How Did This Happen?

There I was, minding my own business.  First of the year and I thought I was paying attention – but no.  Before I knew what happened, I stepped right in it – exercise – EEEEK!

I do NOT ever make dieting or exercise as part of my New Year Resolutions; it would just be a huge waste of time.  I never keep those two things throughout the year.  I usually start out with good intentions, but by Valentines Day I am stuffing chocolates into my mouth and finding unique places to stash some for later (then I usually forget several until they get really old and yucky.).  Due to this weak-will of mine, I chose not to do those for resolutions.

Well, that sneaky sister of mine pulled the wool over my eyes.  I had purchased a stationary bike as therapy instruction from my knee surgeon.  He said to get any kind to keep them mobile and to help strengthen the muscles and tendons that he had just attached to my new fake knees.  So I got this one:

my stationary bike

I placed it right outside my bedroom door, so it was the first thing I saw in the morning, and the last thing I saw at night – perfect incentive, right? Wrong.  I was stupid and used it more for strength instead of therapy.  My grandson also helped by hopping on it whenever he could and race like the wind.  He was always cranking it up to the hardest level; then I would jump on it without checking and come to an aching halt after just a few minutes (duh!).

Here’s where she got sneaky.  The place she works at penalizes employees that are not majorly fit.  Now, I am all for incentives – but penalties are just not right.  She is a smoker.  Has been since she was about 14 years old.  She did quit once (cold turkey), but that’s another story.  Anyway, her employer decided that if you did not “ace” the yearly physical, you would be given other ways to make up for it:

  • A special call to the health center which just reamed her on the dangers of smoking – no real help.
  • Work out regularly at a local gym – ya, that’s not going to happen when we work on a farm.
  • Then somewhere she got the idea of a pedometer. If a person walks 10,000 or more steps in a day, they will lose weight – LIGHT BULB!    So, she asked me to pick up a cheap one when I went out shopping.  I purchased the second lowest one on the rack, brought it home, and she began using it.

No clue at allA few days went by, and she came home with an upgraded model she got free from a friend at work.  She handed me the cheap one and said I should try it “Just for fun,” sure.  When I got dressed the next morning, I shoved it into my pocket.  Every time I bent over to do something on the farm, the darn thing fell out.  I don’t know about my foot mileage, but I can tell you that my anxiety level went up.

Then she, ever so politely, asked if she could bring my bike upstairs.  She wanted to place it in the window, so we could see out – “WE??”  Yes, she got me hooked on walking.  I hated my stupid cheap meter, so I finally decided to check online – WOW – who know they had so many freebie apps for this, amazing!  I picked the one with the highest good review numbers and away I went.

Since a majority of my sister’s job is walking around, she set her goal at the 10K steps per day.  Since I have two fake knees, 1-1/2 fake shoulders, and a fake foot, I took a lesser goal of only 5k.  To date, her highest was almost 8,000, and my highest was 3989.  It actually made me feel really good almost to reach my goal.

HOW DARE SHE BE SO SNEAKY AND TRY TO MAKE US HEALTHY!

I guess I will have to start watching her more closely.  First, it’s the physical stuff, next thing you know, she is stuffing tofu into my cookies.  Oh – wait – I like tofu…oh well, you get the picture.

I just wanted to share how you don’t have to set resolutions to get something accomplished.  Sometimes it happens when you least expect it (or asked for it).

MP 100 yd dash

(FYI: If you have never heard of, watched, or just miss Monty Python – click on the above picture for some great laughs!)

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MPFC dvd cover       

MPFC box dvd set

How To Know If You Are A LEARN-A-HOLIC?

I have taken a ton of classes over the years.  Many of the classes were just to gain extra knowledge in a specific area.  The funny thing about me is that I never received an actual degree for anything.

Learn a holic headder

To this day, I still feel that having that piece of paper hanging on a wall somewhere in my life would not make a bit of difference in the amount of knowledge I have accumulated.  My father always wanted me to get one; in his eyes, it was a sign of prosperity.

diploma

Please do not misunderstand, I agree that in certain fields a degree is preferable: Doctor, Lawyer, Scientist, and any profession that puts someone else’s life in your hands.  I want to know that the person that pulls me from a burning building, pulls the knife out of my leg, or protects me from a Road-Rage whack job; has had the proper training and education to handle these types of situations.

goats butting heads

When it comes to me and professional learning institutions, we butt heads.  My first experience left me feeling that I was taking a bunch of “extra curricular” (E.C.) classes that were required, but to me felt completely useless.  I am never going to EVER use physics.  I knew it back in my early twenties and by golly, I was right.  My closest connection to it would be through the show The Big Bang Theory, which I absolutely love.  (FYI, my favorite person is Penny.)

(If you have never seen, check out the Halloween and Christmas – Bath Item Gift episodes.)

I felt that all the extra classes a person is forced to take to get that piece of paper was ridiculous, but I wanted to learn.

This was Hint #1: The thrill of  learning new things.

I took a small business class because I wanted to run a small business.  Part of the class required Accounting 101 – made perfectly logical sense to me.  As that turned out, was when I fell in love with Accounting.  I looked further into becoming a C.P.A. (Certified Public Accountant) – but then again, I would have to take all the E.C. classes – grrr.  I found that I was overly excited about learning more about Accounting, but not so much in the other gunk.

My next hint came several years later.  I had a job that was alright.  It allowed me to work in an accounting field – Bookkeeper which kept the thrill going for a while.  But I needed more and I was not sure what “more” I was looking for.  A friend told me about The Aptitude Test that the local community college provided.  The first time I took it, I had to pay ten dollars for the results.  It was all hand written back then (The old-fashioned pencil and paper type. Man, I am old – eeek!) and took about four hours to complete.

find X

I hate tests.  Every time I take one I panic.  The normal grade school through high school tests were alright, but then I took a Speed Reading class which, as it turns out, blew it for real testing.  Yes, it taught me how to speed read, but the down side to doing it is missing the important details.  Well, I was glad to know that this was not that kind of test.  There was no judging, no grades, and no pressure to finish on time.  The test is simply to help you to understand what you currently hide in your brain, vs. things you have a passion for but may not know yet.

I received my results in the mail along with an in-depth explanation of how to read and interpret the graph.  They also included long lists of the types of jobs related to the different fields on the graph.  According to my results, I could have been in:

  1. Customer Service (that was a given due to my waitressing years),
  2. Accounting, or Math Related field (They had me at Accounting.)
  3. Then it actually said that I could have been a Nuclear Physicist – me? I don’t think so Lucy!

The results even listed a Psychiatrist as a possibility.  I found this very funny because I had been a bartender several times in my life.  I used to make-sport of the fact that I should have been a Shrink after listening to everybody’s problems in the bar.  The bummer of this is I have somehow earned The Bartender Face, not by choice, it just happened.  People you do not know will just start spilling their problems at you.  I have seen others with this face.  If you have ever been a Bartender for more than six months, you will get one.

bartender face (The face on this guy tells me that he has been dong it for way too long!)

Hint 2: Understanding that I have an Impatient Passion for doing many things.

Then my ultimate favorite thing ever happened…The Age Of Computers (insert dun-dun-daa sound here!).  The amount of information a person can get, and store, was amazing.  My main thrill was not in the storage, but in the information.  One class that I did take, complete, and get a certificate in was Computers 101.  This was way back in the early 1980’s.  We got to dissect a computer just like you would a frog.  Somehow tearing the box and its guts apart was calming for me.  The whole thing boiled down to bits of metal and wires.

This was followed up by two more historic moments for me:

  1. Having an employer that paid for all the office related computer classes that I wanted to take – so I did.
  2. Getting to know a Computer Tech who told me: “There is nothing you can do in that computer that I cannot fix.” Best, dumbest, words ever spoken.  I made it my life task take him up on that.  During the day, I got to take all the “heater” calls.  Then, when everyone else got to go home at five, I got to work with the I.T. department.  I made him live up to that statement (for a story at another time).

The very first time I got to push buttons and see something happen I was hooked (yep, a button-a-holic also.).

  • 10-Key by touch.
  • Type 100+ w.p.m.
  • Obsessed library researcher
  • Persistent question-asker.

Roll those all into one and you have me with a computer.  The best thing the computer age has brought about is learning.  There is nothing you can’t find, do, or save in a computer.  I have even taken multiple classes through my computer.  This thought led me to the final definition for a Learn-A-Holic:

Hint #3: You have several projects going at the same time.

I currently have the following:

  1. Knitting projects
  2. 5 working
  3. Crochet projects
  4. 7 working
  5. Card Making
  6. Valentines and Happy Birthday (hope to complete 20 of each by month end)
  7. Blogging
  8. 3 working blogs, 2 of which I try to post at least once a week.
  9. Surveys for cash
  10. Signed up for 3 different ones with a goal to complete 1 survey on each per day.
  11. Writing
  12. Working on 3 how-to e-books.
  13. Farm/gardens
  14. Day-to-day standard duties (feed, water, clean up, and prep for next season.)
  15. Taking online classes through Udemy
  16. 26-hour, slam-dunk class on Character Drawing.
  17. Marketing Strategies (something I am in DIRE need of!!).
  18. Learn how to use Canva (my fav right now).

My mind and my hands must be busy at all times!  I even find that when I sleep, my fingers still move about.  I know my mind wanders because of my various dreams.  This, to me, is the biggest part of a Learn-a-holic.

  • You never stop.
  • You do not have to go fast,
  • There is no set speed or time limit except for the ones you set on yourself.

You may also have several projects going on at the same time, like I do.  You maybe lucky enough to only have one big project going on, and all your being is tied up in getting it done.  It doesn’t matter how you handle it, you just have to keep learning something new or you think you will die.

This all came about because I received the following email article:

Will Traditional Colleges and Universities Become Obsolete?

I used to love going the traditional route, but for the last eight years or so, it has become faster, easier, and better doing it online.  This makes me happy and sad at the same time.

WE NEED TEACHERS!  Yes, I am yelling that out because I firmly believe it.  I can teach a few things that I know well, but I don’t believe I have the patience to be a full-time, in front of class type of teacher.  If it’s one-on-one I do OK.  This is what makes the Learn-a-holic in me feel sad.  What if shutting down the colleges, turns into no one wanting to be a teacher anymore?  How awful our world would be without them?  So I give Kudos to all those Teachers in my life – past, present, and future.  We Learn-a-holics could not survive without you!
Blackboard Teacher Appreciation Blog Graphic

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Top 5 Ways I Beat My Holiday Blues.

Just when you thought it was safe to start hanging all the decorations, it hits- The Holiday blues.  They get me every year about this time.  I always start out so excited going into Halloween.  I make most of my gifts all year long, then around Halloween I start wrapping them up.  After that, Thanksgiving brings on all the warm feelings of family and friends.  Then something weird happens.

The days following Thanksgiving I start to get depressed.  I know that I am not the only one that feels like this, many of my friends have shared their mood swing at the same time.  The problem I used to have was how do I get out of the funk.  Well, I think I have finally figured it out.  The following is my top five big things that help me work through my Holiday blues:

  1. Grateful: Now, when I get up every morning from Thanksgiving into the fifth or sixth of the new year, I lay in bed and think of the three things I am grateful for as of that moment.  I don’t care if they are the same things on several days.  It doesn’t matter.  I just need to say – out loud – the top three things that come to my mind before I get out of bed.  This little trick has helped me to at least start my day in a happy mood.  Keeping in mind, for me, the good things I have instead of the pains I have to endure later makes life a bit easier.

ape - pound on something

  1. Song: I used to have a beautiful voice (at least I thought so), but years of colds and screaming at ball games have done their damage to my vocal cords. I never wanted to be a famous singer, but I do enjoy singing never the less.  I will purposely force myself to sing along to several songs during these dangerous days.  One of my favorites is not even a holiday song; it’s If I had a million dollars by Barenaked Ladies.  I don’t know if it is the melody or the lyrics, but the song just puts a bounce in my step. (Although the lyrics are very funny to me.)

cat singing

  1. Do Something: Not just anything, but something I can do well and am proud of.  My yarn works, paper crafts, and writing do this for me.  I pick up my supplies and just put something quick together.  Most times it is something that I can (and usually do) give away.  The creating, sense of accomplishment, and the warm act of giving all combined seem to perk me right up.  The best part is I can always see the feelings of amazing love and affection on the face of the recipient, especially when I surprise them with the handmade gift.  You’re not crafty – no big deal: bake, read, spend time, or drive someone to lift their spirits.  The whole point is you took the time to include them in your thoughts.

 

  1. Cry: I was a very emotional mess during menopause.  Men don’t understand this, but you women do (or will).  After that ended, I found fewer and fewer opportunities to release stress.  Women accumulate a ton of that nasty stuff, and if we don’t let it out somewhere safe, an explosion will happen.  Not the bomb stuff till it falls apart, but an explosion much worse.  We will blow up at someone (usually someone very close to us),   and without meaning to, we will hurt them with our words.  To correct for this, I have already pulled out It’s a Wonderful Life movie.  Not the remakes but the original black and white one.  I will ALWAYS break into a full-blown crying jag during this.  If you choose to go this route, two words of advice:
  2. First – Have a hankie (look it up) or a box of tissues in your lap.
  3. Second – Do it before bed.

You will cry hard and long until you are exhausted.  That is the whole point of this exercise.  This is one of my best depression releases.  When I get up the next morning, it feels as if the weight-of-the-world had been lifted.  Then I do #1 again.

uncontroled sobbing

  1. Rip out weeds: You can just tear up some papers, scrub the floor on your hands and knees, or over-haul your furniture.  I love ripping out weeds in my gardens.  We cheat because we have an enormous greenhouse, so I can lash out any time of year as needed.  I will get to pulling and digging so hard that I break into a heavy sweat (Sorry dainty ladies, but I have never just perspired – I sweat.).  I do this on purpose for at least a couple of hours.  I wait until my body tells me that I am exhausted.  Then I go in and take a long hot shower.  Sometimes, if things are really low, I may cry in the shower too.  The more stress I can wash down the drain, the better my mood, and the less time the depression hangs on.  Helpful hints:
  2. Keep a pen and paper handy. I have come up with some outstanding ideas while doing this.  When I forgot the pen and paper, I forgot the idea by the time I got back in the house.
  3. Make sure you do not have good plants in the plot. I have torn out perfectly good flowers in a yanking rage.   Don’t do it! You will just feel worse after, and then angry because you will have to replant new ones.

pull weeds

The big picture here is to hold strong during these well-known hard times onto the things that make you happy.  Sad but true, sometimes we just have to fight to be happy (there should be a law against it.).

Calvin n Hobbes(FYI – Christmas has been cancelled this year.  I told Santa that I had been good all year, and he dropped dead laughing.)

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Are Small Towns Just Big Families?

I was at our local Walmart the other day. It was about mid-morning, and I was in no rush. I got to the checkout aisles, and there was only one checker available (they are trying to push us into the automated ones – yuck!).
I was just about ready to start unloading when a weathered older man popped up in line behind me. He looked pretty tired and only had about three things in his arms, so I politely told him he could go first. He looked a bit shocked and said: “Are you sure?” I just smiled and said yep.

crazy skip generation

The checker smiled and took his items. I went back to unloading my cart onto the conveyor belt. The man was talking to the cashier, and as I turned he caught my eye and said:
“I can’t believe how friendly the people in this town are.”
I giggled a bit and replied: “I am actually from Brush, I just shop here in the Fort Morgan Walmart. But, we are all in Morgan County – does that count?”
The Cashier was also giggling and agreed with me. The Trucker started laughing and went on to say he will have to stop in Morgan County more often and left.
This got me thinking. Are small towns just like big families? I believe the answer to that one is a definite yes. No matter where I have lived, I made it a point of getting to know my neighbors. How many of you do that?

family like fudgeI think there is a certain amount of the safety in numbers statement when you get to know your neighbors. Even when we lived in Denver (huge city), I got to know my neighbors. Maybe not over several blocks, but at least in the immediate vicinity. My Real Estate Agent tried to talk me out of buying my first stick home because of the people in the area. She was worried about the safety of my daughter and me.
I spent month and miles looking for the right home. I was not about to give up on it because the neighborhood was supposed to be bad. I pushed through the closing, moved in, and proceeded to get to know my neighbors. The only thing that proved to be bad about anyone on my block was because of a rental house. All the neighbors that were owners were fantastic. We all shared the same concerns:

• Paying the mortgage.
• Putting food on the table for our families.
• Making sure the heat and electric kept running.

Anything after that was just icing on the cake. The families that owned took care of their homes and the land around them. Lawns were mowed. Flowers and gardens were planted. In winter, sidewalks and driveways were shoveled. I could not say the same for the rentals.

I’m not sure it is the size of an area that makes it a family atmosphere. I think it is more about getting to know those around you. I had an abusive boyfriend when I moved into that great house. When I finally got a restraining order on him, I told all my neighbor friends about it. If they were to see him anywhere around our home (after he got out of jail), they needed to call the Police immediately.

Roughly six months after I threw him out, he showed up unannounced at my door. He asked if we could talk. The minute I stepped outside, three of my neighbors were out on their front porches, and one hollered over asking if I was ok? I smiled and replied, “For now, thank you.”

The whole time I talked with the jerk, they all calmly sat and watched – I loved it! All he wanted to know is what went wrong because he had recently lost another girlfriend (After our main discussion, I dawned on me that he had to have been seeing her while he was supposed to be with me – double jerk.). My only reply was that he needed to grow up, and I walked back in the house. That was the last time I ever saw him.

bunch of crazies

I think we can find family where ever we choose to do so. Big city, small town, country farm; none of it matters if you just get to know your neighbors. Once you have that, it is impossible to not include them (at least part of them) into your extended family group. When you have that feeling of closeness and security, you can’t help but want to share the love. It was nice to know, through the Trucker, that I have this in my community.

thankful never give up

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Will You Wear Purple Now?

I stopped making big bedspread size works years ago.  I would find the colors I liked, or that I thought a friend/loved one would like.  Then I would spend months crochet or knit it together.  When done, everyone seemed under-whelmed.

Yes, they were grateful, but the darn thing had exhausted me from completing (or even wanting to complete) other projects.  They would also end up so heavy that no one could even lift them up on the bed to use.

star-magnolia-2083798_640(note: it’s a lot easier to paint than to crochet)

I made an outstanding cream-colored chenille spread with two huge, beautiful magnolia centerpieces in it.  She loved it.  She spread it out on her bed.  She never slept in the bed (she has been a TV-Couch sleeper most of her life – need that background noise – yuck.).  Then the beautiful piece of work was destroyed in our fire which was about four years after I completed it.  I cried (ok for more than the missing blanket, but you get my drift.).

We still have a smaller throw that I made out of awesome fall colors.  Got lucky with that one because she had it and a couple of smaller lapghans stored away in a container.  They did not get the fire, the heat, or the smoke.  However, those are STILL stored away.

My mother shared something with me before she died which I will never forget.  It is called Warning by Jenny Joseph:

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me. And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells And run my stick along the public railings And make up for the sobriety of my youth. I shall go out in my slippers in the rain And pick flowers in other people’s gardens

And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat And eat three pounds of sausages at a go Or only bread and pickle for a week And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry And pay our rent and not swear in the street And set a good example for the children. We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now? So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised

When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Jenny Joseph

warningpurple

This is a great little poem.  Then I asked mom why she loved it so much.  She went on to tell me that when she gets old, she wants to wear purple because she had always been raised to do the “traditional” stuff:

  • Only use the good silverware for the holidays.
  • Only use the good china for the holidays.
  • Do not take out or use the handmade table covers unless it is the holidays or a very special occasion (it was allowed at Confirmation and Graduation).

When she got older, she still carried that poem around with her.  One day we were discussing it.  She had been very sick all year (cancer), and we were doing a bit of reminiscing.  She told me that she wished we had used the above things much more often.  She said it was stupid to keep such great items of family hidden away – she was right.

She passed away never knowing our little farm or her great-grandsons.  I do think that she is smiling – maybe laughing – at us now.  We do not hide any of the good stuff (except my sister’s tiny obsession with keeping my creations for her private?  Maybe she secretly hates them but is scared to tell me?).  We lost her original silverware set in the fire, but got lucky and found the same pieces in an antique shop (at a great price too – yeah!).  We use it as our everyday ware now.

Maybe the fire was a great eye-opener for “wearing purple?”  We held fifty plus years of precious items in our home.  Many of those items were packed away, waiting for some prize moment that never came.  Now, we don’t have them to share with anyone over anything.

So, my gift to you today is to:

  • Drag it all out.
  • USE IT NOW!
  • Let it get stained, dirty, old, worn, and yes – let it get broken.
  • Share it with love – don’t hide it.

Because you never know when it will be gone.

empty bench

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Do You Fear Weird Too?

I consider myself pretty weird.  Never really doing the normal things you would expect a child, never-the-less an adult, to do.  Perhaps that is one of the reasons my dad’s nickname for me was Dumb Shit.  (Remember back a few posts – this was not a bad thing, but a very loving way of telling me I did something stupid.  He ALWAYS said it with love and laughter.)

As a child, my fear was moths.  There was a very valid reason for this.  I have naturally thick, curly hair (thank you also to Dad) and we loved to play under the yard light at night.  We had Fire Flies, bats, and of course Miller moths.

miller mothsThe Fireflies needed to run from us.  We needed to run from bats dive-bombing all the bugs around the light.  The moths were different.  They are attracted to the light, yes, but they are also attracted to heat.  What is better warmth than a bunch of farm kids at play?  So the buggers would smack right into us – faces, hands, arms, but the worst was hair.

Straight hair kids never had any worries.  The monsters would simply bounce right off them, not so for us curly locks.  They would dive down and then get tangled up in the curls.  The worst part was trying to get them out.  Do you know what it sounds like when you bite down on a semi-stale piece of toast?  That yummy crunching sound is exactly like the sound of trying to get a moth out of your curly hair – YUCK!

squashing mothsThere was not only the fluttering in your fingers of it trying desperately to escape, but the crunching sounds as you hold it too tight then try to rip it out.  This usually included taking several strands of hair with it.

I don’t mind normal things like spiders or snakes as long as I see them first.  Spiders in our house and I have an agreement:  You stay on the ceiling, and you are safe.  Come down to my level, and you die.  We have a skylight where they usually go for the winter because all the heat is up there.  However, it never fails that sometime within those colder months someone gets stupid and decides to venture down to my level…too bad, so sad, you die!

squishing spider

We have three main snakes we need to know about here in Colorado:

  • The Rattler, (mega fear – not a weird one) which everyone knows is someone you do NOT want to meet.

rattle snake

  • The Bull Snake, which I love because they keep the Rattlers off our property. (You always want to check our snakes – tail first – the first, best way to tell which you have in front of you.)

bull snake

  • Then there is the beautiful, and harmless to humans, Garder Snake. Some people call it the Gardener snake since you will usually find in while gardening.  This is a bug-a-holic, and we love it.  They usually don’t get more than about a foot long.  Roughly the size of a quarter around, and will be really stupid on occasion and try to swallow a toad that is three times bigger than its head.  We helped one to spit it out – idiot.

garder snake

Lately, I have taken up the stranger fear of survival.  I am not a Prepper, (although I wish I were) just a small farmer that likes to grow and save our own foods.  My family and I were watching Halloween movies over last weekend, and one that came up out of our stash was:

The Stand by Stephen King.

DVD)

I started to remember that the first time I heard of this book I had to have it. I was just becoming a big fan of Mr. King and was trying to purchase every book he created. Well, I got the book alright. I started to read it and got sucked into it. Yes, I believe that a person’s imagination can be much stronger than any movie. Well, my imagination went nuts when I discovered that all the things in this book were to take place starting 1985. It was only 1978 when I started reading it. I got less than halfway through and had to put it down. I did not pick it up to finish it until after 1985 had passed. Now, how silly was that? I guess it just goes to prove what a great writer I find him to be. He sucked me right into his game at the best time – KUDOS Mr. King.


(Book – even better than the movie, I think.)

I consider that quite an accomplishment for any author that can get me to read their fiction or fantasy novel.  Being more of a how-to or ways to improve my body, mind, skills, or soul kind of reader; there are only a couple of the “FF” types of books that I have read:

      • Stephen King
      • JK Rowling (yep, I am a Harry Potter Head – so is my cousin of the same age – haha.)

    (This is the full series of books.  My set is in a cute looking trunk box.  Yes, I still (at 58) love reading them.)

    • When I was much younger I did love the Nancy Drew Books

(This is only a 4-book set, but you get the idea.)

  • I loved the Child Craft set. They were not really fantasy or fiction but they did get the childhood imagination flowing. I still remember that they had a dark gray hardcover to them.  There were fifteen total books in the set.  They were filled with anything you ever wanted to know as a kid.  I don’t know when they stopped making them, but I wish they were back now for my grandson to enjoy.  I found this set for sale on eBay, not exactly the same, and a bit out of my price range- boo hoo.

old childcraft books

As I said earlier, I have developed an odd fear regarding survival.  It could be because my sister and I are hooked on watching the Walking Dead .  We don’t watch for the zombies (even though the special effects are outstanding), we watch for the human nature part of it.  If you have seen it, you understand.  If you have not seen it, you may want to give it a shot – unless you have an odd fear of zombies, then don’t.

So today’s post is shared to celebrate our weird fears.  May they keep our hearts pumping, and our skin jumping.

OH and…

Happy halloween

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WERE YOUR FOLKS BRILLIANT?

My last post got me thinking about my parents a lot.  They supported us in so many ways, especially in ways that we never even knew.  The last bit of my last blog talked about why I do not do major alcohol.  This was formed by my parents and a well-played evening on their part.

When I turned eighteen years old, it was the legal drinking age in Wisconsin.  They have since upped the age which, after you read this story, you may understand why.

My folks owned a little place called The Wagon Tongue Café back then.  Half of it was a little restaurant by day.  The other half that did not open until afternoon was the bar.  I only had to go to school half days during my Senior year, so the other half of the day was spent waitressing and cleaning up when closed.  I want you all to remember something I hold to be very profound.

EVERY TEENAGER (or early 20-somethings) SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO BE A WAITRESS, BUS PERSON, OR DISHWASHER.

No matter where I have traveled those jobs, along with bartending, have gotten me through the hardest of times.  They are excellent fall back jobs.  I have done some fast food joints to get by or earn extra money.  I never have, and never will feel that they are jobs that are “beneath me” no matter what.  I firmly believe that it would be, to all middle teen to early twenty people, a great service in their life.

On my 18th birthday through my folks, their establishments, and the people connections, they allowed me to create; I just knew I was going to have a great birthday.  This was, after all, a mile marker – number eighteen!

keep calm 18 pic

I had no clue that my loving parents had already spoken to every other bar owner in town warning them of my upcoming celebration.  Yes, spoken to as in told them exactly how to handle me when I stopped in.  They had it all planned out way before I even had a chance to think about it.

The glorious day finally came.  I had to wait tables that morning, then got cleaned up and ready to go out on the town by around 4:00 p.m., everyone was in our bar waiting for me.  Then came my instructions from mom and dad:

“You do not have to pay for a single drink, however; you have to drink what is put in front of you before moving on to the next one or place.”

enjoy your booze

I DON’T HAVE TO PAY FOR MY DRINKS!  That was the only part I initially heard.  Dad started me off with my first shot – blackberry brandy.  Not too bad, this is gonna be fun I thought.

My party group proceeded to lead me from bar to bar, meeting all the owners, shaking hands, laughing and drinking whatever was put in front of me.  I thought I was doing pretty good until about the fourth establishment.  Someone bought me a thing called Tooties Roll.  It did taste exactly like the candy.  I don’t remember all the details after that.  I walked into a parking meter and said: “Excuse me.”  I thought it was a person.  I remember waiving at some friends driving by. Apparently, they had to stop because I was waiving at them from out in the street.

I remember getting back to my parent’s bar, and dad served me a shot called A Flaming Angel.  He mixed it up and set it on fire – I had NEVER seen such a thing before.  He told me to drink it by downing it really fast, as I lean back it will put out the flame.  Well, cool, young, very wasted me just grabbed that shot glass, flung it up to my mouth, and as I threw back my head to down the shot I just kept right on falling backward.  I did the shot perfectly (except for falling flat on the floor on my back) and began laughing.  The next part is hazy.

I was told by numerous participants, that this is what happened:

  1. I stopped laughing.
  2. I turned completely white as a sheet.
  3. I rushed up and ran to the bathroom (apparently someone was occupying it, but that did not stop me – I just told them to move quickly.).
  4. I proceeded to throw up (at least I hit the toilet – I think?).

I spent the next three days in my bed or throwing up.  Since that glorious evening, I think I have maybe taken two shots of peppermint as an after-dinner drink on two separate occasions.  When I get strong alcohol up to my nose, I get a knee-jerk reaction to throw up again.

MY PARENTS WERE BRILLIANT!  They knew way back then how to stop me from ever possibly becoming an alcoholic, and it worked.  I hope you do not think they were bad parents for doing this to me; I don’t.  I have known too many friends that would sneak drinks in fear of getting caught.  Later in life, I saw some of them, and it was not good.  I have learned this lesson from all that:

Be upfront, open, and honest whenever possible, and hope that it will help in the long run.

guardian angel

(This pic hung over my bed as a child – I guess they knew back then it would take more than just a Guardian Angel to keep me out of trouble – LOL.)

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CAN YOU FEEL IT?

It’s out there.  You cannot see it.  You cannot taste it.  You cannot touch it.  But you can feel it and you know it’s there….

THE HOLIDAYS ARE COMING – EEEEK!!!!!

I get both excited and scared at the same time.  If I did not have custody of my grandson, it might not feel so extreme?  Then again, maybe it would.  I am a crafter by passion, and I work on my crafts all year long.  With that said, I still get a “major stress on” every year about this time.

  • The kids are back in school.
  • The stores have out the Halloween decorations. (Some are also doing Christmas already-grrr.)
  • The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer.
  • The full course of fruits and veggies are almost done with our mega processing.
  • Pull all that together with the impending tasks of holiday stuff, and you can go crazy.

So, how do I handle all of this mess – laughter!  As much of it as I can muster!

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I try to remember the better holiday times of my life.  Most were from when I was very young, but some (the better ones I think) are from later in life.

FALL:

  • Stepping outside on the first deep freeze. Breathing in real deep and having my nostrils stick together.  For some weird reason, I just loved that?!
  • Digging up the last of the potatoes out in our garden. Here again, I was a bit strange as I would always keep a couple hidden in my pocket for later.  Just loved the taste of a garden fresh potato (yes – crunchy and sometimes a bit dirty but delicious).
  • Playing outside when the winds kicked up just to dance in the falling leaves.
  • The smell of hot chocolate when we came in from a cold day of play (still love this one).

HALLOWEEN:

  • I don’t remember doing much trick-or-treating when I was little as we lived in the country. Running from house to house sucked up a ton of gas with little returns.  Some years we would drive into the local small towns, but not often.
  • I did love the Halloween television shows: Charlie Brown Halloween was (and still is) one of my favs. There were some odd ones too, The Monster Ball and one about a mean Pig creating Frankenstein’s monster – both were in Claymation (this is still my favorite animation form).
  • Then, as we matured (and I do say that lightly), my two sisters and I loved dressing up and bar-hopping.
  • One year I was a black widow spider, eight legs and all, and no one knew it was me.  Loved it as I was completely covered in dark black material and body paint.
  • My younger sister had a party where she dressed as a unicorn (oh, by the way, we made ALL of our own costumes as that was part of the fun of it.)
  • Our older sister dressed as her husband, and he dressed as the Grim Reaper – couldn’t tell them apart – ok, maybe just a bit.
  • o   The most favorite of all was when were still in Wisconsin and owned a little bar/restaurant establishment.  The basement was the place for the younger crowd.  We held our costume party in which our older sister went as a Lobster.  She was head-to-toe deep red – – –for several weeks after!  We still reminisce on that one, especially when we need some great laughs.  (Along with, never at.)

lobster

CHRISTMAS:

  • When we were younger, the routine was the same. Christmas Eve was going to church for our pageant.  After we put on our little play, the church gave everyone a large brown paper bag.   The bag held some of the greatest gifts of Christmas:
    • Always one large navel orange and one huge red delicious apple.
    • A huge variety of fresh nuts – never shelled as that was also part of our Christmas fun…cracking the nuts open.
  • And last, but my very favorite of all Angel Food Candy!  Man did I (and still very much do) love that stuff.  Some people call it sponge candy.  I have heard it called other things, but it will be Angle food for me forever.  Decades later I wanted to surprise my family for Christmas and buy some, but I could not find it anywhere.  I was lucky that computers were becoming very handy then (early 90’s), and I found a website called Wisconsin Recipes.  I do not believe it is still around.  I did find these:
    • http://www.oldwisconsin.com/recipes has some great (looks like mainly German, Swiss, and Swedish foods) main course meals.
    • I also have a childhood friend with which I recently reconnected. Come to find out she loves to cook and to blog about it.  She is not in WI anymore, but I bet she has a ton of recipes from there.  If you are interested, you can find her here: https://indianeskitchen.com/  Her recipes are yummy!
    • The last I found after a ton of searching, cooking, tasting, and comparing. It is the (apparently) secret recipe for Angel Food Candy.  This is one of my most favorite candies ever, and I only make it up for Christmas.
    • The last one popped up by accident. I only saw the Wisconsin Old Fashioned part and didn’t realize until I clicked on it that it was a drink.  I found this as my daily omen as it was my parents drink of preference ( Brandy Old Fashioned ).  Yes, we grew up with Pabst Blue Ribbon beer (kind of have to in WI), but as they aged, they went to the B.O.F. for their drink of choice.  Since we owed a couple of different bars and restaurants while I was in my tween-teen years, it was all good.

The funniest part of that candy recipe hunt was the last.  I do not do hard booze at all.  I like my beer during our Friday game night or at family get-togethers, but no strong alcohol. This was also due to my parents and our bar rearing.  But that is a story for another time.

 

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DO YOU KNOW THE SECRET ART?

I don’t say this to sound like you are a beastie that sits behind doors and jump-scares your kids.  I am talking about doing something (or things) that your kids will go: “MOM??!!”  (You do have to drag out the “o” part with the sound of “ah” to get the full effect.), once you have done it.

My fault is gifted from my mother.  My father did not know how to converse until he met her.   (Pretty sure of this fact.)  She, having been raised in the 1930’s without anything but radio and the art of conversation.  I know, I know…this sounds impossible (especially to those under thirty), but it is true.  She loved music, dancing, singing, and the art of conversation.

old radio

Lucky me – I received her gift!  It was not always this way.  I was a very shy and scared kid when I was younger.  Now that I think back, I guess part of my coming out also had to do with my father.  He forced me to go to work at about age fourteen selling sweet corn off the back of an old truck with a local farmer he knew.  The farmer was about as old as his truck and found it hard to attend to people like he wanted, so he hired me to do it.

selling corn off trk.jpg

He watched me the first day, cowering at the back of the wagon, and on the way home he said,

Do you want to know the secret of selling stuff?”

Mousey me answered yes, so he went on to share his secret.  I will now share this once-in-a-lifetime, old sage advice with all of you:

Find something about that other person that catches your eye.  Then compliment them on it.

That’s it.  I thought that couldn’t be all there is to it and decided to try it out the very next day.  A Cadillac pulled over, and a very well-dressed lady got out and came toward the back of the wagon.  I happened to notice her ring was really catching the sunlight.  Before she could utter a word, I looked her square in the eye and said,

That ring is beautiful!” (with a genuine smile on my face)

She instantly smiled back, held out her hand so I could get a better look, and told me how it had been in her family for decades.  We chattered back and forth about family heirlooms for a bit, and she ended up with two-dozen ears of corn.  I was so squirrely I thought I would explode with joy!

I used his tactic all the rest of that afternoon and could not thank him enough on the way home.  I did not feel shy anymore, but surprisingly confident.  The rest of the fall I would spend weekends with the old farmer selling his goods and loved every minute of it.  Not because of the sales part of it, but because of the conversation.

In all truth, I am a lousy seller.  I cannot bargain with anyone about anything.  If you tell me that’s the price, I will pay it with no dispute.  I make my younger sister do all the wheeling-and-dealing because she loves it, and is good at it.  Even to this day, I cannot sell anything unless I believe in it, like my crafts or our preserves.

However, if you would like to discuss something – ANYTHING – pick me.  I love the art of conversation.  I hated getting my first cell phone.  To me, it meant the end of proper, decent civilization.  Then the phone turned into a smartphone and death to the art of conversation.

You can:

  • Text for your groceries and pay for them too. Then just go pick them up.
  • Text for a pizza and have it delivered.
  • Argue or talk nasty about someone and never look them in the eye while you do it.
  • Brake up with someone
  • Fall in love with someone
  • Play games all by yourself, or with others, and you will never see your enemies eyes.

A part of me loves our modern convenience, but a bigger part of me is very saddened by it all.  You see it everywhere:

  • Cars
  • Bars
  • Coffee shops
  • Restaurants
  • Standing in lines anywhere
  • Driving (really ticks me off!)
  • Walking (ok, I do find this funny on Facebook posts when they walk into stuff while texting)

All the while none of these people are looking out at the world at all.  How can you text someone out to dinner with you, then spend the whole time looking at your phone?  I caught my daughter and one of her old boyfriends sitting next to each other at our table.  Both were texting and when I asked who they were talking to they said EACH OTHER – WHAT?!!?

Since that moment I have become obsessed with watching people and their “phones” and what they are missing during their obsession.  So, for those of you that do that…this is what you missed:

  • The best smile of your life.
  • The most beautiful sunset shared with a person you love.
  • Seeing the reaction, in real life, of a baby that gets introduced to a kitten or a puppy. Their laughter and the way they react to touching it for the first time is amazing.  You can’t get that wonderful feeling via a picture or video.  It must be experienced.
  • Touching a Rhino (yep, my nephew works at a zoo and did that, I am so jealous) or holding a penguin (yep, he did that too).
  • Hearing your child say, for the very first time – I love you.
  • Sharing a warm hug and tears with your best friend when their loved one dies. Sometimes no words are needed at all, just a hug and a smile.

I guess I got a little longer than normal here.  I just wanted to try to impress on everyone that the art of conversation must not die!  Keep your phones, social websites, and games; but look up once-in-a-while and smile at someone – even if they are a stranger.  You may be surprised to find that they usually smile back.  Oh and – BONUS – it makes you feel great.

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DOES FAILURE HIT YOU LIKE A LEAD BRICK?

I’m not sure exactly when or how it happened, but I turned my fear of failure into an anger to make it right.  I do not seem to concentrate so much anymore on the fact that I failed, but more on the where did I go wrong and what can I do to fix it.

I am glad that I don’t see failure as a life-stopping omen anymore, although I would appreciate a whole month (afraid to ask for a year) of no failures – just once.  But I guess I will just accept the fact that I have been able to turn fear into anger to make it right.

I feel like I have to fight to make or get anything good in my life.  If I don’t fight for it, I feel like it came to easy and it will not last.  Even worse, I feel like I do not deserve it.

make a meme-slay the red dot(Don’t you just love makeameme.com – LOL)

Now, how stupid is that?  Get something good and think you need to give it back because you don’t deserve it.  I have been through hell in my short life (yes, 58 years is short to me) and I try to think that maybe a part of me, by now, should be allowed to appreciate and enjoy a bit of easiness.

I have purchased several self-help books to try to help me overcome this ridiculous feeling of non-deservingness (yep, that is now a word, I just made it up).  I love to read so I begin to follow their plans, guidelines, rules, ideas, whatever; only to fail again.

Instead, I am now trying something new.  This is not new to life in general, but it is new for me to use it.  I want to start my days by listing at least three things I have that are:

  1. Good for me and in my life now.
  2. Bring me happiness or at least make me smile thinking of them.
  3. Realize that I have earned them and do now deserve them in my life.

I am not forcing myself to write them down, even though I am a very visual learner.  I just wake up and, before I even get out of bed, I lay there and purposely think about the current good things in my life that I have.  These are some of them:

  1. Our small farm. I have found that it is apparently very hard or maybe just very scary for people to obtain one.  It took a ton of effort to get ours, and it continues to be a day-to-day struggle in many areas, but we have more good than bad things here:
    1. Critters to love and care for that, in return, give us good clean food.
    2. Space to grow all our own food naturally. We practice as much of the natural methods as possible for our area.
    3. Ability to have a small firepit  in our yard and actually see stars at night (missed that in Denver).
    4. Being able to look back at the end of my day and see the work I have done. I could never feel that way in my office, factory, restaurant, or other jobs.
    5. Every spring I look forward to playing with new baby critters. Every fall I look forward to processing all the food we grew.  Every winter I look forward to a bit of rest and planning for the next year’s surprises.

grn-hs-in-sept-2017.jpg

  1. Caring for my grandson. This one is actually a trick good thing.  The poor little pooper has been through so many horrific things in his little nine years of life, that I just want to provide as much stability and love that I can for him.  There are day’s that he drives me crazy.  But then we have a few daily games we play, and my favorite is when my sister tells him,

I love you.”

Then he responds I love you.” Back.

Then I chime in with “I love you more.” 

To which he very quickly responds “I love you less.”

And we all giggle.  We all know full well that he loves me to the moon and back the little fart.  It’s just a fun game just between us.

I do worry that I am too old to care for him properly.  After my many joint replacements and surgeries, I cannot run, jump, and play like he deserves; but I can watch him and give loving words of encouragement every chance I get.

my right shoulder replacemnt xray

  1. A cluster of family and friends that love me. I should also clarify that they all have the same weird sense of humor.  Our standard family motto lovingly passed down from our parents, is that if we are not picking on you – we don’t like you.  Sounds a bit wacko I know, but it’s true.  I know somewhere in my past posts I shared my father’s pet name for me was Dumb Shit.  This was never shared in anger, disgust, or hate; but always in love and usually with a smile or laughter kicked in.  It was his way of making one of my failures a little less painful, and it always worked (pretty sure he is in heaven laughing at me right now and using that nick-name).
  2. An older sister to share (or compare) our pain with.
  3. A younger sister to share day-to-day life with.

I also don’t care if it is the same thoughts every day.  I just try to remember different situations in which they made me smile.  Things like the grandson saying he loves me less.  Then the next day is tricking me into playing an indoors game of badminton with a large balloon and fly swatters until he fell on the floor laughing.  Maybe it was just the huge ear-to-ear grin on his face when he snuck a new baby kitten away from its mama so he could show me he found them. (FYI-it is very hard to get mad at him for pulling them away from their mom when he is so proud that he found them.)

I have shared all this in the hope of you finding your anger to battle your failures until you can either get them into winners or believe that you have given it your best shot and move on with confidence.  Know that you have done the best you could.  After all, some of life’s best failures have been the best creations.

northern lights

(P.S.  Thinking of the good stuff first in the morning, is making me have a happier day.)

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