Finding my way

It was unfortunate that I unplugged the refrigerator in our IL home but forgot to leave the door ajar. So then three months later, when I went back to clean for our renter, I discovered the entire freezer had a layer of black mold.   Unknown

Stupidly, I cleaned in out and didn’t wear a respirator mask. So I got a sever bronchitis, and my lung partially collapsed.

The pulmonary specialized told me just to get lots of fresh air and to let my alveoli re-fill.  Unknown-1

I figured since my alveoli have to re-puff, and since that happens with activity, I needed to get going. In my usual extremism, I planned a trip to the Holyoke Mall, 16 miles away, to begin my Apple workshops, where, in my fantasy life, I pictured myself becoming proficient, and even creative, thanks to my MacBook Pro. But, 16 miles stood between me and my fantasy.

Why is 16 miles extreme? Harrowing?

Well, for starters, I don’t do Interstates. I only see out of one eye at a time, and don’t process visual information very quickly, i.e. I enter an Interstate ramp, turn my head left to peruse oncoming traffic, turn my head back to the road (ramp) in front of me, and don’t really know what lane I’m accelerating into for a few seconds. Doing this with oncoming traffic isn’t a good thing.

Try it. Something, possibly less life-threatening. Cover one eye as softball flies at your face. Switch eyes. You won’t know where the ball is exactly. You get close. But, traffic isn’t softball. This is semis and fast cars. Close may not be good enough.

Suffice to say that the seconds finding out what lane oncoming traffic is in, and whether I will collide with them or not, isn’t my idea of a good time.

Once I came to a dead stop, on I-57 in California, in front of a Greyhound bus. It was then, around 1981, I realized I didn’t belong on Interstates. The other convincing came on another ramp, with traffic chomping at my rear bumper and semis wheeling their 18 toward me. I stepped on the gas, lunged into traffic and somehow didn’t die.  Unknown-2

When I told my husband I’d actually closed my eyes and accelerated, he said, “Well, you do everything that way. And. some people have skill, others angels. Either will work if you stick to your system.”
I take surface streets.

Heading for Holyoke Mall, I got to West Springfield, slowly realizing that New England roads are not perpendicular. It isn’t always clear where to turn. And, they don’t believe in signs. That street name on the Google map is not posted on the road, meaning at that bear left thing, you’re not sure it’s the road on the map. Mostly likely, it’s not.

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And, rotary circles. If you haven’t experienced these, you must come visit Massachusetts. One cannot live a full life without this adventure. If you think ramps and accelerating onto Interstates were challenges please picture me circling the rotary, reading signs for multiple spoke-exits, then crossing over four rotary lanes when I do finally locate the exit.

On this Holyoke Mall trip, it was raining; I had to circle twice before I ventured across the four lanes, and before seeing where the 5 N exit was; I couldn’t see signs very well in the rain.  l

I arrived at the mall, rattled, ten minutes late for my 10:30 a.m. workshop. It had taken me an hour and 20 minutes for the 16 miles.
I was there for the “Marketing Your Business” training. The tech tried to volley between me and the other participant, but since I had arrived late, they were at work on her personal project.

I thought I could work on beautifying my blog, since she was working on her blog. I also wanted to learn how to plug in my new microphone, turn it on, and record something.

My microphone didn’t record, had to be replaced, and tapping on the mike, trying to make it work, pretty much took up the last 20 minutes of my time.

What I ended up learning was how to find the place on my blog to add pictures. Not sure that was worth the hour and 20-minute road trip. And, that was only one way.

By the time I got my microphone replaced, packed my things, and looked apprehensively toward the door, one of the lovely Apple techs decided he had better walk me to my car. I wasn’t positive where I had parked it. Armed with a return trip Google map, where I had made clear I needed a route with NO Interstates, and preferably smaller bridges. Gavin walked me to the elevator in the JC Penny store, and attempted to explain to me as we rode the elevator down and then up and then down again, that even though it looked different, this had to be the right elevator. Once he finally realized I had used an outside elevator in the parking structure, before walking across the parking lot to JC Penny, I realized I had forgotten that small walk outside, in the rain.

“Oh yeah,” I confirmed. “Now I remember.”

I felt old; I felt blind; I felt handicapped. But, I felt cherished by this sweet man who implied I reminded him of his grandmother. That’s okay.

It was about 2:30 p.m., the rainstorm worse, the sky dark with black clouds. I was not feeling confident at all.

My return trip involved some surface streets; I got lost and ended up crossing the BIG BRIDGE in Springfield, After a DIFFERENT ROTARY, which dumped me onto I-91, IN THE RAIN, where I almost had heart failure. Thankfully, Highway 5 was only a few feet to the right off the Interstate.    440px-Memorial_Bridge,_Springfield_MA

Not the right route at all. I did the whole accelerate without looking–didn’t close my eyes this time, but might as well have. I really don’t know how I did it, but at least they had lights on, so I could gauge car-length margin a bit better to jump into traffic.
Constant prayer, I arrived back in my own parking lot at 4:00 p.m. I had not shortened the trip and had not shortened my life.

All I can say is those alveoli had better be re-puffing.

 

Originally published on my former blogspot site (www.spinningstrawintogold.blogspot.com) in February, 2010 Reposted here because it was a popular post. For those of you who wish to read all of the Hotel Life stories, please visit the blogspot site. And thanks so much for reading.

Light Green

I have to admit, buying my new recycled stainless steel kitchen utensils, responsibly manufactured from countries around the world, and providing a safe and healthy (it’s really healthful folks) environment, fair labor practices, and environmental protection for those who want to live sustainably (no kidding, this was all on the label) all tied up in those cute little pieces of hemp twine looped through the utensil hanger holes, felt good. I like the little twine especially.  images

Truthfully, I don’t think much about being green, living sustainably and making sure everything I buy is tied to fair labor practices. I mean, it’s not that I’m into destroying the planet or littering, or not supporting farmers or anything.

I just use common sense. And, as we’ve already established, I’m a conservative, in most senses of the word, and especially re-using things, and not wanting to overspend, and getting as much out of a purchase as possible.

But, I guess I am kind of light green when it comes to being militant about this green, saving the planet stuff. I do not think there is anything we can do about any sort of planet warming, and I believe the so-called “research” has been research by press release, mostly for the gain of certain politicians who have hugely profited over the scare.   Unknown-1

It is Biblically prophesied that our planet will someday burn up. So, sorry guys, but there you have it. I seriously doubt you can stop that merely by discarding your plastic in the right bin. And, again, I’m not against doing that. I do it. But, it won’t SAVE the planet. Only God can do that, and He has actually given us the blueprint for that, which I don’t believe included recycling. I don’t think He’s against recycling either. He just doesn’t save us like that.  (The Great Day of the Lord
1″For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze,” says the LORD of hosts, “so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.” 2″But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.…) Mal 4:1.

On the other hand, why not get into “natural” fibers, instead of manufactured synthetics?

It just feels better. Who wouldn’t rather untie a very attractive hemp cord from new utensils than some plastic wirey tie thingy!!

So, I’m not lobbying for anything here. Just use your own common sense, enjoy the earth, while it lasts, and if it makes you feel better to swing your dollars toward helping farmers in Central America or something, or, hey, even farmers in North America–do it! We all live here, and we can all benefit from anything that makes life prettier, cleaner, and longer lasting.

Old person, new world

It’s amazing how huge changes in our behavior sneak up in small steps. When I look at even the vocabulary I use today, I realize that even as recent as a couple of decades ago words like mouse, desktop, icons, footprint, kindle, application, tablet, and so many more, meant something completely different than they do now.

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I no longer have a home phone. I don’t subscribe to cable TV. I have no print. I rarely buy a hard copy or paperback book. I don’t collect coupons, or print coupons and loyalty cards are now on my keychain.

I do not have a GPS device on my windshield and rarely use paper maps. Why would I when that helpful woman’s voice, sometimes irritating, tells me where to turn and gets me, usually, to my destination.  Unknown-7 pge.jpg

I listen to news on a tablet in the morning or on the Internet radio station available on my Apple TV, and I don’t have to be sitting in front of a TV to do this. A tablet is quite portable.

In the early ‘60s I read a TV guide article about the future. I was excited about tall tales of being able to get any movie you want on demand through some touch screen. I couldn’t wait to have an audio greeting telling me I have messages, or reminding me to shop or call someone. Now I am frustrated if the movie I want isn’t yet available on Netflix or Amazon Prime. If it isn’t there now, though, it will be soon, I am confident.

Jeff Bezos stated in an interview that it is his intention to have (almost) every book ever published available on Kindle. That is quite an ambition. I expect he will soon say the same thing about movies on Amazon Prime.  Unknown-8 Unknown-9

So modern life is ever changing, and APPLE, Amazon and Netflix have truly changed our behavior on a large scale. How many people have PC’s but still have the Apple products for phones, tablets and Apple TV?  Right?

It’s getting as though you have to think twice before you purchase almost anything—DVD’s of TV series that are free online make purchasing DVD series so unnecessary. And at this point, if the season I want on a series I am following isn’t out yet, I switch to a different series until it is. The selection is so vast, I wouldn’t have time to see everything anyway. And, unless I need to watch a live sports game, I have no idea why I would pay $100 a month for cable or Dish.

I just heard that the stats on people giving up a home phone have risen dramatically. We gave ours up ten years ago. The only people who ever called it were telemarketers and long, lost relatives, who if we wanted to talk to, would know our cell numbers.  Unknown-10 Unknown-11

Technology is so amazing that it connects over generations, gender, and even people with vastly different interests. Where but on Facebook, for instance, can you instantly find out which of your friends has a new grandchild, or a birthday, or needs prayer, or wants you to Like some cause they believe in–even if they are thousands of miles away. I don’t always act on everything there, but I am glad it is there.

The down side of all this is obvious. Privacy and quiet time are rare. I was unnerved to see my photos are waiting to upload to Twitter and Google Circles. I don’t remembering setting that up and don’t want to.

But, when I want to share photos, like asking my contractor friend to look at an inspection report on a house, it was amazing to be able to discuss that with him, having instant pictures and the report and being able to go over it line by line. No down time.   At Christmas, I wanted to give my son-in-law a picture of a train that my daughter took. It took my son and his girlfriend about a half hour to help me get it to CVS in Los Angeles, so it would be awaiting me at the store by the time we arrived there the next day. Then I could buy a frame and have it ready for Christmas, rather than the old days of film, developing, waiting, printing, paying for copies, etc. This was amazing to me.   Unknown-12       1003147_4894137400773_1868205741_n

For all its downside, I love technology, and am so happy to have the efficiency of  digital copy and paste, scanning, digital bank deposits, Amazon grocery delivery and countless other conveniences I never realized have crept into my life as normal, everyday activities. They say a million dollar idea is one that changes behavior. I can’t wait to see which one I can come up with. But for now, I will enjoy paying for or accepting for free the myriad of ideas that have changed mine–mostly for the better.

 

 

Shootout at the Ware Groupon Lesson

I promised you the full story of my very first shooting lesson, which hubby dear was very excited about. As previously mentioned, he grew up on a very large cattle ranch in South Dakota, where guns, shooting, and generally keeping “critters” in categories of pests, profit-makers, pets, and wildlife are just a part of life. 

 “Popping” prairie dogs, as they call ridding the ranch of these pests, is not considered to be cruel. In fact, not “popping” prairie dogs and letting those sweet cows break their legs in the holes left by the pests, would be considered cruel.  

I might want to add here my disclaimer, that this is a perspective of a city girl who has only visited the ranch a dozen plus times, and the opinions expressed here have not been approved by the ranch owners or their relatives, or their South Dakota, non-city-people neighbors. I heard a nasty rumor that the ranch folks think I actually hate the ranch, being a city girl and all, which is absolutely untrue. I love the ranch. I just need to learn how to do ranch life, which no one seems to think I am ready for.

That said, I found it somewhat amusing that when hubby dear, who loves guns, “popping” prairie dogs, hunting, and eating deer, bear, pheasant, and the like, discovered that he had sired a daughter who would say things like, “Aw, look at that poor (whatever the present roadkill was) creature. Can’t we take her to the vet to maybe save her?” hubby would look at me and wonder how in the world to answer such a strange question.

Her compassion for animals has since shifted a bit, mostly to cats, and she loves the ranch, and has learned to enjoy shooting–so her father is proud.

But, I have steered clear of the gun thing for our 33 years together, until I received a Groupon for a shooting lesson. 

This seemed to be a sign, and I decided it was time, in light of all the fuss over second amendments and rights and such, to at least pick up a gun, figure out how to hold it, and maybe take a shot or too.   

Arriving at the Ware Gun Shop, the outside was extremely different than I had imagined. This was a little house-like place, very rural, and not at all looking like a school for shooting lessons. Not that I really know what that would look like. Of course, we ventured in, Groupon in hand.

The owner, Mike, refused to introduce himself, or confirm that I had talked to him on the phone, and seemed to want to hurry us out of the main retail area, if you want to call it that (the place didn’t have a shiny, clean appearance).

I was fine with being escorted down the stairs to the basement area where there was a lot of open space with targets all around.  

But when Mike began to do his lesson thing, I found him rather fascinating in a grumpy kind of way. He started with a casual interview on why we wanted to have a lesson. Of course I told him I hate guns, but sweetie loves ‘em and I was doing my wifely duty learning a little. I pointed out that my cowboy husband probably didn’t need a lesson but was there to support me. Mike look dubious.

Next was the laser gun with the red dot thingy, that as he was about to hand to me, I asked, “Um, have you germicided that?” He didn’t answer, and you could feel the humorless countenance beginning to boil behind the eyes. “I mean, how many people have touched that?” I clarified.

Mike looked at Jay and said, “Is she serious?” Jay of course smiled and explained I was sort of “pulling his chain.”

Later Jay, also a pretty non-sarcastic sense of humor guy, tried to explain to me the irony of asking about germs while holding a lethal weapon, to which I, of course, replied, “That’s why it’s funny.” I guess not to everyone.

In any case, Mike had threatened to return our Groupon investment and tell us to leave if I proceeded with any more questions like that. I think he had real people coming in after our lesson, and there would be no more silly questions to waste his time.

Just so you know, when I get anxious, which happens when holding a gun for the first time, I get funny (or try to be). Since this was lost on Mike, and somewhat on Jay, I figured since I had no audience, I would shape up. I was, after all, here to do something sweet for hub.

I used the practice laser gun and didn’t feel a whole lot more confident, but cowgirled on.

When it came time to move on to the big guns–well in my case a .22 or something like that, I started getting serious, especially when Mike began to lecture us on muscle memory, and the three important areas to train.That reminded me of Jack Reacher, and having read the first four books, this lesson began to take on some challenge for me. Jack won’t even shoot until he gets his heartbeat under control. I thought I would try that, if I could remember to while training my muscles to shoot.

I am, as you regular readers know, extremely audio and Mike is such a clear teacher that the input into my audio file was really very thorough. 

So, my first ever attempt to shoot a real gun resulted in the cluster you see here. I think both Mike and Jay nearly fell over that this nutty city girl, obviously nervous, scared and worried about germs, actually did quite well. 

 Jay was ecstatic to a point where even annihilating his virtual rat wasn’t quite as exciting as seeing his wife take seriously the thing he enjoys the most–except for motorcycles.

I was a bit proud of the old gal myself.

Mike seemed somewhat tamed after that, and after realizing we shared the same eye problem–only seeing out of one eye at a time–he told me that on another occasion he would show me how to compensate so I would move slightly to the right and cluster right in that target area. I think that was a compliment. And did I detect an open invitation in that “next time” comment?

I read the Google reviews for Mike and his gun shop and most people found him rude, not customer-oriented, and not even in favor of the second amendment (which I doubt). My guess is that he just doesn’t prefer to converse with the public. Not sure why he is in business, but the bottom line for me is that his teaching style was perfect for my learning style, and I learned what I had come to learn. And I did well–especially in the eyes of the one for whom I was there picking up my first .22.

Loft Life: The ugly truth about soft drinks

In ongoing commitment to preserving the life and health of children, I must make a protest about an ugly truth that prevails in America—I don’t know enough about other countries to comment about them.  Unknown

We talk so much about choices, especially encouraging parents and children to make them healthful choices. We talk about obesity, and its growing peril to our nation, our budgets and ourselves. And. We have connected the dots on how choosing daily consumption of soft drinks adds calories at a level that simply skipping them could dramatically change the statistics on weight gain. We even have school changing their vending machine options to encourage better beverage choices, i.e. fruit drinks and water vs. soft drinks.

But, with all of these facts being true, I continue to be amazed at the number of venues where soft drinks are the only beverage being offered to children. I have observed this at picnics, church suppers, sporting events and family gatherings—and now hotel social hours.

Tell me why, when we offer adults alcohol and soft drinks as their two beverage choices, we cannot find a way to serve milk or apple juice, or even water to the children? For that matter, why wouldn’t that be an option for the adults also?

We seem to have become a nation who considers soft drinks a beverage Really it is not. Yes. They are drinkable. But, do we really want to classify a zero nutrition liquid a beverage in the same category as milk, juice, and water (which by the way does have minerals and health benefits), especially when we are talking about growing children? And, do we really want to send the message to children that this is an acceptable part of eating a daily meal? And, do we really want to have growing children become synonymous with increasingly obese children?

And, beyond obesity soda pop has a pathway you might want to consider before handing a can of the bubbly to your kids. John Tesh’s website reports the research on this:

In the first 10 minutes: 10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. That’s 100% of your recommended daily intake. And the only reason you don’t vomit from the sweetness is because the phosphoric acid cuts the flavor – so you’re able to keep it down.

After 20 minutes: Your blood sugar spikes, causing an insulin burst. Your liver reacts to this by turning any sugar it can grab into fat. And at this particular moment – there’s a LOT of sugar in your system.

After 40 minutes: All caffeine is absorbed. Your pupils dilate, blood pressure rises and your liver dumps more sugar into your bloodstream. 
The “adenosine” receptors in your brain are now blocked – preventing you from getting drowsy. You also start producing more dopamine, which stimulates the pleasure centers of your brain. This is physically the same way heroin works.

And 60 minutes after you drink a soda: The phosphoric acid binds calcium, magnesium and zinc that was on its way to your bones – to your lower intestine instead. You also have a sudden urge to go to the bathroom, so you end up flushing all of those nutrients OUT of your body, as well as sodium, electrolytes and water. Then as your body quiets down, a sugar crash kicks in – causing you to feel irritable and sluggish. Not to mention you’ve emptied your system of the nutrients it needs to hydrate itself, and build strong bones and teeth. And all this’ll be followed by a caffeine crash in the next few hours.

So, John and I ask you: Is drinking soda worth all that!

Okay, maybe a cola at a special occasion. Maybe one at a baseball game. Maybe at a picnic, now and then. But, really, I implore you, let’s get good stuff into our kids for the daily fare. Let’s not make a treat into a daily beverage. Let’s all think about our choices—especially beverages at meals.

Loft Life – Taking pHun to a new level

You all know I am into green smoothies, organics, antioxidants and the like. But when I began reading about how to do the  pH thing, I was overwhelmed. Learning all about the balance of alkaline and acid for the body  seemed foreign to think about.    51doKJVk1vL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

I dabbled with the idea, but really had no idea what to actually eat. The whole idea of it reminded me of the chemicals we used to clean our swimming pool (when we lived in California).

But, I began to do more than dabble when my “California girl” daughter texted me a picture of her sore throat, gross as it was, and told me she thought she was getting strep. Rather than rush to the urgent care center, she decided to completely change her food for a couple of days to alkaline foods. The throat redness left, her fever left, and she was well in three days. Wow!  This got my attention, big time.

So when I started to feel some flu-like symptoms, I did the same thing and it all went away. Health.

I read up on what foods are alkaline. I started making sure my daily 8 to 10 glasses of water all had a squeeze of lemon. My daughter was buying alkaline bottled waters and was concerned with the expense. I told her to go to Costco for a bag of lemons, and make her own. Much cheaper, tasty and easy to do. You can get 8 wedges from one large lemon, which does the daily dosage for both alkaline food and water. I mean, really. If drinking lemon water can give me a flu-free season, why wouldn’t I do this.  Unknown

The research tells me that, although lemons and other citrus are acidic, they become alkaline when ingested.

On the other hand, animal protein becomes acidic to the body, So, next I cut down dramatically on how much animal protein I consume.

Greens, ala green smoothies, are also alkaline.

I have to say, that barring having all the overwhelming reading to do, these three simple steps–lemon water, less animal protein, more greens–have gotten me through flu season with no symptoms of flu and a really robust health, even with our extreme winter.

The pH people claim that it is the acidic diet that most Americans eat that increases inflammation in the body and they say inflammation is what leads to disease–and not just flu, but disease like cancer and other gnarly stuff. The toxins and waste that accumulate in our bodies because of our high-acid producing diets are also the culprits in decreasing energy and even speeding up the effects of aging.

Getting myself to learn how to maintain the ideal pH of 7.4 is more of a challenge, since it requires me to learn way more. But, the benefits claimed seem to warrant at least considering doing this.

If it is this simple, why not try it? It is easier and cheaper than medication, and has the benefit of not only warding off disease, but creating health. Rather than a cure, why not go for the preventive?

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The answer for why most of us don’t attempt this seems to be tied to the whole idea of the modern American eater. I am sure our grandparents weren’t dealing with the problem of trusting food companies and restaurants, because they didn’t eat packaged foods and seldom went “out” to eat. They didn’t have the soft drinks daily, if at all, and they weren’t eating snacks we think of as normal (donuts, candy bars, giant sugary drinks). They had gardens, they canned veggies and fruits for winter. So when this seems like going to a lot of trouble to eat more like they did, it is true. It is a lot of trouble changing over to the former ways. But, did they have the health problems we think of as normal? Were they generally obese?

I am still in process on this, still reading, thinking, changing my diet. But, I will now hunker down and really read the book that claims miracle powers of a balanced pH eating plan, and I will begin to make permanent changes where it just makes sense to do so.

Let me know what you think about this, please.

 

 

Loft Life: Women are natural shoppers

Maybe learning life lessons from Hollywood isn’t a reliable standard, but, I have to say, I really have learned a lot from the movies.    

For instance, Judy Benjamin, the lead character in the 1980 Goldie Hawn film, Private Benjamin, had to decide on what her Army career duty choice would be, and it just seemed obvious to her that women are natural purchasing agents.

So when I told my sister-in-law, Lisa, that I do not like to shop, it started me thinking about whether this is an accurate statement.

Really, what I mean by not liking to shop, is that I am not one to browse, hang out at Walmart, or run around to bricks and mortar stores to find bargains–which today seem to be all made in China, so not really bargains in my opinion.

But, I do enjoy being the family purchasing agent. I think much more like a purchasing agent than just a consumer. I mostly shop online

Purchasing agents look at the big picture more than whether they save a dollar on one item. This becomes very interesting when the economy is bad, prices are skyrocketing, and quality is suffering. 

What does this look like in my real life?

I shop in bulk for many food items that I use regularly. I do this not only at Costco, but more and more at Amazon. I have used their subscribe & save grocery store, and not only do I have regular shipments of things like oats, coconut oil, raisins, coconut, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, and nuts for my granola, cultures for my yogurt making, soup blends, veggie stock, almond milk, coconut water, and dried beans, free trade coffee, cocoa, chia seeds, hemp hearts, hawthorne tea, and more, but these things arrive at our apartment so that hubby gets to carry in the heavy boxes, rather than me straining to get things from the car to the door. 

I also get a 15% discount and because I am a Prime Member, free shipping! I don’t have to hunt these things down, and they are always in stock. Awesome. Saves on gasoline too.

Also, I no longer make the $180 milk trip to Costco. I now have everything in stock, so I only need to go to the store for fresh produce and the occasional item I know I need. I get in, and get out. Simple now.

Amazon is great also for some clothing and household stuff. I recently found a Tommy Hilfiger hooded, down coat ($400 retail) for $79.00, free shipping. I did look at many stores for this, and nothing even compared in style or value to what I got online at Amazon.

For 40 years I have been an Amway distributor, and I buy all my household products, beauty supplies, nutritional supplements, and various other things, from my own store, at wholesale prices, and am assured they are high quality and “green.” I really miss things like Scrub Buds, SA8, LOC and other essentials when I am traveling, because there is nothing like them on the shelves. And, really, this is how I learned to think like a purchasing agent rather than just a consumer.

Recently, since my hair stylist had surgery, I have switched to having my color and cut done at a beauty school. I was a little apprehensive at first, but both the color and cut were very well done, and the cost is one quarter of my usual salon. That means I can get my hair done, have manicures, a monthly massage, and even have hubby’s haircut for the same cost as just my hair cut and color. That is pretty irresistible. And, they have late hours so hub doesn’t get all frustrated rushing home from work for his monthly cut. 

I hardly ever go out to eat anymore unless I have a Groupon or Living Social discount. With restaurant dining becoming way more expensive (we don’t do fast food), we can still enjoy lovely meals at half price. We also use these companies for weekend getaways, and I have bought Egyptian cotton sheets, a Sherpa blanket, and other items with extreme discounts. 

 

 

So I am not just looking for cheaper stuff or services. These are the same quality products and services I used to pay much more for, with much more convenience and less stress.

 

For most shopping, it has to be something I really need, really have wanted for a long time, or something I am giving as a gift. I don’t look for ways to spend. I look for ways to get what I need at savings without too much effort. And, yes, I think Private Benjamin was correct. For most women, this attitude comes pretty naturally. Yes, some women do like to browse and shop recreationally. But, I don’t know any women who don’t make smart purchasing decisions. They seem to have it in their DNA to ferret out the good prices.

 

The whole coupon idea is big business, and probably because women see the value. I have never been big on clipping coupons for three reasons: usually it takes a lot of time and planning to be of value, most items are processed food, which we don’t eat much, and storing and remembering which coupons are where is a big deal and often involves going physically to many stores to find brands. But, I understand those who do this. I used to pay my kids 10% on weekly savings to do the clipping and match coupons to our menu. That was fun, and they enjoyed the income when they were too young to earn other ways.  

 

 

So, no, I don’t usually love shopping. But, yes, I do enjoy the art of purchasing. 

    Would love to hear your stories.

 

 

 

 

 

Loft Life: Angel update

Thanks so much to my readers for all of your wonderful Angel suggestions. I decided to start with making my Christmas angel into a Valentine angel.

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This wasn’t as easy for me as for you very creative types, but I took my All Recipes friend Pam B.’s suggestion to visit the Dollar Store, which she advised the toy department, and that was very helpful.

Of course, upon entering the store mid-January, all of the Valentine stuff met me at the door, so I did not need to proceed to toys yet.

I purchased $6 worth of hearts, ribbons, and, for some reason (probably the fact that I didn’t have my glasses on), rose petals.

Returning to my loft, I made a pattern for a “heart dress” by tracing the wooden angel shape and cutting it out of the red heart of swirls and flowers. I, all by myself, created a paper-doll dress for Angel dear.

Now when I was a young girl, I really didn’t get into playing with dolls much, but I did like dressing them, and my mom made beautiful clothing for my Mary Hoyer. But, I was more comfortable with paper dolls, I guess because I could mess them up and not be out the price of an expensive doll.

So this exercise brought back that memory, and I think I may be able to keep that going for other seasons and holidays.

I found out, after I got home, that some of my hearts, little pink ones, had two-sided sticky stuff on their backs. You know folks, to most of you this probably seems very elementary, but to me it is an entirely new adventure on which I would never have embarked without the encouragement of Pam.

So I stuck the pink hearts on the wire frame to cover up where Christmas balls had been, and presto, a Valentine angel was born.

photo

I used the same patterned red heart (the package had two) that I had cut the dress from, and stuck it on my door. That took a bit more work, since there was no two-sided sticky tape on that. I created my own double-sided tape, but it didn’t stick well. I used some Scotch tape, finally, out of desperation and also made a hole in the top of the heart, inserted Valentine ribbon, and hung it over the door. That worked better, although because the heart is edged in black, the Scotch tape shows. Do they make a clear red tape? photo

Anyway, this should serve until St. Paddy’s Day, for which I will return to Dollar Store to get green stuff.

Thanks Pam. Thought you all might want to see my solution.

Let me know how you like it, and please don’t laugh too hard (at me).

 

Loft Life: What do we celebrate?

On my walkabout today around the inside of our apartment building (15 rounds is three miles), I was noticing the Christmas decorations on the doors of floor two. That got me to thinking:

I, too, still have my Christmas angel, bells and wreath decorating our apartment door. And, I keep wishing I could move on to the next season, but really think the earliest I would do that would be Valentine’s Day. But, then Valentines would be a very short-lived decor, unlike Christmas which at least lasts about a month.

But, what is the decor for January? What do we celebrate after Christmas and before Valentine’s Day?

Really there is nothing. Well, there is nothing that Madison Avenue or Hallmark tell us to celebrate.

So have we come to this? We can’t figure out how to or what to celebrate unless there is an advertising campaign for it? I find that a little disturbing that I am so dependent on them for this, rather than looking into my own heart and life for motivation to celebrate.

I thought about just celebrating “life” and putting up decorations for that. But, that seems like it’s more of springtime and Easter. And, welcoming spring before it is time goes against my whole reason for loving living in a place that has all four seasons. I like the winter months. They give me time to contemplate, to visit friends, to turn in a bit and do some soul searching which doesn’t seem to happen in the good weather months (or in California ever when I lived there).

Some people have their favorite football team logos out. I guess that would be appropriate for January and early February. But, my heart wouldn’t be in it. Don’t get me wrong, I like football. But, I don’t get into it enough to use my door to cheer on my team (which has already lost).

 

 

 

 

There are no leaves on the trees. There is still some snow and more to come. It is raining and, though not so cold as last week, it’s winter. So I don’t know what to replace my angel, bells and wreath with. Maybe a wreath of twigs?

I will keep on considering this, but I am open to your ideas. I’m really not very creative about this area.

And, decorating has never been my strong suit. But, I do seem to choose friends who are both creative and artistic. What is it we celebrate in January that could have a decor to go with it? Bring it on readers. I welcome the good winter ideas.