Sunday, June 29, 2014

Smells

Welcome to another Sunday Confessions!


This week's topic: 
SMELLS

So often I hear people talk about music and how it brings them back to a time and place, sometimes a person.  Of course, I have that experience too... so many songs take me back to a moment.  But smells... I've always had a strong sense of smell and find that just a whiff and I remember everything about a person or a place.

I recently ran into someone I once loved very much.  He still smells the same.  Which is hilarious because I picked out the body spray he uses over a decade ago.  But...every time I smell it in the deodorant aisle in the store I remember everything.

My Grandma used to make this special kind of dark chili.  It's goes over pasta and was something I always asked for.  Some kids make cookies with their grandma, my grandma taught me how to make that chili.  It's one of my favorite things in the world and every time I make it, I let it simmer for the required four hours... but I barely look at the clock because I know when it is done by the smell and every time, I remember standing in her kitchen stirring the pot.

I remember my father's cologne.  And while I associate the smell of the cologne with my dad and it brings up pleasant memories, the truth is smelling it on anyone else is heartbreaking.  He didn't wear cologne much, but even after 13 years I still expect to see him when I smell it.  I can't even describe what it is like to have someone who is interested in me show up smelling like my Dad.

Not all if the smells burned into my memory are pleasant.  My ex kind of smelled like a badger.  That sounds terrible, but he had the most god awful body chemistry.  He didn't personally smell but I could never borrow a t-shirt and enjoy how it smelled like him.

All of the memories I have associated with smells make it hard for me to pick a scent...for myself or my home.  I've been through scented cleaners, various plug-ins and sprays and candles and warm oils in the house.  I have never been able to decide on a body wash, perfume or body spray.  I wonder if my house has a smell that someday my nephew, or my brother or my sister will remember someday when I'm not here to be a presence.  I wonder if, when I'm gone, they will remember my Clinique perfume, or the way I love Tide with Febreeze detergent.  Maybe it's silly, but I hope someday someone associates a good smell with me.


Friday, June 27, 2014

Bath Mat Independence Day

When I was growing up, I told myself that I would never have a rug-like toilet lid cover that with a matching contour mat, sink mat and bath mat.  Maybe it was because they always seemed just a little bit dingy.  Maybe it was because even at a young age I struggled with the idea that there was no way of knowing when they were last cleaned.  Maybe it was because the only people I knew with toilet covers were old people.  It's a silly thing to realize I actually thought about it, but when I was mentally decorating the interior of my someday home the toilet was never covered with a rug.

I grew up and I got my own place.  I had a bath mat because that is just the practical thing to do.  When my ex moved in, it was only a matter of time before I noticed the color of the flooring was starting to wear away in a particular spot.  At first I didn't realize what the problem was.  But then I realized the day had finally come...I needed a contour mat.  We went to the store and we he purchased the cheap-but-matching unholy trinity of toilet seat cover, contour mat, and bath mat in the color of my choice.  I tried to look on the bright side; I enjoyed the soft fibers beneath my feet as I took my morning fizz-winkle instead of the hard and sometimes cold floor and it was kind of nice to have something that matched and belonged together in the bathroom I had never really decorated.

Every time I would clean the bathroom I would turn the water temperature nob to Hot/Cold, pour in bleach and then I would pick up that filthy contour mat with two fingers, hold it away from myself and move slowly as if it were a dead animal I didn't want to touch me before gingerly lowering it into the washer.  I didn't realize it at first, but every time I did it... I was angry.

I was trying to be the kind of woman who provided a good home to a man she loved and his child.  I kindly reminded people to "PLEASE...be a sweetie, wipe the seatie" day after day, week after week as I cleaned one gross mess after another off the seat.  I got angry and went on strike after not being able to get any help cleaning the room which everyone made the most personal of messes in, even if it was just wiping up after themselves.  I'd had children of all ages in my bathroom (even in the process of potty training), various house guests, even roommates once and had never needed to beg and plead for common decency or needed a contour mat until a man over the age of 30 moved into my home.

I'm sure someone out there thinks I sound petty, immature, maybe even a little bitter. You should know that I'm leaving out the details of how extreme the mess was.  And while I accept that sometimes in relationships you take care of each other's gross messes (to his credit, my ex washed the dishes about 1 time every other month including gross fridge experiments) there is just something the crosses a line about washing a grown man's piddle carpet week after week because after over three decades of having a penis he still hasn't figured out how to stand in one place while he points, shoots, and shakes before putting it back in his pants.  Pssst...this isn't really about the goddamn contour mat!

When the relationship ended, I threw out the contour rug and  I bleached everything within the first two weeks he was gone...scrubbing him out of my life, taking back my space.  I bought new mats when I got my tax money back.  Sadly, I'm the kind of person who needs things done perfectly or I wont do them at all...including setting out my new bathroom accessories.  And so they sat in their bag for months while I've struggled with anxiety and stress, and nearly debilitating depression.

Until this past Sunday when I cleaned the bathroom and while there are still shelves and spaces to be organized, I cleaned and bleached the floor like I haven't been able to in months.  As I pulled the beautiful, soft blue mats from the bag I reveled in their newness the same way I do new sheets or new socks.  Then, I took them into the bathroom and arranged them, perfectly lining up every edge, checking to be sure every line was parallel.

And as silly as it sounds, it was like Bath Mat Independence Day.  I sat on the squishy softness that was now my toilet lid, rubbed my bare feet and curled my toes in the clean, plush softness underneath them and realized my anger at cleaning the bathroom for the past two years wasn't really about cleaning the bathroom at all; I spent so much time trying to make nice, asking my ex to be nice to me and treat me with the kindness, decency and respect I deserved, and on my hands and knees trying to clean up the messes other people made all while I was losing MY coloring.  Another lesson learned.

Bath Mat Independence Day... because I like the feel of soft plush between my toes in the morning when I pee, not because it makes disrespect tolerable.

Five Minute Friday: LOST

I'm linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker this week for Five Minute Friday.  It's been awhile but I'm feeling like I need to let out some words this morning.  The prompt for this week is LOST.

Five Minute Friday

Lost. 

Truth is I've felt lost.  I've felt lost for a long time, but for some reason right now I feel like I'm finding myself again.  I'm finding what I believe in again.  I'm finding my opinions.  I'm finding my voice in a way I've never had it before. It's a powerful feeling.  It can be a scary, powerful feeling but at the same time it's the best feeling in the world.  It feels like coming home, but with the added benefit of knowing that this is where I want to be now.

I'm finding that I don't need a lot of people.  Having a lot of people in my life doesn't make me feel good.  I'm finding that all I really want out of my friendships/relationships are the kind of people who don't make me feel lost, or make me feel like I want to get lost.  When it comes to the people in my life, I don't want a couple of dimes that get lost among a bunch of pennies; I think I've reached a point where I'd rather have 4 quarters (there's a meme - or a hundred memes- about that somewhere). 

I'm finding love again.  I'm finding lots of love.  I'm finding the kind of love I always want to be with...late night talks about nothing, getting in the car and seeing where we can end up, losing time...I don't get to have all of those things unfortunately, but it's the kind of love that brings me back to my center.  It's the kind of love that doesn't care if I'm high, low, crazy, fat, thin, lost or found.  And it isn't perfect but...it's perfect for me.

I'm finding the kind of love where I'm accepted just as I am, where I feel comfortable talking about who I am and what I think, and what I dream...and those people share those things with me.  Love that appreciates me for just being me. 

I've felt lost for a long time, but I'm starting to feel better... I'm finding myself again.  I'm finding the person I like being.  I'm finding the people I like being with.  And it's the greatest feeling in the world. 




Wednesday, June 25, 2014

What If Wednesday: What If I Were a Cartoon?

Today's Topic: What If...I was a cartoon character?


Only 5-10 minutes of writing....GO!



Guest Post this week is from a good friend, huge supporter of More Than Cheese and Beer, and a weekly reader.  I have to say... this might be more hilarious to me than it is to you because I know what a true character she really is! - Ash


When Ash asked me to write this week's What If Wednesday (lets be honest, to just do anything at all) I was nervous, but then she gave me a question that was so perfect for me, I just had to say yes.

What if... I was a cartoon character?
Haha. I've thought about this before, actually. There are times when my boyfriend and I get ourselves into such shenanigans I'mm convinced we are Peter and Lois from "Family Guy" or the Misfit Bunch from "The Oblongs" who live in the valley. 




Sometimes when I think of the fact that we want to own a restaurant someday, I think of us like Linda and Bob from "Bob's Burgers". If we had kids (or our critter kids could talk) they would be just as weird as Linda and Bob's kids.



Two of the critter kids


When I was a kid, I always had a soft spot for Helga on "Hey Arnold!" and Angelica from "Rugrats". Something about the loud, bossy girl who has a soft spot nobody really sees.




















But then I remembered a compliment that I haven't heard just once, but twice... "You remind me of a character".

They never specify what character whether it's from a book, a movie, or a cartoon, just basically that I am such a strange person, I remind them of someone who hasn't even been made up yet. Wow. So if I was a cartoon character, I would be myself, except maybe a slightly exaggerated one...though sometimes I feel like all I am is just an exaggerated version of myself, in front of any audience anyway (which, isn't that all a cartoon is? An exaggerated version of a person or people and their shenanigans for the audience?).

To be honest, if I was a cartoon, if my life was, it wouldn't need to reach too far for ideas. Sometimes I think that my life is so crazy I couldn't even make this shit up. 

Someday I really do hope to be a character, which I know that is a strange goal to have, but the best thing about cartoons is they can die in every episode and still come back the next week.



Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: My Soundtrack


Time for another Top Ten Tuesday with Sticky Fings!  This week's topic: The Top Ten Songs that would make up the Soundtrack to Your Life

My Soundtrack is a Box Set.  Like my blog it has no specific style, no genre, it's just ME.  It would be made up of the songs that make me feel the feels, that take me back to a time and place and sometimes a person, the songs I go to when I need to feel better, the songs I sang my heart out to because that is just what you do sometimes.  But... here's 10 that stand out.

1. The first time I heard this song...I felt like it could've have been written by me.  Like I'm always pushing to be all of these things I know I'll be and want to be that sometimes I just forget to sit back and enjoy the ride and remember that I will always be growing and changing.



2. Alanis Morissette makes the list more than once.  I rocked out to Jagged Little Pill so hard that the entire album ESPECIALLY the hidden track "Your House" which I'm going to include also because it's sad, but so 90's Alanis and awesome.  





3.  Because I'm a bitch, and because I'm a little bit of everything all rolled into one.



4.  Because I really feel like everything falls apart and then I get to put it all back together.  This song is full of humor and truth.  



5.  Brings me back to the summer of 2000.  It was the best of times and the worst of times.  I spent the days fishing and making questionable decisions but... the entire Sublime c.d. was the soundtrack to that summer. 


6.  Ani DiFranco's "Not a Pretty Girl" rocked me.  She's all over the soundtrack, but especially this song. 




7.  I'm an ICP fan.  Yup.  This is my favorite Insane Clown Posse song and the world's most epic bad fucking day song.  Just hit repeat until you give no more fucks and life feels better.



8.  This was one of my Dad's favorite songs.  It later became one of mine. 



9.  This song has one volume for me.  AS LOUD AS POSSIBLE.



10.  I love Sugarland.  I sing almost everything loud and proud.  This is one of my favorites.


So... there's 10 completely random songs that would be on the soundtrack to my life.  I hope you'll head over to Sticky Fings and see what is on her soundtrack!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sunday Confession: At The Doctor



This week's topic:
AT THE DOCTOR


I sat in the waiting room.  Head down.  Not looking at anyone around me.   Anxious.  Embarrassed.  Dreading the moment when I would be called back for my appointment and I would have to explain why I was there.

When the nurse called my name, I got up and collected my things.  She took my height.  Then my weight.  As I walked with the nurse to my exam room I tried to remember what I had weighed before my surgery (the week I started dating my ex) and as I quickly did the math I realized just how detrimental my former relationship had been to my waistline.  The knowledge of just how substantial my weight gain was during the relationship only brought my already hanging head lower to my chest.

I talked to the nurse who took my blood pressure and asked me questions about current medications and when I had quit smoking.  I picked at my hangnails as I waited for my Physician's Assistant to come in.  I cried as I explained to her what had brought me there that day, discussed what I felt I needed and her professional recommendations, and then decided on a plan of action.  She left the room so I could take my clothes off and change into a gown for the exam.

We made chit chat about her kids, how my nephew was doing and what other changes had happened in my life since the last time I had seen her.  The exam was fast and I hoped that meant everything would be fine.  As she walked out she advised me to get dressed and she would be back momentarily.

Maybe I was overreacting.  Maybe I was paranoid.  As I sat there scared and humiliated...it occurred to me how many other people had sat there feeling the same way for the same reason, for different reasons, for reasons I couldn't imagine or understand, for reasons so much more serious than mine.

And then I remembered being in a similar office at another time thinking about how my life could change and it would take less than a minute to happen.  It felt exactly the same and it was for something completely different.

In the end, I was overreacting.  I was paranoid.  And thankfully, I was perfectly fine... but what about all of those other people?  What about those people who weren't overreacting?  Who weren't paranoid?  Who weren't fine?

When I'm at the doctor, even for the smallest things...that's what I think about whether I want to or not.  And then I send some kind words and love and hope out into the Universe for those people who might not have been so lucky.


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Prison Issues More Than Playboy "Felons"

Is there anyone who does not know who Jeremy Meeks is at this point?

This screen shot of the Stockton Police Department photo posted on Facebook was taken at 03:40 June 21, 2014 

82,064 people Liked this photo.  10,676 Shared it.  And there were 23,085 Comments at the time this screenshot was taken.  

#FelonCrushFriday became a popular trend on Twitter.

Facebook Pages have been created and his mother even started a GoFundMe page.

I hesitated to say anything.  I tried not to read the comments and discussions and arguments.  In fact, I vowed that I wouldn't and I managed not to until someone wanted to talk about it at work and I was asked my opinion. 

I hesitated to say anything because I have submitted myself to pat downs and walked through metal detectors for visitation.  I have accepted collect phone calls.  I have sent and received mail week after week.  I have experienced judgement, been the butt of jokes, and even lost friendships because I have friends and people I love who have been or are in various stages of the justice system or are incarcerated.

That being said... the barrage of comments I've seen about this have sickened, saddened and angered me.  I personally find this to be disgusting, but not for the reasons you might think. 

When you care about someone who is incarcerated, it is hard to see so many people who genuinely believe that everyone who has been in jail or prison is a piece of garbage.  Sometimes in life, people make bad decisions ...that doesn't necessarily make them bad people; Obviously that statement does not apply to every person ever convicted of a crime and to say otherwise would be ignorant. I will never say that someone who has broken a law shouldn't pay their debt to society or have consequences for their actions, but people can make mistakes and have severe lapses in judgement that led to incarceration without being "monsters" or "garbage", just as there might be people in your life and possibly even on your Facebook Friends' list who are monsters and might never see the inside of the cell they so richly deserve.

A "felon" by definition is a person who has been convicted in a court of law of a felony crime.  "What do you think of the FELON?", "who cares about the felon?", "People who think a convicted FELON is sexy are desperate".  Is there a point where we should stop using nouns like "felon" to refer to someone?  I realize that Jeremy Meeks is, in fact, a convicted felon who has just been charged with more crimes, but I wonder...does that ever stop being a descriptive noun for someone who has committed a felony?  Do we only stop using those words when they're famous like Martha Stewart or Mark Wahlberg?  Do we stop calling them that after paying their debt to society?  Maybe years after the crime was committed it is less appropriate?  And if not... does that mean we should publicly refer to people who are adulterers, cheaters, thieves, bullies, liars and other such nouns as such forever in spite of how much time has gone by or whatever life changes they may have made?

The fact that I care about people in the system does not make me ignorant, desperate, stupid, or needy as so many commentators on this situation would have you believe.  Yes, there are people out there who seek relationships with inmates who have problems up to and including self-esteem issues and being ignorant, desperate, stupid and needy but that doesn't mean EVERYONE is like that.  To assume such a thing is like assuming that all people who get married do so because they are incapable of being independent.  Is that true?  Sometimes it is.  But to assume such a thing about all married people is just plain fucking stupid (and yes, that's a shitty and silly example but so is the assumption).

I am not disgusted by the fact that people find Jeremy Meeks attractive.  Lots of of people go to jail/prison who do not meet the ugly, scary, mean, nasty, uneducated, "ghetto", or creepy stereotypes or mental images that people who do not have a loved on the other side of the bars might have.  I do, however, find myself saddened and disgusted at the fact that Jeremy Meeks never had a chance at a fair trial and still doesn't...it just appears that the pendulum may have swung in his favor.  Which leads me to what I find to be the most disgusting parts of this entire situation.

Our justice system in the United States is flawed, and when I say that I mean it is fatally flawed in that people die as a result of how fucked up it is.  I used to believe, like so many others, that our justice system is unbiased, fair, and based on facts.  I used to believe that people who are incarcerated MUST be guilty of the crimes which they were convicted of because it seems so impossible that an innocent person could be wrongly convicted in spite of all the measures taken to prevent such a thing.  Take for example, the case of five men who were exonerated in the Central Park Jogger case who agreed to settle their suit for $40 million just this last week.  

Jeremy Meeks has a pretty intense criminal history.  He is not a first time offender.  The charges facing him are serious and shouldn't be made light of with comments like "FREE JEREMY WITH HIS SEXY ASS! GIVE HIM HOUSE ARREST, at my place. I'll keep him handcuff to my bed, I PROMISE".  Jeremy Meeks was pretty much convicted the moment he was arrested as a result of his former convictions.  While I don't necessarily believe Jeremy Meeks is not guilty, I also feel I have to acknowledge the fact that even when people with a criminal record do change and attempt to live a law-abiding life (both rare concurrences according to recidivism numbers, but it DOES happen) they will forever be "guilty until proven innocent".  

What disgusts me is the fact that this is a clear cut example of just how fickle both people and our justice system are.  Jeremy's mother has set up a GoFundMe account and at this moment in time $2,015 has been raised by 123 people.  While I'm sure it will go to either his defense team or to support his family, the fact of the matter is these donations are not being made because there is evidence that Jeremy is being wrongly accused (at least not that I have seen at this time).  The comments being made by those making donations include, "Donating to good looking people today" and "Because it's the Christian thing to do, good luck from one hottie to another", and "Here's to your second chance".  If people did not find Jeremy attractive, he would not be receiving this attention and this kind of money would not have been donated.  I wonder if these same people have donated to the other men arrested in the same case; I highly doubt it, but the question I pose is... if this isn't about looks, if it is really about second chances and doing the "Christian thing", don't the people arrested with Jeremy Meeks deserve donations too?

The GoFundMe account has raised just under $3,000 in the time it took me to write this post.  I doubt that there will be enough money raised to post his $1 million dollar bail, but stranger things have happened.  I don't know if I believe enough money will be raised to actually get Jeremy an attorney instead of a public defender, but I suspect there may be an attorney out there willing to take the case pro bono or at a reduced fee in light of the media coverage.  But the media attention and the fact that there is any money being raised at all means Jeremy has a lot more going for him than anyone who might be in a similar situation or facing less serious charges and not as attractive to the general public who will receive a public defender, no words of support, and definitely will not have any money raised for their defense or to support their children.  

But the WORST and most disgusting part of this entire thing?  The fact that this guy's face is plastered everywhere - Facebook, major news media, newpapers across the world- and for what?  I've met and have known some very attractive, intelligent and downright charming people who are serving time.  It is a waste of time to talk about what kind of people go to jail/prison because good people, bad people, ugly people, sexy people, religious people, non-religious people, thin people, fat people, tall people, short people, old people, young people...they all go to jail and at the end of the day, they're all people - someone's child, spouse, sibling, cousin, parent, grandparent.  The most disgusting thing about this entire situation has nothing to do with Jeremy Meeks himself but the fact there is this big news coverage and all of these discussions and debates going on about this... and you know what isn't being talked about on such a grand scale?  
  • How flawed our laws and justice systems are and it doesn't matter whether you're a victim of a crime or you have committed a crime because both sides suffer the consequences of having a system that is so incredibly fucked up.
  • To add to the conversation about how our systems are flawed... the things that we could be doing differently to prevent murders in our country.  A good friend and fellow blogger sent me this TED Talk,  "Lessons from death row inmates", by David R. Dow.  In it, David talks about the similarities between death row inmates and "proposes a bold plan, one that prevents murder in the first place."
  • Reducing prison recidivism rates, which is especially important in an economy where people are struggling to find jobs with college educations.  If our college graduates are "settling" for jobs outside of their fields for less than desirable wages because competition is tough, it is virtually impossible for someone with a criminal record (especially a felony record) to find gainful employment upon release. 
  • The fact that prison is a profitable industry.  Who is making this profit? What are the advantages/disadvantages to legalizing the contracting of prison labor by private corporations that mount their operations inside state prisons?  Is it exploiting or abusing inmates by paying them far below minimum wage (according to the following article, less that $2/hour) to produce goods for incredibly large brandssuch at Motorola, Microsoft, Texas Instrument, Dell, Compaq,  Nordstrom’s, Revlon, Macy’s, and Target Stores?  What impact does moving production operations from our communities into our prisons have on local economies?  The Prison Industry in the United States: Big Business or a New Form of Slavery?
"To put this in terms that more people can identify with, would you trust a hospital to deliver your baby if it had an 11% minimum rate of swapping babies at birth? If there were an 11% chance minimum that you would walk out of the hospital with the wrong child, would you still use it? Would you still have faith in it? "  
  • Prison conditions.  I know some people just don't care about the conditions of any prison because they believe anyone who is there is garbage.  What I will say is that when we choose to punish people by denying them their freedom, that does not mean we should treat them inhumanely or in a way that is abusive.  I feel that we have an even greater responsibility to provide an environment that is clean, safe, and conducive to rehabilitation because at the end of the day...most offenders have a release date.

    I would also like to acknowledge that people with white-collar crimes are often seen as "not as bad" as those with violent charges.  While I do not subscribe to that belief wholeheartedly for those who do I emphasize that there are not "special" prisons for people who have committed crimes that are victimless or white collar.  Prison is prison and while there is a difference between minimum, medium and maximum facilities...at some point, people with felonies on the complete opposite ends of the violence spectrum can and will encounter each other.  It is not out of the realm of possibility and therefor impossible to say "people who physically hurt people deserve worse treatment than people who only steal or evade taxes" because it is all the same prison, same care standards, same food, same conditions.  To put this in perspective, in the popular Netflix show "Orange is the New Black", Pieper Chapman is surrounded by other prisoners who are incarcerated for a variety of offenses, some considerably more violent than her own including a woman who accidentally shot a child, a woman who shot an abortion clinic worker, and a woman who murdered a client after he abused one of her immigrant child workers.  While the show has been acknowledged as being merely inspired by true events, it is a fact nonetheless that in most states non-violent offenders co-mingle with violent offenders.  
  • Are our prison conditions creating future problems for us?  Some people feel that incarcerated individuals deserve whatever they get nutritionally and otherwise.  In 2012, studies came out showing that the foods served in prisons might actually be more nutritious than food fed to school children.  I would be interested to see a numbers comparison.  Either way, I think it is a crime to feed anyone the over-processed, high sodium gruel that passes for being food in either institution.  However... the difference is that prisoners have no choice.  What I mean by that is prisoners eat the food they are given by choice or by force, and the only other option for inmates who work or have family who supports them is a selection of commissary items such as this selection from JL Marcus.  We're basically creating overweight people with bad cholesterol and high blood pressure due to high sodium, over-processed foods in a high stress environment with low activity levels who upon release will most likely not be able to procure gainful employment to support themselves, much less employment with benefits, who will need to be supported by the state.

    I would also like to mention that there is very little acknowledgement by the people who publish studies about prison food and by people who comment on the quality of prison food about "Johnny Sacks".  A Johnny Sack is the type of meal fed to incarcerated individuals during a "lock down" which consists of two "sack lunches" (one for breakfast and one for lunch) usually consisting of a peanut butter or slimy green bologna sandwich made from stale and sometimes even moldy bread, maybe a piece of fruit, and warm milk or red "juice".
  • The Death Penalty.  I struggle with my stance on the death penalty.  I admit there are crimes I've heard about where even I felt that capital punishment would be the only appropriate sentencing.  That doesn't mean however that I don't know all of the reasons why it should be abolished including the financial benefit to sentencing convicted people to life without parole, the fact that there is no evidence that shows capital punishment deters crime, the knowledge that innocent people have been executed, the influence of race, and the knowledge that the money spent executing an offender is money NOT being spent to help assist victims and families of victims.  Whether you agree with me or not, the fact of the matter is that it IS something we need to be talking about no matter what side of the argument you are on.
  • Botched Executions.  While some people believe in "eye for an eye" or that people should "suffer" for their crimes, I am of the belief that we are not better than the people who have committed acts of depravity against us if our solution is to commit the same acts of depravity against them as "justice".  It only shows how capable we all are of such unspeakable things.  We should never lose our humanity in the pursuit of justice, because if we do...then what is the point?
When all is said and done...the sad fact remains that huge amounts of media attention has gone to one man with a "sexy" mugshot instead of the many various and serious problems within our country, especially concerning our Justice and Corrections systems.  Perhaps if everyone were more educated about just how flawed our system is as well as more active in reforming the system Jeremy Meeks could have really been a model and not Calvin Klein What-If Meme.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Soft, Sweet Feet

I don't have naturally soft, beautiful feet.  *Gasp!*

I don't know what it is... genetics, years standing on my feet at work, wearing my shoes without gel insoles (I don't know if those actually do anything, I'm just speculating)...it's probably because I spend as much of my time as I can barefoot or in flip flops.  But for years I did not have pretty feet.

Just to give you an idea of how bad things were, the first time I got a pedicure, the technician told me she was going to make me sweep the floor before I left because of all the stuff that came off of my feet.  Yes, she actually said that to me and it was humiliating. (Read Why I Do my Own Nails).

 I spent years fighting whatever it is or was that gave me such horrid heels.  I never thought they were beautiful.  They were dry.  They were calloused and tough.  My heels were cracked.  And I couldn't find ANYTHING that worked. I couldn't afford regular pedicures as a struggling twenty something and after my first experience I didn't want them.  I bought scrubs, shavers, scrapers, lotions and potions.  I spent hours scrubbing.  I slathered my feet in acids, petroleum products, and vitamin oils and spent nights wearing gel socks that left grease spots on my sheets.  I treated myself for foot fungus thinking that could be the cause.  I tried everything and nothing ever really worked. .

So, how Lots and lots of trial and error with just about everything she could find on the market.  Whether you're looking for sandal worthy tootsies or looking to add "foot model" to your resume, this is what I'm doing and using for soft feet....



What I don't recommend:

If you don't know what this is... they're commonly called callous shavers.  They come in a variety of different styles but you're basically taking a razor to the bottom of your foot.  I went through two before I learned better.  I do not recommend it for a variety of reasons but the most important one being that you can seriously hurt yourself.  While I never really cut myself, shaving off too much is incredibly easy to do and can leave you in pain, not to mention walking funny.  



Pumi Foot File by Mr. Pumice... I just didn't like these.  As someone with really rough feet who needed to use it frequently, I found that the price just wasn't right for the thin layer of pumice that I really needed. Though perhaps it would work for you or for milder use. 


Metal Foot Rasps - These work really great for some people.  They didn't work so great for me.  It didn't matter if I used it on dry feet or feet that had been soaked.  Yes, it helped a little bit but it is kind of like using the side of the cheese grater with the small holes... it doesn't really get you anywhere fast. 


Don't even bother with this thing.  I bought it because I walk around barefoot and this seemed like a good, easy solution for dirty feet.  What a waste of money!  I had one in my shower and found that the suction cups on the bottom don't stick well enough for even the most mild scrubbing.  That being said... don't even try using the pumice stone on the back.  After awhile, the suction cups just came off of the thing and I threw it out.  Very disappointed.  


What I AM doing:

First things first...this is going to take some time.  Almost every step can be achieved in 15 minutes or less, but because there are multiple things it will probably seem like more.  Once certain steps become routine and you're doing them regularly it will be easier and faster.


For starters, I'm not against a good scrubbing or soak.  I enjoy pedicures in spa baths (even though I shouldn't because most are notoriously dirty).  But I don't want to have to soak at home... I just prefer not to do it.  I wash my feet and I DO take baths, but I don't have a foot spa nor am I sitting around with my feet in some kind of container "soaking".  I just don't have it in me.  There are lots of soaking recipes out there including the Listerine Soak, or using Shaving Cream...I personally just don't have the patience, nor have I see any mind-blowing reviews that make me want to try it.  Perhaps I'm missing out but...what I'm doing works for me.

A few years ago, I went looking for a Ped Egg.  The store no longer carried them, which seemed incredibly unfortunate so I took a walk down the beauty aisle and ended up finding one of these beauties.  The Revlon Pedi-Expert Nail File.
It works like a DREAM.  I checked out a few online demonstrations of the Ped Egg before trying it out.  Some helpful tips...  it says to use it dry.  I'm not so good at listening to directions so I have used it on wet feet.  You can hurt yourself doing that.  So...use the Pedi-Expert on DRY feet.  If you have severe callouses or cracked heels you will see almost immediate improvement but you're not going to get 100% turnaround because you can only slough off so much stuff at once.

The Pedi-Expect has two pieces.  The "serious" grater and what appears to be a metal file.  I never use the metal file because I just feel like it isn't all that effective.  The Pedi-Expert also catches what comes off your feet, which if you're like me gives you a totally weird sense of satisfaction.  The Pedi-Expert made my feet look better the first time I used it in less than 20 minutes and I did it while I watched my favorite show.

At this point, if I want to be done I slather on some lotion, put on socks and I'm done for the night.  But about once or twice a month I do a full pedicure and take some extra steps which I don't find are really necessary for weekly treatments but can be beneficial.


After using the Pedi-Expert, I climb into the shower and use a pumice.  I think just about any pumice will do though I find that I prefer one with a rougher side and a softer side because I don't use the "file" side of the Pedi-Expert.  I like to start with the rougher side, then the softer side because I feel like it gives a better, softer "finish".  This Mr. Pumice Coarse/Medium 2 in 1 is my favorite.




During the week when I don't want severity of a pumice (or to take the time to do it), I scrub with a body scrub or a facial scrub like St. Ive's.  I do this a minimum of once a week, but usually about every other day.  I DO NOT recommend using a homemade body scrub for this as most are made with coconut oil or olive oil...safety first.  If you want to make your own scrub, I suggest mixing one part liquid soap or your regular body wash with 2 parts sugar, brown sugar, coarse salt or used coffee grounds (which I find to be a mess, but you might not).  If the scrub is too dry, add a little more until it is the consistency of your liking.  Also, I do this the morning after I paint my toenails because sometimes I get a little sloppy.


Last, but not least, MOISTURIZE!  I've tried a lot of things including Vaseline, various foot lotions, Kerasal, and the thing I've found I like the most is Julep Mint Condition Pedi Creme.  You can purchase it from Amazon, but I enjoy being a Julep Maven for all of the great discounts, polish and products.  I highly recommend the subscription service and if you click the link about and use code FREEBOX you'll get your first box free! I squeeze a little on and rub it in before pulling on some cotton socks.  The next day, I have nice, soft and smooth feet.  

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sunday Confession: Temptation


This week's topic: 
TEMPTATION

Tempt.

Tempted.

Tempting.

Temptation.

I don't know about you but... I love the word Temptation.  When I hear the word temptation... I can't help but think of naughtiness and stolen kisses.

Clearly there isn't much going on in my world or my brain wouldn't be running in  chea, grocery store romance novel mode.  It's like a cheesy chick flick in there constantly lately.

My life is not without temptation right now.  Just not the intense, sexy sex kind I'm afraid.

I'm learning how to live independently again.  Obviously, I've been doing it for awhile however I didn't realize just how badly I'd gotten about money.  For a brief moment in time, I could afford to be frivolous with cash...and I was.  I never had that before, but unfortunately I had a relationship that was devoid of things like temptation and passion and I spent a lot of time spending money to make up for it.  Buying whatever I could to try and ease some of my dissatisfaction with it all.

Now that I'm responsible for all of the bills again, I'm struggling not to buy whatever I want when I want to, pay the bills first, and focus on my goals.  Every day is a temptation not to buy dinner on the way home, not buy that nail polish that I don't really need, read the flyer and shop the sales versus buying whatever I want for dinner no matter the price.  It's hard.

I'm trying to bring sexy back.  But there is constant temptation to eat ALL THE THINGS and it just never stops.  I wish I could find some way to make exercise tempting and sexy.

I miss Bonehead.  Every weekend I fight the temptation to go see him.  To rock out in the car to the music that touches my soul, sing out at the top of my lungs as I drive and then get to spend time with him just being me in a more honest way than I can be with most people.

2014 began with me believing that this year was going to be a year of growth for me.  I convinced myself of it.  I spent so much of the first part of the year distracting myself with other people and their issues that I haven't really been focusing on myself and I continue to be tempted to do so every day.  As a result of that, I've been tempted to turn off all connections to the outside world.

Temptation.... it is an every day thing, but I'm starting to wish it was more of the Harlequin romance variety.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

What If Wednesday: What if I could do whatever I want today?

Today's Topic: What If...I could do whatever I want today?

Only 5-10 minutes of writing....GO!


This morning I slept in late and was 15 minutes late for work.  On my way out the door, I noticed the cat had left me a super fun, obviously projectile, little present on the back of the couch.  A little present I had to pretend I didn't see because I'm already late for work.  

That's so gross.  I know.  But I had no option.  It will be waiting for me when I get home. 

It's a beautiful day in Wisconsin today.  The sun is shining, and it is a touch warm but the wind is blowing in that perfect way to keep things just cool enough. 

If I could do whatever I wanted today, I would have dealt with the gross mess right away and then jumped in the shower.  Then gotten dressed, and driven to the post office to see if any mail has come my way.  I might stop somewhere for breakfast and coffee

Maybe I would renew my fishing license and spent a quiet day next to the river fishing or writing a letter next to the water.  Or just go to the beach.  It's been a long time since I went to the beach.

Maybe I would grill dinner.  Maybe I would go out to eat at some place with a patio... maybe a Mexican Restaurant because I love fajitas that come to the table still sizzling on a cast iron pan. 

Sometimes this whole employment thing is overrated. 


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sunday Confessions: Resilient

Welcome to another Sunday Confessions!


This week's topic: 
RESILIENT

My Sunday Confession this week?  I'm not sure that I am personally resilient anymore.  One day, a long time ago I may have been but now I'm not so sure.  

I've struggled with resilience.  And lately, the only thing that has spurred me on is seeing how resilient the people around me are. 

I could go into the details, but it doesn't feel right to write about other people's struggles even if their resilience inspires me to just keep pushing to bounce back. 

In the last 6 months I've watched people close to me try to spring back from struggles I've both known and struggles I've never had to deal with.  And they've handled it with as much grace as I've ever seen anyone muster.  But what really inspires me is when there is an ending to the struggle... there is joy, and that is what I'm holding on to.  That at the end of it all, if and when I bounce back....hopefully there will be joy.






Friday, June 6, 2014

Secret Subject Swap: My Perfect Summer Day

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week, 15 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.




Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

http://www.BakingInATornado.com                          Baking In A Tornado
http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/                          Spatulas on Parade
http://stacysewsandschools.blogspot.com/                      Stacy Sews and Schools
http://dinoheromommy.com/                                    Dinosaur Superhero Mommy
http://www.juiceboxconfession.com                      Juicebox Confession
http://morethancheeseandbeer.blogspot.com           More Than Cheese and Beer
http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/                          Confessions of a part-time working mom
http://www.someoneelsesgenius.com                     Someone Else’s Genius
http://sparklyjenn.blogspot.com/                        Sparkly Poetic Weirdo
http://www.crumpetsandbollocks.com                    Crumpets and Bullocks
http://fbxadventures.blogspot.com                      FBX Adventures (In Parenting)
http://elleroywashere.com                                  elleroy was here
http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com                  Climaxed
http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com                The Bergham’s Life Chronicles
http://www.eviljoyspeaks.wordpress.com               Evil Joy Speaks

My subject is “Summer has arrived. Finally. What is your perfect summer day?  How are you going to make it happen?”.  It was submitted by Evil Joy Speaks.  Here goes:


What is my perfect summer day?  I've had so many.

When I was in high school, my perfect summer day was sleeping in just a little bit.  Then getting up and showering, putting my hair in pigtails, getting dressed and calling my boyfriend.  He'd come pick me up and we would swing by the gas station for Gatorade and bait, then head to our favorite fishing spot.  We'd fish for hours, sometimes talking about whatever came up, sometimes sitting in silence, or I'd occasionally bring a book.  If the fishing was good we'd stay in one place, if not we'd move after a few hours.  Eventually we'd get to a point where we'd had enough and we would head home.  I'd be dropped off that the door with a kiss and plans to meet up after we'd showered and changed to go to dinner.  Then we would go out for dinner and rent a movie.  At some point, when the sun would go down and the air would cool I would get just a little bit cold and then I would want warm chocolate.  Then we would sneak off to Krispy Kreme in the middle of the night for a hot chocolate with a shot of Krispy Kreme flavoring.  So delicious.

Sometimes, we would just get in the car and drive.  We'd have our fishing poles in the trunk, debit cards in our wallets and we'd hit the road to see what we could see and we'd end up going on a day trip somewhere and having a great time seeing things.

As I got older, a perfect summer day became a beautiful Saturday.  Getting up and having a cup of coffee, dressing and maybe going to the farmers market and finding some good deals and fresh veggies, maybe buying a bouquet to be brought home.  Maybe I would meet a friend for a light lunch at a fun little restaurant downtown.  Then I'd come home and garden, or spend the day out on the lawn writing.  It would end with a delicious grilled dinner...kabobs, maybe some rice pilaf, and a nice glass of wine.

The definition of a perfect summer day has changed over the years.  I think at this point in my life my perfect summer day is a beautiful day that is sunny and warm with a slight breeze and the smell of cut grass and hot grills and flowers.  It's not having to do anything but what I want to do.  It's cold, delicious drinks and ice cream treats.  It is flip flops and pedicures and toe rings.  It's kicking off the flip flops and walking barefoot.  It's the taste of fresh in locally grown fruits and vegetables.

I don't know how I'm going to make it happen, but I'm just going to enjoy the sun when I can and move where the spirit moves me and make the most of it when I can.  At the end of the day, that's really all any of us can do.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday


It's Top Ten Tuesday with Sticky Fings!  This week:
TOP TEN THINGS YOU WILL NEVER HEAR YOUR HUSBAND SAY TO ANOTHER MAN

*SIGH*  Not married.  But I feel confident enough to cover this one and if I run out of inspiration, I'll think about Bonehead. 

1.  "I'll go with you"  (in response to "I'm just going to run to the bathroom")

2.  "I'm over on my allotted calories/Weight Watchers Points for the day." 

3.  "I don't understand why *insert favorite football team* has to have such ugly, clashing colors." 

4.  "I really need to find a new hair stylist, where do you go?"

5.  "Thank you for understanding me." 

6.  Admit to buying "feminine supplies" for wife, girlfriend, daughter... ever. 

7.  Size discussion.  Men usually know how they rate among the men around them (if they've known each other a long time, gym showers, whatever).  I don't care what they say, they know.  They're just not talking about it. 

8.  "I'm tired of football, let's watch a Meg Ryan movie!"

9.  "Ugh, I wish I looked like that naked."

10.  "Omg!  I'm so freaked out.  Hold my hand!"


Sunday, June 1, 2014