Tuesday, November 24, 2015

**REVIEW** They're Real (Push-up eyeliner by Benefit Cosmetics)

I'm so very happy that we finally have an Ulta store in Anchorage. Of course, I found this little gem at the one here in Texas! LOL

Usually, I see stuff like this and go, "Bet it won't work the way it says it will..." And, usually, I'm right. However, this stuff is excellent.

Because I am have really bad fine motor skills (I once almost put my eye out with an eyeliner stick back in high school!), the tip of this eyeliner is perfectly designed.

Now, keep in mind that the tip is not the eyeliner itself. The eyelining gel dispenses from that tip. It just sort of glides perfectly onto the lid, right where you want it to go. You know, instead of all over your eyelid or into your eyelashes (don't judge me) so that you get an even and well-stroked line.

The one thing that drove me crazy when I first opened and tried to use this was that I had to turn/click the push-up end so much. My niece actually counted the clicks/turns and it was something like 68 twists. Oh - and there is a little orange sticker thing inserted that you must remove before first use. (Yeah, I was trying to use my new eyeliner without reading any instructions..)

So... just a quickie little review in case you've seen this in the stores and was wondering if this was worth it. And, actually, the product was cheaper in the Ulta store ($24.99) than it is on Amazon ($29.40).  The Benefit site has the liner for $24.00. Also, if you want to try the brand's makeup remover and mascara along with the eyeliner, Ulta had a kit with mini-sizes of each for around $25.00

Since I do like wearing eyeliner a lot, and since I do have problems wearing it properly, this is a reasonable price - IF this lasts a while. That's going to be the deal breaker. If this ends up running out on me in a couple of weeks, forget it. I can always use a spoon to guide my regular old gel liner...


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Love & Madness (quick short fiction)

***This is another piece of fiction I wrote without planning. The idea came to me when I started thinking about how essential the need to be loved is to every human. I'm at a stage in my life when I miss being in a relationship. This story is for everyone who is feeling that same way.***

Love & Madness 
by Trudy M. Conway (copyright 2015)


We have a good love. It’s sweet. We have a love that means something because it doesn’t mean everything.

He’s strong – maybe not physically the strongest, but in the way that he can still me when I move too fast or speak too wrongly. He looks at me to say, without words, let me lead this time, or “Stop, wait, think first.”

And I not only listen to him, but I can hear him.

When I am afraid, I can be calmed by reaching over to touch him (or, if not able to touch him, by knowing that he is mine to touch); feel the warmth of his body, know that we are joined.

Our love is from friendship that grew. Not lust but passion. I can be passionate for him only because he makes it safe and private and something that belongs to no one but us. There are things we reserve for each other, like with a little cosmic signs marked  “Only for Her” and “For Him Only”. These are signs posted on certain smiles, glances, words, and movements.

Because ours is not a perfect love, it is perfected for us. Perfect love exists only in that which radiates down from Heaven, but our love, this love that we have grown into, it is a good and strong love.

I can be angry at him and with him only because of my love for him. Heat is only warm because we understand cold.

There are times when I will look at him without admiration for his looks or his intelligence. There are times when he think of me with touches of irritation. There are (if I am to be honest) times when I can’t stand to hear the sound of him breathing or moving or chewing; times when I even cringe at the sounds and faces he makes when he thinks he is my own personal god of all that is sex.

Would I be lost had I never met him, attracted him, or had the chance to share what we have? Maybe yes, maybe no.

Maybe, if I had not been in that specific place at that specific time (that universe of time and circumstance where we did meet) – maybe then I would have turned to my left instead of to my right. Maybe then I would have met and another ‘he’, or even no one special at all. Then, of course, all the life that I am living would be different. I might – in that other universe of time and circumstance – not even now be alive at all.

So, our us-ness, the being and is-m-ness of what I have with him makes me see the world through a schizophrenic lens of what-ifs. It’s a beautiful and twisted blessing.

I’m not sure what to do.

If I report her, they will take her back to… to wherever it is that they’ve been taking her when she has these breakdowns.

I don’t hate her. I even care about her. You can tell that, right? I mean, if I hated her, I wouldn’t care what they did to her. She’s harmless – to me, at least –or that’s what I think at this point. What I worry about is what she would do to herself if-

I mean, I only ever met her that once. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so nice to her? Is that what she attached to? The simple kindness of a conversation over coffee? Just sharing a table because the café was crowded?

What if I had actually encouraged her – or maybe I did encourage her?

I think about it all the time. Just seeing her, a pretty girl, looking around for a place to sit, and offering her a seat at my small table. Chatting with her about- Well, about nothing really. The weather, the news. We just chatted and laughed a bit. And I was, I think – no, I’m sure – attracted to her. Just a bit. Her smile and the way she tilted her head and really listened to me the way not many people do.

What I think is that she could be so happy if it weren’t for having met me. She could have met someone not engaged, not taken. And someone – almost anyone sane – would have to like her. With that way she has of talking only to you, as if no one else exists while she is looking at you.

Is that part of her madness? Or is that what makes her more real than the rest of us?

Listen to me. I sound like I’m going a little crazy myself. Of course, she must be mad. Broken in some way.  She could, possibly, be dangerous to someone.

And I worry some about my wife. If Suzanne remembers that I’m married, if she comes to herself…  Would she hurt Caroline?

I really don’t know what to do. I feel for her, and I feel for her family. It’s got to be hell for them. Embarrassing, distressing. I know that her mother is probably ready to have her own little breakdown.

But what do I do? Do I continue to feed her delusions? Or move away? Do I just keep hoping that she will somehow miraculously get better soon? Where is the God that she believes in and prays to? Where is he when she needs him so much?

Maybe her family is right? Maybe it’s better if I just confront her delusions once and for all. Otherwise, what? What other solution is there?

But it does seem cruel.


This is really very hard for me to conceive. Either I am crazy or I really have flipped over into some other world. But that’s not rational, is it? That’s not… possible. Is it?

He looks like Neal, he sounds like Neal. I know his smell and his very being, but he doesn’t remember us.

How can it be? How can I know everything that I know about us, our past, our present? How can I know all of this and it not be real?

If we – if Neal and I are not, well, us, then… Is anything else that I know – knew? – real? Is the world still round, or does the sun exist? Is there even a sky and stars and…

Wait. Wait, let me just think. I have to think because this means…

If Neal isn’t Neal, then am I me? And is God God?

No, no, no, no, no.

Just go away now. Go away for a little while. Let me think. I need to just… think.


She’s sort of gone into a state of semi-catatonia. That’s the word they are using but, really – to me – it’s more like she’s not even there at all. Just sort of living in and out of reality in a way that makes no sense at all.

I’ve been back to see her – though her family isn’t sure that I’m helping. They and her doctors don’t think that I am helping, but how can I just walk away?

I shouldn’t have listened to them. Confronting her was not helpful, was it? Tearing myself out of her life – even if my existence in her life never really was a real thing – that’s what sent her over.

And there is something good about her. She might well be crazy, but there’s honesty in her madness – a sort of hope in the middle of everything falling apart in her mind. Maybe I’m nuts, but… there is something beautiful about her hopefulness, her wanting to believe in something pure and good.


Things are still confusing. I’m still never sure if I am living in or out of the rabbit hole.

Good days are when Neal comes to see me. Those are the only times when anything seems real and solid to me.

I’m teaching him to sketch and he is teaching me piano. It’s like we are still discovering new things about each other.

I can’t explain what happened when everything was weird. I’m still not sure why I had that breakdown when I thought I must be living in another universe. To tell you the truth, I don’t even like to think about it. The doctors here want me to think about it. They want to talk about it all the time, but Neal says I don’t need to if I don’t want to.

Best news of all is, Neal going to be taking me home on a couple of weeks. I didn’t even have to explain to him that I seem to have forgotten a lot about where we lived. He says that he got rid of all the furnishings so that we could start over.

I know that once we get home and are together again that nothing else will matter. All that ever mattered anyway was that we are together.

NOTE: I am trying to blog these short pieces on my other spot: Until that blog gets more popular, I will double-post stories here... Peace --Free

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

**REVIEW** Miss Jessie's Leave-In Condish

Yes, I know. I have had very poor results with a couple of Miss Jessie's products. Very poor. In fact, the only reason I decided to give yet another Miss Jessie's items a try at all was because I cannot believe such a successful brand is all bad.

Let's recap the instances I've had my feelings hurt, hopes crushed, and hair (and wallet) left in need:

And, by the way, falling for the lies of that dang Miss Jessie didn't teach me quite enough. I rebounded by running into the arms of Miss Jessie's less well known cousin, "Aunt Jackie". sigh.

If this were a history of my past romantic entanglements, I'd be swearing off men and entering a convent. Really. Seriously. HOWEVER... I might have a cold heart when it comes to certain men, but I'm warmer blooded when it comes to my hair. Which is why I did pick up the "Leave-In Condish".

 Also, the 8-ounce bottle was cheap. And I'm on write-cation. And I can spend $10 on a hair product when I am on write-cation and not really writing as much or as well as I thought I would be. So there.

I picked this up for about $10.00 at a Target here in Texas. I've never seen this item in Anchorage stores but, no doubt, the price would go up by two or three bucks on those shelves.

As usual, the first thing I did when I got the product was to smell it. It smells like that plain old bath bar soap that you get when you stay in cheap motels. Just so plain and funky that you automatically think that it's either really cheap stuff or that it will strip all the sebum right out of your skin and hair.

Maybe the mix of ingredients???

Of course, the smell had me thinking that I was about to be disappointed once again... But, nope. Once I got past the smell to give the product a try, it wasn't half bad.

I think I already mentioned that the air here is extremely humid. I have been calling it "no-lotion" weather. The thing is, it's great for my hair and skin but it also makes my hair resistant to styling. The only way I can get my hair to hold a nice twist-coil wave is to wash it. That's because my hair tends to dry out when I wash it (which is why I am careful about using the right shampoo).

Since the Leave-In Condish is to be used on damp (not wet) hair, I did a co-wash with the cleansing conditioner I told you about yesterday, then I let it go from wet to damp. I applied the Leave-In and waited for that to dry.

Result: quite stiff.

I then used a spray bottle to fine-mist on some water that I massaged into my hair.

Result: much better. Actually, my hair felt quite soft and moisturized.

Next, I did my twist-coils and let them dry.

The final result was not bad at all. My hair was not stiff or sticky at all, though it was a little bit over-dry. Since it is so humid here, I expected better. However, I do have very dry hair after washing.

Overall, I have to give this Miss Jessie's product a 9 out of 10. I'd even give it a 10 if not for that icky, soapy odor. (I will resolve that by adding to my water mister a touch of the yummy-smelling Pomegranate Cleansing Conditioner, or some of my Vanilla Grapefruit Fragrance.)

Also, please notice what is not in this particular product: sulfates and other no-no's for (especially) natural hair.

So, yay to Miss Jessie's for finally having a product that lives up to the labeling & goes easy on the average wallet.

At some point, I will compare the results I'm getting with products here to the ones I get in Alaska's drier climate.


Monday, November 16, 2015

**REVIEW** Sweet Pomegranate Cleansing Conditioner (by Renpure Solutions)

Just because I am on a little "write-cation", it doesn't mean that I'm not going to keep up on the reviews.

I actually picked up this product in a Target here in Carrolton, Texas. I sure do hope that I can get the Anchorage Target to order some for the future.

Renpure site also has different fragrances

The main reason I decided to purchase this (even though I had never even heard of the brand before now) is because of the delicious smell. Oh, my GOODNESS!!! This is the nicest scent I think that I have ever smelled in a hair product! When I was trying to think of how to describe the scent, I asked my niece to help. We both decided that it's like a very sweet and juicy pomegranate. Or, as my niece said, "I'd drink it." Oh-kay!

There are a lot of ingredients (not all as healthy-sounding as I prefer), but notice the things that are not included. (Sorry for the crappy photo. I'm having camera issues.)

As far as how well it works, I give it an 8 out of 10. For one thing, it does a great job of cleaning  the hair, but the moisturizing could be a smidge better. Here in this part of Texas, my hair and skin are already super spoiled by the humidity. I haven't had to use nearly as many oils for moisturizing as I do back in Anchorage. I have a feeling that this conditioner is going to need a boost from some of my other products when I use it in that drier climate. In this moist climate, it does alright, but I did have to use some moisturizing curling gel after my hair dried.

The smell alone makes this worth using (even if I have to add another conditioner) and I only used the size of three quarters to do my hair in the shower. And the entire bathroom smelled amazing afterward.

No kidding, I actually wish I could find this same exact scent in perfume or lotion.

The price was nice on this (at least at the Target down here...). I paid $6.99 (plus tax) for the 16-ounce bottle. I checked Amazon and found it as a Prime "Add-on" item for the same price. The Renpure site just sends you to other retail sites for the products.

I did have a moment of surprise when I noticed the back of the product:

Co-washing started, I thought, as a thing that black women did to protect their natural hair growth. Whatever.

I'd love to hear what women with different hair textures have to say about the product. Maybe the reason it isn't as moisturizing for my kinky/curly hair is that it wasn't formulated for this texture??? So, if someone with a different hair texture has tried this, please let me know what your results were. I bet we can all agree about the yummy fragrance.

This is a good price for decent results on my normally very dry hair. I imagine it will work much better for hair is that is less problematic.


Sunday, November 08, 2015

"Crowded World, Lonely Hearts" (quick short story)

[This is another of my short stories - or "quick shorts" as I call them - and I hope you like it. I wrote it just now (on the fly) after suffering a bout of mourning for my childhood.]

She grew up in a small town. Not a small and interesting town - or even quaint. Just a town that seemed to have been spit off to the side of  a tangle of highway and byways that were going to other places. Spit out of the mouth of a society that advanced too far to notice the townspeople who were content with enough and never craved more.

But she, Sammy, craved more. She longed to know what was beyond the trees that lined the yard of the house that she felt doomed to spend all her life.

As a child, she would spend her free time lying in the grass, looking skyward and listening to the vehicles passing her world by. Did the people in those cars and trucks know that there were people here in this town? Did they wonder about a girl like her the way she wondered about people like them?

When she grew to an age where her body was outgrowing her freedoms, she begin to plan her escape. That keys to her prison were found with a man older than she but still young. He had come through that town of hers only because of a problem with his car. The town did have one remaining service station which is where Sammy happened to be when the young man arrived.

That man saw the girl and thought of her then and always as someone beautiful but caged. His immediate desire had been to free her because he imagined that, freed, she would burst into bloom and color like a dying plant being nursed back to flourishing.

Freed from that small town, Sammy - the almost-woman - did flourish. She sipped at the taste of a bigger city, more sights and sounds and the realization that she could be part of the life that had streamed past her town some time ago.

She matured into one able to laugh with awareness, but she lost the curiosity of innocence.

Her new world was electric and buzzing with possibilities. She spent the first years eating from the banquet of social trends. She became more beautiful because beauty was the belle of the feast. She learned to take her meals at a pace that made her an admirable and envied member of more than one circle of acquaintances.

To be brazen, yet coy; smart without intimidating, faithful without being holy. She acquired these talents and traded upon them for measures of admiration with a glaze of jealousy from friends.

After some years, when she was still not old (but not supple with youth), she outgrew the freedoms that marriage and companionship had offered. She sometimes thought of her younger years and compared the walls of her walk-in closet to the apple trees that had lined her childhood home. Changed boundaries were still boundaries.

There were days that she found herself smiling across a table of nice china at the husband who had held the keys that freed the girl she had been. And she would smile only with her mouth because her heart was wandering and searching.

The husband had noticed the emptiness of that smile and he was not surprised when the wandering thoughts took the girl-woman away from him.
At a point in her life when she was thought of as very beautiful "for her age", Sammy - now Samantha - looked back on 3 marriages and 2 children with a feeling of... incompleteness.

Clothes - she'd worn the finest - didn't sheild her from the feelings of barreness. Jewels only garnished what she thought of as a shell of illusions. She felt un-nourished and bored even as she surveyed her household stores of foods from around the world, with labels and wrappings made to entice and impress. 

In a home filled with lovely decor and rooms of expensive emptiness, she no longer felt housed. 

At parties, she often waltzed through the niceties like a blind dancer, moving by rote. Then, during one of these grand fetes, she simply waltzed out and away.

Having slipped into one of the beautiful cars she owned, she just drove and drove because movement and control soothed her like David's harp.

And she drove.

She slowed when she reached the familiar exit from a familiar highway. In seconds, she re-lived a lifetime, considering choices and boundaries and brass rings she had grabbed onto. Then she drove on, knowing that there might be someone listening to the sound of her car that was passing them by.

The End

Saturday, November 07, 2015

"He Said, She Said" (part 2 of a short story)

[This is the conclusion of the short story that I started as part of a writing exercise I assigned myself. I hope you like it, but my point was not to please an audience. My point was to write free-style, with no planning, plotting or editing. I didn't even choose my subject until after I wrote the first lines. Part  is here.]

... had loved her, hadn't he? When they had taken vows and made all those promises? Or had he just been in some kind of a trance?

What he remembered now seemed like fuzzy pieces of scenes from someone else's life. A life that he had stepped into just now, wide awake and saddled with the decisions of that other mystical being.

... remembered everything: the courting, the planning and the marriage, the joining, that had been the goal all along. He was the clear and actual realization of the hazy idea of the man she'd envisioned she would one day marry and grow old with. Her hazy "imagined man" had started to intrude on her life way back before she even knew what love was. That man had been the father-protector, friend-confidante, and lover-seducer that had come to her in her dreams as she slept under posters of boy bands and under the social hynosis of idealized, fictionalized romance. Perfect kisses with no bad breath, touch that did not sully, lust that had no consequence.

since he could not remember how or why exactly he'd gotten himself into this legal and moral tangle that was his wedded state, decided that he must only move forward. Carefully and thoughtfully and mindful of the future. He (or the illusion that he had been) had promised to love and honor her, so he would try. He had gone before many of their friends and family and performed some kind of rite of bonding so there was that weight to be born.

... loved him, didn't she? Maybe not when she watched him dress for work in the morning and saw how his underwear sagged from his skimpy buttocks (something that she had never noticed in time because she'd been practicing some form of chastity and holding him hostage to her virginity while they courted). No, the sagging undies and skimpy buttocks didn't make her heart pound with lust or desire, but she would endure. Because... why? Because he was a good man. He didn't curse at her or beat her or embarrass her with his table manners. She loved him the way the she had decided to love the social safety of being coupled and joined in a way that her single friends could not be sure of.

...loved being defined in the positive ways that marriage defines one. He had the safety of known responsibilities: to wake, work, remain calm and steady and endure.

...contemplated playing roulette with her life, shooting the dice. She could risk walking back into the world alone where she'd end up one of those strong and beautiful women who never found another "other" to complete her destiny as part of a set. She might even find another "other" and be socially comfortable as a "set" again. Or - and this is what terrified her to the point where she woke up some nights with her heart pounding staccato beats until she vomited into the toilet. That anxious terror was brought on by the idea that she would die alone and undefined by anything but her false front of joy.

They thought of these things. They contemplated life and love and the lack of. They went about their existence, clinging to structure and routine with their outer selves while their souls asked questions that had answers floating somewhere just out of reach.

And they coped.

They coped and lived on, turning older and greyer and steadier as their marriage went on.

They had good times and bad times and times that didn't register on any scale of mattering.

She grew to appreciate the warmth of him on nights when the world seemed too cold to bear. He grew to admire that she could be the Up to his Downs. They sometimes wondered about wandering. Mostly they just settled into the confines of real life and the thing that might not be called "love" but that defined commitment.

They learned that this is what so much of life is: coping and hoping and clinging to the now to keep from imagining the unknown what-ifs. Married, single, waiting, resigned - none of it matters. Fate is only the great unknown making itself known; questions that change when we come too near the answers.

Many years later, when life was ebbing they contemplated death the way that the very old do: without too much astonishment.

They were no longer He and She, but something separate yet combined - like the end result of a recipe made up of different things. Whole and complete.

He: (Looking at her old and aged hands, seeing them the way they were when he had first slipped a band of gold onto the fingers.) "Do you remember when?"

She: (Sitting by the bed where he lay, keeping an eye on the medical machines and life-sustaining fluids arranged and suspended nearby.) "I do remember."

He: (Stares out across the room at things that are only somewhere in his memories.) "I remember."

She: (Smiles because she knows his memories as well.) "Do you?"

There is a long pause, longer than the ones she is used to. A nurse looks in, watches from the doorway until He stirs. She ducks back out.)

He: "I remember. Do you remember when?"

She: "I do. I remember."

They continue to wait in silence that is made up of memories. They have waited together for a lifetime.

The End

"He Said, She Said" (part 1 of a short story)

[This is a short story I am working on. Don't get too involved. I'm writing it on the fly and in pieces. Who knows how - or even if - it will conclude! Part 2 is here.]

He said, "You changed when we got married. You don't look, act, or love the way you did before."

She said, "You changed too. You don't say the things you did before or seem to care the same about how I look, act, or love."

Him: "How can you tell what I say? You don't listen."

Her: "I stopped listening when the sound of your voice started to annoy me."

Him: "See? You never talked to me like that when we were dating."

Her: "That's because you didn't annoy me the way that you do now."

They glared and stared, then walked off in different directions to let the silence heal the fury.

After some hours, She came into the room where He was watching television.

Her: "Are you calm enough to talk decently to me now?"

Him: "If you are calm enough to listen decently."

Her: (Taking on the suffering that she supposed being married required and managing to let this remart pass unchecked or, at least, only slightly checked with a tired sigh.) "You know, that's your problem. You're too bossy."

Him: "Well, hello there, Pot. My name is Kettle. Nice to meet you."

Her: "Is that how this conversation is going to go?"

Him: (Taking on the suffering that he supposed being married required and managing to let this remark pass unchecked or, at least, only slightlychecked with a roll of the eyes.) "I apologize."

Her: "Good. Now, first thing is, we need to get back to where we started. You know, back when you were courting me."

Him: (Having a momentary brain freeze because he had no recollection of a courtship. Fortunately, the freeze was brief. Unfortunately, the melt extended to his mouth.) "Courting you? Is that what you call your mother convincing my mother that you were such a great catch that the two of us should really get together?"

Her: (Giving Him a look that could have either started a new ice-age or melted the entire region of Siberia.) "What are you trying to say?"

Him: (Realizing that further words melting out of his mouth might cause a flood of damage that no mortal insurance would protect him from.) "I'm just trying to keep the story correct and true to history."

Her: "Well, let's stay true and correct to the fact that you obviously had no problem asking me out - not once, not twice, but three times before I even accepted." (She thought it was very mature of her that she managed not to huff with indignation at the end of this statement.)

Him: "Wait. What?"

Her: (She only bothered to answer his confusion with a patient look. Cold, but very patient.)

Him: (Almost defending his confusion with more objections, but remembering he was still without damage insurance and deciding not to write checks with his mouth that his body couldn't safely cash.) "I, uh... I just don't remember it exactly that way."

Her: "I not only remember, I can go through my journal if you want dates, times and content of the specific conversations."

Him: "Uh..." (And here is where he had to decide if he wanted to test the female skill in perfect recall of any event of romantic history - written, electronic or otherwise. He wisely chose not to.) "That's not the point, is it?"

Her:(Giving him a long and very meaninful look)

Him: (Realizing that the look is meaningful, and being a little frightened by the mystery of the possible meaning.)

Her: "Is it?"

Him: "Okay...." (He is still uncomfortable and unsure of where he might be venturing, but decides on the safest way to explore the landmines.) "So... What is the point?"

To be continued..

Thursday, November 05, 2015

"Somewhere Over Seattle" (a quick-short story)

(I've been writing some short stories. I plan to write more while on this vacation. It's hard for me to share pieces of my writing that haven't been edited and re-written and picked all to pieces by my insecurities, but that is what I am going to do here. It's going to be my own little exercise in bravery!)
Somewhere Over Seattle ©
by Trudy M. Conway

Life is made up of time, but all the things that make life real is made up of moments.

The moment that you actually hear the meaning in someone's voice, instead of just listening to the words they happen to be saying.

There are times when you lost everything you had, only because you didn't realize how important the moment was. You didn't know that you should have apologized or admitted or repented or just reached over and touched the hand that was being held out to you.

Moments of extreme joy are only revealed as joyful, sometimes, when that moment is old and faded and gone to dust.

We didn't choose our lifetime, but we can choose our moments.

The longest moments - those that seem to stretch out for eternity - are ones that make up a life being born, a future begun,  or a life ebbing away... That kiss between two people who have just made promises of loving, honoring, cherishing. The tear that is sitting in your eye and waiting to fall while someone you love is taking in the breath that will be their last. The looks between you and the stranger who could become part of the reason for your lifetime.

Moments make up lives and lifetimes.

Time means nothing to the moment. Time stops with moments.

A moment is an inhale of a question -

"What might this be?"
"What does this mean?"
"Does it really matter/"
"Who is this person?"
"Should I do this?"
"Do I walk away?"
"What now?"

- and life or a lifetime is the exhale of an answer.

Somewhere over Seattle, my soul was asking questions, and I'm still waiting to breathe.


Blogging the Travel (Leaving ANC for DFW)

I want to blog this little getaway of mine for a couple of reasons. The main one is that I'm hoping to clear my head and jumpstart my plans for the future. I've been extremely frustrated with this because I think that my situation is so misunderstood. I'll talk more about that later.

One of the reasons I have had so much anxiety about traveling is my problems with memory. For days before leaving Anchorage, I had night (and day) mares about wandering around lost in some strange airport. I'm serious.

I have made it to Dallas safely and I even mangaged to enjoy some of the travel here. I met a few really nice people and all the crew and staff of Delta was more than pleasant.

Alaska was freezing on the morning I was leaving. Nothing like last year's "non-winter" winter! The day before I left, I had 2 appointments - one early morning and one later in the afternoon. I was totally stressed out by the 2 mile drive to the first appointment just because of the icy roads and maniac drivers... I had to cancel the afternoon appointment that was clear across town. My nerves just couldn't take that.

Since I was to travel from Anchorage to Dallas, I decided to layer clothing for the plane ride.

I started with jeans, boots and a sweater over a shirt.

Went out to my car to get a phone charger and almost passed out from the wind that blew up the back of my jacket, so I added a vest!

Then, because my shirt was kind of heavy, I changed to a lighter one. Much better.

When I took this photo of myself, I stood in the mirror for another few minutes, having a random panic attack. I seriously thought about postponing my trip for a few more days. It went through my mind that I could just crawl into bed and hibernate in the dark until I had more energy. Then I went and sat in the garage and had a good cry. This is what my moods have been like for several weeks.

Everyone in the house is sleeping while I am praying and trying to get my anxiety under control. Just before I have to go and wake my niece to drive me to the airport, I check the weather. This is what Anchorage looks like:

And this is what Dallas weather was doing:

 That was motivation.

Ever since my memory and confidence got so bad, I found workarounds to help make life easier. When I drive, even around my own town, I use Google Maps. Sometimes, I have no trouble, but there are times when I can get mixed up on the way to or from a familiar place. This gets worse, depending on my stress levels. Traveling alone is extremely stressful for me, so I do a couple of things that I will share in case someone else needs to know:

Always download the app for whichever airline you are using.

I've used Delta and either United or American. I like American's app better, but Delta's was bearable. You can "check in" and even pay for your baggage before you get to the airport.

When you do a mobile check-in, you also get to bypass some of the hassles of going through aiprot security. At least you don't have to remove your shoes. That's worth it right there.

Your boarding pass will be electronic/mobile. There's no extra piece of paper to keep track of. Best of all for the nervous type like me, I can refer constantly to my travel information: flight times, gate changes, layover times, etcetera. It just feels so good to have everything right there on the phone.

Limit what you carry around.

I keep only the very essential things on my person, and any carry-on is something I can attach to myself. I use a backpack and a very small messenger type purse. This way I'm less apt to leave something behind in an airport or on a plane. I have a good attachment clip on my phone so that it's always hooked onto my clothing or one of my carry-ons. On one of the flights, someone turned in a passport they found on the floor under the seat in front of them. A passport! 

Put snacks in your carry-on

I always do a Walmart run and grab some granola bars. Thank goodness I remembered this time. For one thing, I had such short layovers that there was no time to get decent food at the airport. For another thing, I couldn't afford the food that was available. (One snack bar offered a tuna sandwhich with lettuce and some condiment packages for a mere $8.00. I'm not kidding.) I did fork out about $7.00 for a muffin and some juice at one point. I could have bought pack of six bigger and better muffins at Costco for that price. #ripoff)

Use the bathroom at every layover.

Even if you don't have to go. You probably will anyway. It gives you the chance to freshen up and check your purse in privacy. I usually rinse out my mouth and puff some baby powder under my clothes. No need not to smell somewhat fresh while sitting next to strangers in the close quarters of an airplane, right?

This wasn't a bad trip. I was so tired anyway. And I had great seatmates all the way. One of them was super-sweet and I sure wish neither of us had been so shy. Makes me want to go to Denver and look for him!

I woke up long enough to get some photos of wherever we happened to be flying over. Can't sort them out now...

I'm SO glad that I layered my clothing. The planes were always chilly so I could keep on my jacket at least, and I used my vest for a pillow at one point. When I got into Dallas, it was muggy but my niece was there to get me so...

I've got to say how proud I am of +Gabrielle B . She navigates this city like nobody's business. I just admire her for her independent spirit. It also makes me feel a little weak and silly. There was a time when I traveled the States to writers' camps and conferences, and even went solo to England before I was out of my teens. I was always so confident and adventurous. Last night, as we left the airport, found a Whataburger for dinner, then headed for Gabby's place, I kept thinking how terrified I would be out there on my own.

When Marla made me smile with her compliments about my travel-ready looks, she hadn't seen these photos!

My evil niece took this when I just passed out sleep on her couch

Lovely, yes? LOL

Notice that her puppy, Kenai, has decided that we are new best friends! If you can see him at all. He's jet black and has the most beautiful coat of hair. I'd steal him if I could. He's such a cute little booger.

"I'm gonna just rest here in the crook of her knees!"

And... I'm not looking so hot here. Around 6-something this morning before Gabby heads out to work. I'm still tired and still wearing my twist-rows. I don't even fully remember twisting up my hair before I passed out last night!

Too early to care!
That last photo is to send to my little Boo-Boo (DJ). I miss him, but, boy, it was real nice to wake up and just enjoy my coffee in peace and quiet this morning!

Since I do have time to rest my nerves and pull my thoughts together, I'm going to do some short-story writing (and maybe post some?), and try to examine my life. Hopefully, when I get back home, I will be able to go to work and sort out some of my life tangles.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

**REVIEW** Deluxe Botanicals Castor Oil

This 100% pure & organic castor oil by Deluxe Botanicals surprised me. Pleasantly.

It's not the first castor oil I've used, of course, but it's the first "clear" castor oil I've used since I was a kid and my Mom and one of the Grands would make us kids eat a spoonful everyday. Ick.

This one is not for ingesting. It's for the hair, skin and nails.


When I got it, I noticed that unlike, the castor oils I've been buying locally (black ash oils), this one was in a bottle with a dropper. I love having a dropper for oils because they make it easier for dispensing and adding to other bottles.

Where this oil surprised me right off the bat is with how freaking thick is is!

The other castor oils I've used are not thin or watery, but this one is so thick that it reminds me of corn syrup. And that is part of the beauty of it.

Because the oil is thick, I thought it would be too heavy for using as a moisturizer. I don't want a thick, greasy mess left on my hands, and I really don't want to use anything like that on my face, right?

No worries. I did test it on my face (and neck) and it really didn't bother my pores. I just rubbed some water and a drop of the oil in my hands and patted it onto my face and neck before bedtime. I think it helped a lot because the house is really dry with the heat turned up for winter. Ugh!

Of course I mainly wanted to test this on my hands and nails. The Deluxe Botanicals goes on thick, but not too sticky and, after about 2 or 3 minutes (maybe less), it has absorbed completely. I mean completely. My hands (and nails) were very nourished without any sign of greasiness.

When I tested the oil on my body (legs and feet), I got the same results. I just let the castor oil absorb before I on clothing.

Because thisi is a 4-ounce bottle, I'm not going to waste it using it full-body. I added several dropperfuls to a bottle of the lotion I'm taking with me on vacation and left it at that. I'm saving the rest to use on my hair and nails (and my feet).

When I'm not sponge-curling my natural hair, I like to do a 2-strand twist of cornrows overnight. Tonight, I did my twist-rows, then used the castor oil on my scalp in between rows. I want to see how my scalp feels tomorrow when I take my hair down. I will let you know at the finish of this review.

My pre-bed look:
Looking like Celie! LOL

I just oiled my scalp bewtween the twist-rows
This oil is also supposed to be good for acne treatment, but I can't test for that. I do know that when I remembered to try it on my lips it felt great. (If your lips are currently chapped and peeling, apply the oil and let it set for a minute, then do a mild cloth or sugar scrub. I noticed that this worked excellent with some sugar for a scrubbing.) There isn't a strong taste to it, thank goodness. I'm going to try using it a few minutes before I apply lipstick because, for some reason, some lipsticks suck all the moisture right out of my smackers.

Finally, the $14.48 Prime price seems reasonable to me for the 4-ounce bottle because I will be adding this to other products and saving some for direct application. This works well enough to add to my oil purchases in the future and I'm glad that I got to try it out.Also there is a 30-day guarantee. If you don't see results, you get your money back. Good deal.

I checked out Deluxe Botanicals Facebook page and noticed that they share some nice tips and hints. I especially like the "Essential Oil Conversions" chart.


DISCLOSURE: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Total Pageviews