Looking for Happiness


This week was rather difficult.  I got a large unexpected credit card bill, actually, this brought the grand total of my recent credit card bills up to over two thousand dollars, over the course of the last three months.  That was what was on top of the past due amount of over three thousand dollars.  This is the last card that I have to pay off, however at this rate I’ll never do it.  I feel like Sisyphus, and my free-spending husband is the rock.  This is what happens when you get married to someone whose money-management skills caused the rent to be over-due by three months, and the electric to be shut off due to non-payment in the fourth month after you married.  Needless to say, I pay the bills now.


But, I digress.  The recent past included the wonderful experience of my first Thanksgiving with Tofurky.  I couldn’t believe how good it tasted, and the smell of the spices cooking filled my house with deliciousness.  It has taken all these years for Tofurky to make an appearance at my local grocery store.  It was one of those mystical beasts that we’d always heard of, but never seen.  Our Thanksgiving dinner was peaceful and filled with love.  I hope that yours was also.


Another happy occurrence was that we finally got some rain.  Not a lot, but some.  And, since we’re in an extreme drought, that was a good thing!  In my town, some people have lost their wells, and they’ve had to have the well-driller come and drill deeper.  Luckily, we’ve got a deep well, but this is still a little bit of worry for me.  Yes, I am a real world-class worrier.


The leaves are finally picked up.  We had some really high winds, and it cleaned most of them out.  What’s left will probably not come down until spring.  So, another fall related chore is done!   What are some of your wonderful happy things that have taken place recently?  Share them in the comments below.


Finding Out What You Want


I am trying to find out what I want.  That sounds like a silly thing to say, but all my life I’ve been working toward making other people happy.  When I was in high school, I wanted to be an Egyptologist.  It seemed like an extremely interesting and exciting thing to me, I was an avid reader of all things Egypt – from fiction to archeologist’s findings to the history of the various dynasties.  I had been immersing myself in the history of Egypt for years.  However, I was told that I could only go to a state school; my school counselor had been called by my mother and told not to tell me about any scholarships I could get; so I didn’t even know that I could have gotten any.  My choices had been taken away from me, and I was too naïve to know that I could have gotten information anywhere else.  This was a long time before the internet.  Unfortunately, I went along, taking a B.S. degree in something that I had no interest in; but to make myself happy I also got a B.A. degree in English (in the usual four years).  I never did work in my “chosen” field, instead getting my Paralegal Certificate.


Once I was married, I tried to make my husband happy, then my two children.  I’m still trying to make everyone around me happy, since they all still live here.  In fact, a good part of my day goes into doing all the “little” things that make other people happy.  Running errands, waiting at the DMV, going to stores to “pick something up” for someone else.  I’m tired of it.  Seriously tired.  I’m tired of wearing clothes that are years and years old, not buying anything new (or nice); not cutting my hair; not going to the doctor – since I’m not bringing in much money, I feel like I don’t deserve any of these things.


Self-esteem; self-confidence; self-love.  These are all things that I’m sure lots of people struggle with.  I’m working on it, but it feels like slogging up a hill in knee-high mud.  Does anyone else feel this way?  Let me know if you do, and what you do to push forward.  Thanks.

Goals for August


Okay I know, the first was on Monday, so as usual, I’m just a little late to the party.  What can I say?  My weekend was spent dealing with some ridiculous gas-lighting issues, so I never did get around to writing down my goals until Monday afternoon.


So, with no further ado (Shakespeare anyone?) here are my goals:

  1. Workout every day during the month of August. The sun’s going to bake us anyway, so why worry about it – just keep going.
  2. Write three chapters, and do the illustrations too.
  3. Put at least two laundry baskets worth of “stuff” from the basement in the “swap shop” at the dump.
  4. Do something about the fact that we’re missing so many curtains. Make some?
  5. Work on quilting.
  6. Start collecting information and setting up post ideas for September.


Alright, I think that’s a good list.  I’ll let you know at the end of the month how it went.  What are your goals for the month?



Taking Care of Yourself


When I was a new mother, one of the first things people would say to me was that I needed to take care of myself, and that I wouldn’t be able to take care of my children if I didn’t take care of myself.  I always thought that was a pretty funny thing to say to a person who was up at all hours of the night and breast-feeding on demand.  Granted I’d always had a problem with the whole “take care of yourself” deal.  I’d always been such a low maintenance type person, that the idea of taking care of myself was completely foreign to me.  I’ve never dyed my hair; I’ve got blond eyebrows so there is little need of even tweezing them; I don’t wear nail polish so when my nails get too long I just cut them (no filing required); I shave my legs every so often (again the gift of blond hair); and I don’t usually use make-up.  Just what is this “taking care of yourself” thing?


As I’ve gotten older, I realize that I really do need to indulge in some “self-care”.  If left to themselves, my eyebrows can get a real Gandalf thing going on.  Maybe I should try to at least look like a “grown-up” sometimes.  It’s not really okay to go years without cutting your hair, not to mention periodically hacking off your bangs, hoping that you didn’t cut them on an angle, and if you did, trying to fluff out what’s left to hide the fact.  And, I don’t really have to look like I just came up from the back 40 all the time.  This can include wearing those jeans that I have to haul up from falling off my butt since they’re as old as the hills and no longer fit.  Unfortunately, my idea of getting dressed up includes wearing what my daughter has informed me is known as “athleisure”.  My response is, “but it’s comfortable!” said with a whine in my voice.  Really, does she want me to look like the Queen?

But, all that being said, I do get the healthy reasons for taking care of yourself.  After all, I make sure that I eat right, exercise and go to bed at a decent hour.  So, I understand that part.  It’s actually anything that translates into the “looks” department that I have a hard time with.  I don’t really know where that all came from, but I’m trying.  I’ve been replacing my Elmer Fudd wardrobe with “athleisure” since it’s nice and comfy, and actually looks decent.  And, I’ve been impressed with the fact that I do need to have a few pieces that are really “dress up” clothes.


Small steps.  I’ll report on this process as it goes on.  How about you?  What do you do to take care of yourself?

Fresh Peach and Blueberry Pie – Vegan Recipe


I haven’t posted any vegan recipes for quite a while now, and I thought that I’d share this pie that I made on Sunday morning with you.  My family loves it, so I hope that it’ll be a hit with you, too.


I used the Fresh Peach Pie recipe found in my copy of the Betty Crocker Cookbook that I received upon my marriage from my Mom.  She was hoping that I would become a better cook, but unfortunately, to this day I remain a much better baker than a cook.  Here’s the recipe with one or two changes for those of us who prefer the vegan version, along with the ever important blueberries, of course:

9-inch pie:

Pastry for 9-inch two-crust pie

4 cups sliced fresh peaches (about 7 medium peaches)

2 pints fresh blueberries

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 cup sugar

¼ cup all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur flour since it’s un-bleached, but of course you can use any kind you prefer)

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon or so of almond extract

1 tablespoon vegan butter

Heat oven to 425o  Prepare pastry.  Mix peaches, blueberries, lemon juice, sugar, flour, cinnamon and almond extract.  Turn into pastry in pie plate; dot with vegan butter.  Cover with top crust that has slits cut in it; seal and flute.  Brush vegan milk on the top; sprinkle with sugar.  I put the pie on top of a cookie sheet as my pies tend to bubble over – it could just be that I’m a messy person, and make messy food, but I’d rather do that then clean the oven.  I completely cover the top with aluminum foil, as my oven tends to burn the top.  I then remove the foil for the last 15 or so minutes of baking.

Bake until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through slits in the crust, 35 to 45 minutes.  Take out, cool and serve!


If you do use the recipe, let me know if you enjoyed the pie.

Goal Setting and Attaining the Life You Want


Over the past few months I’ve gotten out of the habit of setting goals for the week on Sundays.  I’m not really sure why I stopped, but stop I did.  (That sounded a little like Yoda).  And, I’m sure it’s not a coincidence that I really haven’t been working on any of my long-term goals lately, either.


So, I wrote my goals down yesterday along with the much needed steps to get there.  One of my main goals this week will be finishing the second chapter for my children’s book along with the illustrations to go with it.  I’ve been dragging my feet on the drawings, since I’m definitely not an artist.   What are your goals this week?  Have you been working on them consistently?  Let me know.


Change is Hard


I thought I’d just share a little about my progress and add some positive quotes to help anyone else who is on a transformation quest.  For a long time I’ve been an all or nothing type of person.  As an example, I’ve thought that if I don’t get up at 4:30 every morning and work out it means I’m a failure and I shouldn’t ever work out.  All or nothing.  Of course that kind of thinking just dooms you to failure, since I find it’s impossible to always get up that early.  Life happens: you may not be able to fall asleep until 2 in the morning; maybe you’ve got a cold…etc.  So, are you supposed to just stop?  Well, that’s what I did in the past – if I wasn’t perfect, I’d just stop.  So, what am I doing now?  I’m putting on my big girl panties and dealing with it.  So what if I missed a day or two, or even three?  No one is perfect, so why should I be expecting perfection of myself.  After all, I don’t do anything else perfectly, (as anyone who has eaten my dinners can attest), why should exercise be the only area of my life where perfection rules.


 Change is a choice.  We all make choices every day.  I’ve finally realized that I cannot change the people who I live with.  I can’t change their choices, their attitudes or even their habits.  The only person I can change is myself.  So that’s what I’m doing.  I’m being the change that I want to see.  I’m a work in progress. Even though I try to respond with patience and love, I sometimes get upset.  But I’m learning.  I’m not responding with a raised voice.  When I’m trying to have a conversation and if the other person only wants to fight, I’ll walk away.  I won’t engage past the point of raised voices.  I am not responsible for what others say or do.  That’s their choice and not a reflection on me.  Others have choices too.


Live your life.  Change yourself if you’re not happy.  If you feel stuck with a situation ask yourself what you can do about it.  I’ve found that my unhappiness comes from being disappointed with myself.  If the same is true with you, find out what you can change and act on it.  Life is too short to be unhappy.