living

Dream Chasing

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I like to think of myself as a fairly intelligent person. Growing up, I was never much of a people person. I was very shy. Painfully shy. Even after divorcing my first husband at the tender age of 25, I was still very shy. I moved into a gated apartment complex and I really hated leaving with someone in their car. Why? Because it would require me to stop at the entrance and tell the guard who I was.

This was just with strangers. You can ask anyone who really knew me back then and they will tell you that I was talkative, engaging, and fun. But with people I didn’t know I kept my head down, didn’t make eye contact, and would probably faint dead away if spoken too.

Something happened along the way. I’m not sure where. But somewhere in the last 25 years, I began to lift my head and see what was going on around me. I looked people, strangers, straight in the eye and smiled. They smiled back, most of the time. I asked questions. I found my voice.

Now I find that I will insert myself into other people’s conversations. Complete strangers. Recently I was having breakfast with my mom at Cracker Barrel and I overheard a couple talking about their plans for the day. They were visiting Fort Worth and trying to decide what they should do next. They asked the waiter. He seemed to be caught off guard and didn’t offer any real suggestions. I thought about it for a couple of seconds and then got up and walked over to their table. I said “Excuse me. I couldn’t help but hear you asking about what there is to do in Fort Worth.” Then we proceeded to have a very nice conversation about the Stockyards. You can’t come to Fort Worth and not visit the Stockyards. There is major road construction going on I-35. They weren’t too hip on traversing that route again. So I told them how to get there the back way from where we were.

Now see, 30 years ago I would have loved to offer my advice. But I wouldn’t have. I would have convinced myself that they didn’t need to hear from me. That they didn’t want to hear from me.

I hear conversations going on around me all the time. I find it very very hard to keep my mouth shut. Sometimes, even at work, I keep my door shut. This is to not only cut out the outer room noise so that I can focus on what I’m doing, but it is also to keep me out of things going on.

When I stop and think about it, who I am now amazes me. What I’ve realized is, I’m a problem solver. I’m not saying that to toot my own horn. But I think that’s my gift, problem solver.

I think I have great ideas. The problem is, people rarely listen to me when they should. Ha! Ha! You know the old saying, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”

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Example #1 – I had a friend who lived in a small town. She wanted to open up a catering business and maybe a bakery. She’s a great cook! But, in my opinion, she was thinking too big. She talked about renting a building, buying equipment, etc. My suggestion was to start small. Start from her kitchen. Each day come up with a menu of a couple of sandwiches or box lunches. Call local business and find out if they would like to have the menu faxed or emailed to them each day. She could send it either the day before or early the morning of. If people were interested, they would fax their order to her. Since it was a small town, she could offer free delivery. This would enable her to build a clientele before actually making a big up front investment. She didn’t see what I saw.

Example #2 – I had a friend who loved to bake cookies and cup cakes. She was really good at it too. She used only the best ingredients. The first mistake she made was calling the city to find out what she needed to do to open a bakery. Of course they gave her a long list of permits and requirements. She was crushed. We had a long conversation, in which I basically presented the same ideas as Example #1. But she didn’t see what I saw.

Example #3 – I have a young friend who has tried unsuccessfully to launch a homemade soap business. She has made soaps for me and they were lovely. She was a single mom and I knew that there were durable supplies that she needed in order to make and promote her soaps on a larger scale. She seemed to want to go from hobby soap maker to side income soap maker. We talked about farmers markets and different craft fairs. But in order to do those things, you have to have product. So I invested in her dream. I gave her some money hoping that she would buy the molds and things that she needed.  She continued to make small batches of custom soaps. So, she didn’t see what I saw.

But those were their dreams. So they didn’t need to see what I saw. They only needed to see what they see. They shared their dreams with me and I had a visualization of their dream. But apparently what I visualized was not what they visualized. And that’s ok. Sometimes, people just like to talk out loud and that’s fine too. I’m happy that they were comfortable enough to share their dreams with me.

Now, I am chasing my own dream. Four months ago I didn’t even know it was my dream. I’ll share my dream with you tomorrow.

and I’m okay with that.

7b514a8fcf19a2e36ec72620e636c4f3I use to be nice. I use to be sweet. I use to make excuses for people. I use to see only the positive. Then after a little life experience, I took off my rose colored glasses, looked at the world, and became a bitch.

I think most of my real, truly life changing conversion happened after I turned 50. Maybe that’s just part of growing old. Your tolerance for unadulterated bullshit drops to a level where you just aren’t going to stand it any more.

I use to make excuses for others – now I let them speak for themselves.

I use to ignore the ugly, and play up the pretty – now I let ugly just be ugly.

I use to reach out to help without being asked – now I worry only about myself and my family. I have to live with my choices, so does everyone else.

I use to be the peacemaker – now I will bring the war right into your living room and take no prisoners and call no truce.

Once you realize you’ve been betrayed, it’s easy to wipe entire groups out of your life without a second thought. It’s really quite liberating not to feel the need to explain yourself. Just simply sit and be quiet and wait for the disorderly, loud mouthed crowd to pass you by and move on to their next dispute.

Keeping quiet is the hard part. I guess we all want understanding. That’s why we feel the need for discussion, endless discussion with everyone shouting about their “feelings”. I’ve finally reached the age where I don’t really care about anyone’s feelings and will try to keep mine to myself as well.

Occasionally I feel that nice, sweet, girl trying to rise up out of me and make excuses for someone. But I punch her in the face and the bitch wins again.

I’m a nice, mind my own business, kind of bitch.

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“Get off my back Pinterest!!”

I have a long laundry list of things that I NEED to do. I’ve got closets, cabinets, drawers, pantrys, and whole rooms that need to be organized and cleaned. My junk cup runneth over. Now take the general junkiness of my home and mix in some hobbies. Cooking, crocheting, blogging, and reading. Those are my hobbies.

Usually the things that need to be done are shoved aside and replaced with my hobbies. Lately my main time eater has been crochet. Some much so that my other hobbies have suffered neglect. I have a notebook filled with blog thoughts.  I’ve got a husband that has taken over my kitchen and thinks he’s the Galloping Gourmet. I’ve got recipes stored on websites, pinned to boards on Pinterest, and I actually pay (for some reason that I’ve forgotten) for an account on Allrecipes.com, which is a pretty good free program. I think I may have paid for that site, because they have a kitchen view or some such thing that I wanted to use, when I pulled up a recipe on the site. It was something stupid.

Just like the Cozi.com I paid for (I don’t pay until January 17th). I’ll probably keep it, mainly because the paid version has a birthday list. I like the layout of the birthday list. Sure I could put this information on my free Google calendar or my free Yahoo calendar, but I’ve gone to the trouble to enter them. So I’ll just keep it.

But I’m getting off track. This morning while going through my personal emails I found one from Pinterest. For those of you that don’t know Pinterest is, it’s for all those things you are going to do.  You’re going to cook this. When you host a party you’re going to serve this and decorate like that. I’ve got 20 different recipes boards, 11 different crochet boards, and cornucopia of other boards including one titled “I Want Chickens” and one titled “Pretty Pretty Matthew.”

The email from Pinterest was

Cross stitch your grandma would never do

Hi Anna!! Cross stitch is making a comeback, but in a non-doily sort of way. Chairs, charms, sweatshirts, and shoes are just a few of the new-fashioned projects you can do in a day or two.

Sew fun


Cross stitch on pegboard!! Cute! I could do flowers and …


modern cross stitch




Now all of these pictures had links in the email that took me back to cross stitch Pinterest boards. For just a minute, I thought to myself “That looks like fun.” Then I remembered all the other stuff that I have piling up in my house and the very little time I have to do the things I already want to do. If Pinterest was a person I would pick up the phone and tell her to leave me alone. There aren’t enough hours in the day already. STOP!!!

Poor Neglected Belly Button

2116016-lgThe navel (clinically known as the umbilicus, colloquially known as the belly button, umbilical dip or tummy button) is a scar[1] on the abdomen at the attachment site of the umbilical cord. All placental mammals have a navel, and it is quite conspicuous in humans.[2] Other animals’ navels tend to be smoother and flatter, often nothing more than a thin line, and are often obscured by fur.

I’ve seen new born puppies, kittens, and other animals.  I’ve seen their umbilical cords attached. So I know that theoretically they have belly buttons. But the human belly button is quite noticeable. Young girls with their youthful flat tummies, pierce them and adorn them. I don’t judge. If I was 20 again, I’d go for a belly button piercing.  You see the grotesque belly button outline in too small t-shirts stretched over the plump. During the summer everywhere you turn, there is a belly button staring back at you.

As we age, we cover up our belly buttons. At least I do. Maybe it’s a matronly thing, because it doesn’t seem to bother the large portion of men. They either let it all hang out, cover it up with one of those too tight t-shirts, or it peeks out at your from under a shirt that is just a tad too short. At my age, belly buttons have gone from something slightly sexy to something rather horrendous.

Thanks to my mother, I have a nice belly button. I remember being young and an aunt would have a baby. I watched as the umbilical cord fell off and then all the attention was put on taking care of the belly button. Making sure that the belly button was pretty. Making sure it was acceptable.

Over the last several months belly button hygiene has occasionally crossed my mind. I don’t remember being given any instruction on this sort of cleaning. Most of the time I jump in the shower and don’t give much thought to the ol’ navel.  I’ve checked it out from time to time and thought, “You need to wash that out.”

Too much information? Maybe so. But it’s a legitimate concern. Something that has been on my mind. Almost to the point of being obsessive. But I’m glad to say that my belly button is clean.

I did some checking and the good news is that the belly button doesn’t seem to really require a lot of attention. Then I came across an article on “What Lives in Your Belly Button”

It’s an interesting and disgusting article. It says that “Belly buttons are a lot like rain forests.” From 60 belly buttons, the team found 2,368 bacterial species, 1,458 of which may be new to science.

So the next time you jump in the shower, show your belly button a little love.

Changing My Morning View

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I awoke with a start this morning, thinking I had overslept.  There was no alarm bleep, bleep, bleeping. No time for shower, makeup, or coffee, I hurried out the door. The sun was just rising; there was fog in the air. As I closed the door behind me, I heard the tinkle from the deer feeder as it spread the corn upon the ground. I stopped just a moment to inhale the freshness of the day.

The rooster crowing

The cooing of the doves

The tap, tap, tap of the woodpecker

The gobble of the turkeys out near the pond

“You’re late!” echoed in my head and I hurried on my way. My thoughts turned from the beauty around me and to the busyness of the day ahead. I hurried down the sidewalk, when out of the corner of my eye; I saw a flutter of color rise.  It rose quickly from the moist, green grass to the safety of the tree.

A bird, I thought and stopped to see. But much to my surprise it was not. From the corner of my I could see, not a brightly colored bird, but a fairy! When my eyes shifted directly to the tree, she faded away. Yet when I did not look directly, there she was again.

No bigger than a wren, she perched upon the limb.

Golden hair spilling down her shoulders

A mimosa bloom skirt

A yellow rose petal bodice

And tiny bare feet

Astonished, I could not move.

So dainty,

So tiny,

So exquisite

I whispered, “I see you.”

She replied, “I know.”

“Enjoy your day.”

And I went on my way.

Pretty or Macho??

I’ve spent a lot of my evening drive home this last month listening to the Elvis station.  This has generated some odd thoughts in my little ol’ pea brain.  So I feel the need to state the following:  I love Elvis.  I love Elvis movies.  I love Elvis music.  I love Elvis history.  But alas, Elvis is not my idea of a sex symbol.  Surprised?

Elvis is a very pretty man.  Beautiful!  Those pretty little cupid bow lips that snarl at you.  The smoldering eyes.  The dark wavy hair.  Yes, my stars, he is a pretty man.  But I’m not attracted to pretty men.  I’m attracted to a certain kind of macho man.  But wait you say!!  Elvis is macho.  Well maybe, I’ll give you that.  But he does not exude masculinity to me.

WAIT!!  WAIT!!!

I’m not questioning his masculinity.  He’s just too pretty for me.  I like a man a little more rugged.  A little more hard.  A little more worn, maybe.  I can’t quite articulate exactly what I mean.  But someone that makes me feel protected.  In this day and age I guess that’s a little anti feminist. If that’s even a word.  But that’s what I like and that’s what I got.

I like a Trace Adkins.  Pony tail, tattoos, and his deep gravelly voice.  I like me some Sam Elliot.  Mustache, gray hair and all.  It doesn’t matter if it’s the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, or the current version.  I also find Javier Bardem largely sexy.  Maybe its the accent???

Once after telling my grandmother while watching television “That man is sex-yyy!!”  she told me “Girl, you have a taste for roughness.”  I don’t even remember who it was.  But I’ll always remember her response and her laughter.  I’m not talking about personality.  Just strictly looks.  Luckily I found my macho man and he “fits the bill” as they say.

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The Scuttlebutt News

Doug and I refer to the place down the street as the Baxter’s.  That’s because several years ago the Baxters lived there.  Then the Baxters divorced.  Apparently Mrs. Baxter found out that Mr. Baxter was having an affair with a much younger woman who worked at the VFW.  So Mrs. Baxter moved out and Mr. Baxter moved somewhere with his new friend.

Their place is a total of 15 acres with a manufactured home on it.  It went into foreclosure.  Doug and I looked into buying, mainly because it butts up to the far end of our property.  But the bank wanted way too much money for it.  In our opinion any ways.

Then a little family bought the property and lived there for a very short time.  APPARENTLY, the bank only had title to the acre that the house sat on.  The other 14 acres were owned by Mr. Baxter.  The little family found out that they did not own the entire 15 acres when a crew showed up with a bull dozer to do some clearing.  So to make along story short, the little family got out of the deal, took their down payment and went else where.

Eventually an elderly couple moved into the house on the one acre and they were happy.  The 14 acres was surveyed and sold.  We would occasionally see a funny little man walking around.  He would carry his little tiny dog and wave as we drove past.

Then a few years ago the man built some kind of shelter back in the woods.  We thought he was some kind of reclusive weirdo.  If you looked up his drive as you drive past (yes I know that we are nosey) you can see a travel trailer and some kind of building/shack built out of what looks like plywood, with a stove pipe coming out the side.  Odd, we thought.  But to each their own.

Then last year three little children started catching the school bus.  A little girl, maybe 10, a little boy maybe 9, and a little girl maybe 6 or 7.  So we assumed that the little weird man had found him a wife who had 3 little children. Doug and I would discuss how odd it was that they lived like that.  We in fact, looked own our noses at this odd little family.

Well, Saturday Doug was doing some tractor work.  Clearing some brush and trees along the fence line.  He came back to the house came in and announced “I’ve got some scuttlebutt news!!”

He said while he was on the tractor he saw the little man standing along the fence line with a rifle.  The man just stared.  Never waved, nodded or anything.  Just stared.  Doug being Doug, gave him his own long stare back.  As he went past him on the tractor the man said something, but Doug couldn’t hear him over the tractor.  So eventually Doug got off the tractor and went to see what the man was doing.  Lo and behold, Doug has made himself a new friend.

The little man, may be a little weird, but he’s up to nothing bad.  He is 58, retired from the City of Fort Worth and moved out here with his wife.  They have 5 children who are all grown and live in Fort Worth.  After living here for awhile he said their life felt empty.  So they adopted 3 children.

Now they are still a little odd in my book.  But you can’t look down your nose at a couple that adopts 3 children and gives them a home.  However odd that it might be.  They are always well dressed, happy, and smiling when they are waiting on the bus.

The family has a garden and goats.  The little man hunts turkeys, deer, and what ever else that he can find.  They don’t have much, but they apparently have a very full and loving heart.

Doug says “I like the man. I judged him wrong.”

Comforting Hands

When there is sickness or illness, I never know what to do.  I can send a card of encouragement, but beyond that I’m stymied.  I’m not really sure what to do.  I’m afraid of saying something inappropriate or doing something that makes the person uncomfortable.  In times like that I really wish I was more like my mother.

My mother is a caregiver.  Maybe it’s because she is the oldest girl in a very large family.  I don’t know.  But she has always been the sort of person that is there for you.  Whether you need help emotionally, physically, spiritually, or even monetarily.  She doesn’t even have to really know you personally. 

Since she retired nearly ten years ago she has stayed busy helping others.  She visits with the elderly and the sick in her church.  She has taken people to their doctor’s appointments.  She has sat with people in hospitals and nursing homes.  She has sat with Alzheimer patients so that their caregivers can have a day to them self.

When she walks into a hospital room she seems to know what to do to make the infirmed feel better.  Whether its making sure that they have plenty of ice water, putting lip balm on their lips, taking an oral swab, wetting it and swabbing the inside of someone’s mouth, or rubbing lotion, gently into their hands and arms.  She spreads peace and comfort where ever she goes.

I, on the other hand, can not do any of those things.  I’m sure if I tried to do any of those I would only make matters worse.  I’m a good listener.  I’m good at sending notes and letters of encouragement.  But when it comes to rolling up my sleeves and making a difference I just feel inadequate and ill prepared.

So hats off to those of you like my mother!  I wish I was.

My Life with Grumpy

I have been with Doug for 19 years.  We lived together several years and finally got married.  I could not even tell you what day without looking at the marriage license.  It was just a legal matter that we finally felt the need to clear up.  All I know is its in the first week of June.  They specific day or year I’m not 100% sure of.  I think 2006, but I wouldn’t swear to it.

We fuss alot and argue, but mainly we laugh.  We enjoy each other’s company.  We hold hands when we watch tv.  When I start to get on his nerves, he goes outside.  When he starts to get on my nerves, I tell him to go outside.  We don’t fight about money, bills, investments or the typical problem causing things.  We argue about how to cook a chicken, who someone is in a movie, how much water to put in the beans, and stupid silly things like that.  Sunday morning’s argument was on how to cook the scrambled eggs.  He wanted them cooked in the microwave, I wanted them cooked in a skillet.  Since they were my eggs, I won.

Every year he takes off the whole month of December, because he can only carry over so much vacation.  This past year he took off six weeks.  (Yes I know, we need to take some vacation time and go somewhere)  During this six weeks he didn’t do anything.  Normally when he takes off he has some sort of project planned.  This year he had none and he also didn’t seem to have much motivation either.  So for those six weeks he sat around the house and ate and ate and ate.  He was really very unproductive and that is very unusal.

At the end of December, right before he had to go back to work, he went to the doctor to get his annual blood work done.  He didn’t think much of it or even give it a second thought.  When the day came for him to go back to work, lo and behold, his pants didn’t fit.  Somehow he wiggled and wiggled and finally got them on.  He didn’t look very comfortable to me and I wondered how he would make it through the day.  But he did.

So last week he went to the doctor to get his blood work results.  Several years ago he was diagnosed with Type II diabetes.  He started off with oral medications and then a twice daily slow release insulin was added to his regime.  Once in the morning and once in the evening.  He was caught off guard when the doctor gave him the results for his sugar levels and told him that the oral medications had stopped working.  He said they tend to do that over time.  So he took him off all of his oral diabetes medicine and added a quick release insulin to be take before meals as well as his usual slow release in the morning and evening.

So he was mad, at the doctor.  His theory is he shouldn’t have sat around all those weeks and did nothing.  That’s why his blood sugar levels are up.  He didn’t realize that they were high, because he doesn’t test his blood regularly like he should.  He said he wasn’t going to take the new insulin until he ran out of oral medicine.  He said he paid for them and he wasn’t going to waste them.  Now we order our medicine through the mail and get a 3 month supply at a time.  So I think he has about two months or less left.

After 19 years I’ve learned to not argue with him in the beginning.  I let him rant and rave and call the doctor stupid until he finally gets it out of his system.  At one point he even said “I’m just going to stop taking everything!!!”  That’s smart I tell him.  Then you can just lose a toe here and there, maybe a foot or a leg.  Hey!  How about your eyesight!  How would that be??  So he’s quiet for awhile and then I calmly began to give him my opinions, just a little at a time.  I have to tell him the doctor really isn’t stupid and if he thinks he is maybe its time to find a new doctor.  He just looks at me as if I’ve lost my mind.  So once he’s admitted the doctor isn’t stupid, then he has to admit that maybe the doctor knows what he is doing.  Then all the new instructions slowly start being followed.

My role is to make sure that there isn’t too much crap food in the house to tempt him.  He knows he needs to lose the weight he gained over his holiday.  He is making an effort.  I’ve convinced him to cut out the diet Mountain Dew.  He’s done that.  He drinks mainly tea at home and is back to drinking water at work.  He says he feels better.  He’s taken the new insulin on Saturday and Sunday.  I’m not sure if he’s still taking the oral medicines.  But they will start to disappear.

Like most any man, he doesn’t like being told how to live his life.  But he’s smart enough to know what he needs to do.

Clip, Clip, Clip, are we saving money yet????

It was a cold rainy Sunday morning a couple of weeks ago.  Doug was working and I was just lounging around the house wishing I had a Sunday paper.  Living out in the middle of nowhere makes it hard to just jump in your car and run up the road to get whatever you may be wanting or needing.  Sunday morning it was a paper.

I have been watching Extreme Couponing on TLC and that has put a bee in my bonnet.  I think we’ve all cut out coupons from time to time.  My perfect idea of coupon savings use to be to clip enough out of the Sunday paper to pay for my paper.  A savings yes, but after watching that show I think I’m ready to move on to bigger savings.

Now some of those people on that show I think have a real problem.  In later years we may see them show up on “Hoarders”.  There’s a show that scares the living daylights out of me and I rarely watch it because its just a little sad to me.  I would like to save large amounts on my groceries and have people clap when my huge basket up groceries final total is $5.36.  But I don’t think I need 500 bottles of Soft Soap, even if they do end up being 25 cents a bottle  But 24 bottles of soft soap I could use.  I figure that’s enough to last about a year.  I don’t want to turn my house into a warehouse, but I do have that little metal building outside.  That’s where I store my Christmas decorations and outdoor furniture during the off season.  But if I put up some shelves I think it will do.

I may have to plan out my grocery shopping day, but so what.  We don’t usually buy groceries every week anyways.  We have two refrigerators and a nice size upright freezer.  So when we find things on sale, we usually stock up.

After doing some research I found that most serious couponers use those baseball card pages.  Those are the pages they insert the cards in to display them.  They put the pages in binders and use dividers.  You divide up your coupons however it makes sense to use.  If you’ve got 10 coupons for soft soap, they all go in the same slot.

With internet access there are plenty of coupons to be printed.  There are coupon services that cut out coupons for you for a nominal fee.  You can buy groups of coupons for certain items on Ebay.  I think I remember seeing 2 sets of Sunday papers bundled together and sold at a reduced rate on Mondays.  So today I will go in search of baseball card pages, a binder, dividers, and discounted Sunday papers.

Of course I need to save enough money up front to pay for the baseball card pages and the binder.  Does Kroger still double coupons??