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Monthly Archives: July 2014

Freezer Space

I thought I’d share a little tip today that’s been a huge help after we binge shop at Sam’s Club. Have you ever bought that big package of hamburger there, or at Costco, because you realized how much cheaper per pound it was than you’ve been paying at the regular grocery store, but then start to hate all of that ground beef because it’s taken up half of your freezer? Could just be a quirk of mine, but the tip works, so I’m still sharing it. Figure out your own situation that it might apply in. *teasing grin*

We actually bought a smaller bulk package of lean ground beef this time, but fitting over five pounds of it into my freezer while I still have leftover buckets of ice cream from the 4th of July was still going to be a challenge. If you think about how you’re packaging your meat before you freeze it, you can get it all to fit so easily and it’ll make you look like the new Martha Stewart. Who doesn’t want to look all organized and on top of everything?!

Instead of taking a handful of the meat, dropping it into your bag, pushing all the air out, and zipping it up, you’ll want to take one more little step. Just flatten the meat out. Seriously. Yeah, I smacked myself in the forehead over that too. *grin* If you gently push the meat into the corners (hey, if you’re having a rough day you can even slap it around a bit, no harm no foul, just don’t break the bag) and try to get the whole package pretty level, and then zip, this is how nice they can look.

20140730-230901-83341197.jpg

The best part is that you can stack your packages and you’ll be able to actually get more food in your freezer, since you’re not having to try to play food Tetris or balance things so no one gets knocked out by a frozen meatloaf when they open the freezer door. You can easily see what you have and they freeze so much faster, so then you can stand them up, stack them on top of the tater tots, or whatever. So simple and so incredibly handy!

20140730-231248-83568920.jpg

(Sorry about mottled pictures, by the way. All of the packages at the store had gotten a little air. Please don’t worry though, the meat was fine. Larry used to be a butcher, so if he says it’s just affecting the looks, then it’s true. One of the few times I’ll admit to him being right about something…*laugh*)

I find myself putting cooked leftovers into bags like this too. Apparently it just becomes a habit. I let my fried ground beef cool a bit, spoon it into a zip bag, get it all flat, and stack my leftovers. Lol. Our freezer looks like a card catalog sometimes. I start flipping through frozen cards of meat trying to decide what meals to plan. *grin* This works great for shredded (cooked) chicken and beef, too. I also have a few “cards” of frozen watermelon and even bell pepper, too. (There are a few steps to freezing bell pepper, so please research before you try it. It’s seriously handy when you don’t live in the city though and can’t just pop in to a grocery store or market for a pepper!) Another great benefit to packaging this way, I massively cut back on the amount of freezer burn we would find. We all know I’m too prone to bad luck to think I suddenly developed a knack for handling foods (I mean, don’t you remember when I had whipped soap on my glasses and in my hair, or the lotion that splattered the wall?! *laugh*). Mostly it’s because you won’t have much air in that package to expose the meat. I think it also has to do with the fact that there aren’t any mystery meats anymore, so you’ll use it before it can go bad. When they’re packaged flat it’s easy to see what in the world it is, because you won’t have crystals or warm air splotches on the bag from breathing heavily because you’re juggling that frozen meatloaf on top of the round ice cream carton, while the Popsicles are trying to dive bomb onto your shoulder. ūüôā

Hopefully you’ll give this simple tip a try (and hopefully it helps you as much as it has us, of course). If you have any other freezer tips, I’d love to hear them. Happy pampering!

Serve It Sundays – Three Envelope Roast

Did you know that it’s quite easy to torture a nerd? Just take away their wifi. *grin* My modem died days back and I’ve been kicking it 4G in the meantime. It’s amazing how much housework and crocheting gets done when I can’t access SL, Amazon Prime, or my games. Pinterest only works part of the time without the wifi, so I’ve been rather productive. Lol. However, that also means that when I want to blog I have to try and do it through my phone, which has become a bit awkward now. The laptop is a little bit easier for me now, so a few potential posts have been put off until I’m running on full service again. *grin*

In the meantime, I wanted to share a super easy recipe I have been using. I found it on Pinterest, although it hails from www.plainchicken.com originally. If you follow me on Pinterest you’ll find the pin, plus my notes about it and the direct link, on my Successful Pins board.

First off, start with a 3-4 pound bottom round roast (although I’ve done a 4.5 lb. with an extra half hour of cooking and it was still perfect). Trim what you can and put it in your crockpot. In a measuring bowl combine one cup of water, one cup of salsa, one envelope of Italian Dressing powder mix, one envelope of onion soup mix, and one packet of Au Jus mix. (Now, after my first by the book try, I’ve changed out the salsa for an additional cup of water and two beef bullion cubes. I like the flavor and texture better, but this goes to show how easy it is to tailor this recipe to your preferences.) Once you whisk everything together pour the mixture over the roast, cover it, and cook the roast in your crockpot for 8-10 on low. Maybe my roasts are always a bit stubborn, but 10 hours is my sweet spot for some reason, with 10.5 hours for a 4.5 pound roast. You know it’s ready when you can shred it with your fork (or when you try to lift it with your tongs and it falls apart lol).

Now, you can ladle your broth mixture into a saucepan and thicken it into gravy if you’d like, but honestly we love to pour it as is right over some hot rice, and then nibble the roast. If there is any broth left over after our second meal, I keep it and use it over mashed potatoes or we soak it up with some biscuits. It is sooo tasty! The one thing I really want to caution against is adding salt. It’s tempting, since most crockpot meals tend to be a bit bland, but with the packets (and especially if you use bullion), there’s quite a bit of sodium all ready.

The original recipe states that they use the shredded meat on sandwiches, but ours never makes it that far. Truth be told there’s always a chunk missing before dinner time anyway because the last two hours of smelling it throughout the house is pure torture and no one can see me attack it like a rabid bear. *grin*

Here’s a quick look at the yummy dinner. Please forgive me, but the rice and broth were irresistible, so it doesn’t look quite as nice as it did. *grin*

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I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. The best part is that it’s so easy that you can make it a go to when you know it’ll be a busy day. There’s maybe 5 minutes of fuss, and that’s if you have a lot of trimming. ūüôā Now that’s something to cheer about!

Serve It Sundays

Serve It Sundays

Until I get a little bit more into business stuff again I’ve decided to add another weekly theme.¬† Serve It Sundays will feature a recipe that is tried and true.¬† The first one is super decadent and looks incredible, so it’ll really wow everyone if you have company over.

 

I’ve had a really awesome friend since childhood named Leah and the friendship has gotten even better in our thirties.¬† The neat thing is that we have massively different talents and abilities.¬† One of her abilities and interests is cooking/baking.¬† This gal can whip up a buffet for twenty people without batting an eye while sometimes Larry is lucky if he doesn’t have to heat his food himself.¬† lol¬† I always love seeing pictures of her latest successes and when she showed me the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cheesecake I was in total awe.¬† What better way to start off this theme than showing you a total show stopper!¬†

 

First, credit where credit is due.¬† Head over to the Taste and Tell Blog for the recipe, and maybe find yourself a new blog to follow.¬†¬†This blogger¬†has some really neat stuff on her blog.¬† There’s no way I could do justice to her great post by writing any of it here, so make sure to take the link.¬† I have it pinned under my Desserts! Yum! board on Pinterest, as well, although the link won’t get you far.¬† I just used the name on the picture to get to the site, so I could get a printable copy.¬† *smile*

 

Now is the time to make you drool.¬† These are the pictures of Leah’s amazing cheesecake, so these are what you can do at home.¬† No photoshop, no fancy lighting, just amazing yumminess.¬† Make sure to keep looking after the pics, because I’ll have notes that Leah provided about the process and possible changes to try.

 

Reese's Peanut Butter Cheesecake 1

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cheesecake 1

 

Insanely mouthwatering, right?!¬† Just wait until you see the close up…

Close up Reese's Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Close up Reese’s Peanut Butter Cheesecake

 

If you love Reese’s cups you will love the bird’s eye shot, too!

Reese's Peanut Butter Cheesecake 2

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cheesecake 2

 

Are you moaning from how good it looks or because your mouth is watering?¬† This next pic won’t help. *grin*

Reese's Peanut Butter Cheesecake 3

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cheesecake 3

 

The final bit of torture…

A slice of Reese's Peanut Butter Cheesecake

A slice of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cheesecake

 

As soon as I saw the first picture I told her I wanted to feature it on my blog someday and thankfully she agreed.¬† *smile*¬† I’m still in awe that you don’t have to be a professional to make such a stunning cake!¬† She had a few notes to keep in mind from her experience.¬† First, she made it as directed in the recipe and although her whole family loved it, she is planning on making a few changes.¬† She will omit the Reese’s Minis from the top, because although they look cute, they made it difficult to cut and didn’t add anything to the flavor of the cheesecake as a whole.¬† In addition, she will try cutting 8 ounces of the cream cheese out, explained here: “It’s a very, very tall cheesecake and I think cutting out some of the cream cheese would help a little without altering the flavor too much”.¬† This gives you a little extra info to keep in mind when you try making this yourself.¬† If you try this I’d love to hear from you!¬†

 

In the meantime, I wish you a wonderful week and happy pampering! ūüôā

Keeping It Green

Before you go and think this is going to be one of those boring PSAs about environmental stuff, I want to assure you that it’s far from it.¬† I love to research, but fall asleep with that topic, so never fear.¬† What I’m actually talking about is your leafy greens!¬† Do you ever go to make¬†a salad and get seriously irritated that it resembles a slimy swamp?¬† I have found a method that keeps those greens looking (and tasting) good for a bit longer.

 

Larry likes to have a salad for his “lunch” (in quotes because it’s usually eaten at night) on workdays, but we only get groceries once a week, since we live in a rural area.¬† Those last few days of his work week often left me scrambling to figure out something else to make for his lunch, because the second package of lettuce wasn’t so appetizing anymore.¬† I figured that someone else must have trouble with this too and figured if the info is anywhere, then it’s on Pinterest.¬† I sifted through a lot of pins, but finally saw one that was super easy to test and wouldn’t require any special tools.¬† Over at¬†PopSugar they wrote that you can get several more days out of your leafy greens (even some green herbs!) if you dry them well, put them in a zipper bag, and blog them full of air.¬† I was pretty skeptical, but Larry’s always saying I’m full of hot air, so I figured I was set to try this.¬†

 

Now, I’ve tried prepackaged salad and fresh romaine leaves.¬† Since I can get a lot more lunches out of 3 heads of romaine leaves, I put in the extra work now.¬† I cut off the bottoms of the heads, because this method really only works well for the leafy green parts, plus we’re not big fans of the bitter bases.¬† I then cut up the leaves, which also gave me a chance to sift through the lettuce to dispose of any areas that were browning or wilted.

Chop it up

Chop it up

Next, give it a really good rinse.¬† I used to rinse first, but then I found myself washing it all again once it was cut, because chopping exposed the rest of the lettuce to the hidden yucky spots that I throw out.¬† Save yourself the work and water – rinse after you’ve cut it all up.¬† By the way, that’s one head of romaine in the picture.¬† Once it’s all clean¬†you need to get it as dry as possible.¬† This is a seriously important stage.¬† I’ve learned that the more dry the greens are, the longer they last with this method.¬† If you have one on hand, I recommend using a spinner.¬† I then empty the spinner onto a towel and dry the lettuce with a few healthy pats (and shakes, rolls, and pretty much anything else I can manage lol).

Dry the greens

Dry the greens

Once your greens are as dry as you can get them (some days I really suck at it, so don’t beat yourself up if it takes you a bit to get them good and dry), put them in a plastic zipper bag.¬† Now, I’ve ventured away from the original instructions here just a little, because I’ve found that I can get a couple more days out of my greens if I add some paper towels to my bag.¬† I use the select a size variety (not on purpose – I need to pay more attention when I buy bulk packages – but for this the smaller sized towels work perfectly), and have put single towels in all different locations.¬† All that matters is that most of the lettuce has some paper towel nearby, since it will lose some moisture while hanging out in the bag, no matter how well you dried it.¬† (Two set ups that work great: one towel on the bottom of the bag and one at the top & one towel down each side.)¬† Also, trust me, don’t use the kind with the little white doodad that slides the bag closed.¬† Go for the plain old zip it together with your fingers until the blue line turns purple to show it’s sealed, because now you need to blow into the bag.¬† I found it’s a lot easier if you zip up all but about half an inch at an edge and then blow the bag up.¬† You want to fill it as much as possible and keep blowing into it as you zip, or else some might escape, and your greens won’t stay fresh as long.¬† I’ve been experimenting with this method for almost two months, so just trust me.¬† *grin*¬† That little tip about the white zip thing was learned the hard way, by the way.¬† It’s disturbingly easy to get a bit of your lip caught under that thing and end up with a bloody lip.¬† *rolling eyes*¬† So far I’ve never popped a bag thankfully, but you want to make sure the bag is full of air, like this.

Fill 'er up

Fill ‘er up

You might have the same problem that I do, too.¬† The towels like to move all around on me and one ended up moving to the top while one is on the side.¬† lol Don’t worry about it.¬† After about three days the towels will be damp, so change them out every so often.¬† This bag will make a week’s worth of lunches and I’ll change the towels once.¬† The best part is that the lettuce will look just as crisp and green in the last bowl as it does right now.¬†

 

According to the website you can do this method with any leafy green and it’ll keep them fresh longer.¬† I haven’t tried it on other greens or herbs, just romaine and iceberg.¬† The key thing is that it has to be a leafy green.¬† It doesn’t work for other stuff, like iceberg lettuce.¬† There isn’t enough green to it for the method to actually work.¬† If you try others, please post in the comments.¬† I’ll update my pin and the post with your experience(s).¬†

 

I hope you have a happy weekend!

 

 

Whatever Wednesdays

Okay, so technically it’s Thursday where I live, but I’m going to pretend I’m on California time and stick with it, since I want to start my “Whatever Wednesdays”.¬† I was talking with Larry today about methods to help loosen up my fingers and get back into the groove of blogging, and said that I liked the idea of a set theme that I can always default to once a week that gives me complete freedom.¬† No pressure to write about crafting, soaps, pampering, recipes, whatever.¬† He wisely pointed out that “Whatever I Want Wednesdays” didn’t fit my personality and wasn’t polite like I usually am in life, and “Anything Goes Wednesdays” could make people think I’m going to suddenly talk about burlesque or some other risqu√© topic.¬† *grin*¬† Simple and to the point, so Whatever Wednesdays has been born.¬† Granted I often go off on tangents and you never know what in the world I’m actually going to write about anyway, but an organized life leads to an organized mind is my latest motto, so I’m going to work¬†to have some themes.

 

To kick it off I want to introduce you to the exciting excruciating life of a chigger.¬† For those that haven’t been to the Midwest or Southern areas of the beautiful USA I’m going to give you the heebie-jeebies, so settle in.¬† You’ve been warned.¬† *evil grin*¬† A chigger is simply a mite that is virtually invisible to the naked eye.¬† They love to live in the grass, but especially longer vegetation, although apparently they can infest vehicles and homes even.¬† (It gets better, or worse, depending how you look at it.)¬† I’m not going to go into the scientific stuff with you, so I’m going to give it to you Midwest style.¬† *teasing smile*¬† Basically, when the chigger is in the larval stage they eat skin cells and that can be four or two legged.¬† It was originally believed that the chigger burrowed under the skin, causing a “bite”.¬† However, due to the amazing nerds in lab coats (you rock!), we now know that they actually inject an enzyme into the host which starts to break down the tissue and they feed on that lovely goo of decomp.¬† The really fun part is that they prefer warm and damp areas (think about that for a second), so elbows, knees, where your socks are cinched around your ankle, armpits, skin folds (like the one that you sit on lol), and the groin are prime feeding spots.¬† After they’ve attached and inject that enzyme into you the spot becomes a nice little feeding tube for the larva.¬† They fall off when they’re done and become nymphs, which later develop into adult chiggers.¬† Thankfully it’s only the larva that cause such a problem, otherwise I’d be screaming to set the whole area on fire and that the land can’t be inhabited.¬† *grin*¬†The Brooksville Garden Club very kindly put some informative pictures on their site, so I’m sharing two of their pics so you can get a mental image.¬† To top it off I added a nice little close up rendering of them feeding that I found on Wikipedia.

The chigger life cycle

The chigger life cycle

The larval chigger working some magic

The larval chigger working some magic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chigger larva "biting" host

Chigger larva “biting” host

This little feeding area becomes extremely irritated, as in one of the most intense itches you will ever have in your life.¬† There are tons of products on the market to supposedly heal thy chigger bite, but lots are just a placebo effect.¬†¬†¬†We’ll look into prevention first and then some treatments to try.

 

Well, you could always use lawn treatment that is indicated for chiggers, but what if you have a nice safe lawn and step out into your driveway, not noticing that some weeds or grass has pushed up through the gravel?¬† You might consider a secondary treatment.¬† Now this is tried and true, but doesn’t come with a 100% guarantee.¬† Take a shower as quickly as possible and wash with the original or orange versions of Dawn Dish Soap (works wonderfully for getting poison ivy’s oils off of your skin too!).¬† If you can, follow up the soap with some exfoliating (maybe a little Georgia’s Bath Products Mechanic Scrub, hmm? *wink*), although some vigorous towel rubbing seems to work just as well, but you’ll miss out on a chance to linger in that soothing cascade of water.¬† If it’s just not possible to take that shower, after all you might not be THAT close to your friend that¬†you can say you’re going to go jump in their shower, then a “spit wash” usually works just as well if you don’t need to do a large portion of the body.¬† If you’ve just been walking, then usually washing your legs off is adequate enough, so suds up a washcloth or paper towel, scrub well, and then do a “rinsing” towel afterward.¬† Anyone that is a super supporter of all natural stuff please close your eyes and scroll down a few lines riiiiight now.¬† If you know you’re headed outside use a good repellent with Deet, but make sure it lists that it works against chiggers, since not all Deet ones do.¬† Plan to look like an¬†√ľber weirdo and tuck your pant legs into your socks for even more protection.¬† The evil little buggers can’t climb up your leg then, usually.¬† I’m a big fan of Off Deep Woods combined with the dish soap scrub.¬† (Always follow product instructions and medical advice, yada yada.)¬† I seldom ever do the pant tucking because when it’s chigger weather in the Midwest it’s usually pretty toasty and humid, so you won’t catch me in full length pants usually. lol

 

Say company stopped by and you ended up spontaneously having a chat in that slightly overgrown and untreated¬†driveway.¬† You didn’t really have a chance to take any preventative measures and a couple of days later you’re suddenly itching in spots that would most likely embarrass your mother to see you touching.¬† Skip all of the items that claim they help chigger bites.¬† (You’ll still want to do a healthy rub to make sure that the larva is no longer on the skin before you apply treatments.)¬† Instead, try a little of the good ole Vicks VapoRub.¬† (Side note: who do I talk to at Vicks to get them to become my sponsor since I give a lot of marketing for off label uses of their products? *grin*)¬† VapoRub has healthy concentrations of menthol and camphor, which are the main ingredients that clear your sinuses out when you rub it on your chest.¬† (And also can help with some muscle pain, since those two ingredients are¬†topical analgesics, but make sure you cover with something that you don’t mind getting stained up, since it’ll totally mess up cloth.)¬† Dab some of the Rub over the horrendous lump you’ve developed and you may just find some relief.

 

Since everyone is different, something else might work for you.¬† If that’s the case, try some anbesol/Orajel¬†if you have it on hand.¬† These often help people overcome that intense itch and also works great for mosquito bites, so I take a tiny tube with me when camping.

 

You can also try a soothing bath with some Epsom Salts.¬† Remember a long time ago when I mentioned a lot of awesome benefits to Epsom or maybe that natural benefits tab on my business website that talks about the believed benefits of it?¬† Anyway, the Epsom will usually help heal some of that inflammation from the lovely tube of rotting muck stuck in you and may even help to shrink that little puppy up.¬† Next you can stay in the same line and apply a little skin benefiting oil (like sweet almond) to the spot and pat some plain table salt over the badge of summer honor.¬† This will not only help to dry it up, but it may also keep air from the spot.¬† The problem with this is that you have to lay or sit around while letting the salt dry, and once it’s dry it will start to fall off as you are active, which can get weird and uncomfortable.¬† Although I’d say you have a high tolerance for the uncomfortable if you’re able to lay in a compromising position naked with salt and oil drying on you, anyway, since most are in those areas that must not be mentioned.¬† lol¬† Still in the same concept you can also apply a simple baking soda paste to the spots, much like you can for other topical allergens.

 

Lastly, you might stick with the original old wives’ tale of covering the spot in clear nail polish.¬† We know that we’re not suffocating the evil little¬†cell suckers, but the polish seals the area off from the air, which is usually part of what is making you itch, scientists believe.

 

I’ve read varying reports about the ability for these little guys to fall off of you when they’re done feeding and carry out their life cycle right there in your home or vehicle.¬† If you have more than one (and seriously, who usually ever gets just one?!¬† They’re like freaking potato chips!), and you didn’t get them off, then you never know.¬† You might just get them inside.¬† (Yet again, I’ve read contradictory research on this, so don’t quote me. lol Why not just try to make sure it’s not a possibility no matter what?

 

Oh, and in case you haven’t seen what a “bite” can look like, it can vary widely depending on how a person’s immune system responds.¬† We have small red spots, angry welts, or even nasty blisters in response to these feeding tubes.¬†¬†MedlinePlus has a nice pic of the blistering version:

Chigger bite blisters MedlinePlus

Chigger bite blisters
MedlinePlus

The Mayo Clinic¬†has a picture of a typical collection of “bites” on their slideshow:

Scabbed chigger bites Mayo Clinic

Scabbed chigger bites
Mayo Clinic

If you have immune system issues they often become huge welts that are¬†about three to four times as big as the scabbed ones in the Mayo Clinic picture, plus they develop a nice dark ring around the affected area as the blood decides to come to the surface.¬† I’m not showing you pictures of my summer “war” wounds.¬† The main one I got this summer before I realized that our driveway was untreated (guess I should ask Larry more questions about his yard work) ended up bigger than the cap to my Chapstick.¬† (Yep, I used a stick for a ruler.¬† I have no concept of measurements when they’re in number form. *cracking up*)

 

All of the doctors agree that you shouldn’t scratch chigger bites due to the risk of infection.¬† I don’t know a single person that’s ever managed to avoid doing it at least a few times, especially in their sleep.¬† You might decide to cover the area with a bandage or even plastic wrap (no weirder than a spa treatment) after you’ve found the treatment that works for you.¬† For me I have to live a little dangerously.¬† I rub or scratch lightly around the raised center to make sure the larval vamp is detached, take some antihistamines, and use an analgesic.¬† With my condition I have an issue with hyper responses and stimulations, so what should be the size of a period on a piece of paper will rapidly swell to match a quarter.¬† Due to this I have to combat the inflammation from both sides (which is contraindicated usually, so do all of the legal stuff to keep yourself safe, because I am often noncompliant since my body never acts “normally”) and work on the inflammatory response.

 

Hopefully if you’re suffering from chiggers right now and that jar of Chigarid ¬†or Chiggerex Plus isn’t doing much good, you’ll give one or more of these home treatments a whirl and see if something unconventional will work for you, too.¬† I hope you find some relief.¬† If you’re now terrified to ever enter these areas of the States that have chiggers, at least now you know about them, how to prevent them, and some treatment options if they decide that your cell buffet is the best in town.¬† They’re just a nuisance, so don’t let them discourage you from exploring.¬† If you have found other home remedies that work for you or others that you know, please feel free to include them in the comments.¬† You might just save someone else two weeks of misery!

 

This concludes the first weekly Whatever Wednesday post.¬† If you have any theme requests, just let me know.¬† I can always use some inspiration.¬† In the meantime, happy pampering!¬† ūüôā

Bless Yore Beautiful Hide, Wherever You May Be

First off, I want to say that I’m really sorry for the silence for the past few months. I’ve gotten caught up on all of the blogs that I follow, but not my own. I think that shows I just needed a little time away, I think. I also think it’s about time to give you the details, clear the cobwebs, and get back into the groove. ūüôā

I’m sick. I try not to talk much about it except to those I’m close to, since it’s not exactly a cheerful topic and I pray every day to have a good impact, but I want to always be honest on this blog. I have a disabling case of Fibromyalgia with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Costochondritis, Chronic Insomnia, a compromised immune system, and a laundry list of other little things that get in the way sometimes. I went into this year with high hopes that I’d start getting better. Maybe not a full remission, but at least a bit better, since I didn’t think it could get much worse. Yeah, I deserve a total “Gibbs smack” to the back of the head for that thought. *grin* Between injuries, new symptoms, doctors altering my meds all of the stinking time, and some withdrawals from meds that just didn’t work well with my complicated system, I had a hard time. Sometimes I struggle with depression. It’s hard to always be happy when it can be a huge challenge just to get out of bed. I mean at ALL, not just the ole usual I don’t want to get out of bed this morning thing, either. Sometimes it’s as hard to get out of bed as a workout at the gym. It’s hard to believe, but that’s one of the truths that every Fibro sufferer will usually hide from you. We try to smile so you don’t see how broken we’ve become, we say “about the same” or “not too bad” if you ask how we are because we know most don’t want to hear the depressing truth that we seldom have good days when we’re in a relapse, and we try not to let you see us wince from the pain when you playfully nudge us or slap our shoulder during a joke. We want to be normal; we want to be loved and liked still. Most friends and acquaintances drift away because they think we’re just always going to blow them off or we don’t bother to participate in the friendship. Most of the time we desperately wish we could handle being hugged or that someone would go ahead and give us a hug anyway, because the pain is ALWAYS worth it. With all of that turmoil it’s easy to lose sight of who you are and what your dreams are. When every day requires adjustments just to do the basics, we don’t know that we can have dreams anymore, sometimes. Our dream can become having more than one good day a month and our world gets so wrapped up in the hardships that we can’t always see the shore when our ship starts to sink. Anyone with a chronic illness has these moments and sometimes those moments last a very long time.

Added to the muck I felt like I really let myself down with my business. When we got our taxes done Georgia’s Bath Products was officially downsized to a hobby instead of a business. I was too sick to be able to do the events and push sales, so I never met the standard needed in the allotted time. I’d all ready lost a full time job and ended my first business in the couple of years before this, so getting downgraded hit me a little harder than it normally would have. I lost my inspiration, my interest, and my way.

Thankfully something wonderful has happened in the past two months to help me start shaking this all off and work toward finding the new me. My newly single mom moved from an hour away to about eight houses away. When my days are so bad that I’m too sick to take care of my dog or get up off of the couch, she’s here for me. She cooks for the big guy and I when it gets hard and not only helps clean my house, but she even helped (well, really she taught me how) to make/install a shelf so I could organize some stuff. It may seem weird that I make attaching brackets to a board and screwing them into the wall sound like a huge thing, but when you can’t manage your own household anymore those little things make the sun feel a hundred times more glorious upon your face, and you can’t help but grin for days. Plus, she needs me. She accepts my limitations better than I do usually, but still wants me around, and visits me at home because she understands that it’s kind of an ordeal just to leave the house sometimes. No matter how dark the alleys in my mind got, how lost I became, she held my hand and said she needed me because I’m still the bright spot in her life. Hearing that when I did was a true blessing that has been helping me face each day.

So, now that I feel more naked than if I’d streaked at the World Cup, we can all look forward to the fun stuff.

During my time off I was on Pinterest quite a bit. (Hi, my name is Georgia, and I’m addicted to Pinterest…) Feel free to explore my quite diverse collection of boards by looking for the pinner Georgia’s Bath Products. You get a really good feel there for how eccentric I truly am. *grin* I’ve done some Pinterest pin reviews on the blog previously, but dude…for a while I really did have a problem. lol I also read a bunch of books that were completely and thoroughly fun. Raunchy historical romps, steampunk sci fi, paranormal romances, and Whodunits filled my hours, and it was glorious. *pushes glasses up my nose with a grin* I also spent a lot of time in the virtual world of Second Life. I learned some of the basics of building, mentored some newbies, and became a crazy cat lady in that life too. *laugh* I also got totally into learning and watching about cosplay (a bucket list item I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to check off, but it’s high on my list now *grin*) and came up with some awesome strategies (yep, I dare to say something so cocky) for my mom’s move. I got to utilize my love of lists and spreadsheets for the irritating process of moving. I rock sometimes. *cracking up*

Expect to start seeing my posts showing up in your inbox or feed a lot more frequently now. There will be some posts featuring interviews with one of my friends full of recipes, handy little tips, and some of the neatest decorating ideas. You’ll see my first attempt at spray painting something (shows what a goody two shoes I was as a youth, I guess lol) when I soon try to turn my ugly cane into a work of pink glitter art. I’m going to be working at trying to make a part of my mom’s office into a crafting section, so expect some fun info about that (most likely inspired by Pinterest, I’ll be honest *grin*). Who knows what other oddness I might get myself into, too. I all ready binge watched the second season of Hemlock Grove, so now I can focus on new activities. There probably won’t be a lot about the bath and body products until it’s closer to Fall, so if you don’t stick around, I understand. I hope you do, though, and maybe we can find some fun stuff to share with each other. Maybe if you’re also struggling with something in private this will help you to not feel so alone, too. I’m closing with a quote from the author that wasn’t afraid to confide about those dark thoughts, Mr. Edgar Allan Poe.

“I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.”

 

(To give credit where it’s due, the post’s¬†title is actually¬†a song [and a bit of lyric]¬†from the 1954 musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.¬† That song has been stuck in my head for a week now,¬†and I thought it’d make a good title for the first post of my return.)

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