The “Freebie” that Costs you $75,000

Yesterday, I traveled with a friend to the beauty school where her daughter is a first year student.   Seems her daughter needs so many ‘models’ each year to get enough ‘checkmarks’ in order to fulfill school obligations….

Me, with my ‘hasn’t been cut/styled/trimmed in a year’ scraggly long hair, coupled with bangs I’ve been whacking on myself for about the same time period, seemed like a good candidate – mainly because, unless you snatch me bald, there’s really no way you could do a worse job of cutting my hair than I do…

**********

By 9:15 or so, I’m ready to take a nap – – Seems this particular student understands not everyone wants their scalp scrubbed off their skull or thinks freezing/scalding water in the client’s ear is ‘business as usual’.    I spent the entire shampooing time blissfully relaxed as gentle hands massaged my tender scalp – I’ve always been tender-headed and post-stroke, there are some areas that scream in outrage when I finally submit to the beautician’s torture chamber –

Not so here – I’m starting to think maybe this was a good idea after all…

Carefully, Miss Doodle, (yes that’s her nickname and keep an eye out for it, because she’s also writing a children’s book, most likely to be published under the same pen name) gently parts off one tiny section at a time from the wet mass piled on top of my head in a clip – Each strand is gently combed and any knots found are easily teased out without causing my eyes to water or my tongue to bleed from biting back cuss words  – –

Sitting still, because I’m blissfully wandering between reality and dreamland – I pray to the Universe that beauty school doesn’t ruin her gentle hands – I’d like her to be my beautician for life – Even if she moves to New York City –

Yes, I know you’re shocked, but I would fly to New York City to have her do my hair…  But please, Miss Doodle, could you stay in Colorado?  I really don’t want to fly to New York –

Long hair is cut and evened out – 3 inches of dry split ends are removed – the bangs I butchered now lie in a straight line across my forehead – Miss Doodle is surprised it is only 10:00 a.m. –  seems this went much faster than her last hair-cut – do I want her to blow dry and curl it?

Why not?   Do whatever you wish dear – have fun – I’m going back to sleep –

Hair is dried and put back up in the clip – strands that maybe contain 10 hairs each, are professionally parted off and curled around an instrument I could do serious injury to myself with, should I ever try to use one.

Teacher comes and praises the job – I praise Miss Doodle’s careful handling of my over-sensitive scalp.   Teacher admits she, herself, is a scrubber – I make note to never have her do my hair.

I leave the school with bouncy, full curls falling over my shoulders that swing as I walk – I feel like a girl in a shampoo commercial…

I get to work and receive amazed comments at how pretty my hair is – amazed because no one has actually seen my hair other than the rat’s nest clipped on top of my head and bangs teased and sprayed within an inch of their life in an attempt to camouflage how horrendously crooked they are.

Miss Doodle shared how she learned to do what’s called a ‘messy bun’ – – Yes, I’m aware of the style – I’ve done it most of my life – but mine always looks like ‘I’m lazy messy’ not “I spent an hour to look this chic-messy’…

And one more plus – Miss Doodle didn’t talk my ear off – or ask me questions I prefer not to answer.  I realize some view their beautician as a two-for-one alternative to actually going to a therapist – not me and I really liked that she didn’t think her job was to entertain me or offer suggestions to fix my life – –

**********

By now, you’re wondering if I’m  actually going to tell you why my free haircut will end up costing me $75,000 – – Here goes:

“Wow!  My hair really looks nice.   Maybe I should put on some make-up…”

Discover all make-up has dried up and died away from neglect – buy all new – $50-$1,000

“Oooh -Look how nice that reflection in the mirror is! Maybe I should wear something other than jeans and my son’s hand-me-down sweatshirt”

Buy new clothes – $200-$10,000 depending on how hog wild you go…

“This outfit is cute – but my tennis shoes look pretty ratty – maybe I’d better get new shoes to match all my new outfits…”

I’ve never really done the ‘match the shoes/purse’ thingee, but I’m guessing this will add up to nearly $5,000… or more….

“Don’t I look like a fashion plate – wait, there’s something missing… Ahhh… accessories!  That’s what I need!”

My ears are picky – I can only put gold earrings in the holes I punched in them – which probably have to be re-punched because I haven’t accessorized for 7 years or more…   Because gold hoops look so classy, I really don’t think I can put some dollar store necklace, ring and/or bracelet on with them –

I’ve never been stylish enough to put together things from the 80% off bin and look like a runway model – I’ve known women like this – even hung around them, hoping by osmosis some sense of style would rub off on me – didn’t happen, so I stick with what I know – denim and flannel never let you down –

Jewelry will probably run $3,000 – $10,000….

And now I look so damn hot, I simply couldn’t ruin the look by being seen in my dirty white work truck, (that can haul a ton or more of landscaping materials and has vinyl floor boards so cleaning the interior requires nothing more than opening both doors and letting the power washer wand do it’s job) – -Yup, I simply must go get something to match my new look  – –

I’m thinking a ’68 Dodge Charger – – – in metallic Forest Green or Midnight Purple – – and since the restoration and custom paint job is going to cost extra, might as well upgrade to the leather seats and matching carpet floorboards…..

Which means no power-washer and I’ll need to pony up the big bucks every 3 months or so to have my fabulous new classic ride detailed out…

See?

This is also the very reason no one should never buy new curtains – you’ll only end up remodeling the whole durn house – –

***********

I’m off to put my hair up in a clip and get back to work –

Thanks, Miss Doodle, for the wonderful head massage and free haircut – – I’ll try not to cheapen the whole wonderful experience by going off the deep-end…

Must-Haves

I do not send cards – not even for Christmas…

I’m a non-conformer.

And yet, I recently ordered two, one-of-a-kind, uniquely designed cards.

Why?

Well, the reasons are multiple and here they are:

  • I follow Sandy Sue’s blog and really enjoy the perspective she gives me and her unique view on life.
  • I like using my ‘discretionary’ funds to support those I know and love.
  • There are some luxuries I just can’t live without – Awesome Cards never to be sent, rather given to someone much as you would a book or other small gift is one of them and items that cheer me, are my two big weaknesses.

If you’re in the market for one-of-a-kind, beautifully designed (and executed cards) with sentiments that surpass the fluff and mainstream sentiments of the corporate greeting card industry, then you must simply look no further than Sandy Sue.

I ordered my cards on Saturday, they arrived promptly in the mail on Tuesday, carefully & professionally packaged.  All for a more cost-effective price than going down to Ye Olde CardShop or SuperCenter and buying one of a million copies of a disposable papers that do not tug at the “This Is A Keeper” heartstrings.

I had to fight my selfish tendencies and give the cards as I had originally intended – I pleaded that if she ever made another like the ones I liked (and didn’t purchase in time) or the ones I bought, she could consider the copies sold – alas, her art is one-of-a-kind and I have to be content with the memory of their beauty.

I can’t be more pleased in my purchase and I hope you take a minute to check out her awesome talents.

***********

Here’s what I bought:

By the Dozen

“You do need a man of course and they are often cheaper emotionally and a lot more fun by the dozen.”

Oscar Wilde

“Men always want to be a woman’s first love.  That is their clumsy vanity.  We women have a more subtle instict about things.  What we like is to be a man’s last romance.”  A Woman of No Importance – Oscar Wilde

P.S. You may wonder why I tagged this Shop Local when I live a few states away from Sandy Sue – I did so because she is part of my WordPress community, manufacturers her cards on her own and therefore, worthy of being expounded as a Shop Local option – I fully approve supporting entrepreneurial endeavors over corporate offerings and I sincerely hope you choose to do the same.

WordPress Community = Awesome!

I’m winding down tonight from weeks of frenzied activity – too much, too soon and I was struggling.

And so, realizing I was headed into old destructive habits that I vowed to leave behind, I came here to read and write.

It such a relief to commune here- to correspond with the community and to know I’m not the only one who struggles with such things…

I (very reluctantly) set up a Facebook account for the child-unit yesterday – he’s been asking for quite a few weeks and I tried valiantly to get him into WordPress, instead – – 🙂

It will come to him, I’m sure – this love of a diverse community of intelligent folks who allow you to broaden your horizons and learn about those who feel differently than you do –

To dive into a pool of the written word that transcends the acronyms and short-cuts of the social networking –

To immerse yourself in really getting to know someone else via their passions that need more space than 164 characters and one pic –

So while feeling the tension of the past few weeks disappear – while sharing what I’ve learned and giving thanks for the gifts given  – it occurred to me that I, in my busy neglect of the past weeks, needed to tell my WordPress community –

Thank You – You are my saving grace and you’re always there for me.

You Rock!

Thank You, Dad

Hi Dad,

I usually restrict my Universal Cyber Messages to Father’s Day each year.  I figure you’re busy doing what you want where you are now and I try not to pull you away very often.

But I had to write you tonight. To say Thanks.

Because of you –

  • I was able to speak at your funeral and present what our family wanted.
  • I was able to do my son’s funeral the way I thought it should be done – (Tell Morgan I said Hi and I miss him so much)
  • But most of all, I wanted to thank you for enabling me to do for others what I needed so badly during my time of losses.

I understand now why you chose to serve others by speaking at funerals  –

Why you were so particular about how it should be done –

Why you did your best to make sure I grew up with this knowledge.

I was called upon this week to serve in the way you served – Thank you – I couldn’t have done it without you.

Love,

Sis

Another Hurdle Jumped…

Occasionally I share when I’ve gotten past a challenge that appeared in the wake of grief and/or stroke.   I think it’s important for those of us who have walked down the road to yell encouragement to those behind us  –

So I must share with you two personal challenges I dealt with this past week.

***********

I don’t do funerals unless it’s my responsibility to send the loved one off in style – I never really have, unless I intimately know the deceased’s family/friends.  Why?  Well, because I’ve always chosen to grieve in my own way and to me, showing up to the funeral is a way to show support to those left behind and let them know how well loved their special person was, rather than a part of my personal grieving process.

***********

I’ll share my warts and intolerances now- it really chaps my bum for speakers at a funeral to be so torn up they can’t get through their portion of the services without loud outbursts and incoherent sobbing….

I know, I know – I’m a HardArse – but really – we only have one chance to do a funeral right, and over the years, the funerals I regretted attending the most were the ones who paraded a litany of ‘speakers’ past the podium who could barely squeak out two coherent words – To me, this does not honor the one that’s gone – My Own Opinion and you’re welcome to disagree with it if you want.

I commented on this once and a family member informed me that it’s “healing for others to experience the raw grief” – Maybe so, but for me, Raw Grief is dealt with in the privacy of one’s own home or in the loving circle of supportive friends- when you’re publicly honoring your loved one, you’d best have your act together or hire someone who does.

The family will remember the funeral – they may have videotaped it – this is not Comedy Central or Reality TV – it is their reminder of how they said goodbye to their loved one – it is not the time or place for Amateur Night

Okay – I’m done ranting – – Back to the original story….

***********

After my period of losses in a short time frame happened, I was even LESS enthused about funerals.   There were ones where I genuinely wanted to love & support the family – but I chose to do so through cooking, cash gifts and behind the scenes help.  When asked, I wholeheartedly offered whatever I could, but begged for understanding that I just couldn’t attend the actual services…just not yet…

Funerals triggered too many unhealed portions of my soul….

**********

Since my stroke drastically affected my speech pattern, AND since I still descend into Elmer Fuddism (yes, it’s a word, look it up) when overtired, ill or stressed, I have not done any public speaking since October of 2011.

Before my Chatty-Kathy ways were hobbled by Elmer Fudd, I eagerly offered to present training sessions, low/no cost classes and spoke at a variety of work and volunteer functions.  I like public speaking – I once had the dream of earning my living that way.   But when the stroke affected my speech, I dutifully put that all behind me and looked forward to a future that did not include me speaking in front of crowds.

I mourned the loss of this part of myself – stuffed those dreams into the memory box of my soul and moved on.

**********

This past week, a friend of the family’s passed away – – at a young age- – – leaving behind three children.

This friend and his family have been there for me and mine in countless ways over the years, especially when my dad and son died, as well as when the rest of my world fell apart.

I hurried over as soon as I found out to see how I could serve.

The family asked if I would share the memories folks have of their loved one at the funeral, for those who couldn’t be there and those too torn up by grief or too introverted to do so themselves.

GULP – –

 I said, “Yes – whatever you need – I’m here.”

But I came home and wondered if I should have said no…

**********

When I was 9 or so, I was awakened in the middle of the night by my Dad’s voice.   I crept out to the kitchen to see what was going on, as my Dad was leaving the next day for a distant state to perform the Masonic Funeral services for a Brother who had passed.  He was often called upon to do this and I’d never really given any thought to why he was asked, or why he did so.

When I tiptoed in and asked who he was talking to, he told me he was practicing for the next day.

I wanted to know why and I’ve never forgotten what he told me:

“Sis, a funeral is the number one place where you can have the best intentions and motivations but still manage to put your foot in your mouth and wound those who are already hurt.  If you’re to speak, it’s best to practice before you do so.”

After my own adult experiences with what folks say and do when trying to help you after the loss of a loved one, I know that not only was his observation correct, but a whole lot of people in this world didn’t have a Dad who shared this valuable information with them.

**********

So this week, I attended a funeral for the first time in 5 years and made it out in pretty good shape.

For the first time in 2 1/2 years, I spoke before a large audience – no one thought me the village idiot and more importantly, I managed to do my part in a way that that was satisfactory to the family and other members of the community.

I personally think I escaped Elmer Fuddism, because I Ordered the Universe to make it all turn out right.

Ordering the Universe around is a dangerous thing, and I suggest you only do so when the stakes are high and in service to others – otherwise, it often backfires…

The Universe is kind enough to immediately respond when I deem something High Priority – I’ve always been grateful for that.

**********

In reflecting upon this past week, I realized I had to tell you –

No matter what wounds you carry or what disabilities you’ve encountered – there is always a way to be the person you wish to be.  It may take awhile or some ingenuity, but I believe it can always happen.

I may not know first-hand what you’re dealing with…

It may happen sooner or later than the 5 years it took me…

But if You Desire to do what you’ve deemed as Important, I have no doubt you’ll find the way –

Grace descends and blesses you when there’s work to be done and you know, in your heart, it’s your job to take care of.

Keep the Faith and Never Give Up Hope.

When You’re Too Busy To Cook…

WinterGazpachoIf you’ve followed my blog for any amount of time, you know two things about me:

  1. I’m passionate about food – both it’s origin and it’s preparation
  2. Often, I’m so busy with other projects, I hate to take time out to cook – –

Now, I have an option to eat well and still pursue my 1,001 other passions –

Carman’s Culinary Creations

Some disclosures before we go further:

  • I host and help Patty with her website
  • She tested out some of her recipes and delivery methods on me
  • I’m not paid to tell you about her, but I’m sure she’ll appreciate me doing so, probably in the form of food – –

**********

KrautBerokSo why am I telling you about this, other than the opportunity to do a good turn for a friend and maybe score some awesome free food?

Because nutrition is as important to her as it is to me.

Because I happen to know how she sources her ingredients and it meets with my approval.

Because the frozen dinners you get at the store (whether it’s Wal-mart or Whole Foods or Natural Grocers) just do not meet my standards for: good fats, no additives, short ingredient list I can pronounce and understand.

For years I believed if I wanted to eat nutritiously in a hurry, I had one option – Make Ahead Dinners I Froze Myself.

I’m the Queen of Big Batch Cooking.   Why make a small batch of soup when you can make supper for tonight and have enough to freeze for seven other suppers?

But these past few years have seen me in a change of priorities – yes, I want to eat good, but I’m no longer a fan of all day cooking – too many other wonderful things to do.

**********

Patty sent me 2 soups and 1 entree to ‘test’ out the weekend I worked on adding all her offerings and a shopping cart to her website.

I ate heartily anytime I got hungry on these ‘samples’ from Friday evening through Monday mid-day.   She markets her items in ‘serving’ mode, but I’m telling you, one serving of these nutrition packed dishes lasts 2 or 3 meals for me.

BrownieShe also offers Gluten-Free alternatives for her menu items – while this isn’t a requirement for me, I understand it’s becoming a big requirement for many in their quest to feel better.

If you’re picky about your ingredients and preparation methods for the food you eat and are looking for a ‘home-cooked’ solution for your fast supper needs, I highly recommend Carman’s Culinary Creations.

Plus, there’s free shipping* – how can you beat that?

*Carman’s Culinary Creations currently ships only to Continental US addresses.

Just Say “Yes”

OverwhelmSince the 80’s our cultural media has been filled with tips to help out all those super-women out there who find themselves overwhelmed, stretched-too-thin and feeling taken advantage of.

(This is the downside of Women’s Lib, by the way – We USED to be allowed to stay in bed for two weeks after propagating the species, but now, we’re so awesome, everyone acknowledges we can dive right back into life within 24 hours of giving birth – – )

Time and again, these fluff articles (represented as self-help) counseled,

“Just Say No”

“Set Your Boundaries”

“Honor Your ‘Me Time'”

Why am I writing about this?

Because, after a wonderful, post-stroke, post-catastrophe, retreat from the world – a retreat where I wrote, surfed the Internet, cleaned & organized my house, worked on outdoor projects and volunteered at local charity organizations – is somewhat over.

The World has found me and even though I know Zilch about building a better mouse trap, my life as I’ve known it for the past 2 years appears to be over…

***********

It all started by accepting an invitation last fall to a local community luncheon that’s held each week –

The Governing Board of which hired me to clean-up 1 hour a week (Yay!  Paid Work – Awesome!)

Which led to being invited to all the other clubs/functions these retired senior citizens frequent to keep busy and involved –

Wonderful –

Which led to the local library knowing who I am prior to my application for Part-Time Library Aide –

Upon which I got hired and now have 10 hours a week in the public eye – helping people find the information they need, listen when they just want to talk or assist with computer questions – –

All of which has conspired to opening up my Basic Personality trait of, “You know, there’s a quicker, easier, cheaper way to accomplish what you want”, whereby

I’m now getting more freelance work – –

Truly, I’m not complaining – I’m just realizing I’d rather win a gazillion astrobucks in the local lottery gamble and give out Angel Investment funds so these folks can hire someone else to do it for them while I quietly putter away on my own projects, which would be funded by the same massive fortune  – –

**********

The ongoing dialogue between me and the Universe these past couple of years goes something like this:

“Please let me heal enough to work again.”

“Please send me work now that I’m well enough to do it”

“Please slow down the requests, I’m overwhelmed”

The Universe is not fond of my wishy-washiness – I’m sure there are Red Signs all over the Universe Fulfillment Center that Read:

“ATTENTION: Regarding TamrahJo requests – Take your time on fulfilling  – She’ll most likely change her mind.”

***********

Sometimes, there just isn’t an option of saying “No” – not if you wish to keep in line with the person you want to be.

Sometimes, Life arrives on your doorstep, bangs the knocker and insists you be a part of it’s plans.

And sometimes, you just have to get used to not being a hermit anymore….