Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I'm back!

Hi everyone... yep, I came back! LOL
I haven't written in 15 days! WOW! Here is why:
I ordered some books online. Then I received them and everything just stopped for a while. Anyone who is an avid reader may understand! LOL
BUT, that is only part of it. One of the books I ordered, on a whim, was "Made From Scratch" by Jenna Woginrich. She is young, mid twenties, but chose to live a simpler life away from work (she is a web designer, I think). She wrote the book when she was living in Sandpoint, Idaho; which is only about a 5 hour drive away from my home. The book is a light-hearted look at some of her trials and successes at trying to get back to a homesteaders life. She learned how to raise chickens and angora rabbits, taught her dogs to be working dogs (as well as her house pets and companions), she learned how to plant a garden and harvest the fruits of her labors... then learned how to can or freeze all her veggies. She taught herself how to sew, knit, and play the fiddle.
I read the book cover to cover-- twice! She also keeps a blog, which I am now going to be following. Ms. Woginrich now lives in Vermont, and is writing another book which is just in the proposal stage (meaning she is looking for a publisher to accept her work). I will be one of the first in line to buy it when it is available.
Jenna has inspired me to take a closer look at my life and I have decided to "disconnect" myself from many things. I realized I have not been doing the things I love to do (like crafts, baking, reading, and being by myself in the Great Outdoors just taking a walk... stuff like that). I stopped most of my Internet stuff... I didn't check my e-mail for a week, and then only every 3 days after; I stopped all my freelance writing; I stopped playing computer games; I didn't check in on anyone's blogs; and I even stopped writing here. The only computerized- Internet thing I stayed current with was Facebook, but I cut down my time with that, too. Now, after all the junkie-jitters have worn off, the only thing I really missed was this blog. I work full time, so I don't really need to write for money... at least I know I can do it if I have to. And, it was fun, but took up quite a bit of my time. Freelance writing is going to be shelved for a while.

So, what did I fill my newly found time with? Crafts and reading! The other books I bought were cookbooks focusing on crockpot cooking or casseroles. I poured over them, mouth watering, ohhing and ahhing over new recipes. I can't wait to try a few of them. The only reason I haven't yet, is I just don't know which one to start with-- LOL!! SOooo, this past weekend I fell back to an old standard and made bread. Oh yeah... Jenna's book explained how to make fresh butter. Had I known it was Soo damn easy, I would have been doing it for all these years! For those of you who don't know, go to the store... buy heavy cream... leave it on the counter overnight... in the morning pour it into a jar (I didn't have a large enough jar, so I used a plastic storage container -- aka Gladwear or Tupperware)... sit at the computer and check your e-mail or Facebook page, while giving the cream a light shaking (nothing hard, just an easy shake)... in only a few minutes the cream will become the consistency of whipped cream, but with a few more shakes, the butter separates from the buttermilk into light yellow globs. Drain the buttermilk off the butter for later use... add some salt if you like. That is it! I did have to stir the butter a few times to get all the pockets of milk out of the butter, but that wasn't any trouble. All I can say is... YUMMY! This is from a die hard margarine fan!

I have also been crocheting an afghan. It is made with 64 large "granny squares" and now only needs to be sewn together. I will hopefully finish it this coming weekend! I also tried my hand at crocheting socks! I have been crocheting for over 25 years, but I have never made anything wearable. I have one sock finished, and I am so proud of myself--LOL! I was strutting around for about 15 minutes yesterday wearing my one finished sock, fawning over it like it was a handmade diamond ring or something! It is an awesome feeling making something wearable... I should have done this years ago.

I also received the book, "The Black Dahlia" from . Once the afghan is finished, I am diving into that.
And so... now that I am here, online,.... I am going to check all the blogs I follow to catch up with everyone!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

3 facts of the day.

It's cold. It's snowing. I'm tired of winter.

I'd go out and take a photo, but I have no inclination to subject myself to wind chills of 20 below zero!
I want to go back to my burrow and hibernate for a few more weeks.

On a more positive note, I have now lost 15 pounds since Jan 1!! I am trying really hard to not fall into comfort eating today.... (especially after CRC talked about cream cheese and bacon bagles AND lemon cheesecake!)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

C'mon in and give me some much needed advice!

Why is it when the weather starts to turn bad, my brain just kinda shuts down? It doesn't help that the past two days have been slow customer days, too. No... I don't mean that we are getting customers with diminished capacity ( hmmm, now that I mention it, those last few I had in may fall into that category.... )... We just aren't getting the walk in traffic that we normally do. **YAWN**

Since my brain seems to have gone on vacation without the rest of me, I am asking all my readers and lurkers for some advice. Many of you are aware I keep another blog that I get paid to write. I just haven't been writing on THAT one because I really like this one for my little ramblings of day to day life. I would like to make the other one follow more of a theme. I have thought about different lines to follow there, but what I really want to know is what would YOU like to read about?
Since my family/personal life is pretty much here, I have thought about these topics (but if YOU have an idea, PLEASE share it!)
--Making it a diet / weight loss blog.
--Writing about Montana weather, climate, and environmental (Montana related) stuff
--Writing about the cell phone repair industry, tips on use, new product reviews, and anecdotes.
-- Writing about The day to day happenings of what I see out the shop window. There is an apartment across the street that seems to cater to lower income folks. There is always something going on over there from little kids playing to domestic calls involving the police. People moving in and out... well, you get the idea! We also work on a very busy street where accidents are common, strange people wander through my field of vision, AND, for all you 'cachers out there, there is a geocache right across the street, too!

NOW it is up to YOU, my dear fellow Time Killers. Help me out. Tell me what I should dedicate my other blog to. All my posts over there all need to be 100 words or more for me to get paid for them, so I do need a subject that I can write at least two paragraphs a day about.

Thanks in advance for your advice!-- Michele

Monday, March 2, 2009

Being Her Mommy, even if she is 21!

I just talked to my oldest. She lives 200 miles away, is married, and has a son and step-daughter. BUT, her life is in a tempest right now. Sometimes I really hate being so far away when I know she could use a hug, and possibly a babysitter for a few hours of alone time, just her and God.

Her husband is a construction worker, which pays pretty good, but he also has a temper which gets him either fired or worked up enough to walk away from a job. This has caused many stressful, teary phone calls from Heather just to decompress before she went ballistic on her spouse. This past fall, the SIL had been laid off from the job he was at when the weather turned bad. He was (is?) collecting unemployment, which seemed to give him the idea that he didn't need to go and seriously look for another job. While this was saving on daycare costs, he didn't help matters much by constantly imbibing in the recreational use of marijuana. (That is the nice way to say he was smoking more than the occasional joint! *sigh*) They are adults and there isn't much I could do except express my displeasure at his choices.
Fast forward to the middle of January--SIL decides he is going to help a friend cut and sell firewood. He is supposed to get a part of the profits, this is supposed to bring in extra cash for the family, blah, blah, blah... What actually happened is the SIL would be gone 12-16 hours, usually only on the weekends, maybe bring in $100 dollars IF there wasn't trailer trouble, mechanical trouble, or whatever else under the sky that could happen. Since the SIL was helping, the boss figured the SIL should pitch in for the repairs. (The boss, by the way, would clear $2000 a weekend!)
Feb. 14th. Valentines Day. The SIL was supposed to only be gone a few hours... ended up being 15! Daughter was a little pissed, but since the husband was supposedly making money, she dealt with it. He came home with very little pay. Of course, there was a fight that had been in the making for many weeks.
Today, March 2nd. Heather finally hit a wall. SIL wasn't looking for better work, nor was he insisting on more cash for his labor from the firewood job. SIL refused to take the time to sit and discuss the problems that were quickly becoming a huge rift in the relationship. This morning, (as in all at-wits-end marital spats) things were said that really shouldn't have been. SIL packed a bag and went to his dad's house. Heather said she is at a point where she is all used up and just doesn't care. She is just numb, and she is at the point where she doesn't care if he is gone, or where he went. She is tired of being the only "bread-winner" in the home, the (seemingly) only responsible adult, and really tired of being home alone waiting for her husband to come home "whenever".
My Mother's heart is breaking. I was crying silent tears for her when we were on the phone together. She would laugh if she knew just how often I am on my end of the line with tears just streaming down my face. I'm a real softie when it comes to my girls. Heather is a very strong young woman and I have no doubt she will pull through this.
I know from personal experience that however I feel about the SIL, the final decision to separate, divorce, or work things out lies with her. I will stand by her whatever happens.

I don't know who needs the hug more... her or I!! Her because this is a very hard thing to deal with, or me because I have lived through it and know how hard these decisions and the ones yet to come can be and my soul is aching just with the knowledge.

I just registered with e-How

I was catching up with my blog reading, and one that I follow- A Heart For A Home- had a link to a site where you can write how-to articles and get paid for them (see my link on the sideboard---> ). I signed up, but haven't posted an article yet. I have to get all my thoughts (ducks?) in a row and decide what I am going to write about. I know I have TONS of knowledge to share! I lived through a bad abusive marriage, I learned about womens shelters and restraining orders; been through a divorce; I had to work full time while raising two daughters; I have worked in many (7 or8) different fields through the years; I nursed grandparents before they had to be placed in more complete care homes; I have raised cats, dogs, hamsters, and fish; I know how to cook, bake, shop, and budget; and through the years I have learned how to play and be happy (even as an adult!) ... I'm sure I have something of value to share!