Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Pinterest Success

Most of you have seen the pictures of what happens when ordinary people try to recreate something they saw on Pinterest. There is even a site that highlights some of these failures.

http://pinterestfail.com/ 

However, I had seen this shaving cream marbled paper idea that I was compelled to try. I love using this type of thing in collage work. So, I went to the dollar store, bought some cheap shaving cream and one of those disposable aluminum baking pans and went to work.

Not being certain of the permanence of food coloring, I chose to use liquid watercolors instead. 

I recommend doing this outside if at all possible. It is messy! 

I was able to get 4 sheets of marbled paper from one shaving cream/watercolor bath. Each one was a bit lighter, but I can use all of them for various projects. I found that different colors needed to be stirred more, especially the red.

Overall, I was very happy with my results and plan to do more soon. 

 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Hidden Figures

My husband and I went to see this movie yesterday. I had heard good things about it from my friends, and this movie did not disappoint. 

It also set me to thinking (dangerous, I know!). These women almost did not get to do the wonderful things they did just because of their gender and the color of their skin. That thought just stuns me. It also made me wonder. What if that refugee that we "can't have over here" holds the key to a cure for cancer or our shot at putting a man on Mars, with the right education and support. 

 In today's world, I just don't think we can afford to waste intelligence and talents. I don't care if they are Arab, Mexican, Cuban, African, or whatever. The world needs ALL of us, using whatever gifts we have to keep it going. 
 
" Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Hebrews 13:2 

You never know. 

Saturday, January 07, 2017

The Impossible Detox

I see variations of the meme on social media all the time. Detox your life in 4 easy steps! Yes! 

No. 

What if the people who do this are family members? Co-workers? Church mates? Difficult people cannot always be as easily avoided as this meme makes it sound. 

Granted, I have been able to distance myself from people in the past who have done all these things. But, what does one do when one has no choice but to be with people who do these things on a regular basis?

Some days, I can shield myself to an extent. This is never easy for me. Being around these behaviors on a regular basis can make me physically ill. But, if I quit every organization or activity where folks do these things, I would not have much of a life outside my home! 

2017 will see me working to develop my defenses. I may have to get out of situations which become completely intolerable. And I want to learn how to better deal with difficult persons who cannot be avoided. 

Wish me luck. 

 

Monday, January 02, 2017

Organizing Art Supplies

Today, I used my "Christmas money" to hire Lacey McLaughlin of Neat Freaks Organizing to help me clean up and organize my art area. 

Said art area is actually a corner of my living room and is not very large. Making the most of my small space was a challenge that Lacey took on willingly. Bless her. 

My supplies had become so scattered and piled up that I found my creativity was stifled as well. I look forward to being able to regain my creative freedom as I use my newly reorganized space. Now I just have to find the time to do my own art in between getting ready for classes and other obligations. That is the hard part. 

Wish me luck!

 

Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 How Did I Do?

Last year, I decided to make (hopefully!) simple, realistic resolutions. So, how did I do? 

Much like socks, I have decided that I will never find the mates (lids) to all my Tupperware bowls. I did find a few, so I am going to consider this one fairly successful.

I DID have total success in finding the perfect pencil sharpener. This little Prismacolor sharpener not only sharpens my graphite pencils without waste, but my colored and watercolor pencils as well. It was about $10.00, but has been totally worth this price. 

One thing I did not have as much success with was seeing movies in the theater with the hubby. It is hard to find much we really even want to see these days. We also tend to have different tastes in movies, so it can be hard to find something we both want to watch. Netflix has been wonderful, because we can usually find a TV series, documentary, or occasional movie that we both enjoy. Right now, we are hooked on Midsomer Murders.

Thanks to Lacey of Neat Freaks Organizing, I have found quite a few of those things that I put in supposedly safe places. She helped me de-clutter my office and it has been nice to feel like I can breathe in here again. 

I can't say that I have made more art, but I have done some decent quality work this year. After Lacey helps me de-clutter my art area, I hope to do more this coming year. 

 I did manage to hug some grand trees! A large oak in front of the otherwise disappointing Beauvoir in Biloxi made the entry fee worthwhile.I hugged crepe myrtles, dogwoods, Bradford Pears, even a couple of pines. I love trees. What more can I say? 

I am trying to decide if I want to make any resolutions for 2017. I have a feeling staying relatively healthy and sane might be as good as it gets. I still have a day to decide. Stay tuned! 






 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

No Shopping Zone

I tend to shop like most men. I go in, get what I want, and get out. I don't have any desire to look at, touch, or try on everything. 

When I do shop, I try to patronize brick and mortar stores if possible, particularly those locally owned and operated. Unfortunately, much of what I need simply can't be found locally. Decently priced plus sized clothing is in short supply. Specific electronics are not always available here. And the makeup that I am actually not allergic to (and can afford!)  is not to be found in Vicksburg. 

When I go to Jackson for doctor's appointments and allergy shots, I try to do necessary shopping while I am over there. I knew today might be a busy day due to customers returning Christmas gifts, being off work, etc. But, my external hard drive decided to die on Christmas Eve, I ran out of makeup, and I wanted to have lunch with my sister, so I reluctantly made my way to Flowood. 

First I went to JC Penney to the Sephora section for makeup. After waiting 15 minutes (I always get behind THAT customer) a second salesperson came up and helped me. We were able to find one of the two items that I needed. Check.

Then I made the mistake of going to Ulta to look for make-up item #2. I was using my walker and I was absolutely flabbergasted at the number of people who bumped me trying to squeeze past me instead of going around. After a salesperson did it, I left without even asking about the potential purchase. Fail.

I went across the street to Best Buy to look for the aforementioned external hard drive. I got my walker out of the back seat and headed across parking lot (I was in the marked crosswalk) when a car (driving too fast for this situation) hit his brakes to avoid hitting me, then zoomed behind me so fast that the customers coming out of the store were shaking their heads. This actually happens to me all the time in Flowood and Madison. 

A trek to the back wall of the store revealed that there were no suitable hard drives on the shelves. Another Fail. 

I came home, got on Amazon Prime, (I start at Amazon Smile, where a portion of the proceeds from my purchases goes to a charity providing clean water) and in 10 minutes had my makeup, hard drive, and a couple of other things on the way. No almost being knocked over, no futile and exhausting excursions to the backs of large stores, no almost being run down in the parking lot, and no being behind "Miss Thang" who thinks salespeople exist for her sole pleasure. 

The WIN in the situation was having lunch with my sister at Amerigo. Next time, I will just go to lunch and do my shopping at home!

 

 

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Where There's Smoke...

As I anticipate a Christmas which will most likely include my wearing capri pants, sandals, and short sleeves to Christmas dinner, I remembered one of the coldest ones I have ever experienced. 

Bill and I were talking today about one of the coldest Christmases we could remember. It was 1985 and we had been in our house just a few months. It was about 4 AM and I heard Bill urgently telling me to wake up. The house was filling with black smoke, and, although we saw no fire, we figured we better call the fire department. This was before cell phones, so we had to call 911 from our house phone. I grabbed a coat to wear over my pajamas and we went out in the front yard to wait for the fire truck. It was 9 degrees that morning. Fortunately, the problem was a (only) central heating malfunction. No fire, but also no heat! 

I am sure that the neighbors were probably not happy to have their Christmas sleep so rudely interrupted! No one ever complained, that I recall anyway.  

After the house had aired out for a while, we went in, put on some warm clothes, and headed down to Hazlehurst, to my grandmother's house. We were cold and tired, but thankful that our house, albeit smoky smelling, was OK. 

I have had several friends lose homes to fires. I feel for them. I remember those few, heart stopping minutes in 1985, when I thought we might be among them. And, every Christmas, I pause to give thanks that we were not.  

 


 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Suicide Isn't Painless

Yesterday there was a situation in the parking lot of our local Kroger store in which a gentleman of my own age (57) had a gun and was threatening to commit suicide. 

Emotions tend to run high at this time of year. Statistically, Christmas is not the most likely time to commit suicide. It is not even the most common time of the year for depression to surface. Suicide rates actually increase in January. 

Maybe it was just coincidence, but when I was working in mental health I usually volunteered to be on call over Christmas. I had no small children at home to get ready for Santa Claus. My contribution to the family gatherings was usually a tray of deviled eggs, which were easy enough to prepare. So, I took call. 

Sure enough, when I was on call Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, a suicide threat (and sometimes a homicide one!) would inevitably come in. I usually sang for Christmas Eve services somewhere, so the timing of these was sometimes dicey. It always worked out. One time I had to have someone call the sheriff on one phone while I was talking down the person on another. Thankfully, the person was always picked up and taken to get help. 

Always take a suicide threat seriously. And if you are suicidal, I know from personal experience that things are truly darkest before the dawn. There is help out there. Get it. 

Here is a list of hotlines for suicide and for other issues that don't go away just because it's Christmas, such as drug abuse and domestic violence. 

http://www.crisistextline.org/textline/?gclid=Cj0KEQiAyuPCBRCimuayhb3qqvwBEiQAgz62kU2p6tigqzufxXDsb25EYOH9aZUyrkQ-cd-6CvT2nVcaAiSy8P8HAQ

Suicide is not painless for those who love you. 
 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Still Missing Daddy

This is one of my favorite pictures of me and my Daddy. It was taken about 3 years before we found out that his prostate cancer had returned and metastasized. He was remarried, happy, and feeling pretty good. 

Tomorrow will be 5 years since he died. Some years I miss him more than others. This is one of those "really miss him" years. I am concerned about so many things. I just wish I could hear him tell me there is no use worrying about things I can't do anything about. Telling it to myself is not nearly as effective!

He loved hosting his annual Christmas Eve party. Eventually it changed to Christmas Eve Eve as everyone had different Christmas Eve church service schedules. It was when my side of the family exchanged gifts and got to be together. He was really in his element with the small children who came. It was hard to tell who was having the most fun. 

As much as I am like my mother, I see a lot of my Daddy in me as well. I am a perfectionist. I have to have things organized, and if possible, done as much in advance as is feasible. I can't just let problems go without trying to find a solution. 

Now, if I could just get this not worrying thing down! 



 

 

Friday, December 09, 2016

Finding my Voice

This Christmas night, it will be 26 years since my mama died. She always told me to say she DIED. Not passed on, not gone on to the great beyond, not expired. She had no patience for pussyfooting around! 

Mama was larger than life and was the dominant force in any and every situation she found herself in. For the most part, I was happy to sit back and let her take the lead. 

However, after mama died and I crumbled like a house of cards, I realized that I had never really found my own voice. I had to find out who I was apart from my mama. This took a LOT of therapy and a lot of work on my part. But, I found my voice. And, once I found it, I vowed never to lose it. 

It may have been a Facebook error, or even an error by a reader, but when my blog post was blocked the other day, I was furious. The thought that some unseen "friend" could, with one click, silence my voice absolutely floored me. 

The older I get, the more outspoken I become. Sometimes I inadvertently put my foot in my mouth. Sometimes my words are not as eloquent as I would wish. But, my voice is here to stay. 

Until I die! 

 

Not Silenced

Recently, I was quite shocked to find my blog post had been reported as abusive and blocked by Facebook. I have no idea why someone would have done such a thing.

Even on my blog, I am careful not to give specifics if I am writing something concerning an interaction with another person. I don't give age, sex, times, dates, etc. And, if I think someone might recognize him or herself, I don't post the link on Facebook. In this case, the person is not on Facebook, nor are any of the other parties who might guess who it might be. And, I know that none of these folks follow my blog. 

My blog is my way of recording events in my everyday life. I post them because sometimes other people may be going through the same things I am going through. It can help to feel like there is a kindred spirit out there. Sometimes I need a reality check. Sometimes, I just need support. Sometimes I just need reassurance that I am not completely crazy for feeling the way I do about an issue.

I am too old and cranky to be silenced.


 

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Phone Calls

In this day and age of texting, tweeting, email, messaging, and chatting, I don't get a lot of phone calls. We still have a land line, and most of the calls on that one are either my husband's family or friends, or the dreaded telemarketers. The older I get, the less I like to talk on the phone unless the callers are family or close friends. 

After receiving a phone call recently where the caller (who I truly thought was a friend) proceeded to berate me for some real but mostly imagined sins, I got to thinking how something as simple as answering the phone can make or break a few minutes, an hour, a day, a week, a year, or even a lifetime. Most of the time, I can look at the caller ID and have a pretty good idea of what I am going to get. But I can, occasionally, be blindsided. 

I have to admit, I have let this one affect me far longer than it should. Coupled with not feeling well, having my annual December funk because I am missing my Dad, Father-in-Law, and Mama, who all died during this month, and concern for the future of my ability to receive good healthcare, it was all a little bit too much. 

A few days have been "broken" but I am determined not to let this phone call affect me any longer. Life is just too darn short. 

If this person calls again, thank God and caller ID, I will know not to answer. 



 

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Missed Adventure

This is where I was supposed to be this weekend. Vermilionville is a place I have wanted to visit since I heard of it and this was going to be a 33rd anniversary celebration weekend. 

Of course, after weeks and weeks of no rain, the Heavens decided to open up on this of all weekends. This tour requires a lot of "outside" time and we were advised to wait for more clement weather. Coupled with my touch of a bug, it was a no-brainer. 

Hopefully, soon, we will be able to take our trip. I love history and this place sounds fascinating. I want to meet the Golden Girls (Sophia the hinnie, and Blanche, Rose, and Dorothy, the sheep) who spent several harrowing weeks camping out on the porch of one of the buildings during the flooding. And, I want a hug from my old theater buddy, Brady McKellar! 

Go check them out! 

https://www.facebook.com/Vermilionville/

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Sonic

Yesterday, I unwittingly began a bit of a firestorm on the Vicksburg Facebook page when I posted the hourly wage of the Sonic employee. Apparently, they used to make minimum wage, but now they make a paltry $4.00 an hour. Much like sit down restaurants, they rely on tips to make up the rest of their income. Sonic employees do fare a little better in the hourly tipped wage department that their sit-down restaurant counterparts. In Mississippi, restaurant owners can get away with paying their wait staff as little as $2.13 an hour

Although group rules prohibit bashing local businesses, subsequent posters began a litany of complaints about poor service and bad food. Some expressed their dislike of the tipping system in general. People who had obviously never waited tables or worked fast food  considered these jobs "easy." Some folks began the familiar chorus of "these jobs are not meant for careers, just for people to get through college, etc and get REAL jobs." Ideal, yes. Realistic, no. There are huge numbers of good people who simply do not have the ability either financially or intellectually, to pursue higher education. 

As one who has worked both fast food and table waiting, there was nothing "easy" about either job. In fact, I think it would be great for society if everyone had to work at food service for at least a week. Sometimes, poor service may be due to the store being shorthanded, new people in training, or, in a recent case with one of my personal carhops, being upset over her brother being shot! I almost always get good service. I say please and thank you when I order. I always smile and thank my carhop when he or she brings my food. 

And, I always tip. 





 
 


 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Grief

When I was counseling, I used to tell my grieving clients that there were no shortcuts through grief. It pays to just go ahead and deal with the emotions as they come up, rather than trying to stuff them down. Stuffing just delays the grieving process or causes emotions to manifest via unhealthy behaviors such as overeating, drinking too much, engaging in risky behaviors, etc. 

This year has been a time of overwhelming grief for so many people I know. A dear friend lost her (too young!) mother recently. Other loved ones have had to grieve inevitable life changes and moves. Still others are grieving for things that might have been, hopes, and dreams. I lost an irreplaceable friend this past Summer. I am still grieving his loss. 

Being jeered at, sneered at, and told to "just get over it" only complicates the grieving process. Everyone grieves at his or her own pace. Grieving can became complex if it goes on for an extraordinary period of time. But, it is not realistic to expect the grieving process to be over in a week, a month, or even a year in some cases. If someone is allowed to grieve in his or her own time, it will get better. Just be patient and love them through it.