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Bre’s Adventures Blog

Just a quick heads up for those that follow both blogs or if you come to this blog looking for why nothing is being published on Bre’s Adventures anymore…I have lost the site. I have to wait a month to see if they will release the domain so that I can purchase it again, so if I have any stellar posts, I’ll be subjecting my non-gaming followers to them too. Sorry! *smile* I had to change phone numbers, for some reason my password was suddenly no longer recognized, the backup codes were lost in the move, and I am officially locked out of my other blog due to two-factor identification because I didn’t think about checking that my log ins all worked before I changed my number. 🤦🏻‍♀️ So, I’ve updated two-factor on this site and scanned the backup codes in my notes app (btw, if you didn’t know, you can actually scan pictures as PDFs in the basic iPhone Notes app!), and am playing a waiting game to see how this company handles websites when they go defunct. My old hosting company kept my domain unavailable for an extra year, hence the name and hosting change, so I’ll give a month to see if WP releases the domain back out into the wild for purchase and I can restart the blog, otherwise I’ll be posting a link to a new blog near the end of March. I’m not sure if I want to copy and repost my old ones onto the new blog or just start with this next chapter of adventures (I’m honestly leaning toward having a copy saved to my computer just for the memories and smiles, but starting the blog with this next chapter). Any votes over which you’d prefer, if you follow both or have a preference even? 😉😁 Anyway, just wanted to give some warning of SL possibly hitting this blog again a few times and the probability of a new site getting posted. Have a wonderful weekend, regardless if it’s all about the snow, chocolate, or the Hallmark moments. 😊

What Did I Want From My Divorce?

Even a year ago I wouldn’t have believed I’d now be a divorced woman. Back then I didn’t even realize that part of what I thought of as my identity was wrapped up in being a wife. I honestly didn’t realize that until my lawyer asked me what I wanted out of my divorce after the judge rejected the first filing (sorry, I share a lot but some details need to stay private).

I actually paused for a few and had to sit down after the lawyer asked me that question. What does a person want from their (childless) divorce? I mean, we divided assets, divided pets and pictures, and left behind bits of one another and our pasts. We were all ready divided in person and just waiting for the legal world to be able to work during a pandemic to make it official. What else is there?

My therapist says I’ve made years of progress in a few months because of how much I’ve assessed and realized since July. I made another leap that day when I realized that I wanted “me” back. I wasn’t the person who was “the other half”. Nor was I the person I saw in his eyes or the person described in the rumors running through town. I don’t know why at some point I decided that I was supposed to be a reflection of the person I thought he wanted me to be. Or why I allowed myself to live on autopilot. I can’t even pinpoint when “me” wasn’t someone others from my past saw or heard anymore.

So I said I wanted to find a quick resolution that the judge would agree to that would be as close to the original agreement my ex and I made when we hashed out the nasty details of divorce. I had all ready transformed a lot since I had decided to leave, but knew that deep down I needed that page from court to make “The End” to our book together, because I was in another book and still needed to finish finding the real me that was hidden in all the corners of my habits, perceived flaws, and transformations.

I’ve learned that I’m still into gaming and can have a lot of fun beating the tar out of guys on Super Smash Brothers. I finally made peace with my miscarriages and abuse when my future stepson put the memorial ornament next to the “our first Christmas” ornament on the tree last December, “…because they are part of our family, too”. Nothing like youthful innocence to make you see the truth or wonder why you were ever ashamed in the past, or to realize just how blessed you are to have such beautiful souls in your life.

I was surprised to learn that I’m not a Misfit Toy, either. I’ve spent years feeling like one. I just wasn’t around others like me that enjoyed and celebrated the truest parts of me, most of the time. I’m blessed to have one man and two young men that are patiently helping me get reacquainted with myself. I’m nerdy and encouraged to continue pursuing a variety of educational and creative endeavors without the slightest feeling of anything but pride. I learned that I’m not just a people pleaser because I have self esteem issues. It’s also one of my main love languages. I don’t dress to impress and often wear what my fibro tells my body feels okay today without feeling like a slob or like a town may judge me; my stepson loves to wear different colored socks on each foot every single day because “why not?”. *grin* And I don’t lose myself in a pixel world because I’m escaping life. I do it because I have fun and it’s another creative outlet for me, plus I have the bonus of getting to interact with others and even make special moments with my family and friends in them. If I feel like dressing like wearing a vampire killing kit tee with leggings; or a hi-lo sweater with lace cami, skinny jeans, and boots; no judgment. Being a spiritual mutt who is still finding my way is super okay too, along with my obsession with some fandoms and my love of putting labels on everything/everywhere.

I can’t pinpoint when I put on the mask and started to cover up that I wasn’t happy or all right anymore. I’ve been sick and that’s what everyone thought was what was wrong when my mask slipped. I wasn’t going to just wait to die, because although I’m sick and disabled, I have a lot of living left to do, no matter how many days I have ahead of me! I don’t want to just have an avatar that has adventures I admire or does the things I wish I could. Sure, I can’t do a lot of what she can, but I can sure fill the rest of my life book with adventures and happy memories, instead of wishes. And I literally have mini adventures written down for us to do every single month of the rest of this year. It’s not just a trip a year to look forward to and keep me going.

This is the real me. The one that is planning for big family trips, day trips, and sporting events; Just Dance and Ticket to Ride competitions, gaming nights once a month with friends, or saving spoons all week so I can help teach my stepson to make soaps, do a chemistry experiment, or art project. I researched and made a shadow box of stones to help keep the nightmares away, with the properties of every stone written out for him to read and find comfort from. I learned how to lure the teenager out of his bedroom for a little bit every so often and actually get him to linger.

As one of my best friend’s most helpful quotes said, “When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower”. (Alexander Den Heijer) I am blossoming because I’m finally in the right place, at the right time in my life. I AM the silver lining in some situations, I matter every single moment, I am loved, and most importantly, I’m honest with myself and the world. I may love POTO, but I don’t have to live behind a mask. I actually like “me”. I guess that’s what I really wanted out of divorce. I wanted to like myself again.

I Can’t Focus LOL

A Quick Reminder

I thought this short video on YT was an incredible reminder, especially when the holiday season is often hard on people and this has been an especially difficult year for a lot of people. So I wanted to share Fire Department Chronicles’ video. Please consider taking a few minutes out of your day for it and even share it if you can. Maybe we can help a few people this year if we raise awareness and compassion. Thank you! (Not sponsored or anything – just something that I think is really important to share.)

https://youtu.be/vQWDRHw-cXc

My Christmas Wish

A few goodbye quotes

And when you hurt because others’ words cut through you like arrows, just remember…

Life Since June 2020

I had to take a step away from most media and such while I dealt with some big life changes in this past year. If you’ve been following me for a while, then you know that I contracted Covid, survived despite the belief that my illness equaled no survival of contracted, and went through an intense few months of Home Health while recovering from Post Covid Syndrome (finally made official in some circles). I worked extremely hard to get part of my health back and ended Home Health better than I was pre-Covid due to the incredible Physical Therapists and intense independent PT. I became more functional than I had been in a couple of years, although I’m still disabled and face daily challenges, and continue some parts of my PT independently to this day.

While recovering I began to feel strongly that I had been given a second chance at life, especially since I was not supposed to survive and had actually improved to have a better quality of life. I had been preparing to die because it was inevitable that I would contract it, so I couldn’t continue letting life pass me by when I was given such a massive gift.

For many years I had been unhappy. It was a combination of things, but one part that we kept very private was that our marriage had hit hard times years prior and never recovered, although we tried. We honestly were better roommates and friends than as a couple, and he was a thoroughly amazing caregiver and provider. I have been accused of a lot of things over the past months, but I’ve always given him credit for helping me with my disability, being a much needed friend when things went badly with Kid’s adoption, and we were comfortable with one another. But we hadn’t been in love for a long time. I don’t feel that it’s appropriate to debate our thoughts and feelings from early on, prior to when things became a real struggle years ago, and I won’t go there, so I’ll give credit where it is due but be honest about the fact that the marriage failed a long time before I declared it. I honestly had waited for my illness to progress until I’d die and then Covid came along, so I waited for that to end my life and the marriage.

Instead, working so hard to recover gave me the strength to decide I was going to file for divorce and leave town, when it had just been something I had wanted to do for some time, but felt it was pointless because it seemed like my health was going to decline fast enough that marriage wasn’t a priority anymore. But I was lonely despite living in a house with my legal husband, aka roommate and friend, and I wasn’t going to ruin my second chance at a life by remaining unhappy.

During this time Fate intervened. A former fiancé from 19 years ago reached out to catch up and it was as if our friendship had picked right back up from the moment we parted (a sad miscommunication that I won’t get into). He was going through a divorce and we talked about my decision to file, and he explained all that he knew about the process, etc, and our friendship continued to strengthen. I could talk to someone that hadn’t been involved in my married life at all, had no stake in it, and could work through my thoughts and feelings without fear of judgement, while he also helped me change my way of looking at my disability as part of my life, but that it hadn’t changed ME. For the past several years I had felt like disability had to have changed me, because I didn’t feel like I was in a loving marriage anymore and felt that my health needs had ruined my chances of meeting my romantic and “life” needs. One of my best friends sent me the perfect pin one day that sums up my sudden realization when I was able to see myself in his description (of still being me, but just not in the right situation and having extra challenges in life).

It was time to fix my environment now that my mind and soul felt strong enough, even if it meant I’d have to go on Section 8 and get extra state assistance.

We had been texting and emailing throughout all of this, but decided that he would come from across the border to the house to game with me, since he wanted to see SL for himself and we had spent a lot of our relationship when we were young gaming, so it was the most perfect first hangout in person. During all of this I hadn’t gotten to the point that I was ready to tell my husband about everything, because I hadn’t figured out all of my plans yet and we had known for some time that things weren’t right, so it didn’t feel like I needed to bring that up. I was completely honest about rebuilding my friendship with J, we’ll call him, and I was upfront about the plans for Luke to drive down to come game with me (it is so much easier to learn the basics in person if you’re going to hang out with a seasoned SL user). There were no motives beyond having an awesome time reconnecting and gaming, and hanging out with someone that was willing to drive over an hour to come hang out in person, especially when L seldom felt like taking me to hang out with friends on my good days for years.

The moment that J parked, got out his laptop, and then started walking up the sidewalk, I had this sudden feeling unlike any other. It was this sudden knowledge that my life was about to change completely from this moment on. And when he looked up and we smiled, it was like I got hit by a lightning bolt at the same time that the sun came out after years of darkness. I didn’t pinpoint the other feeling until later, but it had hit me that I still loved him as much as the day he proposed. I just felt something slam into my chest and mind, and everything felt right in the world again, right in the middle of a pandemic.

It was a magical night of catching up on life events (he had 2 sons now!), our marriages, showing my scrapbooks, and gaming. Although we spent part of it catching up, it was as if we had just picked back up from where we ended. When L’s alarm to wake up and get ready for work went off I went and made his lunch, and was back to explaining SL while sitting beside J when L had finished getting ready and came out to get the last items before leaving for work. J stood and shook L’s hand when I introduced them, and L later told me that when he shook J’s hand he knew that this was the man who was going to marry his wife. I just thought it was an awkward moment, tried to make it as easy as possible on them both, and we went back to gaming when L waved that he would head out without needing me to see him off. So J and I continued to hang out until it got late enough that he really needed to start his drive home because he still had to work in the morning. And no, despite rumors, we did not have an affair.

After having such an incredible time and a lot of deep conversation with J, I knew I needed to end the marriage despite not having my next living arrangement established yet. On the way home from a dr’s appointment in July, after a very disagreeable time together, I told L that I was filing for divorce. He actually guessed it when I said we needed to talk. We spent a long time talking, which was seriously overdo, and he had avoided, but actively participated in finally. Although he hoped things could be saved, he since acknowledged that I had tried for years to get his help to save things and I just couldn’t anymore. A person gives up hope after trying for a long time and once they realize there is still life to be lived, but that it doesn’t include that marriage, I don’t think anything can save that marriage. Definitely not our marriage.

I needed a break from it all, so I left for a few days to hang out with J and old friends that I had lost due to everything, and it was amazing. I suddenly saw an opportunity to live somewhere where I wouldn’t be watched or ostracized; where I had access to public transportation and Uber instead of always relying on others, and could get something as basic as a meal delivered when I didn’t feel up to cooking. And I had friends around me ready and happy to have game night, or hang out, and happily went out of their way to spend time with me without making me feel like my it was a hardship to be my friend or come hang out. Plus I was in an environment where I could go hang out or go shopping at the Dollar Tree or Hobby Lobby without having to make it a planned affair or dependent on if someone else felt up to it on one of my good days. I had lived in a small town for so long I had forgotten that cities actually provide a lot of opportunities for a disabled person and allowed for a lot of independence, which I desperately needed. So I decided that I needed to move to a city, whether it be the city J lived in or another, but not another small town.

During this eye opening and magical time the bond between J and I snapped firmly into place, and I finally fully realized that I was still in love with him after all these years. My love of going to Branson to see the Christmas lights… J had proposed at the Christmas tree. Even he kept lights up on his apartment balcony, and had sought the joy and comfort of lights throughout all the years without realizing why. I could fill a blog post alone of things we had independently pursued or enjoyed over the years without realizing that it was based on something from our time together. We had literally spent our time apart doing things that connected us, even during the better times during each of our marriages. And sometime during this time away to hang out with my formerly lost friends and figuring out emotionally what I was going to do (which is a massively different step than the practical part where you tell someone you’re leaving and start researching the best options for the different life), J and I became bonded fully. We had obviously formed a deeper bond than realized, in light of all the coincidences of things we both did while apart that connected us, but it was as if we found HOME by being together and without really having some profound moment, we just knew that we had kept loving one another throughout marriages to another and would spend the rest of our lives still loving each other. There wasn’t much of a decision to make…we would be living together.

The first few months after the decision to live together had rocky moments. We developed a week on/off visitation routine around his week of split custody of his sons and I packed to move in with the three of them once the time was right. During this L and I finally talked about pretty much every subject and re-established that we are best as friends while there’s no way the marriage can be saved. Thankfully the divorce is very amicable and straight forward, although Covid caused our hearing to be canceled for the foreseeable future. I tried to make sure that he had a support system to be there for him with me leaving, which caused some situations that hurt me deeply but I truly want the best for him, even if it requires my sitting there quietly while false accusations are slung at me. I’m a very honest person though, so I can’t handle the lies very well and avoid those that believe them without even asking me about my feelings, while instead they focus on their religious beliefs or what they think happened or how they feel it should be handled.

Although Covid has the legal aspect of the divorce at a standstill, we are legally separated in the eyes of the state of KS. I officially moved last month, although I spent most of October living in MO with J anyway, and we’re preparing for our second, first Christmas together, but this time as a family, while we wait for the legal system to catch up and grant us each a divorce, so that we can someday get married to one another. One of those little glitches that ends up meaning a lot, because we look forward to even having the option to plan getting married.

It’s a big adjustment. I work nearly daily on my PT in some way, I work on establishing a relationship with each young man including helping with online based school, and we are learning how to mesh our lives together. The apartment is starting to become organized again, now that I’m almost done unpacking and sorting my part of the assets L and I agreed up (and wrote into our divorce agreement for the judge). We even recently got back from a small trip to Christmas in Branson; the first time I felt fulfilled because I was sharing it with the person that made Christmas so magical for me. And although we have challenges ahead and a lot of legal stuff to still go through, everyone says they’ve never heard me sound or look happier or more content. Our love languages and love needs compliment one another’s too, so we naturally nurture one another.

I don’t talk about religion often, but we (and those close to us) truly believe that we were Fated to come back together and that nineteen years ago wasn’t the right time for this stage of life – but it was the stage that created a bond that has remained and grows. We got back together when we needed one another and were ready for the intense bond that we have. I’d usually be super skeptical and rolling my eyes if I read or wrote this at any other point in life, but for the first time I have absolutely no doubts or questions (beyond when can we progress legally so that we can continue to progress naturally). I remember asking my mom after accepting L’s proposal “how do you know that this is really it and the right one?”. We just somehow know it’s right and we are meant to be, as corny or cliche as that sounds. I didn’t know that it could feel so natural.

Anyway, I had a lot to do and go through before I could honestly blog again, and figured that this was the right time to finally set the story straight. If Covid hadn’t interfered, my divorce would have been finalized a couple of weeks ago, so now I feel like I’m just waiting for the legal part to catch up and feel like we all ready went through the divorce when we separated our assets, talked so much, did the divorce paperwork, and officially live separately and are working on trying to retain the friendship we have had since we met when I was just 18. we have been friends my entire adult life and although we didn’t work in marriage, I hope that we can remain friends throughout everything, and hope that I helped him become the man he needs to be for the next female in his life. I never would have expected to have gone through so much in less than a year (and surprise, surprise, actually survived Covid and Post Covid twice despite my immune system!) and would never have believed I’d have J back in my life again, let alone have a family now (interesting side note – it can be split custody, but you love the children as fiercely as if they’re with you full time! And not surprisingly I still can love them just as strongly, just as quickly, as if they were my own or I had adopted them!). Plus, I can finally admit that the male alt I created in SL a few years back was based on J (although disguised physically), but I never admitted even to myself until after we had reconnected. My mind and heart kept showing me and I just didn’t catch on. He literally dressed up as Phantom for Halloween when he was young. You’d think my obsession with Phantom would have clued me in. Lol Buh me on so many counts. *grin*

And just to put it out in the universe and set things straight. I’m not able to teleport or do anything magical. It was literally impossible for me to have had an affair for a year. I barely had the chance to even leave the house and Hogwarts certainly hasn’t sought me out, nor do I have a Tardis or self driving anything to take me elsewhere. And in a small town with eyes always watching, there was no way I could have had an affair with someone coming over without that being heard about. So seriously, if you are one of the people that questions things, it’s a hard no-possible-way. We did not pursue a relationship until after I had all ready announced my intentions. And this is the last time I will ever clarify or explain this again. Accept me, my choices, and my new life, knowing that I made what I feel are the best choices for me, without judging or questioning me, please.

Anyway, I had to work through a lot before I could write about things, since I wanted to wait until the divorce was finalized. Now that I’m just waiting on the court to reschedule the hearing to complete the legal part, I felt it was okay to break my silence. I hope that the past months have treated you readers well, despite a crazy pandemic, and that you’ve been able to carve out a way to be happy throughout all of the craziness. And I can officially write “happy pampering” again, as I got to teach “Little Man” how to make some Star Wars soaps and I made soaps myself for the first time in almost two years. I hope you’ll stick around and welcome back “the real me” as I begin to blog again. 😁 Happy pampering! 😉

A Harvest Meal

Harvest Chili with Cheddar Apple Quick Bread

This meal looked so amazing to me that I asked Leah to blog it, because I think a lot of us are in the mood for Fall dishes. 🙂 – GC

First is the amazing Harvest Chili recipe. It’s actually from Better Homes & Gardens here. I’ll copy and paste for your convenience too, but they get all the credit except for the amazing, mouth-watering, picture of it that Leah took and all her work! 🙂

Harvest Chili

Chicken-apple sausage pairs with tangy-sweet cooked apples instead of that chili regular–tomatoes.

Serve this chili over hot cooked polenta.

Prep:30 mins; Cook:30 mins; Servings:8

Harvest Chili

Andy Lyons

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ pounds cooked chicken-apple sausage links, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 2 large red onions, chopped (3 cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut in 3/4-inch chunks (about 6 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut in 3/4-inch slices (**Leah notes that she chunks the apples instead of slicing, and she’s an amazing cook, so I’d definitely follow her example!**)
  • 1 15 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed, drained, and slightly mashed
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh sage or tiny sage leaves
  • Golden Delicious or other apple, sliced in rings

Directions

  • Step 1 In a large Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage; cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until browned, stirring occasionally. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon.
  • Step 2. In the same pan, cook onion and garlic for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until nearly tender. Add the squash; cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, salt, and cayenne; cook for 1 minute. Return the sausage to pan. Add broth; bring to boiling, then reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 8 minutes.
  • Step 3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat. Cook apple slices in hot oil for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until light brown. Transfer apples along with beans to chili. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, until apples are tender. Top servings of chili with sage and apple rings.

Nutrition Facts 

Per Serving:356 calories; total fat 11g; saturated fat 3g; polyunsaturated fat 1g; monounsaturated fat 3g; cholesterol 60mg; sodium 944mg; potassium 699mg; carbohydrates 48g; fiber 8g; sugar 23g; protein 20g; trans fatty acidg; vitamin a 111IU; vitamin c 30mg; thiaminmg; riboflavinmg; niacin equivalents 2mg; vitamin b6mg; folate 44mcg; vitamin b12mcg; calcium 91mg; iron 3mg.© Copyright 2020 bhg.com. All rights reserved. Printed from https://www.bhg.com 09/16/2020

Cheddar Apple Quick Bread (source not available)

And I’m going to do something unusual here. I’m actually going to post a pic of the recipe she was using, because of her hand-written notes where she adapted the recipe and it’s written up nicer than I can do using the new block editor on the blog without paying for an upgraded blog that allows for a recipe widget. I personally like that I can print the pic to have the recipe, instead of highlighting too, but I’m weird like that. Lol

I hope you enjoy the recipes and are staying safe during such incredibly turbulent times in the world! Hopefully a comforting Fall themed meal brings a little joy to your day, like it did mine. – GC

Repost About Chiggers

Physical Therapy has been going really well and one of their goal is to get me to be able to be outside for a bit. So I tried that for a bit yesterday. Unfortunately, the bug killer on the gravel driveway had faded away without me knowing and I now have 13 chigger bites. I slept most of yesterday via the glory of Benadryl and decided that today might be a good day to repost about the nasty little buggers since it’s been a few years. So here’s an informational post for all of us that get to suffer from these literal suckers. 🙂

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. 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 (you or I in this instance) 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 (*ahem* 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 (no longer an active link) 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 (remember my mentioning I was in the gravel driveway?)? 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 (antibacterial, which is the preferred choice) 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 exfoliation, although some vigorous towel rubbing seems to work just as well, but you’ll miss out on a chance to linger in that soothing lukewarm to cool 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 über 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, didn’t realize that the bug stuff wasn’t treating the ground anymore, and a couple of days (or hours if you’re extra unlucky) later you’re suddenly itching in spots that would most likely embarrass your mother to see you scratching. 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. Ivarest, an expensive yet awesome little tube of treatment for poison ivy, may help you too and rubs right into the skin.

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 tips and handy info tab on my 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. However, most scientists also think this is totally bunk, so whatever floats your boat and works for you.

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. I was wearing a dress, so no polite ankle bites to show. Meh.

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 some misery!

3 Celebrity Crushes

Who is your celebrity crush? While still looking through writing prompts I saw “write about three celebrity crushes” and I was amused. I thought this would be a fun one that fits with a bit of escapism from everything going on, so here goes. I would also LOVE to receive some comments about yours!

First, I will admit that if they have a UK accent, most likely I appreciate their voice and sense of humor. They might be good looking too, but it’s their interviews or fan interaction that show their inner attractiveness that gets them on my totally objectifying “Eye Candy” board. *grin*

First, Gerry Butler is my ultimate Hall Pass, not that it’d happen in a million years, but if there’s going to be a celebrity hall pass list, he’s going to be first. Sings, such a sarcastic and inappropriate sense of humor, self deprecating, bearded (almost always prefer at least some facial hair *sigh*), and smart enough to have been a lawyer. I know that his singing isn’t up to snuff for some, especially the Michael Crawford crowd, but “Music of the Night” makes me melt enough to have originally based my half sleeve tattoo concept around a line of the song because I memorized it after listening to him sing it so many times. *laugh* I’ve also gotten to that point in life that I like that he has a “dad bod” between movies and will never get back to the abs from 300. I totally appreciate a man who spends time living life instead of in the gym or counting calories; just one of my things.

Leaving Scotland and heading to London is Tom Hiddleston. He has such an awesome personality in every interview, sings beautifully anyway but man oh man he did an amazing job on “I Saw the Light” (as Hank Williams), and has such an adorable smile. He’s an awesome actor, of course, but I watch his interviews even more often than his movies. And I’m not sure which poem the quote of him saying “I will be the first man to kiss you, to bed you…” *blushes and looks for a fan* I would be happy to hear him read the yellow pages, but seductive poetry? 😳

This would be more of a character type than celebrity, actually. Ryan Eggold is a good example. Intelligent, down to Earth, an adorable smile, and a quirky personality (especially a nerdy one) will always land them on my “hot tamale train”, as Mary Murphy calls it. Add tidy facial hair or glasses and I’ll blush while I obsessively binge watch the show. *laugh* Every so often someone who plays a naughty character, like Colin O’Donoghue as Hook on OUAT or Johnny Depp as a scrape in Cry Baby (some guys can pull off guy liner better than most women pull off eyeliner, IMO), sneaks in and makes me smile. Cheeky buggers.

Now, I may be heterosexual, but I can’t make this list without including women. Although it’s not so much a “get the motor running” kind of thing for me *saucy grin*, it’s often “your confidence or personality is sexy as h-”.

Melanie Moore isn’t really a celebrity unless you’re really into dance. She won So You Think You Can Dance and went on to be one of their all stars, as well as making some awesome performances on Broadway (which are very hard to find videos people snuck for the poor people like me that will never get the chance to watch a Broadway performance in person *grin*). She’s always super supportive of her dance partners and seems to be an awesome mentor for the amateur dancers. I still watch her performance to “Total Eclipse of the Heart” with Neil Haskell from like eight years ago and feel the longing of her character (Mandy Moore is such an amazing choreographer) every single time. (The storyline of the choreography is that he has decided to leave and she is trying to convince him to stay. I couldn’t find any videos that include the explanation from Mandy Moore prior to the dance after all these years, unfortunately. Here’s the link to the dance performance if you’d like to watch.)

Ruby Rose is a strong contender for first place. Excuse the word, but she is the ultimate badass to me. I even tried to get her Pitch Perfect 3 haircut although it didn’t turn out right on me. She loves tattoos and even did some boxing (remember my two goals I want to get back to from Pre-Covid?). She’s learned to be comfortable in who she is and that difficult to obtain confidence is amazing.

Melissa McCarthy is probably the one nobody expected to be on the list. She is an awesome actress, funny as h-, and is actually happy with her body despite it not being what society deems pretty. One quote that I seriously love is “[harsh review from a critic focusing on her weight] I felt really bad for someone who is swimming in so much hate. I just thought, that’s someone who’s in a really bad spot, and I am in such a happy spot. I laugh my head off every day with my husband and my kids who are mooning me and singing me songs.” She is truly a role model. “There’s an epidemic in our country of girls and women feeling bad about themselves based on what 0.5% of the human race looks like.” There would be a lot less bullying and self harm if this quote went viral, IMO.

I hope you have fun thinking about your own list and figuring out why they’re your celebrity crushes, hopefully beyond being eye candy. *grin* Like I wrote in the beginning, I’d love to read your own! It’s kind of fascinating what all goes into a crush and also sometimes helps your listener/reader/friend see that person from a new POV. I hope you are all being safe during such a turbulent and medically scary time, and hope you are enjoying the few minutes of escape from regular life these odd posts may bring. 🙂

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