Pinterest Play

Monday, December 21, 2015

**RECIPE** Juice & Smoothie Blends

Since I have been faithful about going to the gym, I'm losing pounds and inches faster than I expected. I think part of the weight loss is due to the better eating habits I'm practicing.

Juicing (or "smuicing" for those who also enjoy smoothies) is a great way to balance out my nutrition while trying to lose or maintain weight. The hardest  part of it all is just like with any kind of diet (or lifestyle  change), and that is variety.

I have no problem eating right for months and months. I do tend to get bored with my healthy choices of nutrition. So... I try not to get bored.

With the new - and very affordable - juicer I've had for a couple of weeks, I can change up from smoothies to juices just by rotating two appliances.

        

Juices are easier for me than smoothies. Here are my latest recipes:

Tropical Blend

Pineapple
Mandarin Oranges
(Can add a little bit of lemon if you want)

Blood Pressure Blend

Beets
Carrots
Apple (for more sweetening)

Workout Refresher Blends (for after the gym)

Celery + Ginger + Cucumber + Oranges

Beets + Apples

Cucumber + Oranges

Blend for Snacktime

Ginger
Cucumber
Apple

Someone mentioned to me that adding a little bit of cayenne to my juices could help rev the metabolism. I want to try it, but I have no tolerance for even mild heat. I might try adding cinnamon to a blend, but I haven't yet.

Another thing about juices vs smoothies: to help replenish the fiber lost from juicing, I like to add back in to the juice some of the pulp that the juicer discards. This means having to shake the pulp around in the juice so that it doesn't all sink, but it's worth it and doesn't really bother me as far as taste.

If anyone has any suggestions for juices or smoothies, feel free to email me.

Peace
--Free

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

**REVIEW** Extra Large Natural Cotton Laundry Bag from Ohuhu

Since this review is for an item with a specific and basic use, I will keep the post brief and simple.

The product is the Ohuhu® Natural Cotton Laundry Bag (extra large size).

photo from Amazon product page
photo from Amazon product page

That's pretty specific and basic, right? However, I have a feeling that some people will find other uses for this natural cotton laundry bag:

Because the bag is so big (and it's much bigger than it looks when you first see it in the wrapping), it's great for use in a dorm room. On the other hand, if it's filled up, it could be kind of heavy. For laundry use, I think it would be better for storing dirty laundry neatly in a wash area.

Like I said, it's a simple product, made for storing and carrying  (or temporarily hiding) dirty clothes. The standout features:
  • Holds a LOT of clothing (4 to 5 loads)
  • Is machine washable and won't shrink
  • The 100% "natural colored cotton" material is breatheable to prevent mildew
  • Can also be used as a hamper liner
  • Is quite large - 36 inches high & 28 inches wide 
(By the way, I'm not sure if we all consider a load of laundry by the same measures!)

When I was younger, I remember my mother talking about having learned from her mother to multi-purpose everything she bought. If she bought Crisco for cooking, she also used some as a skin moisturizer. I also remember her talking about having used flour sacks to make clothing and curtains.

The material of this laundry bag is so sturdy that I immediately thought, "My mom would probably multi-purpose the heck out of this!" And, of course, I started thinking of other ways the bag could be used for "modern" household use:
  • As a toy sack (for a kid's playroom)
  • To carry around anything that's bulky or in pieces, and...
  • ...My favorite idea - to hide Christmas gifts in.
  • Lining the hamper used for diapers or smelly exercise clothing is a great idea
photo from Amazon product page


Actually, if this were dyed or decorated, it would make a super-cute "Santa" bag. Maybe because it's close to that time of year, that's one of the first things that popped into my head. Since 2 of my nieces are both pregnant, the idea of using this to line a hamper in the baby rooms is nice. I don't know if my girls plan to use cloth diapers or not  (NOT!!!), but infant clothes can have their own special funk once they get stained with formula or poop... I'm just saying.




One last thing I want to mention is that the material of the bag is a bit on the rough-feeling side when you recieve it. I'm hoping that it will soften up some after a run through the machine with some fabric softener.

The price is great for a bag of such a large size, especially the Prime price.

Peace
--Free




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.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

**REVIEW** BLACK+DECKER 400-Watt Fruit & Vegetable Juice Extractor

As you read this review, keep in mind that I just used it for the first time today**. Later on, after more use, I will come and update the review if need be.

This is the Black and Decker 400-watt Fruit & Vegetable Juice Extractor:



When I first saw it at the store, the first thought I had was, "How good can a $35 juicer be?" I also wondered why it was labeled as a "juice extractor" rather than just a "juicer".

Out of the box, this was easy to set up. The only thing I had to do was remove the cup from inside the pulp container.

Let me stop here and explain why I even wanted a juicer.

As you all know by now, I flip flop when it comes to taking care of myself. I go through stages of watching my nutrition and exercising better sometimes than I do other times. I'm going through one of my upswings. Going to the gym and losing weight, yada yada ya.

In addition to eating better, I'm also more conscience of my overall health. High blood pressure runs in my family. I had HBP when I weighed 97 pounds so all the weight loss and exercise isn't going to cut it. However, excersizing does help (mainly because I think it relieves stress) and I recently heard that drinking beet juice helps a bit. Well, I love beet juice. I don't love the price of beet juice, so... I decided that juicing my own would be better.

I still use my blender to do smoothies but I tend to go overboard with smoothies. I can't just do a simple fruit and veggie protein drink. I go all Guy Fieri and start adding something from every food group until I end up with something that looks like a drunken dessert.

Juicing is simpler. I do what I did tonight with the Black and Decker: chop up some beets, carrots and maybe an orange, then store it in a quart container to drink off of for a week. I have to say that the Biotta beet juice that I've bought is slightly sweeter than my homemade. which is why I added carrots and tangelos to the blend. Now mine is not only cheaper but even better than the store bought juice! Ha.

Here is my video of my first use of this:



So. On to the pros and cons of this juicer. By the way, the model number is JE2200B.

PROS:

  • Easy to assemble (and disassemble for cleaning)
  • Easy to clean (the strainer is only part that I had to use a sponge on)
  • Smaller sized for tighter counter spaces
  • Not too loud. (as you can see/hear for yourself in the video)
  • Juices beets, carrots and oranges without leaving over un-juiced chunks in pulp
  • Pulp comes out really dry (so I assume I got maximum juice extraction)
  • It's just under $35
CONS:
  • Cup to hold juice doesn't attach to juicer (can get pushed around)
Seriously, that's the worse thing I can come up with as a negative. This wouldn't be a big deal with most fruits and veggies, but for the beets (which stain everything), I put a plastic bag under the cup and juicer just to catch drips and spurts.

I read a bunch of the Amazon reviews (even though I purchased mine at Walmart) and I disagree (so far) with any of the negative ones. Of those complaining, most reviewers focused on the fact that they had to cut up their fruits and veggies or that the machine "clogged", etcetera. In my opinion, for this type of smaller (in size) juicer and with the 400-watt motor, I'd expect to have to do some prep. Matter of fact, some years ago, I had a very expensive juicer that didn't do as good a job as this one. With that one, I could drop in big chunks of stuff but I didn't get the dryer pulp and the cleanup was a nightmare.

Tonight I got a almost a quart of juice from 6 beets, 10 carrots and 2 tangelos (I've been drinking from it already, so...):

Drank about 15 ounces of my fresh juice! Delish!
Like I said, for the price (which equals about 5 of the 16-ounce bottles of Biotta brand beet juice), if this gets me through the rest of winter, I have saved quite a bit of money. Plus, I'm doing something good for myself.

Peace
--Free

**I wrote this review last night before bed. Posting it today, so... ya know.

Friday, December 11, 2015

**REVIEW** Unilever Dry Spray Anti-perspirant

Just love checking my mail sometimes
I don't often get stuff from Influenster and, when I do, it takes a while for products to reach me way up here in Alaska. This time, I am getting to try out a new anti-perspirant from Unilever:





This is Degree Motionsense Dry Spray.in the "Fresh Energy" scent. Let's go down the list of what I really like so far:

  • The nozzle is designed nicely. There's a click-to-open and spray function. This means that I won't be randomly spraying the inside of my gym bag because... me
  • The container is shaped in way that makes it easy to hold (even with hands damp from the shower) and is just cool to look at.
  • The spray itself is super-finely misted and it really is very dry. If it weren't for the scent (which is nice enough), I wouldn't have been sure I had actually applied product. This is a big deal for me because I do NOT like damp deodorants. I have been using a stick deodorant that I always blot after applying. Before now, I've never been too crazy about spray products just as a personal preference. 
  • The scent is mild, even though I would prefer no scent. It doesn't linger or interfere with my essential oil fragrances.
  • I tested this by applying a few hours before going to the gym. Probably because I am so freaking out of shape, it only takes about 20 minutes on the treadmill before I'm sweating like a murder suspect. I was sweating alright, but not in my underarm area. (Wish someone would make forehead anti-perspirant!)
  • Since I was testing this product for it's "48-hour" anti-perspirant claims, I didn't shower for about 4 hours after the workout (just that one!). I wanted to see if the deodorant properties were on point. Answer: Yes. Definitely so.
I have to give this product some points for living up to the hype. There were just a couple of things that would make me like it more:
  • While the click-to-open pump is nice, it is tricky to re-close. I was always worried that I might not have locked it back into place. (Kind of a minor point, I know...)
  • The "Fresh Scent" is not my favorite. Since I don't see an un-scented version, I think I would prefer the "Sheer Powder" scent. (Just a very personal preference.)
  • I can't tell yet how long this will last. From what I can tell, the 3.8-oz size is around $5.00 at Walmart (and also on Amazon as an "add-on" item). 
By the way, you can pick this product up at Walmart and here are the different scents available:

Again, there isn't much that I don't like about this anti-perspirant. What I do love is how dry it goes on. I have to agree with the blurb on the Influenster box: "This is a game-changer." It just might be...

Peace
--Free



DISCLOSURE: I received one or more of the products mentioned in the post compliments of an Influenster campaign in exchange for testing and reviewing.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Writing, Anxiety & Inspiration from Odd Sources

Just an update for +Marla Hughes , +Susan Lewis , +Ben Johnson and the others who have been so encouraging about my writing - and who are all getting free and signed copies if I ever publish. (Hey, Ben, I haven't started the story "The Girl in the Video" that I accidentally posted that day!)

The writing project is going well. I haven't posted any more stories on The Millenium Chronicles because I am adding all my new material to the short story collection that I'm working on.


Today I have been crazy with anxiety. The writing is going as well as I just said (or even better), but just thinking of all that it takes to self-publish is driving me batty.

That dang cover!!!
I'm really stressing over all how to and what-if parts of the situation.For some reason, I am fixating on what kind of cover I would like.

How to format for uploading, design a cover, etc. What if I chose the wrong publishing arena? What if everyone hates what I've written?

I've decided that I am bi-polar when it comes to my creative side. There are the amazing highs when I hit my groove with a character or plotline, then there is that stomach-churning drop when I think I only think I sound coherent in my work.


More than ever, I am learning why writing is so lonely. I suppose that writing is meant to be a lonely business (though I have plenty of company from the people and ideas in my head), and the solitude is so necessary for me. Still...

Here's one crazy thing about writers (or maybe just about me as a writer): Because feelings are fuel for my stories, I relish things that hurt and irritate me. On the one hand, it sucks when people annoy me or even go out of their way to otherwise chafe me. On the other hand... All that pain and irritiation and stuff is like old, dry wood on the fire. If the fire is my writing. LOL

At any rate, this post was just to let my 3 supporters (hahaha) know how things are going and why you aren't seeing any new stuff online. Yet.

For the people who feed my writing fires, I leave you this:


(You probably already have... But I will love you for being an inspiration.)

Peace
--Free

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

**REVIEW** Daydreamer Travel Pillow by AirComfy Travel

I ordered this Daydreamer Travel Pillow by AirComfy Travel just a lit-tle too late to use on my recent travels.

This is pillow in the case
Never fear, I did put it to the test in a couple of unusual ways. I mean, traveling on a plane is not the only time you need to get comfy for a bit of a nap, right?



I have insomnia and use it to my advantage. Since ours is a very noisy household, I do my writing while dawn is only thinking of breaking. I like to sit up in bed with my back against the wall when I am writing. The only problem with that is neck and shoulder fatigue. I end up bunching my bed pillows behind my neck, but they fall down whenever I shift positions. Guess what? It' may not be what the makers had in mind, but this pillow is perfect for my writing in bed habit. It's also great for when I go to my infusion treatments. The pillows the nurses provide are starchy and flat. I need two or three of them to prop into position to read or write for the couple hours I'm stuck hooked to a machine.

I'm fussing and griping, but I bet there are a lot of you who find yourself in similar circumstances. This pillow might have been made with travel in mind, but it's got a lot of uses.

Just imagine how good this would be for actually traveling - on a plane, a train (or even in a car) - or wherever you're in a cramped space for a long period of time. (Speaking of cramped spaces: I think plane seating has shrunk in the past couple of years. Even "First Class" seating is tiny.)


Probably the nicest feature about this pillow is the design. It deflates down to fit into the carry-bag (which has a handy clip for attaching to luggage) and, when you're ready to use it, the button-pump is so easy.

This is fabric-covered pump
The pump and release features make it easy to adjust the firmness (and fit) for every preference and neck size. You actually can adjust the firmness without taking the pillow off your neck.

You can choose from 3 colors: Blue, grey, or purple. The photos don't show how soft the material is. Trust me on this: it is really soft and smooth against my skin.

This is the unfastened zipper
Best of all, the cover is removable for washing. The pillow is so nicely made that I had trouble spotting the zipper at the back of it.


By the way, I saw a lot of travel pillows in the different airports that cost the same or up to $10 more. The ones I saw didn't have the features of the Daydreamer and none of them were as soft.

Like I said, I ordered this too late to take on my trip, but I am not disappointed at all. I'm going to get plenty of use out of this for sure. I know that there are plenty of people (doctors, nurses, students) who put in odd working/study hours. I think this is a good gift for someone like that. Sometimes people have to get their snooze in where it fits in.

Peace
--Free


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.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

**REVIEW** Suja Organic (organic juices)

My weight has gone up. Again. Probably has something to do with the fact that I tried eating way through North Texas...





(None of those photos show my chowdowns at WhatABurger, ChicFilA, Jack in the Box, Sonic or the aisles of Kroger...)

The last week that I was there, I slowed down and tried eating healthier. I discovered a love for sushi (as long as it is cooked) and certain seafood is cheaper there in Costco. I took up walking because of the amazing trail system that is near my niece's house. By the way, I wish that more places had a color-coded system of walking/biking trails. I think that having such an even terrain and safe place to walk would be a huge motivation for people to get in shape.

As part of my diet, I tried to drink a lot more water. Also, I tried out a couple of juices that are new to me. This is the first one I tried out:



 It's "Sweet Beets" by Suja Essentials. I picked it up because I love beet juice and the other ingredients are nice. The one ingredient that I had never tried was tumeric. Because of the other flavors, I can't describe the taste accurately, but it didn't take away from the light and mellow sweetness of the drink. What it did do was, uh... "move" me. After just one bottle (which I sipped out of over about two hours), I was doing 'eliminations' like nobody's business. Really. Nobody needed to be involved with that.

I've been looking around for the same blend of "Sweet Beets" but can only find this one of "Berry Goodness" here in Anchorage.

Of course, I haven't yet been to all the local stores to look for the brand.

The only downer to this product is the price. In Texas, I paid $2.50 each for 2 bottles (because there was a store sale). In Anchorage I paid around $3.50 for the one bottle. Crazy, right?

Since I like the "Sweet Beet" brand, I plan to juice the combination of ingredients myself. As much as I like the brand, if I can't find a better price, I will probably only buy it once in a blue moon. BUT, for anyone who can afford it, the juice is pretty terrific. Both blends taste great and they aren't too thin or thick. I could actually use one as a meal substitute. Also, in the warmer weather, the juice was super refreshing and cooling.

Oh - speaking of meal replacement,  there is one other thing about these juices: the calorie content is up there. For the "Sweet Beets" it's 210 calories for a 12-oz bottle (plus 65 mg of sodium, 40g sugar and 49g in carbs). "Berry Goodness" is 190 calories (0 sodium, 36g sugar and 44g carbs).

Yeah.

Just like with most "healthy" juices, you have to watch the nutrition labels for the real story. I was only looking at the brand's hype label when I purchased the juice. They do have great hype.

I think that a lot of us focus on the 'organic' notice and ignore the breakdown of the content. There is good and not-so-good in the two juices I tried.

Plus side: "Sweet Beets" daily value is 90% Vit A and 4% of calcium (but only 1g dietary fiber and 2g protein).

The "Berry Goodness" values are high in Vit C at 42%, with 5% iron and4% calcium. Fiber is 2g and protein is 1g.

Since my body reacted to the "Sweet Beets" in ways that it never has to the other ingredients, I figured I needed to learn more about turmeric. I've only ever heard of it being used to season food. What I learned is that it does have a laxative effect. Also, I wanted to be aware of any possible cautions and side effects. I don't love that whole "stimulating the appetite" part!

Bottom line: I really enjoy the juice (at least the 2 I've tried), but the cost is up there right along with the calories. This is something that will be a splurge treat - maybe in place of a fatty coffee? - but not one that I can indulge often.

By the way, I have re-joined the gym and am working to be in top shape before the sun warms Anchorage again. That should give me ample time!

Peace
--Free


NOTE: I was calling the whole brand "Suja Essentials" but, as you can see on their site, "Essentials" is just one of a line of several types of juices. Sorry about that Suja!

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...

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.

Peace
--Free

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.

Peace
--Free

Saturday, November 07, 2015

"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.

Peace
--Free

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.

Peace
--Free