your life? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Chilling Encounter

It was Sunday, September 10, 2017. I was working the closing shift when I greeted my next customer. “How are you tonight?” I asked cheerfully.

“Not too well,” he replied. He went on to explain that he was having relationship problems. I responded sympathetically. I hate when my customers are having a rough time so I try to comfort them the best that I’m able.

“It doesn’t matter,” he responded to my overtures. “It’ll all be over tomorrow anyway.”

His expression and tone of voice rendered me speechless. He sounded like one of those nutters who prophesy the end of the world from a street corner.

“Well, tomorrow is 9/11,” I replied when I recovered from my surprise.

The man’s head whipped around and he caught my gaze with widened eyes. “Yes, it is 9/11 tomorrow, isn’t it?” His voice was thoughtful as he gave me a considering look. I nodded.

I handed him his change and told him to have a nice night.

“You be careful tomorrow,” he told me as he put the money away.

“You too, sir,” I replied. “There’s a lot of crazy things going on in the world, so stay safe, okay?”

He gave me the slow smile of a man with a secret. “I will,” he promised.

I shook off the encounter and went on with my shift. He wasn’t the first odd duck I had dealt with over the years.

The next afternoon the customers arrived with news. The schools were all on lockdown. A shooter was on the loose. He had shot down a helicopter and tried to kill the police who arrived on the scene.

I was a nervous wreck. My daughter was at school and I wouldn’t be able to check on her until I took my break.

My daughter and I spent the rest of my shift playing phone tag. I called on my break to check on her while she called the store number to check on me and relay updates. They eventually allowed the kids to go home as police continued the search for the shooter.

School was cancelled the next day. The man was armed, dangerous, and still on the loose. No one wanted to take a chance, so people living in that area of the county were advised to stay home and lock their doors. Eventually they caught him.

During the frightening event I recalled the strange encounter I had the night before. Remembered the confidence in his voice when he declared that “everything would end” on Monday. I wondered if it was the same man. Surely not?

And if it was, did I give him any ideas when I reminded him that Monday was 9/11?

I eagerly awaited video footage once the man was captured. I wanted to see this man, hear his voice, to determine whether or not it was him.

I watched him carefully in the video the news agencies eventually released. I see so many people during the course of a day; while he looked familiar, I couldn’t be absolutely certain.

I played that video repeatedly in search of clues. His voice finally clicked.

I’m still not sure what to think about that.

Regardless of whether I waited on him the night before or not, the legal system will dole out their version of justice and life will go on. Still, it’s an amazing thing when you work with the public in a small town.

You’re liable to meet anybody.

The Art of Owning Your Issues

This old broad is sad to report that she is quickly becoming a toothless crone. The other day I had two more teeth pulled and my dentist asked if I would consider getting dentures. I informed him that I had been exploring my options for quite a while.

I could blame my current dilemma on the doctor of my youth. When my parents expressed concern at how skinny I was the gentleman recommended that my parents encourage me to eat junk food and drink lots of soft drinks to add weight to my slight frame. I could blame my parents for following his advice, creating a bit of an addiction to sugary soft drinks and junk food that I’ve battled for many years.

I could blame the soft drink companies for designing a drink so harsh that there is an actual term for what I’m suffering from called “Mountain Dew Mouth.” While most soft drinks contain some sort of acid that eats at your teeth, Mountain Dew seems to be the biggest culprit in my area.

I could even blame my genetics since my Auntie informed me that our family has always had weak teeth…

…Or I can simply suck it up and move on.

This is me, moving on with a few less teeth in my stupid head. One of these days I am going to have to bite the bullet on a pair of dentures but today is not the day. I’m dreading it. With money being tight I’ll have to go around completely toothless as I wait for the gums to heal before they can fit me with a plate but who knows? Maybe I’ll get lucky and my book royalties will increase so that I can afford a better option.

What issues do you have to own? Please share your stories in the comments below.

It Doesn’t Cost a Fortune to Look Nice

The older I get the worse I look. My hair has started greying and things have started sagging that never sagged before. I’ve never really been self-conscious about the effects of aging but over time I noticed a difference; not in me, but in my customers.

While some of my customers appear to be ageless, others appear considerably older than they are simply due to the lack of care they give their appearance before they go out in public. Looking back on some of my older photos I realized with dismay that I was just as bad and resolved to find a way to improve myself.

But how? I’m not exactly a beauty guru and I didn’t want to spend a fortune either. I continued watching my customers as I searched for answers.

I quickly realized that regardless of social class, females my age can carry off a variety of simple wardrobe choices. Even an old, faded tee shirt can look nice when presented a certain way. While an old tee shirt and messy bun can scream slovenly, if you add a bit of cosmetics and a touch of bling that same outfit is elevated to a completely different level.

I had cosmetics already so that wasn’t an issue but bling? I hadn’t purchased jewelry for myself in years! I stopped wearing dangly things when my kids were babies since they liked to tug on them, then passed my collection along to friends so the items wouldn’t go to waste.

Undaunted, I started wearing cosmetics when I went out as I began searching for some budget-friendly bling. I wanted something cheap, timeless, and a bit dangly since I wear my hair up frequently. I eventually stumbled across some costume jewelry that had been placed on clearance. The simple hoops and studs met my needs without destroying my budget.

I’ve now clipped my nose hair, plucked my stray eyebrows, donned a bit of cosmetics, and added a bit of bling to my everyday wardrobe of jeans and tee shirts. Now, to my delighted surprise, I actually receive the occasional compliment as opposed to the indifference I’m accustomed to receiving so my self-confidence has received a boost as well.

Not a bad haul for the cost of a dollar and a little time!

What little things do you do to improve your appearance? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Laundry Day

Laundry day is always an adventure in this house. Once we decide that it is time to visit the laundromat we wander through the house to locate any stray items that have managed to avoid being placed in our laundry bin. We bag everything up and stick the whole load into our shopping cart along with our washing supplies.

After gathering everything together for a recent trip I looked down to discover that I was wearing one of my favorite shirts. I needed to wash it as well so that I would be able to wear it before my next laundry day. I tugged it off and tossed it into the bag as well.

“Hmm. I should probably wash my bra too,” I told myself. Off came the bra. Since I was already topless I decided that I might as well change my panties and jeans while I was at it. That way all of my dirty laundry would be taken care of.

Standing buck naked in my kitchen I realized that I needed to wear something. I couldn’t go to the laundromat naked! I padded over to my makeshift closet and dug through the remaining items in search of an outfit that I wouldn’t miss wearing until I did laundry again.

Being a minimalist I didn’t have a lot to choose from. I finally selected an outfit, added some panties to the pile, and decided to go braless for the trip. I was just going up the street; if anyone had a problem with my saggy boobs they could kiss my butt–I wanted all of my bras to be clean!

So there I sat at the laundromat wearing a ragged set of sweats, complete with saggy braless boobs just minding my own business when an absolutely gorgeous guy comes in to dry his laundry. He checked me out and to my surprise started flirting with me.

A friend who decided to meet me at the laundromat leaned close. “This’ll teach you not to dress your best,” she teased in a whisper.

I laughed. “That guy would have kittens if he realized that I wandered around buck naked for ten minutes just to choose this outfit!” I retorted out loud. I wanted to see his reaction to that little comment.

Sure enough, his head whipped around. “What?” he chimed in, eyes wide.

“I wandered around my house naked for ten minutes trying to figure out what I could live without until the next laundry day,” I replied. “Don’t tell me you’ve never done it.”

“Your boyfriend must have enjoyed that,” he grinned.

“Don’t have a boyfriend.”

“Oh.” I could see his eyes sparkle with possibilities.

Of course, my friend decided that this was the perfect time to add her own brand of humor to the encounter.

“She always waits till I’m not home to walk around naked!” she huffed with feigned upset.

I watched Mr. Cutie promptly toss me into a box named ‘lesbian’ and dismiss me from his mind.

“Gee, thanks!” I snarked at my friend after he left.

“You’re welcome,” she replied smugly. “The moment he opened his mouth I knew he wasn’t your type anyway.”

I shook my head. Leave it to your friends to tell it like it is.

Still, he was kinda cute.

Do you have a funny story to tell? Please share it in the comments below.

How I am Teaching Responsibility to my Young Adult

As my daughter Katie neared her 18th birthday the inevitable challenge arose:

“I’m almost 18!” she huffed at me one day. “You need to start treating me like an adult!”

“I’ll treat you like an adult when you start acting like one,” I retorted firmly.

This led to a conversation about what it takes to be considered an adult. I explained to her that able-bodied adults pay their own way in the world. They don’t rely on Mommy and Daddy to support them. While they may not be rich, they have bills that they have to pay and they do.

“What if I start paying rent then?” Katie suggested. “If I pay half of the bills, would you start treating me like an adult?”

After I recovered from my surprise, Katie offered to begin paying half of the household expenses. Since I live very cheaply, that’s not as much as it seems. Two hundred dollars a month during the summer months, with more added to cover the extra heating expense when winter comes ended up being the amount we settled upon. We are both responsible for any personal expenses and we split the expense of buying food and supplies (like bathroom tissue) that we both use.

To be honest, I agreed to this with the belief that she would keep up the payments for a month or so and then start coming up with excuses. However, over six months have elapsed and she has paid her share of the expenses cheerfully. As a result, I now treat her like the adult that she wants to be treated as.

This not only solves the issue of dealing with a young lady on the cusp of adulthood, it teaches her how to budget in a safe environment. I keep the whole amount for the bills on hand in the event that something happens that prevents her from paying just in case. Instead of my daughter moving out to live with friends who may or may not be fiscally responsible with their share of the expenses, she gets to live with someone (mom) who knows how to make sure the bills are paid regardless.

It has also made life as a single parent easier. Instead of having to pay all of the bills, they are now halved. As a result, I actually have money to save or to use on those little extras I’ve sacrificed over the years (I’ll write more on that later).

How have you decided to teach fiscal responsibility to the young adults in your care? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Moving On

Going back to work has been a surprising success. While I still have my issues I have discovered that I am able to cope for the most part and bury my secret breakdowns in my pillow at night. Even now I am worried that I will be discovered as a fraud and a brain damaged failure.

Even so, during the day I am still working towards my goals. Bit by bit I am catching up on my rent but in a way that allows me to have a little money to spare for other projects. I’ve been broke for far too long so I have to cut myself a bit of slack in the finance department.

For the record, I’ve officially written off the past two years as a wash. I learned the hard way that there is no real safety net in the United States for those who truly need it. Because of that, I intend to continue building my own safety net through my writing. Unlike the government programs that promise to be there, my book royalties are an income source that I know I can count on. It may not be a fortune, but at least it is real.

While I could probably fight and receive some money for the past two years I would rather spend my time recovering and planning for the future instead of chasing some pie-in-the-sky dream. I would rather do the simplest work than sit on my butt crying ‘woe is me’ to collect a check. I don’t need a lot of money to live here so if I continue to work towards my goals I should be just fine.

I hope so, at any rate.

Have you ever had to make a similar decision? Please share your stories in the comments below.

The Difference Between Men and Women

There’s a difference in how men and women are treated in this world and it’s time I pointed out one of the major ones.

When a man says he’s broke, guys offer to loan him money.

When a woman says she’s broke, guys offer her $$ for sexual acts.

I’ve had it happen more times than I can count. Very few men in the world have responded otherwise in my experience, but the ones that do I cherish.

However, if either a man or a woman tells a female they are broke, the women generally respond with sympathy–and help out when they can.

What other differences do you notice in how men and women are treated? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Rough Night

Hello everyone!

Last night was a rough night. After spending the day working outdoors I guess I didn’t drink enough water and ended up paying for it with an intestinal attack of some sort. 

I followed the Water Cure method of sipping water when I finally calmed down enough to think (the pain was rather bad) and eventually it faded enough to where I finally slept. 

I do NOT want another night like that.

One note: sleeping bags are not fun during a night of discomfort. Being up and down all night, it seemed as if I would get snuggled into the bag and then have to get back up. 

I’m sure it was just me and the discomfort, so I am staying with the sleeping bag, but it was a miserable night.  I want to go back to bed but have things I need to get accomplished today.

I think I am going to get dressed and write at the library today for a change of pace. I have got to get some work done today.

Relationship Epiphany

It has just occurred to me that perhaps I am resisting the happy relationship I could be having.

I talk about being lonely, and make plans for spending the rest of my life alone, yet part of me wonders if I really want to be alone.

I want happiness.  I am going to stop and ask for a lead for happiness….

If that happiness is to come from being in a relationship, then the perfect relationship will materialize.

If that happiness is to result from being single then I will have a sign given to me concerning the issue.

Regardless, I need to stop making plans to be alone, for I may be attracting loneliness into my life…

If you ever get the opportunity, read the books by Florence Scovel Shinn.  She has three wonderful books on the Law of Attraction.  You can read them here.

I’m going back to my book.  Florence is speaking clearly to me tonight.

Peace!

Busy Day

Today I stirred up the batch of liquid laundry soap I started yesterday and added more water. This bucket is pretty close to five gallon size, so when I dilute this in a 50:50 solution for the final product I should get close to 10 gallons from the mix. This batch of liquid is thicker than my last batch, I’m guessing cause this time I used Ivory soap instead of the Dial I had on hand for my last batch of liquid. Reminder: always use Ivory when you are making a mild laundry soap. The rest is just detergent.

I have also started an experiment: to make hand and dishwashing liquid. I grated a bar of Ivory to melt in water, stirring in a spoon of washing soda to soften the water and help with grease. This was poured into a gallon container and labeled. I plan to try it when I do dishes shortly. I am in hopes this mixture will not only do well for dishes but for those foaming hand soap containers as well–but I just filled them up today so it will be a while before I can test that theory. I also have a bit of antibacterial hand soap left that I need to use up.

Since I am down to 4 bars of cured Ivory soap I purchased a 10-pack at Wal Mart for $4.19. I unwrapped the bars, noticing as I did that the paper wrapping seems a touch thinner than what was on my last batch. They were definitely fresh, for the wax paper wrapping was almost damp and stuck to the bars in some places. I put some of the new bars in my sock holder and my pant basket to perfume them a bit with the curing soap. It will take a while for those bars to cure well and until then I have the four bars to use.

I also purchased a box of Arm And Hammer Washing Soda at the local Kroger. Price for a 3.5 pound box was $2.99. It is so nice to be near a big city! Last year when I started making laundry soap I had to go all over in the tiny town I was in and ended up paying nine dollars for swimming pool ph-increaser (sodium carbonate, a.k.a. washing soda). This greatly reduces the expense of the cleaners I make, though I must admit that 2 pound container of washing soda is still going strong. I want to take a picture of the box for an article I plan to write, and also wanted to vote with my money for the store to keep stocking that item.

I made a roast tonight with a piece of beef that had been marked down, adding a can of cream of mushroom soup (purchased last summer on sale), some vegetables, and a package of onion soup mix I got at one of those salvage groceries that sell damaged goods and stuff. It was soo good!

Anyhow, time to wash dishes and test out this liquid soap.

Living Large at a Traffic Light

Last night I found myself headed to the store when a rockin‘ song from the 1980’s came on the radio. “I Can’t Hold Back” by none other than Survivor.

Such a rocking song! I found myself jamming to the beat, drumming on the dashboard, singing along and “banging my head” just having a blast while I cranked that poor stereo on the van!

Katie, of course wasn’t too happy that her mom was absorbed in a jam session so she started to look around in boredom at her mother’s way of dealing with being stuck at a stop light with her favorite tune on the radio.

That was when she noticed them.

The neighboring car had seen my enthusiastic appreciation of the Survivor tune and were laughing their butts off at my antics. They even had their cellphone out.. and they weren’t talking on it!

I smiled and waved, and kept on jamming as the light finally turned green. They laughed in amusement and waved back. We were going different directions, so I may never see them again, but the knowledge that I made someone laugh was just too enjoyable NOT to share!

Life is too short to take it seriously. When you hear a favorite song – enjoy yourself. Don’t worry about what others think – you may unknowing give someone a laugh they desperately needed!

Peace!

Tummy Tamer Candy

My little girl has a stomach bug. Poor little thing was too ill to go to school as a result. I am making a batch of tummy tamer candy to help her out.

Usually I keep a batch of this candy around just in case either of us has an upset stomach, but with the moves and ensuing chaos I had yet to prepare a batch.

Tummy tamer candy is something I came up with a few years ago when my daughter could not keep anything down due to illness. I made them and asked her to keep one in her mouth to suck on. Being a small child she loved having the excuse to keep a piece of candy in her mouth, and in short order her stomach calmed down to where she could handle other things.

It is a homemade hard candy recipe made with ginger and Sweet Dreams (or Sleepytime) tea. The tea has chamomile and peppermint in it, both of which have stomach soothing properties, and ginger is famous for settling stomachs. You don’t need a lot of ingredients or tools to make this simple herbal remedy:

That’s it, all you need to make tummy tamer candy.

The recipe:

2 cups sugar
1-1/4 cups brewed Sweet Dreams tea
1 tsp. ginger (approx) – you may have to adjust because some children find this dosage too spicy.

Mix it all in a heavy pot and cook over medium heat, allowing it to boil until you reach the soft-crack phase. Soft crack is where you can put some in cold water and it holds its strands together, yet it still is a tad soft.


Boiling towards the soft crack phase.

Once it is done cooking, pour it into a well-buttered baking sheet. If you don’t have a baking sheet don’t buy one. Just use some plates or baking dishes – you can even use a skillet if you have to – but on the things you can’t safely flex a touch you may want to add a layer of aluminum foil and butter that instead to make it easier to break up.

I waited too long on mine. It went into the hard-crack phase. It’s all good just looks a little different. Here it is poured out on the metal pizza pan I greased for the occasion.

The goal when you pour it out is to get a thin layer. If it is too thick it will take too long to harden plus be hard to break up.

Once you pour it out, you can take a buttered metal spatula and press indents into the candy in a small grid pattern to make breaking easier. I generally use 1/4 inch grids for mine.

I wasn’t paying attention and this batch ended up in the hard-crack phase before I know it, but just because I cooked it too long the batch isn’t ruined. It will just look a little different and harden faster. I didn’t move fast enough to make a grid on this batch, but it broke apart easily enough.

Allow it to harden and break it apart.

My daughter licked the spoon clean and is now on her way to a happier tummy!

Following a hunch

When you become closer to the Universal Mind, sometimes you get hints, or hunches that guide you in interesting ways…

Like the hunch to move to a house that didn’t really suit us.. but across the street moved a lady who had a mobile home for sale that did – a mobile home whose layout is strangely similar to the one I placed on my vision board then removed some time ago. A mobile home which I now own free and clear!

I have learned the hard way not to ignore hunches for whatever reason, so when I got the hunch that we needed a water filter for the new place I followed it and got a Pur water pitcher for us…

Since the purchase we have all been drinking glass upon glass of water. Even the guinea pig is drinking more water.

I began to research a bit on the benefits of water drinking, and found an interesting link. Apparently the Japanese have a certain method of drinking water on an empty stomach that is supposed to cure a lot of ills. With The Secret we don’t need such things, but it was an interesting read. The link is no longer active, unfortunately, so I’m unable to share it.

Perhaps the Law of Attraction has guided me to a desire for drinking more healthy water in order to bring about the healthier body I desire. Regardless, I’m playing my hunch and keeping some water nearby for whenever I want a quick drink.

Instinctive Fury

Someone posted something as a comment to my cousin’s post-surgery photos.

“Sorry to see these photos. Won’t show Ms. X. Hope the reaction is better.” (Paraphrased and names changed).

My blood boiled.

I have calmed a bit since that first gut reaction.

Like my cousin is so ugly people wouldn’t want to see her…

Grrr.

I love my baby cousin. I admire her guts in fighting this. I don’t appreciate anyone giving a HINT of not supporting her, especially when she is so self-conscious after surgery.

Anyhow, that’s my rant. I’m still furious, but I held my tongue for Dani’s sake. \l

My cousin looks like a borg…

…now that she has had her surgery. I wish I could post photos but she is a bit embarrassed at her appearance.

They shaved the whole entire side of her head and there is a tube running from the top of her skull behind her ear, down her neck, across her chest and into her abdominal cavity where the excess fluid will drain away. The tube is just under the skin so it is really obvious especially after the surgery. Behind her ear is this circle where a doctor will place a magnetic device that he will use to dial up or down how much pressure is needed to trigger the shunt, and should the issue be resolved, will be used to turn the shunt off.

Already she has had the rest of her long hair trimmed down to about an inch in length, and plans to shave it down to match the rest of her head when the swelling goes down.

This is my baby cousin, guys. She is as close to a blood sister as I really have, her and her siblings. Even though she was always taller than me and bigger than me I was the elder one. I always tried to look out for them when I would go spend summers at her house growing up.

Here in a few days I’m getting my head buzzed out of love and respect for what she is having to go through. If people don’t like it, tough! She is half a country away so I can’t be there physically, but at least I can be there spiritually.

I’m going to try to find some bandannas that represent me to wear during the interim while my scalp adjusts to the extra sunlight. Any ideas? One friend says biker bandannas would reflect my attitude best, and another says Native American ones. I dunno.

I love The Secret, and perhaps that is why I feel kinda strange here lately. I have my younger adopted sister who walks with a cane, my cousin who just had this surgery to have this tube implanted into her skull I gather permanently, and various friends who are diabetic and have a slew of illnesses.

You know what I have? A hormonal imbalance (controlled by birth control pills) and an annoying reaction to milk.

That’s it. Despite all the things that have happened in the past, I’m in the best health of my life at age 39, and here are all my friends and family so ill around me.

I love my health, I love this ability. Still at times I feel guilty because it’s like I’m some sort of superhero who is trying to learn and master their power and who feels great and wonderful yet those around her are ill and you know there’s a solution but you can’t force them to take it, cause no one is ready for it.

When I buzz my head I’ll post pictures here so all of you can have a good laugh. If Dani gets a good laugh out of it then it is worth it!

Sigh. I cried when I saw those pictures of my cousin. I worry about her so! She has already battled cancer and won, and now has to deal with this! As a result, she has left medical school after all of her hard work to excel.

Regardless of what happens, I am SO proud of her! She is fighting. She hasn’t given up. Even posting the pictures she talks about how “cool” it was that the doc would use this one device to control her shunt, and she wouldn’t have to have another surgery as a result.

Cuz, you are one brave chick, and I love you!