“Darcy, We’re Not In Kansas – Yet” – or The Tornado Trip

Well, those of you have been following me should know enough about my past to know there is damage.  The fire of 2014 was the worst.  July 29, 2018, comes in a pretty close second – F2 Tornado.

The whole trip was wicked.  We have a huge living room window that I judge when it is time to put the chickens in by.  As it starts turning darker out, I know it’s time for me to move.  Well, at 4:30 p.m. I got up and my phone weather warning alarm went off (I remember cuz I jumped – it vibrates and rings a nasty sound – I made it that way), stating that it was a tornado “warning.”  Those of you that do not know, a “watch” means conditions are right, a “warning” means the suckers on the ground.

As I went to my car (I use my car to close things up at night because I do not trust my new knees yet – tripped and fell too many times and it really hurts), the south side windows showed a clear sky.  Got into my car and rounded the house going north and my stomach turned.  That darn woman’s intuition kicked in HUGE.  I quickly closed up everything and glanced over the chicken barn and freaked out – something massive was coming.

My first thought was another wicked dust storm like we got back in April of this year.  But my intuition would not back down.  I got back up to the house and found my sister stretched out on the couch watching movies like no big deal.  I yelled at her to get downstairs NOW!

Instinct kicked in again – turned everything off, had my phone, grabbed my tablet, thought about my laptop but last minute decided no (great time to not listen to myself – idiot!!).  Let the dogs in and grabbed the cat and we all went down to the downstairs living room – north end of the house.  I closed all the doors in case of windows breaking (there is only one small one in that living room area).  Note: My bedroom door opens to this downstairs living room.  All other doors are in the hallway.

I sat in my fav crafting chair while my sister and grandson snuggled on the couch.  Dogs wouldn’t lie still, and the cat was hiding.  I pulled up the weather radar on my phone and watched the ugly colors flow across the screen, and the stuff outside the window flew.  I distinctly remember my bedroom door rattling – THE WINDOWS WERE ALL CLOSED IN THE HOUSE – this was tornado pressure.  Our ears were popping and plugging like we were going up in a jet.

I think initially, part of me just thought (or maybe hoped) this was some more of our severe winds.  I was not scared – which is weird.  At about 4:45 the power went off.  Around 5:00pm-ish I called our insurance company and told them we were in a tornado and would most likely have damages (after the fire, I learned that Insurance should be the first one a person calls when you own stuff that is insured).  By 5:30 pm we were sneaking back upstairs to check.  The majority of the storm was past, still, some strong winds going on, but the sun was showing.  The first thing I spotted was this:

tornado-pic-1.jpg

The window was blown in, glass and heavy water everywhere. You can see my tablet with the mess on top – and yes, it’s shot! (I cried – silly me lives for writing, and I had some great stories on it.  Hope I can have my friend save the hard drive as he did after the fire?)  My grandsons mini-tablet was thrown off his stand (on the right) and was sitting soaked in his chair.

Then I went to check the office, but the door was jammed.  It took us a bit, but we finally got it open to this:

tornado-pic-2.jpg

We could definitely tell which way the wind blew.  This is our office/sewing room and I also use it to keep track of my yarn goods for sales.  They ended up trashed as well.  Not just soaked, but bits of glass shards embedded in them.  Then I cried again – all that time and effort shot in less than one hour.

The next thing I did was go outside to check the damage.  This was the most noticeable in the front yard:

tornado-pic-3.jpg

It is/was our gazebo.  In the pic, it is facing southeast.  It is supposed to be facing west toward the house.  The twister (appropriately named) picked it up, turned it, then set it down on top of the fence (looks like the vinyl fence is going in the door )..but it left the fence post intact – go figure?

Then the north end of the house:

tornado-pic-4.jpg

This really shows how freaky (or picky?) a tornado can be…both the living room window (to the left) and the office window (right) are blown in/out – but the door window is just beautiful?  The door itself is metal and has massive dings from the large hail, but the glass is untouched – how?  Even the porch light (little black one by the door) had its glass busted on a couple sides – but the door window is ok??

My grandson’s trampoline was the next thing that caught my eye.  Because we have such awful winds, we had it not just staked in the ground in several places but tied to both the tree and the fence.  The weird part on this is that the rope on the tree snapped, but the sucker is still hanging on to the fence.  The fence was not even cemented in?

tornado-pic-5.jpg

The cage is shot – too many busted screen poles, but the tramp itself looks ok.  It did smash into the house above my bedroom window and left a mark – but that was all it did to the house.  I expected a lot worse – guess all the stakes and ropes helped.  If you look close in the center of the picture, you can see the far pole is actually shoved over halfway into the ground.  We tried to pull it out but can’t…gonna have to use a jack.

The big barn had a massive piece of its sheet metal roofing flapping in the breeze, and several pieces of roofing in the back are gone.  Same with the big gray shed.  Our chicken barn roof is gone.  Then there is our greenhouse:

tornado-pic-6.jpg

If I didn’t know better, I would think we were constructing it (my  Helbergfarmstories blog was started because of this.).

You may be wondering what all this has to do with life lessons lived – it’s about finding the humor when there appears to be none.

The first thing my sister said to me was “we’re not in Kansas Dorothy.” And we both bust out laughing.

  • The three of us survived.
  • The critters are all good.
  • The gardens are shot, but the majority of the house is intact.
  • We have full coverage on the house and our possessions.
  • We don’t have insurance on the outbuildings (never got to it.) but we can fix those.
  • Tried to get coverage on the greenhouse, but no takers since “the weather we get out here is too much of a risk to cover it.”  Funny, I always thought that was what you paid insurance for – risky situations?!?

We have seen some of our neighbors and their homes/properties have been devastated by this twister.  All-in-all we did not get it as bad as some of our friends, but we have a fantastic little community here, and we all pull together!  The biggest reason for us to keep pushing forward.

Yes, I had a good cry when I first sat and thought about it (so did my sis and she NEVER cries).  Then I pulled up my big girl panties and got things done.  The barn front and large gray shed are done.  The part of the chicken barn that is over the chickens (other ½ used to cover goats) is covered and they, with the kitties, are all dry and safe.

The greenhouse is what it is.  We cannot afford a new roof right now, and the base 2″x12’x12′ boards have to be reinstalled first.  So, for now, we are going to use it as is   :

  • The far end with the swamp cooler wall managed to save the north end crops – zucchini, strawberries, small tomatoes and some hot peppers – oh and the melons (and they are in the middle of the area – have no clue how they were saved?).
  • I also pulled back some plastic on the west side and found my eggplant and pickle vines were all ok. A bit beat up (smashed) but still good.
  • My grandson’s flowers are next to my Rosemary bush, and both got nailed by the scaffolding (from trying to repair before), but they are good.  So is the Basil next to them…but the rest of the row is trash.  Our big heirloom tomatoes took a beating as well as the other sweet and hot peppers.  BUT as of this morning (8-9-18), I see sparks of life.  Some of the main stalks/vines are showing new leaves.  Now we just need to set up row covers and heaters to keep them going long enough to produce.

The best news after all this mess is that I am a new grandma – sort of.  A couple of chickens that have been setting for the last month are now proud moms.  I love how they puff out to cover the babies.

Well, once again, life goes on.  You can either let it eat you up, or you can bite back.  I choose to bite back!  Hope you do the same.

WHAT SEASON IS YOUR HEART?

Years ago (ok DECADES ago), there was a book that came out about what color type you were based on your skin tones. I have a strong Irish/German heritage, so I have very pale skin.  My eyes are also very light blue, and I have dark brown hair with red highlights (more grey now – eeek).  So, needless to say, when I go out in the summer sun I burn very easy.

That top-of-the-charts book told me that I was a “fall” skin tone type.  This seemed correct to me as I love the colors of deep red, dark green, and gold in the clothes I wore back then.  To some extent, I still lean toward those colors when I shop for clothing. However, I have just discovered that I may have a fall skin tone, but I have a winter heart.

peaceful winter When you look at this picture do you fee cold, harsh, and alone?  I see warm and cozy.  I picture a home filled with warmth and laughter.

peaceful winter 2How about this one?  Are you only thinking about Christmas and the stark cold of winter?  I think of crafting and making things to share with family, friends, and loved ones.

hidden snow cabin This is one of my favorite dreams.  I would love to have a tiny little cabin in the middle of the woods.  I prefer it be small enough to have a fireplace as the only mode of heat.  I would need some lanterns for decent lighting.  My goal there would be to find peace, quiet, and creativity.  All I need would be:

  • Several good crafting books.
  • Tons of yarn.
  • Some of my beading supplies.
  • Hot cocoa, snuggly blankets on an overstuffed couch, and a warm fire.

Minor amenities like food, water, and a bathroom would also be nice.  However, I do know how to create good drinking water from snow.  I have used the woods for a bathroom before (when I was a lot younger, but I’m sure the concept is still the same).  I also know a bit about hunting and foraging and if there is a stream or lake nearby – fishing is a must.

The next best thing to my favorite would be this:

slow walk to unknown in snowA woods with a path that does not show a clear end.  I see peace, quiet, and another story!

I would love to hear what season your heart is and why an  I hope you feel the urge to share.

You can also check me out on:  https://helbergfarmstories.com/ for fun stories from our farm.

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WE ARE NOT ALONE, and I am proud of it!

take me to your reader

No, I am not talking about aliens.  I am talking about reading lovers.  Books, ebooks, blogs, comic books and whatever else we can get our hands on –  IT MUST BE READ.   There is one book that stands out in my mind, even to this day – Chatter The Red Squirrel.  I know it is not in print anymore as this was one of my first/best Christmas gifts over fifty years ago.  A book.  It was my first chapter book (the younger generation apparently separates just books into categories).  I have an Aunt that sent me, and only me, a book every Christmas.  She was not my Godmother, so it was not a relation obligation.  She (for some reason) and I connected and, for as long as I can remember, I was thrilled to receive them every Christmas.  I happily charge her with my passionate love of the written word.

red squirrel

I love going to libraries and bookstores are my Achilles Heal.  Oh and don’t get me started with anything involving paper and pens or pencils.  When tablets first appeared I swore I would never have one.  Our home now has three (one for each of course).  I love the handiness of the e-readers. However, my first passion is the good old standard paper products.

ereader

For the longest time, I considered myself a bit of a freak (ok, a really huge freak, if we are honest – but for a variety of reasons).  I thought I was in a very small minority of people that consumed the written word as I do.  I am reading all the time.  Well, thanks to one of my fav websites,  Mother Nature Network (https://www.mnn.com/  no I am not affiliated with them – yet.), I found out that I am not alone but, in fact, I am in great company.   Here’s the link if you want to see if you qualify for this marvelous title:

Too many unread books? You have an ‘antilibrary,’ and that’s a good thing

I think I fit perfectly into a specific statement in their article:

— a very small minority — who get the point that a private library is not an ego-boosting appendage but a research tool.

This statement fits me to a tee!  I read to learn.  My elder sister reads romance novels.  My youngest sister reads the strangest (usually nonfiction) stuff like Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools by Victoria Tweed (what kind of a title is that?).  The name caught her eye, and after reading the prologue, she had to read more.  My collection is all about learning.  Learning new things, improving on a current skill, picking up a new skill, finding better ways to get through my days; these are my darlings.

I collect the written word, music, and crafting supplies (I am a Yarnie at heart).  There is not a single my personal space in our home that does not carry at least two of the three.  When I go to appointments, and I know, I will be there for a while, a book, a yarn project, and a smallish notepad and fun pen (or two or twelve) go with me.  I try to be prepared for wherever the mood takes me.

I am proud to have an antilibrary – are you?

The kaizen way(Currently reading.  Not affiliated.)

You can also check me out on:  https://helbergfarmstories.com/ for fun stories from our farm.

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Happiness is where you find it – NOT!

You can look till you are blue in the face and you will not find it – you have to choose to make it!
I can say this because this is what I do, I choose to be happy. There are tons of thing on any given day that will force you to be the opposite of happy:

  • Kids out of control and not listening.
  • Boss is taking out his problems on you just because you are there.
  • Coffee dumped in your lap – no one’s fault, but you are not happy, none-the-less.
  • It’s raining when you wanted sunshine.

I will gladly share with you examples of my continuous work of attitude adjustment (WARNING: some of my pics are very graphic.).
initial 3-18-14 pic b 4 surgery  (The Cause.)
I had to have half my left index finger amputated just one month after our house fire that took everything (including my 4-year old grandson, but that’s for another time.). I will admit when the Doctor first announced this I was blind-sided.   I started crying hysterically. Thank goodness my younger sister was with me so she could get me back to reality.

6-9-14 not healing right after 1st filet surgery to rid infection  The first fix – didn’t work and yes that is my knuckle bone sticking out above the flesh (exposure is apparently a very bad thing.).

I was expecting him to tell me I would need pins or something, but I never thought of lopping it off. Well, after the initial shock subsided, I planted my feet firmly on the ground and started to think about the things that I would have to change to accommodate this circumstance. I am a yarnie and crafter by nature. If you know anything about knitting and crochet, you know the yarn is held by your fingers. As I am a right-hander, and as I was taught to carry the yarn in my left hand – my major player was now going to be absent forever. Now, this was MY first thought.
My sister, on the other hand, looked me straight in the eye and said:

“How are you going to pick your nose now?”

That poor Doctor. He left the room with a woman shocked and hysterical over the news he had just delivered, and now walked into a room with a couple of dizzy broads laughing so hard tears were all over the place. Then my sister bursts out with:

“Where’s the bathroom, I have to pee?” and bolted out.

There are times in life that you just do not think to take a picture at that very moment. This was one of them. This poor young Doctor was beside himself, and it was obvious that he had no clue what to say.
6-23-14 - 1st_day_view_after_loss  The 2nd surgery – to “fix” it.

The amputation was done in June 2014 and went off without a hitch. It took several weeks to get through recovery and therapy. During the process of this, the Doctor noticed I was having difficulty raising my right arm. He ordered x-rays and found that there was no ball left in my shoulder socket (let me know when you stop laughing. It’s ok because I still get teased by family and friends on this one – no ball in my socket- haha!).

He proceeded to order more x-rays and tests which told us all that I have osteoarthritis (arthritis in my joints – oh lucky me!). To lighten this up a bit, I went on to have six more major surgeries within 12 months. I was also handling all of the fire cleanup, Special Investigators, Detectives, remodeling, insurance, my Grandson and his Therapy, etc., etc., etc. Just a bit stressed out.

It just so happens that Halloween fell in the midst of all these surgeries – our second favorite holiday! I now consider myself extremely lucky to have had some fantastic doctors with great funny bones. My first (the guy that took ½ my finger) also did my shoulders. Those of you that have been lucky enough not to have it done, you end up with your arm in a sling for about three months. This sling provided a perfect hiding spot to help with my Halloween gag.

I had to purchase all new things for our home – this included holiday decorations. The first was to be for Halloween. Then it hit me – skeletons. I also purchased a package of those rubber tips you put on the end of your fingers to help turn pages of paper. My sister had to help me from here. She cut a small slit in the tip of one of the rubber tips. Then cut off the little finger from the skeleton. Shoved the fake bone through the slit and glued it to keep it in place. Then she painted the rubber a skin tone which left the white bone sticking out of it. It fit perfectly onto my new Ms. Stubbly.

We’re off to see my doctor, the wonderful doctor of osteo…(yes, you have to sing this to the tune of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz). As with any doctor office, the nurse assisted us into the room first. She had not seen our Halloween surprise because it was hiding in my sling. My doctor came in, set my file on the counter as he was asking so naively: “How are things going?”
“Fine,” I said, “But I have a few concerns about my finger, should it look like this?” “It does make it easier for me to knit now.”
boney-finger-halloween  (Knit one, purl two?)

It took all my sister, and I had to stop giggling until he turned around and saw my Ms. Stubbly with the fake bone sticking out from the end. He burst out laughing at us – now that’s a doctor! Then he went out and told the nurse, who told a couple of others, and before long we had several people in the room. It was all great fun.

When things calmed a bit, we noticed his attire for the day – plaids and stripes? My sister very nicely asked him if his wife knew he left the house looking like this today? Once again, we could not stop laughing. I swear, from that visit on he made sure his wife helped him pick out his clothes – at least on the days he knew he would see me.

This is part of how I have taught myself to create my own happiness. I have many more stories to share, so I hope you will tag along and have some fun with me!

Happiness is made – not found.

You can also check me out on: www.helbergfarmstories.com for fun stories from our farm.
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FREE NOW – what a crock!

I get tons of emails on a daily basis. Granted it is all my fault as I have subscribed to most of them.  However, in my defense, I found that when I find an interesting post, go in, sign up and hope to receive more “interesting” posts; I get a load of garbage instead.

I love to write. I love to share my stories, crafts, gardening help (https://helbergfarmstories.com/), and other bits about me; usually with a collection of humor thrown in.  It’s just what I do.  But the stuff I have been getting lately has started to tick me off.

FREE NOW – LIMITED TIME OFFER – COMPLETELY FREE (just pay shipping)…

 I am guessing that you get several of these also, at least on a weekly basis.  Mine are bombarding me daily.  The part that really ticks me off is how they entice with the “free” when it is NOT free.  If I have to:

  • Subscribe to get it.
  • Pay ridiculous shipping, handling, and/or processing fees
  • Watch a full 2-hour webinar to get the information on how to get the freebie, only to then find it is not actually free.
  • Agree to be overloaded with a million emails per day that I did not plan, want, or need.

Then I go to unsubscribe from the nasty only to be told it may take several days.  In the meantime, I get a million more dumb stuff emails that I have to clean up after.

Now, someday, I hope to write the next best novel, create an ebook that people can’t get enough of, or some other wonderful writing income maker.  I have a very simple plan that I wish to share:

  1. When I finish the written work, I would love to give it away completely free – no shipping, no handling, etc. I would request a review from those I provide the free copy.  Now, this is free in a no-money sense. However it will require a bit of your time to tell me if you loved it, it needs improvement, or if it sucks.
  2. If I should decide to do a print book vs. ebook, the shipping and tax will be listed as a charge – NOT FREE THEN IS IT?! So I will tell you up front – this is not free.  What a refreshing idea?!

Several years ago there was a movie made with Dudley Moore.  He was an overworked, overstressed advertising agent that ended up in an institution early in the movie.  The point of the movie was to imagine what it would be like if all advertising simply told the truth.  If the product stinks, but you will buy it because of the cute, half-naked woman presenting it – then say so.  Be proud of how you are shamelessly pushing your products!  The movie was appropriately named “CRAZY PEOPLE.”

 movie pic CRAZY PEOPLE

If You need a giggle, click here to see the trailer on YouTube it’s just a nice movie that makes you smile!bunch of crazies

Happy Monday!

Will We Deserve It?

I hope that those that read this little post of mine today will take it to heart. I especially would love to know that those under thirty-somethings will be paying attention. Today I want to share a very deep-felt life lesson. Age and the emotional damage it creates.
I am not talking about the physical changes, that’s just a nasty side effect of aging. I am here to tell you that I have earned every single one of those lines on my face (mostly from laughing at myself), and I am very proud of them. No, what I am talking about is the anger that comes with it.

I never EVER dreamt of running for a political office. Being raised in the 1960’s, I still remember what world leaders did or did not do about Vietnam (among other wars – and YES, it was a war, not a police state! What BS is that?), and it’s issues (before & after).
I remember throwing my bra in a fire for women’s rights in the 1970’s. (Yes, I am giggling at this one because I can’t do without the stupid thing now or I would have black-and-blue knees – eeek.)

womens rights
I remember growing up on the farm with fields to work, animals to take care of, and all the functions required; bending, lifting (some heavy lifting), scrapes, cuts, falling and getting back up and doing it all over again.

My body has come to the point where it is telling me ENOUGH! I cannot do the physical things I used to do, which is heartbreaking. I am much now smarter than I ever was, yet I have never felt so hopeless – and scared. No one will hire me because I am broken – not stupid – just too much of a health risk.

I am not afraid of spiders and snakes (Ooo, that just reminded me of a great song by Jim Stafford, click here to listen – it’s fun.). I’m not afraid of losing loved ones, that is part of the circle of life. I am, however; becoming very afraid of the powers that be making a stupid decision that affects my life profoundly. The part that really gets my goat is that not one among them has EVER had to know personally what their decisions do to screw up my life!

spiders n snakes

I would love to know if any of our politicians have had to do the following:

• Pick up and throw a 50-80 pound hay bale to keep the animals fed.
• Saved a life. I’m talking about serious stuff – pulling from a car accident, type of saving.
• Felt the emotional loss of a beloved animal as a child.
• Experienced being in a house fire.
• Having lived through that fire only to have your 4-year old grandson not.
• Watching as 50+ years of creations, letters, diaries, books, albums, collections, your mother’s hand paintings, recipes your father created, and other priceless memories go up in flames.
• Follow that up with the next 12 months filled with major surgeries – oh, guess what? You get to lose ½ your finger, and in the process, we found you have no major joints left. Everything is bone-on-bone and will all need to be replaced.
• Work for the stupid government for 11+ years only to find out doing so, screwed you out of your benefits.
• Then have “your” government decide that they want to change the following:

  •  Even though you have already gone through the whole mind-numbing process, and been approved for Medicare/Medicaid; we now want to make you go back to work (as if anyone will hire me like this), just because you “LOOK” healthy enough to do so.
  •  We also want to pull all your guns, because someone with mental health issues (oh, don’t forget – we will not go for that excuse anymore), decides to use one to kill. GOD FORBID WE ACTUALLY TRY TO FIX THE MENTAL ISSUES THAT CAUSED IT IN THE FIRST PLACE.
  • We are going to take away your beautiful natural landmarks because our Good-ole-boys in corporate companies want the land to make more money off it.
  • We also want to give those same buddies of ours the right to pump old nasty oil waste water out in the middle of nowhere near you. (Oh, and we do not care if your drinking water aquifer is right on that spot. You can pay to have water shipped in all clean and pretty.)

I remember holding huge family corn roasts every fall. After several years it became family and friends and just kept growing bigger. As far back as I can remember, we had a distant cousin with MS. She was brilliant but could not move even to talk. She had learned to smile when she was truly happy, and I remember several of us working our hearts out to entertain her because we loved her. Her parents carried her everywhere. Our whole family supported them in their efforts (and our family was huge.). The parents got older, and the daughter got bigger. Eventually, she was placed in an institution and passed away. But the family did not simply give up on her because it was hard.

MS pic of what Corine looked likeWhen did it become so easy to write things off simply because they do not affect you?

When did choosing the first answer become the right answer, even if proved wrong?

When did the new generations decide that they did not have to care about                            things that were not all about them?

I was 40, 30, 20, yes and even 10 years old once upon a time. I grew up learning the following truths:

• Work hard, and you will be rewarded.
• There is no such thing as a free lunch, but you can help someone less fortunate than you.
• Treat others as you want them to treat you.

These were not just bits from a book, but real things my family believed in. Real things they impressed upon us since birth. Real things that we still try to follow and share.
I have become obsessed with end-of-the-world type movies. I don’t think an asteroid or alien is going to be our demise. I think we have already done more damage to us than any foreign object ever could.

When we stop trying to make things better…

When we stop showing and sharing compassion…

When we stop being as we the people and stand up against the wrong – even                          if it is the harder way…

THEN, we will lose our world, and we will have deserved it.

dead-trees-947331_640-pixabay

You can also check me out on: www.helbergfarmstories.com for fun stories from our farm.

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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!)

You can also check me out on:  www.helbergfarmstories.com for fun stories from our farm.

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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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